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.
  • The Claws Are Out: The Hard Realities of Declawing Your Cat

    It is no secret that cats love to scratch; they love to claw on their scratching post, the box the post came in, doors, floors, carpets and furniture. Scratching is as natural to cats as purring but has lead many cat owners to declaw their feline for a “quick fix”.

    cats paw

    What is declawing? According to the Humane Society of the United States, “Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.” Yes, you read right, put yourself in your cat’s paws and imagine the pain and discomfort they will feel after a declawing procedure. If that is

    not reason enough, declawing can lead to negative side effects:

    • Change in personality of your feline companion: some cat owners claim that their cats developed mild to severe case of depression after declawing
    • Cats can’t defend themselves: declawing your cat will remove their primary source of defense. Without claws, if your cat accidently gets outside they will  be more vulnerable to other species that consider them prey.
    • Declawing can lead to litter problems: Declawed cats find it painful when digging in their litter box which often leads them to avoid their tray and opting for doing their business elsewhere – which can mean your nice white sofa or your recently made up bed.

    t scratch pad

    Declawing has been made illegal or considered extremely inhumane in over 25 countries, with advocacy groups in Canada working on legislation to make declawing against the law. Here are some helpful alternatives to keep your cat from scratching your furniture.

    • Scratching post – place a few around the house, the more posts the better odds your kitty will play with them instead of your sofa cushions.
    • Trim your cat’s claws -If you are uncomfortable doing it yourself, call your vet or your local groomer. It generally cost $10 – $20 and worth every penny!
    • Soft Paws – a harmless and fashionable nail cap that can easily be applied to your cats existing nails.

    cat scratch post

    Click here for more information on how to teach your cat where to scratch.

  • Happy Tails: Calista

    Rachael Smith, a generous lady with a big heart and big apartment, decided that she needed to add a special something to her spacious home. That special something came in a form of a very loveable cat named Calista.

    Calista, is now affectionately called ‘Khaleesi’ or ‘The Mother of Dragons’ because of her shiny white hair. However, her hair color is not the only thing Calista has in common with the Queen of the Andals – she is also very loyal, vocal and lively.


    Before adopting her fur-baby, Rachael says that she did her research by taking her time and looking at various cat adoption organizations before deciding. Three year-old Calista was previously adopted in 2011, but had issues settling in with the owners’ children. Rachael says, “Her story struck a chord with me and I knew that she would benefit from my quiet lifestyle.”

    Now, this purry-princess is active and loves to move around in her new home while chasing ping pong balls down the hallway. One of the many loveable traits that Calista has is meowing Rachael a ‘Hello’ when she gets home from work or a ‘Good Morning’ when she wakes up.

    Calista is now happy and comfortable in her home, and Rachael adds that ACR’s adoption process helped with the transition, “Calista’s foster mom was great and provided me with a detailed list of the type of supplies I would need, as well as Calista’s likes, dislikes and routine.” Having a few of her old toys helped Calista settle in as well, “The transition went very smoothly and I think Calista appreciated having familiar things in her new home.”

  • Why Even Indoor Cats MUST Go to the Vet

    Experts agree the best place for kitty is indoors where potentially hazardous encounters with traffic, wildlife and other roaming domestic animals are minimized. But there is one occasion when Mittens should head outside – to the vet, within the comfy confines of his carrier.

    You may think indoor cats are exempt from veterinary visits but nothing could be further from the truth. Like you, your cat has complex biology and faces a host of potential health issues over the course of its life, many successfully managed with early diagnosis and ongoing treatment.

    Vet care is especially vital in the case of cats adopted from shelters or through Annex Cat Rescue where medical histories are usually best guesses, not matters of record.

    Veterinary Surgeon

    “All indoors cats should have the benefit of a veterinary exam,” confirms Dr. Joanna Coote, a vet with Beaches Animal Hospital who also serves with the Toronto Humane Society’s spay/neuter clinic and Toronto Street Cats’ TNR clinics.

    She continues: “How is the cat’s weight – too heavy or too thin? What is the dental picture and is there dental disease? Blood work allows us to see what the kidneys, liver and thyroid are doing. These are very compelling arguments for vet care.

    “Sometimes owners are having behavioral concerns or maybe they’ve noticed a lump on the cat, which happens. Like dogs, cats can develop arthritis as they age. Also cancer. But we can manage many of these things, making their geriatric years much better. With younger cats, vet visits are about maintaining health; making sure their teeth look good and they’re not getting too fat,” which, like their human counterparts, puts cats at risk of developing diabetes.

    According to a fact sheet produced by the Cat Clinic in Hamilton, the cat is Canada’s most popular pet, numbering some 8.5 million. Yet, as the Clinic points out, “In spite of being such cherished members of the household, the average cat does not receive the same healthcare treatment as most dogs. On average, only one out of every two cats benefit from an annual visit to the veterinarian.

    “Every year a cat does not see a veterinarian is like a person going seven years without seeing a doctor. Three years without a wellness check is comparable to people going more than 20 years without seeing a doctor.”

    Pretty much any argument a cat owner can mount for not taking Mittens to the vet – too expensive, cat doesn’t seem sick, he hates the carrier, vaccination is unnecessary for an indoor cat – can be quashed in short order:

    Too expensive? Early diagnosis can detect serious problems in the early stages before costs really spiral.

    Cat seems OK? Cats instinctively mask pain to prevent appearing vulnerable. And sometimes even obvious signs of ill-health such as excessive urination or diminished appetite can be missed by harried owners.

    Cat hates the carrier? Most do, but here are simple tips for making the trip to the vet less stressful.

    Cat Carrier

    Vaccination is unnecessary for indoor cats? Not according to Dr. Coote.

    “The FVRCP vaccines – usually given as a series of vaccines in kittens and then once a year or every three years after that – protects against many upper respiratory pathogens. In times of stress – moving to a new house, let’s say, or having new people or animals coming into the home –the animal’s immune system is suppressed and they can get a flare-up of this upper respiratory infection.

    “All cats have been exposed to other cats at some point in their life – their littermates and mothers – and over 95 percent of cats will either be exposed to or carry to herpes virus. Similar to humans who get a cold sore when they are stressed, the herpes virus seizes moments of stress to flare up in the cat, causing nasal discharge, sneezing, watering eyes. Those can be prevented with an FVRCP vaccine.”

    And though he’ll hate you for it in the moment, Mittens will love you for it in the long run. Now get dialling.

  • Is wet food necessary?

    The best diet for your cat depends on their individual health condition and discussing with your veterinarian is probably your safest bet to feed your cat the most appropriate food. But while there is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, wet food can be a wise choice to ensure that your pet remains well-hydrated.

    Dry food offers some advantages that may appeal to pet owners. It is easier to store, it can be left out for hours without spoilage, and it tends to be cheaper. What is more, some brands are formulated to help clean your cat’s teeth. However, the single most important difference between dry kibbles and wet food is the moisture content. Dry food contains around 7 to 12 percent of water, while that proportion can go up to 80 percent in canned food.

    Just like with humans, hydration is key to keep your cat healthy. Because our domestic cats are derived from desert-dwelling species, they don’t have a very strong thirst drive. Many cats don’t drink enough water on their own and therefore need an alternative to avoid dehydration and prevent health issues such as urinary tract disease. Wet food can help in providing sufficient moisture to your cat.

    You might wonder how to choose the right canned food. The simple answer to that question is: read the ingredients! Meat should be the primary ingredient. Some canned products contain fillers like corn or rice, which don’t contribute to your cat’s health. If you’re not sure, ask your veterinarian for recommendations. To provide even more moisture, mixing the wet food with a bit of water is a good idea. Any leftover should be placed in the fridge. And the same rule applies for your cat’s food as for your own food: throw away any leftover that doesn’t look right or smells weird.


    If you are feeding your cat dry food and are considering introducing wet food in their diet, remember that cats can be picky about what they eat, and there is quite a difference in taste and texture between dry and wet food. A sudden change in diet may cause them gastrointestinal upset, which can result in vomiting, diarrhea, or a loss of appetite, so introduce the new food gradually. You can try to mix their old food with the new food, progressively increasing the proportion of the new food. Whatever you decide to feed your cat, make sure they always have access to clean and fresh drinking water.

  • Happy Tails: Dracula (formerly Gino)

    Think back to summer 2013 and picture an auto body shop with grounds stained with cold, grease, and maybe chewing tobacco. That’s where an ACR volunteer came across colony of feral cats that included a darling kitten and his two brothers who weren’t in the best of shape.

    Soon after arranging the body shop to set up a shelter, feeding station, and have food put out daily, our volunteer was able to trap the three youngins.

    While appropriately apprehensive at first, these three kittens could sense a good heart and allowed our volunteer to handle them. Gino was a little more willing then Rocco; and Frankie was ridiculously friendly and loved to be held and enjoyed playtime. After getting the OK from a vet, a family adopted Frankie and Rocco.

    That left Gino.

    When he was first brought to his foster family away from his brothers he was a little shy, and that’s to be expected. Who isn’t a little shy when love at first sight fills the air?

    That shyness soon passed it was game on. He alternated between hyperactive and sleepy, and his many massive yawns flaunted two massive canine-like teeth.

    And that’s how Gino became Dracula.

    Happy Tails - Dracula

    He’s now a healthy fellow who’s white and grey with deep yellow eyes. He’s grown quickly into his long limbs and large features, with the exception of his tail. It’s remarkably long, and he’s just taken note of its existence and potential as a toy to attack. Though he should have noticed it sooner since he frequently prances in front of a mirror.

    When he’s not striking a pose he tries to curry favour with his sister, Domino. He lurks when she takes her beauty nap, and has taken on some of her less than desirable habits: begging for food, and keeping watch on the neighbourhood.

    Happy Tails - Dracula & Domino

    Most importantly, Dracula (nee Gino) has warmed to people. He is affectionate and loves to cuddle. He watches his new parents leave from the top of the stairs, and is often in the same spot waiting for them to come home.

    Our endless thanks to ACR volunteer Elizabeth for rescuing the Gino, Frankie, and Rocco; and using her immense charm to partner with the body shop to make the lives of a feral colony so much better. And to Craig, Andrea, and Domino for adopting Dracula and giving him the comfort and love he deserves.

  • Keep your Cat Safe During the Summer

    Is that…the sun? Has summer finally arrived? After a long, cold winter, warm weather is more than welcome. Us Torontonians cannot wait to get into shorts and T-shirt at the first sign of sun or anything above zero degrees Celsius.

    cat in the sun

    Many assume that winter’s cold temperatures and anti-freeze are the only threats posed to cats outside. However, ACR strongly supports keeping cats indoors at all times regardless of the season, and summer has its own level of dangers for cats let outdoors.

    The hot, hot heat – As the days get hotter, heatstroke is a serious concern, especially for cats that venture outdoors – remember, you can take off your sweater, but kitty cannot. Keeping your cat indoors ensures shade from the sun and access to clean fresh water. Air conditioning should be kept on throughout the day and if you are planning a trip out of town, make sure that someone can check in on kitty and the temperature of the house. Elderly or sick cats are more vulnerable to temperature, so please be extra cautious with them. As well, brushing your cats regularly helps reduce summer hairballs and increases your cat’s comfort.

    Indoor dangers – Letting fresh air in is important, however according to the Ottawa Humane Society, thousands of cats fall each year—from balconies and open or poorly-screened windows. Ensure window screens are properly installed and do not allow your cat free access to balconies.

    Those pesky critters – Just like humans, animals tend to come out of hibernation once summer arrives. Raccoons, rodents, foxes and other cats can be a real danger to an outdoor cat and animal fights are common. It is important that your cat stay inside to avoid physical confrontation with wildlife. If your cat does gets out accidently, they should be up-to-date on vaccines and are spayed or neutered – this  will help curb the possibility of cat fights and chances of reproduction.

    Creepy crawlies – The summer crawlies are everywhere! Parasites such as fleas like to rest in the cool, shaded areas that your cat will lie in if let outside. Keeping cats indoors reduces the chance of bringing fleas and other parasites into your home. Another danger is heartworm, easily transmitted by mosquito bites. If you are going to put your cat on a parasite prevention program, speak with your veterinarian, as some marketed flea and tick medication can be very poisonous to your cat.

    Danger! Danger! – Some things are out there in the world and impossible to avoid if a cat is left to roam outside. Chemicals such as rat poison, slug bait, lawn and garden pesticides are inescapable and it is important for you to be extremely vigilant in watching what it is that your cat gets into. The nicer the weather, the more people are outside and with over a thousand cats struck and killed by motor vehicles annually throughout the GTA, cars are also a very real and serious danger to outdoor cats.

    And now that you know kitty will be safe this summer, put on those shorts, that 100 SPF sunblock  and have a safe, happy summer as well!

    cat drinks from tap

  • Happy Tails: Marylou & Charlie Bucket (formerly Peanuts)

    Marylou and Charlie Bucket (nee Peanuts) were born outside, in the garden of an elderly and compassionate woman who brought the little family inside, knowing they would perish outdoors. After some time in a loving ACR foster home, this rambunctious and affectionate duo has found their forever home.

    Peanuts & Marylou

    Though siblings, Marylou and Charlie have very different personalities. Marylou is confident, fearless and social (she plays fetch). Charlie is cautious and reserved; knowing that curiosity killed the cat, he regularly volunteers Marylou to try new things first. This said, he is devoted to his sister and if he doesn’t know where she is, will meow softly until he finds her.

    Once satisfied that the two fluff-balls he kept meeting were of his own tribe, the foster home’s resident feline took his mentoring responsibilities seriously, allowing them to follow him around and holding regular tutoring sessions on the finer points of wrestling.

    Now fully primed to live a life of comfort and ease, Marylou and Charlie Bucket are settling into their new and forever home with Vera and her two children. Losing their 18 year old Jezebel last summer was very hard for Vera’s family; they knew that cat-sitting for a friend for four months would help to get past their grief. They were right and when Gigi went home, they felt ready for a new friend. Based on the fact that one cat may be lonely and that homes for bonded pairs are harder to find, they came to the logical and reasonable conclusion that two is better than one and began looking for the perfect pair. It didn’t take long…

    The reports are in and it’s no surprise! Marylou and Charlie are not only thriving, they are providing 100% of the family’s entertainment and performing the invaluable service of finding knick-knacks thought to be lost forever. Charlie is now twice the size of Mary Lou and they are very sweet together; chase each other around (all night!), wrestle, snuggle, cuddle, eat, sleep and repeat. It’s clear that Marylou and Charlie have found a perfect match in Vera’s family and incidentally, Vera and her kids feel exactly the same way.

  • Summertime Tips for Colony Management

    Weather consistently poses challenges for those overseeing feral cat colonies but, as with most dilemmas, a little foresight and ingenuity conquers all.

    In summertime as in winter, food and water management is key. Keeping the cats’ water supply abundant and cool is the main concern during the hot months. Be sure water containers are kept in shady places to avoid rapid evaporation and consider placing additional containers near feeding areas, in case cats drink more than anticipated.

    “I also like adding ice cubes to the water dishes which helps to keep it cold a bit longer,” offers Elizabeth Cabral, who manages three colonies citywide. Wet food can augment hydration but it comes with its own issues – namely, it dries out fast and attracts flies.

    To combat the latter, Cabral instructs her volunteer feeders “to put the wet food out either first thing in the morning or later in the evening when flies don’t seem to be as active.” Adding water directly to wet food slows the drying out process with the added benefit of providing extra hydration for the cats.

    With dry food, pest invasion of the dishes – especially invasion by ants – is a problem. But there are multiple ways to fight this: by raising the dishes off the ground with feet or by surrounding them moat-like with water or a ring of baking soda. Alley Cat Allies’ Summer Weather Tips offer links to recommended ant-proof bowls available for purchase online, or clever replication at home.

    Food MoatCat Bowl

    Bonus summertime feeding tip, according to Alley Cat Allies: “Deter slugs and snails by creating a barrier around food dishes or feeding stations with copper tape. Copper tape can be found at most hardware and gardening stores, or online. It doesn’t kill slugs or snails, but its natural electric charge deters them.”

    Cabral also advocates erecting shaded feeding stations for her colonies (made from found wood) and keeping dishes clean by bringing along an extra set. That way, emptied food dishes that have been outdoors all day (acting as landing pads for flies) are not re-used for evening feedings.

    Cats in the Shade

    Finally, if you are performing Trap-Neuter-Return during the summer months, make sure to consider how heat affects the cats’ safety. Ensure cats don’t remain in their traps for long by making your neuter appointments for directly after your trapping and never place traps on surfaces that can get extremely hot from the sun, such as asphalt, where a metal trap will absorb heat and burn the cats’ paws.


  • Happy Tails: Gabriel & Gloria
     When Gabriel and Gloria (brother and sister) first arrived in their foster home, they were very frightened kitties.
    For several days, they huddled together for comfort under the bed, emerging only in the dead of night to find the litter box and dishes of food and water. Finally, they cautiously ventured out during the day to explore their new environment for a few minutes at a time, quickly retreating to their hiding place when they saw or heard anything unusual. They recoiled when they were approached by foster mum, Ruth, not wanting her to touch them or even get near them. They didn’t meow or purr, and didn’t even know their names.

    Gabriel & Gloria

    After approximately 10 months in foster care, with a great deal of encouragement, they have blossomed into charming cats. Gabriel, a large orange tabby, is a gentle soul. He is proud of his rich, thick coat and loves to be brushed and combed. When he is not sleeping, which is most of the day, he likes to gaze out the window, watching for snow, falling leaves and birds.

    Gloria is very energetic and affectionate, following foster mum around like a little shadow and nestling beside her in the reclining chair.

    When not playing with toys by themselves, or enjoying interactive play with mum, they like to chase each other around the apartment and have friendly wrestling matches, occasionally stopping briefly to groom each other.  “They have also found their voices, so their spontaneous meowing and purring are music to my ears,” said foster mum, Ruth.

  • Cats with Disabilities: Small Adjustments Earn Big Rewards

    He didn’t exactly campaign for the job, but Rufus could be the poster cat for felines successfully living with disabilities.

    The beautiful, slender approximately six-year-old tabby – who is deaf – offers a persuasive example of why would-be adopters should remain open to all possibilities. What’s more, Rufus is proof positive that disabilities shouldn’t be confused with shortcomings. Also, that every potential challenge has an intuitive solution.


    What we know of Rufus’ story began in August 2012, when former foster mom Ruth Botelho first received the cat. He was found wandering a hallway in an apartment building by a tenant unable to locate his owner.

    Botelho soon realized Rufus was profoundly deaf. “During routine fire-alarm testing in my apartment building, when a very loud alarm goes on for several minutes, Rufus would sleep, completely unaware of the sound,” she says.  “Yet apart from his deafness, he was normal in every other way:  friendly, lively and affectionate.  Socialization was never an issue.” And he loved to play impromptu games of hide-and-seek.

    Still, Botelho had to determine novel ways of communicating with the cat. She consulted a friend with some experience in the area, and devised some simple tactics including pressing her mouth into the back of his neck and talking to him so that he picked up positive, friendly vibrations; tapping the surface he was sleeping on to rouse him without startling him and placing food beneath his nose to alert him to dinnertime.

    “And I never crept up on him from behind, but positioned myself where he could see me before I touched him. In the nine months that Rufus was with me,” Botelho says, “there was a succession of four other foster cats – two males and two females – and he was friendly with all of them.”

    Botelho says Rufus was a flat-out joy – a sentiment echoed by his forever mom, Alison Colpitts, who adopted the cat in May 2013.

    “I had wanted to adopt a cat that not everyone would adopt – either an elderly cat or a cat with some sort of illness or disability,” Colpitts offers. “I love tabby cats and thought Rufus was extremely handsome so I knew I wanted him right away. When I met him at his foster mom’s place I was so taken by his personality. He seemed like such a loving, personable cat.”

    Colpitts, too, devised alternative ways of communicating with the cat though she confesses “I still talk to him even though he can’t hear me. I’ll often hold him against my chest and hum a song hoping that he can feel some vibrations. He knows when I’m around and can sense my presence,” she says, adding that Rufus benefits from abundant physical contact, possibly because of his deafness.

    In talking to both foster mom and forever mom, it’s clear what’s most compelling about Rufus is not his deafness but his Rufus-ness and his uniquely feline idiosyncrasies.

    “His cutest personality quirk is his love of sleeping under blankets. He’ll often curl up by my feet under a blanket on the couch and he’ll sleep there for hours,” Colpitts says. “He’ll also snuggle right up with me in bed, too. It’s almost painful how adorable he looks all tucked in.

    “My friends often comment that he’s the sweetest, friendliest cat they know. He greets strangers by running to them and purring as if he’s instantly made a new best friend. Honestly,” she says, “I could talk about Rufus all day.”


  • Happy Tails: Huxtable (formerly Rascal) Finds His Forever Home with ACR

    The concept of love at first sight is alive, well and living in the Annex area in the happy home of Chloe Fox, fiancé Devon Miller and Huxtable the cat, a roughly year-old tabby with green eyes as enchanting as the treetops of Algonquin Park.

    “We got him at the beginning of January,” Fox explains. “We had been thinking about adopting a cat since we moved to Toronto from B.C. last summer. We’d heard about Annex Cat Rescue; we started working with them in the fall. We were trying to find our cat and after Christmas we decided to ramp it up.

    “We had seen Huxtable – then named Rascal – online and he seemed like our kind of guy. So we went and saw him, immediately fell in love and took him home the next day. He was a bit shy but came up to us and wanted to be patted. And it’s just been amazing.”

    As for the name change, Fox says she had come across another ACR cat named Huxtable. “And I remembered thinking, ‘What an amazing name for a cat.’ Plus Devon and I grew up with The Cosby Show so it just seemed to fit.”

    As is often the case with cats coming into care at ACR, Huxtable’s provenance is something of a mystery. Fox was told by foster mom Jacqueline Sharp that Huxtable, whom Sharp took in last November, had been discovered living outside somewhere in Etobicoke.

    “Some old women in the neighbourhood had been feeding him but had alerted ACR about him and they went and got him,” Fox says. “I think the old women were quite taken with him. He is very friendly and loves people.”

    These days, Huxtable can be found romping with his favourite toy, “a little rectangle filled with stuffing and some cat nip. He loves that,” Fox says.

    She continues: “He loves playing with us. If he is playing by himself he will often meow at us to join which we are of course happy to do. He is a real people-cat and a bit of a Momma’s boy,” she laughs. “I work at home most days and he’s usually right beside me or on my lap all day. When I get up and move, he gets up and moves. He has adjusted nicely.”

    And Fox can’t say enough about her great experience working with Annex Cat Rescue. “It’s such a caring organization and all the cats seem to be so well loved in their foster homes. Plus the volunteers are dedicated to getting the right match between cat and owner.”

    Happy Tails - Huxtable

  • Summer Lovin’ Adopt-a-Thon


    Meet our lovely kittens and cats who are excited to find their forever homes!

    Wooftown10 Birch Ave (near Summerhill Station)
    Sunday June 15th, 11am – 5pm

    Come and enjoy all of the festivities:
    -face painting
    -bake sale
    -lemonade stand
    -locally made cat treats & toys

    All are welcome!

    You can meet these cuties there!

    Summer Lovin' Cats for Adoption

  • Happy Tails: Betty

    Beautiful Betty, fearful and shy after her scary time on the streets, has blossomed at last after finding her forever home with ACR adopter Linda.


    Annex Cat Rescue saved Betty from a life on the streets, living behind a restaurant, where she was at risk of being poisoned.

    Linda had always had cats, and found herself missing the companionship a cat provides. She and her teenage daughter had been looking for an older, affection cat.

    When Linda first went to meet her, she was warned that Betty, then called Betty Boo as she was so shy, might not come out to say hi. Despite Betty’s shyness, something must have clicked, because Linda knew Betty was the one for her and applied to adopt her.

    And then came the challenge of getting Betty into her carrier for the journey home. Linda laughed as she described the scene as she and Betty’s foster mom tried to get Betty into the carrier– “Hissing, snarling and pooping, the foster parent left bleeding”. Undettered by Betty’s big show, Linda took her home, prepared to wait days, if not weeks, for Betty to come around. Opening the cage door, Betty slinked off. But within a few hours she was out of hiding and exploring her new home.

    Linda is delighted with Betty. She describes her as active, affectionate, quirky, and maybe a little crazy, but that’s just fine with Linda. Betty has turned into the most gregarious cat. She is the official apartment greeter now, not even afraid of the teenage visitors. She loves to play fetch with her special toy, a fluffy ball that makes a crackly noise, which Linda has taken to calling “The Precious” because Betty is so attached to it.

    Annex Cat rescue wishes to thank Betty’s former foster and Linda for taking such good care of this sweet kitty, who was just waiting to find the right home to come out of her shell.

  • Spring Fete Adopt-a-thon Success!

    The Spring Fete Adopt-a-thon, which was held in May, was our first of the year and a great success.  Held at Pet Uno, the Adopt-a-thon saw four cats find forever homes and raised over $690 from sales and donations.

    Pet Uno

    Pet Uno Adopters

    Danielle, the Adopt-a-thon Coordinator confirms there are two more Adopt-a-thons planned for this summer, “Our next one will take place at Wooftown – an independent pet shop at Yonge and Summerhill.”

    Not only will the Adopt-a-thons feature some of our adorable cats and kittens, but other great ways to support ACR, “This event will also include a bake sale, face painting, lemonade stand, and locally made cat treats and toys – as well as some super cute items donated from local Etsy shops.”

    The next ACR Adopt-a-thon is June 15, 11 AM – 5 PM at Wooftown, 10 Birch Avenue – we can’t wait to see you there!

  • Featured Feline: Sylvester

    Sylvester is approximately four years old with a beautiful black and white coat. He recently came to ACR as a stray but has adjusted very quickly in his foster home. “Sylvester is the best!” exclaims his foster mom Catherine, “I can’t stop taking pictures of him; he’s adorable.”


    Catherine feels he’ll be a great addition to any household with his very social personality, “his meows and chirps are the cutest thing.” Not a morning person? Sylvester is here to help, “This morning I must have hit ‘snooze’ too many times, because he hopped up on the bed and sat beside me,” chuckles Catherine.

    His fun-loving curiosity keeps him busy, but he’s never too busy to come when called (in hopes of getting his favourite – a belly rub!) Sylvester will gladly accept head scratches too, and will happily thump his tail on the floor to show his appreciation.

    Unfortunately, like many cats roaming the streets, Sylvester was once someone’s pet as he was found declawed, and is blind in one eye. Neither of these things slow him down though says Catherine, “he plays with his toys and loves getting his face rubbed.”

    To give Sylvester his forever home, please visit

    Check out Sylvester in action:


  • The Joys of Adopting an Older Cat

    Like most clichés, the old chestnut about some things improving with age holds a fundamental truth. Consider cats. Kittens are adorable, sure, but mature cats offer potential owners huge advantages over their scampering kitten brethren. The trick is looking beneath the furry exterior.

    Lynn Deverteuil knows exactly how rewarding it can be to open the door to an older cat. Before adopting eight-year-old Cosette, who had been dumped at a barn, Deverteuil fostered the feline. But Cosette’s attributes were so obvious and persuasive that Deverteuil ultimately offered a forever home.

    “Older cats are out of the rambunctious kitten phase,” she said. “They have established a personality so it’s easier to find one to suit your lifestyle. Also, they have usually been spayed or neutered and had their vaccines.”

    She continues: “Cats can have a long life journey which means there may be years of pet ownership ahead with an older cat. Not only that, they often have a back story and it feels good to take over that relationship.

    “Older cats are easily contented and loving once settled – at least all the ones I have fostered. In the end though, cats are cats,” Deverteuil adds. “They have different personalities and quirks. It’s humbling just to accept and enjoy who they are. And Cosette is doing great!”

    Like Cosette, Fritzy has a smitten super-fan. Jane Morris adopted the seven-year-old female tabby after her previous owner had surrendered her to an animal hospital and Jane hasn’t looked back.

    “She is a wonderful girl who has settled into her forever home without a hitch,” Morris confirms. “It can be harder for older cats to find a home and being middle-aged myself, I appreciate her mature attitude to life:  she sleeps through the night, goes to bed and wakes up when I do, provides loving companionship, and enjoys goofing off.”

    “Fritz is the second adult cat I’ve adopted and I intend to continue adopting adults in the future.  I still can’t believe how lucky I am to be sharing my life and home with her.”

    Lest there remain any doubt about the benefits of adopting an older cat over a kitten, consider the story of eight-year-old Wilson, who was left behind in an apartment for two months when his owner died. Though the property manager fed him and sister Jane, by the time Wilson reached foster care, he was shell-shocked.

    Yet forever mom Dayna Shiskos, a first-time cat owner, immediately recognized Wilson’s potential when she met him last January. “It was his freckles that got me,” she enthuses.

    “After hearing his sad story, I knew I had to take him home. He had been through so much and I wanted to give him a happy forever home. Honestly, he was the cutest thing I had ever seen and though I couldn’t see his personality when I first met him, it totally shines now.

    “He and I are best buds. He follows me around, sits beside me on the couch, sleeps at the foot of my bed… he just loves attention. I’m not sure if all adoptions are this smooth, but Wilson has been a joy from the start.”

    Beat that, Junior.

    Cosette Fritzy & Wilson


  • Surgery Success for Stumpy!

    Annex Cat Rescue is overwhelmed with the generosity of donations and support that Stumpy has received. Our previous newsletter shared Stumpy’s transformation from a cantankerous colony cat, into a loving cuddle bug and his dire need for Femoral Head Ostectomy surgery (FHO).

    To correct this degenerative hip disease, Stumpy had the first surgery on his right hip on May 14, 2014. This life-changing surgery couldn’t have been done without the overwhelming support of our donors who gave $1,275 towards his care.


    Jennifer, the foster parent helping Stumpy through his recovery said, “He was in horrendous pain on Wednesday night, but much to my amazement, Stumpy greeted me at his bedroom door on Thursday morning. Stumpy can walk!”

    Stumpy was almost entirely immobile and on a daily dose of pain medication since being brought off the streets almost two months ago. Jennifer is still overwhelmed at his progress. “Just one day post -surgery and Stumpy has mobility! I can’t believe it! And I can’t thank you all enough.”

    However, he isn’t through the hard times just yet. In a few weeks, Stumpy will have surgery on the left hip. While it’s heartbreaking to hear his wails of pain as he attempts to stand, Jennifer remains optimistic. “He was lying on his right side this morning, he’s chatty and he purrs like a roaring lion, so I know he’s starting to feel a little better.”

    Our veterinarian team says the pain should subside within a few weeks. We will keep you updated on Stumpy’s progress!

    Watch Stumpy walk after his first surgery:

    and his latest video!

  • Happy Tails: Noodal Finds Her Forever Home with ACR

    Any politician would kill for the kind of ringing endorsement Noodal the cat routinely inspires in everyone who crosses her path.

    “Awesome,” “great” and “cuddly” are just some of the adjectives the black-and-white feline has prompted in her caregivers, notably the woman who found her pregnant, homeless and living as part of a colony in the city’s east end early last year and especially, her foster mom.

    Indeed, ACR volunteer Norelle French came to adore Noodal so much while fostering her that she adopted her and is now her forever home.


    “She is the most affectionate and hilarious little creature I’ve ever met,” says French, who took Noodal in last summer, realizing in short order that the cat – age and provenance unknown – was destined to be a permanent part of her life.

    “She is something else. I have known many cats but none like her. You can hear her in the background, doing her little gurgle-meow,” French laughs, adding that she had previously fostered two brothers but found the separation too painful when they were finally placed in their forever home.

    “I cried my eyes out. I just couldn’t go through that again,” she says. “I took Noodal in with the intention of fostering her but just fell madly in love with her. I think I knew pretty quickly I was going to keep her. She has been so sweet from day one. She is just the best kitty.”

    That sentiment is echoed by Hedy Hurter, who discovered Noodal last winter among the cats in the colony she was then tending in the Broadview and Dundas area.

    “I noticed that she was pregnant, and she was very friendly, so I scooped her up, put her in a kennel and brought her home,” Hurter says. “She had her six babies in our bathroom last January,” – all were adopted out by ACR – “and she was just an amazing mom. She is an amazing cat, period.”

    Hurter says that while she very much wanted to keep Noodal – so named by her daughter Tamra Enman because of the white noodle-like moustache on her sweet face – the cat triggered allergies.

    “Every cat has different dander. I am allergic to some and not others but I really did love her and we would have kept her if we could have,” Enman confirms. “I mean, the moment you would walk into a room she’s like ‘Hello! Pet me! Love me!’ She was just great and a very great mom to her babies.”

    Forever mom French couldn’t be happier. “Noodal sleeps on a pillow right next to my pillow. She’s very attached to me. And when I have company over, even if she doesn’t know the person, she’ll be right up there greeting them and head-butting them and wrapping her tail around them. She is a very special kitty.”

  • ACR Spring Fête Adopt-a-thon

    Join Annex Cat Rescue at our Spring Fete Adopt-a-thon!

    Pet Uno
    675 College (at Beatrice)
    Saturday May 10th, 2014
    10am – 5pm

    Meet our lovely kittens and cats who are excited to find their forever homes!

    ACR Spring Fête Adopt-a-thon

    Come and enjoy all of the festivities:

    • face painting
    • bake sale
    • lemonade stand
    • locally made cat treats & toys

    Get your face painted to look like your favourite ACR cat by local actress Ann Pirvu who plays “Josey the Clown” on Global’s hit new TV series “Remedy“!

    To help us promote this event, please help us by printing and hanging some posters for us!



  • Snow-free Sanctuary for Toronto’s Feral Cats

    “I feel like part of a team – like I make a difference,” says Stephen McGillis, a resident of the Atkinson Co-operative who has recently been building outdoor shelter structures for feral cats living near the Kensington Route. Stephen believes that the city’s homeless and feral cats need refuge and security as much as people do – and this led him towards his own form of contribution – an elaborate shelter structure that can house up to seven feral cats in his own backyard during the cold winter months.

    ACR Winter Shelter

    Stephen has adapted shelter-style spaces for cats to take refuge in away from the harsh elements of Toronto’s winter weather in the Atkinson Co-op area. Cats began showing up in Stephen’s area a few years ago, and soon enough, there were “regulars” that frequented his backyard. The cats who now call his backyard home were originally afraid, but soon grew confident to approach and interact with him.

    Made of Rubbermaid tubs, Styrofoam, and straw, these shelters are predominantly built at the Toronto Humane Society and at shelter build clinics organized by the Toronto Street Cats organization. Stephen has modified these basic structures with his own materials and creative ideas – focusing on creating an environment where the cats can seek shelter, but also play and enjoy living in a safe space. Stephen’s shelters are filled with blankets, towels, and toys and are variations of the structures created by volunteers at shelter build clinics.

    ACR Winter Shelter

    ACR Board Chair and volunteer Marianne Premuzic describes the importance of these structures as a basic form of refuge, “the straw and Styrofoam insulation in the shelters really provides a great deal of warmth for the cats” says Marianne, who has participated at shelter build clinics. Outdoor shelters are intended for feral cats, usually the offspring of tame cats who are abandoned or lost and have grown up without human contact. “The winter shelters are a key element in improving the lives of homeless cats in Toronto,” notes Marianne, who advocates for a standard of care for those cats living beyond the confines of domestic homes.

    While outdoor shelters might seem like a small contribution, the act of proving feral cats with warmth, security, and refuge greatly improves their quality of life. “If they’re okay, then I’m okay,” says Stephen, who is just happy to be making his furry friends’ lives a little bit easier. “They’ve never had love, security, or a home” says Stephen, whose actions, combined with the many efforts of shelter build volunteers in the GTA, are making a meaningful difference for feral cats in need of an outdoor place to call home.

    Donations to ACR’s “Purrrfect Gifts” holiday giving campaign under the “Snow-free Sanctuary” category helped provide numerous outdoor shelters for feral cats this winter – thank you for your generosity in helping to provide warmth and safety to feral cats across the city!

    For more information about outdoor shelters for feral cats, check out the Toronto Street Cats website – a great resource for information on volunteering at shelter builds and why these structures are so important to our furry friends living outdoors in the GTA.


  • Toby Finds his Forever Home with ACR!

    When Toby first came to the ACR community, he was rescued from a rough start in life. Abandonment, feral colonies, street life, and even a brush with death are just a few of the trials Toby has faced in his short life. Despite these hardships, Toby wasn’t ready to give up on a bright future – and his spirit must have seen him through. His alley cat appearance allowed him to blend in with a feral colony, but ACR volunteers soon discovered this fearless fighter and knew that he needed a place to call home.

    The harsh lifestyle endured by feral colonies left Toby with FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus – necessitating a warm and welcoming foster home. Toby was taken in by Roz, an ACR volunteer who believed in his right to a rich and full life. Roz recalls the process of adjusting Toby to domestic life off the streets: “He would scarf down tuna out of the can, he would tear open the garbage bags if they contained chicken, he sat by our sides when we were eating, just like a dog, and beg for scraps! You see, he lived in Kensington Market, fending for himself.” Although often facing an upset stomach, Toby certainly retained his appetite and soon regained much of his strength.

    In addition to being a hearty eater, Toby was often vocal and sought interaction. He had a talent for playing ball and served as an excellent in-house alarm clock with plenty of morning meows. After vet visits and a stabilized diet, Toby regained much of his zest for life. 9 months after taking him in, Roz prepared Toby for adoption and recalls the change she witnessed – “his coat was shiny and smooth, he had a bit more fat on his bones, and he was so comfortable with the people that came to check him out!” She couldn’t have been happier that two people came along and saw the real Toby.


    In his new home with owners Karen & Ian, Toby (who now goes by “Khan”) has a FIV+ brother named Neelix to bond with. Karen was pleasantly surprised at how easily Toby and Neelix accepted one another. Peaceful during the daytime and playful at night, Toby and Neelix have a cardboard castle that they share when they’re not chasing each other around the house. Like Roz, Karen notes Toby’s chatty disposition — “[He’s] a very vocal little guy, he tends to wander into other rooms and then start chirping, meowing and having loud conversations by himself. When we follow him into the room, he stops and stares at us like ‘What? There’s nothing happening here’ It’s a riot.” Toby’s desire for companionship, after facing so much solitude, is part of what makes him truly special. Although he will continue to live with FIV, Toby’s monitored diet helps to keep his tummy troubles at bay. Karen focuses on Toby’s wonderful spirit, noting that he “bounces back to normal after a day or two” when feeling under the weather. Toby has an inner strength that simply cannot be broken.


    We couldn’t be happier that Toby has finally found the forever home that he deserves. ACR would like to thank Roz for fostering Toby and nursing him back to health and happiness, to Karen and Ian for making room in their lives for another furry family member, and to the ACR community for always caring about Toby and believing in his right to life and love.

    Read Toby’s Story from the ACR blog last year.


  • Introducing Purrrfect Gifts

    Looking for the purrfect gift for the person who has everything? Just in time for the holidays, Annex Cat Rescue is happy to announce Purrrfect Gifts – a giving program that allows you to commemorate holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions by providing life-saving help to homeless cats.

    Purrrfect Gifts

    A variety of gifts are available, ranging from winter shelters for cats living on the streets to complete cat rescue packages.  Gifts of volunteer time in honour of a loved one are also available.  Each Purrrfect Gift comes with the option for you to send the recipient an e-card or have Annex Cat Rescue mail you or your gift recipient a beautiful card and certificate featuring one of our rescued cats and their story. Tax receipts are provided for financial gifts.  To find the Purrrfect Gift for everyone on your list, visit

  • Holiday Promotion

    For the month of December, the Annex Cat Rescue is having a special promotion on the adoption fees of all of our cats over 6 months old. The adoption fee of $100 will help us get more cats home for the holidays.

    Adoption Promo - December 2013See all of our cats for adoption!


  • Aviva Community Fund Semi-Finals

    The Animal Alliance of Canada has two ideas which have made it to the semi-finals of the Aviva Community Fund project – the Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition & Project Jessie.

    The final round of voting is Dec2 to Dec11, 2013, and then the top 10 ideas will each win $5000 and maybe be funded for up to $50,000.

    You have 15 votes but only 10 days to use them, so you can support more than one idea.

    Please vote EVERY day! If both ideas make top 10 then both will get $5000 and maybe more, and that will help a lot of animals!

    Click on the images below, to vote for each idea (you will need to register once, or you can vote via your Facebook account).

    Aviva - Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition

    Aviva - Project Jessie

  • The Artisans’ Gift Fair at the Tranzac

    The Annex Cat Rescue will once again be participating in the Artisans’ Gift Fair at the Tranzac Club.


    Please come visit our table & purchase quality handcrafted gifts for your furry friends! Your purchases will benefit ACR cats in need of a forever home. Our volunteers will be happy to help you find a purrrfect gift for your cat or that someone special.

    Please come by our table on any of the following dates:
    December 7/8, 14/15, 21/22, 2013


    SHOW TIME: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

    LOCATION: The Tranzac is located at 292 Brunswick Avenue, just south of Bloor Street, between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue. Click here for map.

    3 Blocks from Spadina Subway (Bloor Danforth & University lines)
    or 3 Blocks from Bathurst Subway station.
    1 Block from Large Municipal Parking Lot (entrance on Lippincott)

    Artisans' Gift Fair

    Every year during the holiday season, The Artisans’ Gift Fair hosts a fine collection of affordable one-of-a-kind gift products. Vendors gather at the Tranzac, located in the Annex at Bloor and Brunswick, displaying quality handcrafted gifts that range from funky contemporary to a sophisticated classic style.


  • Beautiful Black and White

    I find Black and White cats to be beautiful because their markings are very unique. Often though, they have some sort of “V” on the chest, giving them their name of “Tuxedo” cats. They’re also called “Jellicle” cats in the UK after the fictional tribe of black and white cats described by T. S. Eliot in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and in the stage musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the book.

    It’s also rumoured that Black and White cats are the most intelligent cats and may make the other coloured cats in the household smarter as well. Read other tidbits about Black and White cat here.

    We currently have FOURTEEN black and white cats for adoption, which is more than 25% of our total number of cats for adoption!

    And check out this video of LOVE BUG, Mikey!

  • Zoomer Show

    The Annex Cat Rescue will be at the Zoomer Show, Saturday & Sunday October 26 & 27.  ZoomerShow is Canada’s largest consumer show and lifestyle expo for men and women 45+.


    Direct Energy Centre, Halls C & D,CNE Grounds, 100 Prince’s Blvd
    Saturday October  26th – 9am to 5pm
    Sunday October 27th – 10amto 5pm

    The ZoomerShow is Canada’s largest consumer show and lifestyle expo for men and women 45+.

    Health, money, travel, lifestyle… if it’s hot, if it’s important, if it can benefit you, it’s at the ZoomerShow. Find the latest trends, the newest products and services, all focused on you and your needs.

    Explore hundreds of way to live big. Travel, money, health and fitness, retirement and reinvention – if it’s new, if it can show you how to live big, it’s at the ZoomerShow.

    Don’t just watch… get moving Dance to the music you grew up with, learn new ways to get in shape. We’ll get you going at the ZoomerShow.

    Join our Facebook Event if you’re planning to attend, and get your complimentary ticket by entering the promotional code: “Annexcatrescue”



    Annex Cat Rescue, as a member of the Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition, will be celebrating Feral Cat Awareness Week at CAT-A-THON, at Nathan Phillips Square, Friday October 18th, 11am – 5pm. Please join us!


  • National Feral Cat Day, October 16, 2013


    National Feral Cat Day 2013

    It’s a quote that has been claimed by everyone from Churchill to Gandhi, Dostoyevsky to Truman, likely because it exhibits extraordinary wisdom: “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.”

    Which means our society has plenty to answer for, especially when it comes to feral cats. Deeply misunderstood when they are thought of at all and often reviled when they should be pitied, feral cats – essentially displaced domestics that, for some sad reason (abuse, neglect, dislocation) find themselves homeless – live among us in staggering numbers.

    It is estimated that the feral cat population in Toronto exceeds 100,000. Since cats are lousy at completing census forms, no one really knows how many itinerant felines urgently seek food and shelter wherever they can find it. But even if that number is overblown by half, it remains troubling, especially since feral cats multiply very quickly.

    In five years, an unspayed feral female can produce 20,000 descendants. Grow that by neighbourhoods across North America, and a desperate picture emerges.

    Certainly, “colony caretakers” – kind souls who voluntarily feed and monitor feral cats that bunch together in ad hoc groups or colonies – know the numbers are dispiriting, and not just for dispossessed kittens and cats on the loose but also for birds and other creatures in their path.

    Perhaps most vexing: much of the feral cat problem could be solved simply by keeping all cats indoors, ensuring all are spayed/neutered and, especially, by collectively regarding cats as sentient beings every bit as worthy of our humane stewardship as dogs.

    October 16 is National Feral Cat Day, a chance for organizations and individuals to start a dialog about how to solve the spiralling problem of feral cats in urban settings: how to implement trap-neuter-release programs to combat reproduction; how to manage ferals compassionately and effectively outdoors (in some cases, by bringing them indoors); how to dramatically reduce their numbers going forward through education and awareness.

    “Feral cats are no different than other cats except that they were born away from people,” offers Annex Cat Rescue’s Marianne Premuzic. “As a result, their lives are very difficult; they are exposed to all kinds of dangers and they often don’t live very long. Their numbers are untold; when you start feeding them, they turn up.

    “Cats were domesticated by humans all these years ago and we have an obligation to care for them. By doing trap-neuter-return programs, we are trying to reduce the feral cat population in Toronto. We would ultimately love to get to a situation where there are no outdoor cats… or as close to that as we can come.”

    Some people believe cats will survive if abandoned. Wrong. Animal shelters euthanize thousands of stray cats each year, and many more die slow, miserable deaths from starvation, disease, accidents, abuse or attacks from predators.

    Annex Cat Rescue routinely traps, spays/neuters, and vaccinates feral cats. Daily, volunteers leave water and dry food at designated feeding stations for outdoor felines. Small feral kittens are temporarily housed with foster caregivers and eventually adopted out as pets.

    Along with multiple caring partners in the GTA, Annex Cat Rescue is committed to addressing the feral cat problem in all the above-mentioned ways for as long as necessary. But we cannot do it without your support, so please give generously. And spread the word. “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.” We strive to make that our saying, too.

    -Kim Hughes


  • Pet Valu ADOPT-A-THON

    The Annex Cat Rescue will be holding an ADOPT-A-THON weekend at Pet Valu, Richview Square in Etobicoke as part of their PAW – Pet Appreciation Weekend.

    Pet Valu Adopt-a-Thon

     We’ll be extending our promotional pricing for this event. $125 for one kitten or cat and $225 for two kittens or cats (regardless of age).

    Come out see some of ACR’s cats and kittens available for adoption including Tiggy!


    Saturday October 5, 10am – 6pm
    Sunday October 6, 10am – 5pm

    Pet Valu, Richmond Square
    250 Wincott Drive, Etobicoke

    Join our Facebook Event if you plan to attend!


  • Toronto Indie Arts Market

    On September 14th, the Annex Cat Rescue will be participating in the Toronto Indie Arts Market at the Gladstone Hotel. Partial proceeds will be donated back to ACR!

    50+ vendors of art, crafts fashion, food, small press, music and more!

    Toronto Indie Arts Market

    Saturday September 14th
    10:30am – 4:30pm
    The Gladstone Hotel
    1214 Queen Street West
    Admission $5, but free before 11am!

    Join our Facebook Event if you plan to attend.


  • 29th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival

    ACR will be at the 29th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival at Harbourfront Centre, Friday September 6th – Sunday September 8th.

    29th Annual Vegetarian


    Friday – 4pm-9pm
    Saturday – 12pm-9pm
    Sunday 12pm-7pm

    Harbourfront Centre
    235 Queen’s Quay West Toronto


    Free talks and cooking demonstrations from leading vegetarian experts.

    Shop from over 130 vendors, local Toronto restaurants, and bakeries.

    Swing by our booth IM 26 to talk about volunteer or adoption opportunities and stock up on some of our famous, handmade catnip crafts!  Please join our Facebook Event if you plan to attend.


  • Lou Ellen

    Movie fans know that comeback stories – both onscreen and off – are among the most rewarding.

    The hoped-for comeback of Lou Ellen, described by a caregiver as “a ravishing beauty in her youth who has fallen on hard times as she’s gotten older” and quite dramatic in scope, could be proverbial Oscar material, if the planets align.

    Lou Ellen

    The striking long-haired calico, estimated to be about 10 years old, was almost certainly someone’s pet at some point; despite her obvious recent hardships, Lou Ellen is gentle and affectionate, enchanting the humans who cross her path.

    She was discovered by a resident of the Atkinson Co-op in Toronto’s Alexandra Park neighbourhood. Annex Cat Rescue volunteers had been canvassing the area this summer as part of its “Co-op Cats” Spay/Neuter campaign. Posters and door-hangers that had been distributed netted calls about feral/strays seen roaming, including Lou Ellen.

    So skinny and profoundly underfed was Lou Ellen when she was first discovered at the Co-op that she was mistaken for a kitten. The concerned resident who found her (dubbing her Lou Ellen) wanted to keep the cat but could not, so ACR immediately intervened, collecting Lou Ellen and ferrying her to the vet. As might be imagined under the circumstances, the diagnosis was a classic case of good news/not-so-good news.

    The good news: Lou Ellen is FeLV and FIV negative, has been spayed, is regaining weight, and responded to treatment for parasites, fleas and ear mites. Best, she is every inch the poised, lovely lady you would expect from a former pet that had been neglected or discarded but is readying for her next close-up.

    The less good news: Lou Ellen has renal insufficiency; she is at about the second stage of the five stages of kidney disease. However, special food and regular vet care renders the condition manageable. Some bald patches now visible on her slight body are related to her diet/kidney issues and should grow back in time. Her teeth may require dental surgery down the road.

    All of which are just so many details when weighed against the pluses in the personality column. “She is just so sweet, she likes being petted and doesn’t seem at all afraid of people in general,” offers the ACR volunteer first on the scene when the Co-op resident reported Lou Ellen.

    When the volunteer initially glimpsed the cat, “She was eating a can of cat food and didn’t even look up at me until it was finished – she was so hungry and so underweight! But she let people pet her, and let me pick her up and put her in the carrier. On the short trip to the vet, she only mewed quietly a few times as if to check that someone was there.”

    Today, Lou Ellen – perhaps destined to play the role of a pussycat Betty White in a similarly glorious return to form – seeks a forever home where her charms can be counted on as a daily occurrence. Kind of like a favorite movie you return to over and over, which just never seems to get old.

    By Kimberly Hughes

    If you are interested in fostering Lou Ellen, please email Annex Cat Rescue about becoming a foster parent:

    If you are interested in giving Lou Ellen a forever home, please email:


  • Sapphire’s a Gem!

    She’s not an Olympian, exactly. But Sapphire does boast the guts and glory typical of gold medalists. Similarly, her back story is a testament to the teamwork of many who worked hard to reach a common goal. And the best may be yet to come.


    It all began earlier this year when Sapphire, a domestic shorthair with enormous, striking eyes that earned her bejeweled name, was spotted on a front lawn. That she was heavily pregnant made her discovery that much more urgent for the caring strangers who stumbled upon her.

    Said strangers did their best to locate her home. Plus they took her to a vet and kept her while they searched, but they ultimately couldn’t keep her. Knowing she was pregnant and about to deliver, they reached out to find her a foster.

    Annex Cat Rescue answered the call, and Sapphire delivered six beautiful, healthy kittens which she nursed for 10 weeks until they could be placed in foster homes. Young Sapphire – still kittenish herself and the curious cat personified – was spayed and poised to begin her new life.

    Then came a big, unforeseen hurdle and Sapphire’s story took on the gravitas worthy of the Olympian comparison. On the cusp of Victoria Day weekend, the cat stopped eating, began vomiting and having diarrhea.

    Concerned foster mom Kathy McDonald took her to Beaches Animal Hospital where she was diagnosed with intussusception, a rare condition in which a part of the intestine folds into another section of intestine; think of how the parts of a collapsible telescope slide into one another. Sapphire underwent emergency surgery May 16.

    Dr. Joanna Coote, a vet at Beaches and, fortuitously, at the Toronto Humane Society, raised the concern that Sapphire would need another surgery. In fact she needed two: both were carried out at the THS which stepped in to fill the void initially created by the holiday weekend.

    The THS and its staff went beyond the call, caring for Sapphire even though her condition was vexingly uncommon, and doing extensive research to chart the best possible aftercare.

    Sapphire returned the favour. Even now, Kathy notes, THS personnel, from vets to techs to volunteers, ask after her. “She really touched their hearts.” Stoic Sapphire, who successfully underwent the surgeries only to emerge healthier than anyone could have reasonably dreamed, is ready for her forever home, where she is all but guaranteed to bring heaps of joy.

    “She plays, and runs, nonstop. She’s very young; I’m guessing about a year now,” says Kathy, adding that Sapphire – who enjoys frolicking with her foster cat roommate – has a thing for mounting bannisters. “I’m not sure how she balances there,” Kathy chuckles, “but she sure likes to play”.

    “And even though her condition has left her with loose stool, she never misses the litter box!”

    All of which just goes to show that there are such things as happy endings even when there’s drama along the way. Sapphire is romping, purring proof.

    Donations to Sapphire’s ongoing care would be much appreciated, or if you’re interested in giving Sapphire a forever home, see her profile here.  You can see all of our available cats on our Adoption page, and it’s a great time to adopt with our Adoption Price Promo going on now until the end of September.

    By Kimberly Hughes

  • CNE Cat Show

    The Annex Cat Rescue will be joining more than 125 cats from across Ontario that will be showcased  for the 42nd Annual Cat Show at the CNE.



    Date: Aug 24 – Aug 25
    Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
    Location: Café Soleil, Direct Energy Centre

    Join our Facebook event if you plan to attend!


  • Black Cat Appreciation Day

    ?Did you know that black cats are often the last cats to be adopted? Whether it’s because of superstitions, or that they just don’t stand out as much in photos or shelter cages, it’s sadly true. But black cats are just as fun, playful, sweet, cuddly, and will love you just as much as cats of any other colour.

    Black Cat Appreciation Day
    August 17, 2013 is Black Cat Appreciation Day, and we want to honour the beautiful black cats we have for adoption here at the Annex Cat Rescue. And what a great time to adopt with ACR’s Adoption Price Promo going on.

    Meet Toby, Tucker, Ella, Hope, Matilda, Shirley, Bug, Cooper and Mary Jo! Please click any of their names to see their full profile, or see all of our cats for adoption here.


  • ACR Adoption Price Promo!

    For the months of August and September, the Annex Cat Rescue is having a special promotion on the adoption fees of all of our cats and kittens, regardless of age. The adoption fee of one cat or kitten is $125, and the adoption fee of two cats or kittens is $225!

    ACR Adoption Price Promo


  • The Story of Jackie

    Jackie Outside Some stories hinge on tragedy, some on drama, still others on courage. The story of Jackie the cat possesses all of that, and then some. It is also a story about compassion, and how the selfless efforts of many dovetailed into the happiest ending possible.

    Precisely where Jackie’s life began – or when – isn’t known. She was spotted in June in Kensington Market, “living in an alley between Oxford and Nassau Streets. This kitten is not healthy at all,” a Good Samaritan alerted Annex Cat Rescue in an email, adding that Jackie appeared to have only one eye but that “it is likely not functioning, either.  The cat seems to have mites – its ears are bleeding and very sore.”

    ACR immediately gathered identifying details while putting the Samaritan in contact with cat colony caregivers already working in the area. What followed was the robust back-and-forthing common to ACR when it’s advocating full-tilt for an at-risk animal: trading information, reviewing options, reaching out to potential foster homes all while vigilantly assisting Jackie and attempting to map out her future.

    A few things about Jackie were immediately apparent when she was eventually gathered and taken to Dundas Euclid Animal Hospital for treatment: she was female, very tame, about four years old, and had had some teeth surgically extracted.

    Jackie had lost one eye due to trauma; most likely in a clash with another animal, the vet said. She had a bad ear infection with lots of inflammation and bleeding. She was very matted and covered in burrs, but reveled in being brushed and petted. She was eating. It was purrs ahoy.

    And Jackie was a charmer, a docile, sweet, affectionate cat who had obviously “been living outdoors for a while and was rough around the edges,” an internal ACR email noted. Still, it seemed a potential forever home might be in the cards for scruffy but adorable cat.

    Then the biopsy results from the mass on Jackie’s neck came back: glandular cancer – adenocarcinoma – on Jackie’s jaw. “Dr. Cheung at Dundas Euclid said it was bilateral and a sign that the cancer’s already metastasized.  She said it would be a difficult area to do surgery because of all the nerves present,” another internal ACR email grimly stated.

    Jackie’s prognosis was three-to-six months. Cue sorrow.

    Yet shimmers of light emerged. An ACR volunteer agreed to provide Jackie with a palliative foster home while ACR ensures Jackie’s every need is met.

    The generous group of people involved with Jackie since her discovery – those who fed and fostered her, wrote emails on her behalf, drove her to appointments, the animal hospital that treated her (graciously waiving some fees) – can cheer in knowing that Jackie will live out her remaining days indoors with as much comfort and affection as possible.
    Sometimes even sad stories provide enormous grace.

    If you’d like to help with Jackie’s ongoing care, please click here.

    By Kimberly Hughes


  • Canvassers needed for ACR’s Co-op Cats Spay/Neuter Campaign
    ACR is spaying and neutering free-roaming cats who live in the Atkinson Co-op (near Kensington Market & Chinatown) for free. But we need your help to get the word out to residents. We are looking for help with our door-to-door campaign on Saturday July 20th from 10 AM to 3 PM. Canvassers will be paired up and provided with an orientation at 10 AM in the co-op (exact location to be determined). You won’t have to stay for the whole time – any amount of time you can spare is appreciated. If you can speak any of the following languages, please let us know as the Atkinson community has many newcomers to Canada and it would be very useful to have some translaters on hand: Spanish, Farsi, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Somali, Arabic.

    Please email if you’re interested in participating in the door to door canvass on July 20th.  

    For more information, on the program, please see our link on the Atkinson Co-op Spay-Neuter Campaign.


    Atkinson Co-op Spay-Neuter Campaign


  • The Annex Cat Rescue’s 2013 Annual General Meeting

    Please join us for our 2013 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.

    The Tranzac Club (Tiki Room)
    292 Brunswick Avenue (just south of Bloor, between Bathurst and Spadina)
    Toronto, Ontario

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013 6:00-8:00pm (doors open at 5:30pm)
    Spread your Passion!
    Feel free to bring a friend, or anyone interested in joining ACR. 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, 1st year of 1st term
    Vice-Chair – Liz Anderson, 1st year of 1st term
    Treasurer – Marianne Premuzic, 1st year of 1st term
    Secretary – Jodi Cunningham, 1st year of 1st term
    Member at Large – Jonathan Dick, 2nd year of 1st term
    Member at Large – Ilona Naujokaitis-Lewis, 2nd year of 1st term
    Member at Large – Kathy McDonald, appointed to fill a vacancy


  • A Warm Lap and a Beam of Sunshine: Toby’s Story

    By Meredith Rappaport

    Toby, with his big paws, big eyes, big purr and big personality, is in desperate need of a special someone with a very big heart. He doesn’t ask for much, just the promise of the stability and safety that his life has thus far sadly lacked. Today, Toby needs a compassionate hero to step in and offer him the life that he deserves. Do you have a beam of sunshine? A warm lap? Do you have love to give to a gentle tuxedo boy who wants nothing more than a family to call his own? Who generously offers as much adoration as he receives, and then some? Do YOU have a very big heart? Might YOU be Toby’s special someone? Could YOU be Toby’s hero?

    Toby is a handsome tuxedo boy with big black paws, big expressive eyes, and a big friendly purr. His big outgoing personality wins over everyone he meets and he is a big fan of cuddling, too. And if he could talk, Toby would have a big story to tell you. His ragged, frostbitten ears and deep, wise gaze offer a glimpse into the hardships of Toby’s life before rescue, but this resilient cat’s capacity to forgive is simply astounding. Despite his tumultuous past, since his rescue, Toby has proven that he still trusts the people in his world to do right by him. He is an optimistic guy who appreciates the simple joys of watching the exciting view through a screened window, basking in a beam of sunshine, and snuggling into a warm lap for attention and pets. Affectionate Toby just loves to be loved.

    Asked to describe Toby, without hesitation his temporary foster mom gushes, “He is the sweetest cat you’ll ever meet!” She adds: Relaxed. Charmer. Loves to cuddle. Indeed, everyone who meets this cat is positively smitten with him. Toby’s nine years of life have been rough and outwardly, he looks every bit a street-smart alley cat. But don’t be fooled by Toby’s appearance; this whiskered sweetheart is as friendly as they come. Early in life, Toby was abandoned and left to fend for himself in downtown Toronto. Over the years, he was spotted by animal rescue volunteers wandering through several monitored cat colonies enduring the harsh realities of outdoor cat life — driving rain, brutal cold, aching hunger; and still he forgives. Then, in the summer of 2011, Toby was forced to confront death more closely than any young cat should when he was picked up at Front and Bathurst and left at Toronto Animal Services (TAS). At TAS, Toby was moments from being euthanized (he had already been anesthetized in preparation) when a sharp-eyed veterinary technician noticed that he was ear-tipped — a universal sign in the animal rescue community that a cat is neutered and lives in a monitored cat colony. The procedure was halted immediately and after receiving basic veterinary care, Toby was returned to a cat colony that he was known to frequent. Finally, in the fall of 2012, Toby was discovered among feral cats by an Annex Cat Rescue volunteer who recognized right away that this handsome tuxedo cat was not feral at all. In fact, she realized, Toby was in need of care, so she scooped him up and rushed him to a veterinarian. That fateful day was the end of Toby’s old life as an outdoor stray cat, and the beginning of Toby’s new life as an indoor foster cat with Annex Cat Rescue.

    Unfortunately, being forced to survive outdoors for years after being abandoned has inevitably affected Toby’s health. A medical test revealed that he has feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Having FIV also means that Toby is more sensitive than most cats to viruses and respiratory infections, which can cause a bit of wheezy-breathing. A quality diet and a low-stress environment will reduce the effects of FIV and will greatly improve Toby’s quality of life, although he’s certainly not a complainer!

    Despite his lingering health issues, Toby is a content cat who enjoys indoor living. That being said, recently, Toby has been experiencing regular stomach upset (vomiting and loose stool) every week to ten days and lasting a day or two each time. Toby’s temporary foster mom reports that during these times, Toby tends to lose his appetite and becomes more reclusive, and she admits that this can be a little scary. But, she adds, these periods of illness disappear as suddenly as they appear and afterward, Toby always returns to his happy-go-lucky social self. The veterinarian is still running tests to determine what causes these recurring periods of stomach upset. Meanwhile, Annex Cat Rescue covers the cost of all of Toby’s vet visits, which will continue regularly into the foreseeable future. His temporary foster mom accompanies him to appointments and everyone who cares for him is working toward getting Toby feeling his best.

    If you are interested in fostering Toby or welcoming him into your family, please contact Annex Cat Rescue about becoming a foster parent:

    If you are interested in giving Toby a forever home, please email:

Donate. Volunteer. Adopt.