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.
  • #UberKITTENS!

    uberKittens-toronto-annex-cat-rescue

    We’re very excited to be participating in #UberKITTENS and working with @Uber_Canada in Toronto this Thursday along with Just Paws Cat Rescue, Team Cat Rescue and the Etobicoke Humane Society. Find out how you can participate!

    Our ACR UberKITTEN stars are:
    Bombalurina – Female, tortoiseshell
    Rumpleteazer – Female, tortoiseshell with white chin and chest
    Mungojerrie – Male, black with white lower belly
    Dali – Male, tabby and white
    Galla – Female, black and white

    Press coverage:
    LISTEN: Celebrating #UberKITTENS Day on KiSS 92.5!
    WATCH: CBC The Exchange (about the 41:38 minute mark)
    Behind the scenes with Uber kittens as they visit the National Post office (National Post)
    WATCH: Happy National Cat Day (The Huffington Post Canada)
    WATCH: UberKITTENS in Canada (Global Toronto)
    Trending: Uber delivering kittens across the city today (CityNews)
    Uber Is Delivering Kittens Today (Z103.5)
    Uber to offer kitten visits for Toronto offices Thursday (Toronto Star)
    Far Out Friday: Stressed workers? Kitten delivery is here to help (HRM Canada)
    Uber kittens bring smiles – and funds for needy animals (Toronto Sun)
    New Uber service will have kittens on board (24 Hours – October 29 issue, page 5)
    You can now order kittens off uber (NarCity)
    WATCH: UberKITTENS Coming to Toronto (Global Toronto – The Morning Show))
    Uber to deliver kittens to offices in Toronto Thursday (CBC)
    UBER Will Bring Kittens to Your Office Tomorrow. KITTENS. (Notable)
    Uber To Deliver Adoptable Kittens On Thursday For 15 Minutes Of Snuggle Time (Tech Times)

  • Volunteer Profile: Heather L

    Heather L at the Zoomer Show

    What’s your story? Why did you first get involved with ACR?

    I enjoyed taking my cat to cat shows and they have a Household Pet category. My cat didn’t like going any more so I decided to ask the Annex Cat rescue if they would like to try and enter a cat and I would try and get them into the Exhibition to put up a booth. Annex Cat Rescue had been trying for years but once I spoke to the show manager, I managed to get them in. After the EX I decided to get involved with Annex Cat Rescue. I felt they were a very good rescue and helped feral cats. I started feral feeding and fostering cats. I did that for a few years and then went on to helping at the booth at different venues and making cat toys. I love doing what I can to help the feral cats out. I have shown a few cats at the cat shows with much success in letting people know more about us and that the cat I am showing is up for adoption.

    How are you helping now? What volunteer position are you filling? What does your work involve?

    I like to work the booth at different venues and I make cat toys to sell at the booth. We have gained many repeat customers at different venues that come to us to get their cat supplies for themselves or friends’ cats. I enjoy chatting to them.

    Describe a real winning moment for you as an ACR volunteer.

    Surprisingly my winning moment would be kind of a sad moment. It was a blizzard outside and I was feral feeding that night. I stopped at my favourite stop where two cats were always there to greet me. I know they counted on me for a nice meal. One of them had already passed away but the other still came and she looked so cold and miserable as I fed her. I stood there and cried and wished I could take her home to the warmth of my apartment but I knew that wouldn’t be. So I stood there and talked to her as she ate her meal. I had no idea where she hid for shelter because there was so much construction around her. I just prayed she found a warm spot for the night.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    We help so many cats in our colonies when we TNR the cats and bring them back to their colony. We also manage to save the kittens they have and find them nice homes. It is great being a foster parent and know you’re finding a good home for these little ones that have had a tough start in life.

    It is also great work educating people about feral cats and the work we do. Many people don’t know what to do when they find a cat with kittens. People look to us for guidance.

    In your opinion, what is the most important thing that ACR does?

    It is all about the cats!! ACR does everything for the cats and we are all volunteers.

    What do you do when you aren’t volunteering with ACR? What’s your “real” job?

    I don’t have a “real” job any more. I am on disability.

    Besides rescuing cats, what are some of your other hobbies?

    Sewing, painting, cat shows.

    Do you live with any ACR cats at the moment? Who and what is their back story?

    No I don’t have any ACR cats at the moment.

    What cat do you dedicate your volunteer work to and why?

    I dedicate my volunteer work to all the cats! They all need our help and I do what I can to achieve that.

  • National Feral Cat Day

    What is National Feral Cat Day?

    • Alley Cat Allies launched National Feral Cat Day®  in 2001 to raise awareness about feral (also called community) cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return, and empower and mobilize the millions of compassionate people who care for them.
    • National Feral Cat Day® is observed on October 16 every year.
    • The theme for National Feral Cat Day® 2015 was “The Evolution of the Cat Revolution.”

    national-feral-cat-day

    Good news!
    City commits $100K to reduce Toronto’s feral cat population

    What are feral cats?
    “Feral” cats are the free-roaming, wild offspring of domestic cats that have been abandoned or lost. Feral cats may have been wild for several generations and they tend to live in colonies throughout the city in back alleys, parks, garages or wherever they can find shelter and food.

    Annex Cat Rescue believes that all cats deserve humane and compassionate care. Our feral colony care teams, including feeders and trappers, provide care to the feral cat colonies — feeding them, trapping them and arranging spaying/neutering. These volunteers also monitor colonies and arrange veterinary care for any injured or ill cats. Annex Cat Rescue has a strict no-kill policy and only euthanizes cats on purely compassionate grounds.

    The Toronto Feral Cat Coalition
    Annex Cat Rescue is an active member of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition, where we work with

    • Toronto Animal Services
    • Toronto Humane Society
    • Toronto Feral Cat Project
    • Toronto Street Cats
    • Toronto Cat Rescue
    • Animal Alliance of Canada
    • Urban Cat Relief
    • the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

    to compassionately address feral cat overpopulation in our city.

    Three of the resources introduced through the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition are a network of free feral spay/neuter and vaccination clinics, the Toronto Feral Cat Recovery Centre, and the Trap-Neuter-Return workshop, which teaches members of the public how to care for feral cats and gives them access to the free spay/neuter clinics, recovery space, traps and cat food donations.

    Some of our cats’ stories
    Sam
    Tessa
    Kitten rescue
    TNR success story
    Blogger Karen Kwan recently visited one of our feral colonies. Here’s her article.

    What You Can Do to Help

    Community Events
    Annex Cat Rescue participated in events as part of the Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition. The Coalition had a table at St. Lawrence Market on Friday October 16, from 3 to 6 PM and Saturday October 17, from 9 AM to 3 PM. Over $500 was raised for the Coalition over two days; lots of good conversations about the plight of homeless cats and need to spay/neuter.

    representatives from the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition
    Photo:  Rosalynne is President of UCR/TFCP, Kim is on the Annex Cat rescue Board and Penny is the chair of the Feral cat Coalition and volunteer director with UCR/TFCP.

    The Toronto Humane Society planned to complete 100 FREE Trap, Neuter, Return appointments for feral cats on October 16. These appointments were available by appointment only to registered colony caretakers for ‪‎Feral Cats‬ that will be returned to their colonies. Please visit the THS website for more information on their ‎TNR‬ services or how to become a registered colony caretaker to assist feral cats in your neighbourhood!

    Crazy Legs

    Photo courtesy Rondi Adamson.

  • Happy Tails: Jellybean (formerly Rambo)

    “It was pretty clear that he just was not ‘Rambo’,” says Patrick Guyette of the grey tabby he rescued from an ACR adopt-a-thon on Valentine’s Day.

    “He acts like a tough guy but he’s actually very loveable and sweet and silly – we figured with that tough guy exterior but being soft and squishy on the inside that he was really just like a jellybean.”

    Happy Tails: Jellybean

    While Jellybean was always a very curious, very brave cat – on adoption day, he only disappeared for half an hour before venturing out to explore the rest of his new forever home – he has become more affectionate and friendly since finding Patrick. He’s grown attached.

    Aside from his classically handsome good looks, Patrick was drawn to Jellybean, in part because the description on his cage said that he wanted to be the only cat in the household, a request that suited Patrick perfectly because he is allergic to cats. And Patrick knew that Jellybean’s short hair would help with that, too. Perhaps most importantly though, at nine years old, Jellybean was a bit older than the other cats at the event.

    “I figured it would be nice to give a cat that had previously had a nice home and then gone into foster care another chance,” Patrick says.

    Happy Tails: Jellybean

    According to Patrick, the secret to keeping his allergies in check is having a carpet-free apartment and regularly cleaning up the fur. Brushing Jellybean often is also a key part of the process, and bonding time is an added benefit. Of course, it helps that Jellybean is the kind of cat who really wants to hang out with and be around his human, but doesn’t necessarily want to be right in his face. All in all, it’s a great match for both Patrick and Jellybean.

    “Jellybean is a very important part of my life,” Patrick says. “He’s a great cat.”

    —Leslie Sinclair

  • Run or Walk For ACR on October 18

    Team ACR in the Scotiabank Marathon Charity Challenge
    This year marks Annex Cat Rescue’s first year participating as an Official Charity in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, October 18th, 2015. Every dollar that we raise goes towards veterinary expenses for cats in foster care, our feral cat colonies and our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.

    We have 23 people on the team so far and 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 qualify for the preferred charity entry fees; in addition, the first 10 participants to register will have their registration fees waived. There will be prizes in several categories (e.g., top fundraisers, best costume, etc.). Children accompanied by adults are welcome!

    To join our team, please email Joanna Reading at joannar@annexcatrescue.org so she can get you registered at the free or discounted rate.

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

    Read some of our cats’ stories and feel free to use the provided graphics on your Fundraising page.

    Annex Cat Rescue - Scotiabank Charity Challenge

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

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

    STWM Scotiabank Charity Challenge

  • Volunteer Profile: Alaina V

    What’s your story? Why did you first get involved with ACR?

    My mum fosters in Ottawa and after seeing her successfully find homes, I wanted to do the same.

    How are you helping now? What volunteer position are you filling? What does your work involve?

    Fostering: helping rehabilitate a cat/kitten into a family situation. Involves a lot of love and patience and play!

    Describe a real winning moment for you as an ACR volunteer.

    When I heart-wrenchingly gave over Theo and Charlie to their new family. It took me 1 month just for them to come out from under the bed. I was SO happy when on the 3rd day in their new home I heard that they were sleeping with their new mum!

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    It is extremely satisfying because you get out of it what you put in!  

    In your opinion, what is the most important thing that ACR does?

    Saves cats’ lives and helps keep the outdoor Toronto cat population managed. 

    What do you do when you aren’t volunteering with ACR? What’s your “real” job?

    I’m an Opera Stage Director and Production Manager with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

    Besides rescuing cats, what are some of your other hobbies?

    Running, cycling and travelling.

    Boing Boing

    Do you live with any ACR cats at the moment? Who and what is their back story?

    Yes! Boing. Boing has been with me for a few months and is a sweetie!

    What cat do you dedicate your volunteer work to and why?

    Our family cat Malka who was actually my mum’s cat. She was a nurse cat who always came and found me when I was sick or sad or crying in my room. She gave our family so much love and care. I always want to provide that for other cats.

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

  • Sam’s Story

    Sam in his colonyMeet Sam. Sam had been living in an Annex Cat Rescue colony for a few years, where ACR volunteers fed and interacted with him daily. Because Sam was so friendly and showed signs of being open to human contact, ACR volunteers decided he would be a good candidate to be fostered and adopted. It can often be difficult to foster an adult feral cat that has been raised without human contact and some cats are not able to make this transition. The first step in determining this is to do an assessment.

    An assessment determines if living indoors with humans is an option for a cat. Some adult cats born and raised in feral colonies cannot be domesticated and will never be happy living with humans. These cats are often neutered and released back into their colonies as part of a Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program in an effort to stabilize the number of feral cats in the community. One of the main things a person doing an assessment looks for is temperament; this is a good indication of whether a cat will become comfortable in a human home.

    The assessment process usually takes a few weeks; socializing can take a few more weeks and usually continues in the foster home. ACR volunteers can assess cats within an assessment home, or remotely once a foster home is found. Mobile assessment is often a better option because there is less movement for the cat.

    Sam getting the treatment he needed

    Sam had been waiting for an assessment home when he was taken in by ACR volunteer, Marianne. A reality with most adult feral cats, and with Sam, is chronic disease. Efforts to feed and care for feral cats by ACR and other organizations often extend the life of feral colonies, and accelerated age can invite chronic disease for these cats. This is a reality that assessment and foster homes often must combat in the care and socialization process. Sam was brought into an assessment home with serious dental disease. Dental issues are very common with older cats and are often hard to spot while the cats are in feral colonies. Sam was still eating daily but was in a lot of pain and had to have most of his teeth extracted, in addition to dealing with vaccinations, worms and neutering. ACR takes on the cost of these expenses as part of the assessment process.

    Sam’s medical issues played a role in his socialization process; he was in a lot of pain before and after the surgery, and stopped eating altogether during the overwhelming process. As a result Sam did not make much progress until his medical issues were attended to and he was recovering. This is a common issue that assessment and foster homes must be open and compassionate about in order to achieve success with their cats.

    Sam's bathroom set up

    After Sam had recovered his progress remained slow until he was introduced to Marianne’s cat. “He instantly perked up,” Marianne tells us, once Sam met her small cat. Being around another cat gave Sam confidence and he began to come out of his shell. A large part of the assessment process is determining the best conditions for each individual cat to flourish. Some cats require solidarity, and some, like Sam, require other cats to be happy. For any foster home, however, it is often important to have a small, isolated room in which to begin the transition process. This allows the cat to get accustomed to its new home in a less overwhelming process, as Marianne did with Sam in her bathroom. Once the cat feels secure, other cats and humans can be introduced and eventually, the cat can explore the rest of the home.

    Sam relaxing

    Sam has been with Marianne since May — longer than average for an assessment home. He is currently waiting for a suitable foster home to become available so he can continue being socialized and eventually adopted. Sam has a gentle and shy nature, and loves being petted and brushed. He has learned that he does not need to be afraid of humans; however, his instincts sometimes take over when he becomes startled. This is a common obstacle with older feral cats and it can be a personality trait that never fades. The ideal home for Sam would be one with other cats for him to socialize with. Sam is very shy but loves attention and requires a gentle home, without small children because of his tendency to get startled. Marianne recommends a home with children 7 years and up. Contact ACR at 416-410-3835 if you think your home is an optimal foster home for Sam.

    —Kathy Ribeiro

  • Volunteer Profile: Jennifer R

    What’s your story? Why did you first get involved with ACR?

    I kept seeing a stray cat hanging around an abandoned building on Mill St. My husband and I wanted to help this cat and we started feeding her daily (we noticed others were too), so I put up a sign to find out how we could together help her. My neighbour responded and put us in touch with Annex Cat Rescue. A volunteer named Marianne came to teach us about trapping and to help. After over a year of trying to trap her (and trapping her companion, Sam), we were successful and Sophie and Sal were relocated to an equestrian barn, where they live comfortably. 

    How are you helping now? What volunteer position are you filling? What does your work involve?

    I led our communications efforts before moving to New Zealand, which meant “hiring” and working closely with a lot of talented people to produce our monthly newsletter, blog, social media sites and our Annual Highlights.

    I was also serving as secretary and then vice-chair of the Board, where I had the privilege of contributing to strategic decisions about how we could help more cats in need. Some of the most rewarding work I was helping with was as a liaison for our east end colonies. There are lots of challenges for cats in the city and the east end is no exception. I was inspired daily by the dedication of our colony coordinators and feral feeders who are there for cats everyday, no matter the weather.

    Describe a real winning moment for you as an ACR volunteer.

    Before the move, my husband and I recovered and fostered a few cats – Sophie, James, Pete and Jinxie, Harvey and Holly. A really winning moment was hearing that wonderful people decided to open their hearts and their homes to them. These beautiful cats enriched our lives and I was so thrilled to be able to provide a temporary refuge for them.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    We all live busy lives and volunteering can seem like another thing “to do”, but volunteering with Annex Cat Rescue really enriched my life. Because the work is so hands on and grassroots, I truly felt that I was helping cats and making a difference in their lives.

    I also had the opportunity to explore some real professional development opportunities by expanding my own skills in communications to benefit the organization. Annex Cat Rescue is a community of dedicated people and knowing and working with these beautiful, supportive individuals was so inspirational.

    In your opinion, what is the most important thing that ACR does?

    Different organizations helping animals each offer something different. Annex Cat Rescue fills a very important niche in Toronto by being one of the few charities that work at a grassroots level. Annex Cat Rescue does this by supporting feral cat communities through daily feeding and providing veterinary care, when needed. Tame/friendly cats are rescued and brought into our adoption program. This is a really needed service because so many cats find themselves lost or abandoned by previous owners.

    What do you do when you aren’t volunteering with ACR? What’s your “real” job?

    I used to work in communications as an in-house senior advisor for a few government agencies working in health. I loved the idea of helping people improve their health and the health care they received.

    Jen R

    Besides rescuing cats, what are some of your other hobbies?

    I love reading (and not just about cats!), travelling to exotic places (recently I visited Japan), cooking delicious vegan food (and eating it!) and spending time with my loved ones (including my gorgeous calico, Bonnie Princess Cat).

    Do you live with any ACR cats at the moment? Who and what is their back story?

    I don’t have any Annex Cat Rescue Cats at the moment.

    What cat do you dedicate your volunteer work to and why?

    I dedicate my volunteer work to all animals living in situations where they are not happy or free (whether that’s a lost cat on the street, or a cow, chicken, pig living in horrific conditions on factory farms).

    There’s so much we can do to change the world for animals – it’s as easy as what you put on your plate and how you decide to spend your free time. Anyone can be a hero for animals!

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

  • Happy Tails: Claira

    “Claira’s is a true success story,” says foster parent Joanna. Claira, a gorgeous Calico, was rescued as a kitten from a backyard in Toronto, with her sister Casey. The sisters had very little exposure and no direct contact with humans. Naturally, the kittens feared human touch, and were a challenge to transition into a human home. Claira was particularly feisty and discouraged contact, until the kittens found their way to Joanna in March of 2015.

    Happy Tails: Claira

    Joanna, an experienced foster parent with a knack for challenging kittens, was just what the sisters needed. “Repetition is key to gaining their trust,” says Joanna. The kittens hid in Joanna’s bathroom for a few days, getting used to the sounds and smells; after which, Joanna gave them no choice but to let her slowly pet them. “I just don’t take no for an answer,” Joanna says. “It’s important to touch them in a way that makes them like it.” Joanna allowed the kittens to stay in their hiding place, while she gently stroked them, until they began to enjoy human contact.

    Claira, it turns out, loved being petted and loved attention once her fear faded away—so much so that she would push her sister out of the way to get at Joanna. Under Joanna’s care, Claira went from a kitten that had never experienced human contact to one who seeked out Joanna and purred loudly when she got attention.

    Joanna recognized the sisters, particularly Claira, needed to go to the right home if they going to continue to improve. Nick and Lina were the right fit. “Nick was wonderful with her; there was an instant connection between the two,” says Joanna. Although Claira and Cassey were adopted separately, Joanna maintains it was the best thing for both kittens. Claira was becoming very dominant, even somewhat of a bully, and was not a good match for her timid sister Cassey.

    Claira is doing wonderfully in her new home. She is full of energy and is perfectly matched by Nick and Lina’s equally energetic cat, Bellaire. The two keep everyone on their toes with 6 am and 11 pm laps around the house.

    Claira’s journey is not only a wonderful success story, but also a testament to the impact of fostering in preparing and placing kittens into the proper homes so they can thrive. Joanna and her husband have been involved in cat rescue for six and a half years, after they saved a feral colony in their community. As with Claira, Joanna recommends repetition for anyone struggling with fostering a difficult kitten. Through repetition and patience, successes such as Claira’s will continue to occur.

    —Kathy Ribeiro

  • Volunteer Profile: Lindsay W

    What’s your story? Why did you first get involved with ACR?

    I wanted to help cats in Toronto and sought to join caretaking feral colonies.

    feeding colony cats

    How are you helping now? What volunteer position are you filling? What does your work involve?

    I go and visit a cat colony and feed them, make sure they seem healthy and help trap when we have a cat who needs medical attention.

    Describe a real winning moment for you as an ACR volunteer.

    We were able to home a colony cat who had a neurological issue that made her life outdoors especially difficult.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    Helping out in your community feels good and goes a long way in making others’ lives better.

    In your opinion, what is the most important thing that ACR does?

    Makes life better for both animals and humans.

    What do you do when you aren’t volunteering with ACR? What’s your “real” job?

    I work in a veterinary clinic.

    nighttime feeding

    Besides rescuing cats, what are some of your other hobbies?

    I love to read, sing, make art and bake.

    Do you live with any ACR cats at the moment? Who and what is their back story?

    I don’t currently. I try to adopt from different shelters and rescues to spread out my support.

    What cat do you dedicate your volunteer work to and why?

    All of them, especially the ones who still have to live on the street because they have it the hardest.

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

Donate. Volunteer. Adopt.