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 27, 2014

Let sleeping cats lie

After my last sad post, it's time for some shots of rescued cats happily asleep, safe and warm...these are their stories.
Ernie was abandoned last February, his people moved and left him outside along with a couple of other cats.  I took two to THS for medical treatment they were adopted.  The woman who found them was going to keep Ernie but decided she couldn't afford to.  I took him home to foster but we immediately feel madly in love with him, he's my heart cat.

Scooter was found outside as a kitten in September of 2012 along with 12 other kittens of various ages and a few adults, behind an apartment building, clearly dumped.
Pebbles was rescued as a feral kitten 13 years ago, I was feeding her mom and a couple of other feral cats (my first experience) ironically very near my current colony.  We didn't do a great job of socialization, there weren't as many resources then, but she's a lovely cat.
Apollo or Paolo or Polly as he's now called, was part of a large colony I TNRed in 2013, very near where I live.  His mom gave birth in the yard in a carrier.  Kindly Jenny took the whole litter in where they grew up, then Michelle fostered them.  Polly was adopted and then returned, and then came to live with us.
Molly is a rejected Ragdoll, in fact she's the opposite of a ragdoll, she curls into a ball when you pick her up.
Maggie was living at the colony, but I brought her in three winters ago, she was living alone in a dangerous part and I just couldn't stand it anymore.  She would probably be classified as semi-feral but she adores me, and is happy to lie in front of the fire.
Dory is Scooter's sister, also dumped. 
Bunny was living in a colony behind Marineland in Niagara Falls until January of this year.  She's still under a year old.  She started out very shy but now she's part of the gang playing with the others, and seems so happy.
Buddy was a part of a group of cats I TNRed in 2011 I think.  With Buddy we picked him right up though and he purred and kneaded with his paws in the carrier.  I immediately fell in love with him.  Poor guy had a terrible URI and had to have teeth extracted.  We still don't know how old he is, based on his teeth the vets said 3-5 years but once he got fixed up he had the energy of a young cat.  He is a sweetheart and is the ambassador of the house, greeting all the newcomers, he loves kittens.
Blinky is our one eyed guy (the third one-eyed cat we've had).  He was found as a kitten with a ruptured eyeball.  He loves to play and will come into bed and can be snuggled like a teddybear.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

RIP Pebbles

Pebbles has been missing for almost two months and we pretty much knew he was gone but yesterday sadly I received confirmation that he is dead.  There is a musician who lives there in a trailer and he told me yesterday that he found him a few weeks ago in the cab of the trailer.  I know at one point the window was open a bit and the cats would go in and then he sealed it up.  What I don't know if whether he went in there to die and got sealed in or got sealed in and died.  I just hope he didn't suffer.  The last time we saw him in early February he didn't look that good but Pebbles was so feral you couldn't get close at all.

In fact, I don't even know if Pebbles was male or female, I've always said he, but he was one of the originals that Sandi and Tory were feeding when they found the cats in 2007 and he was trapped before I got involved.  He would often hang out with Arrow.

I was upset that the guy didn't tell me for weeks and that he just threw his body into a dumpster.  For us, those cats are family.  Five years now I've been feeding and I love them all.  At least I know what happened to him and at least he was cared for, he lived longer than many cats on the streets.

RIP Pebbles, I'm sure it's warm where ever you are now over the Rainbow Bridge, and the food is plentiful and never gets eaten by raccoons.

This is one of the hardest parts of this, knowing that at some point you will have to say goodbye to each of these cats.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thirteen years worth of kittens

I've been helping a woman on social assistance who used to have many many cats but now just has three, one of them is a 13 year old cat who has had litter after litter her whole life since she also has a male she refuses to neuter.  It sounds like she had a few litters a year, and they used to take the kittens to No Frills to find them homes.  Ginger had one kitten a few weeks ago who sadly died, so on Friday I took Ginger to the vet to be spayed, it's about time that poor cat has a break.  Lori also had the CH kitty, who went to Special Ones Rescue.  She kept one kitten from a previous litter, and I took him with Ginger and got him neutered.  So that situation is taken care of, I can check it off and move on, glad there won't be any more kittens there.

I have to admit I felt a bit annoyed when I went Friday morning to pick them up, I had already been up for a while taking care of my cats, and doing my catsitting, and there they were in their robes watching their TV much bigger than mine, and here I was spending hours taking their cats to the vet to be fixed and paying for it, but it's about the cats, and if I didn't do, it wouldn't have happened, that much I know for sure.  It might be time for a bit of an outreach break, it can be financially and emotionally draining.  Clearly I'm not cut out for social work.  I still have a few cats to neuter at Colleen's, and she does call me saying she's run out of food periodically, but I don't have any more ongoing projects.  Besides, it's time to deal with the outside cats, I've got trapping booked for this week.

On the way to the vet
I've been catsitting a lovely older polydactyl named Puss.  His person is away for two weeks so I go twice a day to take care of him, it seems like a vacation taking care of only one cat after my routine at home.
The Keiko saga goes on, she was returned to Rick on Thursday evening, who took her back with open arms.  On Friday I got an email from Andrew saying he had changed his mind again and wanted her back.  Rick and I consulted and decided no, she can't keep bouncing around, cats aren't sweaters that you try on and return.  Her next home needs to be a forever one.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The kindness of strangers

I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who donated money or food recently.  Amazingly, thanks to everyone's generosity, I have enough money to buy six month's worth of food for the ferals.  I've received money from many people who I don't even know, and I truly appreciate it.

It's been a hard winter for all of us creatures, and I have felt weary many times, but am buoyed by this outpouring of support.  In the last five years since I got involved with ferals and with cat rescue, I have met or spoke to or emailed with so many wonderful people, and there is such a great community of cat lovers out there.  Almost all of the people I deal with are people I didn't know before this, but we are all bound by the love of cats and wanting to help them.

There's certainly a degree of trust involved sending money to a stranger, I'm not a registered charity, and I'm aware of that, and take it very seriously.  I feel that responsibility to spend the money wisely, I keep track of all my expenses and watch all the sales for cat food, and try to get the best vet care for the best rates.  Literally every cent goes towards the cats.

So I thank you and Teddy thanks you, and Stubby and Hank and Sally, and all of the cats whose bellies are full tonight.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


My heart sank this morning when I got an email from Andrew saying that he had to return Keiko, that he's not ready to have a cat, the old it's not you it's me story.  So sadly he is bringing Keiko back tonight.  Rick, his foster dad, is great, and is happily accepting her back.

That's two returns recently and both so quickly.  I feel like in both cases they didn't give it enough time but once people's minds are made up no sense trying to change it, better to find another home for the cats.  The most important thing is that it's the right home and a forever one.

Kempo went home last weekend and then had to go back to the vet this week when he wasn't eating.  Of course at the vet he's been eating just fine, maybe he likes it better there than at his home or just prefers the food.

Tomorrow I take the 13 year old cat to be spayed, hope all goes well, I'm nervous about a cat that old having surgery, but it's about time she stopped having kittens.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Keiko has left the building

Last September Jackie asked me to feed her ferals, who are near our colony.  I showed up to do just that and a little black cat ran up to me meowing.  I thought well you aren't a feral cat, but we didn't have a carrier with us and she was gone when we went back.  The next day Steve went back and there she was again so he scooped her up and off to the vet she went.  She went briefly to a foster home then to Ian's, but when she didn't get along with his cats, we found another foster for her.  I guess when I didn't get a bio or photos I secretly hoped he would adopt her but no, it was just another way station for Keiko.

We posted her just recently on Urban Cat Relief http://www.ucrcats.com/ and amazingly in just one week she had an inquiry.  A lovely man named Andrew came and met her and spent about 45 minutes visiting.  At the end when he wanted to think about it I thought that was that but a day later he called to say he wanted to adopt Keiko and tonight he came to pick her up.  It's his first cat on his own, fingers crossed it works out well and she is finally in her forever home.

Good luck, Keiko, so glad you didn't have to spend the winter down there, you wouldn't have survived.  It's just sunny windowsills and food a plenty for you beautiful girl.

Thank you to all who have recently donated to my sponsor a feral campaign!  I am truly grateful for the support, the cats thank you.  When you see them tuck into a bowl of food after a day of being without it's very satisfying and I thank you for helping me fill their bellies.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My problem children aka thousand dollar cats

I don't even want to talk about how depressing the weather is, that storm yesterday was brutal, I can't believe my poor ferals have to endure yet more cold and snow.

I've been dealing these week with two of my problem cats, each of their costs are now at about $1000 each.

Kempo belongs to a guy on social assistance.  I took him in for what I thought was just a neuter, well almost 3 weeks later he's still at the vet.  He had two abcesses that were infected and the one between his back toes is taking a long time to heal.  The problem is that Ken, Kempo's guardian, can't keep him inside apparently, so I can't return him until he is fully healed.  So poor Kempo has spent three weeks in a cone, but it looks like he can go home on Saturday.  Now that he's neutered, hopefully he won't get in as many fights.

Kempo in his cone
Then there's Gus, found in a garage on Christmas Day.  We've gone through diarrhea, a UTI, pooing and peeing outside the litter box and now a bit of aggression.  The miracle of Cat Attract solved his litter box issues, I need to get him to stop attacking Kathleen's ankles and drawing blood.  I know what Jackson Galaxy would tell me, he needs more exercise and environmental enrichment, so I'll be spending a boatload of money on Feliway and toys in an effort to get him to calm down so we can find him a home.  When you rescue a cat you don't know their history, so it can be tough to figure out why this would be happening.
Grumpy Gus
I'm also trying to help with homing two older kittens that were living outside behind an antique store.  They are older so need a bit more socialization, and I will be trapping the mom as soon as a bare patch of pavement presents itself.
Antique store kittens
I was at a TNR clinic last night helping out, and unbelievably, with the winter we've had, there were a few pregnant cats who came in.  Makes no sense to me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cute cats at home

Here are some pics of the cuties at our place, enjoying the sun streaming in, I can't believe they are forecasting a snowstorm tomorrow, I thought we finally made it through.

Bunny was living behind Marineland in Niagara Falls for many months, when she was first rescued she was very timid, but she's doing very well now, still a bit shy, but as you can see she is out and about and has made new friends.  She still needs a home, but it should be a quiet home with a friendly cat.

Bunny in her favorite bed

Ernie enjoying a new piece of cat furniture

Apollo and Buddy sharing a bed

Ernie Scooter and Buddy watching the squirrels

Friday, March 7, 2014

The yin and yang of cat rescue

Some of you may remember the two senior cats who were rescued in December from squalid conditions, Snowball with his nails grown into his pads and Caesar his tabby pal.  They were adopted by a wonderful woman named Mai, a doctor, and who better to take care of Snowball.  It turned out his swollen abdomen was not caused by cancer, but heart problems, so she has been managing that and his diabetes and he's been doing well.  Sadly I got an email from her last night to tell me that Caesar, Snowball's 17 year old pal, died suddenly.  His bloodwork had been good and he seemed in fine condition for his age, but he did have a heart murmur.  Poor Mai is very upset and Snowball wouldn't eat at first.  Certainly we expected Snowball to go first but you never know.  I know she wishes she had more time with him but Caesar's last few months were full of love and care.  It takes a special person to take on older cats or cats with health issues, it can be heartbreaking but having done it myself, it can be very rewarding.  RIP Caesar, sweet tabby boy.

Snowball and Caesar
Brittany took Hunter, now Nigel home on Thursday and she absolutely adores him, he settled right in.  Let's hope he has years and years of love in his new home.
Hunter now Nigel

No luck trapping Tibbs today but it was so wonderful being outside and not freezing.  I'm going to pick up Teddy after his "vacation" tomorrow and take him back to his version of home.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tibbs is in trouble

This is turning into quite the week.  When I was feeding the other day I noticed Tibbs pawing at her mouth and when I got a closer look I could see there was definitely something going on, probably a dental issue, so Violet and I went yesterday to try to trap her.

We set up a regular trap and a drop trap around where she eats, but as I thought likely, she wouldn't go in either.  Lily did, she has gone into every trap I've set up lately, it almost makes me want to take her for a checkup but I need to save my money for actual issues.

Poor Tibbs looks uncomfortable, you can see it in her face and posture, she did eat a bit at least.  I hate that I can't help them when they need it.  It's bad enough that so many die in ways I can't control, drowning, killed by a dog, hit by trucks, but I can't stand knowing they need vet care and being unable to provide it.  I haven't given up yet, I'll try again tomorrow.

Yesterday was such an odd contradiction, in the afternoon, I was at the yard amongst the dumpsters, all bundled up, trying to trap a sick feral cat, then I had to rush home to go to an event.  It's not a usual occurrence for me, so my lovely neighbours loaned me a dress, fixed my hair, and made me look more like a normal person than a crazy cat lady.  It was strange though being at the event drinking wine eating hotel food amongst all the shiny people, then we went home and spent an hour doing feral dishes, scooping litter boxes and feeding or gang.  That's my reality.

Just got frustrating news that Guido is being returned, he went to a home, he didn't get along with the resident cats, but I would never introduce cats so quickly.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Teddy gets trapped

Well the rest of my Monday went better than the beginning.  Connie again came to my rescue and we went down on my lunch hour to try to trap Teddy.  We spent about 20 minutes trying to get him to go under the drop trap to no avail, so we went to Plan B.

Teddy always eats in a wooden feeding station, so we put food inside, and covered the entire entrance with a piece of wood.  Then we put a trap on one end and slid the wood aside so the trap was the only way out.  He shot into it like a cannon, so much easier than I expected.  Connie took him off to the vet.

His ears have been bleeding because of polyps, she removed what she could, but they will recur, we had the same thing done last summer.  Ideally he would have a total ear canal ablation, but that's surgery requiring a specialist.  Hopefully he will be more comfortable for a while.  It's very difficult managing a chronic problem like this with a feral.  He's going to stay at the vet for a few days to heal up and get a break from the cold.  I checked in this morning and he's hiding in his carrier but he ate overnight.

And I saw Clara yesterday too!  She was back at her usual spot.  I wonder if she's not feeling well, she didn't eat very much, maybe that's why she was in hiding.

Hey, it's actually supposed to warm up at the end of the week!  +1 will feel like the tropics!

Monday, March 3, 2014

All for naught

Lori called me this morning to say that even though she got up every two hours to feed the kitten, it died this morning, too little too late.  It really saddens me, if only she had called me before, or better yet, got her cats fixed.  At least Special Ones Rescue took her wobbly cat, and believe me, the female will be spayed very soon.

This is one of those days when I think that getting involved with feral cats and then into cat rescue was one of the worst decisions I've ever made.

But I have to move on, Teddy needs my help, Connie is again coming to my rescue, and we are going down to try to trap him.

I do have some good news to report, Hunter the handsome orange boy who was rescued recently, has already found a forever home.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A stressful Sunday

I've just had a glass of wine and watching a bit of the Oscars to try to recover from my stressful day.

Clara, one of our new cats, hasn't been there for the last three days, and she's always there when I feed. Steve and I looked all over the yard, but no sign of her, so of course I'm worried the worst has happened.  I don't want to lose her, I love Clara, and clearly Pebbles is dead, he hasn't been seen for two weeks now.

Plus Teddy's ear was bleeding very badly, I've tried a few times to trap him but I have to try again and quickly.

I was just settling down at home at 7 p.m. when my phone rang.  It was Lori, the woman with the 13 year old cat who I was planning to get spayed last month but when I went to get her she was already pregnant.  She had one kitten a week ago but apparently Ginger the mom has abandoned her kitten.  Lori has been trying to nurse the kitten but with Whiskas Cat Milk, not KMR, and didn't know about stimulating the kitten, and didn't think the kitten was doing well.  I was frustrated that she waited so long to contact me.  I immediately called Connie, my kitten expert, and we both went over with KMR to give Lori a bottle feeding lesson.

At a week old kittens have to be bottle fed every two hours, it's quite the enterprise keeping kittens that young alive, so I need to find a better option for this little baby.  I don't want this little orange baby to die.

I still have to do a sinkful of feral dishes and get things ready for tomorrow so better get back to work.

No way can I watch the movie Inside Lleweyn Davis, the guy is carrying a cat all over the place, no carrier or harness and leash!
Tiny one week old kitten