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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Calendar time!

The new RAPS Cat Sanctuary Calendar for 2016 is out - and it's beautiful!  First copies will be seen at the Halloween Gala, and it will be available at all three RAPS locations - the 5 Rd Shelter, the 6 Rd Sanctuary and the Thrift Store.

In order to see the photos that were selected, you'll need to get a copy (or more than one - they make great Christmas gifts!), but today's blog offers some of the pictures that didn't make it - always a very hard decision, but we try to select a good cross-section of cats, and preferably cats that haven't been featured in the calendar before
handsome Bear lives in the Leukemia Room

Birdie has gone from being a wary cat to being everyone's friend

Michele's wonderful picture of Bobby was *almost* this year's cover...

Dodger was interrupted in the middle of his yoga exercises

This lovely picture of EngTeng went head-to-head
with the picture of the black-and-white cat that was eventually chosen

We never know whether handsome Jingles will purr or growl

Head-tilt Kenya always makes us smile

Sweet King George lives in the New Aids pen

Everyone loves Latte

Fluffy MiuMiu is one of the "gericatrics" in the Moore House

Yale is known to his friends as "crazy eyes"
As always, thanks to Michele for the wonderful pictures!
Now - go and buy the calendar and enjoy the pictures that were eventually chosen.
Blog by Brigid Coult
Pictures by Michele Wright

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Introducing another young photographer - Shoval

The other photographer who submitted shots for the calendar was Shoval Gamliel-Komar.  Two of his lovely images made it into the final selection; this blog presents some of his other pictures.

Shoval says:
I've been volunteering at RAPS since 2006 after I heard about it from one of my friends who was volunteering there at the time.
In my "other" life, I'm in my 5th and final year at UBC majoring in History and minoring in French. I also love doing photography in my spare time. Fun Fact, one of my photos is actually on the RAPS website and if any of you want to see more photos feel free to follow me on Instagram  @shovalgk 
I don't have any cats at home, my mom is allergic and my dad thinks their only use is for catching mice on the farm which is one of the main reasons why I volunteer at RAPS.
I used to do Sunday mornings and then midway through high school I changed to Saturday mornings and both were in the Double Wide.
Bella was one of the first cats I met 9 years ago. Two years after she developed feline HIV/leukemia and for the next seven years I would constantly visit her in the Old AIDS room after my shift was done. Sadly, we lost her this past summer but I was amazed at how long she lived. The picture above is a collage of some of my favourite shots of her.
My second all-time favourite cat is Hannah and she's absolutely adorable.

In my nine years a the Sanctuary I've seen many cats come and go so if I wrote about all of my favourite cats it would go on for pages and pages!
I would love to see young people continue to volunteer even after they finish their volunteer hours for school, as it’s a fun environment to be around and plus, you get to be around cats all the time. If a donor offered a lot of money I wish we could be adding a state-of-the-art veterinary wing complete with staff so that the RAPS staff don't have to constantly drive across town to the vets.

Blog by Brigid Coult & Shoval Gamliel-Komar
Photos by Shoval Gamliel-Komar


Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Volunteer/Cat relationship - Candy Chen

While we were planning the 2016 calendar, we invited a couple of volunteers to submit photos. In the end we didn’t use the ones that Candy Chen submitted, but they’re beautiful, and I’d like to share some of them with you.

Candy says: 
I have been volunteering at the Sanctuary for around two years.  At first I volunteered in the RAPS thrift store, and a lot of volunteers there told me about the Sanctuary.  I'm currently a university student, working hard to get my degree. Right now, my life is filled with school and work so my Sanctuary time is precious.
Freckle - unusually fierce!
I do the back pens on Saturday mornings, but I’ve worked in most of the other areas of the Sanctuary as well.  I don't have cats at home. I really do want to have one but my families aren't the best with pets. I do have plans of getting one or two or more after I'm independent of my family!
There are quite a few cats that I look for when I have time. The most special one to me is Kojak from Old AIDS (a lot of cats I know are special to me, but if I have to pick one, it would be Kojak). My very first shift in the Sanctuary was the Old AIDS area and Kojak took my eyes right when I was in the room. I believe it was his handsomeness that attracted me at first. After getting to know him, it really just his sweetness that made me adore him.

Kojak, in my opinion, isn't the easiest cat to get close to; his "coolness" made me really want to get close to him, so I guess this is also another reason why I try to spend a little time with him when I can.

Another cat I love is Puffin in the front courtyard. At first, it was his tail that really stood out to me. Then it was his "chest air" that attracted me. Lastly, I really like how he looks! I have heard about how Puffin bites, but he is just such a sweet cat (though I had been scratched by him before)! I love how he pushes his head against you (hand or chest) when he wants some pets.
My biggest wish for the Sanctuary and the cats is that someone really rich would suddenly want to spend a fortune on making the lives of some cats better :)
Candy and single-wide friends

Blog by Brigid Coult & Candy Chen
Photos by Candy Chen

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Letting Sleeping Cats Lie

When Sunday guests arrive for the first time, almost inevitably they will ask “Can I take pictures?” and the cell phones come out and start clicking away.  Staff and volunteers also have cell-phones to hand – sometimes to try and verify the identity of yet another black cat, sometimes to catch an exchange between cat and human – and always to watch for that moment where, even in sleep, the cat’s personality shines through.

This week’s blog is a sampling of sleeping cats from Michele, Phaedra and Moira – and undoubtedly there will be more to come…

The Stretch
Elliott loves this position on the front steps on a sunny day. (ML)
Emily has recently taken to being an indoors-only cat  (MW)

The Ball
Cheetah is long and lanky, but loves to sleep all curled up  (MW)
Mikey is our blind cat who still manages to find his way to the med cage for treats.
His curl-up sleeping position tells other cats "Don't bug me!"   (MW)

The Sprawl
We all have pictures of Fred in one or another of his inelegant sleeping positions (PH)
The Sun-Seeker
Though usually a bathroom cat, Baby enjoys the chance to catch a few rays (PH)
The Box
Baloo is not a fan of other cats - and is never happier than when she can curl up in a box alone (MW)
The Face-Plant
Sadie has obviously had an exhausting day exercising her claws on everybody's pants legs (MW)
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Phaedra Hardman, Moira Langley & Michele Wright

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Helping the RAPS Cats

There can be no doubt that TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) is the best way to deal with a feral cat problem, and that was the solution brought to bear on Richmond’s feral cats, beginning some 20 years ago. Carol Reichert master-minded the trapping of strays, and the establishment and care of the resulting cat-colonies, and a dedicated group of volunteers assisted her. But 20 years ago Richmond was just seeing the beginning of the development boom, and many places where cats were trapped became places it was no longer safe to release them. Hence the development of the Sanctuary as a safe place to bring cats that no longer had any safety to which they could be returned.
Our beloved Mario befriended and calmed many feral cats
At its peak the Sanctuary housed almost 900 cats, many of whom had lived feral until brought in. Feral cats tend not to have long life-spans – apart from the risks of traffic, coyotes, raccoons and other predators, the lack of consistent nutrition can stunt growth, or set up conditions for later problems.
The cats in the Prince of Wales pen are still very wary of humans
At the Sanctuary the cats can find daily food and shelter, and be treated for health problems. Cats with feline AIDS or feline leukemia can be isolated from the general population for their own health, and we have occasionally accepted leukemia-positive cats from other shelters that do not have the ability to give them this protection.
Frieda was admired by all for her wonderful feet
But a start in feral life-style is not always good for health, and despite the best care we can offer, we lose cats to ailments like kidney disease, cancer, heart conditions and so on. As a no-kill shelter, we make their lives as pain-free and loving as we can, and when life becomes a burden we go with them to let them go gently and with love.
When Sabrina was in her last days, Blue was there to comfort her
Adoptions and attrition have reduced the numbers, but the costs remain high. The Thrift Store covers staff costs but vet bills are constant.  Aging cats require dental care, medications, occasionally surgery and the food and cat litter aren’t cheap!  In order to keep the place in good condition, we go through a lot of cleaning supplies as well. More than a few of our cats have been surrendered to RAPS for their bathroom habits, and we do a lot of mopping-up!
Our dear SweetPea has Manx Syndrome and no control over her elimination habits. We love her anyway
We know there are a lot of Cat Sanctuary supporters out there, many of whom are already financially generous. But the more we can spread the load, the easier it is on everyone.
Pass the word, please:
• Any donation to RAPS marked “for the Cat Sanctuary” will make a difference. It might be just because you feel like it, or it might be a gift given in memory of a beloved friend – human or feline
• Sponsor a cat – for just $15 a month your donation will help to feed one of our furry friends. You can choose the cat you sponsor, or ask the coordinator to do it for you – you receive a certificate of sponsorship with a photo of your cat.  Perhaps a gift for the person who has everything else…
Garfield and his mom Diamond love human attention - but love even more to be near each other!

• Check the Support Us page at the main website - for ideas such as donating shopping or gas points, or perhaps your Canadian Tire money
• Bring some donations in kind
      - Fancy Feast is often used for medications, as is chicken and people-tuna (in water); speciality foods for specific diets
      - Cleaning materials, first-aid, laundry supplies, etc
• Consider volunteering – either on a regular weekly basis, or as a fill-in volunteer – for a morning cleaning shift or an afternoon feeding one
• Come join us at a fund-raising event: the upcoming one is the Paws and Pumpkins Halloween Gala on October 31
Arlington adds leg-climbing to his way of showing love
You will be repaid in purrs and snuggles!...

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Claire Fossey (Frieda) and Michele Wright