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, February 24, 2010

Tough decision for the Cherry Street Cats

Yesterday was one of those triumphant but sad days, a day of making tough decisions.

Aaffien and I set out early in the morning to make one more effort at trapping Lily. We could tell for the last couple of weeks that she was pregnant and have tried repeatedly to trap her. Cats aren't supposed to get pregnant in the winter, it makes no sense to have kittens in February but it's been a mild winter and she's been fed regularly.

When we first arrived at the yard there was no sign of Lily, which was very unusual. After waiting around for a bit, we decided that we may as well try to trap someone else so we moved over to the pontoon. Within ten minutes we had Issac thrashing around in the trap. Now we think Issac is a male and may have already been neutered and since Lily (or another female) was our real target, we let him go. Now that we have to pay for the spaying and neutering out of our own pocket, we have to be a little more choosy.

We went back to the boats and there was Lily. They hadn't been fed the day before and not much on Sunday so they were definitely hungry. We baited the trap with Fancy Feast, a perennial cat favourite, and stood back.

We watched as Lily ventured into the trap, then out, then in again and finally, holding our breaths the whole time, it slammed shut behind her. We covered the trap and she immediately calmed down.

We took her off to the vet and made the tough decision to have her spayed and the kittens aborted even though her pregancy was advanced. I know some feel it was a controversial decision but it was not one we made lightly or without some tears shed.

If she had the kittens they might not have survived and if they did then what. Either we try to remove them from Lily at an age where they are old enough to survive without her but young enough to socialize and then try to find homes for them or they live out harsh lives as feral cats and we have to try to trap and spay/neuter all of them to prevent future generations of feral cats.

I believe spayed Lily saved the lives of living cats and kittens. There are already too many cats without homes, and cats being euthanized every day at shelters, that every new kitten born means the death of an existing cat or kitten waiting for a home.

It doesn't mean right decisions aren't hard decisions.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lily is pregnant

We've recently realized that Lily, a torti who lives by the boats, is pregnant. She had two litters last year. We caught the kittens and had them adopted out but we haven't had any luck catching Lily to get her spayed. Now here it is February and she's pregnant again! We thought we would have more time. Most of our cats have been spayed or neutered but there are still a wily few who have evaded us.

Yesterday I tried to trap her again using warmed up cooked chicken but there was no way she or any of the other cats would venture into the trap. I guess we've made it too good for them, a warm trailer to sleep in, food every day.

I don't know what we will do if we can't catch her before she gives birth. I'm going to give it one more go next week.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Shelter from the storms

This isn't a great picture, but it just shows how resourceful cats are. There's an abandoned car at the boat yard and somebody has left one of the windows unrolled partway. A couple of cats have made themselves at home in there. It's dry and probably pretty toasty when the sun comes in through the windows.

I'm thankful that my first winter feeding has been mostly snowless. We have our team in place and between the four of us the cats get fresh food and water every single day of the week. With the addition of the trailer the cats can stay dry and relatively warm. They all look pretty good. I still worry about them especially on those really frosty days but I take comfort in knowing that we are doing the best we can for them.