Patrisha Robertson said she hadn't really given homeless cats too much thought until about six years ago when one of the furry creatures, pregnant and exhausted, landed on her doorstep.
At about the same time Robertson said she started to notice many of the homeless cats in her Garrison Common neighbourhood in Toronto's downtown west end, in particular a mother and five kittens that she called the "stixhollow" cats.
"This was the first time I thought about cats in the area," Robertson said. "But once my eyes were opened, I started to make connections with how many kittens were living homeless in the area."
That realization gave root to the Garrison Ferals group, which delivers food, shelter and trap-neuter-return services to the area's "railway" cats.
"Six years on, we do what we can," she said. "We only work with homeless cats and only colonies in the Garrison Common area of Toronto."
In the past few years, more than 45 homeless cats have been spayed/neutered and more than 20 feral cats socialized and homed while others have received veterinary care that has improved the quality of their lives.
Every day, without exception, between 20 and 25 cats receive food and water from the group's feeders. "We pay out of pocket for all the food and veterinary we do on a cat," Robertson said. "Quite a lot of money spent over the course of a year."
As the winter approaches and extra food and shelter are required, the group is asking the local community if they would help by contributing kibble or wet food for these cats.
"We appreciate even one single can of wet food, whatever someone feels like contributing," she said. Food donations can be dropped off on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 4 to 5.30 p.m. at 83 Niagara St. Seasonal spiced cider will be served. Donations may also be left on the porch during that day.
As a registered colony of the Toronto Feral Network, Garrison Ferals is recognized by the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services.