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 24, 2010

Good news and bad news

People always ask, which do you want first, the good news or the bad? I'll start with the good news. Sunny, the kitten who was rescued about a month ago, went to his new home today. Aaffien put in a lot of time loving and socializing him and he's going to make his new person very happy.
Now for the bad news. We found out today that Queenie, who has been missing, was hit by a truck about a month ago. Queenie was my favourite of all the cats down there. She was always filthy but was happy for attention. RIP sweet Queenie, we all miss you.

I'm so glad that we got out those three kittens this year, I'll try to focus on that.

A period of adjustment

It certainly seems much more desolate down at the yard without the pontoon boat but we are sorting things out, creating new spots for the cats to eat and sleep. I think the key is to have lots of spots for them to eat so that there aren't fights.

Here is a new little feeding station we made out of a plastic bin with a piece of wood on top to keep out the rain.

MC is missing Queenie and follows us around. Sadly, I have given up hope of seeing Queenie again. We put another feeding station under a nearby boat. The yard is jam packed with boats put away for the winter.
Hank and a black cat are sorting out territory.

We've nestled in shelters whereven we can find a spot in hopes that the cats will be able to stay warm and dry this winter.

The cats at Harry's are really living the life, they have a trailer to sleep in. This bunch gets along better, probably because there isn't as much need to be competitive about food. Teddy will even occasionally share his dish.

Little Jo has gotten big but still remains pretty shy.

Maggie is ensconsed in my basement. We're making progress, she will rub around me and seems happy to be patted. She still often seems scared but it will just take time. At least she is warm and dry and well fed. And it looks like Steve's wonderful niece will be giving her a home!

There has been lots of interest in Sunny, the orange kitten rescued from the colony, and I expect that he will have a home by the end of the week. Things are looking up. I'm off to Vegas for a little R & R, hoping to win big, spend it all on cat food. Don't worry, the cats will be fed every day. I'm lucky to be part of a great group who all love the cats.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If it's not one thing...

I'm trying not to be discouraged, but it feels like we're on a bit of a losing streak at the colony. After a good number of spay/neuters and two kittens adopted, our luck has gone cold.

We have been feeding one group of cats under this pontoon boat and also put shelters under there too. It was a great spot, protected, and lots of entrances and exits. Last week we found out it was sold and would be moved so we had to move all of our stuff from underneath and find a new spot.

We've set up in a corner nearby, it's not ideal but we don't have too many options. This is our makeshift feeding station. We're going to get something built but this will do in the meantime. We've moved all the shelters as well. The cats seemed kind of discombobulated on the weekend. Cats aren't really known for liking change but they will find the food and adjust.

MC certainly seems to have it figured out.

I took Maggie home, the friendliest cat at our colony, to see if she could be adopted out. I'm sure she had a home, she was already spayed when we trapped her and she would always rub around our legs when we came to feed. She's feeling scared right now, hard to know whether she will be able to adapt to an indoor situation. Sometimes when cats have been on their own too long they revert to a wild state. We'll see, fingers crossed.

Still looking for a home for Sunny, the cute orange kitten. And then of course Sophie's sad outcome. No wonder I'm feeling a bit down.
I guess the thing is that there is ultimately no good outcome for a feral cat. We can make their lives better but it's a hard life, no way around that. That's why caretakers of feral colonies, myself included, try so hard to prevent more cats from being born into that life.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sophie has crossed the Rainbow Bridge

No pictures tonight. Sadly we had to euthanize Sophie, the tiny tortieshell, that we discovered injured last week.

She was not able to fight off the infection from her wounds. She had stopped eating, had an abcess from her wounds, and a URI. After speaking with the vet, who felt she would not improve and probably had an underlying immune problem, Connie and I took her in and patted her, probably for the first time in her life, as she crossed over.

At least she won't be hungry or cold again, at least she didn't die a horrible death.

Connie and I both cried tonight at the vet's. Connie had nursed her for a week, doing everything she could.

It's been a tough week for the colony. There's a lot more heartbreak than I anticipated. I can only console myself knowing that we have made these poor cats lives better and have prevented more from being born to that life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sophie is injured

I inhabit a strange and wonderful world now, where I have people I can call for help on a Saturday night while standing in a vet's office waiting for one of our ferals to get fixed up.
When I went to feed on Friday I noticed that Sophie, a tiny tortie, was injured, dried blood all over her throat and chest. Thankfully she was eating but was skin and bones and didn't look in good shape at all. Saturday Aaffien and I went back with a trap and of course KFC. Sophie emerged from a shelter once we started to feed so we put out the trap and she just walked right in as if she was waiting for us to come and help. Thankfully the Beaches Animal Hospital was still open and agreed to see us.
Sophie was sedated and examined. Poor thing has 14 or 15 superficial wounds that were infected, probably attacked by some animal. I saw them and the sight of her was so upsetting. The vet cleaned her up and gave her an antibiotic shot. The challenge them became where to keep her for a week or two so she can recover.
After a few frantic calls, Connie came through and offered up her guest room. Sophie is resting there in a carrier in a large crate. There is nothing to do other than let her heal, she can't be handled. Sophie is eating well so that's a good sign. The ferals are survivors, they have to be.
What a graphic representation of the tough life ferals have. I'd like to show a picture of her with her wounds to people who don't believe in spay/neuter because this is one of the results. Sophie, and all the others like her, exist because of irresponsible pet owners.
OK, enough preaching, back to praying for Sophie's recovery, back to taking care of the others still there, back to preventing more from being born to that life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The show must go on

I've been feeling absolutely miserable this last week. Somehow I caught what feels like the worst cold I have ever had. I haven't wanted to get out of bed but the cats need to be fed so I do. Once you start feeding them it's not an option to stop, not for me. They rely on us.

This little guy, now named Sunny, is the other kitten that we caught two weeks ago. Aaffien has been fostering him and he is coming along well. Initially he was terrified of people but now he is much friendlier. It's harder to socialize feral kittens when they are the age we got him (probably about 10 weeks old) but still doable. Now we just need a home for him.

Here he is at the vet last week, getting his first set of shots.

I saw a new orange cat (the one on the far right) on the weekend. Not sure where he came from or if he'll come back.

Sally getting some sun.

Biff also enjoying the weather.

I did what was probably my last trapping before winter on Monday. No luck, well I did trap a black cat but thankfully he was ear-tipped so I knew he had already been done. Some people trap in the winter but it's harder on the cats to recover. Since I only have a few left, and I think, crossing my fingers, that they are all male, I'll take a break until March. We trapped and had 8 cats spayed/neutered this year so I feel good about that. Four males, four females, so that's a lot of potential kittens prevented.
I hope that once we find Sunny a home that will be the end of having to find homes for kittens. It's wonderful when you find them good homes but the process is very stressful.