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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I've always been a sucker for a lap cat and really, who isn't? So I was very happy to meet a sweet old cat named Dirky on my arrival to the sanctuary last week.

Dirky was sunning himself in the front courtyard when I first spotted him. He made eyes at me and seemed interested in making acquaintances. Patient but not pushy, Dirky waited until I settled myself on a chair before jumping in my lap and promptly curling up for some cuddle time. A confident yet gentle cat, he enjoyed a firm neck and shoulder massage at my hand. If I wanted to ever get up from that chair he made it clear that I would have to be the one to break us up.

You can recognize Dirky by his very distinctive look. He's all white with a splotch of grey behind his right ear and a grey tail. As you see with many white cats, his eyes have a red rim around them which makes it look as if he'd been up half the night crying.

Dirky doesn't have much to cry about though. He seems to have adjusted to life at the sanctuary well. He was brought to the shelter as a kitten by Gaye - one of the staff at the sanctuary and his namesake - along with his mother and two siblings 12 years ago. Knowing no other life, he seems quite relaxed and content at the sanctuary cruising around to see what good eats are available and who's lap he might hijack next.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Peanut is a pretty little feral girl who's been living at the cat sanctuary in 2007. She still generally scoots away when approached too closely, but does seem willing to at least consider sniffing a finger under the right circumstances.

When Peanut was trapped, the people who'd told RAPS where to find her said that she had a kitten. RAPS staff went back and found a grey female, which they were able to trap as well. They couldn't be certain, though, if this was Peanut's offspring or if it was another feral cat that happened to be in the same area. As soon as the two cats were put together, though, there was instant recognition and such relief at reunion that it was clear that Peanut and Timmy (as the grey came to be called) were indeed mother and daughter.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Fraser was found as a young cat on the banks of the Fraser River, and was named accordingly.
photo by Michele

He developed leukemia and so lives in the Old AIDS building at the cat sanctuary.

Brigid once described Fraser to me as a friendly cat who liked a bit of fussing (particularly when treats were involved) but wasn't interested in getting quite close enough to be part of the Panther, Jeremy and Jasper lap pile. Now she says he's no longer just a "a-paws-up-but-no-further guy" and has joined the cuddle brigade.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


J.Lo is a tame but cranky girl in the Old AIDS building.

She may have lost her tail, but that has in no way dampened her personality.

J.Lo's one of those cats who is friendly to people, but not to other cats. I didn't get to see her in action with the other cats, but she gave me an excellent demonstration of loving people. Purrs, rubs, headbutts and long loving looks, she was happy to employ them all.

Monday, May 21, 2012


If asked to list of most popular cat names, I'm not sure the name Bobby would have occurred to me. And yet, at the cat sanctuary there are four Bobbies (that I know about so far): tabby&white Bobby in the front courtyard, sneezy tuxedo Bobby in the doublewide, shy black&white Bobby in the doublewide, and orange bobtail Bobby in the Old AIDS.

This Bobby is my most recent acquaintance. Not sure yet whether we're likely to hit it off. He's a semi-feral who's been at the sanctuary for a long time but remained shy. Leslie says he will let people pet him if approached slowly and that he may even be inspired to put his bum in the air to show his approval of the petting.

Unfortunately for me, I'd already taken some photos of him with my big scary camera and its big scary flash before I learned that petting might have been a possibility. By this time, he'd decided that he didn't think much of my camera and really wasn't too sure about me. He did let me get close enough to present a fingertip for sniffing, but I'll have to go back another time, sans camera, to try and earn a proper audience.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Update: Sylvester

Sylvester has now been living at the sanctuary for a year and he's as mellow as ever.

The "pooping outside the box" problem that No. 5 Rd. staff had encountered last year was solved by giving him a big cat sized litter box. Staff also seem to have got his weight down a bit. He comes across less "enormous" now than he does simply "big."

All in all, he seems to be doing all right. And even better when he receives a visit from one of his human friends, who he's happy to reward for the attention with a nice, comfortable, mellow kind of cuddle.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I've passed this cat numerous times, always seeing her staring at me from above, never knowing who she was. She had a look of not liking me very much, so I assumed she was probably feral and didn't push her.

I found out from Leslie on Monday that she is indeed feral and has been at the sanctuary for a long time now. Her name is Sandra. The she used to have a nickname of Evil Sandra suggests she may once have been even less pleased with our presence than she is now.

 ... though that can be hard to imagine.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bunnies' new summer home

Now that the weather's finally turned warm and spring-like, the sanctuary bunnies Kris and Kringle were moved to their rabbit run outside where they can enjoy fresh air and a little exercise. This year, they have a brand new, beautiful rabbit hutch to enjoy.



I photographed them within half an hour of their introduction to this new space. Kris hopped up into the hutch readily enough, but decided to take further exploring slowly. Kringle was soon exploring underneath and, before long, emerged from there to excitedly scamper and hop around the run.

As with last year, the FIV cats were fascinated by their new neighbors. Baxter was once again among the first to check them out, but this year it was Arnie who decided to conduct the first full inspection. He was thorough.


... very thorough.

Later on, we caught him trying reaching his paw as far through the fence as he could. Whether he was trying to touch one of the bunnies or just steal their treats was unclear. Either way, Kris and Kringle are too used to cats hanging around their cage to pay this cheeky one any mind.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kitty Punky

Kitty Punky is a very friendly girl of around 14 years of age who came to the sanctuary last month. She'd been a stray and though a person was able to take her in temporarily, they couldn't do so permanently, and so after time she was brought to RAPS.

When she first arrived, she was understandably rather unhappy about the abrupt change in her surroundings, but even then it wasn't too hard to coax her out of hiding for some rubs and chin tickles.

Now that she's had a chance to settle in, she's perfectly pleased to throw herself into a proper cuddle with no need for convincing at all. Definitely another reason to pay a visit to the Gericatrics trailer.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Gumdrop is a sweet girl, not yet full grown, who came into the No. 5 Rd. shelter. When she was taken to the vet to be spayed, she tested positive for FELV - feline leukemia virus.

Since kittens sometimes test a false positive (as was the case with Wonder), and so staff a little time pass and then tested her again. Unfortunately, Gumdrop's results once again came back positive, and so she's come to live in the Leukemia room at the sanctuary.

Gumdrop is such an obvious sweetheart that it only took a matter of hours (if that) in her new home at the sanctuary for her to start winning herself some fans among the staff and volunteers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spring sun at last

Finally the sanctuary cats (and their minders) are getting to enjoy some warm, spring-like weather in the afternoon and early evening. And the cats waste no time in making the most of it. Here are a few photos from this evening.

Quinn (?)


Even the cats who stayed indoors managed to soak up the sun coming through the windows!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Like Adam, Moe and others, Chinook started off at the No. 5 Rd. shelter but was moved to the sanctuary due to a lack of room.

Unlike some of the more friendly, adopt-me-adopt-me cats that came with him, though, Chinook was a bit more uncertain about humans when he was at 5 Rd. and wouldn't let people touch him.

In his case, perhaps a some time at the sanctuary is just what he needs, giving him a chance to get to know us at a pace he feels comfortable with.