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, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmas tree between the gates
where the humans can enjoy it
and the cats can't destroy it
"Ooo, is that big red thing a punching bag?"
photo by Debbie
front courtyard in the snow
photo by Debbie
George permitting a little holiday cheer
photo by Debbie

Friday, December 20, 2013

Update: Bossanova

Cats are weird.

Most of you probably knew that already.

When Bossanova came to RAPS in February of last year, he started off in a cage in the doublewide. He's long since left the cage, and has set himself up in a nice little spot on a high shelf on the covered porch behind the singlewide. His buddy Meepos joined him there.

Mr. Pink, Bossanova, Meepos
Bossanova still welcomes visits, though his high perch means that most visitors will need to find a stool to stand on to reach him for a proper cuddle.

Recently, singlewide volunteer Kim told me about this funny reaction Bossanova has if tickled at the base of his tail. Apparently he starts madly licking the shelf in front of him.

Of course I had to test this out. And yes, that's exactly what he does. During my experiment, his bed was closer than the wood of the shelf, so that's what got licked. Very odd. Perhaps too odd for me, so I returned to more conventional head and neck stroking, which he enjoyed in a more conventional purry, drooly manner.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Update: Sambuca

When Sambuca arrived at the beginning of October, she was frightened of us and would try to flee when approached. Before long, though, staff discovered that a little patience would be rewarded with purrs.

Sambuca is still a bit skittish and appreciates it if her visitors are slow and gentle when they approach her. But it doesn't take much encouragement to get her to pop out from under the chair she scoots under when the cage door is opened, have a little stretch, and present herself for stroking and tickling. She's proving to be a real sweetheart.

Friday, December 13, 2013


I met Sockeye earlier this week when he was in a cage in the singlewide so RAPS staff could give him treatment for a mouth problem. There was a privacy drape in the back of the cage and a sign warning "make sure he's behind drape before entering." And no visible sign of Sockeye himself. Based on this, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from him, personality-wise.

When he sensed a couple of us volunteers were watching and talking about him, though, Sockeye popped out from behind the drape to check out what was going on.

I later confirmed with Leslie that Sockeye is very motivated to not be in his cage anymore, and will take advantage of any opportunity to escape... which is a bit of a problem when staff need to give him medication.

And the name? Sockeye came in a number of years ago with a group of feral tabbies. As often happens, the group was given names on a particular theme-- in this case, fish.

Monday, December 9, 2013

it's "graceless kitties" time

And the "graceless kitties" series returns to provide a little December cheer courtesy of our cat sanctuary pals.

and... Marmalade
photo by Phaedra
Kiddie and Darla
photo by Phaedra

Friday, December 6, 2013


Yap came to the RAPS cat sanctuary a number of years ago as one of a group of kittens who someone had been feeding in their yard. The youngsters (they were several months old when they were trapped) were given then names Spring, Summer, Yip, and Yap.

I had a chance to meet Yap at the end of November when he was in a cage in the singlewide after he'd had a couple of teeth extracted. He was so friendly that I wondered why I hadn't met him before.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Everybody loved Mario

As many of you have probably heard, either directly from friends at RAPS or via the RAPS Facebook page, the sanctuary lost one of our most prominent residents this week: our dear Mario.

Mario was famously loved by the other cats at the sanctuary, and would rarely be seen without a few members of his harem trailing after him as he sauntered around the place or tucking themselves in around him whenever he paused somewhere for a snooze. Shy ferals were particularly fond of him, and his laid-back ways even taught a few of them to like us humans a bit too. 

Sadly, all the love in the world, both human and feline, couldn't stop the cancer that took him away from us. 

Mario was such a big presence at the sanctuary that we'll all be feeling his absence for a long time to come. Here are a few photos from the past months celebrating our Romeo and showing him in all his glory, surrounded by cat friends who adored him.

Thanks for all you've done big, fluffy, gentle buddy. We'll miss you like crazy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Update: Buster

Buster, who was very upset and aggressive when he arrives at the cat sanctuary back in April, has made some baby steps in the past months in the direction of being a nice(er) cat. 

Staff has been working to help him be more comfortable and to minimize his agitation. His hind end can be a bit sore (X-rays revealed a bit of a deformity on one of his hips), so we limit the pats to his front end. He was found to be scared of the full sized broom, so a small hand brush was tried. He can get scared when people move too quickly around him, so we aim for slow and gentle.

Buster still has his own room where he can be away from other cats, but recently staff have been opening the door so he can venture out if he wishes.

A nice enclosed porch area has been added to the building Buster lives in, allowing him to sit not just outside his private room but outside outside, where he can feel the wind in his whiskers. He apparently quite enjoyed the porch when he was let out there, staying for a few hours in this new territory before heading back to his room.

When I visited him tonight, he was welcoming and happy to receive a few chin tickles. And then he was done with me and my big camera, and let me know with a series of growls. Unlike when I first meet him in the spring, though, he didn't feel a need to follow and menace me on the way out.

Baby steps.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sandy and Pebble

Sandy and Pebble arrived at the sanctuary in March as feral kittens. RAPS worked to tame them, and now they will allow pats from visitors to their cage.

The pair still hasn't quite got the hang of this whole comfortable-with-humans thing, and turns to hissing and hiding when the cage door is opened.

But there's a note on the door saying not to be fooled by the hissing. And indeed it turns out that these kitties don't mean it (much). Sandy stops hissing when touched and will tolerate pats, and Pebble's hisses immediately turn to purrs and show off dances.

Note - the two were never really comfortable with human contact, and were released into pen 4 with the other ferals. Let's see how they make out!

Monday, November 18, 2013


Luke is a feral who came to the RAPS sanctuary about 10 years ago. When he first arrived, he shared a cage with Mario.

Luke has a clipped ear, which indicates that at some point he'd been trapped, neutered, and released back to wherever he was living. Later, someone must have felt the site was no longer safe or that he would be better off at the sanctuary, so he was trapped again and brought in.

He still won't let people get too close, particularly at ground level where he can't be sure that touching won't lead to grabbing. Up high, though, he's a little more confident, and allowed me to get a few photos of him before he scooted off.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sanctuary cats in repose

The weather's getting chillier and the cats have moved from sprawling on warm wood and stone to cuddling up in the many--many--cat beds around the sanctuary. Some cats love cuddling with as many cats as will fit in there with them, while others prefer to spread out in a bed of their own. Here's a sampling from the past couple of weeks.

Hannah washing Lincoln
photo by Phaedra
Mario fits in this one, right?
photo by Ann
Prince likes squeezing into this bed. He doesn't seem to mind who shares it with him!
There are two cats here -- can you see both?
Our calendar cover girl enjoys a bug luxurious bed all of her own