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: Toby Finds his Forever Home with ACR!

    When Toby first came to the ACR community, he was rescued from a rough start in life. Abandonment, feral colonies, street life, and even a brush with death are just a few of the trials Toby has faced in his short life. Despite these hardships, Toby wasn’t ready to give up on a bright future – and his spirit must have seen him through. His alley cat appearance allowed him to blend in with a feral colony, but ACR volunteers soon discovered this fearless fighter and knew that he needed a place to call home.

    The harsh lifestyle endured by feral colonies left Toby with FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus – necessitating a warm and welcoming foster home. Toby was taken in by Roz, an ACR volunteer who believed in his right to a rich and full life. Roz recalls the process of adjusting Toby to domestic life off the streets: “He would scarf down tuna out of the can, he would tear open the garbage bags if they contained chicken, he sat by our sides when we were eating, just like a dog, and beg for scraps! You see, he lived in Kensington Market, fending for himself.” Although often facing an upset stomach, Toby certainly retained his appetite and soon regained much of his strength.

    In addition to being a hearty eater, Toby was often vocal and sought interaction. He had a talent for playing ball and served as an excellent in-house alarm clock with plenty of morning meows. After vet visits and a stabilized diet, Toby regained much of his zest for life. 9 months after taking him in, Roz prepared Toby for adoption and recalls the change she witnessed – “his coat was shiny and smooth, he had a bit more fat on his bones, and he was so comfortable with the people that came to check him out!” She couldn’t have been happier that two people came along and saw the real Toby.

    Toby-aka-Khan

    In his new home with owners Karen & Ian, Toby (who now goes by “Khan”) has a FIV+ brother named Neelix to bond with. Karen was pleasantly surprised at how easily Toby and Neelix accepted one another. Peaceful during the daytime and playful at night, Toby and Neelix have a cardboard castle that they share when they’re not chasing each other around the house. Like Roz, Karen notes Toby’s chatty disposition — “[He’s] a very vocal little guy, he tends to wander into other rooms and then start chirping, meowing and having loud conversations by himself. When we follow him into the room, he stops and stares at us like ‘What? There’s nothing happening here’ It’s a riot.” Toby’s desire for companionship, after facing so much solitude, is part of what makes him truly special. Although he will continue to live with FIV, Toby’s monitored diet helps to keep his tummy troubles at bay. Karen focuses on Toby’s wonderful spirit, noting that he “bounces back to normal after a day or two” when feeling under the weather. Toby has an inner strength that simply cannot be broken.

    Khan-Neelix

    We couldn’t be happier that Toby has finally found the forever home that he deserves. ACR would like to thank Roz for fostering Toby and nursing him back to health and happiness, to Karen and Ian for making room in their lives for another furry family member, and to the ACR community for always caring about Toby and believing in his right to life and love.

    Read Toby’s Story from the ACR blog last year.

     

  • Purrrfect Gifts

    Looking for the purrfect gift for the person who has everything? Just in time for the holidays, Annex Cat Rescue is happy to announce Purrrfect Gifts – a giving program that allows you to commemorate holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions by providing life-saving help to homeless cats.

    Purrrfect Gifts

    A variety of gifts are available, ranging from winter shelters for cats living on the streets to complete cat rescue packages.  Gifts of volunteer time in honour of a loved one are also available.  Each Purrrfect Gift comes with the option for you to send the recipient an e-card or have Annex Cat Rescue mail you or your gift recipient a beautiful card and certificate featuring one of our rescued cats and their story. Tax receipts are provided for financial gifts.  To find the Purrrfect Gift for everyone on your list, visit annexcatrescue.ca/purrrfect-gifts.

  • Holiday Promotion

    For the month of December, the Annex Cat Rescue is having a special promotion on the adoption fees of all of our cats over 6 months old. The adoption fee of $100 will help us get more cats home for the holidays.

    Adoption Promo - December 2013See all of our cats for adoption!

     

  • Aviva Community Fund Semi-Finals

    The Animal Alliance of Canada has two ideas which have made it to the semi-finals of the Aviva Community Fund project – the Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition & Project Jessie.

    The final round of voting is Dec2 to Dec11, 2013, and then the top 10 ideas will each win $5000 and maybe be funded for up to $50,000.

    You have 15 votes but only 10 days to use them, so you can support more than one idea.

    Please vote EVERY day! If both ideas make top 10 then both will get $5000 and maybe more, and that will help a lot of animals!

    Click on the images below, to vote for each idea (you will need to register once, or you can vote via your Facebook account).

    Aviva - Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition

    Aviva - Project Jessie

  • Beautiful Black and White
    black-white-cats

    I find Black and White cats to be beautiful because their markings are very unique. Often though, they have some sort of “V” on the chest, giving them their name of “Tuxedo” cats. They’re also called “Jellicle” cats in the UK after the fictional tribe of black and white cats described by T. S. Eliot in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and in the stage musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the book.

    It’s also rumoured that Black and White cats are the most intelligent cats and may make the other coloured cats in the household smarter as well. Read other tidbits about Black and White cat here.

    We currently have FOURTEEN black and white cats for adoption, which is more than 25% of our total number of cats for adoption!

    And check out this video of LOVE BUG, Mikey!

  • National Feral Cat Day, October 16, 2013

     

    National Feral Cat Day 2013

    It’s a quote that has been claimed by everyone from Churchill to Gandhi, Dostoyevsky to Truman, likely because it exhibits extraordinary wisdom: “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.”

    Which means our society has plenty to answer for, especially when it comes to feral cats. Deeply misunderstood when they are thought of at all and often reviled when they should be pitied, feral cats – essentially displaced domestics that, for some sad reason (abuse, neglect, dislocation) find themselves homeless – live among us in staggering numbers.

    It is estimated that the feral cat population in Toronto exceeds 100,000. Since cats are lousy at completing census forms, no one really knows how many itinerant felines urgently seek food and shelter wherever they can find it. But even if that number is overblown by half, it remains troubling, especially since feral cats multiply very quickly.

    In five years, an unspayed feral female can produce 20,000 descendants. Grow that by neighbourhoods across North America, and a desperate picture emerges.

    Certainly, “colony caretakers” – kind souls who voluntarily feed and monitor feral cats that bunch together in ad hoc groups or colonies – know the numbers are dispiriting, and not just for dispossessed kittens and cats on the loose but also for birds and other creatures in their path.

    Perhaps most vexing: much of the feral cat problem could be solved simply by keeping all cats indoors, ensuring all are spayed/neutered and, especially, by collectively regarding cats as sentient beings every bit as worthy of our humane stewardship as dogs.

    October 16 is National Feral Cat Day, a chance for organizations and individuals to start a dialog about how to solve the spiralling problem of feral cats in urban settings: how to implement trap-neuter-release programs to combat reproduction; how to manage ferals compassionately and effectively outdoors (in some cases, by bringing them indoors); how to dramatically reduce their numbers going forward through education and awareness.

    “Feral cats are no different than other cats except that they were born away from people,” offers Annex Cat Rescue’s Marianne Premuzic. “As a result, their lives are very difficult; they are exposed to all kinds of dangers and they often don’t live very long. Their numbers are untold; when you start feeding them, they turn up.

    “Cats were domesticated by humans all these years ago and we have an obligation to care for them. By doing trap-neuter-return programs, we are trying to reduce the feral cat population in Toronto. We would ultimately love to get to a situation where there are no outdoor cats… or as close to that as we can come.”

    Some people believe cats will survive if abandoned. Wrong. Animal shelters euthanize thousands of stray cats each year, and many more die slow, miserable deaths from starvation, disease, accidents, abuse or attacks from predators.

    Annex Cat Rescue routinely traps, spays/neuters, and vaccinates feral cats. Daily, volunteers leave water and dry food at designated feeding stations for outdoor felines. Small feral kittens are temporarily housed with foster caregivers and eventually adopted out as pets.

    Along with multiple caring partners in the GTA, Annex Cat Rescue is committed to addressing the feral cat problem in all the above-mentioned ways for as long as necessary. But we cannot do it without your support, so please give generously. And spread the word. “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.” We strive to make that our saying, too.

    -Kim Hughes

     

  • Lou Ellen

    Movie fans know that comeback stories – both onscreen and off – are among the most rewarding.

    The hoped-for comeback of Lou Ellen, described by a caregiver as “a ravishing beauty in her youth who has fallen on hard times as she’s gotten older” and quite dramatic in scope, could be proverbial Oscar material, if the planets align.

    Lou Ellen

    The striking long-haired calico, estimated to be about 10 years old, was almost certainly someone’s pet at some point; despite her obvious recent hardships, Lou Ellen is gentle and affectionate, enchanting the humans who cross her path.

    She was discovered by a resident of the Atkinson Co-op in Toronto’s Alexandra Park neighbourhood. Annex Cat Rescue volunteers had been canvassing the area this summer as part of its “Co-op Cats” Spay/Neuter campaign. Posters and door-hangers that had been distributed netted calls about feral/strays seen roaming, including Lou Ellen.

    So skinny and profoundly underfed was Lou Ellen when she was first discovered at the Co-op that she was mistaken for a kitten. The concerned resident who found her (dubbing her Lou Ellen) wanted to keep the cat but could not, so ACR immediately intervened, collecting Lou Ellen and ferrying her to the vet. As might be imagined under the circumstances, the diagnosis was a classic case of good news/not-so-good news.

    The good news: Lou Ellen is FeLV and FIV negative, has been spayed, is regaining weight, and responded to treatment for parasites, fleas and ear mites. Best, she is every inch the poised, lovely lady you would expect from a former pet that had been neglected or discarded but is readying for her next close-up.

    The less good news: Lou Ellen has renal insufficiency; she is at about the second stage of the five stages of kidney disease. However, special food and regular vet care renders the condition manageable. Some bald patches now visible on her slight body are related to her diet/kidney issues and should grow back in time. Her teeth may require dental surgery down the road.

    All of which are just so many details when weighed against the pluses in the personality column. “She is just so sweet, she likes being petted and doesn’t seem at all afraid of people in general,” offers the ACR volunteer first on the scene when the Co-op resident reported Lou Ellen.

    When the volunteer initially glimpsed the cat, “She was eating a can of cat food and didn’t even look up at me until it was finished – she was so hungry and so underweight! But she let people pet her, and let me pick her up and put her in the carrier. On the short trip to the vet, she only mewed quietly a few times as if to check that someone was there.”

    Today, Lou Ellen – perhaps destined to play the role of a pussycat Betty White in a similarly glorious return to form – seeks a forever home where her charms can be counted on as a daily occurrence. Kind of like a favorite movie you return to over and over, which just never seems to get old.

    By Kimberly Hughes

    If you are interested in fostering Lou Ellen, please email Annex Cat Rescue about becoming a foster parent: volunteer@annexcatrescue.ca

    If you are interested in giving Lou Ellen a forever home, please email: adoption@annexcatrescue.ca

     

  • Sapphire’s a Gem!

    She’s not an Olympian, exactly. But Sapphire does boast the guts and glory typical of gold medalists. Similarly, her back story is a testament to the teamwork of many who worked hard to reach a common goal. And the best may be yet to come.

    Sapphire

    It all began earlier this year when Sapphire, a domestic shorthair with enormous, striking eyes that earned her bejeweled name, was spotted on a front lawn. That she was heavily pregnant made her discovery that much more urgent for the caring strangers who stumbled upon her.

    Said strangers did their best to locate her home. Plus they took her to a vet and kept her while they searched, but they ultimately couldn’t keep her. Knowing she was pregnant and about to deliver, they reached out to find her a foster.

    Annex Cat Rescue answered the call, and Sapphire delivered six beautiful, healthy kittens which she nursed for 10 weeks until they could be placed in foster homes. Young Sapphire – still kittenish herself and the curious cat personified – was spayed and poised to begin her new life.

    Then came a big, unforeseen hurdle and Sapphire’s story took on the gravitas worthy of the Olympian comparison. On the cusp of Victoria Day weekend, the cat stopped eating, began vomiting and having diarrhea.

    Concerned foster mom Kathy McDonald took her to Beaches Animal Hospital where she was diagnosed with intussusception, a rare condition in which a part of the intestine folds into another section of intestine; think of how the parts of a collapsible telescope slide into one another. Sapphire underwent emergency surgery May 16.

    Dr. Joanna Coote, a vet at Beaches and, fortuitously, at the Toronto Humane Society, raised the concern that Sapphire would need another surgery. In fact she needed two: both were carried out at the THS which stepped in to fill the void initially created by the holiday weekend.

    The THS and its staff went beyond the call, caring for Sapphire even though her condition was vexingly uncommon, and doing extensive research to chart the best possible aftercare.

    Sapphire returned the favour. Even now, Kathy notes, THS personnel, from vets to techs to volunteers, ask after her. “She really touched their hearts.” Stoic Sapphire, who successfully underwent the surgeries only to emerge healthier than anyone could have reasonably dreamed, is ready for her forever home, where she is all but guaranteed to bring heaps of joy.

    “She plays, and runs, nonstop. She’s very young; I’m guessing about a year now,” says Kathy, adding that Sapphire – who enjoys frolicking with her foster cat roommate – has a thing for mounting bannisters. “I’m not sure how she balances there,” Kathy chuckles, “but she sure likes to play”.

    “And even though her condition has left her with loose stool, she never misses the litter box!”

    All of which just goes to show that there are such things as happy endings even when there’s drama along the way. Sapphire is romping, purring proof.

    Donations to Sapphire’s ongoing care would be much appreciated, or if you’re interested in giving Sapphire a forever home, see her profile here.  You can see all of our available cats on our Adoption page, and it’s a great time to adopt with our Adoption Price Promo going on now until the end of September.

    By Kimberly Hughes

  • Black Cat Appreciation Day

    ?Did you know that black cats are often the last cats to be adopted? Whether it’s because of superstitions, or that they just don’t stand out as much in photos or shelter cages, it’s sadly true. But black cats are just as fun, playful, sweet, cuddly, and will love you just as much as cats of any other colour.

    Black Cat Appreciation Day
    August 17, 2013 is Black Cat Appreciation Day, and we want to honour the beautiful black cats we have for adoption here at the Annex Cat Rescue. And what a great time to adopt with ACR’s Adoption Price Promo going on.

    Meet Toby, Tucker, Ella, Hope, Matilda, Shirley, Bug, Cooper and Mary Jo! Please click any of their names to see their full profile, or see all of our cats for adoption here.

     

  • The Story of Jackie

    Jackie Outside Some stories hinge on tragedy, some on drama, still others on courage. The story of Jackie the cat possesses all of that, and then some. It is also a story about compassion, and how the selfless efforts of many dovetailed into the happiest ending possible.

    Precisely where Jackie’s life began – or when – isn’t known. She was spotted in June in Kensington Market, “living in an alley between Oxford and Nassau Streets. This kitten is not healthy at all,” a Good Samaritan alerted Annex Cat Rescue in an email, adding that Jackie appeared to have only one eye but that “it is likely not functioning, either.  The cat seems to have mites – its ears are bleeding and very sore.”

    ACR immediately gathered identifying details while putting the Samaritan in contact with cat colony caregivers already working in the area. What followed was the robust back-and-forthing common to ACR when it’s advocating full-tilt for an at-risk animal: trading information, reviewing options, reaching out to potential foster homes all while vigilantly assisting Jackie and attempting to map out her future.

    A few things about Jackie were immediately apparent when she was eventually gathered and taken to Dundas Euclid Animal Hospital for treatment: she was female, very tame, about four years old, and had had some teeth surgically extracted.

    Jackie had lost one eye due to trauma; most likely in a clash with another animal, the vet said. She had a bad ear infection with lots of inflammation and bleeding. She was very matted and covered in burrs, but reveled in being brushed and petted. She was eating. It was purrs ahoy.

    And Jackie was a charmer, a docile, sweet, affectionate cat who had obviously “been living outdoors for a while and was rough around the edges,” an internal ACR email noted. Still, it seemed a potential forever home might be in the cards for scruffy but adorable cat.

    Then the biopsy results from the mass on Jackie’s neck came back: glandular cancer – adenocarcinoma – on Jackie’s jaw. “Dr. Cheung at Dundas Euclid said it was bilateral and a sign that the cancer’s already metastasized.  She said it would be a difficult area to do surgery because of all the nerves present,” another internal ACR email grimly stated.

    Jackie’s prognosis was three-to-six months. Cue sorrow.

    Yet shimmers of light emerged. An ACR volunteer agreed to provide Jackie with a palliative foster home while ACR ensures Jackie’s every need is met.

    The generous group of people involved with Jackie since her discovery – those who fed and fostered her, wrote emails on her behalf, drove her to appointments, the animal hospital that treated her (graciously waiving some fees) – can cheer in knowing that Jackie will live out her remaining days indoors with as much comfort and affection as possible.
    Sometimes even sad stories provide enormous grace.

    If you’d like to help with Jackie’s ongoing care, please click here.

    By Kimberly Hughes

    Jackie

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