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.
  • Toronto Waterfront Marathon

    It’s that time of year again, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon is back! 

    ACR is celebrating 25 years this year! Since our inception, ACR has provided compassionate cat rescue to help the most vulnerable cats in our city. This year, the call for help is even greater. Bringing in many sick kittens and cats to receive immediate life-saving care and utilizing all our resources to help them thrive and find their furever home.

    How can you help?

    One of three ways:

    1. Register to participate and raise funds.
    2. Donate if you can’t participate.
    3. Spread the word to help ACR raise funds.

    Here is ACR’s referral link to register:

    We are also excited to bring back prizes for the Top 10 fundraisers!

    Please join us on Sunday, October 16, 2022.

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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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  • Happy Tail: Motzi (formerly Ashton)

    Grace had already adopted Thunder, a young male cat, when she decided almost immediately to look into adopting second rescue cat to keep him company. Enter Annex Cat Rescue. After visiting a few rescues in the city without finding what she was looking for, Grace found a connection with Motzi, formerly known as Ashton.

    “His energy was perfect. It’s hard to explain, but I just knew he had to come home with me,” she says.

    Happy Tail: Motzi

    The adoption process took about two weeks. First, Grace set up an appointment to meet Ashton in person at his foster mother’s house. Rescue cat fosters, like Kelsey, are knowledgeable and able to offer some insight into the cat’s personality and needs, as well as provide advice on helping the rescue adapt to life indoors.

    After Motzi’s neutering appointment, Grace picked him up and took him home to meet Thunder. The plan, as per Kelsey’s advice, was to introduce the cats slowly, keeping Motzi in a separate, fully stocked room until he was ready to see more of his new home and its occupants. Motzi settled in quickly and seemed eager to meet Thunder, so the two were able to meet face-to-face within 24 hours.

    Happy Tail: Motzi
    Motzi (bottom) and Thunder (top)

    Some feral or rescue cats, however, can take one week or more to become confident enough to explore a new space, meet a new feline or seek out affection from humans, so “be patient and don’t rush the process,” says Grace.

    Happy Tail: Motzi
    Motzi (top) and Thunder (bottom)

    Despite becoming fast friends with Thunder, Motzi took much longer to warm up to cuddles with Grace. She knew to give him the space he needed, and it was worth it. These days, they are three peas in a cuddly pod. “I was unable to hold Motzi for six months but I was patient and available. Now we cuddle and sleep together along with my other cat Thunder,” Grace says.

    Happy Tail: Motzi
    Motzi (right) and Thunder (left)

    Motzi, for his part, loves snacks, falls asleep all over the place and is inseparable from his bonded brother, Thunder. “It’s not temporary,” Grace says. “You need to understand the finances, responsibilities moreover the commitment involved when considering adopting a pet.”

    But, if you have patience and a cat-shaped space in your heart to fill, there is “no better way to bring an additional member into your home,” she says. “So many animals need homes, why not save a life?”

    -Jessica Pellerin

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  • Happy Tail: Thelma

    After spending the first two years of her life outdoors, Thelma was rescued from an ACR colony in Toronto’s east end. With a few kind caretakers including her foster, Hector, Thelma regained a healthy weight and had her dental issues addressed including a surgery.

    “Thelma was very shy, but she quickly began to show affection and appreciation for belly-rub sessions,” recalls Hector. Despite going through health challenges, Thelma would bounce back – from enjoying her scratch post to chasing her favourite laser pointer’s red dot!

    Happy Tail: Thelma

    When sweet Thelma’s adopter Sandy came to visit at Hector’s, Thelma was hiding under the couch. Sandy knew about Thelma’s gentle nature after speaking with an ACR volunteer, and didn’t want her to be overlooked any longer because of her demeanor.

    At age six, Thelma went to her forever home with Sandy – who put some food and water out for Thelma on her first night and patiently waited for her to acclimate to her new space. Within a few weeks, Thelma was still hiding to sleep, but becoming more interactive and talkative.

    Happy Tail: Thelma

    Sandy was diligent in caring for Thelma – ensuring she regularly took medicine for hairballs. “She has been with us for a year now,” says Sandy. “She eats well, runs around and loves her mouse toy.” Sandy has seen many positive changes in Thelma.

    “She went from hiding, to allowing me to pick her up, to enjoying cuddling. She has progressed so much.” Thelma enjoys sleeping on Sandy’s bed on a special pillow, and she will start a game of chase by greeting Sandy at the door and running around her in excitement.

    The first time she was able to pick Thelma up, Sandy knew they had an unbreakable bond: “It was a beautiful moment – I realized that she trusted me.” Sandy has noticed other subtle changes in Thelma over time. “At some point, Thelma started to make eye contact with me. In the evening, she will call me to go rest and she will look right at me!”

    Happy Tail: Thelma

    When asked what adopting Thelma means to her, Sandy emphasizes their connection. “Thelma shows me 10 times over how much she loves me.” Especially during these challenging times, Sandy is grateful for their bond. “When COVID started, it was hard – I’m a person who likes to be outside. Just having Thelma at home with me has been so comforting.”

    Both Hector and Sandy saw something special in Thelma and opened their hearts and homes to her as foster and adopter. “Thelma is a beautiful example of why ACR’s rescue efforts are worth the hard work and dedication,” says Hector.

    Happy Tail: Thelma

    “Thelma is a loving, resilient animal and any household would be lucky to have a cat like her as part of their family.” Sandy echoes Hector’s sentiments: “ACR is doing great work to rescue cats like Thelma and connect them with wonderful people. Thank you for making these great relationships a reality.”

    Amy Ellen Soden

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  • Happy Tail: Molly

    When Shruti began volunteering with the Annex Cat Rescue, her first fosters were two kittens that had been rescued from an industrial area. While she didn’t know too much about their time or background before they came into the ACR family, the kittens were estimated to be around three months old.

    Happy Tail: Molly

    Due to the lack of socialization prior to being in Shruti’s care, one of the kittens — a black, long-haired female — happened to be extremely nervous in the beginning. “She didn’t like being handled at all,” she says. However, there was one silver lining: the little kitten absolutely loved hanging out with Shruti’s older cat, Bela.

    She “followed her around like a shadow,” Shruti says. And after seeing how closely the kitten had bonded with Bela, she simply didn’t have the heart to take her away from her new companion.

    Happy Tail: Molly

    “After a few months of fostering, I just couldn’t bring myself to separate her from Bela and decided to adopt her.” The black, fluffy kitten was named Molly, and the deal was done. Molly was officially a “foster fail.”

    Shruti has had Molly for close to two years now — and though she still sometimes makes her work very hard to pet her, she has warmed up tremendously over time. “When she does let me pet her, it is the best feeling!” Shruti says. Molly particularly enjoys being picked up when it’s time to eat. “Every day I look forward to mealtimes, when she doesn’t mind me picking her up and petting her.”

    Happy Tail: Molly

    Molly’s playful side has also come out in full force. She is “absolutely crazy” about lasers or any moving light/reflections. “We live in a corner house, where Molly can sit for hours staring at the shadows and lights on the wall made by cars passing by on the street.”

    The bond between Molly and Bela is also stronger than ever. “Watching her try to catch the attention of Bela is absolutely adorable,” Shruti says. In all, she refers to Molly as “the strangest and cutest little creature.”

    Happy Tail: Molly

    When addressing the importance of adopting a rescue cat, Shruti feels that while rescue cats “may or may not turn out to be super cuddly lap cats, they each have their own way of showing love.” She strongly believes in adopting rescue cats because “they deserve to be in a loving home and once they get over their initial shyness, it is the most rewarding feeling.”

    -Coral Cripps

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