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, September 30, 2013

Sponsoring Miss Spitz

As many of you know, RAPS has a sponsorship program that allows people to sponsor a sanctuary cat of their choice for just $15 a month. (For those who'd like more information on this great program, you can find it on the RAPS website: http://www.rapsociety.com/sponsorship.php)

Kitty comforter Lee Turner tells us a bit about her sponsor cat, Spitz.

Lee with the washer/dryer cuddle puddle

Back in February, Lee was looking for a new cat to sponsor after her previous sponsor cat passed away. Marianne Moore, who looks after the program, suggested that she meet “Miss Spitz.” The pictures below were taken from this first encounter.

photos provided by Lee Turner

Lee was delighted by how friendly Spitz was on a first meeting. In her notes describing the meeting, Lee wrote
Miss Spitz is a real beauty and personality just like our Gabby is. Hard to believe there was a time when she wasn't like this at all. Lots of TLC from her caregivers has her just a sweet, sweet kitty.
I asked Lee if she’d had any luck picking up Miss Spitz, as when Leslie and I recently tried to maneuver the formerly feral calico beauty into a more photogenic cat bed for a possible calendar photo op, we got a few hisses for our troubles.

Lee wrote
I have on occasion [picked her up] and managed to pet her. When I go into the single-wide… I go right away and look for Miss Spitz and most times I can find her in her bed. Sometimes I even wake her up to pet her and visit with her. She always enjoys treats from me before I go on to the leukemia room. She purrs up a storm too. Hard to believe she was once feral and quite nasty, hence her name as she hissed a lot. Now she is so very loving and just a little sweetheart.
Thanks for sharing your Spitz story, Lee! If any other sponsors would like to tell us about their sponsor cat(s), please email your story and photos to nekoraps[at]gmail.com!

Friday, September 27, 2013


Feral Quinn was trapped a few years ago at an industrial (cement?) plant in Richmond.

He's still learning to be comfortable with the idea of being touched by people and will generally scoot off if approached too closely.

Quinn is very comfortable with his cat buddies, though. I saw him rubbing and being rubbed by several different tabbies as I was taking his picture. From what Leslie tells me, it sounds like the best way to make contact with him is with the help of his friends. If a group of cats approaches a person for some attention, Quinn will come along with them. Leslie's even been able to get in a few pats this way before his shyness gets the better of him.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Bobtail tortie Lulu is a feral who was being fed at a seniors' home. RAPS helped one of the seniors to trap her and her litter of kittens. The kittens went to the No. 5 Rd. shelter for adoption, and their wild mama came to live at the cat sanctuary.

Lulu's not all that comfortable with people and will scoot off if approached too closely. Don't worry - she's not lonely without human cuddles. As you can see in the photo below, she's happily succumbed to the charms of our Mario!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mr. Pink

Mr. Pink (a.k.a. Mr. Pink Nose) came to the cat sanctuary via the No. 5 Rd. shelter, where he'd been too shy with visitors to be easily adopted.

I asked Leslie to introduce me to him earlier this week after a fellow volunteer (thanks, Katie!) had requested Mr. Pink Nose as a possible subject for our 2014 calendar. Leslie said Phaedra had named him, but wasn't sure what inspired the name (if anything other than his cute pink nose). Volunteer Kim and I thought this was a cute enough name, but also couldn't help thinking how fun it would be if his name was simply Mr. Pink, which would have been a great pop culture reference to Steve Buscemi's character in the film Reservoir Dogs.

When I checked with Phaedra, it turns out that she's always called him Mr. Pink and had indeed had the film in mind when she named him. Apparently when Phaedra had first attempted to make contact with him, Mr. Pink bit her really hard... The action was not repeated, though, and they've since become good friends. These days, she says a more descriptive name for him would be "Mr. Flip" or "Mr. Flop" from the way he tries to get attention and belly rubs.

Mr. Pink isn't a small cat, but Phaedra says that for all his size, he's very gentle and can even be quite timid of noise or if there's any bullying going on. She's also noticed that the younger, smaller cats in the singlewide where he lives seem to adore him.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Dino came to RAPS as a kitten in 2003, and is one of the original Donni Derr cats.

With double hematomas that have left both ears looking crumpled and a little pink tongue that tends to stick out because he's missing teeth, Dino's looks are more endearingly quirky than classically handsome. It does make him easy to spot if you're looking for him in the front courtyard, though. Just don't expect to get too close, particularly if he hasn't met you before. This gentle boy remains a shy one.

Friday, September 13, 2013

2014 RAPS Cat Sanctuary Calendar -- in the works!

The 2013 Cat Sanctuary wall calendar was such a success that we will be producing one for 2014!

Fellow sanctuary volunteer Michele Wright and I are going through the best of our best photos taken this year and will be taking a few more over the coming weeks to add to the pool.

Do you have a favourite sanctuary cat that you'd love to see featured in the calendar? Let us know in the comments field for this post. Cats being cats, we can't promise to capture calendar-worthy portraits of all of your requests (we're at the mercy of feline caprice and variable lighting), but we'll see what we can do!

Monday, September 9, 2013


Leslie describes Syria as a little brown and white tabby. For the moment, those of us who aren't sanctuary med staff will have to take her word for it.

Syria arrived this week from the No. 5 Rd. shelter where she'd been brought in as a stray. Her bad temper and tendency to bite under stress made her a better candidate for the sanctuary. We're hoping that once she's had a chance to settle in (and settle down), she'll turn out to be a nice girl. Who knows - she may eventually even be able to move back to the 5 Rd. adoption centre.

It may seem premature to post about Syria now when this is the view she'll let us have of her...

... but I take it as the "before" photo that will, with any luck, later be paired with a much more outgoing (not to mention visible) "after" shot. Hey, it worked with Dell, former attack cat and now happy lap cat.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mr. Kitty

Mr. Kitty had been fed as a stray for a few years before being brought to RAPS. When our vet checked the tattoo in his ear, we discovered Mr. Kitty is 18 years old! He sure doesn't look it. His coat could use some attention, as one might expect for a stray (he was so matted in spots that it looked like he had a tumor on his back!), but he doesn't exactly look like a frail old man kitty.

We're not yet sure if the name will stick, but there's no doubt that this handsome, friendly boy will soon become a great friend of all who spend time at the sanctuary. He's a real sweetheart and well worth a visit.

Updated September 7, 2013: Unfortunately, everyone won't get a chance to meet this sweet boy after all. Ann just wrote me to say that his little heart gave out today. I'm glad I had a chance to know him a little, even if for much too short a time.

Monday, September 2, 2013

RAPS 5 Rd. shelter helping all those little dogs

Not a sanctuary cat post today, but it's for a good cause. A lot of RAPS people (and many others) have come together to help out with the 38 dogs that were abandoned at the No. 5 Rd. shelter last week, so I'd like to pitch in with today's Neko Files post.

photo provided by RAPS
As you may have heard, 38 dogs were left in the driveway of the Richmond City Shelter in the middle of the night. The pile of cages covered by a tarp was discovered by RAPS staff on Friday morning. Another 12 dogs were abandoned in a similar manner outside New Westminster Animal Shelter. If you haven't yet read the story, here's the article posted on the CTV website: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/50-dogs-abandoned-outside-animal-shelters-in-metro-vancouver-1.1434863

Though the dogs were found to be in good condition, shelter staff have had their hands full getting them all settled in and ready for adoption. The response from people interested in adopting the dogs has been phenomenal, but RAPS is still incurring significant costs to care for the dogs until they're ready to go to their new homes.
From the RAPS Facebook page:
"We are still gladly accepting donations to help cover the cost of the extensive vet care, food and supply bills and extra staffing. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS MADE A DONATION so far and for all the kind words and encouragement we have received. We feel lucky to be able to help these beautiful dogs and are so thankful for all of the support."
If you would like to make a donation, please visit: http://www.rapsociety.com/donate.php

photo provided by RAPS