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 +!



Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year in Review

Where do I start?  It was such a crazy busy year.  For the colony it's been a tough year, losing four cats,   including Jackson and Tina the two favourites.  Jackson tragically drowned in January and Tina died in May.  It's not the same without their friendly faces rushing to greet us.  Jo and Sam also disappeared.  There were also a few injuries and illnesses dealt with and the constant flux down there.  I know that eventually the colony will die out, and that is the goal, but emotionally it's so hard, we become very attached to these cats.
Dear sweet Tina, how we miss her.
There were some new faces at the colony too, a mysterious litter of kittens appeared in the summer.  We still don't know who the mom is.  Thankfully they were all trapped and have found homes.  Recently a tame B & W female showed up, she has been adopted too and just yesterday we saw yet another new face.

Cherry Street kitten

Cherry Street kittens just after rescuing.

In terms of my other rescue projects, I helped over 100 cats this year.  I took on a big TNR project in the west end.  At Maria's we TNRed 18 adults and pulled out 19 kittens.  The other rescues of tame cats and kittens and TNRs is too much to mention, but it sure seemed like there was something going on every week.
Me with my new drop trap, came in handy.

Cat on the roof at Maria's

More cats at Maria's
In September I took on another big project, rescuing a dozen kittens and three adults, all tame, from the same spot, clearly a dump.  I discovered today that a neighbour there has been feeding two cats who have just appeared, I hope it's just a coincidence and that the cat dumper isn't at it again.
Scooter, one the many kittens rescued who found homes.

Our car on any given day.
We will see what 2013 brings, there are always cats who need help.  I am grateful that I could help as many as I could and so appreciative of all those who are part of the team.  I am priviledged to know so many wonderful cat lovers who are willing to put themselves out to help.  I've had times this year when I've been exhausted and burnt out but no way am I quitting this work, when I see how the cats outside live, especially this time of the year, it only makes me more determined.

Hope all the kitties outside have found a warm spot for the night!  Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Oh my aching back

No stay at home snow days for us. It's dig, dig, dig, shovelling paths for the cats and I'm feeling it today, I'm totally crippled.  I've come to hate the snow because of the cats.  You can tell they hate the feel of it on their paws.  Feeding takes longer, it's just unpleasant all around, but only a few more months until spring.

Pseudo making his way through the snow

Me shovelling

Hank and MC in the snow

Socks and Lionel make their way
 And I just threw this photo in because I like it, all of our orange guys at home in one spot.
Time for some A5-35!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A very catty Christmas

Christmas to us means feeding cats.  After taking care of the bunch at home, we loaded up the car with food and water and headed out.  In addition to our colony, we fed three other colonies whose caregivers were away for the holidays.  I think our numbers came to 35 ferals fed yesterday.  My kind of Christmas.
MC, Pseudo and Jet enjoy their Christmas dinner

MC trying to get past the snow

Pseudo and Jet

Pseudo and Jet playing

Hank waits

Pebbles chowing down

Socks

Biffy

One of our guest colonies
Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas.  All my Christmas wishes came true this year, Frosty and Meisha found homes, and so did Checkers, now Maya, the most recent rescue.  Sounds like they are loving Maya, amazing she is so sane, I'm glad she found us.

Now if I can just get my neighbour's cat that I am taking care of in before the storm, all will be good.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Road trip

Last week Steve and I went on a road trip to Gerri's catuary to deliver some food.  Gerri has a wonderful sanctuary for cats, they all seem so happy and healthy, and she remembers all their names - I have trouble with that myself sometimes at home.

The car loaded up
Gerri kindly took in Petal, a feral I trapped earlier in the year.  She was living in a woodlot and had she been returned would not have been cared for.  Now she has a lovely outdoor enclosure with a cozy shelter and lots of food.
Petal snug in her new home
Our house has felt like a mini cat sanctuary lately, with our bunch, and Checkers in Steve's office.  Tonight our neighbour Ella took Checkers home, as long as it works out with her other cat, Checkers has a wonderful new forever home.  I already was feeling attached to her after only ten days, I am the worst foster parent.

We're looking forward to our round of Christmas feral feeding, I have a few colony feeder friends who will be away, so it will be a busy few days next week.  There's a nasty wind tonight, I think we might actually be in for some winter weather.  I've been so happy that it's been mild but with upcoming below freezing temps it will be a different story, lots of frozen food and water (and fingers) to contend with.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Home sick

I've got a miserable cold right now, just managing to get the cats fed and then back to bed.  This is the only upside to being sick.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh happy day!

Christmas came early - Meisha and Frosty, the 12 year old cats, have found homes.  I was overjoyed to hear the news.

What a journey those two had.   I felt so guilty taking them to THS but they took good care of them and most importantly, now they have homes.  Thank you to everyone who helped them and cared about them along the way and thank you to whomever adopted them and gave them a second chance.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Homes for the holidays?

Yesterday was a three for three kind of day.  It started with a trapping of Roller, this gorgeous cat who has been living outside in Regent Park for who knows how long.  I just did the trapping and transport part of this rescue, he went to be neutered and now has gone off to a foster home, and is already purring away.  Hooray for Roller, being warm and safe inside.
Checkers is all set up in Steve's office, she seems so happy to be inside, she is eating up a storm, and is so sweet and friendly.  My lovely neighbour, whose black and white female cat died last week, is considering taking her, I really hope so.  I wish I knew how she ended up at the colony.
I stopped in at the THS last night and more potential good news, Meisha, the senior Himalayan, has a hold on him, so may be going to a home soon.  More fingers crossed.  I would be so happy if that poor guy's journey ended in a new home.  In the last two months, he's been in five different places, but still is totally sweet and gentle, he was sitting on a volunteer's lap when I saw him.

I know cats don't care about Christmas, but I would love for them all to have homes for the holidays.

During times like these, I feel blessed to have the resources, skills and support to have helped these and other cats.  The rest of my life sometimes just feels like noise but it's the cat part that gets me up and makes me feel worthwhile.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Be careful what you wish for

Earlier this week I was feeling a bit odd, with my trapping and rescue plate pretty much empty.  That didn't last long.

When Steve saw a new friendly cat on Tuesday at the colony but no sign of it on Wednesday or Thursday I figured that was that, the cat was just passing through.

There the cat was, though, yesterday when I went to feed, just sitting across from the dumpsters.  I went up to it with a bowl of food and the cute black and white cat meowed at me, clearly had been someone's pet.  This time I was equipped with both a trap and a carrier but all I had to do was put the bowl of food in the carrier and in she went.

Chat, chat, chat all the way to the vet.  Turns out Checkers is a 2-3 year old female, unspayed, very sweet and friendly.  She will be spayed on Monday, that gives me time to frantically find her a foster home.

Checkers came to the right place, she is safe now!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Shakira all grown up

I just got this lovely picture today from Tricia.  She offered to foster one of the kittens from the September big dump so sight unseen I took her Shakira, an adorable little grey and white female.  Both Tricia and Tricia's cat fell in love with Shakira, so she is a member of the family now.

I love getting pictures like this!  She has gotten so big, and clearly has a friend.


Steve called me Tuesday when he was feeding the colony to tell me he saw a new cat, a black and white one who did not seem feral.  Of course he was without carrier or trap, I only hope it sticks around and we see it again and can get it out of there.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Feral photos

Life goes on, and although every day I pray for the seniors to get adopted, I have a crowd at home to feed and of course the ferals too.  Seventeen cats depend on us to show up four times a week, thankfully Tory, Michelle, Pat and Linda are taking on the other days.  No day goes by that they don't get fed, even Christmas Day.  At this time of year I'm just grateful for any day above freezing.
MC in a feeding station out of the wind

Pseudo
Pseudo and Jet have taken over poor Stubby's spot.  Stubby was already scared, now they have chased him away, and we rarely see him but the food disappears so I think he is eating and running.  I wish they could all get along, there's lots of food.
The cats at Hank's

Arrow and Socks

Pebbles

Teddy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Kleenex kind of day

I have to say that yesterday was a low point for me.  I took the seniors to the THS, I had run out of options and time.  Sandi who was fostering them left for Florida and I couldn't find another foster home.  We had a home for Meisha, the Himalayan, but he has early stage kidney disease and once the adopter read up on it she changed her mind.

Now I believe the THS is well run, they take great care of the cats, screen well and they get seen by a ton of people, but for me to have to take cats to a shelter, especially older ones, felt like a failure on my part to save them.  I did everything I could, asked everyone, but on this rescue my reach exceeded my grasp.  I guess it's also one of my nightmares to have something happen to me and my cats end up at a shelter, that's why I have made arrangements for them in my will

It was heartbreaking to put them into a cage, I cried and cried about it.  They are lovely cats though and someone will adopt them, at least they have a second chance.

Three years ago we adopted our little Allie in a similar situation.  Her owner had died and she lived in a cage at a vet's for six weeks before we found her and took her home (and she was adopted and returned in that time).  She is fifteen now and is the sweetest thing, just now has kidney disease herself.  I can't be the only person who likes older cats.

The kittens always get snapped up but older cats are great, loving and low maintenance.

I wish I knew what else to say, a lot of people tried to help and I appreciate that.

Dealing with ferals in some ways is so much easier.

Anyway, I wish with all my heart that Meisha and Frosty find homes before Christmas, if only I could have done more, I would have kept them if I could have.

Last night I just curled up on the sofa under a blanket and snuggled my kitties at home.

I don't usually share things like this, but you have to check out the photos of these semi-feral cats in Japan, I think I need to go there, looks like some TNR is needed.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/50-amazing-photos-from-cat-heaven-island-in-japan

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Last trap of the season

This week I did what I hope is my last trapping for the season.  Winter is not ideal for trapping in many ways.  I worry about the trap being too cold and holding a cat in it overnight (even in a garage) but the main concern is recovery after surgery especially for the females.  It's tough to go back out with a shaved belly when it's really cold.

I was very happy to get this brother and sister done, this way no chance of kittens in the spring.  They are around 8 months old and are being very well cared for by a lovely couple.  They have a heated cat bed and electric water bowl so should be fine for the winter.
Jekyll (the female)

Hyde (the male)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A quick adoption update

I just realized that I forgot to report that Cheddar has found his forever home.  Cheddar is the older kitten that Joanne was fostering.  A little more reserved because he was rescued later, it took a bit longer to find him a home, but he is now with a lovely retired teacher who adores him and another cat who is warming up to him.  I know Joanne misses him, but all her loving care has paid off.  Congratulations Cheddar!

Cheddar

And I just found out that two of the kittens from the seniors' balcony rescue have already been adopted.

Everyone loves kittens.  Wish it was so easy with my seniors, nothing yet, and I'm running out of time.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trapping failures

Last night I had three trapping missions scheduled, but they all were a bust.  Maria didn't get her last female, Gayle trapped the kittens who were already s/n but of course not the one we still need, and the other kittens and mom have gone AWOL and haven't been seen for days.  I don't feel good about not getting the kittens on Saturday, but not every trapping ends well.  Hopefully the mother cat just moved the kittens and we will be able to find them.  I was on a roll for a while, but there are always downturns in the trapping market.

Now that it's cold I won't do as much until spring, it's just too hard with the darkness, and it's hard on the cats, recovering after surgery and going back outside to freezing temperatures.  The trick is to get them early enough in the year before they get pregnant.  Last winter was so mild I do think it contributed to all the kittens this year.

On the plus side, Sandi and I rescued these two lovely seniors, both declawed and so affectionate.  Now they just need a home!



Saturday, November 10, 2012

100 cats!

Here is a photo of the last kitten and then the five of them reunited last night.  I was doing a tally for this year and realized that my rescue number just hit 100!  35 ferals TNRed, 13 tame adults spayed/neutered/rescued and 52 kittens rescued, since March.  Not too shabby.  I'm thankful for the opportunity and support to help all these cats.  Wow, think of all the kittens who won't have to live on the streets.  Gets me out of bed (also has me falling asleep on the sofa on a Saturday night).

Kitten #52 and cat #100 helped in 2012

The five kittens finally all together
I was out trapping again this morning, trying to get two kittens and the mother.  We had no luck with the kittens so when we caught the mother we made the tough decision to let the mother go since I haven't seen the kittens myself so am unsure of their age.  Hopefully we can get them later in the week. I keep thinking things should be winding down but kittens keep coming out of the woodwork.  What do the Marines say, we leave no man behind.

Friday, November 9, 2012

There's one more kitten!

So much for that feeling of triumph and a good night's sleep.  Jean called last night to say she heard meowing and saw a black and white kitten.  Poor thing is all alone now, I feel terrible.

I just got back from trying to trap it but no luck, will try again at dusk.  Suddenly I have way too much rescue stuff going on, other kittens to trap tomorrow, a cat to trap Sunday and hopefully some senior cats to help but I must get this last little one.  Fingers crossed I get it later today.

UPDATE: Great news, at 5:30 tonight the little guy couldn't resist the lure of sardines and we caught him (or her).  Surely that truly is the last kitten from that bunch.  What a relief.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The kittens left behind

I think I've mentioned before about my recurring nightmare that I've left kittens behind but can't remember where well that almost ended up happening.  Remember my tidy rescue from last week, momma cat and two kittens rescued?  Not so tidy after all.  I found out Tuesday night that Jean, the elderly lady, had heard kittens crying a night or two before.  Obviously there were more than two.  I felt sick knowing they were out in the cold and possibly without food for a few days since Jean had stopped putting food out thinking we got them all.  

So yesterday my wonderful husband changed a meeting and I left work early so we could get there before dark and try to find them although Jean had not seen them the night before or that day.  Sure enough, no kittens on her balcony, but we started searching the row of balconies and finally Steve spotted movement, two kittens.  I managed to charm my way into an elderly couple's apartment so I could get out on the balcony and set a trap.  This job is part detective work, part community relations.  Their apartment stank of smoke and was full of clutter but anything for the cats.  After a few minutes they grew tired of me hanging around so I was about to pack up and move my trap when I saw the door was down and best of all, both kittens were inside.  A fist pumping moment!


Heather had already so kindly agreed to take these guys so last night they joined their siblings in warmth and safety.

I'm still coming down from my cat rescuer's high today, I felt so good knowing they wouldn't be out on these cold nights, starving, and crying for their mother.  Many days I feel frustration and disappointment with other aspects of my life, but not the cat rescue part.  That I can feel great about and I went to sleep last night much more relaxed than the night before.  Oh, and momma cat is now spayed and vetted and has settled in wonderfully to her new home!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A very good rescue day

Well yesterday was a very good rescue day but unfortunately didn't allow for time to take good pictures.

A couple of days ago Tory called me to say an elderly woman she had met had a mother cat and kittens move onto her balcony.  She was quite distressed and didn't know what to do.  I checked things out and found a very friendly tabby momma and two cute but scared kittens, probably 7-8 weeks old.  Thankfully things worked out very well and Heather from TCR agreed to take the kittens and Tory's boss said she would adopt momma as her own cat had just died.

So yesterday I just needed to secure everyone.  Well it's sometimes easier said than done.  When I arrived momma wasn't there but the kittens were.  I couldn't get close enough to grab them so set up my trap.  I got one kitten immediately but the other ran off.  Momma came back and she was easy, into a carrier with a bit of Fancy Feast.  One kitten left, and we waited and waited.  Two hours later no luck.  We discovered the kitten was huddled in a chair, terrified to be left alone, so team Tory and I took the trap to the kitten and managed to nudge her in.  Hooray, three females off the streets, and into the warmth.  Momma went to the vet, kittens went to Heather, and that project is done.  Wish they could all be so easy.

Kitten safe at Heather's, the other is hiding behind

Momma cat on the way to the vet

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Out of the cold

You may remember these first two photos.  It was six weeks ago that I found that gaggle of kittens clearly abandoned or dumped, hungry and huddled under bushes.  We rescued them all and most have found homes, with just a few left in foster homes.  I still can't figure out why they were dumped, they are all lovely cats, but I'm so glad they were rescued and aren't outside on a day like this.
Scooter before

Dory (the middle one) before

Scooter, Dory and their new best friend after

Safe, warm, dry - and loved

I'm off to feed my ferals after work, I'm sure they stayed in somewhere last night, but I always feel for them in this kind of weather, and it will only get worse before it gets better.