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.
  • Volunteer Profile: Brianna G

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

    After moving to Toronto and adopting “Mr. Handsome Pants” from THS, I wanted to help other cats in need and found ACR. Through ACR I found out that there are over 100,000 homeless cats in TO! At the time, ACR was doing a partnership with THS and the Atkinson Co-op to spay and neuter not only colony cats, but cats from the Co-op as well. I began there, helping with the intake then later on became an adoption facilitator. After a couple years of helping with adoptions, I became the blog coordinator and also had the amazing opportunity to assist as Secretary for the Board. I’ve also fostered a few felines throughout the years which was a wonderful experience.

    Mr Handsome Pants

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

    Currently I coordinate the “Happy Tails”, a weekly blog which is posted on the ACR website. I work with a group of wonderful volunteer copywriters who write adoption success stories of previous foster cats. As well, each month I compile current content to appear in ACR’s newsletter such as upcoming events, featured stories and behaviour tips.

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

    I’ve had many moments with ACR that really impacted me in a positive way. Amongst them, the most memorable are my experiences of fostering. Shelters are very important, simply because of the sheer number of homeless animals. However, allowing cats to grow in a home environment makes a huge difference, for them and for the adoption process. It’s interesting to realize the number of people that have their hands in getting a cat off the streets, into foster, and finally into their forever home. It’s really a remarkable process and a lucky journey for the cat. I’m actually still good friends with one family who adopted one of my fosters – I hope they adopt me if I ever come back as a cat!

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    It’s amazing and rewarding. There’s so much people can help with in accordance with their skills, as well encounter many great opportunities to learn new ones! Simply put, ACR is an organization where you can see first-hand the impact you have on an animals life and how beneficial your help is.

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

    That’s a tough one, ACR is a large connected web. There’s such a large amount of colony cats helped not only with TNR, but medical aid and getting the tame felines into foster homes to be adopted. Also, a lot of people have homeless cats in their backyard and don’t know what to do or what resources are available for them. ACR really is there for the community to provide support and to empower people to not feel helpless.

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

    I work as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic – so I pretty much eat sleep and breathe cats!

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

    Anything that gets me outside – I love jogs through Sherwood Park. As well, as a recent vegan I’ve been experimenting with new recipes for me and boyfriend to try which has proven challenging at times as as he’s not naturally a huge fan of fruits, vegetables or anything that looks remotely healthy ;-)

    Rosie and Josie

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

    We do have a couple “foster successes”. Sassy Josie was merely 6 weeks old when she and her two brothers were scooped from a colony. If a volunteer didn’t do that, she very well may have died as many outdoor kittens do. Now she calls the shots, arguing with us if we don’t brush her every morning in her ‘Jacuzzi’ which is our bathroom sink – she is a character. And sweet Rosie, who was a surrender to TAS before coming into ACR’s foster program. She wouldn’t have survived or been deemed ‘adoptable’ in a shelter setting. She was so extremely frightened that it took her almost a year for her sweet personality to really shine through. Now she basks in her window bed, head-butts our other cats with affection and has high-speed chases with Josie… all through the night! Yay.

    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.

  • Happy Tails: Fanta & Creamsicle (now Jam Jam & Catsby)

    Veronica can’t have cats of her own because she’s highly allergic. But her love of animals is stronger than the worst allergies, so every now and then she takes anti-allergy medication and fosters kitties for a few weeks at a time. Summer is the best time for her because of the air, and last summer she met two special kittens.

    Fanta and Creamsicle are two sisters who were living on the streets with their mom, who was hardly more than a kitten herself. Found by someone who worked at a veterinary clinic at only eight weeks old, they were taken in, their mom was fixed, and Annex Cat Rescue was contacted about finding them a safe home. Fanta, an orange tabby, and Creamsicle, orange and white, have unusual colouring for female cats, and were bonded from the start.

    Happy Tails: Fanta & Creamsicle

    When Veronica took them in the first few days were scary; the kittens were sick, constantly throwing up, and not eating. But with some patience and special kitten milk brought over by ACR, they started eating and recovering. Creamsicle was very shy and cried whenever she was separated from her sister, but Fanta was more independent and curious. By far the braver of the two, she liked to explore the place and find new places to hide. Veronica’s place had great windows for bird watching, which the kittens loved. Once they broke out of their shells and became comfortable with their surroundings, they showed their true colours as very friendly, playful kittens who enjoyed chasing each other and playing in boxes. Soon enough they found their forever home together at a Pet Uno Adoptathon. They now go by Jam Jam and Catsby, and have a great life in a loving home.

    Happy Tails: Fanta & Creamsicle

    Veronica says she definitely would have adopted them if not for her allergies. It’s hard to not get attached to foster cats, but she finds if you go into it knowing that it’s only temporary it’s not so bad. Sometimes she finds it helps to not call them by their names. As hard as it is to say goodbye, fostering is so rewarding because you know you’re helping them out. Instead of waiting in a cage, they get a chance to play and socialize, so that by the time they’re adopted they are totally adapted. It’s good to get kittens so that from the start they’re used to humans. Veronica’s done a lot of work building trust with different cats, including some from hoarding situations where the cats were so afraid of people and refused to be touched or picked up. But with loving care and patience, they became happier, well-adjusted cats.

    — Risa de Rege

  • Volunteer Profile: Carmen T

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

    I got my first pet Simba (formally Pippen) from ACR and had a great experience so I wanted to support this organization .

    Carmen and Simba


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

    Volunteer at fundraising events – set up, manning the booths, some donations of food or cat stuff to sell.

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

    Connecting with the public.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    From what I hear, most of our efforts are for the cats, less politics and clear financial disclosures of where the money goes.

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


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


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


    Carmen and Simba - all good

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

    One cat Simba – his mother was Brandy and sister was Kamquat. I got him in the fall of 2012 or 2013. He was fostered by Victoria by Charles Street and had a big personality. I went in looking for a black short hair cat and came out with a orange and white long hair cat. I was not sure I was doing the right thing until the night I took him home. After playing, he crawled up on my chest where I was laying down on the sofa and fell asleep and I knew then I made the right choice.

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

    All of them – I want all cats to have the same opportunities that Simba had.

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

  • Happy Tails: August

    August, more majestically referred to as Prince August the 13th, was adopted by Elizabeth Taylor roughly 2 years ago. Today, at almost 3 years of age, August has a very special place in Elizabeth’s home. She describes him as a very sweet and loving mama’s boy who loves to snuggle with her and her kids every opportunity he gets. August is very small in stature and, despite his older age, is often mistaken for a kitten!


    Although he is a feline, August has many dog-like tendencies. He chirps instead of meows and will show up immediately when called. His canine-like personality may be attributed to growing up with a loving dog who he quickly became close friends with.

    When asked if she has any advice for people interested in getting a cat, Elizabeth recommends to always adopt a rescue because she finds that they are very grateful and devoted family members who truly appreciate a loving home and family. Also, an important note of advice, she says, is to be sure that you can afford a cat before adopting.

    It’s great to see another heartwarming adoption success. In fact, this is the magic that keeps Annex Cat Rescue running as a successful organization—the creation of meaningful and lasting new relationships with loving cats.

    — Vidya Srikanthan

  • August Adopt-a-Thon at Pet Uno

    Are you looking to adopt a new furry friend into your home? Come see us at our next Adopt-a-Thon this Saturday August 15th, from 10 am to 5 pm. We’ll be at Pet Uno (map)!

    August Adoptathon at pet uno

  • Volunteer Profile: Laura L

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

    I started dating a guy who fostered cats for ACR. Cute guy and cute cats, I couldn’t resist! I started fostering myself soon after, and now we’re living together, and have adopted one of our former foster cats, Camille, and still foster together now.

    the modern family

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

    Currently we’re fosters! We care for cats in our home and treat them like their our own. While everyone always asks if it’s hard to give our foster cats up, I love it! I get to see my cats go to a loving forever home.

    While we lived in the area, we also did feedings on the Chinatown feral route. It was great to see another side of Toronto, going through alleys and back paths that aren’t on our normal route. While it wasn’t always fun to do in bad weather, walking through the snow on a cold, quiet evening and seeing a hungry cat waiting for their dinner made it worth while.

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

    My first foster cat, Fergie, had had a tough life and was very scared around new people. But I finally wore her down with tentative petting and lots of treats, and she came to love snuggling with me. When she went to her forever home, and finally settled in with her new family, I was so happy!

    As well, one of family members cat-sat for our former foster cat Otis while we traveled through Central America for a month. Halfway through our trip, they’d decided to welcome Otis into their forever home, and he has really become a member of their family.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    Volunteering with ACR is perfect for anyone with a bit of an unsettled life but who still wants to help cats and kittens. Whether you’re a student, or are considering moving abroad, or worried about having a child and a pet, fostering temporarily is a great way to give an animal a great home without committing to a long term situation.

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

    I live with Camille, our former foster cat and now forever-cat. We loved being able to ‘test run’ her before adopting. Having had so many cats through ACR, we knew what sort of personality worked best for our lifestyle, and we got exactly that!

  • Happy Tails: Hunter and Kasper (formerly Jinxie)

    After her cat of 16 years passed away, Gabrielle B. wasn’t sure if she was ready for a new pet just yet. Having been together for the cat’s entire life, it was hard to move on. But her daughter was eager for a new pet, so they began looking through Annex Cat Rescue’s website based on a neighbour’s recommendation. Gabrielle’s daughter initially picked Hunter because he was so cute. After reviewing his profile, they found out he had a brother too—Jinxie, now called Kasper—so they wanted both.


    Hunter had another potential adopter who was going to take just him, but his foster mom felt it was important that the two cats stay together. Gabrielle soon adopted the brothers after a few visits. Incredibly shy, their first act in their new home was to hide together behind the washing machine.

    At one point the family noticed that Hunter was drinking a lot more than normal. Both cats were overweight, so they took Hunter to the vet, where he was diagnosed with diabetes. This was a big hurdle to overcome, and for a year he had to have constant insulin shots. Now, after lots of love and patience, he is happy, healthy, and the diabetes is under control. “The more we have them the more we love them,” says Gabrielle, who is glad that she stuck with Hunter through the worst and that she was able to be there for him when he needed a loving hand.


    In the beginning, Hunter and Kasper were nervous cats rescued from neglect. Shy, scared, and afraid of everything—doorbells, visitors, and males, among others. Loving foster care and a patient forever home have helped the brothers blossom. Kasper, while still shy, is very affectionate and loves cuddles and hugs. Always first and definitely the more controlling of the two, he has come so far from the shy, depressed cat he once was, and enjoys running, playing, and bird watching from his cat tree. Hunter, independent and adaptable, is no longer scared of visitors and loves sleeping in warm spots by windows. He is a cute, quirky cat who likes eating in the bathtub, napping, and playing with his brother. “They’re just such interesting characters,” Gabrielle says of their very different personalities. The brothers have a great dynamic and like chasing each other and having their own conversations. Over the past few years, love and care have helped them become more trusting, happy cats who have a hard time being apart from their forever family.

    Adopting cats who were already 8 years old was a bit of a concern at first. Gabrielle had had her previous cat its whole life. With older cats, she says, they just need more understanding because you don’t necessarily know what life they had before or where they’re coming from. The same thing goes for special-needs cats; Hunter’s diabetes was scary, but Gabrielle and her family received the help and additional support they needed to deal with this unique situation—a first for them, but definitely worth it now that he’s recovering. It’s really clear that you’re helping them so much by giving them a good home and a bright future.

    — Risa de Rege

  • PURR Toronto Feline Film & Arts Festival

    PURR Toronto feline Film and Arts festival
    Join Annex Cat Rescue in celebrating World Cat Day at the inaugural PURR Toronto Feline Film & Arts Festival this Saturday. The event will feature films/videos and Q&As, guest speakers, face painting, giveaways and more!

    Pawsway, 245 Queens Quay West (map)
    Saturday August 10, 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm

    There is no fee to attend, but donations will be accepted for various local cat rescue organizations.

    More information.

  • Volunteer Profile: Rondi A

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

    I got involved in 1998. I was looking for a way to help cats and heard about the group through an article I was writing for a newspaper.

    colony cats

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

    Now I am feeding many feral routes, and working at fundraising events when I can. Tonight, for example, I fed several cats and groups of cats in Chinatown, which took about an hour and a quarter, and last weekend I worked at the Little Italy festival at our booth.

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

    Too many to list, but certainly, the satisfaction of trapping a cat who was disabled, who was very difficult to trap, nonetheless, and for whom we had a terrific home lined up, was a very happy one. Also, when I was able to convince/educate some people who had been very against what we were doing in their neighbourhood, and gain their support, was a winning moment.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    If you’re an animal-lover, it is a way of helping that can be very hands-on, if you are doing trapping or feeding. You are able to see how you are improving things for cats in our city.

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

    The TNR program, without a doubt, and after that I would say informing/educating.

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

    Journalist. Writer. Teacher.

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

    Reading. Writing. Travel. Photography

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

    Not now, no.

    more colony cats

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

    All of the ones with whom I have shared my life from childhood on — three, in particular. Also, some of the victims of abuse, some of the awful stories I have read about — those cats (and other animals) are always in my mind when I try to help others. I can’t stop their pain, or change it, but I can try to prevent similar happenings in future.

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

    Photos: (top) Our two current residents at Bathurst-College, Tabby and Lilybelle (grey cat); (bottom) Black Fluffy (you can tell how fluffy she is in the photo) who is now gone, she lived to be about seven years old; Kensington (black and white cat), the cat I adopted after he was found eating with the colony.
    The colony cat photos are by Rondi Adamson.

  • Happy Tails: Dorothy (Formerly Minnie)

    Minnie, a white beauty with grey tabby patches and green eyes, is a brave little soul who showed her love for people early on, despite her rough start in life. Found in an abandoned warehouse in Mississauga, Minnie was placed in ACR’s Trap-Neuter/Spay-Return (TNR) program and scheduled for release to a colony. However, while recovering from her surgery her caregivers noticed that she wasn’t like the other cats. So they let her out of her cage to see what would happen. Minnie proceeded to show her appreciation to her rescuers/caregivers by showering them with affection, and consequently secured herself a place in the adoption program—albeit with a very limited time engagement. Minnie’s profile had not even been posted on the ACR website when she was introduced to Stephanie Metcalfe and Jeff Fraser.

    Stephanie and Jeff were already living with Butters, a venerable 12 year old who’d originally “owned” Jeff’s roommate in university when he decided to take over ownership of Jeff instead. The three of them were used to living with other feline and human companions, and had recently parted ways with their roommate and his human. Since they were now down to one cat and Stephanie was looking to be owned by a feline as much as Jeff was, they reached out to ACR looking for a match. “We’re both cat people, we figured ‘what’s the harm?’,” Stephanie says. They were interested in adopting very young kittens, but because Butters was an older cat the adoption coordinator suggested a more mature companion and introduced them to Minnie, who was about 6 months old at the time. They brought her home and renamed her Dorothy.

    Dorothy and Butters

    These days Dorothy can be found napping near her pal Butters, or playing with her toys. “We get her these fancy cat toys, but her favourites are the jingly balls from Dollarama,” explains Stephanie. “She’s very playful, she likes to bat things off the edge of the table and chase them around, and when there are no more toys left we pull them all back out from under the stove or bed.” Dorothy’s about 2 years old now, but she still plays with her own tail, and she likes to watch the front-loading washer. “She’ll watch it until I catch her, and then she’s like, ‘oh dear!’ and goes away,” says Stephanie with a laugh. Dorothy also has a penchant for paper. “All of our paper has the corners torn off. We don’t have homework, but if we did we could say the cat ate it. It could be annoying, but we just think it’s cute,” the couple says.

    Dorothy and Jeff

    Dorothy’s affectionate nature has flourished in her forever home. She loves people and loves to be pet and cuddled. When Jeff works at his computer, Dorothy will go sit on his lap where “she knows she can get her cuddle on.” As for Stephanie, she and Dorothy have all kinds of naps together. “Whenever I lay down anywhere she says, ‘Oh, there’s my bed’ and comes to lay on me and we both fall asleep…. That’s how I get my weekend naps,” Stephanie tells us.

    Dorothy and Stephanie

    Stephanie and Jeff both love having such special bonds with their cats, and are always happy to come home to their feline companions. They feel good knowing that they are providing a home for these loving creatures, and are “really happy to have them around, it’s really nice to share our house.” And nobody’s ever lonely in their home. “Even if you have the night on your own, you’re not alone,” Stephanie explains. “Even if you’re not cuddling, they’re nearby—hanging out—and you can take photos of them!” Stephanie and Jeff’s phones are “full of cat photos” and their conversations are full of cat stories. “We talk about our cats a lot. People think it’s weird, but then they come over and their minds are changed. Even people who are definitely allergic. Our cats are pretty fantastic!”

    — Alie Marconicchio

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