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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Peppercorn is a grey & white cutie I've seen around the back courtyard for ages without ever knowing what her story was.

I recently asked Leslie, and apparently Peppercorn came to the sanctuary when she was around  five to six months old. She was trapped along with her two siblings near Silvercity Riverport in Richmond. Both of the siblings have since died, but Peppercorn is still a happy resident of the sanctuary. On a sunny day she can often be found luxuriating in the sunshine in the sanctuary's back courtyard.

photo by Barbara D
photo by Barbara D

Monday, October 29, 2012

Number Six

"Number Six" came to the RAPS cat sanctuary along with the cats belonging to volunteer Ruth (Sophie, George, Whiskers, Socks) but, interestingly, he wasn't one of Ruth's cats. Rather, he'd belonged to a friend of Ruth's nephew. At the time, Ruth's cats had numbered five (the fifth died before the group came to the sanctuary). Since nobody knew the name of the additional cat, he was temporarily dubbed Number Six. The name stuck for a time, but I notice that recently someone at the sanctuary has added a new name, Schroder, in brackets next to the name Number Six on the sign outside the cats' room.

Number Six / Schroder can be a bit hard to read when you first meet him, seeming to be enjoying his comfy bed too much to give a clear indication of what kind of cuddles he'd most like to receive.

On our first meeting, I tried to rouse him with the help of a feathery cat toy. This certainly got his attention, but still wasn't enough to make him want to leave the warmth of his bed.

On the second occasion, I went for a chin scratch and behind-the-ears tickle, both of which he liked. He was so pleased, in fact, that he climbed out of bed and onto a nearby cat tree... at least for a moment or two before he decided that I could tickle him just as well in his bed.

He turns out to be less of a fan of having his back stroked, but seems willing to be forgiving if the mistake is quickly rectified. We humans need a little training to get these things right, after all.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Socks was found as a stray on No. 6 Rd. in Richmond and brought to RAPS in 2009. He was adopted by our volunteer Ruth, who opened her home to him and others (Sophie, George, and Whiskers). When Ruth passed away, all of her cats were brought to the cat sanctuary to be looked after. We hope (as we're sure they do) that they'll meet new people who are looking to adopt wonderful cats just like them.

When I spent some time getting to know Socks earlier this week, he was delighted to interact, but also very keen to show me that he's got his own distinct personality and his own distinct way of expressing himself. It turns out that Socks is a wriggler. All it took was a few quality scratches under his chin and behind his ears, and the wriggling began. Once he really got into it, he didn't even need (or seem to want) me to do anything but watch and admire his happy movements.

A funny, happy, highly entertaining boy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Whiskers (II)

Whiskers originally came from the Burnaby SPCA. Like Sophie and George, she was adopted from RAPS by Ruth, one of our volunteers. When Ruth passed away not long ago, Whiskers and her housemates were brought back to the cat sanctuary.

Like the other cats with whom Ruth had shared her home, Whiskers is a delightful cat and very adoptable. When I visited with her on Monday, she was purrs and gentle rubs and cuddles.

Monday, October 22, 2012


It was just before feeding time when I decided to drop in to one of the back pens and introduce myself to some new-to-me cats. While most of the cats were milling around expecting me to drop some chicken and liver pate, I disappointed them all by offering nothing but affection and the chance to shine in front of the camera. All the while, a large black and white cat who I later learned was called Capilano watched on from a corner of the pen.

It would be hard to miss Capilano as he is a rather round cat with a sort of God-father-esque demeanour.  A small collection of cats positioned themselves around him after they finished with their dinners.  One cat Katie seemed particularly attached to Capilano, following him around and sitting next to him when she could.

Athena, Katie and Capilano

Capilano and Katie
Capilano came to the sanctuary approximately two years ago with a group if #5 road cats.  He initially was placed in another part of the sanctuary but refused to come out from behind his towel curtain and hissed ferociously anytime anyone came near.  It seems as though he was having a miserable time.  Evidently, hissing and hiding don't burn many calories as Capilano put a lot of weight on during this time.  Eventually he was moved to the back pens where he begun to come out of his shell and interact with his pen-mates.

Although he still isn't much interested in people he does look quite content with his cat buddies.  It is interesting to see how a change in environment can change a cat's manner.  From ferocious hissing to tolerating a photo-op, I have to wonder how well we think we know cats sometimes and how different they might be in the right circumstances.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Like Sophie, George was adopted from RAPS by our wonderful volunteer Ruth. When Ruth passed away, George was brought back to the sanctuary with Sophie and his other former housemates. 

I hear that one of our sanctuary volunteers has really fallen for George, so there's a chance he may have a home of his own again soon. 

The sign on the door to the room where Ruth cats are currently living had a note that George loves to snuggle. Having only met him once so far, I haven't yet had a chance to get too up close and personal, but even a few strokes and a chin tickle showed him to be a cat who likes a cuddle. 

He also likes a good play, something I quickly discovered when he saw me pick up a feather wand.
How about that -- handsome and a great personality too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Sophie first came to RAPS as a stray, trapped along with her pregnant wild daughter and several five-month-old kittens. When she was taken to the vet, Sophie was discovered to have swollen breasts and an enlarged uterus - a sure sign that she had very recently given birth. RAPS staff raced back to the area where Sophie had been trapped to look for the kittens who would be too young to survive long without their mother. It must have been a combination of experience and intuition that quickly led Carol to look under a couch inside an abandoned, burned-out house two doors down from the back yard where Sophie and her daughter had been going for food. There Carol found seven tiny, cold and barely alive babies with umbilical cords still attached.

Back at RAPS, volunteers acted fast with warm towels and warm milk from tiny bottles. Within a couple of hours, the babies had regained enough strength to be able to nurse on Sophie. All survived.

photo originally published in RAPS newsletter

Sophie was later adopted by volunteer Ruth, in whose home she by all accounts lived very contentedly. Very sadly, Ruth has now passed away. Sophie, along with the other cats Ruth had adopted from RAPS, have returned to the shelter. They're living at the sanctuary, but all are highly adoptable.

Sophie is bright-eyed, interested in her surroundings, and responsive without coming across as the needy type. She's instantly recognizable as a completely lovely cat.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Timmy arrived at the sanctuary in the first week of October. He'd been adopted from RAPS several years ago, but was returned when a relative with allergies moved into the home.

He may remain at the sanctuary or be moved to the No. 5 Rd. shelter when there's space so he can meet lots of people and have another chance at finding a forever home.

When I met him last Monday evening, he'd only been at the sanctuary for a few days. While he opted to stay on his safe and comfy perch rather than come to the cage door for a sniff or cuddle, his expression and movements as he peered at me showed a sort of cheerful curiosity. He looks like he'll be a nice boy.

Friday, October 12, 2012


When I came across this tuxedo girl in the Connor building on Monday, I wasn't quite sure what reaction to expect when I reached up to her perch to make contact. We peered at each other for a moment, and then were suddenly friends.

With all the purring, blanket kneading, and head rubbing Selma was happy to share with me, I was a little surprised to learn that she'd come to RAPS as a feral kitten. Thanks to staff like Leslie spending lots of time with her when she was young and to volunteers like Bonnie who became good friends with her, she grew up into a very nice girl.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Twinkie came to the RAPS sanctuary from the same place that brought us Mooshie, Cara and others.

Twinkie can come across as a bit stand-offish, and not a lot of people pay attention to her as a result. This is really too bad, since it doesn't take much time with her to see that she's a sweetheart.

While she gets along well enough with other cats, Twinkie used to be really close friends with a cat named Dottie, who has since passed away. She must have felt the loss of her friend very deeply, as the two were apparently inseparable. Leslie says that Twinkie was friendlier with people when Dottie was around.

So don't take Twinkie's stand-offishness at face value. She's more interested in making friends than she lets on.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Despite the feminine name, Cagney is actually a male cat who found his own way to RAPS in search of a reliable meal ticket. Cagney hung out in the parking lot by the food bowls and eventually allowed himself to be caught and brought inside the chain link walls of the sanctuary. He seemed to understand that by sticking close to people there just might be something to gain, so he tried his luck at RAPS. Smart kitty; he hit the jackpot when he found the sanctuary was chock-a-block full of adoring people and food bowls every three feet.

Although Cagney has been a resident for a while now, he has yet to lose his feral ways. Refusing to allow me within 10 feet of him, he would scamper away if I got too close safely maintaining his comfort barrier. When the treats arrived however, he decided to close that comfort barrier to finger sniffing distance, but that was about it. Although still a shy guy, Leslie tells me that Cagney appears to be very happy to be a resident of our kitty paradise and has adjusted well to life at the sanctuary.

So where did the female name come from? Leslie told me an interesting fact about cats that come on their own accord seeking shelter and food from us - they are all named after detectives owing to their excellent sleuthing skills. Cagney of course, is named after the 80's TV show Cagney and Lacey. How he ended up with a female name I do not know but I'm guessing that Cagney wasn't likely going to let us check under the hood to confirm such matters without at least a few romantic dinners first.

As I watched Cagney, Doug pulled out his laser and Cagney got busy chasing the quick green light across the pavement. He had almost forgotten his wary and watchful self and allowed Leslie one quick pet until Tom Cat came along and smacked Cagney in the head which of course sent him running for cover, guard back up as usual.


Friday, October 5, 2012


Priscilla owes her name to a bit of mistaken identity with her sister. Our vet's files have Lisa Marie as an all black kitty and Priscilla as a black & white, but somewhere along the way, people at the sanctuary had reversed the names.

Fortunately, Priscilla doesn't seem offended by this in this least. She's much too busy being totally adorable.

I first noticed Priscilla because she was having a fit of kitty giggles, happily scampering up and down a plank running along the wall outside one of the buildings in the front courtyard. When I introduced myself, she was more than happy to include me in her game and then to have a good cuddle afterward. A darling, darling girl.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Autumn's babies

RAPS was asked to come and trap Autumn and her 4- to 5-month-old kittens, who'd been living on the grounds of a composting facility on No. 8 Rd. in Richmond. If I understand correctly, I believe they'd been holed up in a brick pile.

None of the staff at the facility were aware of anyone having handled the kittens, and so they were presumed to be wild. Thinking them too old at this point to be easily tamable, Carol began trapping the kittens and bringing them to the sanctuary where they can safely live out their wild lives... only it's turned out that they're not so wild after all.

The four kittens who've been brought to the sanctuary so far are hardly the hissy hiders that one would expect feral kittens to be. Instead, they're playful, wide-eyed and curious about their surroundings, human inhabitants and all. It seems that someone must have spent at least some time with them after all. And so they'll be able to go to the No. 5 Rd. shelter for adoption.

Lief and Pancake

With their mama, Autumn, it's harder to tell if she's feral or a frightened stray. Fortunately, at the sanctuary she can take as much time as she needs to decide if she's interested in accepting any human friends.