Annex Cat Rescue is a 100% volunteer charity dedicated to addressing the plight of homeless cats in the Greater Toronto Area by:
- Humanely trapping homeless kittens and abandoned or stray adult cats for placement in our foster and adoption program;
- Feeding and providing medical care for feral cats in designated colonies;
- Curbing population growth in those colonies through trapping, spaying/neutering, and vaccinating;
- Educating the public on the compassionate treatment of homeless cats and responsible pet ownership; and
- Improving urban environments through community cooperation.
- Happy Tails: Princess and Bunny
This is a tale of two cats – sisters – with matching fluffy white coats and fat tails, striking eyes and calico markings. Both were born outside in 2007 to a Tomcat father and an abandoned tame mother, who was trapped and adopted out after her kittens were weaned.
One sister, Bunny, found a loving forever home. Princess, who is Bunny’s sister remains outdoors in a downtown colony.
As the story goes, Princess and Bunny were captured for TNR in early 2008. In keeping with protocol, both were placed with caregivers while they recuperated from their surgery. Princess did not take to indoor life and was returned to her colony after recovery. Bunny, however, seemed keen to explore this domesticity thing.
“So I took her in as a foster,” says ACR volunteer Sara Slater. “Both the cats were about eight months old at the time, and it’s rare for cats that have been born outside and lived outside that long to be tame. But Bunny was purring.
“I completely fell in love with her, so I adopted her,” Sara says. As for Princess’ contrasting fate, “I guess that’s just what happens. Some cats are meant to go back outside and some cats aren’t. Princess has wonderful feeders; she is fed daily by those taking care of the Kensington Market route. She seems to be doing great.”
Indeed as Kensington route feeder James Beaton confirms, Princess has heaps of personality, albeit best viewed from a distance.
“When I go to feed her, she knows immediately that I am there for her, and she pays close attention as I am getting the food ready. When I give her enough space, she will run up to the dishes. She has this very funny trait: she’ll meow and then hiss. Meow and hiss. It’s her way of expressing happiness at being fed but warning that she needs her space.”
Adds James, “A lot of these cats just can’t live inside. But being able to feed Princess on a daily basis allows us to engage with her and she seems to like it. And we are able to monitor her health. The volunteers are quite coordinated on that point.”
Like people, no two cats are exactly the same despite sharing similar backgrounds and while despite their different outcomes, both cats are a success story.
- PetSmart Adoption Event
Join Annex Cat Rescue at our first partnered adoption event with PetSmart Charities.
November 15th & 16th, 2014
PetSmart – 75 Gunns Rd, Keele & St. Clair
To see the cats who will be in attendance, please visit our Facebook page.
- Preparing Your Furbaby for Your Newborn Baby
You have a cuddly kitty at home, a bouncing baby on the way and you’re afraid the two won’t mix. You have absolutely nothing to fear and there’s no reason for you to surrender your cat. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding the cat-baby dynamic, but you can put your mind at ease with a few small steps to ensure everyone in your growing family will be happy and healthy.
First off, let’s dismiss the ludicrous ol’ tale that cats will suck the air of a newborn child’s lungs. It’s complete poppycock and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
There’s also the misguided notion that a cat will fall asleep on top of a baby in the crib and suffocate it. While there’s never been a substantiated case of this taking place, you shouldn’t let kitty in with the baby during the night. Luckily, it’s easy to keep the two apart. Cats.org.uk has some great tips, including simply keeping the door closed while your (human) bundle of joy is sleeping and keep tabs on him or her with a baby monitor, or installing a screen door. If closing the door isn’t an option, buy at tent or netting to go over the crib.
In addition, you should always supervise any interaction between your cat and baby. A flailing baby may startle your investigative cat and while the likely reaction is for your feline to flee, make sure you keep those claws cut to be 100 percent safe (and please, don’t declaw).
The other concern many parents-to-be have is Toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by parasites that are sometimes found in cats and can be passed to human via feces. According to healthychildren.org, illness from Toxoplasmosis is uncommon in children and adults, but it can result in serious problems if a pregnant woman passes the parasite to her unborn foetus. An expectant mother should take proper precautions: wear gloves when doing the cat litter and gardening – or, even better, use it as an excuse to get your partner or kids to do those dirty chores for you!
Of course, you’ll want to make sure to keep kitty’s life as calm as possible after the addition of a baby to your home. The key here is early preparation. The ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States suggest these steps in order to get your cat ready:
- If you haven’t already, and you should have, spay or neuter your cat
- Set up the nursery early and let your cat investigate. Once they’ve had the full run of the room, put dissuasive elements – pie plates, aluminium foil, cardboard with two-sided tape (cats hate sticky surfaces) – on the furniture, like the crib, dresser and change table, you don’t want the cat to get comfortable on. Alternatively, if you don’t want your cat in the nursery at all, get that door shut right away so kitty knows it’s off limits
- Have a friend come over with a baby and/or play a recording or baby noises and crying so the cat gets used to the sounds the baby will bring
- Wear lotions and oils that you will put on the baby so the cat gets used to new smells
- Move, slowly, the litter box to its new location
- And make any adjustments to new routines: if partner or child will be taking over for nail cutting, grooming or play, make that transition nice and early so the cat knows where to look for attention when mom is preoccupied with the baby
- Increase the frequency of nail cutting so the cat is used to the practice after baby arrives
For further information or tips on getting your home ready, consult your veterinarian or paediatrician.
- iAdopt for the Holidays
iAdopt for the Holidays is a two-month adoption drive that aims to change the lives of orphaned pets and raise awareness about the importance of pet adoption during the holiday season, as more families bring a new pet home during this time than at any other time of the year. The campaign centers around sharing positive real life pet adoption stories as a means to encourage other people to adopt.
Visit http://iadopt.ca/adopter-stories to submit your stories! The top 10 stories at the end of the campaign period will be sent prize packs and the top dog and top cat will win a professional photo shoot with their owner(s) and will be our new poster family for the 2015 iAdopt for the Holidays campaign.
- Happy Tails – Jessie (formerly Muffin) & Joey
Like two fuzzy peas in a pod, looking at the photos below you would never know that these two stunning cats were once homeless, sick and hungry.
Their story began last year, when volunteers at the Annex Cat Rescue were caring for two adjacent feral cat-colonies. Volunteers discovered a very pregnant female cat, due to give birth, and soon. But one day mama cat disappeared, and only after a very anxious search, did ACR volunteers finally find the newborn kitten litter in the bushes. One of those kittens was a very tiny, very sickly black and white girl, now named Jessie. Volunteer Joanne was there for the rescue and says, “kittens are born and we grab the ones that we can and try to get them into foster homes.”
At the same time, another litter was born in the adjacent colony, and a small brown tabby by the name of Joey was found and rescued.
Both litters were brought into foster care where they were provided with the endless love, food and attention that they deserved. Little Jessie had to have special care as her eyes were infected, so badly in fact, that they were tightly closed shut. The foster mother and a team of untiring volunteers worked in shifts to provide eye medication, “we were going over to the foster mother’s house a few times a day to administer medication. The swelling in Jessie’s eyes was so bad that we had to pry her eyes open to get the meds in. We did not know if she was going to lose her sight or not.”
It took about a month of vet visits and eye drops for the swelling to subside. Joanne remembers, “this little one was incredibly patient and tolerant with us, considering how much pain and discomfort she was in. But by the end she was tearing around and playing with her best buddy Joey.”
Jessie’s eyes did not have a chance to develop full vision. Her sight was impaired but her life was saved! And rightly so, as she had bigger and better plans for this world, specifically to shower her adopted sister Joey and her forever mom Meagan with endless snuggles and love.
Having had cats throughout her childhood, forever mom Meagan decided that it was high time she had cats to call her own, and upon seeing four-month old Jessie and Joey on the ACR website, she was ready to nab them both! Meagan says, “I wanted to adopt a couple of cats because they get adopted less and I work full-time and would feel too bad leaving one on her own.” In regards to Jessie’s poor vision, Meagan was not put-off, “it didn’t deter me, it was one of the reasons why I liked her, because she is not ideal, not perfect, but she needed a place to call home.”
After arriving at their new home, Jessie and Joey were initially shy and hid under the bed – typical behaviour of cats when they enter a new place but it did not last for long. In no time both kittens were out from under the bed, zipping through the house, and before Meagan knew it, she was in the middle of Cuddlefest 2014!
In fact, their personalities emerged quite quickly, “Jessie is definitely the quirkier one. Maybe it has to do with her being almost blind, but she jumps at things that are not there. She also LOVES to cuddle and drools when you pet her.” Not surprisingly, Joey is also a snuggler, “she is so friendly, a lot more relaxed and chilled than Jessie, but still very playful. She is also the talker.”
Meagan, Jessie and Joey are a match made in heaven. Meagan says, “we are best girlfriends and Jessie and Joey are the most cuddly, nicest cats that I have ever had. They are so loving that I will sleep with one curled up in each arm at night. They just want to be loved and be around you at all times.”
Like so many kittens out there, Jessie and Joey had a pretty rough start. Homeless, hungry and sick, they were rescued, fostered and brought to good health by the amazing volunteers at ACR. And like a great Hollywood movie, they found their happy ending in the arms of their forever mom Meagan.
- Community Purse Offers Affordable Pet Care to Seniors
Community support projects don’t come much sweeter than the Kensington Kittypants Fund, which helps Kensington Market-area senior citizens access subsidized healthcare for their pets at the Dundas Euclid Animal Hospital through various fundraising initiatives and partnerships with local merchants.
Named for an “elegant, smart” Tuxedo feline owned by Fund founder and long-time Kensington Market resident Barbette (just Barbette), the Kittypants Fund recently hosted its third annual fundraiser, which drew enthusiastic crowds to Scadding Court Community Centre to hear local musicians, eat a First Nations-inspired menu and help raise cash for cat- and dog-owning Kensington seniors.
Prizes at the event were donated by area merchants who Barbette says recognize the value of assisting those community members who have helped shape Kensington Market into the vibrant space it is today. Plans are afoot to expand the program to neighbourhoods citywide.
“It is my hope that other neighborhoods will look to the Kensington Kittypants Fund model and try to create their own within their community,” confirms retired community worker Barbette, who today volunteers with two seniors groups.
“Seniors on a fixed income really struggle with pet care. My cat Kittypants had health issues, so I know first-hand how tough it can be” she says, adding that donations to the Fund are always greatly appreciated and can be directed here to kittypants.ca
“The Kensington Kittypants Fund along with Dundas Euclid Animal Hospital are now in the planning stages of setting up Kittypants Eastbound at the Sherbourne Animal Hospital with Dr. Oscar Albarracin. It is very important that we take care of our seniors on fixed incomes. The relationship between seniors and their pet companions is precious and should be honored in every way possible.”
Though Barbette isn’t sure exactly how many pets have benefitted from the Kensington Kittypants Fund since its 2011 inception, she stresses “It’s really simple. Every year we have an event and the money we raise goes directly to the Dundas Euclid Animal Hospital.”
She continues: “Everybody wants to do this – the bands that perform at the events and the 15-odd merchants that serve as sponsors. Our most recent event was absolutely a success and so many people helped to make it possible. I have lived in the Market off and on for 43 years, and it’s like a village. Kensington really does care.”
- Happy Tails: Sybil (formerly Stripe)
Meet Sybil, a brown tabby down on her luck, living with other similarly downtrodden felines in the streets of Toronto. Reluctant to speak of her past, we don’t know what series of events brought Sybil to the Chester colony, and we can only guess that she’s about six or seven years old. What we do know is that Sybil had never known the warmth and comfort of a safe and loving home. But Sybil was being watched over by those who managed her colony, and a brighter future was yet to come.
Meanwhile, in another part of town, Kevin Wark was preparing to take in his next foster. Kevin began volunteering with ACR by feeding feral cats just like Sybil. One day he thought, “this is a perfectly nice cat, it should have a home too.” This thought prompted Kevin to become an ACR foster home. As his recent foster had just been adopted, he was ready for his next charge.
Back at the Chester colony, and unbeknownst to her; Sybil was soon to be placed in foster care. When she arrived at Kevin’s home she was unsure and shy, initially spending a lot of time under Kevin’s bed. But she also showed signs of enjoying affection and attention, as Kevin notes, “she was always happy to be pet, even while hiding under the bed.” Over the next five months Sybil’s personality blossomed and she started spending time on Kevin’s lap. Kevin recalls that, “in the mornings, when she wanted to be fed, she would jump up on my bed and start licking my face. I would bury my face in the pillow and she would lick my ears, trying to wake me up.” Sybil was starting to shine.
Enter Sam Spady, a PhD student who had just moved to the city. Sam was in the market for a feline friend, so naturally she went “window shopping” online. Sam knew she was looking for the perfect older cat with a quirky personality. When she found Sybil, who was then called Stripe on ACR’s website, she suspected it was the right match. Her suspicions were confirmed when she met with Kevin and he told her “all of Sybil’s funny quirks”.
These days, Sam describes Sybil as a “super funny, super cuddle monster”. Sybil has respiratory issues that cause her to make “weird grumbling noises, then she’ll sneeze and rumble” – all of which is delightfully charming to Sam. Sam goes on to say, “she likes to come around and cuddle. When I come home she meets me to jump on the bed so she can be pet. If I don’t then she’ll make funny little noises to communicate that compliance is required.”
Though Sybil was wary of strangers in foster care, she’s now known to head bump everyone! “She’s a little hesitant at first,” Sam says, “but once they sit down next to her she starts purring like a machine and head bumping them.”
When asked why she was drawn to an older cat, Sam replies, “I liked the idea of already knowing what kind of cat I was adopting… I wanted a cat who was already out of the play all the time phase, but one that I knew would like to cuddle! Syb was the perfect fit.”
And if Sybil could speak in words, Sam says her catchphrase would be “I love you”.
- Happy Tails: Hazel
In 2012, a feral litter of kittens were born in a backyard belonging to an owner of an animal hospital. When Annex Cat Rescue was notified, volunteer Rohanna trapped kittens Hazel and Cashew, naming them after nuts because of their wild personalities.
Foster mom Navjit Gill slowly introduced Hazel and her brother Cashew into her home with four other ACR foster cats, allowing them to be socialized. Hazel always preferred her brother’s company whether during nap or grooming time.
“She was always more reserved compared to Cashew,” Gill says. “She would always run and hide and took longer to bring around. She was actually the last kitten to go to a home, so we spent months alone together.”
When Hazel met her soon-to-be adoptive family, she was a little hesitant. “When I first met her she hid under the bed almost the entire visit,” remembers Mark Stanleigh. “Navjit had to coax her out for me to meet her. But I could tell she was an easy-going cat and that once we adopted her that she would warm up to us.”
Stanleigh and his partner Colette loved the pattern on Hazel’s face so much that it inspired her new name. “It looked like the shape of a skull—that’s why we named her Castle Greyskull.”
Castle warmed up to her new owners very quickly. “Sometimes she plays fetch with us using an old pair of winter gloves. She’s very affectionate and active,” Stanleigh says. “She’s super gentle, she never hisses or bites unless she’s playing. When it’s just us, she’s very loving and has become very hungry for attention and petting. She sits with us in our laps or behind us on the back of the couch while we watch movies and relax.”
Castle still has a fear of strangers, but Stanleigh notices that it gets better each day. “She used to get so scared that she would hide in her litter box or her play tunnel for hours,” he says. “But she doesn’t get as scared as she used to. She just kind of does her own thing for a bit or sits off to the side on her scratching perch.”
Gill and Stanleigh have remained in contact since Castle found her forever home. “I could go on for days about her,” laughs Gill. “She’s done really well in her new home, and they really love her.”
“She’s doing great,” agrees Stanleigh. “I think she’s really happy.”
- Happy Tails: Tilly
If Tilly had a fan club, it would be jammed with platinum-level members: forever family George and Deb Lloyd and cat brother Sebastian, plus former foster dad Jeffrey Moon and cat sister Matilda.
Really, if the adorable tuxedo’s twinkling eyes don’t melt your heart, her wily playfulness and curiosity should do the trick.
“I never thought I was a cat person,” says George Lloyd, who laughingly cops to daily brushing Tilly and Sebastian’s coats and teeth, even giving gum massages (!). “It’s our little ritual.”
Lloyd continues: “Anyway, last October, our daughter Karen asked if she could get her mom a cat for Christmas. I told her to be sure and check with her mom as it would be her cat. So Karen got a cat from a rescue in Kingston, and that cat – Sebastian – immediately took to me and started following me around.
“We figured we should get another cat to keep him company because both Deb and I work. We found Tilly last February through Annex Cat Rescue – interestingly, both cats are tuxedos born just a few days apart in July 2013. Tilly has taken to Deb like you wouldn’t believe. She’ll sit and stare at her in adoration.”
“So yes,” Deb Lloyd allows with a chuckle, “through no design of our own, we have his-and-hers cats.” Where Sebastian is “a docile character,” Deb Lloyd describes Tilly as “active and brave. We have to watch her. If she sees an open door she’ll gun for it.
“Our guess is that she spent a lot of time outside at some point because she seems very keen to return.” Wisely, the Lloyds are ensuring that Tilly henceforth remains a strictly indoor cat.
Though Tilly’s background is largely unknown, foster dad Jeff Moon adds some detail, confirming that he took her in as a kitten to keep his then-foster cat Matilda amused.
“Matilda was really energetic and needed way more attention than I could give her, so I decided the best thing for her was a companion. They hit it off right away,” Moon says, adding that Matilda found a loving forever home shortly after the Lloyds adopted Tilly.
“We are so enjoying having the cats,” Deb Lloyd confirms. “Tilly was petrified when we first brought her home, and we were very concerned. But by the third day, I enticed her to eat and at that point she turned the corner and improved exponentially. They factor in our everyday lives in a major way, and they are great fun.”