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, October 29, 2020

Costumed Cats

The world is divided between people who LOVE Halloween and those who really couldn’t care less – and I think most cats fall in the latter category.

Shiva says "take this thing OFF me please!  

And of the first category, there is a small sub-section who are almost more keen at the prospect of dressing their pets up than of finding a costume of their own.

Leo in one of his more devilish moments

Some dogs really do seem to like it, but if you costume your cat, it needs to be done with caution, and for short periods only.

Tinker is used to wearing a sweater to stay warm -
but the skeleton sort of took over....

Google "Halloween costumes for cats", and you’ll get an enormous array – most of which your cat will not appreciate.

Shadrack is not amused

Anything that bends the ears or gets in the way of the whiskers will not stay on for long. 

Banshee & Domino had their dress-up moment before they were adopted

Sanctuary photographer Karen knows both which cats will or won’t tolerate dress-up, and how small a dress-up can be effective.

Floyd seems to like the frill!

She has found a collection of costumes that can be dropped over the cat very quickly; things that don’t involve putting paws through armholes or covering the whole head.

Lindor is one of those very big hairy spiders...

No whiskers were bent in the taking of these pictures, and some cats seemed to enjoy a moment of show-off – but for all of them, it was a very brief encounter with fancy wear.

Easy to see which costume Dell is more comfortable wearing!

Ruff enjoyed a variety of costumes!

Arrr, mateys - Capt'n Puffin and Capt'n Jack Sparrow

Slim made a wonderful spider

though the legs were a little tricky to manage...

Blog (such as it is!) by Brigid Coult
Photos (and costumes) by Karen Nicholson

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Banshee & Domino

***spoiler alert...
Domino & Banshee - JK
Most of the Moore House cats are too senior to do anything as undignified as running and playing.  And yet, in the last few months, one could often hear the sound of kitty feet running around or toys being pushed across the floor. Wasn’t it supposed to be quiet in there?

Domino - PC
Not while Domino and Banshee were around!  This pair of young cats have been in foster care with a volunteer for a year, followed by a few months in the Moore’s side room,   They just celebrated their first birthday in August.  Domino and Banshee were part of the massive group of black cats that had been trapped in Richmond a year ago.  While most of their siblings and relatives were adopted out, they remained behind because they tested positive for Feline Leukemia. Looking at their high activity levels, you’d never know they have FeLV.  After several confirmation tests, they have now joined the other FeLV cats in the private playground.  

Banshee birthday-boy - LBF
Big, handsome Banshee loves to chase balls around the room.  Just toss a toy and watch him go.  Despite the name, he’s not a screamer (thankfully).  He’s the bigger cuddler of the two. Banshee takes a bit of warming up, or he’ll hide beneath the chair.  Once he approves, he’ll come over for pets and leg rubs.  Oddly enough, he doesn’t mind being held.  Banshee has a funny light coloured spot on his nose, which looks like a permanent booger.  He also has a knack for sitting on his toys and blocking the door to stop you from leaving.

Domino - PC
Fluffy girl Domino spends her time in the cat tree, on the filing cabinet, or any high place.  She enjoys all types of toys and things that look like toys.  Domino is notorious for destroying anything stringy.  If you have hoodie strings or loose shoelaces, she’ll turn those into playthings, as well.  She plays hard.  She likes rough petting, too.  But she dislikes sharing.  And that’s when the tortitude comes out!  Domino makes chasing her brother a hobby.

Banshee - LBF
She and her brother are both shoulder cats.  They will not hesitate to leap onto your shoulders when you’re in range.  It’s fun, unless you’re cleaning, then it increases the challenge.  When there are no humans present, the pair will either play or bird watch.

Domino - ready to jump - LBF
Now they’re in the FeLV area, there are plenty of things to explore, places to play, and cats to interact with.  At a year old, they are the youngest of the group.  With their bold personalities, they’re competing with Dexter, Bear, and Smoochie for attention.  Volunteers will have the advantage of being able to sit down in a chair with them and relax or to watch their antics.  Domino and Banshee will have fun in the courtyard section of the pen, where the back area offers the biggest bird watching window ever!

Banshee - PC

We would love these two sweethearts to find a home – whether permanently or in fosterage. The biggest condition is that they should never come into contact with non-FeLV cats; the usual RAPS rule of “keep them as indoor cats” is an even more vital one than usual. Having leukemia cats is not for everyone – but potential adopters should know that the virus is not not contagious to anyone other than another cat, and it doesn’t necessarily mean a shortened life-span – we’ve only recently had to say farewell to old Ooly at the respectable age of 18, and she’d lived with us for more than ten years. Banshee and Domino are an energetic loving pair of siblings who will be happy with us – but who would be even happier with their own humans to give them constant attention. 

Domino - KN

STOP PRESS!  As this gets ready for the electronic equivalent of going to print, we have the exciting news that Banshee and Domino are in fact being adopted, and will very soon be going to their furever home - not to a volunteer, as is often the case, but to outside adopters who heard about them, met them and fell in love. It is so exciting to know that we have people who understand the challenges posed by Feline Leukemia, and are ready to face them and adopt anyway.  
Good luck, little ones - live long and prospurrr.....   💕

Blog by Pauline Chin, with Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Pauline Chin, Jennine Kariya & Karen Nicholson

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Aristocracy Among Us


We have a great many cats at the Sanctuary who are senior because they have lived much of their lives with us, but most of the cats in the Moore House – also known as GeriCatrics – have come to us as seniors, and often from a situation that indicates that they might not deal well with a bunch of other cats.  Some are clearly made for this situation. Joey, who we have just lost, was blind. Baby is very arthritic.  Jimmy was a Cariboo fires survivor and is still nervous around people. Smoky, though not elderly, hates all other cats and most humans.

Jimmy & Baby - KN

But some cats come to the Moore House and blossom. Bangles has become quite sociable. Rufus looks wonderful for his age. Shaggy is everyone’s love. 


Earl Grey is a blossomer.  He came to us last year, feeling sad and rejected – at around 18 years of age, his family surrendered him for “inappropriate urination issues”. The sad fact is that as we get older, we all get less bladder control, and peeing in the wrong place is common with senior cats. Sometimes there is a physical problem, sometimes the cat is feeling stressed, sometimes it’s just being old. Most people, faced with an elderly family member, don’t rush to put grandpa into care – they try and find out what’s wrong first. Sadly, Earl Grey didn’t have that sort of family.


Given time in the big corner cage, he accepted attention from staff and volunteers, he allowed himself to be coaxed to eat, and would occasionally come down to sit on a lap – but he was a reserved cat, and obviously mourning what he’d lost.


A year later and he is relaxed and at home. He likes to be out on the deck when it’s warm, and enjoys the attention of visitors. He tends to establish himself on the back of the couch in a raised position that indicates clearly that you are a level below him; he likes a little petting and grooming, but will settle in the lap of only a selected few.  


He doesn’t interact much with the other cats – he’s not aggressive in any way (well, he doesn't like Baby much!) , it’s just that they’re not worth noticing. He is clearly among the aristocracy of cats, whether he was named for the Earl Grey who was a British Prime Minister, or for the tea named after the Earl. 


Many of the volunteers end their day with quiet time among these sweet senior cats. It won’t be in fancy china, but I must remember to take my cup of Earl Grey tea over to the Moore House next time, to share it with his Lordship.  

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Melanie Draper, Daphne Jorgenson, Karen Nicholson

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Algy - Journey...


Algernon – Algy for short – came to us in the last few months from the Meow Foundation in Alberta. We don’t know if he was a feral or a stray; he’s actually dealing quite well now with human contact, so he was probably the latter.  But in his original shelter, he was obviously anxious, exhibited through asthma and over-grooming. That may have been caused by being shut in, or too many cats around him; now that he has room to wander, we’re seeing much less of that.  More seriously, he was pretty aggressive, and in danger of being euthanized because of it. Meow Foundation reached out to us, and he made the long trip from Alberta to the coast.

Algy wearing a onesie to hinder over-grooming - KN

When he came to us, he still carried his original name, but someone didn’t like it, and renamed him Journey in the records. However, a number of the staff and volunteers still call him Algy, and the name frequently has to be clarified.

He loves resting on the table - MW

Algy is a sturdy manx cat, with the broad face and jowls of a late-neutered tomcat. His taillessness is right on the edge of Manx syndrome; he’s not actually incontinent, as some of our other manxes are, but he’s one of the cats that needs his backside checked, and an occasional cleaning.


His originating shelter dealt with his aggressiveness by putting him on anti-anxiety meds, and when he arrived, we had to wean him off them gradually. Now med-free, we’re beginning to see the cat he really is.  He’s not very social with other cats, but neither do they seem to bother him, and he is quite willing to interact with humans, especially when they let him understand that he can set the pace for contact.


He is one of the regular greeters at the gate to the back courtyard, though I think a lot of the intensity of his greeting is the hope that we might let him through the gate. That’s common with a number of cats – it’s not so much the hope of escaping as simply the desire to be on the other side. Jasper and Cole are our regular gate-crashers, and they just want to poke around a bit before they’re returned to the back again.  Algy is also reluctantly cooperative with being redirected, though he never quite gives up hope.


He’s not ventured on laps, as far as I know, but can frequently be found exploring the table as volunteers share a (distanced) coffee-break, and he seems to enjoy a little petting and attention.


This is one black cat that you won’t mistake for any other one at the Sanctuary!

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

Thursday, October 1, 2020


 Admire, but don’t touch!


Actually, that’s probably not quite fair to BeeBoo – you can touch her, very carefully and briefly, or let her do all the touching, but you have to be very cautious. We’re working our way through a BeeBoo’s Victims Club...


Aggression in cats is one of the reasons they sometimes get surrendered – and very often it’s human-caused. In BeeBoo’s case her family said that she’d never been good with strangers, and though obviously she coped with the humans she knew, the arrival of a very tiny, noisy human who took all the attention was not a happy experience for this cat.  Already angry and stressed by her perceived displacement by the baby, BeeBoo did not do well at the City Shelter and was transferred to the Sanctuary.


She actually came to us with the name BeeBee – but we already have a BB (blogged a couple of weeks ago) in the DoubleWide, so her name was adapted.  There is certainly no way we can confuse the personalities of the two cats!


BeeBoo had always been an indoor cat, and when she came to us, she was put into the SingleWide, into an indoor environment. She spent some time in her cage, and even when it was open, she defended what she regarded as her territory.  Warning signs were placed – we found that visiting her was best done with minimal contact – sitting and talking with her was generally acceptable, but touch could easily go too quickly.

Now that BeeBoo is out and about, we all need to be a little more wary. It’s second nature to reach out and pet a furry back, but even our experienced staff have received their BeeBoo markings. Usually we put a collar on an aggressive cat – the current back courtyard biter is a handsome tabby called Benji and he wears his collar with pride. But nobody really wants to think about the process of getting a collar on BeeBoo – besides which, a collar on a long-haired cat inevitably means tangles.  In any case, she is a pretty distinctive cat – not easy to mistake for another one.


She has the markings of a Snowshoe cat – the white paws, the inverted (but sketchy) V on her face, and the blue eyes. But the typical Snowshoe is affectionate and attention-demanding;  BeeBoo is definitely not affectionate with either people or cats, and though she appears to solicit attention, it only takes a few touches before she smacks hard!   She really dislikes other cats; she will tolerate humans if they will play with her – and she does love to play (at arm’s length!)


We have had cats who have needed medication to deal with their anxiety –the late and much beloved Leland, when he first came in, was one, and I will be introducing Algy/Journey next week. In extreme situations, we give them a degree of isolation – the late “grumpy old ladies” of the Manager’s office did much better away from the other cats. What she really needs is a home of her own with a very cat-savvy person who is willing to commit to not having other cats – we’ve had our share of angry cats who changed with adoption (see Buster).  But for now, BeeBoo seems to be settling, and though APPROACH WITH CAUTION remains the warning, we hope that she’ll soon feel more comfortable with us.


Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Joanne & Karen Nicholson, Michele Wright