Who we are

Cherry Street Cats is me (Robin), my husband Steve, Sandi, Michelle, Verena and Kent, 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. 500+ cats helped in five years +!



Saturday, December 31, 2011

The rest of the end of the year wrap up

I leave you in 2011 with this series of photos of Lily and Jo having their own little New Year's party.



In addition to all my work at the colony, I also helped out with a few other cat projects. We got four cats off the spit, three into a barn and one into a home. Two sets of residential kittens were rescued and socialized and went off to good homes and the moms were TNRed. In my neighbourhood I TNRed four feral young cats (three females and one male) that are well cared for by a few homes. And farther away in a west end neighbourhood I TNRed three feral females, and two adults and two kittens were rescued. Somehow during that project I ended up with Buddy, who just ate our bacon off the counter. Oh, I almost forgot about Bruno, a neighbourhood semi-feral who is being fostered (hopefully forever) by Terry and Laird. Then there is Annie, a charming kitten living outside a few blocks away who Connie fostered and quickly fell in love with.

Whew, no wonder I'm tired. On the home front, Allie is improving but Maggie is now sick. We've discovered that we have Giardia in the house, what a nightmare, trying to syringe meds into all the cats except Maggie who we can't handle. One of the drawbacks of rescue and multiple cats. Right now, after a lot of illness, vet visits and vet bills, I am questioning taking in all these cats, but I'm sure once everyone gets better I'll get over that. Here's hoping for a healthy 2012 for all my guys.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Year end wrap up part 1

The day to day routine of feeding the cats goes on but in between I'm reflecting on all that has happened this year at the colony.
Here I am on a chilly day this week using our new extendagrabber to get bowls out.

2010 was the year we focused on spaying and neutering so I can happily report that were no kittens born at the colony in 2011, a huge triumph. Maggie and Henry, two adults, found their way out of the colony and into homes. Henry was clearly not a feral and is well loved by Pat and Linda. Maggie has ended up with me, and only loves me, but is very happy not to be living under a street sweeper every winter.
MC and Hank, trying to stay warm. Hank is nice and chubby now.

On the sad side, Ollie and Benji, when trapped to be fixed, had to be euthanized due to extensive health problems. Mo and Clyde both disappeared, we presume they are dead, probably hit by a truck. I mourn the loss of every one.
One of our UBs auditioning to be the MGM lion.

Our cats aging and the corresponding massive vet bills is an ongoing issue. Hank was not doing well in the fall, but after all his teeth were removed and a long recovery, he has rebounded and is doing well. Teddy needed to have a mass removed (thankfully benign) so he got an overhaul as well. A new orange cat appeared with an injured tail so he was trapped and had his tail amputated. Stubby is now a fixture eating from behind the fence. Socks was neutered and had teeth pulled and is a happy fat cat. I wish they could all have proper vet care, but we do the best we can.
The sky was filled with birds the other day. Why do we feed the cats?

With the arrival of a couple of new adults this year, our numbers are around 20. I remain committed to doing the best I can for these cats. It's not a resolution, but a renewal.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

And to all a good night

This photo of Tina, Jackson and me was just named one of the the Toronto Star's favourite 2011 photos from their photo blogs.
Right now I am thankful for the mild weather and for the ability to care for these cats on a daily basis. My Christmas cat wishes are vast, from wishing that all cats have homes and that everybody spays and neuters, to hoping that these cats that I care for have the best lives that they can, that I can continue to feed them, provide shelter and vet care when needed. They are a part of my lives. I can't imagine having a day go by when they aren't fed so that is where I will be tomorrow, dishing out Friskies.

I have to admit I'm not feeling very Christmasy tonight. One of my home cats, Allie, a sweet little 14 year old, is very ill, and I may also end up spending part of tomorrow at the vet emergency clinic so tonight I will pray for my Allie to get better.

Happy Holidays to all of you and your feline friends.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Loving this weather!

Mid-December and hooray no snow and mild temperatures. A feral cat's dream!
As you can see, Hank is looking plump and ready for the winter. I'm hoping it holds off as long as it can.
All winter means to me now is cold cats, cold hands, frozen food, frozen water and shovelling paths for the cats so this weather has been a real gift. The boat people have all headed south or doing whatever people who own boats do in the winter so it's just us, the cats, and the garbage guys for the next couple of months.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Settling down

It feels like things are settling down a bit at the yard, the boats are all in and soon it will pretty quiet, other than the constant garbage trucks. Teddy is his usual self, happy to eat and get a pat. He's going to have a scar where the mass was cut out but he doesn't seem too concerned about it.
I made a few new shelters for the Madonna cats and placed them under boats. Of course, some guy doing repair work is upset, says the cats have peed on his stuff because the shelters are near his hut, so I had to move them. It's a shame, the cats were using them but I guess they will find the new location or somewhere else to sleep.
I worry all winter about them, though, so I've been thankful that it's been mild so far.
The cats are always happy for a sunny day, it feels so much warmer.
This UB had a bad limp earlier in the week but seems fine now. Whew, I was not looking forward to another vet bill.
It's pretty much hunker down, do our best to keep the cats alive through the winter, time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tina

It's been so strange going down to feed without Teddy there. Everyone seems thrown off, especially Tina. She keeps wandering over to the Madonna, insistent for food.
Tina is so sweet, always greeting us.
She is such a matted mess, but will have to wait for the spring for her spa visit.
Yes, I know this isn't a cat, but seriously, is that not the strangest dog you have ever seen? She belongs to one of the boat guys, and was looking for that yummy smelling cat food.
Yesterday was one of the yuckiest feeding days ever, there's no pictures because there weren't any cats out, just me soaking wet. Today it's chilly, my least favourite cat feeding season has begun. At least Teddy goes "home" tomorrow.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Three for three

A couple of weeks ago we noticed that Teddy had a lump under his ear. We decided to keep an eye on it. On Monday Pat and Linda emailed to say that the lump looked bloody, seemed Teddy had been scratching it.

So Anne and I with her husband Gary's help managed to catch Teddy on Wed with a drop trap and off he went to the vet.
Thankfully it seems the mass is benign. The vet removed it and of course Teddy had an ear infection and bad teeth. Teddy is one of the most beloved cats at the colony so we had all that taken care of. He had to have two teeth pulled but after Teddy's overhaul hopefully he should be in great shape.
The vet thinks he is around 8 - 10 years old and he weighs almost 17 pounds! Teddy is recovering at Joanne's until next week, getting her yummy smorgasbord of food. That's three trappings in one week! Tonight I'm trying to get Morris, the last unfixed cat. Zero tolerance, that's my policy on spaying and neutering. So glad Teddy is OK, it feels so odd feeding right now without him, can't wait until the big guy is back in his spot.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A flurry of activity

Sometimes it feels like all I do is cat stuff. Sunday I went trapping again, trying to get the last couple of cats TNRed before the nasty weather. After a few tentative entries and exits into the trap, I caught one of the two cats I was trying to.

Off Bright Eyes went to the vet, where I got a call with odd news. Bright Eyes is female, already spayed and missing teeth. I don't know who spayed her, she only showed up a few months ago. Now she is eartipped so we will know, also got vaccinated, dewormed and deflea-ed. She had a hernia but she has seemed fine so no need to fix that. Back she went on Monday night. I'm sure she thought what a lot of fuss for nothing.
Meanwhile, I've been making more shelters for the cats. I did two last week, two the week before and one more to go. My construction skills are minimal at best so it takes me forever and none of my edges are straight. Thank God for duck tape.

This is our cat Molly doing her cat shelter catalog shot.
And this is Tanner demonstrating that yes, even an overfed cat can fit in this shelter.
Now it looks like Teddy is going to have to go to the vet, he has a big growth under his ear that he has scratched raw. I'm glad I have an understanding boss who likes animals!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Semi-Socks dilemma

Last night I went trapping and quickly caught Semi-Socks, a tomcat who shows up occasionally on the fringes. Off he went for neutering. When I picked him up the vet remarked that Semi-Socks had a mess of a mouth, with broken teeth.
This is when I wished I could pull out the manual of caring for feral cats, turn to page 38, what to do when one of your ferals requires major dental work including extractions that will probably cost $800 and 10 days of recovery.

How much is too much to spend on one feral cat? I'm sure a majority of our ferals all have terrible teeth but it's not feasible to take them all in, not unless I win a lottery.

After a night of tossing and turning, I pretty much had made up my mind and when I spoke to Joanne, who was recovering him, and discovered he hadn't eaten yet, probably due to being so stressed out in captivity, my mind was made up. I'm going to release Semi-Socks tomorrow. He is the most feral of the bunch and I worry he wouldn't respond well to being inside for so long and all that money and vet work would be for naught. He has been happily eating at the colony. He's a survivor and has managed this far, hopefully he will be OK. I can only do so much.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Before and after

I just had to share these before and after shots of Buddy, the little guy who was rescued a month ago while I was doing a TNR project.

Here he is, with a terrible URI.
And voila, his after shot, looking healthy and happy. He's been neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, had teeth pulled, been on antibiotics, eye drops and eye ointment. We took him in, even though we are maxed out on cats but no way could he go back out.
Buddy is friendly and playful, I swear he is a kitten even though he had bad teeth. He runs pell mell through our house, annoying our staid old cats. He's safe and warm with us while I look for a really good forever home for this special boy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Enjoying the weather

It's great that November so far has been so warm. I don't have to worry as much about the cats.

It's amazing how much better Hank must feel after having all those rotten teeth out, look at him climbing up on a boat. I wish I could take them all in for an overhaul.

Pebbles and Arrow are sunning themselves on a toasty dumpster.
Are these two buddies, or what?
Morris is around most days and seems happy for the regular food.
And Tibbs is definitely fattening up for the winter, I love it when the cats are nice and plump.
I know this weather won't last so I've been making shelters in my spare? time, cutting and gluing styrofoam, so they have warm places for those inevitable chilly days but for now enjoy the sun.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Poor little Benji

There are still a few stragglers in the colony to be fixed, so I went out trapping yesterday in the cold drizzle. Within ten to fifteen minutes I had caught one of the ones I wanted, an orange and white cat we call Benji. Benji is a newcomer and shows up occasionally. In the trap Benji looked small and not in the best shape.
As I was finishing my dinner, I got a call from the THS clinic. Turns out Benji was female, with missing and infected teeth, and most importantly riddled with mammary tumours. With a heavy heart, I agreed to the vet's recommendation to euthanize Benji so that she didn't get released just to die a horrible death during the winter. That's the fourth one we've lost in 2011, the seventh since last fall. It doesn't get any easier. Worst of all, I know I have to go through it twenty-one more times. Poor little Benji, at least she's not suffering anymore.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I love to show off the cats

Our cats are getting so much media coverage these days. City TV came down and shot some footage. I love to show our guys off. Tina, Teddy and Jackson made me proud.

This is a picture of Buddy just a week after being rescued. He looks like an entirely different cat, and must feel so much better.
I think all the ferals are beautiful. I've come to develop so much affection for each and every one of them.
It makes me happy when I feed them and I know that at least their bellies are full.
I hope all this coverage of feral cats raises awareness and people take care of the cats in their neighbourhood or donate to the great organizations trying to solve the problem.
And need I say it, but my hope would be that everyone spays or neuters their cats. That day may still be a ways off. I'm excited that we have made it through this year with NO kittens, all the work getting them spayed and neutered has paid off.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Buddy needs help

Last week I was helping to TNR five cats in the west end. Well, it turns out two of them are tame. One of them, a sweet little white female, kept purring and rubbing against the bars of her recovery cage at Joanne's. It was clear we couldn't return her outdoors. Only six pounds, she had a URI and was matted and dirty. Lisa Marie, a woman I met through this blog actually, and who does a lot of fostering, very kindly offered to take her. She is now safely inside and I am sure will find a wonderful home. You can read about her on Lisa Marie's blog:

And then there's Buddy, the last to be caught, I can't say trapped, because he walked right into the carrier and as you can see was very happy to be cuddled.
When Buddy was taken to the THS clinic to be neutered, it was discovered that not only did he have a nasty URI (that's why there is all the black discharge around his eyes) but that he is at least a few years old (even though he's only six pounds too) and has a mouthful of rotten teeth. Poor Buddy is off to another vet tomorrow for dental extractions and then to a foster home. Dental surgery is not cheap, as those of you who have cats who have had dental work know. I'm hoping some of my readers many be able to make a donation to help pay for his surgery.
He is a sweet cat who has a second chance to have a wonderful life. If you can help, please go to Toronto Cat Rescue's website and just specify that it's for Buddy's dental surgery - you'll get a tax receipt and everything.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A very catty week

I have to start with exciting news, The Toronto Star was doing an article on feral cats and came down and photographed our guys. Check the story out:

In between that and being sick with yet another cold, I got involved with another group of cats in sorry need of help. A woman has been feeding 5 or more cats for a while and there were two kittens that Heather kindly took in. All the cats have URIs, you can see this guy's nasty looking eyes.
We trapped four cats this week and they were all female. It was a fantastic team effort. This may be my blog but I don't do any of this alone. TCR helped with the kittens, took care of two of the spays, two were done at the THS clinic, Connie stored them at her garage for a while, Joanne is doing recovery, Arlene is helping with shelters for these cats...there is a legion of cat lovers out there and I am proud to be a part of it. Four females = a ton of potential kittens.
Now they are all spayed and received an antibiotic shot so they should start feeling better very soon. The orange guy should be neutered on Sunday and their caretaker is going to take a TNR course and build them some shelters.
Oh, and we did a clean up at Hank's, restuffing the shelters and making the feeding station more waterproof.
Now it's all tidy and ready for winter.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting ready for winter

Even though the fall has been lovely, the nights are getting cool so we decided we should get the cats ready for the cold weather. Last Saturday we loaded up the car with straw and styrofoam and headed down.
Three hours of hard work later we had one area all done, fresh straw in the all the shelters, everything all tidied up. Here is the trailer at Harry's with its fresh floor and lots of cozy sleeping spots. Next week we will work on Hank's - it's not quite as glamorous over there.
And although I swore I was taking a break from other cat rescue projects, when these pictures came in, I just couldn't turn away. A friend of Sandi's has a group of feral cats, some of whom have had kittens.
After lots of emails and phone calls, I found a foster home for this little orange guy and will TNR a couple of the adults. I also found a colony caretaker nearby to help with the remaining ones and the homeowner has expressed interest in learning more about TNR.
Feral cat colony management really needs the caregivers to get involved, it's not enough to just feed, TNR is key. If I can save this guy and get these people on the road to having a colony all spayed and neutered, then it's worth the investment of my time - even though I would much rather curl up on the sofa and watch House. Ironically, Maggie, my rescued colony cat, is the only one of my cats who sits with me there.

Friday, September 30, 2011

September stats - subtitle too busy to blog

September feels like it went by in a blur, and when I recount all the cat stuff that happened I realize why. Just this week I helped some neighbours TNR four cats from the same litter, around six months old. The people on the street feed them and provide shelter, now thankfully there won't be any more kittens (they got the mom spayed previously). The one below has a cloudy eye but she's fine. Reggie (a girl) has two sisters and a brother. Think of all the kittens that combo could have produced!

I helped another neighbour get a momma cat spayed and found her kitten, Annie Sparkles, a fabulous home with Connie. Connie was fostering her and fell in love. Don't worry, she's only allowed out supervised. I think I might be getting a reputation out there as a cat rescuer.
And then there was Hank, who was not looking well, trapped and discovered he had a mouthful of rotten teeth. After two weeks of recovery and a very large vet bill Hank has returned to his clan, much healthier.
There is just the usual daily feeding too, it takes 15 minutes to get there, an hour to feed at all the locations, 15 minutes to get home, and another 15 minutes to wash all the dishes.
Whew, maybe it's better not to list it all out. October means it's time to get the colony ready for winter, cleaning up and replacing all the straw in the shelters. At least today I made time to go to yoga (after I fed the colony and returned some traps). I have to remember to take care of myself too.