RAPS is short for Regional Animal Protection Society, a registered charity and operator of a sanctuary which houses and cares for nearly 500 homeless or abandoned cats in Richmond, BC, Canada. The Neko Files is a celebration of the sanctuary and all those who live and work there.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Looking for a new dance partner?

Tango is a former resident recently diagnosed with AIDS which brought about his return to the sanctuary. At the moment, he is residing in one of the cages in the New AIDS building eagerly awaiting his his release into the New AIDS population.  Tango is a very nice boy and though he's not allowed out yet in this transition period, instructions are posted to love him up.

Wanting to follow instructions, I went to his cage ready to dole out some cuddles but Tango had other ideas, he wanted to stage a jail break. Not wanting to let him mingle with the other cats yet, I couldn't resist his imploring eyes so I picked him up and held him in my arms while I walked him around the room. But the music was on and suddenly my feet started to tap, my body started to moving to the beat and before I knew it tango and I were dancing around the room together. Tango, laid back cat that he is seemed quite content to let me bounce around the room with him in my arms, his head bobbing in time to the music.

The "tango" seed must have been planted in my head because never in my time as a volunteer at RAPS have I ever danced with a cat, yet there I was. I can't say that Tango and I did the tango - the moves were, well, more casual lets say so maybe his name needs some tweaking... Any calls for Boogie? Shimmy? Trip-the-light-fantastic?

Do yourself a favor and have a twirl with this lovely boy. He makes an exquisite dance partner.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Like Meepos, Bossanova was trapped on Mitchell Island in February. Unlike Meepos, Bossanova has proved much harder to sell on the whole idea of trusting humans.

Bossanova photographed from the safety of neighbour Meepos's cage

Even after the "animal care staff only" sign came off his cage, Bossanova was one of the few newcomers I've ever felt nervous about approaching to so much as refresh his water or top up his kibble. He wouldn't even give me a chance to open the door before he'd start glaring and hissing. I heard talk of him lunging at people.

And then recently I started to hear that he'd had his chin successfully rubbed from a safe distance with the help of a back scratcher. And then Ann shocked me by claiming that if approached slowly, he not only could be patted with bare fingers but actually liked tummy rubs.

I wasn't entirely convinced I'd be able to safely replicate her results, but Bossanova himself convinced me that it was entirely possible. He even let me document the process.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Meepos was trapped on Mitchell Island in Richmond. When he first arrived at the sanctuary in mid February, it was hard to tell whether he was feral or tame. Before long, though, he stopped leaving any doubt that he was indeed quite tame.

Now he's gotten comfortable enough with us that he likes nothing more than to wriggle upside-down in his cat bed while getting his tummy rubbed. 

I hear he could be a bit nippy at times when he first started allowing pats, but he might have gotten over this. So far I've had nothing but hand-holding and kisses from him, and the only claws he's showed me are from kneading the air as he purrs. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Update: Tiny

During a visit to the sanctuary this Sunday afternoon, I had a chance to "rediscover" Tiny, a cat I originally wrote about when Ann introduced me to her in October of 2010.

Before coming to us, Tiny had been living with Creampuff and another cat in the home of a troubled woman whose issues prevented her from continuing to care for her pets. RAPS was called to come and take the cats. Creampuff went to the sanctuary, and the other two went to the No. 5 Rd. shelter to be put up for adoption. The youngest cat was indeed adopted, but Tiny didn't do so well.

Tiny's inability to get along with other cats meant that she had to stay in a cage the whole time she was at 5 Rd.. Nobody who came to the shelter looking for a cat to adopt wanted her, and so all she really accomplished during her time there was to get fat due to the lack of exercise. Leslie ended up bringing her back to the sanctuary where she could be let loose without being at quite such close quarters with other cats.

Over time, Tiny's hatred of other members of her species has mellowed to general low-level dislike. Her affection for humans, though, is as strong as it ever was. When I came across her on Sunday afternoon, she was sprawled upside-down on the cover of the fountain by the tearoom. Far from feeling her snooze had been interrupted, she was delighted to received chin tickles and belly rubs and to wriggle endlessly for photographs. Later on, she came over to sit on the picnic table where she could be even more easily noticed and fussed over.

Apparently, Sunday afternoons are a favorite time for Tiny, as she'll often come out during visiting hours and sit on any laps that might be available.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Willow came with her sister from a barn on No. 9 Rd. in Richmond. Both were feral and had no interest whatsoever in befriending humans when they arrived at the sanctuary.

Ann named Willow "Spider Cat" after the spider pig scene from The Simpsons, as when she was housed in the Teens area she would apparently "'spider' herself across the mesh to escape the evil aliens/humans." The grey tabby was subsequently given a pretty name to go with her pretty face, but Ann says she still answers to Spider Cat.

Fortunately, Willow no longer thinks humans are quite so horrifying. Under the right circumstances, she can even be quite friendly.

When I was visiting May and others in their shed in the back pen where they live, May so enjoyed being patted that she started clambering over the various available surfaces in her efforts to not miss out on a single good patting position. This caught the attention of Willow, who found herself drawn to joining in the cuddle party.

Willow & May

Willow ended up welcoming a fairly extended cuddle, which continued even after May had her fill of me and decided to go off and have her fill of kibble.

Even so, no sooner had I left the shed then Willow forgot all about having decided to trust me. I tried to make friends again by approaching her slowly outside, but only ended up inadvertently chasing her around the building a couple of times because she'd get all wide-eyed and scuttle off around the corner every time I came into view.

As often seems to be the case with cats who started off wild, "tameness" is a relative thing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


This friendly, photogenic boy is called Adam.

I first met him last July after he'd been transferred to the sanctuary from the No. 5 Rd. with May, Moe, Hudson, and others. Even when he was just meeting me for the first time, Adam was comfortable and confident in greeting me.

He looked equally relaxed with his cat friends.

Adam with Chester, May and Katie

Adam and May

When I paid the gang a visit recently, Adam was every bit as handsome and engaging. He is very much as Leslie says: a lovely boy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hudson (II)

Hudson is another one of the group of tame cats who came to the sanctuary from the No. 5 Rd. shelter because there was not enough room there (Moe, May and Theo are a few others).

Hudson can come across as a bit shy if approached by a stranger too quickly and without adequate preamble, but don't let him fool you: next time you turn around he'll likely have turned into an upside-down wiggle-puss eager to get your attention.

Two weeks in a row he did the sidewalk wriggle for me. This evening it must have given him a case of the cat equivalent of the giggles, because once he'd had his fill of wriggling, he leaped up and started bounding goofily around the enclosure, pausing every now and then to see if I was still looking.

All in all a very nice, very entertaining boy!

Friday, April 13, 2012


May came the sanctuary for the same reason Moe did: due to there simply not being enough room at the No. 5 Rd. shelter to comfortably house all the cats that were being brought in.

I first met May last summer, when she quickly caught my attention by being such a beautiful girl. Even then she was a sweetheart, comfortable visiting with me and posing for pictures.

May & Chester

May is adoptable and will be returning to 5 Rd. soon for another chance at meeting people who'd love to give her a forever home.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Bobby is the brother of Marley and Cookies 'n Cream.

The three black & white siblings, along with their also black & white sister Harmony (sadly no longer with us), were trapped at a property on No. 4 Rd. in Richmond. All four were frightened of people when they first came to the sanctuary, and Bobby was the first to start getting a bit friendlier.

These days you'll probably still encounter him on top of the cages in the doublewide where he feels safe. I'm told he's quite a fan of chicken, though, so this mighthelp to draw him out.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Marley is the sister of Cookies 'n Cream and Bobby. All were trapped a number of years ago at the same place on No. 4 Rd. in Richmond.

While Cookies 'n Cream, though still timid, has come to accept pets, Marley remains a bit of a scaredy cat.

She's apparently not as likely to smack as she once was, but still lives on top of the cages in the doublewide. These days she'll at least come to the edge for treats, but Leslie says that in the six years Marley has been at the sanctuary, she's never come down to floor level when humans are around.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cookies 'n Cream

Cookies 'n Cream came to RAPS from the same place on No. 4 Rd. where we got Clooney, Molly and others.   He arrived with his black & white siblings Harmony, Bobby and Marley. Cookies 'n Cream and his sister Harmony were so scared when they first came in that they cowered together in a crate in the large cage where the four had been put.

Harmony is sadly no longer with us. Cookies 'n Cream is still on the timid side, but is a nice boy if you can get past his still-strong instinct to flee. Leslie's found that he'll let her pat him if she comes across him in a place where he can't run off before he's given her a chance to remind him she's a friend.

With me, he seemed most at ease when I patted him through a barrier like the railing at the top of the stairs to the doublewide. He apparently felt more comfortable knowing that stroking couldn't turn into grabbing. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


When Mitzi was trapped in the City Works Yard at the end of March, she was unspayed and so terrified of that she was thought to be feral.

After a short time at the sanctuary, it became clear that Mitzi was tame - albeit understandably pretty stressed about recent events in her life. By the time I met her on Monday night, she had calmed right down and would meow for attention and purr when she got it.

Mitzi will be moved to the No. 5 Rd. shelter (if she hasn't already) for adoption. Leslie says there may even be people looking for their lost girl, and they'll have a better chance of finding her there.

Monday, April 2, 2012


photo by Phaedra 

I first heard of Rio when people mentioned similarities in markings between her and fellow torby girl Saffron. I heard of her again in connection with her orange & white brothers Tang and Creamsicle. Phaedra was telling me a bit about the formerly wild trio and spoke fondly of her "litter lap buddy" Rio.

Rio playing Queen of the Castle, cat style
photo by Phaedra

I asked Phaedra to tell me a bit more about her. Here's what she had to say:
I guess she's just always stood out for me because she's so much more in the background than her brothers. She's sweet but shy and takes her time getting to know you. She started off playing with my laces while I was scooping and has progressed to joining me at least once on my single wide days for lap scooping time.
She's really affectionate but hasn't learned her manners yet and doesn't understand when it's over and will sometimes lash out when you think it's time to do something else. She will play with my laces or kneepads still, but if I try to play with her with my hands she gets very frightened and pretends to be fierce. This can make me laugh out loud for real but then I feel bad because she's a silly timid kitten and coax her back.
This made me want to meet Rio for myself, so I asked Leslie to point her out to me. This she did, but we must have caught Rio when she was settling down for her after dinner nap, as she simply refused to be coaxed out of her comfy bed on the top of the cages to interact with us in any way.

Disappointed, I eventually had to admit defeat and left to go and photograph the much more amenable Tang. This done, I happened to look up to where Rio had been sitting and found the place empty. I looked around a bit and found she'd ventured down to floor level, apparently now ready to visit with me.

As you can see from the photos she let me take while I patted and played with her, Rio is very much as Phaedra described her: playful, a little shy, occasionally a little swatty, but always very sweet.