Who we are

Cherry Street Cats is me (Robin), my husband Steve, Sandi, Michelle, Verena and Kent, 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. 500+ cats helped in five years +!



Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 year in review

Here it is December 31 already and time for my annual year in review.  For the Cherry Street colony, it was a tough year, we lost four cats in 2016, I guess as the colony ages it's understandable but still my heart breaks as each one passes on to the Rainbow Bridge, I worry I won't be able to get across it will be too crowded.  Even typing this I tear up.  First we lost our pretty Penny, just a few years old I found her dead in a shelter last winter.  She was one of the cats that was relocated, and she had a tough short life.  
Penny 

Then last spring Lionel, one of the dumpster gang, just disappeared.  Sometimes it happens that you don't see them for a few days but when it stretches into weeks you know something has befallen them.
Lionel
 Next was Arrow, the most feral of them all.  We noticed she was crying out and having trouble eating, her face was swollen, but try as I might I couldn't trap her.  It took months and somehow she stayed alive, getting skinnier and skinnier and then finally I caught her with the drop trap.  As I suspected, she had a tumour in her mouth and had to be euthanized.
Arrow
 In the fall the same fate beset our senior orange guy Hank, his mouth was a mess and it took me weeks to get him to a vet.  It's always hard trapping them knowing the chance is high you are doing it so they will be euthanized but it's so much better than watching them suffer and having them die horribly and slowly.  Hank was a very old cat, and I must remember that these cats would not have survived as long as they have without our providing food and shelter.
We will miss you Hank
So now we are down to nine, well ten right now, because for some odd reason, Morris has returned from down the road.  I will continue to do the best I can for them....

On the rescue/TNR end, it was an insanely busy year.  When I start to document it all, I'm not at all surprised why I feel exhausted.    Lesley Towers is a force of nature, and I am inspired by her dedication, we had a trapping team going this year, and of course I must thank all our supporters and the amazing fosters, especially Susan, Michelle and Joanne.

So many kittens this year, I've lost count, maybe between 50 and 75, some feral, some born to pregnant cats who gave birth within days, in one case hours, of being brought inside.  All are now spayed and neutered and have homes!  We took on big colonies in Scarborough and have made huge progress.
My favourite 5 kittens of the year!
We also took on our biggest project ever, helping out a friend of Sandi's who had a colony of 30 cats living outside her place in Haliburton.  Yes, I said Haliburton!  What a logistical challenge, but we rented a van, and drove up, taking a van load of cats back to Toronto for a mass spay and neuter clinic, bringing in pregnant cats and moms and kittens, it was a huge labour but at the end of it incredible success.  All cats were spayed and neutered, 15 returned, 15 adults into homes, 20+ kittens too!  A few of the cats had health issues including my Twig, who had an eye removed and has partial vision in the other.
Twig
And happily, we helped some adult cats along the way before kitten season hit.  We've virtually cleared out the new colony near Cherry, adopting out three adults from there this year.  This friendly boy escaped Michelle's house, found his way back to the colony (crossing the Lakeshore), was re-rescued and now adopted.  Every cat out of the cold is a good thing!

Maximus Tig
I'm sure there is more to mention, but I'm tired dear friends, it's been a challenging year in many ways, I wish everyone reading a wonderful new year, and wish a life free of suffering for all animals.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from the crazy cat world

Thankfully the snow prince kittens are doing much better now, and we've added this adorable guy to the mix!  His name is still up for grabs, maybe MacGregor or Mittens?  I looked in his ears tonight though and they are full of black stuff.  I'm hoping it's ear wax rather than ear mites, these were supposed to be easy kittens but they are costing a fortune!
Twig is taking it easy over the holidays, me not so much, crazy busy catsitting and of course feeding the feral colonies.  Homeless cats still need to be fed on Christmas Day!  We've been battling URI at our house, and Twig with her delicate system was hit hard but she is on meds and doing much better.
Maggie came from the colony and has been with us for five years.  When she stopped eating I thought it was the same URI going around but I took her to the vet and ran bloodwork since she's older.  Unfortunately her results showed anemia, we ruled out a few causes, and still don't know what it causing it, but our vet suspects lymphoma sadly.  For now, we are trying steroids to see if that helps.  I'm not sure Maggie would be a good candidate for chemo, I've never even been able to clip her nails.  It's certainly not the news I wanted to get on Christmas Eve....
And we were worried about Pseudo (who may very well be Maggie's brother, don't they look alike), he didn't show up for four days which is highly unusual, but we wandered around today calling his name and he finally appeared.
Merry Christmas to all and I thank you for your support!  Time for some sleep, it's 12 hour days for me this week, all cats all the time!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The snow princes

Last weekend Susan and I rescued these three beautiful kittens, they seemed healthy and social and we thought perfect, an easy rescue, get them vetted and they will be snapped up!  Well in rescue it's rarely that easy.  It started well, we had them seen by our favourite vet, vaccinated, dewormed and examined, all appeared well and good but then they just didn't eat much this week, and when we took them to the vet yesterday two has lost weight.  Kittens should not be losing weight!  But we have no idea what is going on.  We are waiting on a fecal test to see if maybe it's giardia.   Fingers crossed they perk up soon, they are truly lovely kittens!

Frosty
Blizzard


Flurry

Sick kittens sleeping

Friday, December 9, 2016

What do the cats know?

It's certainly feeling like winter now, and the cats know it too, they are all eating like crazy and are nice and fat.  This is Sadie and Misty, they live at the industrial spot where Betty came from, the wind really whips off the lake there.  Sadie will let me pat her if she's hungry....
My displaced colony is adjusting, thankfully, to their new feeding spot, and after lots of canvassing, we have two neighbours who have allowed us to place shelters in their parking areas and the cats are using them.  It's not as ideal as their previous spot and the really annoying thing is the work hasn't started yet!

We had some sad news this week, we took Moon, the cat who showed up at Connie's colony to the vet, and he tested positive for FELV and FIV, he hadn't seemed very well while he was at Susan's. The best decision unfortunately was to send him to the Rainbow Bridge, but it hit all of us hard.

In good news, though, one of Michelle's fosters, Maggie, got adopted last weekend, and the senior cats Susan has been fostering since the summer are going to their new home on Sunday.

I'm dealing with URI going around my household, oh the joys of medicating cats!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Last trapping before winter and a colony loses its home

There is a never a quiet week in this racket.  Lesley and I went out Monday for our last trapping before winter hits, we managed to get an older orange kitten and two six month old females.  Time to put away the traps and focus on getting everyone through the cold weather.
Morris, who moved down the street to be on his own, is clearly putting on his winter weight!
But this week had true heartbreak, we found out that one of the colonies we have been feeding, is losing their home.  For the last few years we have fed the six ferals in an abandoned yard, we had a feeding station and shelters all set up.  Just this week we were told that the site will be developed any day.  Sadly many nearby residents are very hostile to the cats, and we've only been able to place two shelters in a driveway and feed in front of a garage.  I cried today when I had to remove their shelters from the yard, and we went back at dark to find them still huddled there.  Sometimes I truly can't bear people's lack of compassion.  I don't know what else to do for them, we've canvassed the neighbourhood and relocation isn't a good option.  This is where my Gary Cooper is from, thank god we got him out before last winter, but he was the only friendly one, now he sleeps on a heated bed.  I can't even think about the others being cold, I had nightmares last night.

Here Jackie and I are just a few weeks ago, getting the cats all set up for winter, I hope somehow they can survive without this....


Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Sweetie update

Sometimes the world is amazing!  Thanks to a few generous donors, we were able to raise the money to cover Sweetie's vet bill!  Her dental went well, she had all but two teeth removed, she is eating and has gone to Michelle's for recovery and assessment.  Here's hoping she's friendly and doesn't have to go back outside!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Saving Sweetie

Cynthia is a fellow rescuer who feeds cats in her yard.  This year a new cat joined her gang, but Cynthia noticed the tabby she called Sweetie getting thin, and because she was a bit friendly, took her to THS for medical help and possible adoption.  But they told her that Sweetie should be euthanized due to severe periodontal disease.  Cynthia couldn't accept that and took her home.  She reached out for help and I offered to take her to my favourite vet.  Today we all looked in her mouth and yes it was a mess but no reason for her to die.  She's had a full dental and hopefully will recover well and be able to be socialized but now I have a dental bill to cover.  I could really use some help, donations would be greatly appreciated!



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dumped?

Connie called me the other day to say she spotted a new cat at her colony.  Well her colony is around the corner from ours, and there are no houses even remotely close, so chances are this poor cat was a dump.  It happens at feral colonies, people see a feeding station and know cats are being fed.  This little guy thankfully stuck around and Connie was able to easily trap him.  He's stashed at Susan's for now.  He's a funny little guy, clearly not feral, but wary, no wonder though, he's skinny and covered with scabs, who knows what his story is.  We will get him vetted and go from there but he's safe.  



Monday, November 14, 2016

A six adoption week!

It was a banner week for adoptions at Michelle's.  She was away so I was doing meet and greets for the kittens.  Meet and greets are not my favourite thing, I'm fussy and am always looking for the perfect home, I try to stay out of the adoptions but the two adopters I dealt with I had no hesitation giving them our babies!

First it was a lovely man named Patrick who took Vincent and Toulouse home, then a fantastic couple, Kat and Ben came, who were interested in Spot and Freida.  The ever charming Jackson was there too, and I got an email the very next morning saying they wanted all three!  Really this was the best case scenario, two of the kittens going together, and the other three getting to spend their lives with each other.  Kat and Ben had their two nine year old cats die in a two month span so they deserve these three bundles of love.  There were some tears from Michelle and I yesterday, these kittens are the sweetest and have been with Michelle since August, and I've spent way more time with them than I usually do with fosters.
And to top it off one more piece of great news, Kahlua got adopted!  She is one of the cats from Haliburton that has been with Michelle since June, and the one who moved to a new fosters, escaped and was found.  Thankfully she has gone to an apartment!

I'm sure we will fill up the space at Michelle's soon enough!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

MC goes home

Just about two weeks ago, while I was trying to catch Hank, I noticed that MC seemed to be having a bit of trouble eating, so I managed to easily scoop her up and get her to the vet.  She had a mouthful of rotten abcessed teeth so out they all came.  MC is estimated to be around 10 but otherwise seems healthy.  She's not the most feral, we've been able to pat her briefly, but not tame enough to be happy inside so I returned her to the colony yesterday.  She meowed the whole way back there in the car and rushed out of the carrier.
 I had to tell her the sad news about her friend Hank, though, poor MC liked him.  Many years ago she was best friends with a little calico who got hit by a truck, I just hope Pseudo, Floppy and Jet will be nice to her.  We have a little shrine in the trailer with ashes of some of the cats who we have lost.
Here is Mystery, one of my other customers at a nearby location.   She found a newspaper to sit on and bask in the sun.  Now that's a well fed cat!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

This will cheer us up

I'm posting some cute pictures to cheer me up after the loss of Hank.  I fed yesterday and it was so strange without him and no MC either (she's still recovering at the vet).  Betsy sent me these pictures of her kittens, it must be so much fun watching them grow up, but if I did that I would keep them all LOL.  I'm so glad these kittens weren't born outside!



Sunday, October 30, 2016

The end of the Hank saga

Well dear friends I'm afraid this saga doesn't have a happy ending.  Today we set up the feeding station/trap and amazingly Hank went right in.  We rushed him to the vet where our worst fears were confirmed, he had a tumour in his jaw, so Hank has crossed the Rainbow Bridge to be with his friends.  At least he won't be in pain anymore or have to endure another winter.
Hank in better days
I've been feeding Hank for seven years, he lived to a ripe old age for a feral cat, thanks to having shelter and regular food, but it breaks my heart every time we lose one, I love them all.  Now we are nine.  Poor MC will come back to find her buddy gone....

The Hank saga continues

Thankfully MC is recovering well and is eating, but Hank still looks horrible, and I continue to try to catch him to no avail.  We've been sneaking up with a carrier hoping to catch him in a shelter but no such luck.  A lovely man named Bill has loaned us this feeding station, the other side is plexiglass and you can rig the door to pull it shut with a string.  He managed to get a cat this way that he was unable to trap.  At this point I am willing to try anything, so that Hank doesn't continue to suffer, we were considering netting but Hank never sits in the open long enough for that, I swear he knows what is going on.
Of course though within 30 seconds of setting this up Pseudo went right inside.  Cats, sigh. 

Here's a picture of Puma, one of the kittens we rescued from off Yonge Street, who Joanne has kindly agreed to foster.  He's ready for adoption, but she is still working on his shy sisters.  Don't you love his stripey undercoat!
And when Lesley and I were trapping Friday morning, she had forgotten her coat, here she is modelling a trap cover as poncho!  Trappers are resourceful people!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oh my sore teeth

It feels like all cats need dental work these days!  I've still been unable to catch Hank but I've noticed that MC is thin and seemed to be having trouble eating.  Sandi and I were doing a cleanup today and I was able to get close enough to MC to quickly pick her up and get her into a carrier, so off to the vet she went.  She of course has a mouthful of terrible teeth, seems every middle aged feral does. Hopefully all will go well and this will give her years of a pain free life.
One of my own cats, Oliver, only two years old, has stomatitis, he had major dental yesterday.  My baby boy isn't as tough as Betty, who had the same thing and had her teeth removed, and Oliver had to stay at the vet overnight but still refused to eat.  This evening I went to get him and he was sooo happy to see me, he was terrified at the vet.  We got him home and he ate!
Twig is recovering, but we discovered that it wasn't just a URI she has pancreatitis, I will need to monitor her, it seems I have a houseful of lemons.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Saturday update

Let's start with the good news!  Kahlua, the lost foster cat, was spotted yesterday thanks to the flyers that had been distributed.  James and Lesley rushed over last night and managed to easily trap her! She is safe and now back at Michelle's!

I took advantage of a sale at Petsmart and stocked up on Friskies for my ferals, winter is coming, and they need to get good and fat.  It was cold and blustery today and already I'm worried about them.
 I'm also worried about my little Twig, she is ill, she was just sleeping for a couple of days (but still eating) so I took her to Dr Vlad and she had a fever and a bit of a URI, so now she is on antibiotics. Her pancreas levels are increased too which is a bit odd.  Hopefully she will bounce back quickly, I hate it when my babies are sick.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The kittens have arrived!

Betsy's pregnant cat had her kittens yesterday, it's the first time Betsy has dealt with this, thankfully in most cases mom does all the work.  She quickly had two kittens, then after a delay another, and then a few hours later she delivered the last one, sadly it was stillborn.  The other three seem healthy though, so thankful she had her babies inside.  I posted her as found but no one has come looking for her.
I spent the entire day at Michelle's yesterday waiting for kittens to poo.  She is away and they finished their giardia meds so need to be tested.  Well I thought kittens pooed all the time.  I kept feeding them and feeding them, but after 7 hours only three had gone!  That was the best I could do.  They are so cute, but are four months old, now, they have had persistent URIs and then giardia.  Let's hope they are healthy now and can find homes!


In troubling news, one of Michelle's former fosters, who just moved a week or so ago, pushed open a window screen yesterday and is missing.  I hope she is found quickly!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Surprise!

A rescuer acquaintance, JJ, called me last week about a friendly cat that had showed up in an alley where she feeds a couple of ferals.  THS was at capacity and couldn't take the cat right now, so thankfully Betsy agreed to foster her.  Surprise, this cat is clearly very pregnant, but luckily very friendly.  I've posted her as found in case someone is looking for her, but now she has a safe warm place to have her babies.
Meet Elaine, she is going to have cute kittens!
I've had a nasty cold the last few days, so have been spending lots of time in bed, and I have lots of company, the cats love it when we go to bed during the day!
Unflattering selfie of me with Blinky
 I tried yet again to get Hank to no avail, just all the black cats clustered around, sigh.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Seven years of blogging

I've been blogging about feral cats and cat rescue and trapping for seven years now!  I started on Thanksgiving in 2009, we were trying to catch Tibb's kittens who were on a boat.  We did catch them, she got spayed and is still part of the colony.  So much has changed in that time, cats have come and gone, many have died, I trap and rescue and feed at other colonies but Cherry Street is still closest to my heart and it saddens me to realize that one day, probably within the next five years, there won't be any more cats there.  I am convinced that Hank has a tumour in his mouth but I have been unable to trap him, it's absolutely heartbreaking.  On the positive side, he's lived many many more years than he would have had we not come along to take care of him.
Pseudo enjoying the trailer

Sadie and Misty, two of our new feral friends
 And on another happy note, cutie pie Kevin got adopted and went off to his new home this week.

Will I still be blogging about cats in seven years?  It's hard to know....Happy thanksgiving to all, as usual I give thanks for all the cats in my life and the friends I have met along this journey.