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!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday update

Friday's status update: Phoebe/Petunia is hanging out in Steve's office for now, pretty low maintenance, Tammy/Cola is at my niece's.  I was stressed out yesterday to hear that she and my niece's roommate's cat were not getting along, fighting and Cola was hiding.  Hopefully that will sort itself out.

Joanne had a breakthrough with Cheddar, she can now pick him up and put him on her lap and he purrs so no way he is going back.  Now to find him a good foster home.

And fantastic news, Connie has decided to keep Cinder, the older black kitten rescued in July.  All three of those kittens from that spot now have homes.

So where yesterday I felt despairing, today I feel like things are at least temporarily under control.

I'm looking forward to feeding our colony this weekend, I haven't seen them since Sunday.

I've pretty much outsourced next week's trapping, have three different trappers lined up at various locations.  Geez, I've become management.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Who says I can't juggle

Where did I put that spreadsheet?  I'm desperately trying to find spots for all these cats that need foster homes, Petunia/Phoebe came home with me last night and has gone into Steve's office, but needs to go somewhere without other cats, Tammy the tabby went home with Siobhan my niece and Cheddar is still at Joanne's.  I keep sending emails, working it, and I have some options, just have to get all the pieces to fit.

Yesterday was a marathon day, up at 5:30, drove to Scarborough to get irresponsible owner's three cats, drove back home, got Petunia, drove back to Scarborough to the vet, dropped them off, went to work, then had a great break by doing Edgewalk at the CN Tower and didn't die, even better.  Siobhan and I then drove back to Scarborough, picked up the cats, returned 2, she took Tammy the tabby and I took Petunia.  Whew.

Four cats spayed, that's fantastic, well not fantastic for my visa card but that's ok, I'll figure that out too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some days I just don't know...

Maria called me to tell me that she saw a cat dead by the side of the road near her place and thinks it was Hippo, and he hasn't been around.  I can't tell you how sad that makes me.  Hippo was one of her ferals that had the injury from a wire wrapped around him and it took over $1000 and three weeks at the vet to get him healed and now it seems he has been hit by a car, so tragic and so frustrating, that poor cat went through way too much.  I told Maria this is why we keep going, why we TNR them, why we rescue the kittens but I know how she feels, they become like your own cats.

Hippo when he was trapped
I will focus instead on what needs to be done.  This cutie, Cheddar needs a foster/socialization home and I have 4 cats at the vets today.
Cheddar in the sink
I still have old Petunia needing a spot, I have an irresponsible owner's three cats being spayed today, one of whom I am going to re-home since in his words "I gots to rid of this one" and if I don't take her, lord knows where she will end up, she is a friendly brown and white tabby.

My cat loving niece and I are doing the CN Tower Edgewalk this afternoon, maybe I will be so terrified I won't think about my cat problems for a few minutes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Finally I sit down

It's taken me until today to find time to sit down at the computer and update my blog.

Thursday night Ian and I did the tiresome commute to Weston and Lawrence for more trapping.  Much to his shame, we stopped at KFC to get bait, luckily no one we knew saw us.

Again, in a short period of time, we caught the last kitten, but momma was nowhere to be seen.  A talkative truck driver told us there was a woman across the street who used to feed them there and when we went over there was momma, but no luck trapping her.  Sadly, at the same time, we returned one of the fluffy orange kittens, he just wasn't taming and at his age it would have been an uphill battle.  There is still hope for his friendlier brother Cheddar.
The kitten skulks around the trap

But he can't resist the KFC
Gayle from Scarborough also did her first trapping that same night and amazingly, got the mother cat, now we will have to work on the kittens.  Robin the calico also got spayed on Friday so it was a full carload.  I'm always happy when I fill all my appointments.

On Saturday I did my first adoptathon for Toronto Cat Rescue at Global Pet Foods on the Danforth.  Donna and the staff were great and we found homes for four kittens.  It was a fun and exhausting but ultimately very rewarding day.
My first adoptathon

All the kitties in the window, they were very popular

Paddington, one of the kittens who got adopted, he will be a handful.
Sunday we fed our ferals and I'm posting this picture as a reminder of why I do all this, so no more have to live like this, next to a dumpster, lying on garbage.
It can be infuriating talking to some people about cats, I talked to a guy today near our colony who moved his pet cat to an industrial area and lets her outside.  Of course she isn't spayed and had kittens but surprise, they have disappeared, probably eaten by coyotes.  I hope I can at least get that poor cat fixed.

There are a lot of ups and down in the cat rescue business, but every cat I get fixed or find a home for is an up.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Over quota

I had to laugh this morning when I went to check my email and it said over quota.

What an apt description of my situation.  I've clearly taken on more than I can handle but I'm taking some deep breaths, Joanne says it will all work out, she is a good calming influence on me.

I guess I am a victim of my own compassion and to some extent ambition.  I'm doing the classic of over-rescuing.  It's just so hard to say no to a cat in need.  Everyone else in rescue is overstretched too so I can't call in a temp.

One thing at a time.  That sweet little cat is safe instead of outside and tonight off to do some trapping, try to wrap up one colony, that would be sweet, because that commute is killing me.  It was a three hour roundtrip the other night, time I could be spending rescuing instead of driving LOL.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm over my head, maybe even drowning

Guess where I was at 7 a.m. this morning?  Allen Gardens rescuing this cutie.  Jackie called me yesterday about a kitten who had been hanging around the back there for the last week or so.  As soon as I saw her, I thought oh I have to get her out of here.  Friendly as friendly can be, skinny, dirty, maybe 5 or 6 months old.

I scooped her into a carrier and now she's in my laundry room.  I've exhausted all my foster homes and didn't know what else to do.  There are some cats that just cry out help me and she was one of them.  The only problem so far is that she was hissing and growling at one of my cats on the other side of the door, I've got trouble if she doesn't like other cats.

Petunia, now safe.

Isn't she a sweetheart, this is just minutes after arriving at my house
Every day I spend most of my time trying to figure out where all these cats will go, the rest driving, and the tiny slice left hoping against hope I don't get any more emails or phone calls.

Wednesday evening update:  I think she's not a kitten, but an old cat!  Still doesn't like other cats, though.  I would keep her in a second if she did, she is so lovely.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A cat rescuer's nightmare

I considered not posting about this but one of the points of this blog is to show the reality of caring for feral cats, and rescuing cats.

Today we face a cat rescuer's nightmare.  My calico namesake, who was staying at Ian's before being spayed Friday, broke through the screen last night and escaped.  Odd, because she had been calm and seemed friendly and happy.

I am just sick about this, she's out in an unfamiliar territory, unspayed, possibly pregnant, maybe looking for her kittens.

Ian is in the process of putting up posters and looking for her.  Tonight we will put out a trap too.  We can only hope she is nearby hiding, and that hunger will bring her in.

Please God, bring her back to us.  I can't bear the responsibility of her being out on the street just days after she was rescued.

This is one of those days where I just want to curl up in a ball and retire from the cat rescue thing altogether.

Update: Robin the calico is in Ian's yard!! Now we just have to bring her in somehow.

9 p.m. Tuesday update:  Hooray, the calico is secured!  We used the drop trap and she went right under.  What a relief.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gas station rescue completed!

Boy, I sounded tired in yesterday's post.  Today I feel energized and ready to take on my multitude of cats.  I think I may need an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of where everyone is, where they need to go, who needs to be trapped.

I'm especially excited because my new best cat friend, Ian, and I managed to complete the gas station rescue yesterday.  Within 15 minutes we trapped the kitten, then it was just a matter of getting momma. She is friendly but skittish, and wanted nothing to do with the trap.  We put Fancy Feast inside the carrier, and as she slowly entered it to eat Ian crept closer and closer and with lightning reflexes managed to close the door on her.  She is now safe and waiting to be spayed.  

Connie's husband Mike joked that they are going to get call display so they won't pick up my calls, I'm a little worried he is serious.  But how do you turn away from this cute little face?

Last gas station kitten trapped

Settled in a few minutes later

The calico mom (who Ian has named Robin)
I'm also excited because I'm running an adoptathon at Global Pet Foods at 243 Danforth Avenue this Saturday August 25 through Toronto Cat Rescue.  It is the first one at the store and there will be lots of adorable cats and kittens looking for homes.  Not these guys, it's a little too soon for them, but many more who were also rescued.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Confessions of a cat rescuer addict

Actually this should more aptly be entitled the cat rescuer's dilemma.  Today I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of situations I have on the go.  I have ferals needing to be trapped, a kitten needing to be rescued, young kittens and older kittens needing socialization foster homes, and now tame cats that are in need of rescuing.

I struggle with knowing when to draw the line, when, if ever, to say I can't help anymore.  I don't want to be the person who says that when there are cats in need, but it is struggle to find places for them all, and I don't want to burn out my wonderful network, or bankrupt myself.

I got involved with a feral colony because I didn't want to be involved with finding cats home, but it seems to be an inevitable by-product, you find kittens or adults who are tame.

When I worked in film, saying you couldn't do something was never an option, you always solved the problem, and I guess I use that motto a little too much sometimes in my cat rescuing, I keep scheming, how can I help these ones too.  It is endless though, this movie never wraps.

Ian and I are off to Scarborough again later, hopefully tomorrow I can post pictures of the mom and kitten rescued, fingers crossed.

One thing at a time....

Friday, August 17, 2012

The catch of the day is kittens

It was another busy episode of Cat Trappers this week.  Tuesday night I headed to Weston and Lawrence with a crew (Alex, Ian, Isabella and Mike).  Our goal was to trap a mom and 3 older kittens living in a parking lot.  Almost immediately we got two kittens but then the other two took off so I sent half the crew down the road to Isabella's little colony.  They made short work of catching two older orange kittens and that was it for the day.

They all turned out to be males and are at Joanne's.  We are hoping maybe some of them can be socialized, I think there is hope for Cheddar and Mango, the orange ones.

Cheddar and Mango, four month old males

The tabby brothers, pretty scared
Thursday I got an email from Ian about two female cats in Scarborough.  Turned out there was a litter of kittens to contend with, living under a dumpster at a busy gas station.  What could we do?  They were too young and cute to leave behind.  I managed to scoop two, trap the third, but couldn't get the last one.  We'll go back tonight for it and for mom, who is actually kind of tame.
Gas station kittens

Last night I had nightmares that I had forgotten to get a kitten but couldn't quite remember where.  My back hurts from crouching beside a dumpster and my own cats are meowing at me for breakfast.  You know what they say about the shoemaker's children.  Hold on guys, I'm coming.  They need me too.

And because our car is leased, and has to be returned soon, today it's being inspected, so somehow I have to get the smell of sardines out of it and find all the tiny bits of cat food under the seats.  Guess I should take the carriers and traps out too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

24 hours and 4 kittens saved!

In 24 hours four kittens were rescued from Maria's, on their way to a wonderful new life.  Last night's superstars were Maria, who trapped one, and grabbed the other two kittens, Kelly who drove them from west to east, Connie who took them in, and Heather from TCR who agreed to foster them.  The kitten who was caught the night before was so happy to see its siblings.
Here are the other three kittens, freshly rescued
 I'm a little behind on posting pics, here are some from the weekend.
Carla the calico being released at Maria's

This is a Maria cat, he is adorable, if he had been rescued as a kitten he would have been a great pet

A hungry UB at our colony

All lined up to eat at Hank's

Just a nice shot of MC

Foster kitten Nellie playing a cat game on the IPad, who knew

Her sister, foster kitten Stella
Tonight I'm headed northwest to trap a mom and three older kittens, well that is the goal, and take in a tame young male to be neutered too.  Now I just have to find a foster home for him....one thing at a time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Look what the cat dragged in

I thought it was just going to be a release.  We took the female that Maria trapped back yesterday after her recovery.  As I walked into the yard, what did I see, a clump of kittens sleeping.  Of course, they took off but later we managed to get one, this adorable little thing.  God bless Connie, I love that I called her and said I found kittens and she said bring them over.

He or she cried all the way to Connie's.  I think little Charlie is only about four weeks old.
Now we still have to trap the others, there are at least two more, maybe three.  The great thing about getting them this young is they really haven't had time to become feral.  This kitten will surely find a great home.

I feel like I have kittens everywhere right now, Nellie and Stella at Janice's, Cinder and now Charlie at Connie's, and Alex caught the tame cat at Wendell and Pellatt, still don't know where he is going to go. Yikes, too many cats, not enough homes.  Bottom line is, though, you can't leave cats like that behind, especially knowing as well as I do what their future would hold.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Right back at it

Vacation is over, time to get back to work.  First order of business was to release Lionel after his 10 days of R & R.  He was very happy to be home.

 Back to scooping out cat food, it was nice to see the cats, although I didn't miss the grime and flies.
Jo has been AWOL for three days now.  I don't know where she is, I hope she's ok, she's actually the youngest of the whole bunch.
 Biffy continues to look good.
 And Stubby truly is a handsome boy, I love the orange cats.
I'll be picking up Madge tonight after her 10 days of quarantine, thankfully no rabies.  Both she and the vet will be glad for her to be released, she hasn't been the best guest.

Amazingly, Maria managed to trap another female, so this morning I hit the road at 6:30 to pick her up and take her to the clinic.  In five months we've TNRed 7 females and 10 males there, and rescued 13 kittens, what a huge change.  Just two more females and a couple more males to go.  How wonderful it will be when they are done.  It's been a lot of work but I know we've saved many cats and Maria has stayed committed and become quite the trapper on her own.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

For better or for worse

I've been away for a few days and although it's been nice having a break, I'm anxious to see my charges.

I was thinking that caring for a feral colony is kind of like marriage in a way.  When I met my husband Steve 19 years ago I thought he was great but didn't immediately think I would spend my life with him, it just evolved and grew, we married after 10 years together and now of course I can't imagine my life without him.

When I started feeding the Cherry Street cats, I didn't have an intention, just wanted to help out, started by feeding one day a week, now it's 2 - 4 days a week plus all the management of the colony.  And somehow out of that I've made a commitment to these cats, that I will care of them until they are all gone, until death do us part.  

I have to thank Joanne for sorting out Madge and Lionel when I was away.

I'm working on organizing another TNR project (of course an hour drive from me).  Three older kittens and a couple of adults are living in a shed in a parking lot and this guy too.  Apparently he is tame, is desperate for affection, oh boy, now I have to figure out what to do with him too.

At least I'm well rested...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sometimes it's not quite that simple

There is always something new to learn in cat rescue.  Madge is now under quarantine until next week. Since she bit someone, Public Health got involved, and she has to be observed to make sure she doesn't have rabies, and to prevent Joanne's poor husband from having to have rabies shots unnecessarily.  Bad enough the man has to be on antibiotics.  Adult cat bites can be very nasty and some people are hospitalized from them.

Cinder is doing really well with Connie, http://boomerandteikas.blogspot.ca/, now the challenge will be finding another black kitten a home.

I still have two west end colonies to complete TNRing, and am making plans to tackle another small one even farther afield, got to go where the need is.