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: 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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  • Happy Tail: April and Louis

    Siblings Louis and April had quite a long journey before arriving at Anna and Erik’s home. It began when they were born in the comforting home of ACR volunteer Liz. During a frigid winter season, Liz had spotted Louis and April’s mother Annabelle, who had started to frequent her porch. Noticing that Annabelle was pregnant, Liz had trapped her and set her up in the dining room. Annabelle peacefully gave birth and cared for her litter in the first few weeks, before they were transferred to a foster home.

    Happy Tail: April and Louis
    April (top) & Louis (bottom)
    Happy Tail: April and Louis

    April and Louis were then adopted as kittens. However, a few years later, Liz was reunited with the two cats, as she discovered that they had been surrendered to Toronto Animal Services. As she went to pick them up, she was shocked. “What beautiful cats they turned out to be, I can’t believe they were surrendered,” Liz says. The pair were now all grown up and were made available for adoption again.

    Soon after, Anna and Erik had come across photos of April and Louis through ACR’s Instagram. “Not only are they undeniably majestic and fluffy, but their foster Luke wrote such a loving description of them, that we had to meet them,” Anna recalls.

    Happy Tail: April and Louis
    April (top) & Louis (bottom)
    Happy Tail: April and Louis

    At their initial meeting, April was not particularly enthusiastic to meet them, as she ducked under the couch. However, Anna says they were able to catch a glimpse of her sweet face. Her brother Louis was pleased to come out and play with them. Anna and Erik decided they would be ecstatic to have the two cats join their home.

    When April and Louis were first brought home, they were a little skittish as they adjusted to their new surroundings. However, as time passed, and as Anna and Erik continued to play with them, the pair gradually got more comfortable. “Now, they come to greet our guests and sleep in the middle of the floor; they essentially own the whole apartment,” Anna says.

    Today, the cats are five years old, and settled into their cozy home with Anna and Erik. Despite being siblings, Louis and April have such contrasting personalities. “Louis is snuggly, playful and affectionate, while being demanding and a bit sassy.

    Happy Tail: April and Louis
    April (left) & Louis (right)

    “April on the other hand, is the least sassy cat in the world, she is rather sweet and has the teeniest meow,” Anna says. The two siblings are respectful and loving towards each other, and never fight. During the last few months, Anna and Erik really appreciate having the furry duo hanging out at home with them. “We even taught them how to ring a bell for treats,” Anna says.

    -Justina Tran

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  • ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (Pandemic Edition)
    Scotiabank Marathon

    The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — ACR’s most important fundraiser of the year — IS happening this fall. But it’s a virtual race this year, allowing runners and walkers worldwide to support us. That support has never been more crucial. Monies raised directly fund our vet bills caring for the city’s most vulnerable cats and kittens, covering everything from vaccinations to emergency care and so much more.

    This year’s Marathon takes place from October 1 to 31, so you have the flexibility of choosing a date and time that works for you. You can run or walk your distance outdoors or indoors.

    If you would like to join us, please feel free to sign up at the referral link here!

    If you are not able to join us, you can spread the word and donate to ACR by using this link.

    We really need your support this year. 

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  • Happy Tail: Loki

    Anyone who has fostered a pet before knows about the possibility of a foster fail: you take in a stray kitty assuming you’re going to help it find its forever home, but then fall completely in love and decide this cat isn’t going anywhere. That’s what happened when Vivian found Loki.

    “I personally rescued Loki from my backyard patio,” Vivian said. “He used to come every day and sat by my patio rails watching my other cats bask in the sun.”

    Happy Tail: Loki

    While Loki was a frequent visitor, Vivian didn’t assume he was a stray in need of rescuing. He looked clean and healthy, so she assumed he had a family he was going home to each night. Over time, however, she noticed his appearance was starting to deteriorate.

    “He was getting skinnier. Dirty, unhealthy, and had bites and scratches on his ears and face, so I decided to rescue him.” Vivian worked with the Annex Cat Rescue to get Loki to the vet, where he was neutered and checked for medical issues. Loki had dental issues and intestinal parasites from his time outside and needed to recover in foster care.

    Happy Tail: Loki

    It was hard for Loki to adjust at first. “He was very scared of me and my other cats,” Vivian says. Loki would hiss and growl and had to be separated from the other cats, especially while healing from his parasites. “Over time, he become more relaxed with the other cats. He warmed up to the cats faster than with me!”

    Happy Tail: Loki

    After Loki began bonding with Vivian’s cats, she knew he had to stay for good. He slowly began to open up to Vivian too, lying beside her in bed and purring up a storm when she petted him.

    “Loki is literally an angel in disguise. He’s very mellow, just wants to be friends with all the cats, never fights and has been quite playful if he thinks no one is watching!” When Vivian tries to document Loki’s playful personality, he freezes — “He’s camera shy I guess!”

    Happy Tail: Loki

    Loki has become the perfect addition to Vivian’s home. “All I can say is that Loki is truly a blessing in my life! Thank you ACR for helping me with his rescue. You guys are truly a blessing to the stray cats and feral cats.”

    -Jenn Reid

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  • Happy Tail: Mulder and Scully (previously Lizzie and Albert)

    Doug, who volunteers with a feral cat recovery centre in Scarborough, enjoys helping cats find loving homes. “There are cats out there that need people — otherwise they’re on the street,” he says. He’d rather not see them on the street if “they can be in a nice, warm house.”

    Last year, a litter of six four-month old kittens was rescued from a Scarborough colony by Lesley, a trapper who volunteers with Annex Cat Rescue. A previous colony caretaker decided to move away, leaving the kittens in need of help. With Lesley’s assistance, Doug brought two of the kittens into his home with hopes that he’d be able to foster and socialize them. He affectionately named them Victoria and Albert (“Bertie” for short).

    Happy Tail: Mulder and Scully

    Unfortunately, Victoria had trouble adjusting to domestic life. After a tough go, Doug and Lesley made the difficult decision to return her to the feral colony (this time, under a neighbour’s supervision). However, upon visiting the colony again, another one of the female kittens caught Lesley’s eye. Deciding to see if she’d be a better companion for Bertie, she brought her into Doug’s care and he named her Elizabeth (“Lizzie” for short).

    “Lizzie was different — she loved to be petted and was very friendly,” he says. In turn, Bertie took cues from his new playmate and became more friendly and affectionate. Not before long, “the two got along famously together,” playing in a big crate in the family room and being dubbed as “the rock stars.” After some time, it was clear they were ready to find their forever home. “Lizzie and Albert were very lucky, given the circumstances,” says Lesley.

    Happy Tail: Mulder and Scully

    Cheryl, who grew up with cats, had previously owned an orange tabby when she was younger. When she first moved to Toronto, she had wanted a cat for some time and, after finally convincing her fiancé, Jeremy, they decided to adopt. After a few attempts at trying to find the right cat, she browsed ACR’s website and came across a photo of Bertie and his bright orange fur.

    However, Cheryl soon found out that Bertie was bonded with another cat — this one with orange and white markings. While she hadn’t originally planned on adopting two cats, Jeremy expressed that he’d be okay with it. And when they visited Doug to meet the duo, they “fell in love right away.” It was settled. Cheryl and Jeremy re-named the two cats after another famous duo from their favourite TV show, The X Files — Mulder and Scully.

    Initially, Mulder and Scully were a bit timid in their new settings. Scully was the first to venture out, with Mulder quickly following suit. Cheryl says they gave them their own time to get used to their new life, “letting them have the run of the place to figure things out.”

    Happy Tail: Mulder and Scully

    When looking back on their first year with Mulder and Scully, Cheryl insists that they’ve come quite a long way. “Every day, week by month we’ve seen how much they would come around,” she says. “They used to be so skittish — now we joke about how now when they run away, they don’t run far.”

    Scully, who is typically the “brains of the operation,” is usually the first to try something — but Mulder, “the brawn,” quickly catches up. Both cats also love to sleep in their owners’ bed every day, though they both enjoy their own unique forms of cuddling — “Mulder likes to come in the bed and lay on top of us, but he won’t stay — while Scully will come lay beside you and stay there.”

    Happy Tail: Mulder and Scully

    Both cats have also become impressive athletes. Cheryl and her fiancé have recently taken on teaching Mulder to be a baseball player — this includes a nightly ritual of “catcher training” with a pack of toy mice, where he tries to catch them and does the most “incredible jumps and flips.” “It’s like watching the MLB top 50,” she exclaims. Scully has also developed an affinity for heart candies with crinkly wrappers.

    Apart from the wonderful bond Cheryl and her fiancé have now formed with the duo, the two cats seem to be a perfect pair. “It’s amazing watching them interact with each other — they’re such a good matching set.” And when reflecting on their decision to adopt them both, Cheryl now says she can’t imagine not having two cats.

    Happy Tail: Mulder and Scully

    She also insists that while there were initial adjustments to be made with adopting cats born into a feral colony, it was so much more rewarding to earn the cats’ trust. Overall, she claims it has been the “most incredible, rewarding learning experience watching them grow.”

    -Coral Cripps

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