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, March 28, 2013

The cats of DD

OK, today I am a tired gladiator.  My day started at 7 a.m. yesterday trapping, ended at 11 p.m. when I got back home after dropping off cats at Raven's for recovery, but I can't complain, all the vets and volunteers at last night's clinic worked so hard, they spayed and neutered over 50 cats.  20 were from one apartment and there is still more.

My afternoon of trapping at DD didn't start well at all, no sign of any cats.  So I wandered off to do PI work, and discovered the cats were hanging out in a yard around the corner.  Mary from the colony across the street had joined me for trapping so she put one trap in the yard and I stayed with the one under the truck and just as I was about to have to pack up to make it to the clinic, boom, in went a cat in the yard.  I discovered later that evening that she was, as I suspected, female and pregnant.  I hate the spay aborts but it's for the best.  That's four cats done from this colony so far, three females.  I still have more to trap but they are a tough bunch.
Ava, trapped last night
Angie, fluffy brown tabby, trapped Monday night
Still to be trapped, and I worry she is pregnant 
One of Mary's cats, already fixed
Still to be done
And yet another - no ear tip there
So not a bad week, two females and one male TNRed.  I've managed to get Jersey into THS where they will be able to monitor his leg, so that's a good thing.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm a gladiator

This crazy hobby/volunteer job/vocation has lots of ups and down.

On Monday I scrambled and found more recovery space so went back out trapping and got a pretty little fluffy tabby who turned out to be female (and pregnant, sigh).  Thank you Joanne and Raven for doing recovery for me, I couldn't trap without having that.

This morning I met a lovely woman named Jeannie who has been feeding a feral for a year and we were able to trap him in about five minutes, I wish they could all be like that.  Plus she gave me a donation, how sweet.

I'm going back out this afternoon to try to get one more of the elusive DD cats, I can't figure out why they are so hard to trap.  The guy who lives next door to the raw meat filled dumpster parking lot where we feed isn't happy we are feeding the cats.  He would like them to go away.  I tried to explain it's not that simple.

Part of this job is community relations and social work too.

Sandi also sent me a donation so that , in addition to Jeannie's, will help offset last week's vet bills.  I'm trying to get Jersey into THS, he's still not putting weight on that hind leg, and after an x-ray and bloodwork, I'm not sure what else to do, he needs to be monitored by a vet.

At the end of my busy days I like to curl up on the sofa, ideally with a cat or two or three and watch TV, lose myself in other people's problems that don't concern cats.

I was watching Scandal last week and one of the characters was talking about being a gladiator, gladiators don't have feelings, we rush into battle, we're soldiers, we get hurt in the fight we suck it up and we hold it down we don't question.

I liked that quote and I thought being a cat rescuer is like being a gladiator, some people are appreciative of what we do, some people hate cats, but every day we get back up and try to save as many as we can, we don't win every fight, or are able to rescue or trap every cat, but we try.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Where to start

Where do I start?  Another crazy weekend of all cats all the time.

On Friday it was all aboard the tom cat train.  I loaded up the car with four un-neutered males and 12 hours and several hundred dollars later my missions for the day were done.  Emmett, the 22 pound daddy of god knows how many kittens is at the end of his fathering career, one kitten mill shut down.
Emmett's last children 
Emmett, all 22 pounds of him
Liam showed up a few weeks ago in someone's yard, he clearly had a home (who hadn't bothered to neuter him and wasn't looking for him).  Handsome Liam went to a foster home Friday evening and waltzed right out of the carrier, chatting and friendly, doesn't he look comfortable.
Liam in his foster home
I also took in Bella, another male fathering numerous kittens, and ended up with Jersey as well, who I thought was feral but not so.  Jersey however couldn't walk on his back leg so he's at Joanne's recovering and seems adoptable so good news for him.  He was out on the streets for a quite a while.

I thought the rest of the weekend would be quiet but then Anne's email arrived about dumped cats in Regent Park so Lesley and I met her there on Sunday morning.  We found three very frightened cats who we couldn't get near but were incredibly easy to trap.  Lesley took them home, they aren't feral, but unfortunately she can't get near them as of yet.
Regent Park cat
Regent Park cat
Regent Park cat
And now I'm short on recovery space for this week, the Regent Park cats are taking up three spots and Jersey is taking up one, I have lots of appointments but nowhere to recover them.  It's frustrating, I know there will be kittens born because of this, but how do you determine the priorities, they all need help right away.

That's why I loved getting this photo from my neighbour Ella with Checkers now Maya and her other cat now getting along.  Checkers/Maya was found at our colony in December and how she has a wonderful home.   I have to constantly remind myself of the amount of cats I've helped, because the ones needing help is endless and I can only do what I can do.
Masamichi and Maya
I already feel broke and burnt out and it's not even April.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Success stories

Joanne emailed me to say that she read this lovely writeup about Frosty in the success stories section of the THS website.

In Mid-December, 2012 my husband and myself went to the Toronto Humane Society to adopt a cat.  We were looking for an older cat to add to our family of two other senior cats and three children.  We met Neige (formerly Frosty) in the cat room.  She is a beautiful white 12 year old cat, with a lot of personality!  She is very affectionate, talkative and loves to nap on your knees for as long as possible.  She still enjoys playing with cat toys and loves to drink water from the bathroom sink first thing in the morning and will meow her head off if she doesn’t get what she wants!  She has fit in beautifully with our other two cats and she loves our three kids.  If you are thinking of adopting a pet, give an older pet the opportunity for a loving home for their golden years, you will be rewarded with lots of love and appreciation.

Reading that brought tears to my eyes.  Frosty and Meisha were two older cats that we saved from euthanasia and I took to THS even though I found it heartwrenching to do so.  They were both adopted in weeks though and clearly Frosty has a fantastic home, I'm sure Meisha does too.

As an independent cat rescuer, I'm so grateful to all the organizations who help me find homes for cats, The Toronto Humane Society, Toronto Cat Rescue and Annex Cat Rescue.  They are all amazing, and the whole point is to get them into forever homes as soon as possible.  I've learned that I have limitations in that respect, I've pretty much exhausted my network, but clearly there are lots of good homes for cats, you just have to access them.

I'm happy to report that Mandy, who was recently trapped at a colony, but turned out to be tame, was adopted at THS within 24 hours of arriving there.  

Jennifer and I are doing a presentation tonight at the Riverdale Library on feral cats, I have to admit I'm a bit nervous, but I'm sure we will be fine (fingers crossed).

Monday, March 18, 2013

The sign said Free Kittens

It's the sign you never want to see, the bane of every cat rescuer: Free kittens, please knock.  I walked up to door where the hand scrawled sign was, and based on the appearance of the place, wished I had told somebody where I was going.  I took a deep breath and knocked.  A woman in a tank top and pyjama pants surrounded by children answered the door and when I asked about the kittens brought them into the entryway to show me.  No questions asked, she was just ready to hand them over.
I explained I did cat rescue and would take all six and find them good homes.  Thankfully they were all cute and friendly.  Of course no way was I going to walk away without finding out about the mom.  Turns out there are two females and a male in the house and the other female had kittens a week ago.

Inner sigh, but I said I would help and take the male this week to be neutered as a start and would take the other kittens as soon as they were old enough.  Then we will figure out the females, deja vu from the other day.  These situations must be everywhere, and there is no easy way to solve them.  I just try to take it one at a time and do what I can.

At least this bunch will all get spayed and neutered before they go to homes.  So adorable!

Friday, March 15, 2013

This week's haul

Wednesday night I was back trapping at the new colony.  We got two older kittens right away and then of course a guy showed up and proceeded to fix his car right there so that scared the rest off.  I think there may still be two pregnant females, argh, but these cats are proving harder to trap than I expected.

Still, we got a male and a female, about 5-6 months old.

Byron, the male kitten, Shelley was too shy for photos
Yesterday Denise and I went to visit a woman she met at the food bank who used to have many cats.  Now she has four females and one male, all unfixed so of course she also has three litters of kittens, somewhere between a few days and weeks old, she's not exactly sure.  She wants to keep the adults but thankfully is willing to give up the kittens as soon as they are old enough.  As a start, I'm going to take the tom cat to be neutered this week so at least there aren't more kittens.
Big tom cat, daddy to many

One litter of kittens

Two mommas together with the kittens
It's a real problem, many people don't have the money to fix their cats, even at the low cost THS spay neuter clinic, and so the cycle goes on.  I wish I had the money to fix everyone's cats but I don't, so I just have to figure out how to do the best I can with this situation.

Oddly, this woman lives just down the block from where I found those 12 kittens and 3 adults last fall who were clearly dumped.  I have strong suspicions that is was her, she used to have way more cats, and all the cats she still has are grey and look very similar.  Wouldn't that be quite the coincidence, if you can call it that.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Socks goes walkabout

Socks is one of the regulars at the colony so when we didn't appear on Thursday, or Friday and not on Saturday, we began to worry.

Steve and I searched high and low yesterday, climbing onto boats, checking every shelter, under buildings, even checked the water.  No Socks.  I feared the worst.  Saddened, we went off to buy groceries, and decided to check once more on our way home.  There was Socks!  He seemed not quite himself so clearly something had been going on with him.  I was so relieved.

And we solved the mystery of why there is never any water at Harry's.  We caught Harry red-handed taking the cats' water for himself.  Being Harry, he lied and said he was taking it to give to other cats.  I know he's not all there, but I was angry, the cats need water and often go first to it when we come, no wonder.  I think he is also taking their food and mixing up the canned and dry and putting it back later to make it look as if he's doing something.  I was just frustrated that twice a week I spend my time in a fast food lineup to bring him a meal, and buy things for him, do his taxes, help him with his pension, and he does this, but I have to remind myself there is a reason he is living alone in a dry docked boat.

I'm just trying to keep these cats alive and as well as I can.  It's the people in this cat business that are maddening, never the cats.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Oh Mandy

Trapping totals for the week: eight cats.  Jessica managed to get three more from her Scarborough colony, seven there, five males and two females (both of whom were pregnant).

Closer to home, at the DD colony, I only got the one girl (also pregnant) who I've named Mandy.  Turns out Mandy is not at all feral, in recovery at Joanne's she showed her true colours, purring away and happy to be patted.  Time for a new life for Mandy, no more outside eating raw meat behind dumpsters.

Mandy in the trap

It's always a double edged sword when they turn out to be tame, it's great but it means finding a foster home and then a home.

Today I fed at my colony plus two others, also tried to find a mother cat and kittens who were seen yesterday just around the corner from my colony.  Oh, and took four of my cats to the vet and picked up shelters for the Scarborough colony.  All cat stuff all the time.  Time for a drink and a movie.

It feels like it's way too early for all these pregnant cats, didn't we have a hard winter, it sure felt like it.  I hate spay aborts but hate the alternative way worse.

My resolution for this year in order to help as many cats as I can and come out the other side is stick to my geographic region, the travel time doing Maria's colony last year killed me.

I loved the feel of spring today but that means it's kitten season, god help us all.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

1 hour, 4 cats, 0 pictures

I'm not a morning person but today I left my house at 6:30 to trap cats, what else.  I did however forget my camera so no photos to share.  It's hard to take pictures while trapping anyway.

The good news is that we quickly trapped four out of six cats.  I had hoped for all but the trapping process scared the last two away, we'll get them.  I also found more cats around the corner that need to be trapped.

Last night I was in Scarborough as well, dealing with two older kittens dumped in a park.  After a couple of nights of trying, they came inside and are now at the vet.  They clearly aren't feral but certainly traumatized by their experience.

In a few hours from now I'm off to try to trap the two pregnant cats at the newly discovered colony.

I already feel exhausted, and if I get those two they have to be at the clinic by 7:30 a.m.  Oi as my friend Janice would say.  My cats at home are not happy with these early mornings of mine, means they have to wait for papa to get up and feed them.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Down and out

Sorry, these aren't great pictures, I didn't have my photographer with me.  A colony caretaker I know discovered a group of cats living in a parking lot surrounded by garbage.  It's truly disgusting, bags of garbage everywhere, raw meat on the ground and a dumpster full of it.

There are 5 or 6 grimy looking cats, the tom cat looks rough and two of them look pregnant.   My trapping list has gotten very long, Scarborough tomorrow morning, these guys tomorrow night.  I need to clone myself.

To leave you on a happier note, here is a picture Kathy sent of me of the six kittens who were born last night to the pregnant cat she took in (see last week's post).  A great life is in store for them I'm sure.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Why the long wait?

Why is Flossy still waiting for a forever home after almost a year and a half in a foster home?  Flossy was one of my rescues.  She was living in a colony at Dufferin and Eglinton.  We caught her with the intention of TNRing her, turned out she was friendly so Lisa Marie kindly agreed to take her in and has done an amazing job with her, Flossy has become a real love bug.  It seems the only reason she hasn't been adopted is that she has food allergies and needs a special diet.  It's no more expensive than good quality food.  Who could resist this cat?  Won't somebody give Flossy a home of her own?

On other fronts, all hell has broken loose.  Dumped kittens in Scarborough, a hoarder with unfixed cats, a new colony with pregnant cats, plus I have a whole colony to trap this week.

Not to mention that my job is a bit tense right now, wish I could do the cat thing full time.

Deep breaths needed this week!