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 Tail: Antoine
“Antoine was one of those cats that you don’t forget,” says Catherine, who has been fostering for Annex Cat Rescue for about five years.
An asymmetrical white strip runs down Antoine’s otherwise grey face and wide expressive eyes reflect his big personality. “I kept his original name; it just seemed to suit him,” says Robyn Jensen.
Robyn, who previously owned pure breeds, hadn’t had a cat for about three years and found that she missed the company. This time, she decided to go with a rescue organization rather than a breeder because she wasn’t looking for a particular style of cat but rather just a great personality. During her first call with ACR, the volunteer she spoke with thought she knew a cat who was a match for Robyn – he wasn’t even on the website yet.
For Robyn, it was love at first sight.
“I think it was for him too,” she says. Antoine found his forever home with Robyn in March 2015.
Antoine was a surrender and in rough shape when he made his way to ACR. He needed ongoing veterinary care. Clinic staff were always excited to see laid back Antoine arrive for his monthly visits. Catherine recalls that after the vet gave Antoine his check-up, he’d say, “I’m just going to take him around to everyone so they can see him – they missed him so much!” Antoine was happy to spread the love.
True to form, it took Antoine little time to adjust when Robyn brought him home. Surprisingly, Antoine doesn’t really like toys.
“Over the last year, I’ve tried buying him many different toys, but he just doesn’t really like playing with anything.”
However, what Antoine lacks in playfulness he makes up in curiosity, an attribute that led Robyn to start taking him to visit friends. “He’s so easy going that he never runs or hides when meeting people for the first time,” she says.
The pair has even gone on a road trip together! Robyn kept Antoine in a crate while driving and took plenty of breaks so that he could stretch his legs. Upon their arrival in Ohio, Antoine quickly adjusted to his new environment and revelled in the attention – even from two and four-year-old children – an age that many cats prefer to shy away from.
“I’ve never met a more mellow cat,” says Robyn.”I couldn’t be happier with him!”
— Leslie Sinclair
- Urgent: Foster Home Appeal
URGENT: We need foster homes! We are bursting at the seams with kittens of various ages that have been rescued from street life. They need patient and loving people to help them to learn to trust humans and to prepare them for adoption. We also have some adult cats who are looking for temporary shelter. Can you help? If yes, please read through the information here and apply.
Do you know someone who might be interested? Share this post with them.
Please allow a few days for a response as our Foster department is swamped. We have more cats in foster care than we’ve ever had before! And there are even more on our waiting list.
- Happy Tail: Maude
“Ms. Maude is a lovely, chatty and super affectionate girl.”
“She’s our opinionated little love bug, for sure.”
Adoring quotes befitting a diva!
“Ms. Maude showed up in a managed cat colony in the west end with her kitten Lucy late last fall.” Jen, a volunteer with the Trap, Neuter, Return Program for Feral Cats, explained. “I don’t know whether or not Maude previously had a home. I assumed they were feral and trapped them for TNR.”
Jen fostered the pair while they recovered from being spayed. Normally, they would be returned to the colony but Jen was deeply touched by Ms. Maude’s lovely, chatty, and affectionate personality.
Ms. Maude deserved a real home and the Annex Cat Rescue helped facilitate her quick adoption.
“It was a week and a half!” Jen exclaims. “The folks at ACR have always been incredibly helpful and supportive.”
Ms. Maude is cherished in her new home. Jen tells us that she has settled in beautifully. These happy endings make her feel like her volunteer work is worthwhile.
“She has all the personality!” Nora, Maude’s new owner, gushes. “Cheerful! Self-possessed! Chatty! Loving! Playful Girl! We are so, so happy she’s part of our family!”
Ms. Maude likes to wait by the door when she hears the key in the lock. She yells to be picked up for a long purr-y cuddle and chin-scratch session.
Mischief always lurks on the other side of her demands for affection. Knocking over unattended water glasses, breaking into the catnip, and feeling not an ounce of remorse…these are only some of her misdeeds.
When Maude wants attention, she will scratch the couch knowing that it’s a sure fire way to get noticed. Maude loves to socialize but is no lap cat. She welcomes visitors, but Ms. Maude makes it known to ALL her guests that they are in HER home! Luckily, Nora is quite forgiving of Ms. Maude’s territorial nature.
Ms. Maude is a natural diva. She rolls over in her comfy bed to stretch, pride gleaming from her jade green eyes. Her attitude could be misconstrued as indifference but Ms. Maude is paying her new family the greatest compliment. A truly happy feline expresses their appreciation when they are themselves. Ms. Maude is at peace knowing that she can thrive in the loving home that she has found.
Jen and Nora can’t thank ACR enough for seamlessly facilitating the relationship between a foster and an adoptive parent. Jen has been involved in “stray/rescue” for years. She believes that the efforts of the whole ACR team are outstanding!
- Happy Tail: Stella (Formerly Girlie)
Dr. Vlad of the Yonge-Davenport Pet Hospital first met Girlie when her owners brought her in because she was suffering from severe gingivitis. Although she recovered quickly with antibiotics, Girlie was soon back to see Dr. Vlad as her teeth and gums were in terrible shape. Four canines and a molar were removed but Girlie still needed a second dental.
Her owners balked at further cat care. The female owner loved the cat, her partner did not. The cat did not like him, he said. Girlie hated being in the car for the weekend trips that the couple took. She refused to go in a cat carrier, and would climb all over the car, panic-stricken.
Dr. Vlad suggested surrendering Girlie to Annex Cat Rescue and her owners agreed. ACR took in Girlie and paid for the second dental. After her recovery, Girlie spent three months at the clinic, having the run of the third floor all to herself.
With her teeth gone, Girlie is quiet, does not meow nor hiss, but lets you know what she wants through birdlike chirps. While she shuns head rubs, she will demand belly and bum rubs over and over again.
“She is the sweetest cat ever” said Dr. Vlad, “I do not see how anybody could not love this cat.” “She loves all people, dogs, and cats.”
After the third month of ruling the third floor of the clinic, Girlie was adopted. Her current owner, tells us “Girlie (who we have renamed Stella) is settling in very well. She and my other cat Jules have become fast friends and she is slowly adapting to the overly friendly dogs. She spends most of the day sleeping on my bed in the sunshine on any clean piles of laundry she can find. We love her so much and are so glad she found a home with us!”
No word on whether Stella has meowed yet but nonetheless, it is very happy ending for “the sweetest cat ever” with the quiet disposition.
— Natasha Charles
- Mega Pet Adoption Event
Annex Cat Rescue will be bringing cats to this event, only on Saturday July 9. No kittens (cats under 6 months of age) will be in attendance.
- Walk or Run for Annex Cat Rescue on October 16!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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.
- 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 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 where today, they are thriving… especially if a visitor comes bearing beloved cheddar.
“They are very happy and one of them is sitting in the window watching me right now,” Karen 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 Karen 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.”
Both foster Mom Ruth and forever Mom Karen 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.
Karen 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.”
Photos courtesy of Karen Walton.
- Morning Feeders Needed
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!
*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 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.