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.
  • 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

  • Canvassers needed for ACR’s Co-op Cats Spay/Neuter Campaign
    ACR is spaying and neutering free-roaming cats who live in the Atkinson Co-op (near Kensington Market & Chinatown) for free. But we need your help to get the word out to residents. We are looking for help with our door-to-door campaign on Saturday July 20th from 10 AM to 3 PM. Canvassers will be paired up and provided with an orientation at 10 AM in the co-op (exact location to be determined). You won’t have to stay for the whole time – any amount of time you can spare is appreciated. If you can speak any of the following languages, please let us know as the Atkinson community has many newcomers to Canada and it would be very useful to have some translaters on hand: Spanish, Farsi, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Somali, Arabic.

    Please email volunteer@annexcatrescue.ca if you’re interested in participating in the door to door canvass on July 20th.  

    For more information, on the program, please see our link on the Atkinson Co-op Spay-Neuter Campaign.

     

    Atkinson Co-op Spay-Neuter Campaign

     

  • The Annex Cat Rescue’s 2013 Annual General Meeting

    Please join us for our 2013 Annual General Meeting. Share in last year’s successes. Help us plan for the year ahead. Meet your fellow supporters. Ask questions. Enjoy some refreshments and good company.

    Where:
    The Tranzac Club (Tiki Room)
    292 Brunswick Avenue (just south of Bloor, between Bathurst and Spadina)
    Toronto, Ontario
    [MAP]

    When:
    Wednesday, June 19, 2013 6:00-8:00pm (doors open at 5:30pm)
    Spread your Passion!
    Feel free to bring a friend, or anyone interested in joining ACR. As a non-profit organization, ACR is always in need of new, dedicated volunteers and supporters.

    A quick reminder about Memberships
    Thank you to those who have already renewed their memberships. If you haven’t already, please update your membership so that you can vote for new board members. Up-to-date members can also arrange for a proxy.

    To purchase a new membership or to renew, please send a cheque for $10.00 made out to “Annex Cat Rescue”, with “Membership” written in the memo field. Please also include your name, full mailing address, e-mail address and phone number, and mail to:

    Annex Cat Rescue, Attn: Memberships
    P. O. Box 19028
    360A Bloor Street West
    Toronto, ON M5S 3C9

    If you would like to renew your Membership at the AGM, please plan to arrive 15 minutes early.

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please contact us by email at membership@annexcatrescue.ca or by phone at 416-410-3835.

    We hope we’ll see you there!

    Annex Cat Rescue Board of Directors
    board@annexcatrescue.ca

    Chair – Joanna Reading, 1st year of 1st term
    Vice-Chair – Liz Anderson, 1st year of 1st term
    Treasurer – Marianne Premuzic, 1st year of 1st term
    Secretary – Jodi Cunningham, 1st year of 1st term
    Member at Large – Jonathan Dick, 2nd year of 1st term
    Member at Large – Ilona Naujokaitis-Lewis, 2nd year of 1st term
    Member at Large – Kathy McDonald, appointed to fill a vacancy

     

  • Atkinson Co-op Spay-Neuter Campaign

    Atkinson Co-op Spay-Neuter Campaign

    In the summer of 2013, Annex Cat Rescue ran Co-op Cats, a community spay/neuter campaign, for residents of the Atkinson Housing Co-op and surrounding neighbourhood. Over 80 area cats were spayed/neutered as part of this campaign.

    By having their cat(s) spayed/neutered, local residents helped to address a cat overpopulation crisis in Toronto. They helped us make the Alexandra Park neighbourhood a safer, healthier place for cats and fellow residents.

    The ACR Co-op Cats Campaign was made possible by the generosity of the Build-A-Bear, Bear Hugs Foundation and in co-operation with the Toronto Humane Society’s low-cost spay/neuter clinic.

     

    co-op

  • A Warm Lap and a Beam of Sunshine: Toby’s Story

    Toby, with his big paws, big eyes, big purr and big personality, is in desperate need of a special someone with a very big heart. He doesn’t ask for much, just the promise of the stability and safety that his life has thus far sadly lacked. Today, Toby needs a compassionate hero to step in and offer him the life that he deserves. Do you have a beam of sunshine? A warm lap? Do you have love to give to a gentle tuxedo boy who wants nothing more than a family to call his own? Who generously offers as much adoration as he receives, and then some? Do YOU have a very big heart? Might YOU be Toby’s special someone? Could YOU be Toby’s hero?

    Toby is a handsome tuxedo boy with big black paws, big expressive eyes, and a big friendly purr. His big outgoing personality wins over everyone he meets and he is a big fan of cuddling, too. And if he could talk, Toby would have a big story to tell you. His ragged, frostbitten ears and deep, wise gaze offer a glimpse into the hardships of Toby’s life before rescue, but this resilient cat’s capacity to forgive is simply astounding. Despite his tumultuous past, since his rescue, Toby has proven that he still trusts the people in his world to do right by him. He is an optimistic guy who appreciates the simple joys of watching the exciting view through a screened window, basking in a beam of sunshine, and snuggling into a warm lap for attention and pets. Affectionate Toby just loves to be loved.

    Asked to describe Toby, without hesitation his temporary foster mom gushes, “He is the sweetest cat you’ll ever meet!” She adds: Relaxed. Charmer. Loves to cuddle. Indeed, everyone who meets this cat is positively smitten with him. Toby’s nine years of life have been rough and outwardly, he looks every bit a street-smart alley cat. But don’t be fooled by Toby’s appearance; this whiskered sweetheart is as friendly as they come. Early in life, Toby was abandoned and left to fend for himself in downtown Toronto. Over the years, he was spotted by animal rescue volunteers wandering through several monitored cat colonies enduring the harsh realities of outdoor cat life — driving rain, brutal cold, aching hunger; and still he forgives. Then, in the summer of 2011, Toby was forced to confront death more closely than any young cat should when he was picked up at Front and Bathurst and left at Toronto Animal Services (TAS). At TAS, Toby was moments from being euthanized (he had already been anesthetized in preparation) when a sharp-eyed veterinary technician noticed that he was ear-tipped — a universal sign in the animal rescue community that a cat is neutered and lives in a monitored cat colony. The procedure was halted immediately and after receiving basic veterinary care, Toby was returned to a cat colony that he was known to frequent. Finally, in the fall of 2012, Toby was discovered among feral cats by an Annex Cat Rescue volunteer who recognized right away that this handsome tuxedo cat was not feral at all. In fact, she realized, Toby was in need of care, so she scooped him up and rushed him to a veterinarian. That fateful day was the end of Toby’s old life as an outdoor stray cat, and the beginning of Toby’s new life as an indoor foster cat with Annex Cat Rescue.

    Unfortunately, being forced to survive outdoors for years after being abandoned has inevitably affected Toby’s health. A medical test revealed that he has feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Having FIV also means that Toby is more sensitive than most cats to viruses and respiratory infections, which can cause a bit of wheezy-breathing. A quality diet and a low-stress environment will reduce the effects of FIV and will greatly improve Toby’s quality of life, although he’s certainly not a complainer!

    Despite his lingering health issues, Toby is a content cat who enjoys indoor living. That being said, recently, Toby has been experiencing regular stomach upset (vomiting and loose stool) every week to ten days and lasting a day or two each time. Toby’s temporary foster mom reports that during these times, Toby tends to lose his appetite and becomes more reclusive, and she admits that this can be a little scary. But, she adds, these periods of illness disappear as suddenly as they appear and afterward, Toby always returns to his happy-go-lucky social self. The veterinarian is still running tests to determine what causes these recurring periods of stomach upset. Meanwhile, Annex Cat Rescue covers the cost of all of Toby’s vet visits, which will continue regularly into the foreseeable future. His temporary foster mom accompanies him to appointments and everyone who cares for him is working toward getting Toby feeling his best.

    If you are interested in fostering Toby or welcoming him into your family, please contact Annex Cat Rescue about becoming a foster parent: volunteer@annexcatrescue.ca

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

    — Meredith Rappaport

  • Feature Cat: Cosette

    Cosette is one very sweet and loving kitty. This shy, once-abandoned girl will easily warm your heart every day, sitting by your side and often purring as you go about your business. She is quite content, likes to head-butt, enjoys making small toys disappear, and sometimes re-discovers her tail. Cosette has hyperthyroidism, which is currently controlled with a restricted food diet that she loves and that is available at any local veterinarian. She also needs a regular blood test at the vet clinic to ensure her levels remain stable. Don’t let this deter you; Cosette is an amazing, easy-going beauty who can be shy at first but who opens up once she knows you are in for love. She has lots of love to give in return.

Donate. Volunteer. Adopt.