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.