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: Frank Sinatra & Sammy Davis Jr (formerly Riley and Wendell)

    While brothers Frank and Sammy are not from New York, New York, they were destined to be the stars of Rusa’s life.
    Abandoned and living outdoors, Riley and Wendell were rescued from the banks of the Gatineau River north of Ottawa, by a wonderful woman named Cindi. She brought them into her home and cared for them for almost a year, during which time, she personally paid for Wendell’s much-needed eye surgery. Since she already had a cartel of cats residing in her house and believed that the pair had a better chance of getting adopted in a bigger city, Cindi eventually gave them to her cousin Kathy in Toronto.

    Annex Cat Rescue agreed to let the brothers enter its adoption program if Kathy found a foster home for them. Kathy called on a good friend for help, who agreed to foster them until they found a loving and permanent owner.
    Foster mother Lou-Ann recalls that the brothers were friendly, loveable cats with a taste for the outdoors. But kitties, it’s cold outside! Lou-Ann figures they like the outdoors because they spent some of their young years in the wild. Aren’t we all trying to find ways to relive our youth?
    It was evident early on that Riley and Wendell didn’t just love each other’s company, they were inseparable—they slept together and groomed each other; they needed each other. The hope was that they would eventually get adopted together.

    Rusa was scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed when she stumbled upon their headshots. When she visited Lou-Ann’s home, Riley was very shy and hid in the basement, whereas Wendell was quite comfortable with meeting his potential adopter.

    After a brief period of hesitation, it must have been that old cat magic that convinced Rusa to adopt the brothers. Within half an hour of taking them to her place, both cats were exploring their new home. And in that moment, everyone (felines included) realized that they were exactly where they were supposed to be.

    Happy Tails: Frank

    Happy Tails: Sammy

    During a recent phone call with Rusa, she described the great time that she is having with newly named Frank and Sammy. She claims that it is neat to have two cats with different personalities. She is kept quite busy since both animals take turns demanding her attention. How could she possibly say no? She also puts on adorable photo shoots of the brothers in bowties! To see the way they look tonight, visit her blog @

    — Yin Cai

  • Volunteer Profile: Carla H

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

    My son (at the tender age of 13) got me involved in the beginning. He thought it would be a great idea to feed stray cats around our neighbourhood after seeing what he thought was one. Thankfully, it was a neighbourhood cat, with a collar, that had a home, but it got us thinking that there may be strays somewhere that needed feeding. I didn’t know before I googled the “topic” what a crisis there is in Toronto with homeless, feral cats and the multitude of colonies that exist. We found ACR online from researching, and there began the amazing adventure of helping to feed the Chester Colony. Unfortunately, as my son got into the teen years, even though he still loved our Chester kitties, (and our two guys at home) other “teenage” things took priority. That’s when my husband and I took over together. We have loved getting to know the Chester cats over the last 5 years and it’s been so rewarding over time to have them come to trust us, or at least be excited when they hear our car drive up into the alley way. It’s amazing that they recognize the sound and are already sticking their sweet heads outside the fence hole before we have even gotten out of the car. We’re so happy to make their lives a little happier by providing food and treats!!

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    Volunteering with ACR is so rewarding! We get to see the impact of helping first hand by feeding the colony and seeing them happily chow down but we also know that we are doing a small part to help in the much bigger picture of addressing the issue of homeless cats.

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

    ACR does so many important things – raise awareness, raise funds, coordinate spay and neutering to combat overpopulation, take care of sick animals, foster, and provide forever homes. There isn’t just one important thing… there’s a whole list.

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

    I’m a marketing research consultant and my husband is involved in research into alternate energy sources.


    Our guys are Buddy and Chip, who look almost identical. Buddy has more white on his belly than Chip. We adopted them from the Toronto Humane Society before we knew that ACR existed. They are amazing!!

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

  • Happy Tails: Hobbes

    Hobbes isn’t like most cats.

    For one thing, says owner Susannah Brower, he plays fetch.

    “If I throw a toy mouse, he’ll bring it back pretty much as many times as I do it,” she says. “He actually initiates it. I didn’t teach him. He just did it.”

    And he’s unusually laid back—almost un-catlike in his coolness.

    “He’s so different than any other cat,” Brower says. “I mean, I love cats, but you know how cats can be jerks sometimes? They’ll throw your glass of water off the table to watch it break? He doesn’t do anything like that.”

    HappyTails: Hobbes

    Just a few weeks after adopting Hobbes, Brower discovered he had a herpes infection and she had to put medication directly on his eye twice a day for three weeks. But with Hobbes, it was no problem.

    “He was just so good about it,” she says. “He let me do it. He’s such a good cat. He didn’t put up a fuss.”

    Jennifer A, who briefly fostered the silky black kitty with bright yellow eyes and a patch of white on his chest, agrees.

    “Hobbes was one of my all-time favourite foster kids, but I actually only had him with me for about five minutes,” she said.

    She’s admits she’s being hyperbolic; she actually had him 10 days—which was more than enough time to fall in love.

    “Hobbes has just a wonderful personality. For such a little guy, his behaviour was larger than life.”

    He was just a kitten when someone found him frozen in the snow in Hamilton two years ago. All Critters Rescue set him up with a foster home in Toronto, and Annex Cat Rescue had him neutered and vaccinated and posted his profile online.

    That’s when Brower, who was living in the Annex at the time, spotted the little guy.

    “He was four months old and he was just a little thing and his little nose was frostbitten,” Brower says.

    HappyTails: Hobbes

    She already had a cat named Sam, who was quite friendly with her roommate’s cat, Al. But with her roommate planning to move, Brower wanted to make sure Sam wasn’t lonely.

    When Hobbes came into their lives, he immediately charmed everyone—except, ironically, the very cat he was adopted to befriend.

    “It was tense for a very long time. Sam hated him,” she says. “I thought I had ruined Sam because he had gone from being the sweetest cat to he hated me, he hated everyone. My friends were like, ‘Are you gonna get rid of Hobbes?’ And I was like, ‘I can’t get rid of Hobbes, I love him too much!’”

    So did everyone else. Hobbes got along great with Al and the other roommates.

    HappyTails: Hobbes

    “Even my dad said: ‘If you get sick or die or something we will definitely take Hobbes.’ And I was like, ‘You have to take Sam, too.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, I guess.’”

    Fortunately, Hobbes won Sam over, too—slowly, but surely.

    “It took a very long time. Sam was meaner to me than he was to Hobbes, like it was my fault,” she said. “Now they’re buddies. They hang out together. They play.”

    HappyTails: Hobbes

    Brower has since moved to Albany, N.Y., where she teaches high school, and she’s taken her now-chummy cats along with her.

    “I love both of those cats; they’re my life,” she said. “People who think they don’t like cats meet my cats and say, ‘Oh, maybe I’ve just been meeting the 7wrong cats!’” 077

    —  Sheena Goodyear

  • Summer Adopt-a-Thon at Pet Uno

    In the neighbourhood? Stop by and chat with us on Saturday July 18 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. We’d love to meet you.

    Pet uno annex cat rescue adopt-a-thon July 2015

  • Volunteer Profile: Karen L

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

    I first got involved with Annex Cat Rescue as a feral feeder. I did that for four wonderful years and highly recommend it! I also helped to trap and rescued a kitten that had been dumped on the street and a lovely orange tabby who fell in love with me and tried to follow me home. I’ve also helped with events – like the Christmas Craft show at the Tranzac Club and other events.

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

    Unfortunately not, due to illness.

    colony cat

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

    Being a feral feeder was the most rewarding and satisfying experience ever! As the cats recognize you they wait for you and in their feral way are so glad to see you it did my heart good! I am one of the fortunate few that has had actual physical contact with “Princess” on the Kensington route – she rubbed up against my leg not once but twice. It’s also very satisfying to see the work that ACR does in controlling large colonies.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    It does your heart good! It’s amazing to have these cats waiting anxiously for you (okay, it’s the food they’re waiting for, but they’re also glad to see you!) and have them greet you in their own individual ways. Rescuing a cat or a kitten – I have no words to describe how wonderful that is, especially when a passerby helps (as one did when I rescued the dumped kitten) and the trappers are amazing – working with them was always a treat.

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

    Taking care of feral cats – both through feeding and monitoring their physical health is so important. It’s bad enough to be out there in all kinds of weather but Annex volunteers are an essential part of making sure these cats are looked after. And not all of them are feral – sometimes the most feral-seeming cat turns out to be a frightened stray and that’s the best part, getting them inside and off the streets. I also used to educate people in the community who grumbled about the stray cat getting into their garbage, telling them that is what happens when you don’t get your cat spayed or neutered – that is their new life. Wonder what happened to that cat that just disappeared? Look in your backyard – those cats used to be someone’s beloved pet and that’s how they live now, just because they weren’t fixed. Not their fault, is it?

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

    At the moment I’m recovering from a serious illness but in the normal world I work for the provincial government.

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

    I read, am into photography (I have pictures of the two cats I rescued and some of the Kensington route while out feeding, along with a brief stint covering for the Portland cats). Right now I’m just trying to recover from cancer, and that is taking up a lot of my time!

    Princess supervises

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

    No, my cats came from some people who rescued them from a hoarder who died. I think, I’m not sure what their story is but I started off fostering them, and that has gone on for four years now, so I guess I’m theirs! My original cat was a stray picked up by the Humane Society and she lived to the ripe old age of 21 and I named her Oprah (long story). I still miss her.

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

    I dedicate all of my ACR work to Buster aka “Orange Guy” who lives happily ever after with his Dad Sean and step-sister Minou (also an ACR cat). Of course Oprah (the cat, not the woman) who was from the Annex area when she was picked up and who gave me so many years of her company who will always be in my heart.

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

  • Happy Tails: Sparrow

    When ACR volunteer Caroline talked to her partner Tim about fostering a cat for the first time, he wasn’t so sure about the idea. He was worried that they would end up with a houseful of cats! Caroline had similar concerns, knowing how difficult it can be to let go of a cat you have bonded with.

    That was when Tim had a brilliant idea. They would foster, but they would take a cat who needed to be in a single-cat household. This would mean that if they fell in love and couldn’t bear to part with the cat, at least they would only end up with one cat instead of fostering again and again, and adopting another cat each time.

    Well, it only took moments for them to start falling in love with Sparrow, and after starting to go through the adoption referral process to find her a home, they agreed that Sparrow was already in her forever home.

    Happy Tails: Sparrow

    When you see Sparrow today, you would never guess that she was once on her own in the cold, scared and hungry. She is now happy, friendly, and clearly very loved.

    Sparrow was rescued by a volunteer in the winter. She had probably been abandoned by her owners. Less than 48 hours after being taken in, she gave birth to 5 kittens. Her kittens were adopted fairly quickly; luckily, 3 went together and the other 2 went with each other to another home, so each one had a sibling to go home with.

    Sparrow spent time in multiple houses before finding her forever home. She was briefly in her rescuer’s home, then the home where she gave birth, and then a foster home with other cats. She didn’t get along with other cats very well, so ACR looked for another foster home for her. That was when she went to her final foster home with Caroline and Tim.

    She settled in incredibly quickly, showing her personality off from day one and changing their home forever.

    Sparrow is a very curious cat, and loves to be carried around the house. Over time, she has found lots of new ways to be adorable and make her owners fall in love with her over and over.Happy Tails: Sparrow


    Many adopters are looking for kittens, but Tim and Caroline said that choosing an adult cat was a great decision for them. Bringing an adult cat into their home meant having a cat who was calm, sure of herself, and didn’t require quite as much effort as a rambunctious kitten.

    Her adopters say, “She is the perfect cat for us in every way, and she continues to grow and show us new parts of her personality all the time.”

    Potential adopters should remember that it can be hard to get a sense of a cat’s personality during the first meeting. They are often nervous, and you don’t get to see their true personality. Caroline and Tim suggest trusting the information given to you by the foster home, and accepting that any photos or videos or descriptions of the cat’s behaviour may give you better insight into the cat’s true personality than a stressful initial meeting.

    And like many other people have said after adopting a cat, Caroline and Tim say that, “It’s hard to imagine this house without her in it.”

    — Samantha Hodder

  • Volunteer Profile: Erin M

    volunteer as a feral feeder like Erin

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

    I was at the DuWest Street festival and stopped at the ACR booth to buy my own cat a toy. While I was at the booth, the volunteers were so friendly and encouraged me to check out the ACR website. I was hooked when I started looking at all the information and immediately applied to volunteer.

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

    I am a feral cat feeder in Chinatown. A typical shift is just about an hour of walking the route and placing food and water out for the local ferals. The time commitment is very minimal and while I don’t always get to see a cat, it’s a real treat when I do.

    I also volunteer as a transportation driver occasionally. I have had the opportunity to transport some cats to adoption events.

    Crazy Legs


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

    The first time I transported some cats to an adoption event I was thrilled to see the updates on social media about the cats that were being adopted. When I dropped off the cats I had the chance to go around and see who was available for adoption and it was like a little victory each time I saw one pop up in my newsfeed as “Adopted”!

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    I think that if you have a little spare time in your week and love cats then you should consider helping out. The time commitment can be very small, but the impact is so much larger.

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

    I work at the University of Toronto doing Policy related work. It’s a completely different world.

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

    I like to be active and play ultimate frisbee and take an adult tumbling class.

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

    I have one cat, Grover. He is a male, domestic short-haired, black and brown tabby. I adopted him from the SPCA in Nova Scotia when I lived there. His mother was a stray who was rescued from the streets while pregnant. I had just moved to a new apartment and really wanted to bring home a cat to share my new home with. The first time I saw Grover I knew he was perfect for me, a little shy, but so loving. He’s 10 years old now and has moved many apartments, and provinces, with me!

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

    I would dedicate my work to all of the ferals that are around Toronto. They ask for so little and I hope that I can continue to help them.

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

    Photos courtesy Rondi Adamson

  • Volunteer Profile: Anna-Marie J

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

    I got involved with ACR after I adopted my Buttons in 2006! Buttons was two years old then and had been dumped. Because of the kindness of a woman who cared so much about cats and the support of ACR, Buttons was rescued, spayed and given her shots. Buttons came home with me to share her life with an angora bunny named Gizmo, which I had adopted a few years earlier. Buttons was a perfect friend for him and it is because the foster mom knew Buttons so well, she could recommend her! I thoroughly enjoy being at special events with the ACR to support such a fabulous cat rescue group. The group sells crafts such as catnip beds, catnip sausages, t-shirts and other items, with the proceeds going to support the rescued cats! I love talking with people and hearing their pet stories – all are unique! It is a pleasure to help ACR knowing how they cared for my Buttons and many other homeless cats and kittens!

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

    I continue to help out at special events – last event was the Annex Street Festival, this past June 2015. Also, will help with the crafts by stuffing some of the toys, pricing, etc. As well, I post ACR flyer at nearby health food store bulletin board.

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

    The real winning moment was when I adopted Buttons who led me to becoming a volunteer. Every time I talk with people at the events is a winning moment for me as well. People are interested in knowing how ACR helps homeless cats. Additionally, I love selling the crafts and knowing the proceeds go to help the cats. What is really a winining moment is when some of the people want to buy a cat bed, for example, he/she will ask which one I like. Of course, it is their choice but because they ask, I will let him/her know my preference.  Many a time, that is the item that is sold. Because of that item being sold, another cat is helped!

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    Volunteering with a group like ACR is an excellent way to give a voice to those that cannot speak for themselves. It is also helping the community.

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

    ACR does a lot to help the plight of homeless cats and kittens that it just is impossible to mention one thing. From helping feral cats, rescuing cats and kittens, special events to educate the public – it’s all good and needed so much!

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

    Currently, I am a full time student.

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

    My main hobby is providing a loving home to Buttons and my other rescued cat, Gidget. Love learning, reading, music and walking in nature.

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

    As previously mentioned, I have Buttons (through ACR) – since 2006. She shares her life with my other rescued cat, Gidget – Gidget arrived in 2009 when she was 8 months old. Gizmo, the bunny who shared his life with Buttons, went to Rainbow Bridge. He lived a happy, long, long life – he would have been 12 years old. Buttons and Gidget have bonded and are very good friends.

    Buttons and Gidget


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

    Buttons is my ACR rescue and I dedicate my volunteer work for her and to Gidget and bunny Gizmo who is now at Rainbow Bridge!

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

  • Remembering Patty Brown, and why her ACR legacy is worth emulating…

    There’s a quote often attributed to the great Renaissance artist and polymath Leonardo da Vinci: “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” Even if it’s not da Vinci’s quote, such a learned man would likely run with it anyway, agreeing that there is something magical—otherworldly even—in the beauty and grace of cats.

    It’s something Patricia Carroll Ann Brown knew very well. Indeed, as long-time friend Lori MacLean recalls, Patty—as she was widely known—frequently conjured a phrase of her own: “Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. And they’ve never forgotten it.”

    Described as a consummate woman of the theatre—mainly as an actress but also as a noted director and playwright—Patty adored cats, which brought her great joy throughout her life until her death in the summer of 2014 at 82 years of age.

    At that time, Patty had two cherished cats, both adopted through Annex Cat Rescue: a black-and-white boy she named Harry and a black girl dubbed Miss Diva.

    Patty Brown

    “She really was one of those fervent cat lovers,” MacLean chuckles, explaining that the two met at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre circa 1989; MacLean as front-of-house manager, Patty supplementing her acting income as an usher.

    MacLean continues: “I’ve been going through her personal possessions over the last few months and there are hundreds of photographs of her with her cats. They were such good and loving companions to her.”


    Patty was determined to celebrate that companionability. In an act of tremendous pay-it-forward kindness, she bequeathed a generous sum to ACR, allowing our charity to continue assisting displaced and homeless cats and kittens across the GTA through multiple outreach and placement programs, all volunteer run.

    Patty also donated generously to the Toronto Humane Society; instances of estate planning at its most altruistic and impactful and gestures worth mimicking by anyone seeking to make a lasting difference for animals at a grassroots level.

    MacLean confirms Patty would be thrilled to know Harry and Miss Diva were successfully placed together in a new forever home. “And those two cats—now both about 10 years old—are still thriving,” she says.

    “Patty felt strongly that ACR was a good beneficiary because it specifically serves cats.” MacLean adds. “That she was thinking charitably even when she wasn’t doing so great herself was really something, and speaks to her lifelong love of animals.”

    — Kim Hughes

  • Volunteer Profile: Sarah M

    Iorek is fostered by Sarah

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

    I first fostered in university. My room mate and I were interested in having a cat but knew we couldn’t commit to adopting as our living situation was temporary.

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

    I foster and I’m a feral feeder.

    I’ve experienced a little bit of everything fostering, from frustration to relief to joy. It can be tough at times when you’ve got a kitty who has behavioural issues. But those are the cats that need you most and that are most rewarding in the end. Seeing them get adopted is such a joyful/sad moment. We provide food, litter, toys etc.

    I moved so I now feed on the other side of town. It’s not as convenient, but still rewarding. The route takes about 30 minutes and feeds about 8 cats. Some you see and some you never see, but dedicated ACR volunteers monitor the feeding spots to gauge the need in each area. The weather is sometimes miserable, but I always feel good when I see the little guys waiting. After all, they’re outside in all weather, all the time.

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

    Probably what I’m most proud of is getting our foster, Fred, to eat cat food again. When he first arrived from the street he was so skinny he was starving, but wouldn’t eat cat food as he was used to human scraps. Using cream cheese and bacon grease we got slowly got him back to a cat food only diet, and back to a healthy weight. He’s now been adopted into a theatre family as Zigfried Dander Stardust.

    Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

    It’s rewarding and such a good organization. I love our no shelter method that lets our cats be matched with the best possible homes (and homes with the best possible cats). And I really think we have an obligation to those who can’t look after themselves, whether human or animal!

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

    Getting those kitties off the street! But the trap and spay/neuter program is also so important.

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

    I’m Manager, Certification for the Canadian Association of Management Consultants.

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

    Travel! Reading, writing and, honestly, watching Netflix.

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

    Our current foster is Iorek. He was picked up on Spadina and has been with us 2 years. When he first arrived he chose “”fight”” in every fight or flight scenario. Ready to defend himself always, and startled by sudden noise or movement, he even growled at the toaster once.

    Iroek is being fostered by Sarah

    Now he’s as sweet as can be. He loves to have his belly rubbed and is happy to be cuddled and carried around our apartment.

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

    That’s a tough one. I couldn’t pick just one, as every cat we’ve had has changed our lives in some way. (16 fosters and counting…)

    Find out more about volunteering with ACR.
    Meet Iorek, Sarah’s foster cat who is looking for his forever home.

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