Who we are

Cherry Street Cats is me (Robin), my husband Steve, Sandi, Michelle, Verena, Vinyse, Derek, Kent, and Connie, a group of dedicated cat lovers who care for a colony of feral cats in the east end of Toronto. I also have a great rescue team of Lesley, Joanne, and Susan. Together we do our best to make the lives better for feral and homeless cats and kittens. 900+ cats helped in nine years!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tibbs comes home

After six weeks at the Humane Society caring for her kittens it was time for Tibbs to be spayed and returned to the colony and for her kittens to go to loving homes. Tibbs never adjusted to life at the shelter, she mostly hid in a carrier in a cage. On Saturday we picked her up and took her back. At first she wouldn't come out of the carrier. Here is Teddy checking her out.

Finally when our backs were turned she scurried out. We saw her a few minutes later, frantically searching amongst the boats for her kittens. Heartbreaking. Hopefully she soon settles down. Amongst the boat cats there is only the elusive Lily to get spayed and Pebbles, this gray and white male below. He is always on the outskirts, waiting his turn to eat.
Tina has discovered the high ground.

The others eat while she tries to figure out how to get down.

Thankfully another week of mild weather. The cats will be thanking us for the trailer in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We prepare for winter

Last Sunday we all got together (me, my husband Steve, Aaffien, her fiance Bill, Sandi, her husband Robbin and Tory) at the boatyard to prepare for the onslaught of winter. I wasn't involved with the colony last winter so I haven't experienced it first-hand but I know that feeding will be a challenge once the bitter cold and snow arrives. This year we have a trailer for the boat cats so hopefully their lives will be much easier. We took this opportunity to reorganize and clean up.

Here is a before shot, showing our current setup.

Me, Tory and Aaffien cleaning and dismantling a feeding station. We've kept one feeding station for hard food but the plan is to feed the cats inside the trailer so their food stays warm and dry. We put in pet doors and also put shelters inside for them to stay cozy in.

Sandi and Tory sorting things out, cleaning up a summer's worth of mess.

Robbin and Bill put in the pet doors and built shelves inside the trailer. Now we just have to entice the cats inside. The trailer is a little farther away from where they were being fed before and I'm sure there will be reluctance from some to go inside so we'll leave some food out as well. There's not much we can do for the tree cats. They are always second class citizens. We put a shelter by the tree for them but it's more likely that they will find a haven amongst the dumpsters.

After a long but satisfying afternoon, we lug the last of the garbage to the dumpster just before darkness falls, and head home, dirty and tired.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MC back at home

Here's MC back at the tree. Sadly a true home is not to be for her. We still think she probably had a home at some point but I guess she has spent too long on the street and has lost her trust of people. At least she will be fed and offered what shelter we can provide but it's not the end anyone would want for their cat. We'll never know her story. Was she someone's beloved pet? Was she brushed and snuggled? Was she fed and played with and given a warm bed? I've had the opportunity through this to meet and talk to many wonderful people who care about cats (and they are the ones who would read this) but there's no denying that so many others see cats as disposable.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated...I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man. -- Mahatma Gandhi.

Last Sunday was sunny and warm. We didn't show up to feed until the afternoon. This photo shows Lily, Tina, Teddy and Jackson registering their displeasure at our tardiness.
Here is our new trailer that we will set up with feeding stations and shelters for the winter. I expect it will be very cold and blustery, with the wind off the lake.

I couldn't resist taking this photo of Arrow, up high on one of the boats.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sunday on the water

Sunday stats:
11 cats fed (8 boat cats, 3 tree cats)
6 big cans of cat food opened and eaten
2 trips to the boatyard
1 minor injury (a cut from a cat food can)

It was a beautiful afternoon and all the boat cats were out, even the gray and white one (Pebbles) that we rarely see. At the tree, I had Issac (the smoky gray guy), a black cat with white legs (let's call her Socks) and another black cat who shall remain nameless until we can figure out a way to tell the black cats apart.

I returned to the boatyard as the sun was setting to help get our new trailer in position. I would never have predicted that I would be spending a chilly Sunday evening in November at a boatyard, surrounded by berthed boats, dumpsters, feral cats, and a wonderful group of caring women, but here I am and here I'll be for many Sunday to come.

A Chance for MC?

On Friday Aaffien and I set out in the rain to trap Lily, a beautiful tortie who still needs to be spayed. Lily had kittens in the summer but we had to take them away and raise them when Lily became overwhelmed and stopped feeding them. Sandi and Aaffien did a great job and these kittens have now found homes. Here are two of them in their new home.

Lily has remained elusive, though, so we set up the trap with tasty sardines in an effort to lure her in. Ten minutes later we had trapped Tina (who is already spayed) so we packed up our trap, moved on to Plan B and headed over to try to trap a tree cat.

MC was the only one around, meowing at us for food. Sure enough, she went for the sardines, the trap slammed shut as the rain turned torrential. We bundled her off to the humane society for spaying. We had been debating recently about whether she was adoptable. From her interactions with us it seemed she must have had a home at one point.

When the humane society called to say that they could see what looked like a previous spaying scar we were convinced that this poor cat had become lost or was abandoned. What to do? God bless Sandi, she agreed to take MC in for a few days to see if she was tameable. We set MC up in a room at Sandi's house. I crossed my fingers and silently implored MC not to blow her chance at a new life.

Sadly, it's not going well. MC is hiding under the bed and hissing. It looks like we'll have to take her back to the boatyard and do our best to care for her there. I guess her time on the street has caused her to distrust people.

On the good news side, Tibbs' four remaining kittens are doing better than they were and hopefully will continue to improve and will eventually end up in loving homes like the kittens above.

Since loving homes are not an option for adult feral cats, we do the next best thing, and provide food and shelter, every day, rain or shine, soon to be rain or snow.