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.

Thursday, July 26, 2018


We often joke about the problems of distinguishing between all the little black cats in the Sanctuary – the same is occasionally true for the tabbies – especially now that Pen 2 is open, and Calvin, Celeste and Chase are making the rounds!  In the front courtyard, most of the tabbies are a little easier to identify, but there are a few that we have to take a second look at, to be sure we have the right cat – specifically Baloo, Cricket and Krissy
Baloo (L), Cricket (C), Krissy (R) - MW
Krissy came to us about three years ago. Her owner had gone into care, and Krissy was very obviously a one-woman cat, because she was deemed unadoptable. She may well have been a feral who had bonded to her owner, but being moved into a new space was a very difficult experience for her
Krissy hiding - DW
As with all our new cats, we had her in a cage for some time, hoping to acclimate her to the sounds and scents of other cats. Krissy did not approve, and spent most of her time hiding.  When the cage opened, she still hid, and in fact for the best part of a year she stayed in the Connor building.  Other cats were not welcome in her space – she wasn’t actively aggressive, but made it quite clear that this was reserved seating only, and she wasn’t interested in social interaction.
As you will see from Baloo’s blog entry, she’s also not a social cat – and nothing has changed there since she arrived! Cricket, on the other hand, is now a social butterfly, with cats and humans alike – having come to us as a feral kitten with her brother Beetle. Krissy is moving between the two – increasingly often she’s found out and about in the courtyard, and is starting to solicit petting and attention from volunteers and visitors.
Krissy’s outstanding features are her beautiful smooth coat and her striking green eyes – eyes that have watched us with wariness for some time, and are now beginning to warm to us. She is listed with the adoptable cats at the Sanctuary, but would probably need to bond with a potential owner for an adoption to be a comfortable experience for her. Until then, she has a safe home with us, and many patient humans to let her know that she is well loved, and can relax and enjoy her time here.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Debbie Wolanski & Michele Wright

Thursday, July 19, 2018


From Maddison, at the City Shelter
Mookie is a big and beautiful cat who came to the RAPS City Shelter in early 2016 with another cat. The two cats had been sadly abandoned in a house together and were considered to be strays. Mookie entered the shelter as an overweight kitty who had a difficult time grooming herself but with some TLC and a proper diet our team of dedicated staff helped her to lose a bit of weight and Mookie was adopted shortly after. Our team was absolutely thrilled that this sweet and quirky girl had found her forever home!
Unfortunately, things did not work out for Mookie in her new home. She was overfed and gained more than six pounds during the six month duration she was in her adoptive home and came back to the Shelter in very poor condition. Besides now being morbidly obese, Mookie was also covered in matted fur, dry skin, and feces. She also seemed to have painful skin and was overall unhappy. Once again, our team put her on a strict weight loss diet and she received a lot of extra TLC. Mookie had a lion-cut shave and quickly began feeling like a new cat!
Mookie was eventually able to move to our big cat room where she became a permanent fixture near the door, greeting anybody and everybody who would come near or into the room. Mookie has a big personality and loved to make her presence known! She was quick to interact with people but would also let you know when she had enough cuddles for now.
Upside down is the way to get attention! - MW
Mookie stayed in our big cat room for over six months and unfortunately, received no interest or adoption applications. All of the visitors loved meeting and interacting with her but nobody ever wanted to take her home. After much deliberation our team decided to move Mookie to the Cat Sanctuary where she could have much more space to move around and a new group of visitors to greet. Our hope was also that she would meet somebody who would want to adopt her and she would finally get her forever home.
Belly-fluff queen! - KN
From Brigid at the Sanctuary
Mookie is unfortunately not a fan of other cats, so her initial days at the Sanctuary were not entirely successful.  Once her cage was opened, she declined to come out, defending her territory against all invaders. Every now and then, with the coast clear, she would emerge and gobble some food, and then scuttle back to her safe place.  Gradually her exploration range widened and her tolerance (if not liking) of the other cats increased; she started being found in other areas. Volunteers working with her could usually get good interactions from her, but she was usually unhappy when grooming tools were produced.
Venturing out of the Double-Wide - DW
As the warm weather increased, so did the number of cats getting more drastic grooming care, and once again Mookie joined the Lion Cut Club.  Like Sophia in the Moore House, her grumpiness immediately eased, and she took over a shelf top near the Med Cage, where she gets lots of attention.  She’s still got a low tolerance for too much petting, and is quick to say when she’s had enough.  The problem at the Sanctuary is that we can’t monitor her food intake, with so many other cats around, so she continues to be supersized. Climbing up and down from her shelf helps with exercise, but what she really needs is a cat-savvy home where she can be put on a restricted diet, and given lots of encouragement to move.

However, till then, she continues to hold court on her special shelf, and accept the worship that she obviously feels is her due!

Blog by Brigid Coult and Maddison Joyce
Pictures by Karen Nicholson, Debbie Wolanski, Michele Wright

September 2018: we are so happy to report that Mookie has been adopted, and is now the queen in her very own home!  

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Messy Manxes

One of the most consistent reasons for people surrendering a cat is that it doesn’t use the litter-box. Some folks give up very easily – even when it may be human-caused stress behind the peeing. Others, like Ollie’s family, go years dealing with peed-on furniture, because they love the cat so much
Sativa - MW
This, of course, is particularly heartbreaking when the cat really can’t help it at all! Long-time Sanctuary folks will know that we have occasionally given house-room to cats with Manx Syndrome.  Manx cats are a very standard mutation of the cat family, and their lack of tail may go all the way from no tail at all – perhaps a little tuft of fur – to a tail that is perhaps up to 2/3 the length of a regular tail. The mutation appears naturally; unfortunately the genetic quirk for taillessness can lead to an extreme condition in which the spine is so short that the urinary and fecal sphincters are affected, and the cat has no control over bladder and bowels. It’s a form of spina bifida, which requires a good deal of extra care that need to be poured into housing cats of this kind.  This includes daily monitoring and tracking by our med staff, baths as needed, and continuous cleaning of their bedding and favourite resting spots.
SweetPea (RIP) - PH
Longtime former residents SweetPea and Peewee were well-loved, received daily baths, and everything possible to make their lives more comfortable. Both struggled with urinary infections and constipation, which at its extreme, manifests as megacolon.
Sativa - MW
Sativa came to us about a year ago from a family who loved her and struggled with her handicap. The decision to surrender her was a hard one, and they really miss her – they have proved to be among our most faithful Sunday visitors, coming to see her almost every week.
Sativa - MW
She’s shy – less about humans in general, and perhaps more because she objects to being popped into a bath every evening. Unfortunately, her incontinence leads her to leave a little trail of poop wherever she goes, and since she enjoys visiting around the Double-Wide in a variety of cages, there’s always cleaning-up to be done.
Plum - MW
Pretty dilute Plum is a more recent arrival, coming in with Boop in the New Year. Grey/white Boop is pretty feral and does not usually want to be handled or photographed; his cage bore a warning about his tendency to bite. Once released, he hid, and we go to great lengths to monitor his movement within the sanctuary to  make sure he stays as clean as possible.  Luckily his degree of disability is not as great as Sativa’s, and he can get away with fewer baths.
Boop hiding out - MW
Plum was also very shy, but allowed herself to be visited by Kitty Comforters and other volunteers; now that’s she’s out and about, she’s more willing to interact with humans.
Plum - MW
Watching Plum run reminds me that there were various legends about the origin of the tailless Manx cat. One was that they arrived late at the Ark and Noah shut the door on the cat’s tail.  The other is that they derive from a fictional cross between a cat and a rabbit, known as a “cabbit”. There is no such thing, of course, but Plum does tend to have a bunny hop when she runs.
Plum - MW
It is a sad fact that most Manx-syndrome cats do not reach adult status; they are either put to sleep when the extent of their handicap is realized, or they succumb to an infection as a result of it. Once again, the Sanctuary lives up to its name as it gives these three sweet cats a new chance at life.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Phaedra Hardman, Michele Wright

Thursday, July 5, 2018


Mischa came to us a couple of years ago as a surrender – one of two cats brought in when the family had to move. The other cat was outgoing enough to be an adoption prospect, but Mischa was very shy and it was decided that the Sanctuary was a better place for him.
His first home in the DoubleWide gave us a chance to see how approachable he was; staff and Kitty Comforters alike spent time with him. He wasn’t actively unfriendly – no hissing, spitting and lunging (the KCs do shed blood from time to time!) - it just became obvious that he was a very private sort of cat, and didn’t much want people in his space.
When it was time to release him, he rapidly made his way into the back pens, and investigated all the places he could hide. He became something of a ghost cat, avoiding attention, sneaking in to eat when nobody was around

Not only was he not keen on people contact, but he also largely avoided other cats – not aggressive in any way, just being “the cat that walks by himself”.  He presented a challenge for Kitty Comforter Mel, who spent a good bit of time coaxing him to interact with her, and to trust that she wouldn’t push him outside his comfort zone.
He’s still not entirely easy with us, but is more ready now to relax around selected people, and allow a little gentle petting.
I think I “get” Mischa – he’s an introvert who likes his own company, who’s not into parties, but would rather have small, high-value interchange than a whole bunch of small talk. He’s not edgy and high-strung like Emery, he doesn’t look to pick fights like Licorice – he just wants to be able to make his own decisions about when and where and for how long he will allow interaction.  And when time’s up, he heads back to his safe corners to recharge by himself.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Melanie Draper, Karen Nicholson, Michele Wright

July 2019:  We're so happy!  Mischa (now Mishka) has gone home with his new mom, med staff Jess, and is loving life with his new family.