Tapestry@25: Smudgey the homeless cat

“I never expected a guy fresh out of prison to be rubbing a kitten’s belly.” One day, a scraggly cat showed up outside the door at the Native Men's residence, a shelter in Toronto. Some of the men at Na-Me-Res decided to look after the kitten. They called her Smudgey. This is their story.
Smudgey, this charcoal stray cat, has found a home and loving care at the Native Men's Residence in Toronto.

Originally published in 2015.

Nameres is the Native Men's Residence Shelter in Toronto. (Native Men's Residence)

People come and go at a homeless shelter; it's the nature of the place. But a recent arrival at Na-Me-Res,  an aboriginal men's shelter in Toronto, has made her presence felt in a big way.

A stray, charcoal-gray cat landed at Na-Me-Res a while back, and soon became part of the scene. The shelter residents called the cat Smudgey in honour of the aboriginal smudging ceremony and they began to take care of her. They collected money from the residents and staff and used the proceeds to buy cat food and kitty litter.

If you're thinking Smudgey is a distraction for the guys at Na-Me-Res, you would be wrong. This cat appears to be a walking lesson in conflict resolution and in tending to the needs of something outside your own self.


Despite their personal differences, two men in particular have risen to the occasion. Tim loves cats. Kris hates them. But both men have poured their hearts and souls into taking care of Smudgey... and they have received much in return.

Documentary produced by Rosie Fernandez, edited by Erin Noel. It originally aired in 2015.