Annex Cat Rescue Cat Adoption with a Difference Mon, 12 Oct 2015 10:27:12 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 National Feral Cat Day Mon, 12 Oct 2015 10:24:55 +0000 What is National Feral Cat Day?

  • Alley Cat Allies launched National Feral Cat Day®  in 2001 to raise awareness about feral (also called community) cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return, and empower and mobilize the millions of compassionate people who care for them.
  • National Feral Cat Day® is observed on October 16 every year.
  • The theme for National Feral Cat Day® 2015 is “The Evolution of the Cat Revolution.”


What are feral cats?
“Feral” cats are the free-roaming, wild offspring of domestic cats that have been abandoned or lost. Feral cats may have been wild for several generations and they tend to live in colonies throughout the city in back alleys, parks, garages or wherever they can find shelter and food.

Annex Cat Rescue believes that all cats deserve humane and compassionate care. Our feral colony care teams, including feeders and trappers, provide care to the feral cat colonies — feeding them, trapping them and arranging spaying/neutering. These volunteers also monitor colonies and arrange veterinary care for any injured or ill cats. Annex Cat Rescue has a strict no-kill policy and only euthanizes cats on purely compassionate grounds.

The Toronto Feral Cat Coalition
Annex Cat Rescue is an active member of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition, where we work with Toronto Animal Services, the Toronto Humane Society, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Toronto Street Cats, Toronto Cat Rescue, and other rescue groups to compassionately address feral cat overpopulation in our city.

Three of the resources introduced through the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition are a network of free feral spay/neuter and vaccination clinics, the Toronto Feral Cat Recovery Centre, and the Trap-Neuter-Return workshop, which teaches members of the public how to care for feral cats and gives them access to the free spay/neuter clinics, recovery space, traps and cat food donations.

Some of our cats’ stories
Tessa (coming soon)
kittens (coming soon)

What You Can Do to Help

Community Events
Annex Cat Rescue will be participating in events as part of the Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition. The Coalition will have a table at St. Lawrence Market on Friday October 16, from 3 to 6 PM and Saturday October 17, from 9 AM to 3 PM.

The Toronto Humane Society aims to complete 100 FREE Trap, Neuter, Return appointments for feral cats on October 16. These appointments are available by appointment only to registered colony caretakers for ‪‎Feral Cats‬ that will be returned to their colonies. Please visit the THS website for more information on their ‎TNR‬ services or how to become a registered colony caretaker to assist feral cats in your neighbourhood!

Crazy Legs

Photo courtesy Rondi Adamson.

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Run or Walk For ACR on October 18 Mon, 12 Oct 2015 10:02:01 +0000 Team ACR in the Scotiabank Marathon Charity Challenge
This year marks Annex Cat Rescue’s first year participating as an Official Charity in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, October 18th, 2015. Every dollar that we raise goes towards veterinary expenses for cats in foster care, our feral cat colonies and our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.

We have 23 people on the team so far and most of us are doing the 5k Walk but you can run the 5k, Half-Marathon (21.1k) or Marathon (42.2k). It’s up to you!

Every Team ACR member will receive a special ACR T-shirt and qualify for the preferred charity entry fees; in addition, the first 10 participants to register will have their registration fees waived. There will be prizes in several categories (e.g., top fundraisers, best costume, etc.). Children accompanied by adults are welcome!

To join our team, please email Joanna Reading at so she can get you registered at the free or discounted rate.

Don’t delay — join today and help us help homeless cats!

Read some of our cats’ stories and feel free to use the provided graphics on your Fundraising page.

Annex Cat Rescue - Scotiabank Charity Challenge

And if you aren’t able to participate this year, you can still support Annex Cat Rescue by making a team donation.

More information on the STWM Scotiabank Charity Challenge is available here.

STWM Scotiabank Charity Challenge

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Happy Tails: Arielle Mon, 12 Oct 2015 09:32:36 +0000 Arielle

Arielle, an adorable grey tortie who’s now about 2 years old, found her forever home with Linda in September 2014. “She’s a real personality, she loves to be the centre of attention,” Linda says. In this respect, Arielle is very different from Linda’s previous cat, who passed away a few years earlier at the end of a long and comfortable life with Linda. After taking the time she needed to grieve, Linda found herself ready to bring another feline friend into her life. “I’m glad I waited for the right cat and waited until I was ready. They are their own personalities, you can’t just replace them, it would be like having a stranger in your home,” she explains. She found Arielle on the ACR website and fell in love with her while watching a video of her playing. “She was so engaging when I saw her in action, I just couldn’t stop thinking about her!”

About their initial meeting, Anna – who fostered Arielle – recalls that “Linda seemed very kind! She was very eager to adopt a cat and took to Arielle very quickly. They were a great fit! I didn’t have Arielle for long enough to get very attached to her and was extremely happy to find a home for her.” These days, Arielle seems to know that she’s settled in her forever home. “It’s been a substantial amount of time and she knows she’s not going anywhere,” says Linda. She also tells us that when she had to go away overnight, Arielle was cared for by a pet sitter and that this experience reinforced not only that Linda will always come back, but also that Arielle will always be well cared for, even in Linda’s absence.

Arielle playing

Before Linda leaves for work in the morning, she has a daily play session with Arielle, “a very strong little cat who needs to play to expend her energy.” The rambunctious youngster loves her cat dancer toy, and performs a signature move when it’s put under the bed: she will come sliding out from under the bed on her back, like a mechanic coming out from under a car! She also loves to dive wherever the toy is hiding. “If I don’t put it in the right place,” Linda says, “she will keep on diving there until I do.” This is but one of the ways that Arielle is training Linda. She explains, “Arielle is not a lap cat, she doesn’t like to be picked up, but she does like to have her belly rubbed and the top of her head scratched. These things I’m learning as she’s training me.”

However, Arielle has some characteristics that were apparent right from the start. Even though her time with Arielle was short, Anna remembers that “Arielle was really friendly! It took her a few days to get used to her surroundings but after that she was friendly to everyone… she got along with everybody.” And Linda agrees that Arielle is very friendly with others, remarking that “she’ll walk right up to them as if to say, ‘hello, here I am & aren’t I special?’” Also, both Anna and Linda speak warmly of Arielle’s penchant for sleeping on their beds.

Arielle sleeping

Watching Arielle sleep upside-down with a paw over her eyes is particularly endearing. Linda loves the feeling of joy it brings her to watch Arielle “luxuriating in everything”: sleeping, playing, and stretching (especially the magnificent mid-walk stretch). Linda remarks on how grounding it is to watch cats be “so into themselves” – living in the moment, centred and self-assured – and says that Arielle has reconnected her to “the joyfulness of being alive” – a beautiful sentiment about a beautiful friendship.

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Sam’s Story Thu, 08 Oct 2015 22:12:18 +0000 Sam in his colonyMeet Sam. Sam had been living in an Annex Cat Rescue colony for a few years, where ACR volunteers fed and interacted with him daily. Because Sam was so friendly and showed signs of being open to human contact, ACR volunteers decided he would be a good candidate to be fostered and adopted. It can often be difficult to foster an adult feral cat that has been raised without human contact and some cats are not able to make this transition. The first step in determining this is to do an assessment.

An assessment determines if living indoors with humans is an option for a cat. Some adult cats born and raised in feral colonies cannot be domesticated and will never be happy living with humans. These cats are often neutered and released back into their colonies as part of a Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program in an effort to stabilize the number of feral cats in the community. One of the main things a person doing an assessment looks for is temperament; this is a good indication of whether a cat will become comfortable in a human home.

The assessment process usually takes a few weeks; socializing can take a few more weeks and usually continues in the foster home. ACR volunteers can assess cats within an assessment home, or remotely once a foster home is found. Mobile assessment is often a better option because there is less movement for the cat.

Sam getting the treatment he needed

Sam had been waiting for an assessment home when he was taken in by ACR volunteer, Marianne. A reality with most adult feral cats, and with Sam, is chronic disease. Efforts to feed and care for feral cats by ACR and other organizations often extend the life of feral colonies, and accelerated age can invite chronic disease for these cats. This is a reality that assessment and foster homes often must combat in the care and socialization process. Sam was brought into an assessment home with serious dental disease. Dental issues are very common with older cats and are often hard to spot while the cats are in feral colonies. Sam was still eating daily but was in a lot of pain and had to have most of his teeth extracted, in addition to dealing with vaccinations, worms and neutering. ACR takes on the cost of these expenses as part of the assessment process.

Sam’s medical issues played a role in his socialization process; he was in a lot of pain before and after the surgery, and stopped eating altogether during the overwhelming process. As a result Sam did not make much progress until his medical issues were attended to and he was recovering. This is a common issue that assessment and foster homes must be open and compassionate about in order to achieve success with their cats.

Sam's bathroom set up

After Sam had recovered his progress remained slow until he was introduced to Marianne’s cat. “He instantly perked up,” Marianne tells us, once Sam met her small cat. Being around another cat gave Sam confidence and he began to come out of his shell. A large part of the assessment process is determining the best conditions for each individual cat to flourish. Some cats require solidarity, and some, like Sam, require other cats to be happy. For any foster home, however, it is often important to have a small, isolated room in which to begin the transition process. This allows the cat to get accustomed to its new home in a less overwhelming process, as Marianne did with Sam in her bathroom. Once the cat feels secure, other cats and humans can be introduced and eventually, the cat can explore the rest of the home.

Sam relaxing

Sam has been with Marianne since May — longer than average for an assessment home. He is currently waiting for a suitable foster home to become available so he can continue being socialized and eventually adopted. Sam has a gentle and shy nature, and loves being petted and brushed. He has learned that he does not need to be afraid of humans; however, his instincts sometimes take over when he becomes startled. This is a common obstacle with older feral cats and it can be a personality trait that never fades. The ideal home for Sam would be one with other cats for him to socialize with. Sam is very shy but loves attention and requires a gentle home, without small children because of his tendency to get startled. Marianne recommends a home with children 7 years and up. Contact ACR at 416-410-3835 if you think your home is an optimal foster home for Sam.

—Kathy Ribeiro

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Volunteer Profile: Jennifer R Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:36:59 +0000 What’s your story? Why did you first get involved with ACR?

I kept seeing a stray cat hanging around an abandoned building on Mill St. My husband and I wanted to help this cat and we started feeding her daily (we noticed others were too), so I put up a sign to find out how we could together help her. My neighbour responded and put us in touch with Annex Cat Rescue. A volunteer named Marianne came to teach us about trapping and to help. After over a year of trying to trap her (and trapping her companion, Sam), we were successful and Sophie and Sal were relocated to an equestrian barn, where they live comfortably. 

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

I led our communications efforts before moving to New Zealand, which meant “hiring” and working closely with a lot of talented people to produce our monthly newsletter, blog, social media sites and our Annual Highlights.

I was also serving as secretary and then vice-chair of the Board, where I had the privilege of contributing to strategic decisions about how we could help more cats in need. Some of the most rewarding work I was helping with was as a liaison for our east end colonies. There are lots of challenges for cats in the city and the east end is no exception. I was inspired daily by the dedication of our colony coordinators and feral feeders who are there for cats everyday, no matter the weather.

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

Before the move, my husband and I recovered and fostered a few cats – Sophie, James, Pete and Jinxie, Harvey and Holly. A really winning moment was hearing that wonderful people decided to open their hearts and their homes to them. These beautiful cats enriched our lives and I was so thrilled to be able to provide a temporary refuge for them.

Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

We all live busy lives and volunteering can seem like another thing “to do”, but volunteering with Annex Cat Rescue really enriched my life. Because the work is so hands on and grassroots, I truly felt that I was helping cats and making a difference in their lives.

I also had the opportunity to explore some real professional development opportunities by expanding my own skills in communications to benefit the organization. Annex Cat Rescue is a community of dedicated people and knowing and working with these beautiful, supportive individuals was so inspirational.

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

Different organizations helping animals each offer something different. Annex Cat Rescue fills a very important niche in Toronto by being one of the few charities that work at a grassroots level. Annex Cat Rescue does this by supporting feral cat communities through daily feeding and providing veterinary care, when needed. Tame/friendly cats are rescued and brought into our adoption program. This is a really needed service because so many cats find themselves lost or abandoned by previous owners.

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

I used to work in communications as an in-house senior advisor for a few government agencies working in health. I loved the idea of helping people improve their health and the health care they received.

Jen R

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

I love reading (and not just about cats!), travelling to exotic places (recently I visited Japan), cooking delicious vegan food (and eating it!) and spending time with my loved ones (including my gorgeous calico, Bonnie Princess Cat).

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

I don’t have any Annex Cat Rescue Cats at the moment.

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

I dedicate my volunteer work to all animals living in situations where they are not happy or free (whether that’s a lost cat on the street, or a cow, chicken, pig living in horrific conditions on factory farms).

There’s so much we can do to change the world for animals – it’s as easy as what you put on your plate and how you decide to spend your free time. Anyone can be a hero for animals!

Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

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Happy Tails: Claira Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:00:39 +0000 “Claira’s is a true success story,” says foster parent Joanna. Claira, a gorgeous Calico, was rescued as a kitten from a backyard in Toronto, with her sister Casey. The sisters had very little exposure and no direct contact with humans. Naturally, the kittens feared human touch, and were a challenge to transition into a human home. Claira was particularly feisty and discouraged contact, until the kittens found their way to Joanna in March of 2015.

Happy Tails: Claira

Joanna, an experienced foster parent with a knack for challenging kittens, was just what the sisters needed. “Repetition is key to gaining their trust,” says Joanna. The kittens hid in Joanna’s bathroom for a few days, getting used to the sounds and smells; after which, Joanna gave them no choice but to let her slowly pet them. “I just don’t take no for an answer,” Joanna says. “It’s important to touch them in a way that makes them like it.” Joanna allowed the kittens to stay in their hiding place, while she gently stroked them, until they began to enjoy human contact.

Claira, it turns out, loved being petted and loved attention once her fear faded away—so much so that she would push her sister out of the way to get at Joanna. Under Joanna’s care, Claira went from a kitten that had never experienced human contact to one who seeked out Joanna and purred loudly when she got attention.

Joanna recognized the sisters, particularly Claira, needed to go to the right home if they going to continue to improve. Nick and Lina were the right fit. “Nick was wonderful with her; there was an instant connection between the two,” says Joanna. Although Claira and Cassey were adopted separately, Joanna maintains it was the best thing for both kittens. Claira was becoming very dominant, even somewhat of a bully, and was not a good match for her timid sister Cassey.

Claira is doing wonderfully in her new home. She is full of energy and is perfectly matched by Nick and Lina’s equally energetic cat, Bellaire. The two keep everyone on their toes with 6 am and 11 pm laps around the house.

Claira’s journey is not only a wonderful success story, but also a testament to the impact of fostering in preparing and placing kittens into the proper homes so they can thrive. Joanna and her husband have been involved in cat rescue for six and a half years, after they saved a feral colony in their community. As with Claira, Joanna recommends repetition for anyone struggling with fostering a difficult kitten. Through repetition and patience, successes such as Claira’s will continue to occur.

—Kathy Ribeiro

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Fall Adopt-a-Thon at Global Pet Foods Sat, 03 Oct 2015 09:06:49 +0000 This Saturday, come by and visit with some of our cats who are ready to move on to their forever homes and/or chat with us about the many ways you can volunteer with us to help. We’ll be at Global Pet Foods (map) from 10 am until 5 pm.

Annex Cat Rescue Adoptathon Global Pet Foods

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Volunteer Profile: Lindsay W Tue, 29 Sep 2015 23:44:25 +0000 What’s your story? Why did you first get involved with ACR?

I wanted to help cats in Toronto and sought to join caretaking feral colonies.

feeding colony cats

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

I go and visit a cat colony and feed them, make sure they seem healthy and help trap when we have a cat who needs medical attention.

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

We were able to home a colony cat who had a neurological issue that made her life outdoors especially difficult.

Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

Helping out in your community feels good and goes a long way in making others’ lives better.

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

Makes life better for both animals and humans.

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

I work in a veterinary clinic.

nighttime feeding

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

I love to read, sing, make art and bake.

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

I don’t currently. I try to adopt from different shelters and rescues to spread out my support.

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

All of them, especially the ones who still have to live on the street because they have it the hardest.

Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

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Happy Tails: Charlie Mon, 28 Sep 2015 11:00:53 +0000 Charlie’s story begins in a small town called Tweed, which is located 2.5 hours North East of Toronto.

Charlie’s mom, Mrs. Robinson, was hit by a car and was found on the side of the road. Thankfully, the people that found her rescued and cared for her. Her caregivers realized she had babies and went looking for her litter. They found Charlie and his two sisters, Gretchen and Greta. Mom and kittens all looked exactly alike, with short smokey grey hair, so the kittens were referred to as The Greylings. Mrs. Robinson recovered and is currently living happily with the people who rescued her, along with Greta.

Soon after the rescue, Carol Hroncek stepped in to foster Charlie and Gretchen; they were seven months old. She fondly describes Charlie’s personality as incredibly affectionate, playful, and rambunctious.

Carol remembers Charlie’s initial reaction when she took him home. “He hid under/behind my drawers and would not come out when I walked in the room. I just couldn’t believe how terrified he originally was.”

Things soon changed, as Carol recalls, “After 2 weeks he finally started to come out from behind the drawers when I walked in the room, he started to play coy and slowly come to sniff me. But I still couldn’t touch him. Then, a week later it was as if he suddenly decided I was good enough and he flipped his ‘love switch’ to ‘on’ and became my best friend. From that moment on he could not get enough attention from me.“

Charlie’s love switch didn’t just turn on for Carol, “He also fell deeply in love with my cats – he wanted to be best friends with all of them. I’ve never seen a cat so desperate to be friends with other cats! He cuddled up to each of them endlessly – it was an absolute riot finding him in various forms of snuggling with a different cat every day!”

Charlie was soon adopted by Carla Parslow and her husband Manish. She reminisces, “We had one cat, but she was young and we thought that it would be best if she had another mate to socialize with. Plus, we like cats and thought one more would help us complete our family.”

Happy Tails: Charlie

When asked what made Charlie stand out to them, Carla states, “It is really quite simple. There is a grey male cat on our block that is very personable and we adore him. We called this cat Mr. Mayor because he always came out to greet us as we walked down the street. So, we were looking for a grey male cat just like our neighbourhood cat. We had already decided that should we find a male cat that we like and that likes us, we would name him Charlie. Lo and behold, the first cat we saw on the Annex Cat Rescue site was our very own Charlie. That was it; we knew that he would be in our family.”

Charlie was shy when he first arrived, but Carla and Manish were assured by Carol, whom they were in constant contact with, that he would come out of his shell.  Sure enough, after a few weeks the love switch turned on.  They all agreed that Charlie was just a very sensitive, gentle soul who needed time to adapt to new situations.

Happy Tails: Charlie

Some cute Charlie quirks, Carla reveals, with some input from Manish, “Curious springs to mind or tinkerer by trade. Fascinated by all things shiny, those which roll, and those we tell him to stay away from. (He) can spend minutes batting at one until distracted by another. Keeps himself amused by playing by himself, especially when the other cat wants nothing to do with him.”

— Theresa Ogurian

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Volunteer Profile: Deborah K Tue, 22 Sep 2015 23:01:36 +0000 What’s your story? Why did you first get involved with ACR?

I just wanted to do something that gives back to the community and helps cats.

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

I am still working on the same position I was doing when I first started (even though I’ve tried a few others like feeding and trapping), I work with the adoptions screening team. I field inquiries from potential adopters through email or phone and we discuss their interest in adopting a kitty from us. During the conversation, we chat about pretty much everything from understanding what the adopters are looking for, their current kitty situation, the history and how we can help fill those situations with a suitable cat/kitten.

On many occasions, I get the chance to speak with other like-minded cat people (or animal people, in general!) and we help one another… they are looking to adopt and we are looking to find great homes for our wonderful kitties!

my current two boys, Buckingham (Bucky) and Stanley C. Panther (Stanley) helping out in the kitchen

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

The best moment to date for me is when I spoke with first time cat owners who had never any extensive experience with cats and only had dogs. They moved into a condo and their lives changed in terms of space and lifestyle. We had a very in depth conversation about cat care, what they were looking for and how we could help.

They were initially looking for one cat but soon after, contacted us again to adopt another! They also sent us photos of the cats and all the fun cat structures and toys they had gotten. It was such a successful referral because they genuinely felt so happy about getting their new feline friends!

Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?

I think people should volunteer, period. I chose the ACR because they do great work and have a group of incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated people. Not only do you feel good from volunteering, you’re likely to meet amazing people and learn a lot. And cudddle a cat or two.

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

ACR has a very holistic view on the way they approach cat rescue. They make attempts to address the issue of the feral cat population by educating, providing community support and finally, getting adoptable cats into good homes.

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

I have a hum-drum life in the corporate world.

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

I enjoy working in the garden/yard by tending to the flowers, bushes and other plants. I love horseback riding and started taking lessons a few years ago, as an adult.

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

No, I don’t.

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

I dedicate all the work and time I do, to my first two cats, Cocoa and Louie.

Photo: my current two boys, Buckingham (Bucky) and Stanley C. Panther (Stanley) helping out in the kitchen

Find out more about volunteering with ACR.

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