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.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Butch and his brother Foxy came to the sanctuary in May of 2001 as wild 4 or 5 month old kittens. Neither ever truly tamed up.

Butch lives in the same shed that Panther likes to call home. RAPS staff sometimes have to move cats from one location to another within the sanctuary, but they avoid moving Butch and Panther from their own little sanctuary-within-a-sanctuary. The two cats just feel safest there.

Like Panther, Butch doesn't have any special human friend who tries to spend time with him and teach him to like people, or at least to not be quite so afraid of us. This is really too bad - they both seem like they could be nice cats.

If anyone's up for putting in some time, it might be possible to make two new friends at once!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Colin & Salty

Since he came to live at the sanctuary just over two years ago, Colin has become one of my favorite black cats. He always comes to greet me when I arrive in the doublewide to do the Monday evening feed and will reappear at intervals to rub and weave around my ankles.

I don't have to worry about him being lonely when I (or any of the other humans he's chosen as special friends) leave, because he's come to love big purry Salty at least as much.

While Mario undoubtedly retains his crown as the sanctuary's biggest romeo, Salty's got a decent sized following of his own. Mario may be a big, strong, silent type with a sexy saunter, but Salty is more willing to be outgoing and interactive with his pals, engaging in enthusiastic cat dances, loud purrs, and loving grooming.

When I passed Colin and Salty on the couch the other night, Colin was so happy that he couldn't stop kneading the blanket they were sitting on.

And, since they're both my pals, they were more than happy to let me join in for a three-way cuddle.
I didn't get washed, though.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Panther (II)

After spending some time getting to know siblings Owl, Pussycat, and Tiger, I've been keen to meet their brother, Panther. I was even more keen after Leslie showed me this 2001 photo of the four when they were kittens being fostered by volunteers Barbara and Waldi:

Clockwise from the bottom left: Owl, Panther, Tiger, Pussycat 
Unlike some siblings who remain very close, these four all went their separate ways as they grew up at the sanctuary. Owl can often be seen and heard campaigning for attention and treats in the doublewide, Pussycat favours a shed in the first back pen on the right, Tiger likes hanging out in the first back pen on the left, and Panther has laid claim to a shelf or two in the shed in the third pen on the left.

For some reason, Panther never really got comfortable with people like his siblings did. Now, since he's decided to spend all his time hiding out in his shed, he unfortunately doesn't get the kind of interaction with passersby that might help him change his mind. Anyone wanting to make friends with Panther will need to go seek him out in his shed, bring him treats of chicken or tuna, and just spend time sitting near him.

Fortunately, at the cat sanctuary we have people who are willing to do just this sort of thing.

So, anyone who doesn't mind spending some time and some treats on winning over a winning over a shy kitty, please consider including Panther in your rounds.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The 2013 RAPS Cat Sanctuary Calendar is here!!

I'm very excited to announce the arrival of the RAPS Cat Sanctuary 2013 calendar!

Savannah, our stunning cover girl

This full-size, full-colour wall calendar features portraits of more than a dozen of our wonderful sanctuary cats. The calendar will be available for $15 from this Sunday, November 25, at the RAPS Richmond City Shelter, the Cat Sanctuary, and the Thrift Store.

As a little teaser, I've included a few mystery details from some of the calendar pages below. All of these cats have been featured in past Neko Files posts. Can you guess who they are?

To find out if your guesses are correct, pick up a copy of the calendar and see the whole pictures!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I suspect I've met Sprite before, but just didn't realize it due to a case of mistaken identity. I may have thought I was petting Dempster, who also has a sprinkling of white fur on his chest, or Luigi (at one of those times when he's shed his signature single white whisker), who also has a tendency to chew on a finger or two when he gets overstimulated.

We do have more than a few black cats at the sanctuary, after all.

Sprite is, of course, very much his own distinct self. He's been at RAPS for some time and seems to be quite a fan of Leslie. He perked right up when she smiled at him as she passed the shelf where he was sitting, and sat up straight and tall as he leaned into her pats. He liked me well enough, though he couldn't decide whether to rub against me or nip at me. This latter activity brought one distinguishing characteristic to my attention - this guy's got long fangs!

Even though he curled up for a snooze after Leslie moved on to continue with her work for the evening, Sprite did let me entice him with a few head rubs and ear tickles. Getting up from his repose for further cuddles and perhaps some photos, though? Not a chance.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Update: Autumn's Babies

At the end of September,  RAPS cat sanctuary became home to six kittens and their mother Autumn after being discovered and trapped in a composting plant.  I was fortunate to have seen two of the kittens being brought into the sanctuary on the day of their arrival.  They were tiny, terrified little souls whose cries could melt even the iciest of hearts.

Since then, I spend every Wednesday with the kittens getting to know them and helping to socialize them so they can learn to trust and build bonds with the humans around them.  As they say, it’s a tough job but somebodies got to do it.

To enter their pen is a delight both for the eyes and also the ears. It seems that if you lay your hands on any one kitten, they all instantly start to purr.  An enthusiastic purr to the power of six that could rival the sound of a 747 ready for take-off.

Leif, Pancake, Trick and Treat
The kittens all seem to enjoy human company although they are still reluctant to be held in my arms despite my best efforts to entice them.  They do however, enjoy lots of physical affection and don’t back away from hands that want to touch their soft fur.  It seems that play and wrestling with each other is high on their list of good things in life.

Trick and Leif

Trick and Leif
Leif is one of four brown tabbies and is distinguished by his longer fur particularly around the ears giving him a rather exotic look almost like a Lynx cat.  He is also the biggest of the bunch and the bravest.  He seems to be the ringleader of the group.
There are three other short haired tabbies: Ariel, the only female of the group; Trick distinguished by his white muzzle; and Treat. All are intensely curious but it is Treat, fierce hunter that he is, who always seems to find my camera strap no matter where I hide it so he can jump and attack it.
Pancake and Treat
There are two black and white kittens: Waffle, who has a white nose and muzzle and Pancake who also has a white muzzle but his white patch is smaller than Waffle’s markings and also asymmetrical.  Interestingly, these two boys seem to be shyer than the tabbies.  They took their time getting to know me and Waffle spent a lot of time hiding in the box on the scratching post. Interestingly, it was Pancake out of all the cats who eventually succumbed to a cuddle in my lap.
Leif and Treat
So for a good time, do yourself and these kittens a favor and visit them in the Teens house, guaranteed to put a little sunshine in your life.
Ariel and Pancake

Ariel and Pancake

Friday, November 16, 2012

First Annual RAPS Gala!

I'm foregoing the usual sanctuary kitty post tonight to write in support of an event put on to help them all: the first annual RAPS Wine & Whiskers fundraising gala, being held tomorrow night at the Radisson in Richmond.

With the tickets nearly sold out as of Tuesday morning, it looks like the event will be a great success!

I'm pleased to announce that a framed version of the print below, which this blogger has created especially for the event, will be for sale at the silent auction. If you think you recognize the subject as our sanctuary darling Daisy, you're quite right!

Hope to see you all at the gala!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Update: K9 and her babies

This week I had a chance to visit Ann's former foster family at the No. 5 Rd. shelter.

At first I didn't recognize Kaynine (now called Kila K9), because she was no longer wearing the put upon and generally exhausted expression I'd known her by when she had a pile of hungry kittens climbing all over her and suckling relentlessly. Kaynine/K9 is now bright-eyed, glossy-coated and fully ready to make friends. The whole time I was with her, she never stopped purring, and she was happy to engage in both gentle cuddling and silly playing.

Her small size and playful demeanor really hit home that this mama is still hardly more than a kitten herself. After all, she's only a year old. It's incredible that she managed to produce such a large number of healthy kittens.

Of course I also paid a visit to the kittens themselves. One has been adopted, leaving seven equally delightful siblings still in need of good homes. All the early socializing must have paid off -- these kittens are totally comfortable with people and pleased to interact, but have already learned the basics of good manners and know not to get too grabby or play-bite too hard.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Update: Mistletoe

It may too much to say that Mistletoe has come a long way in the two years she's been at the sanctuary, but she certainly is much easier to catch sight of and sometimes even a little cuddle with than she was in her days of constantly hiding behind drapes.

Mistletoe's fur is so silky and soft that attempting to stroke it can be irresistible. For a long time, while Mistletoe did seem to enjoy the stroking itself, she would soon lose her nerve at being in such close proximity to a human and bolt behind the nearest chair.

Then she started staying out in the open a little more often and for a little longer. These days she seldom gets nervous when I approach her and will sometimes even approach me for pats.  She shows her pleasure with one of the more eccentric cats dances I've seen -- all weaving (but no rubbing) and wild tail swishing while she repeatedly looks up over one shoulder then the other at the person patting her.

Interestingly (and rather unfortunately), Gaye, who would dearly love to be Mistletoe's friend, has not had similar luck. While Mistletoe will allow Gaye to stroke her sometimes, just as often she'll scoot off if she sees her coming. This is through no fault of Gaye's save that as a member of the sanctuary's medical staff, she does occasionally have to give cats pills, put drops in eyes or ears, and so on. Many cats are quite willing to forgive this for a few bribes of chicken or tuna, but Mistletoe has apparently decided she's not having any of it.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Having come to know front courtyard resident Murray for expressions like this...

photo by Michele
... I was surprised to learn from Gaye that he used to be quite the scrapper in his youth. She's not sure just how old he is know, but remembers that he was already a resident of the sanctuary when she first started coming there.

These days, when he's not making faces, Murray often content to act like a nice older gentleman.

This is not to say he isn't interested in a little interaction. When he wants some attention, he's quite happy to holler for it. 

And yes, sometimes Murray still gets into fights. Gaye was recently surprised to see him so involved in fighting Dirky that she needed to throw water at them to snap the two cats out of it.

Aging? Perhaps. Still spunky? Absolutely.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Pussycat is the sister of Owl, Tiger, and Panther. As I'd heard of her but never actually met her before, on Monday night I asked Gaye to introduce me.

Gaye took me to the shed in one of the back pens where Pussycat is hanging out these days (she apparently moves periodically from one favorite spot to another). Heated and full of shelves with blankets and cat beds, the shed was warm and cozy. Still, when I caught sight of the fluffy black cat perched up in the rafters, I really wasn't sure what kind of reaction to expect to my attempt to make friends. I've been smacked by more than a few cats under similar circumstances, after all.

I don't know if it was the chicken that Gaye gave Pussycat to get her attention, or if it was the fact that she passed me a little to give Pussycat to keep her attention, but I found I had no trouble whatsoever making friends.

Although I couldn't quite manage to coax her from her perch (she didn't seem to see why she should have to come all the way down only to have to jump up again once I'd left), she was happy to show with endless purrs and rubs just how much she was enjoying the interaction.

Monday, November 5, 2012


This striking cat was named after the charming Pongo from 101 Dalmatians and it's not hard to imagine why. If there was such a thing called a Dalmatian cat, Pongo would certainly fit the bill. Pongo has lived at the sanctuary all his life as he came to the shelter as one of six kittens.  I'm told his usual modus operandi is to only come out at night but fortunately for me, he decided to come out a little earlier at dusk to show himself off.

He seemed keen to attract attention to himself by rubbing against everything he could including my legs.  he was friendly enough and enjoyed a few scratches behind the ear but didn't let it go any further than that.
Still quite shy he kept his distance from me but seemed to like the action of the evening milling around with all the other cats in the front courtyard.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Owl is a fluffy tabby who easily recognizable by his adorable ear tufts (funny how that can be so much more appealing in cats than it is in humans). 

Owl has been at RAPS all his life, having been fostered as a kitten along with his feral mom Barbara (now sadly no longer with us) and his siblings Pussycat, Tiger, and Panther. The whole family was taken in and the kittens raised by volunteers Barbara and Waldie.

photo by Barbara D

Owl grew up into a nice, well-adjusted, well-liked boy. He can be seen in various parts of the sanctuary (doublewide, tea room, a sunny bench in the back courtyard), either curled up with a few cat buddies or perched somewhere people are likely to come by and give him a chin tickle.