COVID – 19 Update: April 20th

One of the more challenging issues to think about, at times like this, is what will happen to my pets if I get sick, or a family member gets sick. We would like to help you make the best decisions possible for your pets. Take a look at our Disaster Preparedness page for some tips and tricks, and guidance on how to create a Continuity of Care Guide during COVID-19.


As an animal rescue organisation, Toronto Cat Rescue has been included as an essential service in the current State of Emergency:

71. Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including veterinarians, farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, research facilities and other service providers.

So we have made plans for how we can keep moving forward in the new normal. We know how important our companion animals can be to our mental health, especially when isolated, so we will be moving forward with limited adoptions while adhering to very strict procedures for the health and safety of everyone. Please watch the video below from our Executive Director to learn more.


On March 18th, Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency for the Province of Ontario.  “We are facing an unprecedented time in our history,” said Premier Ford. “This is a decision that was not made lightly. COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions. We are taking this extraordinary measure because we must offer our full support and every power possible to help our health care sector fight the spread of COVID-19. The health and well-being of every Ontarian must be our number one priority.”

As we reported earlier, we’ve been putting in place emergency plans to ensure our volunteers, cats and staff are as safe as possible.

We have moved adoptable cats out of pet stores and our Volunteer Centre into foster homes. We have closed the Volunteer Centre for the time being. This ensures that the vast majority of our volunteers do not have to be in public spaces for Toronto Cat Rescue.

We’re fortunate to be a virtual network of volunteers and foster homes, so we can continue to save as many cat lives as possible.  We are used to working remotely, and in general, we can carry on with most parts of our program.

Earlier this week, I convened a Command Team, made up of experts and key volunteers, to make decisions as the COVID-19 pandemic changes rapidly affecting us in different ways and we will meet regularly until the crisis is over.

In light of the government’s latest announcement, with our plans focused on keeping our volunteers as safe as possible, we have decided to put a HOLD on in-home foster/adopter meet and greets and in-home adoptions until April 3rd when we will reassess risk. We will continue to screen potential adopters, so cats are ready when we are able to lift the hold. You can see all our cats available for adoption and our online screening process at

We will CONTINUE to intake cats from our partners, including returns, as long as we have the capacity. We are in fact taking in a couple of groups of cats over the coming days as shelters close or reduce services. If you would like to apply to be a foster home in the Greater Toronto Area or the Kitchener-Waterloo area, you can apply here:

We are diligently working on protocols for this emergency, we will keep you informed as the situation changes. 

If you have any questions at all, please let me know. I’ll make sure you get an answer. 

Thank you for your continued support for Toronto Cat Rescue, you are saving cats at risk everyday. 

Warmest regards,


We have pet store partners and volunteers who care for and adopt some of our cats directly from these stores. The majority of our cats are not in stores in the Greater Toronto Area and are adopted by people looking at the available cats on our website, following through the adoption approval process online and adopting directly from one of our many foster homes.

Toronto Cat Rescue is fortunate to be a largely virtual network of volunteers and foster homes, allowing us to continue to save cat lives throughout this emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 1st, we have been in close contact with our volunteers, staff and partners ensuring protocols are in place in the event of closures, escalation or public notices as some of our work involves public spaces.

In order to keep our volunteers as safe as possible, we are taking a brief break from putting adoptable cats in pet stores in the Greater Toronto Area until April 3rd when we will reassess the entire situation. As luck would have it, March is a quiet time of the year and most of our partner pet stores cages are empty.

We are not closing or shutting down our rescue operations. We will continue to take cats in need through our intake partners. We will continue to provide excellent care for all of the cats in our many foster homes. We continue to have many cats available for adoption. And we will continue to support all of our volunteers and their health and safety.

We are working closely with the city, other like rescues, humane societies, and following reputable sources as we continue to closely monitor the pandemic as it applies to us, our cats, our volunteers and our staff. It is also important to note that there is currently no evidence to suggest that transmission of the virus between humans and cats or dogs is a risk.

Check out our website for more information about available cats for adoption:

Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding!

Warmest regards,
Belinda Vandersluis
Executive Director

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