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.
  • Our biggest fundraiser of the year!

    join Team ACR in 2018

    Run or walk with Team ACR to raise money for homeless cats

    **We are very excited to report that every dollar raised up to $25,000 will be matched! ***

    (Sept 14th) We have passed $20,000! Let’s keep the momentum going. Please donate today!

    wait until the kittens are this age

    For the fourth year in a row, ACR has entered a team in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Charity Challenge that includes a 5km run/walk, a half marathon and a full marathon.

    Last year Team ACR was 40 runners and walkers strong and this year we are going for 60! It doesn’t matter if you want to run or walk — all that matters is that you care about community cats and want to make a difference! To join Team ACR please contact: mariannep@annexcatrescue.org

    Thank you!

    Angel Mama

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  • ACR partners with Healthy Pets

    Not sure if a vet visit is warranted? Now you can do an online consult with a local vet, giving you easy access to the information you need, wherever you are. ACR has joined many other rescues in partnering with Healthy Pets, a new Toronto service. Use the code ACR10 to get a 10% discount off your first consult and ACR will receive $1 – a win-win situation!

    Annex Cat Rescue partners with Healthy Pets

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  • Don’t look past a cat just because it’s not a kitten…

    Cats come in all shapes and sizes, from gorgeous ginger to brilliant black. Sometimes, they also come with special needs like daily medication. Some are older, some are timid, some bear the scars of homelessness. What unites ACR cats is their ability to love given half a chance. Don’t look past a cat just because it’s not a kitten…

    see our current adoptable cats

    adopt an adult cat

    a pill a day is nothing to worry about

    street cats have a rough life

    some have to learn to trust all over again

    some cats love each other so much

    Ready to receive unconditional love from an ACR rescue cat?

    see our current adoptable cats

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  • Sam’s Story

    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

    Update: Sam was adopted in late 2016 and is doing very well.

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  • My Happy Tail of Adopting an Older Cat – Jasmine

    When I first walked in to Jasmine’s foster home a few months ago, I was ready to meet a sweet, shy cat of five and a half years. Her foster mom, Holly, had warned me before my visit that Jasmine would likely hide and may not be as excited to see me at first—as an older cat, she wouldn’t be as outgoing as a young kitten, and might need some time to warm up. I walked into the apartment and sat down with Jasmine in a smaller enclosed room. Within seconds, she crept out of her carrier and snuggled up to my leg, sitting down right next to me and purring softly.

    We only had a meet and greet for a few minutes before shyness prevailed and Jasmine scuttled back to her carrier—but I knew that our brief time together was just a glimpse at the affection she had to offer. I went home that night and thought of this beautiful cat with marled grey fur and stunning green eyes. With such a gentle disposition and calm demeanor, how had she not been adopted into a loving home yet?

    Happy Tails: Jasmine

    The next morning I woke up and called Holly. I wanted to give Jasmine a wonderful life and allow her to enjoy the rest of her years in a quiet, cozy forever home. When I went over to sign the paperwork and pick up Jasmine, I learned that she had been visited a few times by prospective adopters over the past year, but her initial shyness and older age contributed to adopters passing her over for younger, more outgoing cats and kittens. This made me very sad, to realize that so many older animals with less initial excitement toward new people were not getting the homes they deserve.

    During Jasmine’s first two to three weeks with me, she hid a lot in my front closet, only coming out at night to jump up on the bed and gently paw for some attention. I gave her the time and space that she seemed to want by setting out her food and toys, gently patting her and talking to her when she decided to come out, and letting her get comfortable in her new home on her own terms. The process of giving Jasmine time and space was a little bit hard at first for an owner who was so eager to spend time with her new cat, but it truly paid off.

    Three months later, Jasmine has completely come out of her shell. Not a morning goes by that she isn’t waiting at my door to greet me with lots of “good morning!” meows and leg rubs. Every morning and night she will reach up for a kiss on the nose to say good morning or good night. Throughout the day she rolls around playing with her favourite catnip toy, loves to be brushed, sleeps in the sunny spot on my bed, and enjoys looking out the window and having quiet, peaceful moments. As an older cat, she isn’t interested in scratching my furniture, and she is happy to enjoy downtime when I am at work—cheerfully running to the door and greeting me when I get home after enjoying a restful day. When I am around, she is with me every step of the way. Within seconds of sitting down on the couch with a book, she jumps up beside me and wants to snuggle down for quality time together—much as she did on the day we met.

    Happy Tails: Jasmine

    I wanted to share this story about Jasmine because it demonstrates that when given a little bit of time, patience, and love, an older cat can really let their personality shine and find comfort in a forever home. Jasmine may not have been the most outgoing cat upon first glance, but her gentle approach and willingness to come over and sit next to me was what mattered most. She wanted the connection just as much as I did. At five and a half years of age, Jasmine is a youthful, playful, and loving cat that clearly enjoys her life.

    Adopting an older cat doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal will not want to play or enjoy your company. It doesn’t mean that they are past their prime and won’t be loving or fun pets. I think the exact opposite is true: these animals are so patient and grateful to be given a forever home that they demonstrate love and companionship as often as they can when someone gives them a chance. When Jasmine rests her head on my lap and drifts off to sleep, her age doesn’t matter to me. We have a special bond that I feel every day, and no fewer or extra years would change that.

    Thank you for reading Jasmine’s story. I truly hope it encourages more adopters to consider giving an older cat a home. Jasmine is one of many older cats that wait patiently for someone to bring them home. Whether a cat is one year old, five, ten, or fifteen, their desire for love and companionship is unwavering. They will find a special place in your heart if you give them a chance.

    — Amy Ellen Soden

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  • Happy Tails: Georgia and Gloria (formerly Peggy Sue and Betty Ann)

    Peggy Sue and Betty Ann, now referred to as Georgia and Gloria, were adopted by Elizabeth and her family as tiny kittens from Annex Cat Rescue. Gloria, assertive and forthright in her position as queen of the house, is the dominant one of the pair. In contrast, Georgia is rather laidback and relaxed in roaming the house.

    On first sight, the two can easily pass as identical twins. The secret to telling them apart is to know their unique markings. Georgia looks like she is wearing a uniform. In fact, soon after adopting the two kittens, Elizabeth’s kids began referring to Georgia as “Worker Pants,” because the markings on her hind legs look like she’s wearing white pants.

    HappyTails: Georgia & Gloria

    Both are extremely gentle—they even share a bed with the kids each night. In short, the kitties are simply inseparable from their owners. Thanks to their foster mom Liz, the cats are sociable and friendly, especially with strangers. According to Elizabeth, “Our cats are quick to snuggle up to visitors. They purr and jump up on to their laps in hopes of some tummy rubs—which they always receive without fail! They are all about receiving attention and lots of it!”

    Having previously owned cats, Elizabeth says that Gloria and Georgia are quite unique because of their highly protective nature. These two kitties immediately show up when any family member falls sick, ready to shower them with love and snuggles. Furthermore, if one of the kids is feeling down, they are quick to investigate and do everything possible to cheer them up.

    To top it off, these two cats are easy on the eyes—they are very beautiful and, as you can see in the accompanying photo, extremely photogenic. Seems like these two truly are the full package!

    — By: Vidya Srikanthan

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  • Happy Tails: Ted (formerly AK)

    As Axl Rose once said: All we need is just a little patience. (Apologies to anyone under the age of 20.)

    But as it turns out, patience was the key in the bond formed between Kate Forest and her ACR adopted cat, Ted.

    Ted, formerly A.K., was a feral kitten, about six to eight weeks old, captured in the Kennedy and Sheppard area of Toronto. Kate took him in as a foster. Ted’s transition from life on the streets was not a pleasant one. After he spent the first two days under Kate’s couch, she decided it was time for a “faceoff.”

    Happy Tails: Ted aka AK

    “He didn’t eat, he didn’t use the litter, and I was getting very worried,” said Kate. “So I literally had a faceoff with him. I just lied there in his space, face-to-face, for about five hours. After that, he came around and was a lot more trusting of me.”

    Kate, originally from the U.K., had no intention of keeping a cat of her own. She was worried she may return home and not be able to take a feline friend with her. But as time went by, the tie between her and Ted became too strong to sever.

    “It took a lot for him to let his guard down and to trust,” said Kate. “He put that faith in me and he was happy and contented. It would have been a big upheaval for him to leave.”

    While Ted, now two years old, hasn’t seen his reticence towards strangers completely wash away, he’s doing much better.

    “He’s still a little nervy compared to other cats,” said Kate, “but as soon as he knows it’s safe he’ll come up to see them and greet them.”

    Happy Tails: Ted aka AK

    And part of making acquaintances is introducing guests to his favorite part of the house: Ted has developed an affinity for laying on top of the radiator in Kate’s washroom and when a visitor makes his or her first trip to the commode they often find Ted racing ahead to claim his perch and welcome them.

    “He’s the official bathroom greeter,” said Kate with a laugh. But even with his new social skills, Ted’s patient savior Kate will always be No. 1 in his heart. And vice versa.

    “He’s great,” said Kate. “He’s my best friend, my snuggle buddy.

    Happy Tails: Ted aka AK

    “I couldn’t imagine life without him.”

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  • Happy Tails: Patches

    When Patches showed up in Kirsten Niles’ Facebook feed in January 2013, it was love at first sight.

    Happy Tail: Patches

    Niles had already adopted another cat, Nyx, a few months earlier. But as a resident at an obstetrics and gynecology clinic, she didn’t feel like she had enough free time to spend with her new furry friend.

    That’s when her friend Melissa posted on Facebook that she was fostering the aptly named Patches, whose white fur is covered with patterns of black and ginger.

    “She happened to post that she was fostering a cat for adoption and I saw the picture of her and I was like, ‘Ooh, I really like her.”

    Plus, according to the Facebook post, Patches was a cuddle fiend. Nyx, while friendly, is a little more standoffish, Niles said. “So that’s a nice balance of personalities.”

    While a bit skittish as she adjusted to her new home, Patches quickly lived up to her reputation. After a few days of hiding and refusing to come out, she relaxed and began to charm everyone with her affectionate demeanour.

    “Within a few days of having access to the apartment, she was trying to get up and cuddle,” Niles said. “Once she gets to know someone, she cuddles them. When my dad came to visit and was sitting on the couch, she cuddled with him. She’ll cuddle with anyone who’ll cuddle back.”

    She even won over the aloof Nyx. Worried they might not get along, Niles introduced them to each other gradually, first giving Patches her own room, then putting up a child gate that only Patches could jump over.

    Happy Tail: Patches

    “When I was home, I took down the gate entirely and now they cuddle each other, they clean each other and play,” she said. “I work long hours, so it’s that they have each other to kind of keep each other occupied.”

    Happy Tail: Patches

    And when Niles gets home after a long shift, she can snuggle up with Patches while Nyx hangs out nearby, completely unbothered.

    “She doesn’t get jealous when Patches is on my lap because she doesn’t want to be there,” Niles said. “She just wants to be in the same room. Nyx is the puppy dog of the two in that sense.”

    — by Sheena Goodyear

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  • Happy Tails: Lucy

    It was love at first sight for Lucy and her forever mom Padra McIntosh—but before they met, this kitten had conquered numerous obstacles, all while looking adorably cute. Lucy and her brother Linus were best friends when they were rescued by ACR in 2012. Foster mom Catherine Wood took the pair in after they both tested positive for the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). “They both seemed to be in good health,” says Wood. “The only issue I noticed was that they both sneezed a lot.” Linus became extremely ill a few months later because of his FeLV, and sadly did not survive.

    Lucy, however, thrived. Wood calls her one of the most memorable foster cats she’s ever had. Lucy has cerebellar hypoplasia, or CH. This causes her to wobble when she walks. Wood remembers how this didn’t slow Lucy down at all. “She was very active and would run across the room to play with toys. Even though she wasn’t at all graceful like other cats, she had a particular sort of charm. I have a few friends who aren’t cat people, but when they met Lucy they were immediately enthralled.”

    Happy Tails: Lucy

    CH is a non-progressive, non-contagious neurological condition that results in balance problems. While some cats may only have a slightly impacted gait, others may have varying degrees of the condition. It’s important to remember that the cat isn’t sick or hurt; they’re simply uncoordinated. Unless a CH cat has other health issues, their life expectancy is the same as a cat without CH—in some cases, owners have said that their cat became more capable over time.

    “One of the great things about CH cats is that they don’t seem to know that they’re any different from other cats,” says McIntosh. Even though they may think they’re normal, depending on the severity of their condition, they may be somewhat limited in their abilies and learn how to do things differently.

    One such feat by Lucy was when she taught herself to conquer the couch in Wood’s home. After a lot of practice, she eventually mastered it and would then perch on the end and psyche herself up to jump off. “She’s always got this ‘go for it’ attitude,” laughs Wood.

    In November 2012, Padra McIntosh was browsing through Petfinder.com to pass the time, with no intention of adopting an animal. She stumbled across a picture of Lucy and her heart melted. McIntosh read in Lucy’s profile about her wobbliness and viewed the video—she instantly fell in love. “I researched cerebellar hypoplasia and then made arrangements to go and meet her,” says McIntosh. “Once I met Lucy, there was no doubt in my mind that she was supposed to be MY wobbly girl.” Lucy went home with her forever mom on January 2, 2013.

    Happy Tails: Lucy

    McIntosh is still as smitten with Lucy as she was on day one. “She is the sweetest cat I have ever met or owned,” she says. “She is resilient, affectionate, happy and spoiled.  She requires no extra special help for her CH, she eats and uses the litter box by herself and loves to play with toys or a game on my tablet. She has learned to jump up onto the bed and sofa and climbs anywhere else she wants to get onto, like our 4 foot-high cat tree.  She is just a regular kitty that happens to wobble.”

    It is not uncommon for FeLV tests to result in false positives, so McIntosh decided to re-test Lucy for the disease and it came back negative! Now that it was confirmed Lucy was FeLV free, McIntosh was able to bring three other CH cats into her home with symptoms ranging from mild to severe (including an adorable little guy who can’t walk).

    Happy Tails: Lucy

    “Because of Lucy and her siblings I was inspired to start a Facebook page to help bring awareness to CH,” she says. “I am also in the process of making a logo and products to help raise funds to help bring awareness to the condition. I believe this is why Lucy came into my life. I would recommend a CH kitty to anyone that is looking to adopt. You won’t regret it.”

    For more information on CH, please visit Life with CH Cats.

    — by Leah Morrison

     

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  • Happy Tails: Charlie (formerly Stumpy)

    Charlie’s ability to overcome all odds has finally found him his forever home—he has become an integral part of the Battle family.

    In December 2013, a feral cat showed up on Jennifer A’s porch with a badly infected tail and a very unusual walk. Assumed feral, Stumpy—as he was then known was taken to a Toronto TNR clinic and underwent two surgeries to amputate the remaining stump of his tail.

    Happy Tails: Charlie aka Stumpy

    While in recovery, Post-it notes covered his cage to remind volunteers of his ferocity. He was moved to a larger crate to make him more comfortable, when something miraculous happened. The once untamable cat immediately sat up and meowed for attention. Jen took Stumpy home to recover and eventually be adopted but soon the veterinarians discovered he was in dire need for Femoral Head Ostectomy surgery (FHO).

    To correct this degenerative hip disease, Stumpy had the first surgery on his right hip in May 2014. This life-changing surgery couldn’t have been done without the overwhelming support of our donors who gave $1,275 towards his care. Stumpy pulled through all the surgeries with astounding success!

    He was adopted by the Battle family in October 2014, while still recovering from his hip surgery. Once in his new home, he was left to come out of the crate and explore in his own time. Stumpy (now named Charlie) was cautious and remained under the couch until his love for food and cuddles forced him out of hiding.

    Adopting rescue cats has been such a rewarding experience for the Battles. Charlie filled the emptiness in their home after their previous cat, Oscar, passed away. Oscar had been abused before he was rescued by the Humane Society and adopted by Aaron, Jessica, and their daughter D’Arcy. They wanted to honour Oscar, who had been a big part of their lives, by giving another cat a much needed better life. They were inspired by Charlie who, despite facing many obstacles, maintained an overwhelming capacity to love.

    Happy Tails: Charlie aka Stumpy

    Aaron admits Charlie’s not the cutest cat. In addition to missing a tail, the Russian Blue is built like a body builder. After the FHO surgery, Charlie developed strong front legs to compensate for his short back legs.

    The days of the Post-it note–covered crate are long over. Charlie sleeps about 20 hours a day, which makes him about as threatening as a koala—but don’t be misled. This gentle giant has a mischievous side. As a foster cat Charlie loved to reach out and trip the kittens in the home, and he now loves to ruin the Battle’s board games night by walking all over the board.

    Happy Tails: Charlie aka Stumpy

    From a feral street cat who could barely walk, Charlie continues to defy all expectations. He is now able to effortlessly jump on the couch and is always in search of cuddles.

    — Jillian Kaster

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