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, January 30, 2020


In the many blogs to date, we’ve already seen a variety of body shapes, eyes, and colours in which the Sanctuary cats come.  Volunteer Pauline Chin decided to look at some feline legs.
HoneyBear curls his long legs for sleep - MW
Firstly, don’t let the appearance of the cat’s legs or their funny walks fool you.  HoneyBear and the late Terry have defied many expectations.  Despite his  neurological problems, which affect his back legs, HoneyBear is one of the top climbers.  He can run like a horse and stalk toys like a tiger.
Having climbed to one of the walk-ways,
HoneyBear wants to know what's down there  -  LP
HoneyBear is constantly on the move on Sundays.  His seal-point colouration, snowshoe feet, and jewel-blue eyes are reasons why people follow him around for a photo-op.
Akiva's built like a racehorse! - MW
Newcomer and tall boy Akiva is probably the leggiest cat on site.  He’s mostly grey with white socks. With his lean body, you can really see his long legs without any primordial pouch or extra fat hiding them. Akiva enjoys his freedom to investigate the back courtyard and to meet new people.  He uses a slow, quiet approach.  With his height, you won’t overlook this senior gentleman (he’s about 13).
This is MY cage, Akiva says,,,   - KN
He’s very much a loner, not enjoying the company of other cats, and could really do with having a home of his own.
Debo on his throne - MW
Debo is another leggy senior, and  he loves to get his white mittens on you.  He uses his legs mainly for climbing on and hugging people. Debo spends at least 90% of the time on “his” chair in the Single-Wide.  When he wants attention, he’ll hop off and slowly chase you.  Pursuing people for affection is how he gets his exercise. He may be an old guy, but there's still a lot of spring in those legs!
Jack Sparrow curls his disable rear end around - TV
Pops and Jack Sparrow both arrived with 4 legs but can only use two.  Sparrow loves to climb on the cat trees and asks for lap time now and then. He moves on his front legs like a human walking on their hands.  He has the advantage since his back legs have no bones.  He actually walks faster than most 2-legged creatures I know.
Pops loves attention - KN
Pops prefers the ground.  He drags his remaining back leg as he walks.  It seems awkward, but he manages himself well and never lets it bother him.  Sometimes, he craves cuddles and plops himself by a chair, waiting to be picked up.  Watch Pops practically teleport over when there’s delicious chicken plated out!
Chonky Lorelei has stubby little legs - MW
Lorelei the rotund cat has some short-looking legs beneath all that fur.  You’ll probably see her watching from a distance.  Unless you’ve befriended her, she’ll take off quickly.  You’d think her large body and fluff would slow her down.  Not at all!  Her little legs are so swift that she can vanish into the feral area within seconds.  If you’re one of her friends, she’ll stand still for petting, even giving leg rubs.  Take this chance to feel those muscles!
Leggy Hannah loves her cat-tree - and doesn't much like other cats - MW
Orange & white Hannah (fans call her Hanna-Banana) can perform a unique trick with her legs.  She’ll grab onto a pole of a cat tree and swing, dance, and roll around it.  Other cats are not amused, especially if they’re in the same tree, but it’s great entertainment for human visitors.  Her monkey dance performances are limited, so watch her while you can.
Bella's baleful stare reminds us that she's not always a fan of humans - KN
One of the springiest sets of legs belongs to Bella - the third Bella that's lived with us.  She enjoys her me-time and seeks out the highest shelves, or the tops of outside pens.  Visitors can spot her leaping across cagetops, while they marvel at her dilute calico colouration.  Sometimes, she naps on the cardboard atop the food cupboard, or walks over for pets.  Bella was a frequent target for rapscallion boy, Jasper and had to become fleet of feet.  When the chase was on, she fled to the tallest platforms, even wedging herself behind a barrier.  Bella’s agile legs always kept her ahead of Jasper!
Pretty Parker supervising the laundry room - and ready to swat!  - MW
Many cats - especially the shy ones -  enjoy being up high, and all the buildings are set up so that cats can choose their preferred level, and give those legs a workout!

Blog by Pauline Chin (with Brigid Coult)
Photos by Karen Nicholson, Lisa Peters, Tanisha Vincent, Michele Wright

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Comfort for Tikki

Tikki came to us late last summer
Tikki - MW
Tikki is one of many of our older cats who have arrived at the Sanctuary when their owner’s health has necessitated a move to senior care. There are very few facilities that will allow an old person to take the cat they love with them, and unless the cat is young and adoptable, at the Shelter it is competing with cute kittens for potential adopters.
Where did they go? - LBF
Our Tikki is at least 12 years old – he might well be older -  and he certainly qualifies as a senior, himself. Initially he could have been taken to the Moore House, but it was decided that he should stay in the Double-Wide, and that was a decision with both pluses and minuses. On the negative side, it transpired that he didn’t like other cats much – and when there are a series of “this is my turf” cats like Jasper and Cinnamon Bun Lincoln, who pee anywhere they think they can claim, I don’t blame Tikki for being a bit disgruntled.  But on the plus side, his cage was near the entrance, so there were many humans who could drop in and spend a little time with him.
Cuddles with Ken - temporary comfort - LBF
We’re told that Tikki is a Norwegian Forest cat.  There may well be some “weegie” in him, but he’s not much more than standard size, and he doesn’t have the solid appearance of our former “weegie” Fred. He has the long fur – now rather bedraggled – and the fairly big paws, but I think there’s a good bit of regular tabby in him.
First explorations - KN
The thing that has stood out most for me about Tikki is that he is one of the grievers. Some cats are not happy about coming here, but they settle and adapt. For months, Tikki exuded sadness - “my person is gone – I’m all alone”. He allowed petting, he could occasionally be coaxed into eating, but mostly he was a sad lump in his cage. When it was finally opened, he declined to leave; this was his space, and other cats were not welcome. Many of us spent time with him; grooming him as much as he would allow (necessary, but not his favourite thing), petting him, encouraging him onto a lap, or into a cuddle. And then he would retreat back to his corner and look out with sad eyes.
"Baby, it's cold outside" - KN
In the past couple of months there’s been a shift towards acceptance; he was found outside his cage more often, he’s negotiated the door into the laundry room and explored a bit there, and then he made his way to the door and down the stairs into the breezeway. Followed by Karen and her camera, he poked around a bit, investigated a  few (smelly) corners and then decided that it was too cold for him, and returned to familiar territory.
a better appetite now...   - BC
Not long after that first outing the decision was made that he would probably be better off in the Moore House with the other oldies.  A short cage-stay there, to assimilate the changes in his surroundings, and it became obvious that this was a better space for him – warmer, less busy, and with fewer cats swaggering around in his space.
and a happier boy...   BC
There are sometimes Kitty Comforters visiting in there, but life is quieter - except for the times he actually gets excited about playing

Once again, Tikki is exploring – he’s ventured out on the deck, as well as investigating the main room. He welcomes visitors, hovering hopefully by the door, but usually returning to the safety of "his" open cage.  It’s encouraging to see him pushing his boundaries, more readily tolerating other cats around him, and learning that there really is love and a new home for him with us.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by  Brigid Coult, Lisa Brill-Friesen, Karen Nicholson, Michele Wright

June 2020: The Moore House proved to be the right space for Tikki, who made friends, relaxed and generally blossomed. I am delighted to report that he was adopted by one of the volunteers, and is now living in his own home, being loved and spoiled rotten!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Winter Kitties

Darius is making a snow-angel-kitty  -  KN
The Wet Coast has for this week become The White Coast, and as usual, coastal BC reels under what is normal weather for much of the rest of the country!
Snow piled high in the front courtyard - BC
Having a cat sanctuary in BC is normally no big deal – many of the cats spend their time outside, and dedicated volunteers come from as far away as 50k to scoop or sweep or snuggle their feline friends. But when the snow hits, most of the cats vanish inside, the roads become skating rinks, and staff and volunteers struggle to get in to do their shifts.
Thanks goodness for shovelled walks - DW
It’s all very pretty-looking – till you have to slog along in it. Working in the trailers is cosy enough, but feeding the back pen cats on a snowy evening takes real determination. Thank goodness for Ken, who shovelled paths everywhere – and then had to go back and shovel them again.
Cagney and Petunia are staying out of the white stuff! - BC
 Most of the cats take the sensible path and snuggle up with some buddies;  leave it to the humans to get through all that white stuff.  Other cats seem to like the contrast.  I was greeted at the gate by Kiwi, who has come to us from Alberta – obviously snow holds no fear for her!
Kiwi enjoys the snow - BC
Figaro wasn’t quite sure if he liked it, but he was ready to chase a snowball or two.
Throw another one, please!  -  BC
Some of our kitties have Norwegian Forest Cat genes – lots of fur, big paws, and no fear of snow.  Little Autumn, in the front courtyard, was having a wonderful time; her big floofy coat was coated with snow crystals, but she didn’t care!
Autumn likes her snow bathing  - BC
Leonardo diCatprio was just enjoying lying there all by himself in the snow. Leo often enjoys his own company, but I didn’t know he was a snow lover.
Sometimes I sits and thinks....    BC
Pretty Sprocket, too, has a coat that will hold off the snow.
Sprocket - BC
Once Skittles saw I was out for a walk-about, he followed me.  This boy definitely has some “weegie” in him, and snow holds no fears.  He was, however, a bit annoyed by the fact that I wouldn’t cuddle him!
Skittles  -  BC
Ploughing through snow almost at his own height, he was getting pretty well coated!
Wylee is not a snow cat and looks on all this white stuff with a certain disapproval.  He likes to be out, but he has no desire to get any wetter and colder than he has to!
Wylee wants it to go away - BC
Just like people - some like the change in the weather and are active in snow-play; others cuddle up in their beds until it's gone again.  And this is the Lower Mainland - it won't last long, and we'll soon be back to the usual wet stuff!
Cadbury and Yma have cold paws!  -  LBF

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult, Lisa Brill-Friesen, Karen Nicholson, Debbie Wolanski

Thursday, January 9, 2020


Alexandria - KN
One of the big Sanctuary Events of last summer was the arrival of more than 40 cats and kittens into our care, mainly thanks to the efforts of Leslie and the med staff.  The initial story was told in the blog entry Can there be such a thing as Too Many Kittens?
Kitten pile - LL
As we move into 2020, things are settling down. Most of the youngest kittens have been socialized and adopted out; some of the older ones – likely unneutered strays rather than ferals – are making themselves comfortable in the Val Jones pen with the friendlier FIV+ cats.  Pen 6 is still the home of a group of charming but very wary teens;  their progress will be encouraged by our cat whisperers, but at the moment it’s arms-length contact only – though they’re certainly displaying curiosity.
Aphrodite - KN

The young queen Juno - LBF
One of the reasons the feral colony ballooned so quickly is that young females come into heat at as little as 4-6 months, and once kittens start producing kittens the only way to curb it is to trap and neuter them all.  We have our share of small female cats in the Sanctuary who are often mistaken by visitors for kittens, and we have to explain that when a young malnourished female gives birth to a litter, she may never make her full adult size, because all her resources go to nurturing her offspring.
Little Simone and her big boy Bantam - MW
One of the trapped cats turned out to be a pregnant mama like this. Alexandria surprised everyone at the shelter when she suddenly gave birth to four or five kittens.  Probably because she was so young, some of the kittens didn’t survive, but she and the two living ones went into fosterage with one of our most experienced kitten nurturers. She proved to be a good mother – almost too good, because she was very protective of her babies, and very hard to handle.  Once they were independent, she was spayed and re-settled at the Sanctuary – as a feral, she was not a candidate for adoption, though both her kittens were adopted.
Alexandria - LBF
With no more kittens to protect, Alexandria was more amenable to advances from the Kitty Comforters. Once released from her cage, she was quick to explore and to socialize with other cats.
Alexandria has no sense of personal space;
Moxie is tolerant - KN
Among other little black cats, it’s easy to distinguish her by her distinctive chest and toe marking – which proved useful, when her exploring took the form of tree-climbing!
Satisfaction, once she's up! - KN
She’s pretty fearless, and a challenge to Gizmo, who’s the other serious tree-climber. Neither one will be particularly happy when the tree has to be felled – unfortunately, it’s not in healthy shape, and needs to be replaced.  We will need to bear in mind the need for some sort of climbing frame to replace it!
"I'm higher than you!" - KN
As for relationships with humans – she likes to play with wand toys, but she’s not much into a lot of petting, though Leslie says she will approach for nose-touches.  She has all the time she needs to decide when and if she is ready to trust us.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Leslie Landa, Karen Nicholson, Michele Wright

Thursday, January 2, 2020

You Are Permitted to Touch

Holland in "royal" mood - KN
Holland was introduced to life at the Sanctuary almost seven years ago – she came in May 2013 as one of a small colony of cats who all turned out to be FIV+ and located to the New Aids pen.
Perched on a high-up shelf, safely out of reach - CP
NewAids is an ideal space for spooked ferals – they can live entirely outside if they please, there are shelters to protect them from the weather, but also various levels where they can stay out of reach of scary humans.  Some of our FIV+ cats would rather stay inside on top of the cages; others prefer to be a little more inaccessible.
You can't see me - I'm not here....  -  CF
Holland was blogged by Claire Fossey not long after she arrived, but most of the pictures featured a scared lump in the cage, and, once out of the cage, she wouldn’t allow any human contact.
Calendar 2017 - MW
In the next few years she showed very little inclination to change her ways; we discovered that she was fairly food-motivated, and our staff and volunteers continued to work on coaxing her to accept attention. Sanctuary photographer Michele visited regularly, and from her we have many wonderful pictures of Holland, who was Miss March in our 2017 calendar, and made the pages again in the 2020 edition.
You can admire, but no closer, please....   MW
We’ve noticed how often Holland’s immaculate grooming is spoiled by a soggy tail – the secret is out: Holland would rather have warm paws, and when it’s a bit damp she tucks her tail under and sits on it, to keep her paws dryer!
Paw-warming - KN
Karen began as a volunteer years ago, and is now a staff member – she also qualifies as a Cat Whisperer, and has been working her wiles on Holland. Dried chicken treats were eagerly accepted, but any suggestion of petting was met by an affronted paw. The style changed, though – from a determined swat, sometimes with claws, it became a firm slap, claws retracted, and more recently, an absent-minded push.  In the last while, Holland has begun to accept petting from Karen, rubbing firmly against the caressing hand, moving out of reach, and then back in for more pets. And having allowed it with one person, Holland is now discovering that other people give good pettings too.

We have our share of feral cats who learn quickly that it pays off to tame up and get those humans at your beck and call. But we also have the ones like Holland who take their own sweet time about the process. Almost seven years after her arrival, we are seeing a new side of Holland.  She’ll almost certainly never be a lap-cat, but for a cat in her situation to allow touch like this is a major triumph!

Blog by Brigid Coult

Photos by Claire Fossey, Karen Nicholson, 
Chris Peters, Michele Wright
Video by Karen Nicholson