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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A very successful book sale!

On Saturday we had our second book/CD/DVD sale of the summer. We had one in June but we got rained out so since we still had a ton of books we decided to have another sale. Well, this Saturday the weather was beautiful, perfect for people strolling along Queen.

What a fantastic day we had. Lots of cat lovers buying books and many just giving a donation to help us out. Sandi's husband Robbin was a superb salesman.

Here I am on the left (with a cold) next to Sandi, Brenda and Tory. By the end of the day we had raised $740! Money we can put to good use getting the rest of our colony spayed and neutered. How lucky I am to be with this great group, all wanting to make the lives of cats better.

As well, on the weekend, I fed a friend's colony while she was away. Tess didn't care who was feeding, just as long as someone showed up. So there were a couple of days where I fed more than 30 cats. I guess that qualifies me for crazy cat lady status for sure.

A couple of days of rest and recuperation and then it's time to trap again. Watch out kittens, I'm coming for you!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tortie Take Two

After last week's trapping I was left wondering whether the first tortie really was nursing. Aaffien and I set out Monday evening KFC in hand to see who we might get.

Well, within 15 minutes, guess who was in the trap, that same tortie. I just couldn't ignore fate, who knew if I would be able to trap her a third time, so off she went. She was spayed yesterday and had a tooth pulled. Seems she wasn't nursing after all.

I was so happy to get one of the females done, no more kittens for you, little Sophie.

Mo and Jo, you two are next on the list.
Jackson and Tina doing their dinner inspection. Friskies again?

Here's our beautiful Tina. I went to see Cat City last week at the Revue. Our cats are featured in it and I couldn't stop myself from shouting out proudly "Tina" when I saw her up on the big screen.
I've been feeling heartened lately by the generosity and helpfulness of all the cat lovers out there. We seem to have an arrangement with TCR that will allow us to pay less for spay/neuter thereby freeing up money to feed the cats and ensure that they are all fixed. There is a huge committment in taking care of these cats, both time and money. And we've secured a spot to trap cats in another area where we suspect there may be more cats but we've haven't been able to access that area up until now. My goal, perhaps ambitious, is to have 100% spay/neuter by the winter. You gotta have a goal, right?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Who doesn't love watching animals eat

My husband said the last two posts were kind of downers but I want this blog to reflect the reality of caring for a feral colony. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's frustrating, but ultimately satisfying knowing that I'm improving the lives of these cats.

Here's Hank being released after being neutered. After release, they may stay away for a day or two, but always come back to the food source.
Here's a shot of Queenie we took as we drove up.

I always feel happy when the cats eagerly eat their Friskies. I wonder what it is about people that makes us enjoy watching animals eat. Feeding time is the most popular time at the zoo. Maybe it makes us feel needed. Lily and Biff share a bowl. It's amazing how a large group of cats all co-exist.

This is Mo on the left, a new resident. The cats have accepted him and his sister Jo even though they came from another colony on the property.

And everyone loves kittens! This is Jo, I think she's about 3 1/2 to 4 months old now, got to get her spayed soon. A female can get pregnant as early as 6 months old.

Biff just staring at us.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sometimes this is a lousy job

When I started taking care of these feral cats, I had no idea how many difficult moral/philisophical decisions I would have to make. I was awake at 5 a.m. this morning second guessing the choices I made last night.

I switched up my trapping strategy and went out after work instead of the morning and there were way more cats around. I set the trap with sardines and KFC and within minutes a very skinny tortieshell was trapped. A couple of weeks ago I saw one of the tortis very pregnant so I was concerned about catching a nursing mother. Joanne and I looked at the torti we trapped and her nipples were prominent. This was the first time I've had to deal with this scenario. If she's had kittens recently and we take her to be spayed, by the time she's back the kittens will have died. If we don't take her, we may not catch her again and she'll continue to reproduce. Joanne said take her in, a friend Connie who takes care of ferals said release her. I agonized as to the right thing to do.

Ultimately I decided to let her go. I reset the trap, Joanne went off to her appointment, and I waited on my own. The two tortis circled the trap and one really wily one managed to pull pieces of KFC out. Sweaty, stinking of sardines and greasy chicken, I refilled the trap. In she went and finally the trap closed behind her. This was a different torti but also looked like she was nursing so I released her too. Earlier this year, we did a late stage abortion. Some people find that controversial but I was OK with that, the kittens weren't born yet and they died humanely. I couldn't stand the thought of tiny kittens dying slowly of dehydration and starvation.

One more time, I set the trap and went off to feed at the other area. By the time I came back, there was an orange cat in the trap. Hank was obviously male but after all that effort I wasn't going home empty handed so I loaded him in the car and took him to Connie's garage for an overnight stay.
This morning he went in to be neutered and Maggie was returned. The vet thought she might be adoptable but I had nowhere for her to go. Not an easy thing to find a home for a semi-feral 7 year old toothless black cat during kitten season. The vet called to say that Hank's teeth weren't great but I had to say that I only had money for his neutering, no cadillac service.
So I still don't know if I did the right thing - there's no manual that came with this job. I'll wait a month and hope I can catch them again before they have yet another litter.
All I can do is persevere.