Ron Black, a bearded biker and ex-boxer, is not your stereotypical community cat caregiver.
But the Toronto auto body shop owner has been caring for a colony of cats for years. After Mekki MacAulay, a member of Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network, taught Black about Trap-Neuter-Return, he has been trapping cats, adopting out the socialized ones and returning the rest to their outdoor homes.
When Black boxed, he would wake at dawn to go for a run. Now, he wakes early to care for a colony of 10 cats who live across the street from his auto body shop.
Black says the cats are “royalty” and he treats them like it, building them shelters and even making a deal with a local butcher to provide the cats with leftover chicken scraps. He also helps other locals care for their cat colonies when needed.
Mixing his passion for motorcycles with his love for animals, Black hosts an annual charity event called A Ride to Rescue. About 200 bikers and other animal lovers get together to raise money, encourage adoptions of animals from local rescues, and ride for around 180 miles. Last year, the ride raised over $5,000 for a local dog rescue.
“No matter how I feel, no matter what my day was like or if I slept, if I’m sick or if I was riding for 20 hours the day before, it makes no difference,” says Black. “I know the cats are waiting. And it’s great. They’re all unique with their own personalities and they acknowledge you for sure. They feel like a part of me.”