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, April 30, 2015

Food for ferals

Thanks to the Toronto Humane Society there was a large donation of food for ferals yesterday.  This is what 12 skids looks like.  I helped out with distribution and more than 80 caretakers were able to get food to help feed their colonies.  Some feed five, some feed fifteen, some feed fifty, it's a huge commitment of time and money so every donation helps.

Toronto is far ahead of many cities with the resources we have for feral and homeless cats but it seems never ending sometimes.  Many cats will have nice full bellies today though!  I was glad to be able to help.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A whirlwind and it's only Tuesday

I took a couple of days off last week and went with Steve to Montreal, he had a meeting to attend, so I had a bit of time without cats to feed and litter boxes to scoop.  Montreal has a cat cafe and we had to visit it of course.  They only had eight cats though who were all asleep, my house could be a cat cafe, maybe I should charge people to come for tea and pat a cat.

The kittens at Raven's continue to thrive, here they are a week ago, this week it's time for them to leave the nest so Princess can be spayed and return "home".  It's a long time for a feral cat to be confined.  These kittens have known humans since the day they were born so aren't at all feral.

I'm dealing with three situations this week.  Last night I was in one of the fancier parts of town trapping, what an unexpected spot for a colony, but there they are, possibly ten cats.  We trapped two very quickly and I took my place in line at 630 this morning at the spay neuter clinic.  It's only four per day so it pays to get there early, sadly today they turned people away, that means those cats have to stay in traps until tomorrow.

The CG colony has to be out of their cushy yard set up by the end of the week.  Gloria wants to take in two of the friendlier ones so I need to get them before they scatter.  No luck yesterday and today was going badly but then I was able to just pick up Thelma, a sweet black and white and scoot her into a big open top carrier.  One down.  She's just being vetted and then off to Gloria's, hopefully she adjusts well.

The last situation was so depressing I hesitate to write about it, so I will make it as short as I can.  A few years ago I helped a neighbour with a cat living on her porch, got her spayed and Connie adopted her kitten.  I knew she fostered and had a bunch of cats but we kind of lost touch.  Recently she emailed to say she had become very ill and had been in the hospital for months.  Her house needed to be sold but there were still cats in it that couldn't be picked up to remove them.  I met her niece yesterday and the house was such a mess, I've never seen anything like it.  She had already trapped eight cats but there were four she couldn't get.  I tried to offer some advice and helped her clean up a bit but I think I need to walk away, the cats have been going to Animal Services and I don't know how adoptable they are.  It's too heartbreaking to contemplate, I only trap cats to help them.  It was certainly a cautionary tale for me.

I must go load up the car to feed the colony, then pick up the cats from the clinic, take them to Joanne's for recovery, go to Doug's to feed his cats, go to a catsit meeting, wash a load of feral dishes, scoop some litter, rinse and repeat.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Saving Sammy from the street

I know I've mentioned before in my blog about the cats behind a rooming house that Andrea and I have been helping since last year.  Eight tame cats pulled out, three cats TNRed, and just two weeks ago we rescued what I hope is the last friendly one there.

We had been seeing Sammy only occasionally for months, and then we finally determined that one of the neighbours was occasionally feeding him but couldn't adopt him.  Last week Andrea scooped him up and took him home to wait for an intake appointment at THS.  Sammy proved to be as friendly as he seemed, and thankfully THS took him this week.  I don't know if anyone of you have ever had an unneutered male cat in your house, but the smell is unreal.  I am so pleased to see that he is already up for adoption!  

Frustratingly, though, yet another instance where we can't find anyone living there who will feed the three remaining cats.  Apparently there have been kittens there for years and years, thanks to Andrea and I no more.  I have to thank Andrea profusely, she is the one who housed each of the tame cats, without her we couldn't have helped them all.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The ups and downs

Every job has its ups and downs and pros and cons.  I'm loving my new life, spending almost all my time taking care of cats in some way, but it's certainly a financial challenge.  My income has dropped substantially, and I have a lot of mouths to feed.  I no longer have the Sunday night panic attacks that I used to have though. 

This week there's been a couple of sad situations.  A colony I feed at regularly is being evicted from the yard they've been living in for the past year.  This is a colony that I TNRed two years ago, a lovely woman named Gloria was feeding almost 20 cats in her back yard.  I TNRed them all, and pulled out 25 kittens.  Last year she sold her house and thankfully the man next door let us move shelters and feeding stations into his yard, and the dozen or so cats have been very happy there but now he's moving and the cats have nowhere to go, and nobody else wants them.  They may just end up being fed in the laneway but that's not secure or protected and without shelters and a reliable food source their hard lives will just be even harder and ultimately shorter.  It breaks my heart.

Another horrible situation had to be dealt with by friends of mine at their colony.  One of neighbours started trapped the ferals and dumping them somewhere or they said they were, there was a trap on the roof and two cats missing.  There's been a flurry of activity and I think it will settle down and be OK but what I learned from that is that feral cats have no protection, they are neither pets nor wildlife.  Sometimes I'm grateful that my main colony is in an industrial site, rather than a neighbourhood.  People's cruelty and hatred towards animals, any animals, just amazes and saddens me.  You can see why people get discouraged and burn out.  I can't allow that to happen to me, the cats need me.

There is good news that came out of this week.  Cassie, one of the shy older kittens Joanne has been fostering, got adopted and her sister may have a home too!  And if you remember the lovely mom and her three kittens from mid-March, the kittens all have been adopted and hopefully mom soon too.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

My job is cats

I often wonder now how I was ever able to hold down a job and do all this cat stuff.  The feeding, trapping, rescuing, catsitting and caring for my own cats feels like a full time job plus already, and to think that I used to go to an office as well seems unbelievable.  I do know that I was always exhausting and always rushing from place to place, spending a lot of my work time on cat "work" and feeling that I was never able to give anything my proper attention.

I still feel tired, certainly I do this week, it was my second morning at the THS at 630 a.m., but I don't have the stress of the office and all that comes with that environment.  On Tuesday I trapped a female, sadly who was pregnant, and yesterday trapped this cat who doesn't look to be in the best shape.  Hopefully a spay or neuter will improve their quality of life.

Princess's kittens continue to thrive, three weeks old now.  I love seeing their progress from week to week.  Princess herself looks as grumpy as she did three weeks ago though, no progress with her.

My home cats continue to delight me, well most of the time.  I didn't enjoy getting up to find vomit on the wall.
Oliver and Apollo
 It's almost a year now that Buddy went AWOL, we are still so paranoid around doors and grateful every day that he's with us.
Buddy and Oliver help with some home repairs

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A rainy Wednesday

I was grateful that today was Michelle's feeding day at the yard, what a nasty day, I'm sure she was cursing me this afternoon.  Luckily I fed my other colony in the morning and then settled in for the afternoon to catch up on a few things.  I had planned to trap today and tomorrow but there is little sense in this kind of weather.

It's been two weeks since Princess had her babies.  She doesn't look any happier for being inside but you can see that the kittens are starting to get mobile.  She's being a very good mom to them.  In a few weeks we will be able to wean them and start socializing them and get her spayed.
Mom and her two week old kittens
Clearly these pictures aren't from today, Steve took them on the weekend when it was drier and milder.
Pseudo or possibly Jet, rolling around 
The gang at Hanks'
Hope all the homeless kitties are tucked away somewhere dry!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Three females trapped!

What gets me out of bed at 6 a.m.?  Only cats.  With spring upon us, the priority is to get females spayed so that we don't have a repeat of last week.  At the THS clinic it's first come first serve up to four ferals a day, two per caretaker, so it's best to get there early, the doors open at 7, but I try to get there at 630 a.m.

On Wednesday I trapped a calico at Mystery's spot in the portlands, I had been seeing her on and off for a few months.  Calicos are always female or as we like to call them kitten machines.  Using a stick and string with the trap I got her in about 5 minutes, then I turned around and there was this calico and an orange and white cat too!  They would have to wait for another day.

Oddly and thankfully calico #1 wasn't pregnant.  Hopefully I can get the other before she is.

This morning I went to a nearby colony that still has a few stragglers unfixed.  At 630 a.m. the light is just coming up, and the cats were already out.  It was almost too easy, the first one took 5 minutes, the second one maybe 10, and I was still at THS before the doors opened.  Bonus, they are female and sadly were pregnant, but at least there won't be two more litters of kittens to deal with.

My days have been jampacked with catsitting, feeding and trapping.  I've had to start writing down what I have to do every day with a timeline, some days it seems every hour is scheduled, but it's satisfying getting all these cats fixed.