Like its many homeless people, Toronto also has a significant population of homeless cats. There are at least 50,000 strays (cats that have wandered from home and become lost, or cats that have been abandoned by people) and ferals (a cat is born in the wild or the street to strays). That number is only a best estimate as there are no actual statistics on homeless cats available. And each stray cat is capable of contributing many more to that number if it reproduces unchecked. Through its Trap-Neuter/Spay-Return program (TNR), Annex Cat Rescue is doing its utmost to keep that number from growing, and even reduce it.
Stray and feral cats most often congregate in colonies. ACR volunteers not only feed these colonies, but also traps these cats, one by one, to both manage their numbers and to give the cats a better quality of life. Once a cat is humanely caught in a live-animal trap, it is brought to a veterinarian where it is spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies and other feline diseases. Since adult feral cats can’t be domesticated, after a few days of recovery in a safe place, the cat is returned to its own colony. Any young kittens that are trapped are placed in foster homes, where they are socialized and eventually adopted out. Many of the kittens up for adoption on this site have come to ACR from these colonies of homeless cats. Once rescued, they will never have to live on the street again.
Because cats can breed from the age of six months, and do breed prolifically, every individual cat trapped and spayed or neutered means dozens of feral kittens (and their eventual offspring) will not be added to the already huge stray/feral population in Toronto by that cat. Each and every cat trapped and spayed or neutered makes a difference, both to the population explosion and to the individual cat, who will now not have litter after litter, year after year, and also receives some protection against illness. TNR also makes the colonies more manageable for volunteers to feed.
ACR can always use volunteers for its TNR program. Volunteers set and monitor traps, then transport the cats (in traps) to and from the vet or recovery home where a cat can regain enough strength to be returned to its territory again.