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: 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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  • ACR Statement Concerning COVID-19 and Adoptions

    Annex Cat Rescue cares deeply about cats and those who care for them. Like all of you, we are monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 situation, and following the City of Toronto’s recommendation to avoid gatherings where possible.

    As such, our foster parents will not be hosting prospective adopters in their homes until further notice, in keeping with ongoing recommendations for widespread and vigilant physical distancing set by the City.

    In the meantime, however, adoptable cats will continue to be featured on our website and prospective adopters can proceed with the screening process via telephone. We thank everyone for their patience during this time.

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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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  • 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: Lucy

    It was love at first sight for Lucy and her forever mom Padra 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 W took the pair in after they both tested positive for the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). “They both seemed to be in good health,” says Catherine. “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. Catherine 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. Catherine 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 Padra. Even though they may think they’re normal, depending on the severity of their condition, they may be somewhat limited in their abilities and learn how to do things differently.

    One such feat by Lucy was when she taught herself to conquer the couch in Catherine’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 was browsing through to pass the time, with no intention of adopting an animal. She stumbled across a picture of Lucy and her heart melted. Padra 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 Padra. “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

    Padra 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 Padra decided to re-test Lucy for the disease and it came back negative! Now that it was confirmed Lucy was FeLV free, Padra 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.

    — 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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  • Happy Tails: Cosette

    Sweet Cosette the tabby spent her kitten and adolescent years on the Toronto streets. It’s thought that she was born in a barn and adjusted to outdoor life as a feral cat. When she was found by ACR in 2012, we noticed that she had already been ear tipped. This is commonly used for marking stray cats that have been spayed or neutered.

    Cosette had some health issues, but nothing life-threatening. Veteran foster mom Lynn gladly took her in and was excited to get Cosette adapted to indoor life before finding her a forever home. “I think she was my fourth foster kitty, “ says Lynn fondly. “I loved them all. I had made a promise to myself to continue with fostering as it was fun to have a different cat and find them forever homes.”

    Happy Tails - Cosette

    Cosette adjusted to indoor life right away. Always purring happily, she was nothing but content with her new foster home. “She was so easygoing [while I fostered her]—she was always a total love bug,” Lynn says. Having fostered numerous cats before, Lynn was a pro when it came to meeting potential adopters. She loved talking about cats with them, enthusing over how each has their own personality and traits that make them unique. After two years of fostering Cosette, she realized that she’d become extremely attached. “Over time, when someone inquired about her, I would get upset at the thought of her going elsewhere,” she remembers.

    In 2014 Lynn officially adopted nine-year-old Cosette, turning what was supposed to be a temporary friendship into a new forever family. “I guess I was done playing the kitty field,” she laughs.

    Cosette is a wonderful example of how a stray cat can be socialized and adopted into a domestic environment. Cats that have a tipped ear have already experienced human interaction, and are sometimes less apprehensive than if they have not been trapped, spayed/neutered, and returned. Some cats have a relaxed personality no matter their living conditions, and take to socialization very naturally. Cosette was at ease with people and adapted well to her life inside. It’s a wonderful thing when it happens, but good foster parents know when to tell the difference between happy and distressed cats. Some cats may seem to enjoy interacting with humans but become stressed and uncomfortable when attempts are made to socialize them.

    Happy Tails - Cosette

    If you happen to stumble upon an affectionate feral cat, it’s important to do what you can for it—but know when it is set in its ways. Remember not to force a cat to live a certain way of life. Some felines are simply happier living in colonies. Cosette continues to be proof that some cats do well in a new home, and it’s something positive for every volunteer/trapper/adopter to remember.

    — Leah Morrison

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  • Happy Tails: Mischief

    ACR volunteer Jennifer Ambrose didn’t expect to save lives during the infamous December 2013 ice storm, but that’s exactly what she wound up doing when she rescued three four-month-old kittens, including sweet Mischief. After discovering them in an elderly lady’s garage near Bathurst and Sheppard, Ambrose knew they would need some time to become acclimated to indoor life.

    She was thrilled to see that one kitten was brave enough to begin exploring, coming out from under the bed first and wandering around. “It was clear from the onset that Ms. Mischief loved her new home,” Ambrose says. “She was the one who got into the most mischief while exploring, hence the name.”

    HappyTails: Mischief

    Meanwhile, in another part of Toronto, Michelle Hilscher and her husband Arthur were looking for a new feline friend for their eight-year-old tabby Lily. Hilscher explains that Lily had been enjoying the company of a friend’s cat, but when the little family recently moved she seemed to become lonely.

    ACR came to the rescue! After talking with volunteer Heather, Hilscher and her husband learned about Mischief and contacted foster mom Ambrose, who gave the couple confidence that Mischief would be a good match for their family. The kitten was officially adopted in February 2015, and proceeded to spend a week hiding under the bed or in the basement of Hilscher’s house. “She was pretty shy,” explains Hilscher. “She wouldn’t play with any toys.”

    Ambrose was a huge help while Mischief was getting used to her forever home. “Jennifer was extremely supportive and was amazingly accurate at predicting what the milestones of Mischief’s adjustment would be.”

    HappyTails: Mischief

    After a long week and a lot of patience, Mischief made the first move. “Our first success was when, after many nights of trying to get her to play, Mischief finally reached for a toy,” remembers Hilscher. “The next night she reached for the toy again and also started to purr while moving around. Her progress has been exponential and we could soon pet her and get to see her personality.”

    Mischief has made quite an impression of her new parents. “She’s quite vocal, making lots of chirpy noises in the morning and whenever we come to the door,” Hilscher remarks. “She loves to be brushed and is obsessed with bird-watching. She’s sweet but naughty—particularly at night when she bombs around the main floor like a maniac!” Mischief also may have a future as a yoga instructor: “When she walks it’s like watching a slinky toy move. She likes to be bendy!”

    And as for her role as Lily’s new best friend? “They were both very curious about each other and tended to follow each other around the house,” remembers Hilscher. Now they share the cat tree and play with the same toys. “They prefer to hang out in the same room together and are definitely pals.” In fact, in a recent update she wrote to Ambrose, Hilscher was happy to report that the two cats have begun to roughhouse together, gallop around the house, and make lots of meows and coos back and forth. “One evening Mischief even decided to sleep right next to Lily, who has never been a big cuddler with other cats.”

    HappyTails: Mischief

    The Hilschers are very happy with how the whole adoption process turned out. They felt supported and had their anxieties eased by volunteers Heather and Ambrose. Mischief is adjusting very well with her new family and her BFF, and Hilscher couldn’t be happier. “The experience of earning Mischief’s trust has been far more rewarding than I’d ever imagined.”

    — Leah Morrison

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  • Happy Tails: Hester & Elsa

    Adam Johnson is a lucky man.

    Cat owners know that patience isn’t normally near the top of the list of feline qualities, but sisters Hester and Elsa – kittens adopted by Johnson through the Annex Cat Rescue two years ago – aren’t most cats.



    “They’re very polite in the morning when they want me to get up and feed them,” said Johnson. “One sits at the end of the bed staring at me and the other waits until my alarm goes off before sitting on my chest.”

    And patience isn’t the only standard cat trend Hester and Elsa buck. They also play nice with strangers.

    “My friend one time brought over his cat and, it’s funny, having had cats before, I expected them to fight or for them to all run and hide, but they all hung around and played,” Johnson said. “So it was kind of weird.”

    These weird – but wonderful – traits don’t surprise Jeff Moon, who fostered Hester and Elsa before they were adopted.

    “I remember them being amazingly soft cats who were so well behaved for kittens (never got into anything), but were very sociable and loved being in the same room as me,” Moon recalled in an email.

    Those social qualities continue on today. Johnson reports the cats are doing great and he couldn’t be happier with his adopted friends.

    “They’re really affectionate and really fun,” he said. “They’re really nice cats.”

    While not every cat is happy sharing his or her home with another feline, Johnson believes if you can find a pair that will get along then two is certainly better than one.

    “You still only need one litter box,” he said. “It’s easy to take care of them and they’re not as lonely. Getting two is a really great idea.”

    Thanks to Johnson’s attitude and his welcoming home, Hester and Elsa are plenty lucky as well.

    — Edward Fraser

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