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, December 31, 2015

2015 year in review

It's already time for my 2015 year in review, it feels like that year flew by, I'm sitting on my sofa typing this with the fireplace on, a few cats beside me enjoying the warmth.  It's been a busy time, lots of ferals to feed, lot of catsitting.

2015 was fairly uneventful at the Cherry St colony, a couple of dentals and sadly two deaths, we lost our beloved Sally, she had cancer, and Bright Eyes disappeared, she always crossed the busy roadway so I have to presume she was hit by a truck.  Morris left the colony for another down the road and returned, what a funny guy.  We are down to 12 or 13 cats, a far cry from the 20+ we had a few years ago, and it's an aging population, but I'm grateful for the less wintry weather we've been having.
RIP Sally
RIP Bright Eyes
Unfortunately we lost a couple of other cats from colonies I feed at, Tilda, Mabel, Semi-Socks and Bobsey.  As I have said many times it's a hard life being a street cat.
RIP Tilda
So I keep on trapping and rescuing, it was a busy year for that again.  I had my first cat give birth in a trap, thankfully Raven took in Princess and her kittens and they grew up to get homes.  I lost track of how many cats were rescued and how many cats were TNRed but there was a lot, that much I know. I partnered with Lesley and we did some mass trappings, it was satisfying to be able to get a colony under control in just one or two visits.
Princess and her kittens
Rescued kittens that Michelle fostered

Junior a recent rescue, now inside and up for adoption
I discovered a new colony near ours, where a city employee had been feeding for years.  I jumped in and got five of six females spayed, and rescued a couple of litters of kittens.
Rescued kittens, all now adopted
One of the females I TNRed turned out to be tame and Betty is hanging out with us, rather than at a dangerous industrial yard.  She looks totally happy to be inside and warm.  She does have stomatitis so we are off to the dental specialist in January to see what can be done for her, I just adore her.
Betty before
Betty after, sleeping happily
On a personal note, it's been an interesting transitional year for me.  I left my job in the spring, and with that came lots of good stuff, more time to help cats and more freedom, but I do miss the social aspect of working and let's be honest, I miss the money, before I didn't have to worry about vet bills or food costs for the cats, but now making a small fraction of what I used to it's a constant concern.  More than ever, I appreciate everyone's support.  And when I write about all these cats helped, it's only due to the help of my many cat friends, Michelle, Susan, Joanne, Connie, Sandi, Kent, and so many others.  I know that we have made a difference in many cats lives, and that on a chilly night, there are many cats now curled up inside warm and safe due to our efforts.  That is worth celebrating! So I wish you all a Happy New Year!  Let's raise a glass to helping more cats!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Catsmas

Diary of a cat sitter and feral cat feeder on Christmas:

7:30 a.m. the alarm goes off and I have to move my sleeping purring cats, sigh, it's dark and I want to sleep but I have many mouths to feed.  Shower and eat, ignoring my cats,thankfully Steve will take care of them.
8 a.m. I head out, first to cats on my street, Bibi, a rescue of mine, and Pippin, born feral, but now a sweet kitten just four months old.
9 a.m. Feed at the Carlaw Gerrard colony
915 Take care of Freddie, a lovely year and a half old orange boy.  Then to Doug's, six inside cats and three ferals.
Up Broadview to take care of Rosie, a lovely middle aged cat in a condo then over to Walter and Gus, two black and whites.

Home by lunch to say hi to my guys and get things ready for the feral feedings, then SW and I hit the road, going to Leslie, Mystery's, Connie's, Cherry Street, PS and Logan....30 street cats fed!
Feeding Mystery
Chubby Mystery 
Pretty Penny
Morris back in the hood causing trouble
Me and Stubby
I drop Steve at home and off I go again, to Dante and Luca, to Connie's home cats, to the cuddly Gryphon, then back again to Freddie, Doug's, Pippin and Bibi.  Finally home at 8 p.m., twelve hours has elapsed since I left this morning, Christmas dinner still to have, and many many dishes to wash, and then to bed, so I can get up and start all over again tomorrow.  Grant me the strength to keep going!  In total I fed more than 50 cats today!

I'm grateful for many things today: the fabulous weather, my supportive husband, that all my charges and my family (which is Steve, me and our cats) are healthy, that we have a home, and we are warm and fed and safe....

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Homes for the holidays

Michelle has been fostering the four from that colony I was trapping at a few weeks ago, and two them have already found homes together, the third has enquiries and the fourth is still shy but coming along.  Apparently there is still one more friendly one that I will be going back for.  I'm so thankful that Lesley and I could trap them and that Michelle agreed to help, as did Annex.  Any cat that can have a home rather than living on the street is my version of a Christmas miracle.

Take Betty for example, a month ago living at a dangerous industrial site, now safe with us.  Sadly she has just been diagnosed with stomatitis, even though she's a young cat.  She may need all her teeth removed and/or medications, next step is a dental specialist.  I was going to find a home for her but who would want a cat with her condition.  How to pay for her treatment is another issue but I've promised her I will take care of her no matter what.
Betty, content and warm 
Where Betty was living...
Gary Cooper is another recent rescue of mine, he was living at a colony I feed occasionally.  He's been there for years, and I couldn't stand to see him out there anymore.  He's inside now, very shy, now toothless, about eight years old, but purrs every time you pat him, he's a real sweetie.
All these cats are safe, that's all I ever want, at Christmas or any other occasion, for cats to be safe and loved.  I'll be going off-line now for a few days, I'm crazy busy with catsitting, putting in 12 hour+ days.

And of course there are all the ferals who will need their Christmas dinners.  Morris has returned to the colony after his sojourn down the street.  It could be a 75 cat day!  So I will wish you all Merry Christmas now, wish me luck getting through the holiday marathon....I have to say I and the cats are loving this weather!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What is a cat doing there?!

I may have mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Jackie called me to say she had found a friendly orange and white cat by the Lakeshore and I raced down but he was gone.  She's been looking for him since and no sign until last week when she saw him again in the same spot.  How he had stayed alive in such a desolate spot I'll never know but this time he was warier when she saw him and couldn't get near.  I met her the next day with a trap but no cat.  Friday afternoon we went again and there he was!

We set up the trap and he sniffed around it for a few minutes then ventured in and boom, he was safe.  Luckily Susan had a vacancy at the inn, and as soon as we let him out of the trap discovered he was quite tame.  Not surprisingly a young unneutered male, I wonder if he was a dump.  Well now he's neutered and vetted, he just needs a home.
Where the cat was living

Just trapped

Meet Marvin!
I've almost finished trapping, Lesley and I went to Rosedale yesterday morning to try to get some older kittens, but all I got was a parking ticket, sigh, that's my whole week's budget for cat food for the ferals, and I'm heading back to another colony to try to get a friendly one out.

We took Lionel back to the colony Saturday after his vet stay, I'm feeling a bit worried this morning, four of the dumpster cats, including Lionel, didn't show Sunday or Monday, that's not like them, fingers crossed I see them today, I really can't handle more losses.  I looked at my notebook that I keep and since I started feeding we've lost 17 cats from this colony alone.  I know it's the way it works but every one takes a tiny piece of my heart, no wonder I have so many in my home now, at least I can keep them safe.

UPDATE Just got back from feeding and saw all the dumpster cats, but they seemed skittish and Minky was limping a bit, I wonder if something happened.....

Friday, December 11, 2015

Got a cat but not the right cat

Wednesday night I decided to try to trap Owen before winter sets in, although with the weather we've been having it's hard to believe it will actually happen.

I set up the trap and immediately got a cat, but it wasn't Owen, it was an orange cat I had never seen before, but pretty clearly male.  I remembered there was a street cats clinic so I went over and thankfully they fit my cat in.

Connie released him yesterday afternoon, I expect he's been wandering the portlands for years, I only hope he finds one of the food sources down there, he must, he certainly wasn't skinny.

Jackie had spotted an orange and white friendly cat near the Lakeshore a couple of weeks ago but by the time she went back with a carrier he was gone.  Amazingly she saw him again this week so we went yesterday with a trap but no show, hope we can get the little guy, it's no place for a cat to live.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

So nice to see you

I hadn't seen Floppy at the colony for a few weeks and was concerned that he was gone too, but there he was today, unfortunately encroaching in Stubby's space but at least he's ok.

And over at Mystery's I saw the calico, again, weeks since I've seen her, she looked clean and healthy.  The other day Mystery and the orange and white guy (named Owen by Connie) came out of the same shelter.  I still need to get him neutered.
We bought a fancy heated house for our outdoor cat Charlie but he has refused to use it, so I took it to Susan's, funnily enough she also has an outdoor cat named Charlie.  Smarter cat, he was inside it within minutes of me putting it out!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lionel goes to the dentist

Earlier last week I noticed that Lionel wasn't eating as eagerly as he usually does and then on Saturday he was drooling very badly.  Uh oh, I thought, dental issues.  I took the drop trap down on Sunday not really expecting to get him, those guys are pretty savvy but amazingly within five minutes I had both he and poor Lily under the trap.

Off Lionel went to the vet and today he had his abcessed upper canines removed.  He had dental just three years ago!  I guess some cats are like people and just have bad teeth.
Hopefully he will feel better now.  I was looking back at my records and Hank had almost all his teeth removed four years ago now, and he's doing pretty well for an old feral cat.

This is the problem with an aging feral population, lots of issues.  I'm just grateful I can help them.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Trap till you drop

Lesley and I returned to that colony today to trap, and well it was almost a comedy how easy it was. The cats swarmed around while we were setting up, they were under the trap even without food!  We trapped a few more than we planned, two kittens showed so we couldn't leave them behind, I've got fosters (thank you Michelle and Susan) for all, fingers crossed they are tameable, I think so, but there are no guarantees.  

 Here's a cat who needed no socialization, Betty has settled in far too well at our place, but she needs to find a home of her own.  I'm surprised she hasn't been snapped up, young, friendly, pretty and loves other cats!

Sad news from a colony I feed at.  Last week I noticed that Tilda was very congested, I could hear her breathing and I was concerned.  I tried to trap her to get her to a vet but she wouldn't go near the trap.  Lynn and I returned yesterday with the drop trap and got her in five minutes.  Just a few hours later though the vet called to tell me that she died while under sedation, not only was her mouth was a disaster, her lungs were full of fluid.  Poor Tilda was clearly very ill, I wish I had realized sooner but ferals are such survivors, and it's hard to tell, you figure if they are eating they are ok.  RIP sweet Tilda she was a favourite of all the feeders.

Friday, November 27, 2015

OK maybe one more rescue before winter...

We've pretty much shut down TNR efforts for the winter, but I couldn't resist an email about a colony of cats that wasn't too far away and included white cats.  Sadly these cats probably are about six months old and could have been rescued had I known about them when they were kittens.  They don't seem that feral, and there were two beautiful white ones that we were able to pat.  I've convinced Michelle to take three to see if they can be socialized, wish we could take them all inside...

On the homefront my cats lined up for Black Friday, hoping for who knows what, but nobody wanted to miss out.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

White cat Sunday

I guess winter is finally here, today was chilly so I hung around the house in my PJs until the afternoon.  I was feeling down I had an adoption last week that went sideways and it really discouraged me about the whole process.   So I thought I would share some photos of my rescued happy cats to remind myself that it's all worthwhile, I can't be brought down by an occasional bad experience.  
Bunny enjoying paper that came in a package 
Ernie with paws crossed
What's for dinner?
End to end
Funnily enough this next white cat isn't mine, but a recent rescue that Rick is fostering, she was abandoned, can you believe that!
Olivia needs a home
And Betty the dilute tortie I rescued last week, of course needed dental work, but the good news is that she's incredibly friendly, she's a lap cat, I think she didn't get the memo that she's supposed to be feral.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tortie out of the cold

If you've been following my blog, you know I've been TNRing some cats near our colony, I've gotten five out of six females now.  The black and white will have to wait until spring, I know some people trap all winter, but I don't feel it's safe to return females with a shaved belly in this weather.

Connie and I have started feeding there as well, although a guy that works there feeds, for years they weren't taken care of on weekends, what a heartbreaking thought.

Recently one of the cats I TNRed has been coming up to me and let me pat her so with winter approaching I decided to try to get her inside and see if she's tameable.  Betty is a beautiful dilute tortie.  So on Saturday there she was, and she came over to me, I patted her, then just gently picked her up and put her into my big open top carrier.  Voila!  Geez, she was easier to get into a carrier than half my cats at home....

I took her to Raven's for assessment and good news, Raven pronounces her tame, she has been greeting her at the front of the cage, looking for pats.  I'm so glad, her location is much more dangerous than our colony, after all there must be a reason there are only six cats there even though none were ever fixed until I came along, and these six are young.  Apparently at one point there were 18 or more, what happened to them?  Coyotes, trucks, who knows, but what I do know, is that if a cat can be happy inside it's an infinitely better life.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

My other colonies....

It was a rough week I must admit, two euthanasias back to back is hard to handle, so I cry but keep moving.  We picked up Hank today and took him back home.  He had a few days bed rest and some meds, his paw seems much better.  I was concerned that I hadn't seen Socks all week so I was very happy to see him with the gang today.
Socks, Minky and Lily
Cherry Street isn't my only feeding spot, I feed at four other places, oh wait it's actually five other spots, just not every day.

This is a laneway colony, the main feeder moved away so Richard and I now take care of them. There are seven cats here, 3 black, 3 gray and a Siamese.
On of my laneway colonies
And then there is my other laneway colony, these cats used to live in Gloria's backyard until she sold the house and moved away.  There are about ten cats left here.
Tilda at another laneway colony
I can't forget Mystery and her buddies.  They live on a city property, Mystery loves her shelter, she is always sitting in it when we arrive.
Mystery coming out of her shelter
I've got a couple of tame cats in foster care and hoping to rescue a couple of other possible tame ones before the winter.  It's almost time to put away the traps and get out the boots.  I'm hoping for a quieter and happier week....