Annex Cat Rescue is a 100% volunteer charity dedicated to addressing the plight of homeless cats in the Greater Toronto Area by:
- Humanely trapping homeless kittens and abandoned or stray adult cats for placement in our foster and adoption program;
- Feeding and providing medical care for feral cats in designated colonies;
- Curbing population growth in those colonies through trapping, spaying/neutering, and vaccinating;
- Educating the public on the compassionate treatment of homeless cats and responsible pet ownership; and
- Improving urban environments through community cooperation.
- Happy Tails: Jackson (formerly Liam)
David and Michelle Watson’s cat, Nina, was the undisputed queen of the house—until Jackson came along! The light grey kitten came into their home like a hurricane; a flurry of energy whose constant mischief and charming personality made him the centre of attention. But Jackson’s attention was always directed at Nina. He continues to admire and look up to her, ensuring her place as queen.
Pairing cats can be difficult and Jackson’s adopters, David and Michelle, were wary after a bad match resulted in a house with two sullen cats. The adopters had good experiences with Annex Cat Rescue in the past because of the knowledgeable volunteers’ commitment to finding each cat the right home.
Jackson couldn’t be more delighted with his new home and playmate. The small age difference is important, and David believes the opposite genders help because there is less competition between the two cats. Jackson loves to play with Nina who, in turn, tolerates his crazy antics. “He follows her around the house; it’s like he has a crush on her,” said David. One of his favourite activities is to sit on a box while Nina is inside and reach in to bat at her through the holes.
Jackson, originally named Liam, was rescued with his two siblings, Josie and Owen, from a feral colony at about six weeks of age. While in foster care, Jackson was known for his outgoing personality and eagerness for adventure. Jackson’s profile was posted on ACR’s website for only a week when he received an adoption referral. He was able to go to his forever home at just three months old because he would be living with another cat.
He continues to learn from following Nina around, and David suspects he mimics his adopters’ human behaviour too. Photos capture him sitting on a chair with his arm propped up on the arm or standing to use the litter box.
Now two years old, Jackson shows no sign of slowing down, but he enjoys his routine of watching the birds at the feeder from the window, jumping on counters to beg for food and spreading joy in his new home.
- Happy Tails: Carling
Carling, or “Carly” as he’s affectionately called, was found wandering around Ossington and Leeds, starving for both food and affection. An ACR volunteer brought him in and the four-year-old cat began his foster life in a small apartment with nine other felines. Being small and slight, Carly worked to hold his ground, especially near the food dishes. Though very affectionate toward his foster mom (think lots of head butts and leg rubbing), he was not about to be pushed around. This cat was going to prove he was worthwhile.
Foster dad Greg Robertson took Carly in and got him comfortable in his new home. Robertson already owned another cat, one who looked very much like Carly, and the two went from unsure acquaintances to best buddies in a week. “There’s lots of snuggling as well as rough housing,” remarks Robertson. He says that the two have been a wild source of entertainment ever since, and their strong bond was the driving factor for him to adopt Carly.
Now in his forever home with a loving dad and a best friend, Carly has been able to welcome new siblings to his family. “I now have two older cats, so four all together,” says Robertson. “One of those is an ACR rescue as a matter of fact.” In addition to showing the new felines the ropes of living with Robertson, Carly has taken on the role of leader. “While he’s by far the smallest he does tend to run the house. His primary interests involve keeping the other cats in line and being a lap cat. In curling up into adorable poses he’s unmatched,” laughs Robertson. “He’s known as ‘Snarly Carly’: full of the devil at any given moment. He is small, feisty, unpredictable, and hilarious.”
Recently Carly has even decided to get involved with home remodelling and has made a habit of thoroughly inspecting the renovations Robertson is having done on his home. “Each night when the workers leave I let the cats upstairs to inspect the work. Carly’s taken a particular interest in construction,” he chuckles. Robertson takes pictures of Carly’s nightly inspections and posts them online, getting a huge response from his friends and family.
Robertson now can’t imagine his home without Carly and is deeply thankful for those who helped make it happen. “I couldn’t be more pleased that little Carly came to live with us. I’m very grateful to the ACR for their work helping vulnerable animals find safe homes.”
— Leah Morrison
- Happy Tails: Franky and Frida
When Aleighsa Abraham and her boyfriend first went to visit siblings Franky and Frida in their foster home, the two felines made themselves scarce.
“When we sat down there were other cats playing in the living room and Franky and Frida were hiding,” the 25-year-old Ryerson student says.
“Then (foster owner) Jennifer got them to come out and play. Once they were playing, the other cats left and it was just Franky and Frida. We felt like the other cats and Franky and Frida knew we were there for them.”
Frida and Franky were the last kittens to be adopted from a litter of five who’d been born in a Toronto alleyway and taken in by Annex Cat Rescue. Abraham and her boyfriend had already fallen in love with the tiny tabbies’ pictures. Once they met them, it felt like it was meant to be and they took the kittens home.
“They were scared at first and hid for awhile,” Abraham says, “they were already six months old when we got them and were coming from a house that had many other cats for them to play with.”
Frida, who was a little shyer, took a little longer to adapt to her new home – but her brave bro Franky helped her out.
“It was really cute the night we got them. Frankie was more adventurous and kept coming out to see what was going on and exploring, but Frida was hiding. When we went to bed, I looked in the doorway and Franky was standing in front of Frida as if he was saying ‘It’s OK, they’re asleep now!’ ”
Giving Frida and Franky their own room to adjust to the new house helped with their transition. “We would go in and just sit with them and play with them until they felt more comfortable to be around us,” explains Aleighsa, “I would say it took Franky maybe two weeks or so until he started actually coming around and jumping on our bed to be pet while it took Frida about a month or so.”
Patience and love do pay off – three years later, the cats have really come into their own. “Now their personalities definitely shine through. Franky is such a little cuddle monster and Frida loves attention. She is always meowing at us when we’re walking around, wanting some love or food. And when we have people over she will hide at first, then come out and walk in front of the couch as if to say, ‘Look at me! You know I am cute!’ ” Abraham laughs.
As first-time adopters, taking in two kittens was a significant undertaking for Abraham and her partner, but the happy family of four has no regrets. “I know my life wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t have them,” Abraham states. “They’re both very special cats.”
— Sheena Goodyear
- Happy Tails: Lola (formerly Tabitha)
In 2012, Tabitha was found living amongst a colony in Kensington Market. It’s presumed that she once had a home due to her gentle nature in foster care, especially during play. Having once lost a home may account for Lola’s great desire for human affection, as her foster Nick Gunz fondly explains, “Once she expanded her territory into the whole apartment she clung to us and was really emotionally giving.” Her affection included sleeping on or beside Nick’s bed at night, and other times sitting on his chest while purring. Nick adds, “she was timid but hands-on, or rather paws-on – she really wanted to snuggle.”
Jessica Friedmann & Beny Matrundola, who adopted Tabitha in January 2013, agree that she is the sweetest girl. “Her personality is just fantastic, she’s really adorable,” Jessica gushes of her sweet girl whom they now call Lola.
Initially, Beny thought having a pet might be more responsibility than he wanted, but Jessica managed to convince him otherwise, having grown up with many pets herself. “After a lot of pestering from me, he told me I could pick out a cat as my Christmas gift from him,” Jessica states. Gorgeous Lola, with her beautiful stripes and great green eyes struck Jessica from the start, “I was sold as soon as I saw her, my boyfriend knew…” Since then, Beny & Lola have grown quite close, so much so that Jessica often enters a room only to “catch them cuddling.”
Jessica goes on to describe how much she loves coming home to her little pal, “she comes running out from wherever she is and rolls on her back for a belly rub.” Not only is Lola affectionate, but she’s also known for giving vocal expression to her satisfaction and content, “She’s very talkative, so chatty, always purring and happy,” Jessica exclaims.
One of Jessica and Beny’s favourite things about Lola is that she’s very affectionate and likes to spend a lot of time with them. “She follows us around and always wants to be in the same room and she likes to cuddle and sleep under the blankets with us,” Jessica declares. And from the sounds of it, it’ll be happily ever after for this loving trio.
— Alie Marconicchio
- Happy Tails: Pete and Mille
This adorable brother and sister duo named Pete and Mille found their happily ever after together. Although they shared the same journey, these two are unique in every way.
Mille is described as the more adventurous of the pair by her adoptive parent Simon, “Mille is the one who will take off into the basement for hours at a time so you think she’s lost.” A curious creature, “she gets into everything right away. You’ve barely put a bag down and she’s climbed inside and chewed on everything.” A sassy feline no doubt, Simon says that she was “the first to start bossing us around.”
Simon however jokingly refers to Pete as “the fat one”, but Pete is a complex cat. The shyer of the two, “Pete will be the one to hide longer when there are guests over, and he doesn’t jump on your lap as much,” Simon says. Simon believes that Pete may have had a more difficult time at the cat colony, causing him to be more nervous and attached. Adds Simon, “Pete is the guy who never leaves your side; as soon as you get home, he just follows you around.”
Despite being shy at first, Pete and Mille were quick to adjust to their adoptive home. Their new family brought over their toys and belongings from their foster home so that they had familiar things around. Simon recalls, “They hid under the tables and chairs for a little while; it wasn’t until maybe an hour before I got my first head bump on my leg. Within two days, they were comfortable just walking around openly on their own.”
It seems that their comfort levels grew quickly from there. Simon thinks back to one of his favorite pictures of the cats, “That one picture of the two of them on the chair and Pete, the fat one, is lying on his back with his legs sticking out looking like a slob – that was taken at about day seven,” he says. “I sent that to the foster caregiver and to some of our friends and said, ‘I think they are settling in just fine.’ Since then, they own the place basically.”
— Margaret Yu
- Happy Tails: Spoon (Spumoni)
Spumoni, better known as Spoon, was fostered by ACR volunteer Larissa. Spoon came to her when he was around one year of age and Larisa recalls his wonderful personality. “I was won over when I realized that when he’d play with a toy or string and his paw would come near me, he would immediately retract his claws! He was just naturally so gentle.”
Larissa, hoping that Spoon would be adopted by a friend eventually had Kate persuade Maeve to come over to meet the cat. Maeve, had never owned a pet before that didn’t dwell in a cage or bowl but both women were absolutely smitten once they met this special fellow. Maeve says, “When I met Spoon, I had to hold him. He’s just got such a great demeanour – cuddly, mellow, sweet and friendly.” Once back in the car, she told Kate that they should go for it.
The next day, the couple went to PetSmart and bought all the things that Spoon would need. Immediately, Spoon fit right into their home, “I thought I’d need to sleep with the bedroom door closed for a few weeks before I was comfortable with him having the run of the apartment… turns out it only took one night!” Maeve laughs.
Maeve now describes herself as a proud pet owner, “It seems like he’s been here forever…in a good way,” she states in her blog which details her conversion to a cat lover – and with a cat as affectionate and cuddly as Spoon it’s not hard to see why.
— Kaitlyn Uniacke
- Happy Tails: Pekoe (formerly Goldie)
Sometimes it’s just meant to be – this was certainly the case for Pekoe and her adopters, JP Davidson & Erika Range. JP & Erika had been searching for the perfect cat and on a fateful day in January 2013, they thought they had found the one. At the time her name was Goldie; she was 4 months old and had been found living with her sister in an alleyway beside an auto garage. Erika & JP decided to get in touch with ACR to express their interest in meeting Goldie; however, before they had the chance to do so they received a call from Erika’s friend, Ashley Leifso. Ashley told them that she thought they’d be interested in a cat she was fostering, and…lo and behold – it was the very same cat!
Pekoe’s effervescent and affable personality was evident from the start. Of their initial meeting JP recalls, “she was very friendly right from the get go, she didn’t seem especially shy or scared, and she didn’t hide from us.” Since then Pekoe has grown into an incredibly outgoing and well-travelled cat. “She’s really chill in the car and when we get to our destination she’s right out there exploring & saying hi to other animals” says JP, “sometimes it kinda freaks the other animals out, they’re like, ‘What? This is my house!’”
Luckily for JP, he gets a daily dose of love from Pekoe as he works from home. “Every afternoon around 2:30 or 3:00 she comes and jumps up on the desk, says hello, and hangs out with me” he says. He and Erika also enjoy frequent cuddles from Pekoe while relaxing on the couch.
When asked about their impact on each other’s lives, JP replies, “we’ve enhanced each other’s lives. We’re really, really happy to have her… she brings life and a lot of joy to our home. And she seems to like us, she has lots of toys and we give her treats and play with her every day.” Truly, it seems like a match made in heaven.
- Happy Tails: Bug
Even though his name may suggest he’s pesky, nothing could be further from the truth! Words like friendly, playful and affectionate have been used to describe this little Bug. He is also known to be quite the singer, due to his roaring and musical purr! This handsome boy is about two years old and originally from our Dufferin/Ranee colony and has demonstrated to everyone he has met how happy and grateful he is to have been given a chance to have a home.
Heather Page fostered Bug in 2013, until he was adopted that September. She fondly remembers him, “When we got him, he was a year old. He was a very cute and friendly cat. He got along very well with my cat, Jean Luc Picard. They spent lots of time playing and cleaning each other. He also liked human attention. I was studying for my CFA exam and he would sit on the table and watch me, nap, and knock around my pens.”
Heather adds, “He loved to be petted, and would purr in this very bizarre musical chirping kind of way. Very unique, but very sweet. Like Luc, he would sleep on my bed. When my boyfriend went on a holiday with his friend for two weeks, both cats would sleep beside me on the bed each night.”
Heather kept a blog while she was a foster parent, in which she wrote two posts about Bug. One post included a video with Bug’s famous purr which helped him find his forever home with Alison Paprocki.
When asked what made her want to adopt a cat, Alison explains “I was missing having a pet. After I moved I was living with two of my girlfriends, they both had their own cats and I wanted one too. I ended up inheriting one from a family member. Unfortunately, she did awful with the other cats and after a few months I found her a better home.”
Alison’s desire for a cat companion remained, “The next year another girlfriend of mine was moving in, I had mentioned to her I’d really like a cat. While at work she was looking on the Annex Cat Rescue website and saw a video of Bug getting pets and purring. She sent it to me immediately in excitement! I think we both fell in love watching that video. Phone calls were made, papers were signed and he’s been my Bug ever since.”
Bug now lives with Alison, her roommate, and her roommate’s two cats. All the cats get along very well and sometimes all cuddle together.
Alison describes Bug’s personality as “super, super friendly! Bug has a lot of energy, he runs around a lot, and eats a lot; he’s a typical male. He loves everyone! It’s great.”
- Happy Tails: Greydon
Dapper, steel-grey Greydon is friendly and good-natured, so he was easily approached and petted by the feeders at the Chester colony. A good candidate for domestication, Gredydon stayed briefly in a feeder’s home before Bonnie Cook fostered him.
At first, Greydon was very shy. He managed to hide himself in Bonnie’s small apartment for the first two weeks. Bonnie says that Greydon is “ one of the smartest cats I’ve ever known. He had my routine figured out in a day or two and avoided me entirely.”
After taking time to adjust, he started to come out of hiding. Bonnie patiently won him over by playing with him, and got him used to living with humans. After Greydon had been with Bonnie for a year and a half, he was adopted by Carole Paul. Bonnie loved fostering Greydon, “It was hard for me to let him go as he is such a great cat. He is calm and cool and very smart. He liked to sit in my lap and watch TV and loved to be petted. He came such a long way from the cat who hid under my bed for the first two weeks!”
When Carole first saw Greydon’s picture, there was just something about him that she liked. Greydon adapted to his new home, and the bond between cat and cat owner developed quickly. Carole kept the name Greydon since he was an older cat and she “felt it would be wrong to change his name. Since he is dark grey the name fit him perfectly!”
Carole is a trombonist, so she wanted to make sure that Greydon wouldn’t be afraid when she practiced in the apartment. “I went to great lengths to introduce him to the horn in a way so that he would not be afraid,” she explains. First she played records, and then she practiced in the bathroom, so that by the time he met the trombone, he was used to the sound of it. In fact, he now enjoys classical music. These days Greydon is a very social cat. He likes visitors, especially Carole’s brother. Carole is very happy to have Greydon, “He settled in and has become a great pet.”
- Happy Tails: Jake
Meet Jake, a sensitive guy with soulful eyes and jet-black fur, who loves people, purring, and his adoptive home’s dog. Described by those who know him as “affectionate,” “quirky,” and “chill,” this cool cat will melt your heart in no time.
“We’re pretty much equally in love with each other.” admits adoptive dad, Shane Camastro. “I don’t really consider him a pet as much as a friend.”
Foster dad, Jeff Moon, agrees. “Of the eight or nine kittens we’ve had, Jake really made an impression. He was really snugly. He’s a purr-machine.”
Jake joined Annex Cat Rescue as a kitten, after he was discovered hiding under a staircase in Kensington Market, suffering from an eye infection. However, despite his difficult beginnings, he is incredibly friendly and adores people.
“We fostered him about a year and a half ago,” Moon confirms. “He immediately clung to people. He was immediately sociable.”
Although Jake’s sweet temperament should make him more adoptable, black cats are at a major disadvantage when it comes to adoption. The B.C. SPCA estimates that it takes about 24 percent longer for them to be adopted, making up a third of cats in their shelters.
Luckily, he was exactly what Shane Camastro was looking for: a cat facing challenges finding a home.
“I contacted the organization about adopting an older cat but they told me black cats were more vulnerable, and I wanted to adopt a more vulnerable cat,” explains adoptive dad, Camastro. “I got him when he was five or six months old.”
Camastro was smitten. “He would crawl into bed and purr and lick my face until I’d wake up.” laughs Camastro. “He thinks he owns everything. He’s on the table right now, rubbing his face against me.”
However, his dog was not impressed. “The first five months were awful because the dog wasn’t acclimatized to other animals.”
Fortunately, cat-dog relations have improved considerably. “Now they get along great – kissing each other, cleaning each other – sometimes Jake will bite his neck and hug him, and the dog will be walking down the hall with Jake hanging from his neck.”
For Camastro, Jake’s personality really stands out. “He’s pretty quirky.”
“He doesn’t meow, he murmurs. I’ll be like ‘what are you doing?’ I’ve had a lot of cats in my life, but never one like that.”
Foster dad, Moon, fondly recalls another of Jakes quirks: “lounging” on the couch, sitting with legs out like a person.
As to the benefits of fostering, “It’s someone to come home to who wouldn’t normally have a home,” explains Moon. ”For me, it’s not an 18 year commitment. We have probably had a dozen cats and each cat is really different.”
And on the decision to adopt, Camastro says it’s been really positive, pointing out that Jake plays a major role in his life.
“He’s my best friend.”
— Selena Panchoo