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!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A chilly weekend

The weekend was sooo cold, I felt very badly for the ferals. In that kind of weather, the canned food freezes within minutes and the water soon after so it's only the lucky cats who show up as we arrive who get to eat canned food. The rest have to make do with hard food, although some of them prefer that anyway.

Thankfully on Sunday it was sunny. The cats found some tires to perch on, they must have been nice and toasty.

Jackson loves to eat, no matter the weather. A little snow didn't make him miss a meal.

MC is not doing as well as I had hoped in my friend's home, sadly I think she will have to be returned to the colony, but we'll give it another week. At least she's warm.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another chance for MC?

MC (because she looks like a Maine Coon) is a cat that showed up in the fall of 2009. When we trapped her it turned out she had already been spayed. She must have been someone's pet. We briefly tried to socialize her but returned her to the colony. Thankfully she bonded with Queenie and they became inseparable.

Since Queenie disappeared, MC has been much needier, following us around, meowing and allowing herself to be patted. I know I'm probably anthropomorphizing but she seems lonely and sad.

This past week has been brutally cold and I've found myself wondering if she could be socialized and homed so I picked her up on the weekend and she just let herself be held.
So maybe it's worth another try. I have a wonderful friend who is willing to give it a shot. I don't know if it will work but her other alternative is more of the same. It's not bad on a sunny day...
but more often they are cold and hungry and dodging trucks. If she has a chance at a better life I'd like to give it to her.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A shovelling we will go

We got our first big snow of the season on Saturday. No stay at home snow day for us - we loaded up the car, headed down and started shovelling. We cleared in front of the feeding stations and made little paths for the cats to walk on. Cats certainly don't like snow the way dogs do. It looks like a snowy winter so lots more shovelling to come.

On Sunday I did a trapping, trying to get Henry, a fluffy black cat who showed up a few months ago. He has been spraying and fighting and generally causing trouble. Instead I got a UBC (unidentified black cat). Since it didn't have an eartip I trundled the cat off to the vet. Once sedated, they discovered he had already been neutered, was older, maybe six and had bad teeth that should be pulled out. As much as I would have liked to do dental, I can't spare $400 or $500 for that. He could get hit by a truck next week. That money represents a lot of cat food. He did get eartipped though so won't have to go through that again. I released him on Tuesday and he flew out of that carrier.

I love this photo of Teddy, Jackson and Tina all munching away.

I'm not a big fan of winter anyway, and now that I have the ferals to worry about, I can't wait for it to end.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Year in Review

Looking back on 2010, I'm amazed at how much happened at the Cherry Street Cats feral colony, and how much we, a small of group of cat lovers accomplished. Even though this is my bog, please don't think I do this alone, I am truly fortunate to be part of a great group. People's generosity this year was astounding. We received food donations, cash donations and managed to help a lot of cats because of that.

We spayed four females and neutered 4 males in 2010, all were returned to the colony, thereby preventing many many kittens from being born. There are now only a couple of wily cats left to catch, so out of 20+ cats almost all are spayed/neutered.

Kittens from the colony were socialized and adopted out to wonderful homes. This is Turtle, who Connie fostered, getting up every few hours to feed him when he was first found only 4 weeks old.
Pumpkin was 8 or 9 weeks old when we trapped him in the fall, but he quickly became socialized and found a home.
Sunny was a bit more stubborn, but with Aaffien's love, came around and is living happily with a Schnauzer. These lucky cats won't have to live rough lives outside, but are warm and safe and loved.

In the summer we took on another little cat rescue project. Sandi discovered some cats living at a mission near us, a mother, her daughter who was missing a foot, and her four kittens. The priests at the mission had been caring for these cats but it was a dangerous location. These cats were not remotely feral. We took them in and fostered them, finding homes for the kittens and raising enough money for surgery for Miracle (her stump was infected and needed to be amputated.

Miracle and Miso (the mother) were given a forever home by one of my co-workers, who already has a blind cat.

The kittens were all adorable and so friendly and quickly found great homes.

Now I have to move on the sad stuff, and as I type this, it's hard to see the screen through my tears.
In late fall Queenie disappeared. Queenie was my favourite of all the cats, always dirty, but she would let us pat her, she was just a tiny thing. Finally after passing around her photo we were told she had been hit by a truck, as we suspected. She was fond of the garbage trucks. We still mourn her loss, as does her friend MC.

Around the same time we discovered little Sophie with wounds all over her. We managed to trap her and get her veterinary care but she couldn't recover from the infection and we had to euthanize her. A true feral, only then, could we finally pat her and kiss her goodbye.

It's been a bad few months, Cali too is missing. Nobody has seen her for almost six weeks and we fear the worst.
In the midst of all this, I took home one of the friendlier cats, Maggie, hoping she would be adoptable. She made a bit of progress, but was very scared and went crazy at the vet's, literally climbing the walls, and being totally unhandleable. I made the heartbreaking decision to return her to the colony. I think she had a home at one point, but had been out too long to adjust to a home environment.

I try to focus on all the good work we've done. As I've mentioned before, for most ferals, there is no happy ending. The best we can do is provide food and shelter to make their lives better and, most importantly, to prevent further generations of ferals. I used to think if I won the lottery I would open a cat sanctuary and I would still do that, but I would also open a free spay/neuter clinic, that is the only hope to prevent this problem.
I hope to do the best I can again this year for my ferals. I'd like to think it may be just maintenance, but who knows, there always seems to be something going on with my gang.
Happy New Year to all, give your cats a pat.