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, February 26, 2015

A happy Siamese update

Today I can post a happy story thankfully.  You may remember Siam, the young Siamese Andrea and I rescued a few weeks ago who was living behind a rooming house.  Well he got adopted the first day of the adoptathon by two young women with another cat.  His new name is Pamuk doesn't he look happy!  Doted upon by two people, a regular food source, a warm bed...

I was so delighted to get this update, it makes it easier to get through the hard times of this cat stuff.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One night of warmth

Today did not turn out to be a good day.  Feeding at the colony was brutal, down by the lake the wind was whipping the snow around, the clanging of the masts of the boats deafening.  I could barely close the car door, but I still saw many of the cats, my heart breaks for them.

I hit my head on a boat and wondered if I had passed out how long it would be before I died of hypothermia, there's not a lot of people there right now to find me.

I went to see Semi-Socks and John and I agreed that he was in bad shape, the very fact that he let John pick him up and put him in a carrier was a bad sign.  Off I drove through a rush hour mini snow squall to the vet.

Semi let the vet examine him without any resistance, and boy, was he in terrible condition.  Painfully thin, dehydrated.  Too far gone to be saved was the verdict, so I bore witness and patted Semi while he crossed over.

I'm so glad the kind men at the shop brought him in last night and gave him a box and a pillow, at least for one night he knew warmth and comfort.

RIP Semi-Socks.

Please let it end soon!

I am really so done with winter at this point, tired of being cold, of trudging through the snow to feed, fingers burning with pain, but mostly I worry about the cats.  I can go in and get warm, they can't.  They all came out Sunday since it was a bit warmer and filled their bellies, but it's supposed to be frigid until the end of the week, I think I will leave Lily and Floppy in until then.

The weather is especially hard on the older cats.  Three years ago we had an occasional visitor to our colony, Semi-Socks, I trapped him and had him neutered.  His mouth then was a mess but I didn't have the money for his dental and he was so feral that I worried he wouldn't manage being inside for the two weeks necessary.  He moved down the street to another smaller colony where I feed on weekends.

On Sunday a strange thing happened, he came up to us and let me pat him.  I could see then that he was very thin and looked so old but he ate.  John the feeder contacted me yesterday to say that he was able to pick Semi up and bring him inside to the shop.  Amazing.  They put him in a box with a pillow and he ate and drank some water.  Sadly I believe he's dying to allow this kind of connection, but at least he's warm now.  John and I have to decide whether a vet should intervene or if we should leave him be for now, he doesn't appear to be in distress.  I hate this part of it every time.

Semi-Socks in 2011

Semi-Socks this weekend
Thanks to kind donations from Monique and Jack I was able to restock my cat food shelf.  I feed less ferals than some people but with one colony of 15 cats four days a week and another colony of 12 cats two days a week, I go through a lot of food.  There was a rumour of 30 cents a tin Friskies at Canadian Tire but it was just that, but their prices for pet food are still pretty good.

If you had told me 20 years ago I would be using a gross porta potty in an industrial yard while feeding feral cats in the dead of winter, I would have run screaming but here I am, this is my life.
Off now to load up the car to feed two colonies today, it takes me about six trips to lug all the dishes, food and big jugs of water.  I'm sick of my boots and big coat and hat hair, oh well February is almost over.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter warrior

It was a brutally cold weekend, I worried all the time about my ferals surviving but for the most part they seem to be hanging in there, thank god for the sun.  Jet's leg seems much better now and I saw everyone at some point.  Penny has been missing from her car for six days now, I can only hope that she has found a warmer spot.

This is me looking very unglamorous, bundled up ready to feed.  After five winters of doing this I've learned that you need the gear, warm boots, a big coat, mitts and a hat are essential.  I even prepared the canned food at home and put it in containers so I wouldn't have to take my mitts off to open cans. There is tons of frozen food though, and water bowls splitting in the cold.  At least Lily and Floppy are warm inside for now.  Not a bad week to miss out on.

Bundled up!
 In honour of Family Day here are some pictures of my family...

Scooter and Oliver helping me bake
Good news, Siam went to an adoptathon this weekend and no surprise, got adopted!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February must be take your feral cat to the vet month

Did someone deem February take your feral cat to the vet month and forget to tell me?  It certainly feels like it.  Two weeks ago I trapped Jet with an injured leg and took him in.  Last weekend I noticed Lily having problems with her mouth so I set out on Tuesday to trap her.  It took literally about two minutes to get her, I wasn't surprised, when we were trying to trap Teddy last spring she went in every single time.  Since I was on a roll, I decided to try for Floppy too our recent unneutered male.  Bam, he walked straight in.  Off to the vet we went.
 It turned out Floppy needed three teeth extracted as well as being neutered.

Poor Lily had severe peridontal disease, and ended up having five teeth extracted.  Both of them will be in for about a week or so which, with this weather, is a bit of a blessing.  My wonderful friends at Annex Cat Rescue have offered to help with the mounting bills but if anybody could make a donation it would be greatly appreciated.  You can make it directly to Annex Cat Rescue http://annexcatrescue.ca/donate/ and get a tax receipt, just make sure to say it's for Cherry Street Cats.
I released Jet after two weeks in but I was dismayed today to hear from Michelle that he is still not putting any weight on his leg.  He was supposed to be all healed up.  And Penny wasn't in her car the last two days.  This horrible cold is so worrying.  I just pray for all the cats to survive.

I was recently contacted by someone living nearby who has been feeding a cat for months and of course in this weather wanted to help, pretty sure the cat wasn't feral, just scared.  I dropped off a trap and she quickly trapped the cat she had been calling Kobo.  At the clinic last night it was discovered that Kobo was female and already spayed at a TNR clinic a year ago.  Most strangely, the cat was released more than 20 km from where she has been living.  We suspect she is tameable so Susan has agreed to foster her.
Kobo now Koko

Monday, February 9, 2015

The first time ever I saw your face

I was going through old emails and found these wonderful first pictures of some of our beloved cats before they came to live with us.

Ernie was one of three abandoned cats found outside in Scarborough two Februaries ago.  The woman who found them was considering keeping Ernie but thankfully she didn't.  Ernie is such a delight, the last few mornings he has been getting under the covers and snuggling with me.

Ernie before he was Ernie 
And this is a picture of baby Baxter before we met him ten years ago.   He was at a vet who did adoptions and as soon as we saw that face we loved him.  He developed a prolapsed anus before we were supposed to bring him home but we told them it didn't matter what happened we still wanted him.  Thankfully it healed up and he's been a lovely boy, he's now our second oldest.
Baby Baxter
Who can forget Blinky, he was originally named Pirate by his first foster.  He was turned into a vet with a ruptured eyeball but he manages just fine with one eye.

I hate winter but the best part of it is staying in and getting to spend lots of time with my babies.

Updates: Jake the cat rescued from Hamilton a few weeks ago was adopted, he had to have a toe amputated due to an infection, poor cat was outside for months.  Jet is still at the vet, hope he can head back soon.  Lily seems to have a dental issue so I will be trapping her today and trying to get the unneutered male too.  Two kittens spayed, going from Susan's to Joanne's, Siam going to a TCR adoptathon, the Siameezer going to THS, a cat going to the StreetCats clinic, feeding, lots of catsitting clients, the days are a blur!

I woke up this morning with only one cat on the bed!  Steve had closed the bedroom door, I slept well but hated waking up not covered in cats.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Is the plural of Siamese Siamese?

For the past five or so months I've been feeding behind a rooming house in a not so desirable area of town.  Andrea and I have really cleaned up the situation there, we've taken out a few tame ones and spay/neutered others.  There's a friendly Siamese who's been around for a while, and we thought he may have a home in the rooming house but this winter he's been out a lot.  Last week in the frigid weather he was outside day and night, and would frantically follow me to my car.  Andrea and I broke down and brought him in.  We've put up signs but nobody has called.  Siam as we've not inventively called him is a sweetie, a bit shy and high energy but today when I brought him back from his neuter he curled up in Andrea's lap.

Bizarrely there has been another Siamese that appeared about a month ago at the same location. Although neither Andrea nor I could get near him we both said this cat isn't feral.  He looked cold and unhappy.  Thankfully he was easy to trap and so suddenly Andrea had two Siamese at her place.  The Siameezer (yes another great name) turned out to be better than we had hoped.  Not only is he not feral he's really friendly, almost instantly he was purring and happy to be patted.

I really can't explain why there was two friendly homeless unneutered Siamese in the same area, but they are both now safe and warm, and I expect will find forever homes very soon.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Snow day

Have I mentioned how much I hate snow?  Not because of me but because of the cats.  I didn't sleep well Sunday night with the storm howling outside, worried about them.  Even though I knew Kent was feeding yesterday I felt compelled to go down yesterday afternoon and check all the shelters.

Thankfully Michelle and her devoted partner Joey agreed to meet me.  I couldn't get my car out so walked down, I must have been quite a sight all bundled up with a shovel walking along the Lakeshore.

Good thing we went, once I waded through the thigh high drifts to get to an area we call the bunker, I discovered a couple of the shelters with their entrances totally buried by snowdrifts.  I shovelled out the first one and out popped Lily and Socks and Minky came out of another.  Smart kitties to share.

Joey made fast work of the snow and at least all the shelters and a few areas were clear.  I wasn't minding this winter too much up until yesterday, sigh.

Meanwhile at home this is what Ernie does on a snowy day....