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.
- Is wet food necessary?
The best diet for your cat depends on their individual health condition and discussing with your veterinarian is probably your safest bet to feed your cat the most appropriate food. But while there is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, wet food can be a wise choice to ensure that your pet remains well-hydrated.
Dry food offers some advantages that may appeal to pet owners. It is easier to store, it can be left out for hours without spoilage, and it tends to be cheaper. What is more, some brands are formulated to help clean your cat’s teeth. However, the single most important difference between dry kibbles and wet food is the moisture content. Dry food contains around 7 to 12 percent of water, while that proportion can go up to 80 percent in canned food.
Just like with humans, hydration is key to keep your cat healthy. Because our domestic cats are derived from desert-dwelling species, they don’t have a very strong thirst drive. Many cats don’t drink enough water on their own and therefore need an alternative to avoid dehydration and prevent health issues such as urinary tract disease. Wet food can help in providing sufficient moisture to your cat.
You might wonder how to choose the right canned food. The simple answer to that question is: read the ingredients! Meat should be the primary ingredient. Some canned products contain fillers like corn or rice, which don’t contribute to your cat’s health. If you’re not sure, ask your veterinarian for recommendations. To provide even more moisture, mixing the wet food with a bit of water is a good idea. Any leftover should be placed in the fridge. And the same rule applies for your cat’s food as for your own food: throw away any leftover that doesn’t look right or smells weird.
If you are feeding your cat dry food and are considering introducing wet food in their diet, remember that cats can be picky about what they eat, and there is quite a difference in taste and texture between dry and wet food. A sudden change in diet may cause them gastrointestinal upset, which can result in vomiting, diarrhea, or a loss of appetite, so introduce the new food gradually. You can try to mix their old food with the new food, progressively increasing the proportion of the new food. Whatever you decide to feed your cat, make sure they always have access to clean and fresh drinking water.
- Happy Tails: Dracula (formerly Gino)
Think back to summer 2013 and picture an auto body shop with grounds stained with cold, grease, and maybe chewing tobacco. That’s where an ACR volunteer came across colony of feral cats that included a darling kitten and his two brothers who weren’t in the best of shape.
Soon after arranging the body shop to set up a shelter, feeding station, and have food put out daily, our volunteer was able to trap the three youngins.
While appropriately apprehensive at first, these three kittens could sense a good heart and allowed our volunteer to handle them. Gino was a little more willing then Rocco; and Frankie was ridiculously friendly and loved to be held and enjoyed playtime. After getting the OK from a vet, a family adopted Frankie and Rocco.
That left Gino.
When he was first brought to his foster family away from his brothers he was a little shy, and that’s to be expected. Who isn’t a little shy when love at first sight fills the air?
That shyness soon passed it was game on. He alternated between hyperactive and sleepy, and his many massive yawns flaunted two massive canine-like teeth.
And that’s how Gino became Dracula.
He’s now a healthy fellow who’s white and grey with deep yellow eyes. He’s grown quickly into his long limbs and large features, with the exception of his tail. It’s remarkably long, and he’s just taken note of its existence and potential as a toy to attack. Though he should have noticed it sooner since he frequently prances in front of a mirror.
When he’s not striking a pose he tries to curry favour with his sister, Domino. He lurks when she takes her beauty nap, and has taken on some of her less than desirable habits: begging for food, and keeping watch on the neighbourhood.
Most importantly, Dracula (nee Gino) has warmed to people. He is affectionate and loves to cuddle. He watches his new parents leave from the top of the stairs, and is often in the same spot waiting for them to come home.
Our endless thanks to ACR volunteer Elizabeth for rescuing the Gino, Frankie, and Rocco; and using her immense charm to partner with the body shop to make the lives of a feral colony so much better. And to Craig, Andrea, and Domino for adopting Dracula and giving him the comfort and love he deserves.
- Keep your Cat Safe During the Summer
Is that…the sun? Has summer finally arrived? After a long, cold winter, warm weather is more than welcome. Us Torontonians cannot wait to get into shorts and T-shirt at the first sign of sun or anything above zero degrees Celsius.
Many assume that winter’s cold temperatures and anti-freeze are the only threats posed to cats outside. However, ACR strongly supports keeping cats indoors at all times regardless of the season, and summer has its own level of dangers for cats let outdoors.
The hot, hot heat – As the days get hotter, heatstroke is a serious concern, especially for cats that venture outdoors – remember, you can take off your sweater, but kitty cannot. Keeping your cat indoors ensures shade from the sun and access to clean fresh water. Air conditioning should be kept on throughout the day and if you are planning a trip out of town, make sure that someone can check in on kitty and the temperature of the house. Elderly or sick cats are more vulnerable to temperature, so please be extra cautious with them. As well, brushing your cats regularly helps reduce summer hairballs and increases your cat’s comfort.
Indoor dangers – Letting fresh air in is important, however according to the Ottawa Humane Society, thousands of cats fall each year—from balconies and open or poorly-screened windows. Ensure window screens are properly installed and do not allow your cat free access to balconies.
Those pesky critters – Just like humans, animals tend to come out of hibernation once summer arrives. Raccoons, rodents, foxes and other cats can be a real danger to an outdoor cat and animal fights are common. It is important that your cat stay inside to avoid physical confrontation with wildlife. If your cat does gets out accidently, they should be up-to-date on vaccines and are spayed or neutered – this will help curb the possibility of cat fights and chances of reproduction.
Creepy crawlies – The summer crawlies are everywhere! Parasites such as fleas like to rest in the cool, shaded areas that your cat will lie in if let outside. Keeping cats indoors reduces the chance of bringing fleas and other parasites into your home. Another danger is heartworm, easily transmitted by mosquito bites. If you are going to put your cat on a parasite prevention program, speak with your veterinarian, as some marketed flea and tick medication can be very poisonous to your cat.
Danger! Danger! – Some things are out there in the world and impossible to avoid if a cat is left to roam outside. Chemicals such as rat poison, slug bait, lawn and garden pesticides are inescapable and it is important for you to be extremely vigilant in watching what it is that your cat gets into. The nicer the weather, the more people are outside and with over a thousand cats struck and killed by motor vehicles annually throughout the GTA, cars are also a very real and serious danger to outdoor cats.
And now that you know kitty will be safe this summer, put on those shorts, that 100 SPF sunblock and have a safe, happy summer as well!
- Happy Tails: Marylou & Charlie Bucket (formerly Peanuts)
Marylou and Charlie Bucket (nee Peanuts) were born outside, in the garden of an elderly and compassionate woman who brought the little family inside, knowing they would perish outdoors. After some time in a loving ACR foster home, this rambunctious and affectionate duo has found their forever home.
Though siblings, Marylou and Charlie have very different personalities. Marylou is confident, fearless and social (she plays fetch). Charlie is cautious and reserved; knowing that curiosity killed the cat, he regularly volunteers Marylou to try new things first. This said, he is devoted to his sister and if he doesn’t know where she is, will meow softly until he finds her.
Once satisfied that the two fluff-balls he kept meeting were of his own tribe, the foster home’s resident feline took his mentoring responsibilities seriously, allowing them to follow him around and holding regular tutoring sessions on the finer points of wrestling.
Now fully primed to live a life of comfort and ease, Marylou and Charlie Bucket are settling into their new and forever home with Vera and her two children. Losing their 18 year old Jezebel last summer was very hard for Vera’s family; they knew that cat-sitting for a friend for four months would help to get past their grief. They were right and when Gigi went home, they felt ready for a new friend. Based on the fact that one cat may be lonely and that homes for bonded pairs are harder to find, they came to the logical and reasonable conclusion that two is better than one and began looking for the perfect pair. It didn’t take long…
The reports are in and it’s no surprise! Marylou and Charlie are not only thriving, they are providing 100% of the family’s entertainment and performing the invaluable service of finding knick-knacks thought to be lost forever. Charlie is now twice the size of Mary Lou and they are very sweet together; chase each other around (all night!), wrestle, snuggle, cuddle, eat, sleep and repeat. It’s clear that Marylou and Charlie have found a perfect match in Vera’s family and incidentally, Vera and her kids feel exactly the same way.
- Happy Tails: Gabriel & Gloria When Gabriel and Gloria (brother and sister) first arrived in their foster home, they were very frightened kitties.For several days, they huddled together for comfort under the bed, emerging only in the dead of night to find the litter box and dishes of food and water. Finally, they cautiously ventured out during the day to explore their new environment for a few minutes at a time, quickly retreating to their hiding place when they saw or heard anything unusual. They recoiled when they were approached by foster mum, Ruth, not wanting her to touch them or even get near them. They didn’t meow or purr, and didn’t even know their names.
After approximately 10 months in foster care, with a great deal of encouragement, they have blossomed into charming cats. Gabriel, a large orange tabby, is a gentle soul. He is proud of his rich, thick coat and loves to be brushed and combed. When he is not sleeping, which is most of the day, he likes to gaze out the window, watching for snow, falling leaves and birds.Gloria is very energetic and affectionate, following foster mum around like a little shadow and nestling beside her in the reclining chair.
When not playing with toys by themselves, or enjoying interactive play with mum, they like to chase each other around the apartment and have friendly wrestling matches, occasionally stopping briefly to groom each other. “They have also found their voices, so their spontaneous meowing and purring are music to my ears,” said foster mum, Ruth.
- Cats with Disabilities: Small Adjustments Earn Big Rewards
He didn’t exactly campaign for the job, but Rufus could be the poster cat for felines successfully living with disabilities.
The beautiful, slender approximately six-year-old tabby – who is deaf – offers a persuasive example of why would-be adopters should remain open to all possibilities. What’s more, Rufus is proof positive that disabilities shouldn’t be confused with shortcomings. Also, that every potential challenge has an intuitive solution.
What we know of Rufus’ story began in August 2012, when former foster mom Ruth Botelho first received the cat. He was found wandering a hallway in an apartment building by a tenant unable to locate his owner.
Botelho soon realized Rufus was profoundly deaf. “During routine fire-alarm testing in my apartment building, when a very loud alarm goes on for several minutes, Rufus would sleep, completely unaware of the sound,” she says. “Yet apart from his deafness, he was normal in every other way: friendly, lively and affectionate. Socialization was never an issue.” And he loved to play impromptu games of hide-and-seek.
Still, Botelho had to determine novel ways of communicating with the cat. She consulted a friend with some experience in the area, and devised some simple tactics including pressing her mouth into the back of his neck and talking to him so that he picked up positive, friendly vibrations; tapping the surface he was sleeping on to rouse him without startling him and placing food beneath his nose to alert him to dinnertime.
“And I never crept up on him from behind, but positioned myself where he could see me before I touched him. In the nine months that Rufus was with me,” Botelho says, “there was a succession of four other foster cats – two males and two females – and he was friendly with all of them.”
Botelho says Rufus was a flat-out joy – a sentiment echoed by his forever mom, Alison Colpitts, who adopted the cat in May 2013.
“I had wanted to adopt a cat that not everyone would adopt – either an elderly cat or a cat with some sort of illness or disability,” Colpitts offers. “I love tabby cats and thought Rufus was extremely handsome so I knew I wanted him right away. When I met him at his foster mom’s place I was so taken by his personality. He seemed like such a loving, personable cat.”
Colpitts, too, devised alternative ways of communicating with the cat though she confesses “I still talk to him even though he can’t hear me. I’ll often hold him against my chest and hum a song hoping that he can feel some vibrations. He knows when I’m around and can sense my presence,” she says, adding that Rufus benefits from abundant physical contact, possibly because of his deafness.
In talking to both foster mom and forever mom, it’s clear what’s most compelling about Rufus is not his deafness but his Rufus-ness and his uniquely feline idiosyncrasies.
“His cutest personality quirk is his love of sleeping under blankets. He’ll often curl up by my feet under a blanket on the couch and he’ll sleep there for hours,” Colpitts says. “He’ll also snuggle right up with me in bed, too. It’s almost painful how adorable he looks all tucked in.
“My friends often comment that he’s the sweetest, friendliest cat they know. He greets strangers by running to them and purring as if he’s instantly made a new best friend. Honestly,” she says, “I could talk about Rufus all day.”
- Happy Tails: Huxtable (formerly Rascal) Finds His Forever Home with ACR
The concept of love at first sight is alive, well and living in the Annex area in the happy home of Chloe Fox, fiancé Devon Miller and Huxtable the cat, a roughly year-old tabby with green eyes as enchanting as the treetops of Algonquin Park.
“We got him at the beginning of January,” Fox explains. “We had been thinking about adopting a cat since we moved to Toronto from B.C. last summer. We’d heard about Annex Cat Rescue; we started working with them in the fall. We were trying to find our cat and after Christmas we decided to ramp it up.
“We had seen Huxtable – then named Rascal – online and he seemed like our kind of guy. So we went and saw him, immediately fell in love and took him home the next day. He was a bit shy but came up to us and wanted to be patted. And it’s just been amazing.”
As for the name change, Fox says she had come across another ACR cat named Huxtable. “And I remembered thinking, ‘What an amazing name for a cat.’ Plus Devon and I grew up with The Cosby Show so it just seemed to fit.”
As is often the case with cats coming into care at ACR, Huxtable’s provenance is something of a mystery. Fox was told by foster mom Jacqueline Sharp that Huxtable, whom Sharp took in last November, had been discovered living outside somewhere in Etobicoke.
“Some old women in the neighbourhood had been feeding him but had alerted ACR about him and they went and got him,” Fox says. “I think the old women were quite taken with him. He is very friendly and loves people.”
These days, Huxtable can be found romping with his favourite toy, “a little rectangle filled with stuffing and some cat nip. He loves that,” Fox says.
She continues: “He loves playing with us. If he is playing by himself he will often meow at us to join which we are of course happy to do. He is a real people-cat and a bit of a Momma’s boy,” she laughs. “I work at home most days and he’s usually right beside me or on my lap all day. When I get up and move, he gets up and moves. He has adjusted nicely.”
And Fox can’t say enough about her great experience working with Annex Cat Rescue. “It’s such a caring organization and all the cats seem to be so well loved in their foster homes. Plus the volunteers are dedicated to getting the right match between cat and owner.”
- Happy Tails: Betty
Beautiful Betty, fearful and shy after her scary time on the streets, has blossomed at last after finding her forever home with ACR adopter Linda.
Annex Cat Rescue saved Betty from a life on the streets, living behind a restaurant, where she was at risk of being poisoned.
Linda had always had cats, and found herself missing the companionship a cat provides. She and her teenage daughter had been looking for an older, affection cat.
When Linda first went to meet her, she was warned that Betty, then called Betty Boo as she was so shy, might not come out to say hi. Despite Betty’s shyness, something must have clicked, because Linda knew Betty was the one for her and applied to adopt her.
And then came the challenge of getting Betty into her carrier for the journey home. Linda laughed as she described the scene as she and Betty’s foster mom tried to get Betty into the carrier– “Hissing, snarling and pooping, the foster parent left bleeding”. Undettered by Betty’s big show, Linda took her home, prepared to wait days, if not weeks, for Betty to come around. Opening the cage door, Betty slinked off. But within a few hours she was out of hiding and exploring her new home.
Linda is delighted with Betty. She describes her as active, affectionate, quirky, and maybe a little crazy, but that’s just fine with Linda. Betty has turned into the most gregarious cat. She is the official apartment greeter now, not even afraid of the teenage visitors. She loves to play fetch with her special toy, a fluffy ball that makes a crackly noise, which Linda has taken to calling “The Precious” because Betty is so attached to it.
Annex Cat rescue wishes to thank Betty’s former foster and Linda for taking such good care of this sweet kitty, who was just waiting to find the right home to come out of her shell.
- Spring Fete Adopt-a-thon Success!
The Spring Fete Adopt-a-thon, which was held in May, was our first of the year and a great success. Held at Pet Uno, the Adopt-a-thon saw four cats find forever homes and raised over $690 from sales and donations.
Danielle, the Adopt-a-thon Coordinator confirms there are two more Adopt-a-thons planned for this summer, “Our next one will take place at Wooftown – an independent pet shop at Yonge and Summerhill.”
Not only will the Adopt-a-thons feature some of our adorable cats and kittens, but other great ways to support ACR, “This event will also include a bake sale, face painting, lemonade stand, and locally made cat treats and toys – as well as some super cute items donated from local Etsy shops.”
The next ACR Adopt-a-thon is June 15, 11 AM – 5 PM at Wooftown, 10 Birch Avenue – we can’t wait to see you there!
- Featured Feline: Sylvester
Sylvester is approximately four years old with a beautiful black and white coat. He recently came to ACR as a stray but has adjusted very quickly in his foster home. “Sylvester is the best!” exclaims his foster mom Catherine, “I can’t stop taking pictures of him; he’s adorable.”
Catherine feels he’ll be a great addition to any household with his very social personality, “his meows and chirps are the cutest thing.” Not a morning person? Sylvester is here to help, “This morning I must have hit ‘snooze’ too many times, because he hopped up on the bed and sat beside me,” chuckles Catherine.
His fun-loving curiosity keeps him busy, but he’s never too busy to come when called (in hopes of getting his favourite – a belly rub!) Sylvester will gladly accept head scratches too, and will happily thump his tail on the floor to show his appreciation.
Unfortunately, like many cats roaming the streets, Sylvester was once someone’s pet as he was found declawed, and is blind in one eye. Neither of these things slow him down though says Catherine, “he plays with his toys and loves getting his face rubbed.”
To give Sylvester his forever home, please visit http://www.annexcatrescue.ca/adopt.
Check out Sylvester in action: