What’s your story? Why did you first get involved with ACR?
I first got involved with Annex Cat Rescue as a feral feeder. I did that for four wonderful years and highly recommend it! I also helped to trap and rescued a kitten that had been dumped on the street and a lovely orange tabby who fell in love with me and tried to follow me home. I’ve also helped with events – like the Christmas Craft show at the Tranzac Club and other events.
How are you helping now? What volunteer position are you filling? What does your work involve?
Unfortunately not, due to illness.
Describe a real winning moment for you as an ACR volunteer.
Being a feral feeder was the most rewarding and satisfying experience ever! As the cats recognize you they wait for you and in their feral way are so glad to see you it did my heart good! I am one of the fortunate few that has had actual physical contact with “Princess” on the Kensington route – she rubbed up against my leg not once but twice. It’s also very satisfying to see the work that ACR does in controlling large colonies.
Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?
It does your heart good! It’s amazing to have these cats waiting anxiously for you (okay, it’s the food they’re waiting for, but they’re also glad to see you!) and have them greet you in their own individual ways. Rescuing a cat or a kitten – I have no words to describe how wonderful that is, especially when a passerby helps (as one did when I rescued the dumped kitten) and the trappers are amazing – working with them was always a treat.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing that ACR does?
Taking care of feral cats – both through feeding and monitoring their physical health is so important. It’s bad enough to be out there in all kinds of weather but Annex volunteers are an essential part of making sure these cats are looked after. And not all of them are feral – sometimes the most feral-seeming cat turns out to be a frightened stray and that’s the best part, getting them inside and off the streets. I also used to educate people in the community who grumbled about the stray cat getting into their garbage, telling them that is what happens when you don’t get your cat spayed or neutered – that is their new life. Wonder what happened to that cat that just disappeared? Look in your backyard – those cats used to be someone’s beloved pet and that’s how they live now, just because they weren’t fixed. Not their fault, is it?
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering with ACR? What’s your “real” job?
At the moment I’m recovering from a serious illness but in the normal world I work for the provincial government.
Besides rescuing cats, what are some of your other hobbies?
I read, am into photography (I have pictures of the two cats I rescued and some of the Kensington route while out feeding, along with a brief stint covering for the Portland cats). Right now I’m just trying to recover from cancer, and that is taking up a lot of my time!
Do you live with any ACR cats at the moment? Who and what is their back story?
No, my cats came from some people who rescued them from a hoarder who died. I think, I’m not sure what their story is but I started off fostering them, and that has gone on for four years now, so I guess I’m theirs! My original cat was a stray picked up by the Humane Society and she lived to the ripe old age of 21 and I named her Oprah (long story). I still miss her.
What cat do you dedicate your volunteer work to and why?
I dedicate all of my ACR work to Buster aka “Orange Guy” who lives happily ever after with his Dad Sean and step-sister Minou (also an ACR cat). Of course Oprah (the cat, not the woman) who was from the Annex area when she was picked up and who gave me so many years of her company who will always be in my heart.