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 31, 2018

Gone in 2018 - but still loved

Merlin (Jan) was a resident of the leukemia area   (MW)
One of the things that always seems to come with a New Year is a retrospective of the one just past – and inevitably that includes recollections of the big personalities and celebrities who have died during the year.
Jake (Aug) waiting anxiously for visitor attention   (MW)
At the Sanctuary we try to focus on the positive – to think of the love that has been shared with our cats, and of the fact that many of them have lived longer and healthier lives with us than they might otherwise have done.
Gunther (Feb) was one of our sad-eyed tabbies     (MW)
But we grieve their passing, even when we know that that final trip to the vet is the most loving gift we can give them at the end.  And that journey is always made with a loving hand to ease the last moments and let them know just how much we cared for them.
Romeo (Jan) liked to be in the tea-room where he might beg human food.   (DW)
There are many conversations full of memories – remembering Romeo and the Timbits, Splotch and his shift from feral to lover, Gregory and how bonded he was with our beloved Dell....
Abby (June) was a small cat with a big personality  (MW)
Here are just a few of the friends we lost in the past year.
Orange Daniel (Oct) is greatly missed by his buddy Cloverleaf    (MW)
Bengal Jinx (Feb) was surrendered for peeing - but we loved her  (MD)

Front courtyard Jinx (Dec) loved her sunbathing    (MD)
Handsome Simba (Aug)  took every opportunity to snuggle  (PH)
Kiddie (Nov) has gone to be with his sister Sadie    (MW)
Bonnie Boy (Nov) knew how handsome he was!   (MW)
Emo Pickles' (Sept) flattened ears belied his loving nature   (PH)
Sweet Peppercorn (Oct) loved to have attention from humans   (MW)
We don’t have a finite amount of love to share – every cat that walks into our hearts leaves a little bit of itself there, but there is still much love to be given to the newcomers who continue to come into our care.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Melanie Draper, Phaedra Hardman, Debbie Wolanski, Michele Wright

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ho Ho Meow

Through the Christmas season, the Sanctuary decorations are up mainly for the humans, and with treats now firmly curtailed, cat-feasting is restricted to healthy stuff like fish and turkey fragments.  There are certainly a few more toys around to play with, but when volunteer Alice brought a tiny Santa hat in with her, the cats' reactions varied. 
Squeekers is infinitely patient with the weird things humans do, and he always looks so handsome!
Tyson was very laid-back about the whole thing.
Cinnamon Bun Lincoln appeared to be enjoying himself, and posed very patiently.
Even shy little Keira KnightStreet got in on the action!
Dexter decided he'd rather play with it than wear it.  He feels he's sufficiently good-looking that he doesn't need a hat to make himself look better!
Michele brought in a Christmas Mouse for her Feline Friday picture-session, and got some wonderful shots.  Georgie is telling the Mouse what she wants for Christmas...
Little Mama found someone smaller than herself to cuddle with.
Silky definitely approved of the Mouse's company.
On behalf of all the Sanctuary Cats, Leo wishes everyone a very merry Catmas!

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Alice Lai, Karen Nicholson, Tanisha Vincent, Michele Wright

Thursday, December 20, 2018


Two years ago this month we accepted a young black cat into the Sanctuary – his name was Slim.  He had originally come to RAPS as a stray, and was adopted out from the 5 Road Shelter, but was returned within the month with concerns about his aggression – concerns that were initially borne out in his first days with us.  Only the med staff handled him for the first week or so, and when the “med staff only” notice was removed, volunteers were reminded to proceed with caution as they cleaned out his cage and offered food.
As with most new cats, he remained caged for about a month, getting used to the attention of new people, and the sight and smells of a whole lot of strange cats.  Often in this period we have to cover the bottom of the cage door with a towel, so that the visual stimuli are not too much for the caged cat, and so that passing cats don’t pee into his territory.
Again, as with most new cats, when his cage door was opened, Slim remained inside for some time, taking comfort in surroundings that had become familiar to him.  We all remember what it’s like to be a new kid in school (further back for some of us than others!) - it’s rare that a new cat will acclimate quickly, though some welcome the human attention, though wary of the felines
Finally he started venturing out. We warned visitors to let him be, but both Kitty Comforters and cleaning/feeding volunteers gave him lots of attention, and though initially wary, he soon began to respond, and to look for petting.
"Will you pet me? - CN
Nowadays Slim is very much a member of the Connor House colony. He enjoys visits in the front courtyard, but doesn’t venture very far afield.  His name has ceased to suit him – he’s become a very chunky, solid boy, but an affectionate one.  Like many of the cats who come in with an “aggression” label, attention to his body language, and allowing him to settle at his own pace, has produced a cat that is quite easily handled, with awareness. Eli, Puffin, Lumi and many others have taught us that the label is often a product of ownership that didn’t respect the cat’s space and need to be alone;  just as with some humans, there are many cats that don’t want to be touched too much, get easily overstimulated, and certainly don’t want to be picked up. We have to remind visitors of this, and it’s one of the reasons we no longer allow young children to visit on Sundays.
With people who respect his space and timing, though, Slim is a sweetheart, and might be a candidate for adoption, to the right person who could offer him a home alone – though it’s likely that we wouldn’t put him through the stress of a move to the Shelter. In a place he knows, with people who love him, he would probably do very well.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Melanie Draper, Caitlin Norman, Michele Wright

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Old Ladies of the Double-Wide

Volunteer Pauline Chin has been spending more time interacting with some of the shyer cats in the DoubleWide

Introducing Pixie to the Neko Blog!
This grey lady has been a resident since 2005.  Leslie says that she was the last one of her group to be trapped and was very scared.  Her siblings had charming names along the lines of Taffy, Tuffy, and Toffee.  It was a long time ago and probably wouldn’t sound familiar with our current army of volunteers.
Pixie is over 15 years old.  Like many of the other ferals, she prefers to live atop the cages in the double-wide.  I have never seen her willingly venture to floor level, other than when she was caged for illness.

Pixie (L) and Sandra (R)
Pixie was often mistaken for Nasty Sandra (Sandra left for the Rainbow Bridge earlier this year)  and some people even referred to her as “Not Sandra”.  Both are grey with faint tabby markings, light green eyes, and refuse to be touched by humans.  The fastest way to get to Pixie’s attention is with an offering of chicken.
Little Midge also arrived in 2005, with a tuxedo buddy named Mac, but like Pixie, she has stayed mostly feral.  She refuses touch, but will excitedly take food offerings at meal times - especially chicken!  Being a chick-a-holic, Midge will wail at the first sniff of any chicken that makes its way into the trailer.  She also loves ground beef.  On occasion, she will venture outside for something tasty.  Other than that, she remains hidden on a lower shelf in the double-wide.
Midge - MW
Maggie - MW
Midge is similar in appearance to Maggie.  Both have a white body with black and orange patches.  The main difference is Midge has a pink nose and Maggie has a darker nose.  Maggie prefers the cage tops, while Midge is comfortable with a low shelf.
Now and then Midge is caged up for care.  She is one of several cats who receives sub-cutaneous fluids regularly for her kidney disease.  While caged, she yells because she really wants out.  At the same time, it provides us the chance to interact with her without her fleeing.  She has a velvety, soft coat.

These two old ladies are part of a diminishing population of ferals in the Double-Wide - diminishing because most of the ferals have either tamed up to some degree, or have migrated out to the deck, where they can stay away from humans.  In terms of age, they could belong with the old cats in the Moore House, but the Double-Wide is their home, the place they feel most comfortable, and it will remain their home for the rest of their lives.

Blog by Pauline Chin & Brigid Coult
Photos by Pauline Chin and Michele Wright

Thursday, December 6, 2018


My “new” (recently adopted) old girl rejoices in the name of Madame Hooch (the flying instructor at Hogwarts); it was a name given by her late family, and I wasn’t about to change it.
This is Madame Hooch's "begging" face - MD
But I find myself also calling her Madame Mooch (for her begging habits), Mrs Mumbles (for her tortie grumbling) and Pixie-Cat (for her cute little face) – and it left me thinking about our other Sanctuary cats, and which ones have also acquired nicknames to suit their personalities or situations.
Ollie likes to be up high - LP
Many of them are affectionate diminuitives – I hear JayZ being referred to as BabyJay – or extensions – Ollie is often OllieOllieOllie.  Sometimes they’re particular to one person; Mel calls Skittles in Pen 6  “Forest” - he reminds her of a Norwegian forest cat.
Big and fluffy - that's our Skittles - KN
I call him Mr Big, after the candy bar, because for a long time, the Candy Cats didn’t have individual names, but he was definitely the biggest boy in there. Anne calls one of our little Manxes “Plum Pudding
Miss Kitty is a suspicious old lady....  TV
Our Sanctuary Manager shares her office with three senior girls who have problems getting along with other cats (they also have problems getting along with each other, but they’ve mostly been able to work out some sort of territorial agreement). Their names are Tammy, Kitty and Mindy, but they’re collectively known as The Cranky Old Ladies (though I call them the Weird Sisters)
Celia looking for someone to slap    MW
One of the little black cats in the Tea-Room is Celia. She is one of several who dislikes the company of other cats, and rejoices in the nickname of “Slappy” for her bad habit of batting other cats out of her vicinity.
If Louise is not around, Horatio's next best thing is sleeping - MW
Tubby orange Horatio worships Med Staff Louise. Mostly, it’s reciprocated, except when he’s being a brat, slipping into cages where he’s not welcome, or mountaineering up people’s legs instead of jumping into  a lap. Then, he becomes Horror Show!
Everybody knows Honey Bear of the beautiful blue eyes.  Now that it’s colder outside, he’s spending more time visiting in the DoubleWide.  Anyone sitting on the couch quickly discovers why Louise refers to him as The Scarf.
Emery says "Protect me!" - ML
The Hug-Bug, of course, is Emery – he hides away from the other cats, but when he sees one of “his” humans, he quickly positions himself to climb up and be held;  eyes closed, (so he can’t see any other felines), he butts his head under your chin, and if he’s feeling particularly needy, his paws go round your neck.
The quirkiest nickname I've come across belongs to black-and-white Kirstie in the SingleWide - our handyman Doug calls her FIFA, because he says her back looks like a soccer ball!
Most of my Kirstie pictures are of her on her back, being cute.
This was the nearest I could find to her fabled ball-pose.   -  MW
CB Lincoln is so named for his Cinnamon Bun-shaped tail, and to distinguish him from Handsome Lincoln. Shadrack is Mister Chickoholic for his favourite food. I'm sure there are others out there....
If you're a Sanctuary volunteer or visitor, do you have a descriptive nickname for a favourite cat?

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Melanie Draper, Moira Langley, Karen Nicholson, Lisa Parker, 
Tanisha Vincent, Michele Wright