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 Tail: Puff
    Happy Tail: Puff

    Puff was found on the streets of Toronto – sadly someone decided to give him away. Luckily, ACR trappers Robin and Michelle brought Puff to his caring foster, Ming-Ming, a veterinary technician at the Yonge-Davenport Pet Hospital.

    With no medical care required, Puff went straight to his foster’s home where he bonded with another foster kitten. During his month of fostering, Puff became Ming-Ming’s shadow and constantly followed her around. “He was a very sweet kitten – very loud, loving, and demanding of my attention,” says Ming-Ming. “He actually helped a lot, as the other kitten I was fostering was quite scared. She saw Puff interacting with me and became more interested in people.”

    Happy Tail: Puff

    After a month of fostering, it was easy for Ming-Ming to help Puff transition to a forever home. Puff’s adopter, Melissa, found him through an adoption post on Instagram. It had been a year since Melissa’s cat had passed away from cancer. Upon seeing Puff, Melissa felt ready to bring another kitty home. “We just knew we had to have Puff,” says Melissa, who generously adopted a second cat around the same time through the OSPCA.

    Puff was a bit scared while travelling to his forever home, but his fear didn’t last long. Within minutes of arriving, Puff and his new sibling, Berlioz, were running around the house. Melissa recalls Puff’s initial days at home: “He was occupied by playing with his foster siblings,” says Melissa. “He was so sweet, cute and playful – we fell in love with him right away.”

    Happy Tail: Puff

    In just one year, Melissa has seen Puff grow even more trusting with a little help from his family. “Puff and his brother still play and snuggle with each other – they are best friends!” says Melissa. “He has become more confident, cuddly and he is truly one of the most loving cats.” When he isn’t getting his exercise from playing, Puff follows his owners around the house and enjoys flopping onto the floor to ask for belly rubs.

    A special routine Melissa and Puff share are their mornings: “Puff snuggles up to me in bed, purring, with his head right under my chin,” says Melissa. “Sometimes he kneads on my stomach or even suckles on the bed sheet.” Before starting a new day, Melissa enjoys time with the two kitties and their human baby brother, Greyson!

    Happy Tail: Puff

    When reflecting on adopting Puff through ACR, Melissa is grateful for the proactive care he was shown. “I cannot thank ACR and Puff’s foster mom enough – for taking such good care of him and for opening our eyes to the joy that comes with adopting two kittens at the same time,” says Melissa. With a home full of loving family members (human and feline), Melissa is thrilled to have given Puff the second chance he deserves.

    -Amy Ellen Soden

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  • Happy Tail: Goran

    When Annex Cat Rescue adopter Gillian set out to find a new cat to join her family, she only had one item on her wish list: must get along with Drago.

    “I said in my email to ACR, ‘my cat Drago is kind of an asshole,’” she laughs. “And that I was looking for a cat who is chill and can handle it.”

    Happy Tail: Goran

    Drago, her first cat, was semi-feral. He’d had a tough relationship with Gillian’s other cat, Luka. It had taken a year for Gillian to get them to stop fighting all the time, and even after that, they never fully got along. After Luka died in 2016, Gillian wanted to find Drago a new friend. But it wouldn’t be easy finding one that was easygoing but not a pushover — and who had FIV, like Drago.

    Happy Tail: Goran

    “I needed to go to a place where they really know the cats, so that I wouldn’t be surprised by their personality,” Gillian says. Her boyfriend’s sister told her she’d had a great experience with ACR, so Gillian decided to reach out. She almost immediately heard back. A volunteer told Gillian that the perfect cat for her had recently come in. He needed some medical attention, so he was in the care of foster mom, Carol.

    “So I went to go meet Carol and her wonderful brood,” Gillian laughs, referring to Carol’s six cats. New to the brood was Goran, then called Vinnie. Gillian was taken with him immediately. “He was so chill!”

    Happy Tail: Goran

    But Goran’s laidback attitude belied a dramatic backstory. He had been found in a cat colony by two local rescuers. At first, they thought he was feral like the rest of the colony, but after they saw how comfortable he was around people, they wondered if he was a house cat who had gotten lost instead.

    Either way, his rough upbringing didn’t seem to have made a big impact on his personality. Gillian knew right away that he was the cat for her and Drago. She even gave him a new, Croatian name, so he could fit in with the rest of the family: Goran. 

    Happy Tail: Goran

    Gillian was worried about the integration process, as it had given her so many headaches with Luka and Drago. But Goran’s integration went more smoothly than she could have hoped. Luka had been very passive around the house, and Drago had taken advantage of that. Goran, on the other hand, wasn’t afraid to stand up for himself. They balanced each other out. Soon, they were napping together, and even playing tag. 

    Happy Tail: Goran

    A year after his adoption, Gillian is thrilled with how well Goran fits into the family. “He’s become very bossy. He comes in at 6 am and wakes us up for food. He’s very affectionate, he loves to come between us in bed and snuggle. He has really blossomed and owns us all!”

    Happy Tail: Goran
    Happy Tail: Goran

    What could have been a tricky adoption has become a huge success for everyone: Gillian, Drago, and Goran.

    -Aleks Kandic

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  • Happy Tail: Tomas (formerly Sweet Pea)

    Tomas (formerly Sweet Pea) was a little kitten when he was rescued by ACR. He was fostered by ACR volunteer Emily, who remembers him as a very friendly and affectionate kitten.

    Happy Tail: Tomas

    “He loved to jump up high and bump his nose against our face — too precious for words,” says Emily. He took kindly to Emily’s other cat and was affectionate and playful with them soon after.

    Happy Tail: Tomas

    In search of finding a ginger kitten to adopt, Lynne had been following the ACR website. “When the picture of baby Tomas popped up, I immediately sent my loving request,” Lynne recalls. Fortunately, Lynne was the first to contact Emily and was excited to adopt him.

    Happy Tail: Tomas

    Tomas had a difficult start to his life. It was discovered that he had giardia and stomatitis and would need to remove his teeth.Fortunately, ACR was able to assist with the cost, and Tomas successfully got through the surgery and was ready to begin the journey with his new family.

    When Tomas was first brought home, he initially hid in the closet. Lynne also had two other rescue cats (Willie and Larry) that were very curious about their new brother. However, it did not take long for Tomas to become comfortable and decide that this was home for him.

    Happy Tail: Tomas

    “Tomas is the most gregarious, social, vocal, playful, and spirited baby we have ever known,” says Lynne. He enjoys grooming and chasing Willie and Larry around the house. He’s also claimed a special spot on the bed, which he likes to cozy up to on the blanket every night. Recently, Tomas was selected as the winner of a “Cat of the Week” contest on Facebook!

    Happy Tail: Tomas

    “Tomas loves marmalade. If we had known this at first, we may have just called him Marmalade,” says Lynne. He’s also very fond of hisCat Dancer toy, which consists of a wire with bits of corrugated cardboard attached on the end. Every morning, Tomas sits patiently at Lynne’s feet, gently nudging her so they can play with it!

    Happy Tail: Tomas

    Having spent a lot more time at home in the past few months, Lynne says that Tomas has helped make time fly by with his antics and love. “All three of our kitties act like its Christmas every day, and we look forward to sharing a quiet Christmas with all of them,” says Lynne. In anticipation of the holidays, all the cats even had their own advent calendar with salmon treats behind every door.

    -Justina Tran

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  • Happy Tail: Ruby (formerly Violet)

    Ruby began her life living outside with her siblings and mother. Annex Cat Rescue volunteer Brenda was able to trap the whole family safely. The cats then made their way to the vet and onto foster homes to await their forever homes.

    Foster parent Heather took in Ruby and her brother Raja, who stayed with her for about three months until they were adopted. In honour of her cat who passed away, Heather wanted to help out other cats.

    Happy Tail: Ruby
    Ruby and Raja

    Heather loved the experience of having the two kittens in her home. Although the kittens were very timid at first, within the first week they started to warm up. Ruby especially loved Heather’s two-year old daughter Naia.

    While Raja was more rambunctious (he loved to climb on Heather’s screen door), Heather describes Ruby as being fairly quiet and gentle, with a soft meow. Ruby was also more social and trusting of strangers.

    Amanda and her husband Rafael came to meet Raja and Ruby. Although they were totally smitten with both kittens, they only had space for one, so they adopted the seven-month-old Ruby (Raja would find his forever home shortly after).

    Happy Tail: Ruby

    Ruby is always following her human parents around, like a shadow. They work from home and she can be found either sitting on their desks or in front of a window. Ruby loves to “catch” raindrops and snowflakes that land on the windows. Ruby is very playful and plays fetch better than any dog Amanda has met! Her toy of choice is a string.

    When Ruby is not busy protecting her home from precipitation or retrieving toys, she likes to cuddle up with Amanda and Rafael on the couch. In the mornings, Ruby likes to wake up her mom Amanda by chewing on her hair.

    Happy Tail: Ruby

    Amanda and Rafael recently moved to Canada, and one month after getting an apartment they adopted Ruby. They were eager to adopt a cat into their family and it looks like Ruby is just as happy to receive them as parents!

    -Sandra Dania

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  • Happy Tail: Rabbit

    Rabbit was first brought into Lori’s care by a friend who oversees a feral colony. The kitten was discovered when one day, one of the cats in the colony dropped a tiny kitten next to his food dish. From there, he took on the role as her “mentor and protector.”

    Lori’s first impression of the little kitty was that she “was fearless, hopping up trees and sparring with her protector.” She decided to name her Rabbit, because “as a kitten, she hopped rather than walked.” With the help of ACR, Lori decided to foster the kitten and help tame her “wild spirit.”

    Happy Tail: Rabbit

    Eventually, Rabbit was adopted by a family who was new to owning a pet. However, after almost a year of having her in their care, she was sadly returned to Lori. “I always tell adopters that if the adoption does not work out, to let me and the rescue know. I will foster the kitten if I am able or ACR will arrange for someone to do so,” she says.

    Given that she had just taken on fostering a litter of kittens, Lori allowed her friend Bonnie to foster Rabbit with hopes that she’d be able to adopt her. Bonnie’s allergies unfortunately proved to be a problem, but she vowed to take care of Rabbit until she was able to help her find her forever home.

    Luckily, Nixin had always wanted a cat. After moving to Toronto for university last fall, she and her roommate (and best friend) Melissa got the green light from their landlord to have a pet at their residence. A friend referred them to the ACR, where they learned about a new batch of kittens that were available for adoption.

    After viewing photos of the kittens, Nixin says she loved their descriptions — and especially loved the “unique markings” on one particular cat. She and Melissa arranged to visit the cat and her foster mom, Bonnie.

    Nixin was especially touched after hearing about the young cat’s back story. “It was very heartbreaking,” she says, “because [her foster] wanted to keep her but couldn’t deal with her allergies.”

    As she and Melissa headed back home, the choice was clear. “Let’s give her a home,” they said.

    Happy Tail: Rabbit

    Rabbit (whose name they kept) was “very, very scared” at first. “We tried really hard to be patient — we would socialize with her when she felt most comfortable.”

    At the time, Nixin and Melissa lived in the same room — which she says provided a lot of needed warmth for little Rabbit. “She got more eager to come to the bed and share the warmth. It was also important to show her vulnerability — she found this inviting and she felt that we weren’t invading her space.”

    Nixin recalls feeling “so much joy” when Rabbit first decided to approach the two and eventually open up. “Slowly and slowly, you saw her character.”

    Happy Tail: Rabbit

    Today, you’ll usually find Rabbit roaming around “like she owns the place.” “She has a bit of an attitude!” Nixin says. “She’s picky with food, she has little whiny things she does — it’s really, really cute.” She’s developed her own set of chirpy noises, so that “sometimes she sounds like a human.”

    Rabbit also has a great affinity for carbs and baked goods. “She really likes crackers and bread. Whenever I pull out anything carb-y, she just begs for it.”

    Earlier this year, Nixin moved to another, much larger apartment in Toronto when Melissa had to move back home to B.C. after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. During this time, she’s been especially grateful to have Rabbit by her side. Whenever she’s felt lonely, Rabbit has been around to nudge her, make muffins on her bed or ensure she’s well-taken care of.

    Happy Tail: Rabbit

    While she mentions that owners are often thought of as saviours who provide cats with loving homes, Nixin claims that she doesn’t just feel like she’s been the one to save Rabbit. “Sometimes I feel abandoned too, because I’m in a new home in a big city. So in that way, she’s also saved me.”

    To make matters even better, Nixin and Rabbit have just made a new friend — she’s recently adopted another rescue cat, Pierre! While Pierre is still adjusting to his new home, Nixin says she knows he will come around. She’s “just waiting for that magic moment.”

    Happy Tail: Rabbit

    When it comes to adopting rescue cats, Nixin says that there are no differences to her among cats — “if you’re a cat, you’re a cat!” The most rewarding thing is when a really timid cat can move past any bad memories from their past and “you can both become friends.”

    -Coral Cripps

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  • Happy Tail: Martine (formerly Buffy)

    Martine (formerly Buffy) was brought to Ming-Ming, her generous ACR foster, by a lady who had found her among feral cats in her backyard. At just three weeks old, Martine was malnourished and not in the best condition. “The feral moms were not taking care of the kittens well, so we needed to intervene,” recalls Ming-Ming, a Veterinary Technician at the Yonge-Davenport Pet Hospital.

    Happy Tail: Martine

    After receiving veterinary care for a feline upper respiratory infection and lice, Martine settled into a peaceful 12-week period of fostering with Ming-Ming. “She was always a very sweet kitten, despite living outside the first few weeks of her life. She loved to snuggle with me, and was definitely my little shadow,” says Ming-Ming.

    Happy Tail: Martine

    “One morning I woke up to her tiny four-week-old body snuggled up against my neck.” After Martine repeatedly found her way onto the bed, Ming-Ming realized her tactic: resourcefully grabbing onto blankets and pulling herself up!

    Happy Tail: Martine

    Within just three short months, it was time for Martine to find her forever home. “She was very easy to get adopted because she was just so sweet,” says Ming-Ming. A kind ACR adopter, Audrey, took a liking to Martine and decided to adopt her.

    Although Martine was a little scared and skittish when first adjusting to her new home, Audrey gave her plenty of patience. “She spent the entire first few days in my room. I had to move the litter around a few times to get her to use it, but she adapted pretty quickly,” recalls Audrey.

    Happy Tail: Martine

    Now more than a year old, Martine is described by her loving owner as healthy and strong. “She is just the most loving cat I have ever had!” exclaims Audrey. “She comes to cuddle every night with me on my bed. I bought her a stuffed dinosaur because I noticed that she likes carrying around small fluffy objects like our socks or slippers.” When she is not playing with her blue dinosaur, Martine loves grooming and playing with Audrey’s other cat, Margot. 

    When reflecting on the joy Martine has brought into her life, Audrey notes the kitty’s emotional sensitivity: “Martine is such a great cat – I think she would be an excellent therapy cat because she loves everyone equally. I am super happy I rescued her,” she says.

    Happy Tail: Martine

    Ming-Ming is grateful for the fostering period she shared with the sweet girl, as well as ACR’s dedication to finding cats like Martine a home. “ACR will literally do everything in their power to get cats the medical care they need, which is important to me as someone who works in the veterinary profession,” says Ming-Ming.

    “I’ve fostered for many different rescues, but ACR is always my favorite. Homeless and feral cats do not always get enough attention – ACR is helping to change that.”

    -Amy Ellen Soden

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  • Happy Tail: Molly

    Molly’s story begins in a garden allotment in Thorncliffe. A fortunate litter, Molly and her siblings were so well cared for by local gardeners that we know her exact birthday, April 26th. While the savvy gardeners quickly reached out to the Toronto Humane Society to spay, neuter, and return the cats to the local colony, Molly never received the tell-tale clip on her left ear. “I like to think that it’s because she has remarkably long ears and the vet couldn’t bear to do it,” laughs her foster, Nikki.

    Happy Tail: Molly

    Despite living outside, Molly had lots of contact with humans and was well socialized; however, there are many potential dangers to cats living outdoors. Unfortunately, in a particularly harrowing example of this, one of Molly’s siblings went missing and it is believed that they were killed by coyotes from the neighbouring ravine. At some point, locals had Molly treated for ticks and met a kind veterinarian who remarked on how gentle she was and suggested she be put up for adoption. She then spent some time in a kennel at the Toronto Humane Society where she sadly became withdrawn.

    Happy Tail: Molly

    Enter Annex Cat Rescue. ACR foster Nikki says that she began fostering to fill a “cat-shaped void” in her life following the passing of her beloved cat, Mike. A cat lover at heart, Nikki’s first foster was an immune-compromised cat named Ebe. Once Ebe found his forever family, Nikki once again opened her home and heart to foster a second cat, Molly.

    While Molly was distressed the day she arrived, she quickly found shelter in a wicker basket under Nikki’s bed. This became her safe space for several more weeks as she slowly got her bearings in her new home. Nikki says that when she was in her basket, she was more open to scratches behind her ears and comfortable enough to purr, so much so that her full name became “Molly Basket.”

    Happy Tail: Molly

    Nikki was encouraged by Molly’s progress over the next few weeks as her personality emerged. “She started to loosen up, being rambunctious and playing with her toys early in the morning,” she says. An independent cat who was not distressed when left alone during the day, Molly seemed to suit Nikki’s lifestyle. “She calmed me and made me laugh. I was smitten with her and realized that I kept putting off notifying ACR that Molly was ready to be put on the adoption site,” says Nikki. Soon after, she decided to adopt.

    Patience is key when welcoming a new cat to your home, says Nikki. While Molly is not a lap cat (yet!), and wary of strangers, it is important to remember these are behaviours that she learned in order to survive outside.

    Happy Tail: Molly

    “Knowing that I have given her a chance to be warm, sheltered, and cared for is so rewarding,” says Nikki. “Fostering gives cats the chance to exhibit their personalities—the ones that emerge when they’re safe and cared for, which means that they can be placed with the right person or family.”

    -Jessica Pellerin

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  • Happy Tail: Twiglet and Rodney (formerly Mischief and Booger)

    Two’s company, three’s a crowd, but four? Four just might be the magic number.

    Emily hadn’t set out with the intention of having four rescue cats, it mostly just happened. First there was Edie, adopted from the Toronto Humane Society, then Spud, who had been abandoned. A third was clearly needed.

    “We thought that getting them a little brother might give them someone to play with,” Emily says. She adopted Rodney (formerly Booger) as a kitten from the Annex Cat Rescue in 2018. Unfortunately, his older sisters didn’t dote on him as much as Emily had hoped. “Although the girls tolerated him, he clearly needed a younger playmate.”

    Happy Tail: Twiglet and Rodney

    So, it was back to the ACR for cat number four. Twiglet (formerly Mischief) caught her eye because of his similarity to Rodney. “We chose both boys because in their user pics, they had their mouths open yelling at the camera.” Emily also opted for a younger cat, out of the fear that an older male might be seen as a challenger to older girls Edie and Spud.

    Happy Tail: Twiglet and Rodney

    Twiglet and Rodney didn’t take too long to bond. “Rodney had had a bond with an older cat in his foster home but, despite trying to make the girls love him as much as he did them, he was a bit lonely,” Emily says. He was dying for a companion like Twiglet, who was feeling just as lonely after his brother had been adopted to a different family. “He was miserable until we let Rod into his room.”

    Happy Tail: Twiglet and Rodney

    Twiglet has adapted well to his new home, showing Emily and her husband his big personality ever since he was small. “Twig is a charming weirdo,” Emily says. “Since he was a kitten, he’s had a habit of deliberately sliding off furniture/laps onto his head, and he loves doing somersaults.”

    Happy Tail: Twiglet and Rodney

    Since the fourth cat was such a success, are they considering a fifth? Not likely. “I think four just tips the scales from ‘cat lover’ to ‘crazy cat lady,’” Emily says.

    So, for her and Twiglet, four is the magic number.

    -Jenn Reid

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  • Happy Tail: Pina and Colada

    Oliver first came across photos of Pina and Colada through the ACR website, and immediately knew that they would become family.

    When Pina and Colada first arrived at their new furever home, they were initially scared and hid in Oliver’s daybed. Their foster Audrey mentions that the cats were not-well socialized; they were rather shy and scared of people. To help them get used to their new surroundings, Oliver set up a section with all their toys and food.

    Happy Tail: Pina & Colada

    Pina and Colada gradually became more comfortable. In the nighttime, the two cats would often jump onto the bed, and end up falling asleep by Oliver’s feet. The cats became curious, and on occasion would even sniff around Oliver’s face. After a few days, they began to ask for cuddles in the morning.

    Happy Tail: Pina & Colada

    Slowly they began to showcase their personalities. Pina is an outgoing, playful, and sociable cat, who enjoys asking for food at least four times a day. “Pina enjoys joining me when I am watching TV and reading on the couch,” Oliver says. Occasionally, Pina also likes to join in on Oliver’s yoga sessions.

    By contrast, Colada can be more reserved, but is just as sweet and loving. Colada is also a very protective cat, even sizing up new guests that visit the home. During the day, Colada loves to hang out in little cubby holes around the home, and especially sitting in the base of the cat tree. Colada is also a fan of yoga, often joining Oliver during a session of restorative yoga.

    Happy Tail: Pina & Colada

    Both Pina and Colada are usually on the hunt for delicious treats. “They both love snacks a lot, and I have had to make sure I hide them well or else I end up with a huge mess of wrappers all over my home,” Oliver says.

    Today, Pina and Colada have settled in their home for a year. Oliver has recently moved and mentions that the cats seem to love living in an apartment with two floors as the stairs are their new playground. “Pina and Colada spend most of their time in close proximity to one another and I love catching them in a twin snuggle,” Oliver says.

    Happy Tail: Pina & Colada

    Reflecting back on the past year, Oliver says, “They have a been a fantastic addition to my life and I’m grateful to have my two little twin monsters as part of my family.”

    -Justina Tran

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  • Happy Tail: Luna and Lightning (Formerly Lily and Neon)

    Kanza and her husband were thinking about fostering cats with Annex Cat Rescue, when serendipitously, her clients came across three young kittens in the window well of their new house. The kittens’ mother did not return, so Kanza and Annex Cat Rescue took the kittens in. After a trip to the vet, Kanza was able to foster the three kittens.

    Lightning (left) and Luna (right)

    The two male kittens were named Neon (now Lightning) and Bumblebee (now Doodle) and the female kitten was named Lily (now Luna). Kanza already had two cats of her own and wasn’t looking to adopt a third one, but Bumblebee became very attached to her and she couldn’t bring herself to give him up so she and her husband adopted him and named him Doodle. Luckily, Doodle was not as bonded to his siblings as Luna and Lightning were to each other.

    Kanza says Luna and Lightning were very bonded to each other and she was happy to see them go to their forever home together. Luna and Lightning were only posted online for maybe 12 hours when Megan and Tim enquired about the cats. Upon their face-to-face meeting, Megan’s son Hugo and the kittens were immediately drawn to each other. Although the kittens were quite shy with other people, they were so comfortable with Hugo that it was evident this was a match made in heaven.

    Megan and Tim were looking for two rescue cats to adopt when they found Luna and Lightning. They had cats before and when their cat Jaggy passed away they knew that something was missing in their family. They wanted to get two cats instead of one so that the cats wouldn’t be lonely when the humans weren’t home. Megan says it’s been so heartwarming to see seven-year-old Hugo loving and caring for the kittens and to see how much they love him too.

    Lightning is more of a lap cat and Luna is more independent and selective of who she gets close to but both cats are very warm, happy, and goofy. They are very cuddly with each other and also cuddly with their humans. They love to play with Hugo and gaze out the window.

    Happy Tail: Luna and Lightning

    Megan says, “We are totally cat people, all three of us. And Luna and Lightning seem like they are the happiest cats in the world, so it all worked out perfectly.”

    -Sandra Dania

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