Monday, February 02, 2015

Sad Incident Reinforces Need for Better Communication, Cooperation Between Rescuers and Govt. Agencies

Recently one of our longtime supporters, Renetta DeBlase, had a home emergency and called the fire department for help. Firefighters helped her stop the water leak, but the visit to her house set in motion an unfortunate series of events where nearly two dozen of her cats were seized by animal control officers; all but one were euthanized.

The Washington Post published a story (link) about the incident, but it unfortunately left out some important details and repeated unfounded negative stereotypes of cat caretakers. So, we wrote a letter to the Post's editor expressing our concerns. Read our letter below to learn more about what happened.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kittens Rescued from Combat Zone in Iraq

While assigned to a U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Iraq, a member of the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service and his colleagues have been helping to rescue stray cats and kittens by providing them with a safe place to live until arrangements can be made to fly them out of the combat zone and to their new homes in the United States. So far, they have rescued 20 cats and kittens, with the most recent group of felines making their journey to Alley Cat Rescue.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beware of Holiday Hazards: Tips on Keeping Your Cat Safe

With all the new items that come with this time of year (a tree in the house, lots of decorations, shiny gifts, blinking lights, fine food, unfamiliar people), it's always a good idea to take some precautions in keeping your cats safe. Here are a few tips to help make this holiday season cat-friendly.

The Tree

1. If your cat is tempted to climb the tree, discourage her from doing so; clapping your hands loudly or a small squirt from a water bottle works well to scare the cat away from the tree.

2. Ensure the base of the tree is as sturdy as possible, just in case your cat does decide to go climbing.

3. Do not allow your cat to play with decorations. Avoid using glass ornaments that can break. Do not use tinsel; it can pose a choking hazard and cause stomach problems.

4. Unplug the lights when you go to bed or leave the house to prevent electrocution, should your cat chew on the cord. Try to keep all cords out of reach.

5. If you have a real tree, cover up the base so your cat can’t drink the water, which can be toxic to cats.

6. Both real and plastic trees tend to shed their needles. Be sure to vacuum around the tree frequently to prevent your cat from eating the needles and getting them stuck in her pads.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ACR Teaches Students about Cat Rescue and the Importance of Spay/Neuter

A few weeks ago, ACR attended the Port Towns Elementary School Fall Festival and made a lot of new friends! Around 300 students and parents attended the event, enjoying activities like a pie toss at teachers, sack races, face painting, a ring toss, and the playground was even turned into a pumpkin patch, where students could choose their own pumpkin to paint. The Bladensburg Fire and Police Departments were also in attendance; students were excited to sit in the fire truck and police cruiser.

Not to brag, but our table was the most popular table at the event! Because who doesn't love cats?! Even the principal gave us rave reviews and invited us back to the school for their Spring Festival. We educated the kids on rescue, spay/neuter, volunteering, and environmental issues, like the importance of recycling and using Yesterdays News litter. And of course we took a few kittens along, so students were able to play with kittens and learn proper handling and caring techniques.

The event raised over $3,000 for the school, and we handed out over 50 business cards to local parents interested in adoption and volunteering. A big thank you to Port Towns Elementary School for inviting us and thank you to one of the teachers, who kindly volunteers with us regularly. We can't wait for Spring so we can visit the students again!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

From Loved Companions to Vilified Killers: Falsely Accused Feral Cats Receive Death Sentence in Australia

More and more reports are being released regarding Australia's plan to eradicate feral cats in order to protect birds and other wildlife. One article calls feral cats "monster moggies" and explains how scientists are using trained dogs to track down cats, while another article mentions the proposed idea of introducing Tasmanian devils and Komodo dragons into national parks to prey on cats. Despite the methods being discussed, one thing is clear, federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt says he wants all states, territories, and other stakeholders to sign a 10-year plan to eradicate feral cats from Australia.

In response to this cruel and unfeasible approach to protect wildlife, Alley Cat Rescue is calling on the compassionate citizens of Australia, and the billions of TNR supporters around the world, to take a stand and let their voices be heard against this senseless killing. Thus far, nearly 5,000 individuals have added their signature to our online petition directed towards Mr. Hunt and another 2,500 signatures have been gathered for a petition targeting Ambassador Kim Beazley here in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Help Homeless Cats by Putting on Your Sneakers

Calling all iphone users! Now there's a mobile app that helps you save homeless animals with every step you take! Thanks to ResQwalk, every time you take a stroll around your neighborhood, your steps are tallied to raise money for your favorite animal rescue.

Each week, ResQwalk announces a donation pool (e.g. $2,500), and in order for a rescue to receive donations from the pool, their supporters simply need to check-in to the app when they go for a walk. Each walker's distance is recorded in the user profile and added to the rescue's weekly sum. At the end of the week, donations are paid out to the rescues proportionally to the total distance walked. And as a bonus, at the end of every walk, the user is offered a reward (like 45% of specialty rescue apparel), that when redeemed, helps fund future donation pools.

The ResQwalk application is available for download in the Apple Store. Remember to choose Alley Cat Rescue as your favorite rescue and wear comfortable shoes.

Also check out ResQthreads, giving people and their companion animals a stylish way to promote adoption and support the rescues and shelters they care about.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Flowers for Ferals!

Help save cats and beautify your yard at the same time! For every purchase, Flower Power Fundraising will donate 50% back to Alley Cat Rescue. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your spring garden today with our Fall Flower Campaign!

All flower bulbs are non-GMO and Flower Power has signed the safe seed pledge, as they encourage healthy gardening practices. Choose from a variety of shapes, sizes and colors to make your garden really come alive. Try adding some Appleblossom Tulips, Dutch Irises, Jonquil Daffodils, or Buttercups to your landscape. And with shipping at a cheap flat rate, why not try a few varieties or stock up for great gift ideas for friends and family?!

Plus, you'll be enjoying these flowers year after year, because they are perennials. Simply plant the bulbs this fall before it begins to frost and come next spring, your garden will be filled with bright colors and sweet fragrances. Adding a variety of flowering plants to your landscape will not only beautify your living space but it's great for attracting birds and bees!   

To see all the flowers available and learn more about how your purchase can help save cats, please visit Happy planting!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New Study Proves TNR is Effective at Reducing Community Cat Populations and Reducing Shelter Euthanasia Rates

The results of new study on the effectiveness of trap-neuter-return (TNR) support what previous studies have already shown...that TNR does effectively reduce feral cat populations. A University of Florida study lead by Dr. Julie Levy found that spaying or neutering community cats in an area of high animal-control impoundments led to a dramatic decline in the number of cats who were admitted to and euthanized by the local shelter.

“We investigated whether we ever could neuter enough cats to slow their intake into animal control,” said Dr. Julie Levy, the Maddie’s professor of shelter medicine at the Univ. of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. 

The two-year study was conducted in an area of Alachua County adjacent to the University of Florida campus and included a business district, several residential neighborhoods, a mobile home park, two homeless shelters, industrial parks, and a veterinary clinic. During the study, 2,366 community cats were TNR'd, which is estimated to be about 54 percent of the feral cat population in the targeted area. Most of the cats were returned to the site, with some being adopted.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Black Cats Need a Stroke of Luck

A black cat dressed up for the holiday. August 17 is
Black Cat Day.
So often a symbol of misfortune or a superstitious sign of imminent death, black cats themselves have something of a historic case of bad luck.

For a while, things went pretty well for black cats. In ancient Egypt, they were regarded as nearly divine, and it was considered a privilege to share a home with one. Later, everyone from sailors to monarchs seemed to favor black cats in much of the world. They were a sign of luck.

Somewhere along the way, however, fortunes changed. People began to associate black cats with witches, devils, dark magic, and all manner of disreputable subjects often linked to the darker end of the color spectrum. As a result, black cats were murdered, reviled, and burned into public memory as an omen of bad things to come.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our Kittens Need Your Help!

Lost, a kitten who was found in a drainage pipe 
after a hurricane, warms up on a blanket.
As the weather gets warmer every spring and summer, Alley Cat Rescue takes in dozens of kittens. It’s always a busy time for us as we scramble to take care of the latest litters to come in and prepare them for adoption. And this year has been especially demanding. We’ve received far more kittens than we have in the past, because "kitten season" seems to have started earlier this year, and it continues to hold strong despite summer coming to a close.

This year we’ve taken in more than 60 kittens! We rescue some from shelters where they would otherwise be euthanized, others come from pregnant feral cats who come in through our Trap-Neuter-Return program, and many come from good Samaritans who find kittens in their backyards and neighborhoods.

One kitten, aptly named Lost, was found in a drainage pipe by two construction workers after a hurricane. And three five-week-old siblings -- Hitchcock, Craven, and Carpenter -- were stuck inside the wall of a utility closet at an apartment building! These kittens were old enough to eat solid food and care for themselves; however, some of the kittens who end up in our care, unfortunately, have been abandoned by their mothers at such a young age, they require special care from dedicated staff and foster parents in order to survive.