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.
  • Happy Tails: Charlie

    Charlie’s story begins in a small town called Tweed, which is located 2.5 hours North East of Toronto.

    Charlie’s mom, Mrs. Robinson, was hit by a car and was found on the side of the road. Thankfully, the people that found her rescued and cared for her. Her caregivers realized she had babies and went looking for her litter. They found Charlie and his two sisters, Gretchen and Greta. Mom and kittens all looked exactly alike, with short smokey grey hair, so the kittens were referred to as The Greylings. Mrs. Robinson recovered and is currently living happily with the people who rescued her, along with Greta.

    Soon after the rescue, Carol Hroncek stepped in to foster Charlie and Gretchen; they were seven months old. She fondly describes Charlie’s personality as incredibly affectionate, playful, and rambunctious.

    Carol remembers Charlie’s initial reaction when she took him home. “He hid under/behind my drawers and would not come out when I walked in the room. I just couldn’t believe how terrified he originally was.”

    Things soon changed, as Carol recalls, “After 2 weeks he finally started to come out from behind the drawers when I walked in the room, he started to play coy and slowly come to sniff me. But I still couldn’t touch him. Then, a week later it was as if he suddenly decided I was good enough and he flipped his ‘love switch’ to ‘on’ and became my best friend. From that moment on he could not get enough attention from me.“

    Charlie’s love switch didn’t just turn on for Carol, “He also fell deeply in love with my cats – he wanted to be best friends with all of them. I’ve never seen a cat so desperate to be friends with other cats! He cuddled up to each of them endlessly – it was an absolute riot finding him in various forms of snuggling with a different cat every day!”

    Charlie was soon adopted by Carla Parslow and her husband Manish. She reminisces, “We had one cat, but she was young and we thought that it would be best if she had another mate to socialize with. Plus, we like cats and thought one more would help us complete our family.”

    Happy Tails: Charlie

    When asked what made Charlie stand out to them, Carla states, “It is really quite simple. There is a grey male cat on our block that is very personable and we adore him. We called this cat Mr. Mayor because he always came out to greet us as we walked down the street. So, we were looking for a grey male cat just like our neighbourhood cat. We had already decided that should we find a male cat that we like and that likes us, we would name him Charlie. Lo and behold, the first cat we saw on the Annex Cat Rescue site was our very own Charlie. That was it; we knew that he would be in our family.”

    Charlie was shy when he first arrived, but Carla and Manish were assured by Carol, whom they were in constant contact with, that he would come out of his shell.  Sure enough, after a few weeks the love switch turned on.  They all agreed that Charlie was just a very sensitive, gentle soul who needed time to adapt to new situations.

    Happy Tails: Charlie

    Some cute Charlie quirks, Carla reveals, with some input from Manish, “Curious springs to mind or tinkerer by trade. Fascinated by all things shiny, those which roll, and those we tell him to stay away from. (He) can spend minutes batting at one until distracted by another. Keeps himself amused by playing by himself, especially when the other cat wants nothing to do with him.”

    — Theresa Ogurian

  • Volunteer Profile: Deborah K

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

    I just wanted to do something that gives back to the community and helps cats.

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

    I am still working on the same position I was doing when I first started (even though I’ve tried a few others like feeding and trapping), I work with the adoptions screening team. I field inquiries from potential adopters through email or phone and we discuss their interest in adopting a kitty from us. During the conversation, we chat about pretty much everything from understanding what the adopters are looking for, their current kitty situation, the history and how we can help fill those situations with a suitable cat/kitten.

    On many occasions, I get the chance to speak with other like-minded cat people (or animal people, in general!) and we help one another… they are looking to adopt and we are looking to find great homes for our wonderful kitties!

    my current two boys, Buckingham (Bucky) and Stanley C. Panther (Stanley) helping out in the kitchen

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

    The best moment to date for me is when I spoke with first time cat owners who had never any extensive experience with cats and only had dogs. They moved into a condo and their lives changed in terms of space and lifestyle. We had a very in depth conversation about cat care, what they were looking for and how we could help.

    They were initially looking for one cat but soon after, contacted us again to adopt another! They also sent us photos of the cats and all the fun cat structures and toys they had gotten. It was such a successful referral because they genuinely felt so happy about getting their new feline friends!

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    I think people should volunteer, period. I chose the ACR because they do great work and have a group of incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated people. Not only do you feel good from volunteering, you’re likely to meet amazing people and learn a lot. And cudddle a cat or two.

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

    ACR has a very holistic view on the way they approach cat rescue. They make attempts to address the issue of the feral cat population by educating, providing community support and finally, getting adoptable cats into good homes.

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

    I have a hum-drum life in the corporate world.

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

    I enjoy working in the garden/yard by tending to the flowers, bushes and other plants. I love horseback riding and started taking lessons a few years ago, as an adult.

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

    No, I don’t.

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

    I dedicate all the work and time I do, to my first two cats, Cocoa and Louie.

    Photo: my current two boys, Buckingham (Bucky) and Stanley C. Panther (Stanley) helping out in the kitchen

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

  • Happy Tails: Oliver

    Oliver is a bold cat. He was a bold kitten too. Oliver proved to be fearless within his three short weeks in his foster home with Michelle. A cat owner herself, she witnessed Oliver win over her standoffish pet with sheer persistence. “He simply refused to not be liked,” she says of Oliver, who would determinedly follow Michelle’s cat around until the two were best of friends.

    happytails-bunny-oliver

    Although Oliver was a little shy at first, Michelle says it didn’t take him very long to open up; he took to Michelle quickly, spending most of his time sitting in her bed and sleeping beside her. Michelle has fostered before and recommends trying it, but says to prepare for the different personalities that can come through your door.

    happytails-oliver

    Three weeks later, Oliver was adopted by Robin, a fellow Annex Cat Rescue volunteer, and joined a family of five other cats; his new home was the perfect place for Oliver’s to socialize and explore.

    happytails-ernie-bunny-oliver

    Robin talks about how she fell in love with his little face almost instantly, and the wonderful job Michelle did through the fostering process; Oliver fearlessly took on his new family with enthusiasm. “He’s such a social butterfly,” says Robin. “His foster family did a wonderful job, he was so happy to meet everyone, and we had no issues integrating him.” He trusted Robin instantly, and would sit on her lap constantly, always looking for company and attention. In fact, Oliver had joined Robin on the kitchen counter while she ate her breakfast that very morning.

    Happy Tails: Oliver

    Robin speaks about Oliver and her other pets with such obvious enthusiasm, it’s difficult not to fall in love with Oliver just hearing about him. All of her pets, Robin says, have “such different personalities, and have enriched our lives so much.” Oliver is the fearless one of the bunch, chasing the vacuum cleaner without hesitation and following Robin and his new family around, constantly in search of attention.

    happytails-oliver-apollo

     

    — Kathy Ribeiro

  • Volunteer Profile: Tova E

    Tova and Sparta

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

    I’ve been volunteering with ACR for 4.5 years. I joined because I was tired of seeing all the bad that happens in the world and wanted to do my part to make something good. The whole “Think globally, act locally” thing. I had just moved back from Los Angeles and had 2 former street cats as pets and know that they need help.

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

    I’m a colony feeder. Amazingly, my route is mostly along the street I’ve lived on for the past few years. I had a great view of some of our cats from my windows, and it was always nice to be able to report back to the group about the various sightings.

    On feeding nights I take one of those canvas grocery buggies around to the various feeding stations and leave food and water. Hopefully the cats are there but there’s no guarantees. Cats answer to no people.

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

    The best part is when the cats start to know you and are waiting for you. Our old colony cats China and Felicity made the route worth it because they came running when they saw me. It was a great feeling knowing that we’d developed a relationship, and that they trusted me. Watching them eat is always a great feeling.

    Also I discovered a colony in need at Richmond and Bathurst and was able to get ACR to step in and help the few residents who were struggling to maintain the colony. Because of me noticing some kittens and making a call to ACR a lot of cats were trapped and neutered. I feel good that I wasn’t afraid to walk down a dark alley in pursuit of kittens, which probably sounds unsafe, but it worked out ok.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    It makes you feel good, it feels proactive. The cats appreciate you!

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

    ACR helps all cats, on and off the street.  

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

    I’m an actor.

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

    Reading, movies, running.

    Oz adopt annex cat rescue

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

    I’m a foster home at the moment to ACR cat Oz, aka Simba. He’s been with me since December, when the office he was living in decided he couldn’t stay. He’s semi feral but we’re working on socialization and he’s coming along well! He was found living in a woman’s yard in Collingwood and she fed him for about three years but was unable to take him in. Through her efforts he found me and the office where I worked. He lived there for a year, and when they asked me to re-home him I took him (and left the job).

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

    My beloved cat Spartacus passed in September. I found him at three weeks old under a bush near an old apartment. A few weeks later I found one of his litter mates but she was too sick to save, and I realized how lucky he got in crawling out of that bush that day. He always was good at demanding food though.

    I learned so much from him: bottle feeding, patience, how to snuggle, patience, how to live on no sleep, patience. He was with me for 16 years and I miss him every day.

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.
    Meet Oz (aka Simba), Tova’s foster cat, who is currently looking for a permanent home.

  • Happy Tails: Jinxie

    Superstition #52: If a black cat crosses your path, it is an omen of misfortune or a jinx.

    I think that it is time to lay this superstition to rest. It is especially untrue in the case of the following adoption success story about a very special cat named Jinxie.

    Jinxie and friend

    In the summer of 2014, Jennifer Riley learned about two cats that were being put down. Pete passed away (of natural causes), but Jennifer managed to rescue his sister Jinxie and brought her home.

    Jinxie was very overweight. She also experienced rare bouts of epilepsy but the drugs that she took made her confused and disoriented. Jennifer consulted with a vet, who suggested taking Jinxie off her medication. The result: great improvement in her motor skills and mood.

    During her stay with the Rileys, Jinxie received a ton of TLC from Jennifer and her husband. At first, Jinxie was standoffish; Jennifer speculates that this was due to the fact that Jinxie was declawed and had lost a sense of protection, but within a week or two, Jinxie came out of her shell and began interacting with her foster parents and their other cat.

    Jennifer remembers Jinxie as a very vocal kitty. Jinxie would respond to human speak by meowing back. She is also a great jumper, despite her weight. And although Jinxie does not live with Jennifer anymore, she has left behind a permanent indent in Jennifer’s sofa.
    Jinxie2

    In November of that year, Katie Gibson was scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed when she came across pictures of Jinxie. Immediately, Katie could tell that Jinxie possessed an amazing and fun personality. There didn’t seem to be any hesitation in her adoption.

    Currently, Jinxie is very comfortable in her new home. She enjoys being close and cuddly with her new owners and has earned herself plenty of stroking. To help with her weight loss, Katie has Jinxie on a reduced calorie diet. When I spoke to Katie on the phone, she made no mention of any epileptic episodes.

    Katie describes Jinxie as a “chill cat” who “does her own thing.” A peculiar yet adorable characteristic of Jinxie is that she sits like a human.

    Jinxie

    Both Katie and Jennifer are huge advocates for rescuing and adopting animals. “Jinxie didn’t have the profile of a cat that was going to be adopted quickly. She didn’t have a lot on paper. But it was so easy to incorporate her into our life”, Jennifer explained to me.

    Hopefully more pet lovers, after reading our success stories, will consider adopting or fostering animals with special needs and give them the second chance that they deserve. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just good karma.

    — Yin Cai

  • Volunteer Profile: Barbara I

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

    I took in an old feral tom then got interested in helping other homeless cats.

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

    Colony coordinator and occasional fostering.

    chillin' at foster mom Barbara's

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

    I have fostered several former street cats who were very scared of me, and people in general. Eventually they became my love bugs – such a great turn-around.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    Because helping homeless cats to find a better life is so rewarding.

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

    Taking cats off the streets and finding them homes, and the Trap/Neuter/Return program (both).

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

    Teach art history.

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

    No “hobbies” but interested in visual arts, music, theatre and travel.

    Barbara's babies

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

    My ACR cats were all fosters who became adopted. Pippi and Solange have been here since 2002. Shandy and Nel came in 2006. Coal and Pickles were left here as kittens by a former ACR volunteer who was supposed to find homes for them and didn’t. That was in 2009. Neither of them are adoptable (too feral). Charlemagne came a couple of years ago, rescued from the Chinatown route after many years as a street cat. He’s my darling boy.

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

    Tomkins, my first feral. He was an old Tom who came in from the cold and lived with me till he died.

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

  • PetSmart Charities’ National Adoption Weekend

     

    Petsmart Charities Adopt-a-thon September 2015

    Annex Cat Rescue will be participating in PetSmart Charities’ National Adoption Weekend on Saturday September 12 and Sunday September 13. Come visit us at PetSmart Stockyards (map) between 10 am and 5:00 pm!

  • Happy Tails: Rosie (formerly Beauty)

    Rosie has had quite the journey, initially being surrendered to Toronto Animal Services with her brother Bashful from a man claiming they lived in his garage. Soon after, Rosie and her brother were taken to be fostered by an ACR volunteer. Both were quickly adopted into separate homes, but Rosie’s timidness to her new surroundings didn’t mesh well with the adopter and she was returned to ACR.

    Happy Tails: Rosie

    Rosie went to stay with her new foster parents Brianna and Laszlo. As they mostly work from home, they were able to devote more attention to Rosie to help her come out of her shell. Initially, Rosie was scared and apprehensive, and she hid in the bedroom. It took a few weeks for her to feel comfortable to venture around the rest of the apartment and she would still hiss and growl, but she got along well with the other cats.

    Brianna and her boyfriend were patient. They slowly built a trusting relationship between Rosie and them. “It is very rewarding when you finally earn their affection and trust,” Brianna exclaimed over the phone.

    After a couple of months, the foster parents decided to adopt Rosie. They wanted to provide stability for Rosie after she finally felt safe to open up to her human parents.

    Happy Tails: Rosie

    September will mark the one-year anniversary of Rosie’s adoption. She now allows her owners to kiss her on the belly and head with lots of full-body scratches. Brianna describes Rosie as a “sassy cat” – she has a little wiggle in her walk and must be the first to use a clean litter. As for the other cats, Rosie loves them all. She always greets them with a head butt or rubs up against them as she walks by.

    Happy Tails: Rosie

    Towards the end of our call, I asked Brianna for any advice she would give to people thinking about adopting. She believes that it is helpful for potential adopters to meet the cat and see their personality before taking the animal home. As well, Brianna adds that patience is extremely important. “Cats don’t owe you their affection, you have to earn it just like in every other relationship.”

    — Yin Cai

  • Volunteer Profile: Anna S

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

    My stepmother volunteers with the Toronto Humane Society and has worked with volunteers from ACR in TNR clinics, etc. She recommended the organization as a great place to volunteer. I am a cat lover (of course) and grew up with cats. I currently have a rescue cat – Alfie – who is a wonderful member of the family.

    Alfie

     

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

    I am a Feral Cat Feeder (Bloor and Ossington). Around dusk every other Monday my husband and I feed feral cats at two locations in the Bloor and Ossington area. It is a very small time commitment and does not cost a lot – just the cost of cat kibble.

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

    Sometimes, if we are lucky, the cats are waiting for us at the feeding spots and we know that they will get the food and water we provide. It is very rewarding.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    ACR is a volunteer-based organized – without volunteers, the work that ACR does wouldn’t be accomplished. There would be more cats without homes struggling to live on the streets.

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

    The trap, neuter, release program is extremely important in controlling the number of feral cats.

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

    I am a fundraiser at a college in the GTA.

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

    Reading, crocheting, going to concerts, galleries/museums, theatre and other cultural events.

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

    One cat – Alfie – rescued from a cat colony in Scarborough. He was brought in to the Toronto Humane Society through their trap, neuter, release program. It was very clear that he was not a feral cat and that someone had dumped him on the street. Alfie is extremely affectionate and quirky. He follows my husband and I everywhere around the house and has a very fixed routine. He likes belly rubs – which is unusual for a cat.

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

    The cats in the colonies at Bloor and Ossington and my rescue cat Alfie, of course!

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

  • Happy Tails: Tuukka and Mikko (formerly Glen and Baillie)

    Little Glen and Baillie were found on Glen Baillie Place in Chinatown, with two other all-black siblings. When they first met their foster dad Jeff Moon, they were only tiny kittens, but already their respective personalities had started to emerge. Jeff says, “Glen is the tougher of the two and more of the explorer, and was definitely not as interested in long cuddles or being carried. He’s a bit of a mastermind, and he was always the first one to get into anything (including trouble).” On the other hand, Baillie is what Jeff refers to as a “cuddle monster”—always wanting to be in contact with his foster dad. “They seemed awfully comfortable from the start, and shortly after had the run of my place. It was fun to watch how much fun they had together, but they (especially Baillie) were also very eager to include me in their playing, and were pretty cuddly,” Jeff goes on to say.

    HappyTails: Tuukka & Mikko

    Lauren Earle and Rob Huneault had been looking at adoption sites, but when they saw pictures of Glen and Baillie on the ACR website, they knew immediately that those were the cats for them. Both had black cats growing up, and when they learned this colour of cat is less likely to get adopted, they wanted to do their part to remedy that. The couple adopted the two kittens and, following a family tradition, they named the pair after Finnish hockey players: Tuukka Rask and Mikko Koivu.

    The kittens adjusted quickly to their new home: “From the start, it was clear our new kittens were going to be just fine. Tuukka (formerly Glen) immediately came out of the carrier with confidence, strutting right up to the toy hanging from the scratching post, and furiously attacking it,” recalls Lauren. “His brother, Mikko (formerly Baillie), was a bit more timid, and sought refuge under the spare room bed, away from all of the action.” This timidity lasted for only about a day before Mikko’s need for cuddles overcame his apprehension about being in a new space.

    HappyTails: Tuukka & Mikko

    For Lauren and Rob, the most exciting part of raising these two kittens has been watching their personalities emerge and develop. “Tuukka was the adventurer from the start, and he’s still usually the first to investigate any new curiosities. He’s not much of a prolonged cuddler, but he still loves attention. He has a very calculated approach to playing, taking the time to plan out his attacks. He is almost always in a playful mood, which means you need to watch your drawstrings and shoelaces at all times!”

    HappyTails: Tuukka

    In many ways, Mikko is the opposite of Tuukka, and the cat’s new family agrees that, “it’s great to have that balance.” Mikko is always looking for attention, and he “is only happy when he’s sitting on top of you to get the most attention possible.” His trademark playing move is to throw himself at anything and everything without a thought. He particularly loves dropping toys into shoes and attacking them.

    HappyTails: Mikko

    The brothers share everything, taking turns jumping to attack toys and arranging their heads so they can both eat from their dish in tandem. The two “unleash a lot of energy chasing each other around the apartment, and we’re happy to take a break while they get that out of their systems.” Lauren and Rob say, “[we] couldn’t be happier that we decided to adopt both brothers; it melts our little hearts to watch them playing and cuddling together.”

     — Karen Stevens

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