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.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chris's Orange Kitties

It’s astonishing how many of our volunteers come on an initial Sunday visit, and can’t bear to leave the place. Many – like me – are hesitant at first; we have this nasty little suspicion that our lives are about to be taken over; and we are so right!
Volunteer Chris initially came only on Sundays, but the Sanctuary got its metaphorical claws into him, and he just kept coming back. Chris has a touch with cats – they relax around him – and it wasn’t long before he joined the team of Kitty Comforters.
Snuggling with Bobby...
Many of us keep our cellphones handy to snap a picture of this cat or that – perhaps they’re up to something cute, or we need to have Leslie ID an unknown kitty for us. The real quality photos are taken by people like Michele, with a discerning eye and great lenses. But Chris gets some great shots with his cellphone, and I’m going to share some of his orange cats with you this weekend. The orange cats aren’t his only favourites – you only have to watch him with Bobby to know that – but there are some wonderful faces here!
Little Orange catching some zzzzs...
Kevin - keeping toes warm

Front courtyard Lucky

Albi and Chimo ... contemplating catnip

Gilbert - with that Mona Lisa smile

Buster Baby - contemplating how miserable life is...

and how can we have an orange-cat gallery without Garfield?

(Short) blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Chris Peters & Debbie Wolanski

Friday, June 17, 2016

We Love You, Daisy

One of the joys of being part of the Sanctuary is that we celebrate life through the work of a no-kill organisation – we all know that the life of a feral or wild cat is frequently cut short by cars, coyotes, poison, hunger or other perils – and a large number of the cats in our care are alive because of our mandate. Many of our cats live long contented lives – a gift to all of us.  But cats are particularly susceptible to certain ailments, one of which is kidney problems, and our med staff have a regular rotation of treating cats in various stages of kidney failure with sub-cutaneous fluids, to keep their systems in good order as long as possible. We all know that when kidney disease shows up, time is limited – and life is precious.
This week we said farewell to one of the best-loved cats in the Sanctuary. Daisy was one-of-a-kind – a tortie without an ounce of tortietude, a cat for whom everyone was a friend. She came in to the Sanctuary having been picked up as potential road-kill – and she effortlessly snuggled her way into everybody’s hearts.
Claire wrote about her early in this blog’s existence.  We believe that Daisy had a chromosomal disorder something like Down Syndrome (not the same, because cats don’t have the same chromosomal pairs as humans), evidenced in her wide-set eyes, button nose, and in the little kink at the end of her tail. Her eyesight was probably not very good, but it was enough to know when someone she loved was near, or if something tasty was being handed out.
Sunday visitors always commented on her – many would arrive, and the first question, once through the gates, was “where’s Daisy?” Rather like a Ragdoll, Daisy was relaxed and trusting when held on her back in someone’s arms, baby-style.  A little too much cuddling on a Sunday afternoon, and she might take herself off to hide – but she never scratched or nipped as most other cats might do.
She was one of those cats who bounced through life; watching her trot off to the next item of business never failed to bring a smile, and she would levitate up to a table or a lap with little effort. Towards the end she became feather-light as the disease progressed, and her last days were marked by a series of visitors, and much cuddling.
Daisy - by Selena
As med-staff Leslie has said, Daisy was a poster-child for the Sanctuary - a cat who would never have survived without us, but who, in doing so, has helped us keep in mind our focus to rescue and rehabilitate. I know that there will be donations to RAPS made in her name, and we will be gathering to remember her during visiting hours on Sunday 26 June, at 3pm

You are loved by many, Daisy-girl – and you will be greatly missed.
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Claire Fossey & Michele Wright

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Pen 6 Newcomers

Usually the Sanctuary cats come in to us in ones and twos – whether as trapped ferals or as owner-surrenders. The last time we had a significant group was back in the spring of 2012 when the ten Heinz cats came to us – all of them older cats from a gentleman who had gone into hospice care.  All those cats have passed over in the intervening years, with the exception of Bellestar, who was always the most fragile, but who is still hanging in there!
Pen 6 entry - BC
We’ve recently taken in another group from an owner going into care. Again, they’re mostly older cats, and therefore don’t have great adoption prospects, but it was felt it was better to bring them into the Sanctuary together and only move them to 5 Road if space opens up. This is a delightful bunch of cats. They are (mostly) sociable and enjoy interacting with humans; some are a little shy and many needed dental and grooming attention.  Today’s blog will introduce them, and I hope as we get to know them better that we may have some individual profiles.
PawPaw - MW
PawPaw immediately decided that we were a Good Thing – especially when he was offered chicken!  He was a little heartache for some of us – he looks so like (semi)feral Rusty in Pen 4, who died a few months back.
Tana - BC
Tana is probably one of the oldest of the cats; she was very matted and didn’t allow more than a patchy shave-job. This little girl undoubtedly needs more dental care to feel comfortable.
Carlie (on guard); Cookie - BC
There are two short-haired black cats in the group, similar in general body-shape (i.e. tubby), but very different in personality. Cookie has a shorter tail and is shy but quite friendly; Carla, with white whiskers, is not a happy camper and has decided that attack is the best defence. She wanders round grumbling to herself when she can’t find another cat to growl at; she’s taken to sitting at the gate and swatting at curious cats peeking in. I think it was Fred’s fur in her claws last.  We suspect it’s mostly because she feels unsettled.
Simba - MW
Simba is the most friendly of the bunch and is eager to leap into a visitor’s lap. He lost an eye to a sharp twig while on a leashed walk with a former owner, and apparently has experienced some abuse, but you wouldn’t know it to meet him. However, he’s a cat that likes to be outside, and pees when he can’t get out, so the Sanctuary may be the best place for him, however adoptable he is in other ways.
Sophia - BC
Sophia is another cat that likely has dental problems, and we’ll need to have that seen to before anything else. She’s quite shy – she reminds me in both personality and appearance of Samantha, and also of May, in Pen 5.
Mrs Trotzki - BC
The tortie in the group is named Mrs Trotzki, for a friend of the owner – she’s a delightful little girl, chatty and sociable, but typically tortie, is quick to establish her space.
Blue - BC
Blue (not sure where he got that name) is a big black and white boy who doesn’t really like the other cats very much – he’s the cat who walks by himself, unless there’s a human around to fuss him.

Doodlebug - BC
The long-haired black boy in the group actually doesn’t have long hair right now – he was very matted and needed a pretty drastic lion cut. We can remember both poor Matt and Henrik who had the same problem in previous summers and looked very sheepish for a while – they can reassure Doodlebug that it really does grow out, and that he will look handsome again!
Rebecca - BC
The last two are something of a bonded pair, and though adoptable, would really need to go together. Both are very friendly with people, and love attention.  Pretty Rebecca is tabby; her boyfriend Laredo is much larger, and obviously enjoys posing.
Laredo - MW
As with all the closed pens at the back, we ask that Sunday visitors don’t just go in, but request entry with a tour guide or a staff member. Not only is it easy for a cat to slip in or out if we’re not careful, but we always need to remind visitors that not all cats care for a lot of human attention, and many don’t like being picked up.  However, this group does love attention, and many are potentially adoptable, even if they are older, so we’re glad to make visits possible.
Welcome to the Sanctuary, guys!

Blog by Brigid Coult
Pictures by Brigid Coult & Michele Wright

Saturday, June 4, 2016

What's In A Name?

One of the questions often asked by Sunday visitors is “Who chooses the cats’ names?”  Usually the answer to that is that the med-staff do it – sometimes to a theme, sometimes focusing on an alphabetical series, sometimes because it just suits the cat.
Chatter - MW
Occasionally the vets get in on it – when Gaye took a spunky orange boy to the vet for the first time and introduced him as “Cheddar”, the vet heard “Chatter” and that’s what he’s remained.

The cats that manage to find their way here by themselves are all named for TV detectives – we had Magnum and Colombo in the back pens, and Kojak in Old Aids and there’s Cagney in the front courtyard and Watson in the back.
One fairly new girl was named for where she was trapped: she’s Keira Knightstreet.  When she came in, her next-door neighbor, a fighter of the spit-and-lunge variety, was Xena, to give us an “X” in the alphabetical series. Our handsome Dell is also named for his source – he was found on Blundell Road.
Nasty Sandra - CP
Rarely, a name will get changed – we had a cat brought in and given the name of Loco, and I protested:  I felt he was too shy and old-fashioned to be labelled like that. I was allowed to change his name to Dickens and loved him dearly till we lost him a couple of years ago.  Sometimes the name is a behaviour descriptor; Nasty Sandra (above) lives up to her label.

Mocha- MW
Some cats seem to have more than one name: Mocha, in the Val Jones pen, is also known as Brownie to some of her fans. Mocha came in with her brother Pekoe (orange, of course) and her sister Cappucino (both passed on).
In the Single-Wide we have Jarrod, also known as Yap and Charlie, also known as Tuna.
Two Lucy-cats - MW
Sometimes there are duplications – usually because a cat has come in as an owner-surrender with a name.  We have two Lucy cats, affectionately known as fat-Lucy – both are ladies of size, though Laundry Room Lucy probably outweighs Tea-Room Lucy.  There are two Hannahs – the delightful little orange-and-white girl and the leggy tabby who like to leap on people from behind. Orange Lucky in the front yard will never come face-to-face with Bengal Lucky in the back.
Chip 'n' Dale - CF & PH
And there are family pairs: Chip (in the Val Jones) is brother of Dale (in the Double-Wide); Cinder and Ella were our back courtyard greys (till we lost Ella recently); and a pair of front-courtyard orange cats just begged to be named Henrick and Daniel, for the Canuck Sedin twins.

Front-courtyard Bobby - MW
Who would think that Bobby would be a popular name for a cat? Bobby in the front courtyard is also known as Belly-Rub Bobby, for his favourite occupation; there was a double-wide cat known as Snotty Bobby, for his permanent cold; we used to have Orange Bobby (for his bob-tail) in Old Aids, and let’s not forget Wobbly-Bob in the back – he has some sort of neurological disorder and can’t always keep his legs under control, especially when startled.
Lincoln (MW) and Cinnamon Bun Lincoln (PH)
And then there are our two Lincolns in the double-wide – beautiful tawny Lincoln, so regal and affectionate to people (though not really a cat-loving boy), and Cinnamon Bun Lincoln, named for his tail formation.

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
             T.S. Eliot – The Naming of Cats
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Claire Fossey, Phaedra Hardman, Chris Peters, Michele Wright