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.
  • Annex Cat Rescue’s 2014 Annual General Meeting

    Annual General Meeting 2014

    Please join us for our 2014 Annual General Meeting. Share in last year’s successes. Help us plan for the year ahead. Meet your fellow supporters. Ask questions. Enjoy some refreshments and good company.

    Trinity St. Paul’s Centre
    (The Fireside Room)427 Bloor Street West
    Toronto, Ontario
    (just west of Spadina)
    Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
    6:30-8:30pm (doors open at 6:00pm)

    Spread your Passion!

    Feel free to bring a friend, or anyone interested in joining ACR. As a non-profit organization, ACR is always in need of new, dedicated volunteers and supporters.

    A quick reminder about Memberships

    Thank you to those who have already renewed their memberships. If you haven’t already, please update your membership so that you can vote for new board members. Up-to-date members can also arrange for a proxy.

    To purchase a new membership or to renew, please send a cheque for $10.00 made out to “Annex Cat Rescue”, with “Membership” written in the memo field. Please also include your name, full mailing address, e-mail address and phone number, and mail to:

    Annex Cat Rescue, Attn: Memberships
    P. O. Box 19028
    360A Bloor Street West
    Toronto, ON M5S 3C9

    If you would like to renew your Membership at the AGM, please plan to arrive 15 minutes early.

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please contact us by email at or by phone at 416-410-3835.

    We hope we’ll see you there!

    Annex Cat Rescue Board of Directors

    Chair – Marianne Premuzic, 2nd year of 1st term
    Vice-Chair – Joanna Reading,  2nd year of 1st term
    Treasurer – Jacqueline Chan, 1st year of 1st term
    Secretary – Jennifer Modica, Appointed to fill a vacancy
    Member-at-Large – Kathy McDonald, 1st year of 1st term

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  • The Joys of Adopting an Older Cat

    Like most clichés, the old chestnut about some things improving with age holds a fundamental truth. Consider cats. Kittens are adorable, sure, but mature cats offer potential owners huge advantages over their scampering kitten brethren. The trick is looking beneath the furry exterior.

    Lynn Deverteuil knows exactly how rewarding it can be to open the door to an older cat. Before adopting eight-year-old Cosette, who had been dumped at a barn, Deverteuil fostered the feline. But Cosette’s attributes were so obvious and persuasive that Deverteuil ultimately offered a forever home.

    “Older cats are out of the rambunctious kitten phase,” she said. “They have established a personality so it’s easier to find one to suit your lifestyle. Also, they have usually been spayed or neutered and had their vaccines.”

    She continues: “Cats can have a long life journey which means there may be years of pet ownership ahead with an older cat. Not only that, they often have a back story and it feels good to take over that relationship.

    “Older cats are easily contented and loving once settled – at least all the ones I have fostered. In the end though, cats are cats,” Deverteuil adds. “They have different personalities and quirks. It’s humbling just to accept and enjoy who they are. And Cosette is doing great!”

    Like Cosette, Fritzy has a smitten super-fan. Jane Morris adopted the seven-year-old female tabby after her previous owner had surrendered her to an animal hospital and Jane hasn’t looked back.

    “She is a wonderful girl who has settled into her forever home without a hitch,” Morris confirms. “It can be harder for older cats to find a home and being middle-aged myself, I appreciate her mature attitude to life:  she sleeps through the night, goes to bed and wakes up when I do, provides loving companionship, and enjoys goofing off.”

    “Fritz is the second adult cat I’ve adopted and I intend to continue adopting adults in the future.  I still can’t believe how lucky I am to be sharing my life and home with her.”

    Lest there remain any doubt about the benefits of adopting an older cat over a kitten, consider the story of eight-year-old Wilson, who was left behind in an apartment for two months when his owner died. Though the property manager fed him and sister Jane, by the time Wilson reached foster care, he was shell-shocked.

    Yet forever mom Dayna Shiskos, a first-time cat owner, immediately recognized Wilson’s potential when she met him last January. “It was his freckles that got me,” she enthuses.

    “After hearing his sad story, I knew I had to take him home. He had been through so much and I wanted to give him a happy forever home. Honestly, he was the cutest thing I had ever seen and though I couldn’t see his personality when I first met him, it totally shines now.

    “He and I are best buds. He follows me around, sits beside me on the couch, sleeps at the foot of my bed… he just loves attention. I’m not sure if all adoptions are this smooth, but Wilson has been a joy from the start.”

    Beat that, Junior.

    Cosette Fritzy & Wilson


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  • Surgery Success for Stumpy!

    Annex Cat Rescue is overwhelmed with the generosity of donations and support that Stumpy has received. Our previous newsletter shared Stumpy’s transformation from a cantankerous colony cat, into a loving cuddle bug and his dire need for Femoral Head Ostectomy surgery (FHO).

    To correct this degenerative hip disease, Stumpy had the first surgery on his right hip on May 14, 2014. This life-changing surgery couldn’t have been done without the overwhelming support of our donors who gave $1,275 towards his care.


    Jennifer, the foster parent helping Stumpy through his recovery said, “He was in horrendous pain on Wednesday night, but much to my amazement, Stumpy greeted me at his bedroom door on Thursday morning. Stumpy can walk!”

    Stumpy was almost entirely immobile and on a daily dose of pain medication since being brought off the streets almost two months ago. Jennifer is still overwhelmed at his progress. “Just one day post -surgery and Stumpy has mobility! I can’t believe it! And I can’t thank you all enough.”

    However, he isn’t through the hard times just yet. In a few weeks, Stumpy will have surgery on the left hip. While it’s heartbreaking to hear his wails of pain as he attempts to stand, Jennifer remains optimistic. “He was lying on his right side this morning, he’s chatty and he purrs like a roaring lion, so I know he’s starting to feel a little better.”

    Our veterinarian team says the pain should subside within a few weeks. We will keep you updated on Stumpy’s progress!

    Watch Stumpy walk after his first surgery:

    and his latest video!

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  • Happy Tails: Noodal Finds Her Forever Home with ACR

    Any politician would kill for the kind of ringing endorsement Noodal the cat routinely inspires in everyone who crosses her path.

    “Awesome,” “great” and “cuddly” are just some of the adjectives the black-and-white feline has prompted in her caregivers, notably the woman who found her pregnant, homeless and living as part of a colony in the city’s east end early last year and especially, her foster mom.

    Indeed, ACR volunteer Norelle French came to adore Noodal so much while fostering her that she adopted her and is now her forever home.


    “She is the most affectionate and hilarious little creature I’ve ever met,” says French, who took Noodal in last summer, realizing in short order that the cat – age and provenance unknown – was destined to be a permanent part of her life.

    “She is something else. I have known many cats but none like her. You can hear her in the background, doing her little gurgle-meow,” French laughs, adding that she had previously fostered two brothers but found the separation too painful when they were finally placed in their forever home.

    “I cried my eyes out. I just couldn’t go through that again,” she says. “I took Noodal in with the intention of fostering her but just fell madly in love with her. I think I knew pretty quickly I was going to keep her. She has been so sweet from day one. She is just the best kitty.”

    That sentiment is echoed by Hedy Hurter, who discovered Noodal last winter among the cats in the colony she was then tending in the Broadview and Dundas area.

    “I noticed that she was pregnant, and she was very friendly, so I scooped her up, put her in a kennel and brought her home,” Hurter says. “She had her six babies in our bathroom last January,” – all were adopted out by ACR – “and she was just an amazing mom. She is an amazing cat, period.”

    Hurter says that while she very much wanted to keep Noodal – so named by her daughter Tamra Enman because of the white noodle-like moustache on her sweet face – the cat triggered allergies.

    “Every cat has different dander. I am allergic to some and not others but I really did love her and we would have kept her if we could have,” Enman confirms. “I mean, the moment you would walk into a room she’s like ‘Hello! Pet me! Love me!’ She was just great and a very great mom to her babies.”

    Forever mom French couldn’t be happier. “Noodal sleeps on a pillow right next to my pillow. She’s very attached to me. And when I have company over, even if she doesn’t know the person, she’ll be right up there greeting them and head-butting them and wrapping her tail around them. She is a very special kitty.”

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  • ACR Spring Fête Adopt-a-thon

    Join Annex Cat Rescue at our Spring Fete Adopt-a-thon!

    Pet Uno
    675 College (at Beatrice)
    Saturday May 10th, 2014
    10am – 5pm

    Meet our lovely kittens and cats who are excited to find their forever homes!

    ACR Spring Fête Adopt-a-thon

    Come and enjoy all of the festivities:

    • face painting
    • bake sale
    • lemonade stand
    • locally made cat treats & toys

    Get your face painted to look like your favourite ACR cat by local actress Ann Pirvu who plays “Josey the Clown” on Global’s hit new TV series “Remedy“!



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  • Snow-free Sanctuary for Toronto’s Feral Cats

    “I feel like part of a team – like I make a difference,” says Stephen McGillis, a resident of the Atkinson Co-operative who has recently been building outdoor shelter structures for feral cats living near the Kensington Route. Stephen believes that the city’s homeless and feral cats need refuge and security as much as people do – and this led him towards his own form of contribution – an elaborate shelter structure that can house up to seven feral cats in his own backyard during the cold winter months.

    ACR Winter Shelter

    Stephen has adapted shelter-style spaces for cats to take refuge in away from the harsh elements of Toronto’s winter weather in the Atkinson Co-op area. Cats began showing up in Stephen’s area a few years ago, and soon enough, there were “regulars” that frequented his backyard. The cats who now call his backyard home were originally afraid, but soon grew confident to approach and interact with him.

    Made of Rubbermaid tubs, Styrofoam, and straw, these shelters are predominantly built at the Toronto Humane Society and at shelter build clinics organized by the Toronto Street Cats organization. Stephen has modified these basic structures with his own materials and creative ideas – focusing on creating an environment where the cats can seek shelter, but also play and enjoy living in a safe space. Stephen’s shelters are filled with blankets, towels, and toys and are variations of the structures created by volunteers at shelter build clinics.

    ACR Winter Shelter

    ACR Board Chair and volunteer Marianne Premuzic describes the importance of these structures as a basic form of refuge, “the straw and Styrofoam insulation in the shelters really provides a great deal of warmth for the cats” says Marianne, who has participated at shelter build clinics. Outdoor shelters are intended for feral cats, usually the offspring of tame cats who are abandoned or lost and have grown up without human contact. “The winter shelters are a key element in improving the lives of homeless cats in Toronto,” notes Marianne, who advocates for a standard of care for those cats living beyond the confines of domestic homes.

    While outdoor shelters might seem like a small contribution, the act of proving feral cats with warmth, security, and refuge greatly improves their quality of life. “If they’re okay, then I’m okay,” says Stephen, who is just happy to be making his furry friends’ lives a little bit easier. “They’ve never had love, security, or a home” says Stephen, whose actions, combined with the many efforts of shelter build volunteers in the GTA, are making a meaningful difference for feral cats in need of an outdoor place to call home.

    Donations to ACR’s “Purrrfect Gifts” holiday giving campaign under the “Snow-free Sanctuary” category helped provide numerous outdoor shelters for feral cats this winter – thank you for your generosity in helping to provide warmth and safety to feral cats across the city!

    For more information about outdoor shelters for feral cats, check out the Toronto Street Cats website – a great resource for information on volunteering at shelter builds and why these structures are so important to our furry friends living outdoors in the GTA.


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  • Happy Tails: Toby Finds his Forever Home with ACR!

    When Toby first came to the ACR community, he was rescued from a rough start in life. Abandonment, feral colonies, street life, and even a brush with death are just a few of the trials Toby has faced in his short life. Despite these hardships, Toby wasn’t ready to give up on a bright future – and his spirit must have seen him through. His alley cat appearance allowed him to blend in with a feral colony, but ACR volunteers soon discovered this fearless fighter and knew that he needed a place to call home.

    The harsh lifestyle endured by feral colonies left Toby with FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus – necessitating a warm and welcoming foster home. Toby was taken in by Roz, an ACR volunteer who believed in his right to a rich and full life. Roz recalls the process of adjusting Toby to domestic life off the streets: “He would scarf down tuna out of the can, he would tear open the garbage bags if they contained chicken, he sat by our sides when we were eating, just like a dog, and beg for scraps! You see, he lived in Kensington Market, fending for himself.” Although often facing an upset stomach, Toby certainly retained his appetite and soon regained much of his strength.

    In addition to being a hearty eater, Toby was often vocal and sought interaction. He had a talent for playing ball and served as an excellent in-house alarm clock with plenty of morning meows. After vet visits and a stabilized diet, Toby regained much of his zest for life. 9 months after taking him in, Roz prepared Toby for adoption and recalls the change she witnessed – “his coat was shiny and smooth, he had a bit more fat on his bones, and he was so comfortable with the people that came to check him out!” She couldn’t have been happier that two people came along and saw the real Toby.


    In his new home with owners Karen & Ian, Toby (who now goes by “Khan”) has a FIV+ brother named Neelix to bond with. Karen was pleasantly surprised at how easily Toby and Neelix accepted one another. Peaceful during the daytime and playful at night, Toby and Neelix have a cardboard castle that they share when they’re not chasing each other around the house. Like Roz, Karen notes Toby’s chatty disposition — “[He’s] a very vocal little guy, he tends to wander into other rooms and then start chirping, meowing and having loud conversations by himself. When we follow him into the room, he stops and stares at us like ‘What? There’s nothing happening here’ It’s a riot.” Toby’s desire for companionship, after facing so much solitude, is part of what makes him truly special. Although he will continue to live with FIV, Toby’s monitored diet helps to keep his tummy troubles at bay. Karen focuses on Toby’s wonderful spirit, noting that he “bounces back to normal after a day or two” when feeling under the weather. Toby has an inner strength that simply cannot be broken.


    We couldn’t be happier that Toby has finally found the forever home that he deserves. ACR would like to thank Roz for fostering Toby and nursing him back to health and happiness, to Karen and Ian for making room in their lives for another furry family member, and to the ACR community for always caring about Toby and believing in his right to life and love.

    Read Toby’s Story from the ACR blog last year.


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  • Holiday Promotion

    For the month of December, the Annex Cat Rescue is having a special promotion on the adoption fees of all of our cats over 6 months old. The adoption fee of $100 will help us get more cats home for the holidays.

    Adoption Promo - December 2013See all of our cats for adoption!


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  • Beautiful Black and White

    I find Black and White cats to be beautiful because their markings are very unique. Often though, they have some sort of “V” on the chest, giving them their name of “Tuxedo” cats. They’re also called “Jellicle” cats in the UK after the fictional tribe of black and white cats described by T. S. Eliot in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and in the stage musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the book.

    It’s also rumoured that Black and White cats are the most intelligent cats and may make the other coloured cats in the household smarter as well. Read other tidbits about Black and White cat here.

    We currently have FOURTEEN black and white cats for adoption, which is more than 25% of our total number of cats for adoption!

    And check out this video of LOVE BUG, Mikey!

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  • National Feral Cat Day, October 16, 2013


    National Feral Cat Day 2013

    It’s a quote that has been claimed by everyone from Churchill to Gandhi, Dostoyevsky to Truman, likely because it exhibits extraordinary wisdom: “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.”

    Which means our society has plenty to answer for, especially when it comes to feral cats. Deeply misunderstood when they are thought of at all and often reviled when they should be pitied, feral cats – essentially displaced domestics that, for some sad reason (abuse, neglect, dislocation) find themselves homeless – live among us in staggering numbers.

    It is estimated that the feral cat population in Toronto exceeds 100,000. Since cats are lousy at completing census forms, no one really knows how many itinerant felines urgently seek food and shelter wherever they can find it. But even if that number is overblown by half, it remains troubling, especially since feral cats multiply very quickly.

    In five years, an unspayed feral female can produce 20,000 descendants. Grow that by neighbourhoods across North America, and a desperate picture emerges.

    Certainly, “colony caretakers” – kind souls who voluntarily feed and monitor feral cats that bunch together in ad hoc groups or colonies – know the numbers are dispiriting, and not just for dispossessed kittens and cats on the loose but also for birds and other creatures in their path.

    Perhaps most vexing: much of the feral cat problem could be solved simply by keeping all cats indoors, ensuring all are spayed/neutered and, especially, by collectively regarding cats as sentient beings every bit as worthy of our humane stewardship as dogs.

    October 16 is National Feral Cat Day, a chance for organizations and individuals to start a dialog about how to solve the spiralling problem of feral cats in urban settings: how to implement trap-neuter-release programs to combat reproduction; how to manage ferals compassionately and effectively outdoors (in some cases, by bringing them indoors); how to dramatically reduce their numbers going forward through education and awareness.

    “Feral cats are no different than other cats except that they were born away from people,” offers Annex Cat Rescue’s Marianne Premuzic. “As a result, their lives are very difficult; they are exposed to all kinds of dangers and they often don’t live very long. Their numbers are untold; when you start feeding them, they turn up.

    “Cats were domesticated by humans all these years ago and we have an obligation to care for them. By doing trap-neuter-return programs, we are trying to reduce the feral cat population in Toronto. We would ultimately love to get to a situation where there are no outdoor cats… or as close to that as we can come.”

    Some people believe cats will survive if abandoned. Wrong. Animal shelters euthanize thousands of stray cats each year, and many more die slow, miserable deaths from starvation, disease, accidents, abuse or attacks from predators.

    Annex Cat Rescue routinely traps, spays/neuters, and vaccinates feral cats. Daily, volunteers leave water and dry food at designated feeding stations for outdoor felines. Small feral kittens are temporarily housed with foster caregivers and eventually adopted out as pets.

    Along with multiple caring partners in the GTA, Annex Cat Rescue is committed to addressing the feral cat problem in all the above-mentioned ways for as long as necessary. But we cannot do it without your support, so please give generously. And spread the word. “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.” We strive to make that our saying, too.

    -Kim Hughes


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