Annex Cat Rescue: Cat Adoption with A Difference

Annex Cat Rescue is a 100% volunteer charity dedicated to addressing the plight of homeless cats in the Greater Toronto Area by:

  1. Humanely trapping homeless kittens and abandoned or stray adult cats for placement in our foster and adoption program;
  2. Feeding and providing medical care for feral cats in designated colonies;
  3. Curbing population growth in those colonies through trapping, spaying/neutering, and vaccinating;
  4. Educating the public on the compassionate treatment of homeless cats and responsible pet ownership; and
  5. Improving urban environments through community cooperation.
  • Annex Cat Rescue’s 2016 Annual General Meeting


    Please join us for our 2016 Annual General Meeting. Share in last year’s successes. Help us plan for the year ahead. Meet your fellow supporters. Ask questions. Enjoy some refreshments and good company.

    When: Tuesday June 28th, 2016
    6:30-8:30pm (doors open at 6:00pm)

    Where: Trinity St. Paul’s Centre (Rainbow Room)
    427 Bloor Street West (2 blocks west of Spadina)
    Toronto, Ontario

    Spread your Passion!
    Feel free to bring a friend, or anyone interested in joining Annex Cat Rescue. As a non-profit organization, ACR is always in need of new, dedicated volunteers and supporters.

    A quick reminder about Memberships
    Thank you to those who have already renewed their memberships. If you haven’t already, please update your membership so that you can vote for new board members. Up-to-date members can also arrange for a proxy.

    To purchase a new membership or to renew, please send a cheque for $10.00 made out to “Annex Cat Rescue” with “Membership” written in the memo field. Please also include your name, full mailing address, e-mail address and phone number, and mail to:

    Annex Cat Rescue, Attn: Memberships
    P. O. Box 19028
    360A Bloor Street West
    Toronto, ON M5S 3C9

    If you would like to renew your membership at the AGM, please plan to arrive 15 minutes early.

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please contact us by email at or by phone at 416-410-3835.

    We hope we’ll see you there!

    Annex Cat Rescue Board of Directors

    Chair — Joanna Reading — 2nd year of 2nd term
    Vice-chair — Navjit Gill — 2nd year of 1st term
    Treasurer — Jacqueline Chan (Sharp) — 1st year of 2nd term
    Secretary — Sky Lamothe — 1st year of 1st term
    Member-at-Large — Rosina Ramirez — 2nd year of 1st term
    Member-at-Large — Danielle Benton – 1st year of 1st term
    Member-at-Large — Kim Hughes (Appointed to fill a vacancy)

  • Walk or Run for Annex Cat Rescue on October 16!

    some Team ACR members

    Last year was our first participating in the Charity Challenge. We were bowled over by the enthusiastic response from our supporters and team members! In addition to the money raised, for which we (and ACR kitties) were very grateful, we genuinely had a great time doing the race and invite you to join our team for 2016! There is room for both casual walkers and dedicated runners. Children accompanied by adults are welcome! Not only will it be fun and for a great cause, but you’ll get a one-of-a-kind ACR team t-shirt and meet some nice people. There will even be prizes. Any team member who raises at least $150 for ACR will have their race registration fee reimbursed after the race.

    Most of us are doing the 5k walk but you can run the 5k, Half-Marathon (21.1k) or Marathon (42.2k). It’s up to you!

    Every Team ACR member will receive a special ACR T-shirt and there will be prizes in several categories (e.g., top fundraisers, best costume, etc.).
    To join our team, please email Joanna at so she can get you placed on our team. ***Note: you MUST register for the race using Annex Cat Rescue’s charity discount code in order for us to reimburse the fee.

    Don’t delay — join today and help us help homeless cats!

    Annex Cat Rescue - Scotiabank Charity Challenge

    And if you aren’t able to participate this year, you can still support Annex Cat Rescue by making a team donation.

    More information on the STWM Scotiabank Charity Challenge is available here.

    STWM Scotiabank Charity Challenge

  • Happy Tails: Tini and Rue

    Some cats simply belong together. That’s certainly the case with Tini and Rue who are mother and daughter, respectively, and both less than five years old. Yet despite their shared lineage, it took considerable effort to unite the pair for good.


    Born outside and rescued separately in mid-2014 from a west end colony, the sleek, elegant and nearly identical black cats – distinguishable by their strikingly unique eyes –  went through several unsuccessful placements before finally landing with Ruth Botelho last April.

    The long-time ACR volunteer, who has fostered nearly 30 cats and kittens in just under a decade, was the ideal interim candidate for the cautiously curious pair. By December 2015, stable, socialized Tini and Rue were headed to the forever home of Karen Walton where today, they are thriving… especially if a visitor comes bearing beloved cheddar.

    Rue and Tina

    “They are very happy and one of them is sitting in the window watching me right now,” Walton laughs. “Both Rue and Tini have their own distinct personalities, of course. Tini was physically closest to me at first which might have been about putting herself between me and Rue. But Rue is the showboat who likes to play around. She was the first to really engage with me directly whereas Tini was around but watching.”

    Interestingly, although Walton has owned countless rescue cats over the years, she always gravitated towards older or ill cats requiring more care.

    “When I saw them on the ACR website, they weren’t what I thought would be my first choice,” she confirms. “But when I interviewed with ACR, they said ‘Perhaps you’d like a break from old, sick cats. We have this pair we’d like to place together.’ It hadn’t occurred to me to take healthy cats!

    “They were very timid when I visited them at Ruth’s place.  But I hung out for a few hours and noticed they made eye contact. I just decided based on the care they had received to that point, that I would take them on and try and bring them out of their feral state of mind.”

    Rue and Tini

    Both foster Mom Botelho and forever Mom Walton agree that Rue and Tini – the latter shortened from Meowtini – are exceptionally beautiful and gentle cats despite being formerly feral. Given time and patience, the pair acclimatized perfectly to life indoors.

    Walton also stresses that the level of care and attention the cats received under the aegis of ACR made it much easier for her to adopt them with confidence.

    “I got lots of backstory on the cats. Both Ruth and ACR had plenty of detail on what to expect, which made me feel very informed. In fact, we all went to the vet together for their pre-adoption check-up. At first, they were wary – mine was yet another new home. But my home is large and very quiet, I work from home, so we fell into a routine very easily.

    “As long as you take the time to allow the cats to adjust to their new environment – and to you – they start feeling safe and trust that you are where the food comes from. Patience and understanding goes a long way. We just got used to sharing the same space.”

    –Kim Hughes

    Photos courtesy of Karen Walton.

  • Morning Feeders Needed

    feed feral cats Toronto

    Feral cat feeders are needed to feed weekday mornings (day is flexible) at a colony in the east end (Carlaw area). We could use a couple of feeders, either once a week or every second week. Feeders supply their own wet and dry food for about 9-10 cats. Any help is appreciated! Find out more here.

  • Help Us Win $10,000!

    Great Canadian Giving Challenge
    From June 1 – June 30, every $1 donated to Annex Cat Rescue via or* automatically earns our organization a chance to win a $10,000 donation!

    *Minimum $3 donation
    *Challenge begins June 1, 2016 at midnight Newfoundland Daylight Time (NDT) and ends on June 30, 2016 at 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)
    *Grand prize draw is on CANADA DAY, July 1, 2016 – $10,000 will be donated to the winning charity

  • The happy truth about FIV+ cats (hint: they’re totally adoptable)

    He might not relish the role but eight-year old Winston could be the global ambassador for FIV+ cats.


    That’s because Winston is both a classic example of how most cats come to be infected with the immune deficiency virus and, more importantly, a persuasive example of just how manageable – normal, really – life with an FIV+ cat can be both for its human caregivers and for any potential feline flatmates.

    Winston’s story is a handy testimonial for anyone who may encounter an FIV+ cat candidate in an adoption search.

    Winston - FIV cat

    “Winston is very playful and has a lot of energy,” confirms foster Mom Alexandra Cioppa, who grew up with another cat, Baltimore, which was also FIV+. She continues: “Winston is always hungry – he loves to eat. He is super-loving.”

    Once homeless, Winston doubtless became infected with FIV via a deep bite wound that occurred during a fight with another male cat over turf or food. FIV almost always presents in males, and transmission is almost always through intense fighting.

    FIV – which stands for feline immunodeficiency virus, just as HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus – can be transmitted sexually in cats and through improperly screened blood transfusions. But according to experts, it’s rare. Mother cats cannot readily infect their kittens except in the initial stages of her infection.

    Casual contact such as sharing food bowls, grooming or snuggling is unlikely to transmit the virus. Meaning that unless indoor cats have screaming brawls where blood is drawn, FIV negative cats sharing a home with an FIV+ cat won’t contract the virus.

    Indeed, veterinarian Dr. Vlad Stefanescu of Toronto’s Yonge-Davenport Pet Hospital says adopting an FIV+ cat and integrating it into a multi-cat household is something he endorses, albeit with a few caveats.

    “The only real considerations for FIV+ cat adoption are slightly more frequent vet visits, keeping the cats indoors and avoidance of a raw diet,” he says.

    That’s because uncooked foods, meats especially, can include parasites and pathogens that a cat with a normal immune system might be able to handle but an FIV+ cat might not. Leave the fad diets to Gwyneth Paltrow and stick to regular cat food, says Dr. Stefanescu.

    All cats should be kept indoors. However, owners of FIV+ cats have a particular obligation to keep their pets away from homeless cats in their community to help contain the virus. As for more frequent vet visits – recommended twice a year for FIV+ cats versus once-annually for non-geriatric FIV negative cats – that’s mainly because “Dental is also a big thing with these guys,” Dr. Stefanescu says.

    “They suffer stomatitis [a severe, painful inflammation of a cat’s mouth and gums that can cause ulcers to form]. Some FIV cats just have bad teeth and need a full mouth extraction. The majority of FIV cats need regular dental work.”

    Plus, regular vet visits allow owners and vets to monitor small changes such as weight loss that might be more significant in an FIV+ cat. Vaccinations, meanwhile, should be maintained for FIV+ cats just as they are for other cats.

    Humans cannot be infected with FIV; FIV is a cats-only infection. Dr. Stefanescu pegs the prevalence of FIV among owned cats at about five percent. “Leukaemia (FeLV) is actually more common,” he says, adding that he has never treated a cat that contracted FIV from another cat in a domestic situation.

    Adds Alexandra Cioppa, “FIV has never been an issue with Winston and it wasn’t with my cat Baltimore either. I don’t remember exactly how old Baltimore was when he passed away but he had quite a long life.”

    So the takeaway for prospective cat adopters: don’t shy away from an FIV+ cat.

    If you are adopting a cat directly from the street, be sure to have the cat tested while he (or she) is at the vet being spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and typically readied for a new life indoors. Remember that cats with FIV do not always appear sick. In the early stages of the disease, many cats show few signs, so the only way to know for sure if they are infected is through a simple blood test.

    Should an FIV+ positive cat catch you eye on ACR’s adoption listings, don’t reject the cat in knee-jerk fashion. You can’t catch FIV, your other cats probably won’t either, and you’ll be giving a forever home to a lovely fella who will reward you daily with purrs and cuddles.

    Just ask Winston.

    — Kim Hughes

    Winston is currently up for adoption. Find out more about him.

    Additional reading:

  • National Volunteer Week 2016

    Thank you to all our volunteers!

    This National Volunteer Week, we’d like to honour, salute, and thank our 400+ volunteers. Annex Cat Rescue has been a 100% volunteer-run organization since the day it was founded 19 years ago. It is because of the continuous support, care, and dedication of all of our volunteers that ACR has been able to help hundreds of cats over the years. Thank you. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

  • Happy Tails: Applesauce

    “Honestly, I do not understand why somebody left such a beauty outside,” Ilona Tkachyova says of the long-haired, black and white animal that she and her husband adopted in 2013. “She is a really lovely and gentle cat.”


    Abandoned in her carrier in front of her foster’s house, Applesauce always erred on the side of caution. When she met Ilona for the first time, she was apprehensive. Fortunately, Ilona was undaunted by Applesauce’s skepticism and approached anyway.

    “I tried to touch her and she started licking my hand right away,” Ilona recalls. It was an instant attraction for both. The lick, according to Ilona, was also very tender.

    However, adjusting to her new home wasn’t easy. Applesauce hid under the furniture and cried throughout the first night.

    It took time, but Applesauce now welcomes her owners home with loud meows and follows them from room to room. She even waits for them on the bathmat while they take a shower. In fact, the bathmat is Applesauce’s favourite place to be.

    As for toys, Applesauce can’t be bothered. Ilona and her husband tried every kind of toy that they could think of to encourage her to play. “The only thing she likes, and it was kind of a surprise, is knitting needles.” The little red ball at the end of Ilona’s needles is, apparently, irresistible.


    Prior to her adoption, Applesauce had to undergo surgery to remove a mast cell tumour, which left one of her ears bent forward permanently. Although the veterinarian who performed the surgery felt that the tumour was unlikely to grow back, it returned within six months. Despite this setback, Ilona believes in doing what’s best for the animal regardless of whether she is healthy or sick.

    “You have to do whatever they need.”

    In Ilona’s case, the vet proposed another surgery that would entirely remove Applesauce’s afflicted ear, followed by chemotherapy. Ilona and her husband ultimately decided not to proceed with the surgery. Applesauce is also suffering from chronic kidney disease and there was a chance that she might not survive such an invasive procedure.


    Instead, llona manages Applesauce’s conditions through a combination of herbal cancer and kidney support remedies and a holistic diet. It’s working. Applesauce is 11 years old this year. Her tumour has stopped growing aggressively and the couple hope to have many more years with her.

    “She is the joy of our home,” Ilona says. “You cannot look at her without smiling.”

    — Leslie Sinclair

  • Happy Tails: Elsa

    In February 2014, just after the city’s big ice storm, Elsa, a 3 month old kitten, came to Annex Cat Rescue. The tumultuousness of her first months on the streets definitely helped to shape Elsa’s personality and approach to life.

    A skittish and wary creature, according to her owner Jamie, Elsa took a while to “warm up”. When Jamie took her home in November, Elsa’s first instinct was to run under the bed and hide, earning her the unofficial title of “ghost cat”.

    Happy Tails Elsa ghost cat

    Jamie would lie on the floor, offering treats and soothing words to Elsa, but to no avail. While Elsa would happily take the treat, she would always retreat back under the bed. Jamie decided that it was time for an intervention!

    Elsa was moved to a new room clear of clutter, bed removed, with an awesome make-shift cat cave that Jamie had constructed from a cat bed and a litter box lid.

    Elsa would lie in her cave, facing the back, and Jamie would give her soothing pats and offer treats. After a while, Elsa must have decided that life was getting boring and started to play with Jamie. Out came the toys and soon, Elsa was less and less inclined to hide in her cave.

    Elsa is not Jamie’s only furry companion.

    Petey is a gorgeous male tabby who is incredibly laid back. Despite being Elsa’s polar opposite, Petey became her new best friend and kitty mentor. He was more than happy to show Elsa that life in her new home is pretty swell.

    Happy tails Elsa

    Maxi, a female cat, tolerates Elsa, but they are not the best of friends. Elsa loves to poke Maxi, playing the role of a bratty little sister very well. However, Maxi remains unimpressed.

    The dogs, after some time spent smelling and gazing through the baby gate that was the “door” to her room, greeted Elsa with grace and neutrality. Thus, Elsa’s friend circle expanded to include Keeta, aged 13, and Penny, aged 10, both rescues themselves.

    Keeta happily tolerates Elsa and Penny likes to provide a bit of a thrill from time to time. One of her favourite games is to rush the cats and watch them run. Elsa, playful thing that she is, is more than happy to oblige.

    Since Elsa was an independent street cat before she was brought to ACR, she has her own ideas of how she likes things done. She has developed personalized “rules” for her humans. Mom Jamie is her “play person” and when Elsa feels that it is time to play, she will go to her room and mew for Mom to join her. Elsa loves her wire toy (a long piece of wire with paper attached to the end) and laser pointers.

    From Dad Larry, Elsa expects scratches, please. Elsa will mew from her bed until her Dad gives her a scratch. However, if he tries to play with her, she shows zero interest.

    Elsa’s journey transitioning from the streets into her loving home had lots of help from outsiders as well. When Jamie and her husband had to go away for a while, they asked the neighbourhood’s “cat lady” Vicky and a gentleman named Doug, of Thunders Run (a pet-sitting, house-sitting company out of Bradford), to come in and cat-sit for them.

    Elsa had an injury to her cornea and was in need of eye drops. After her drops, Doug would give her lots of pats and love. Vicky also gently befriended Elsa little by little during each visit. Upon Jamie and Larry’s return, they were shocked and elated to find that Elsa had become more confident and social as a result of interacting with her new human friends.

    Happy Tails Elsa

    There were challenges but many more improvements. Elsa never used to purr or enjoy being picked up and now she does both! When Jamie picks Elsa up, she always lets her go before she gets antsy. It helps her feel more like it’s “her idea” when she gets picked up and that it’s safe – nobody will force her to do anything she doesn’t want.

    If you visited Elsa today, you would find her snuggled up close to her bestie, Petey, playing with Mom, pestering her big sister Maxi, or getting a good old scratch from Dad. This is a vast improvement from the “ghost cat” that she was when they first brought her home.

    Jamie’s tips on adopting include being open with the organization about your needs, always ask questions, and take your time finding the right cat for your family.

    I think Elsa has found her perfect fur-ever home!

    –Eryn Speers

  • Happy Tails: Roshi (Formerly Timbit)

    When Kathleen first met Roshi in the kitten’s foster home, she knew.

    “We visited him once and then, after the visit, decided,” she said.

    Under a year old and then-named Timbit, Roshi had interesting markings that caught Kathleen’s eye – white chevron chest markings, with a touch of taupe under his chin. White paws that resemble socks only added to the cuteness.

    Happy Tails - Roshi

    But it was his temperament that really got Kathleen’s attention.

    “He was a happy medium,” she said.

    Roshi, whose name is a Japanese honorific meaning “wise, old man”, is Kathleen’s second cat. As a child, her mother had allowed her and her brothers to adopt a stray cat taken in by a neighbour. The cat, who gave birth to a litter shortly before her adoption, went on to live 18 years.

    “Having a cat was a big part of my life,” Kathleen said, “but I didn’t want to get my own cat until I was really settled.”

    When her and her husband decided that they were finally ready for the responsibility, they found Roshi. Roshi has been with them for about three years.

    Bringing him home was not a smooth trek. Since the couple didn’t own a car, Roshi had to be brought home on the subway. It was in the middle of winter but, with a blanket and his favourite toy, he made it to his new home.

    After three days of being curious about Kathleen and her husband, Roshi finally settled.

    He’s very different from her last cat, who was a quiet lap cat.

    Happy Tails - Roshi

    “Roshi can get in awkward positions sometimes,” Kathleen said. “He’ll jump up high and it takes him a while to figure out how to get back down.”

    In fact, Roshi’s been known to knock things down sometimes, purely by his clumsiness.

    “He’s just playing around,” she said. “Sometime’s he’ll be startled and he’ll just jump straight in the air like a cartoon cat… so weird, but it’s hilarious too.”

    He used to not be very affectionate and would spend his time sitting on the couch next to the family.

    “Now if we pet him, he just sucks it up and immediately falls on his back,” Kathleen said. ”Any time we show him affection, he just laps it up.”

    Roshi and Leo

    With his playful nature, Roshi is the perfect companion for Kathleen’s son, who the family welcomed about a year and a half ago.

    Now a toddler, Leo and Roshi are starting to get along.

    “He thinks Roshi’s the best thing ever,” Kathleen said, “I’m sure they’re going to be the best of friends in a couple of years.”

    –Janina Enrile

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