Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Dangerous Myths Surrounding FIV

Mr. Grey is FIV positive but he is still very
friendly with people and other cats and is
hoping to be adopted into a loving home.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are, as their names suggest, fairly similar diseases - though they affect different species - and their similarities are not limited to their physical effects. Just as both are retroviruses that use the cells of the host’s body to replicate themselves and can result in immune deficiencies, both diseases are burdened with stigma.

Common practice holds that cats diagnosed with FIV are hopeless cases at best and a danger to those around them at worst. Based on these assumptions, veterinarians and caretakers often suggest euthanasia for FIV positive cats. However, common practice is not always consistent with the facts. The majority of FIV positive cats live long, healthy lives, and when fighting is eliminated, the risk of transmitting the disease to other cats is virtually nonexistent. In this case, misconceptions about the disease have created a deadly situation for infected cats.

Countless studies and testimonies from owners show that FIV positive cats are far from hopeless cases. 

Though the disease can be fatal, infection does not mean that a cat is resigned to death. Like its human counterpart, FIV acts slowly, multiplying in the lymph nodes and progressively weakening the immune system. This leaves infected cats less able to fight off infections and other viruses.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Results Are In!

Dr. Ahmad and Dr. Manzoor partner with ACR to sterilize
feral cats in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia.
Over 115 veterinary clinics across the United States participated in the fifth annual Feral Cat Spay Day held on May 27th. Veterinarians, rescue organizations, and individual caregivers worked together to provide spay/neuter services to 4,100 community cats!

Special applause goes to the Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk, Maine for offering FREE spay/neuter services the entire month of April, and to the Yavapai Humane Society of Prescott, Arizona for sterilizing 300 community cats so far this year.

Since the campaign stated in 2010, over 700 veterinary clinics from 45 states have joined the fight to decrease shelter euthanasia rates and prevent cat homelessness. Together, we've sterilized over 9,200 community cats, and thanks to our compassionate friends in South Africa and Canada, Feral Cat Spay Day has become an international campaign!

For more information on how you or your veterinarian can get involved, please visit our website

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Creating Partnerships to Save More Lives

In addition to advocating the humane treatment of feral cats across the country, we at Alley Cat Rescue take pride in being directly involved in rescuing, spaying/neutering, and relocating cats.

We operate locally out of Brentwood, Maryland, assisting cats throughout the state. We also help cats in neighboring Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia. For those who need our help but are located outside of our operating area, we have established a network of rescue organizations and individuals across the country, who are ready to help.

Our network of Cat Action Teams, or CATs for short, are partnering organizations that specialize in rescuing and caring for feral cats. These groups offer Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) services, and most also provide adoption services for socialized cats and kittens. A list of Cat Actions Teams can be founded on our website.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Going on Vacation? Don't Forget to Plan for Your Cat

Many aspects of vacation require a lot of planning, and preparing your cats for your departure is no exception. While you enjoy the summer with traveling, it is important to consider how your furry friends will be spending your time off.

Though a lot of people enjoy the freshness and the change in routine that a vacation offers, cats do not typically like either of these things. Cats usually have a schedule they like to stick to, and, because they are territorial animals, they tend to prefer their own home more than anyplace else.

For these reasons, the best option for what to do about your cat while your away is to leave them at home with someone who can watch them. They won’t mind being left out of the travails of travel, though they might miss you, so having someone visit will give them some needed companionship. A neighbor, a friend, a family member, or a pet sitter should come by daily (or a little more often) to make sure your cats are properly fed and taken care of.

This person should be someone you trust. You will be giving them the keys to your house as well as responsibility over your cats. Before you commit to them, you should see how they behave with your cats and make sure they can get along. You might want to consider setting up automatic feeders and water so the cats will always have food, but someone still needs to come by to make sure no cat is sick and to keep them company.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Fourth of July Safety Tips

For humans, the Fourth of July is marked by fireworks, barbecues, and celebration with family and friends. For pets, however, it is a day of mysterious explosive noises, peculiar smells, and a lot of unfamiliar and territorially intrusive people.

As they don’t fully understand the day’s patriotic significance, the holiday can be a traumatizing experience for animals. Both cats and dogs have an acute sense of hearing, so the sudden noise of firework blasts alarm and confuse them. Sometimes, they might run around and hide from the clamor. Other times, they run away.

In fact, animal shelters claim the week of July 4 is often the busiest of the year because they must provide for all of the pets that run off in fright during the celebrations. Caretakers should take special care to make sure their pets don’t escape in holiday panic.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Franklins Benefits Cats!

The Alley Cat Rescue crew had another successful fundraiser at Franklin’s on Tuesday! We were happy to see so many members of the community come out and support our cause.

Over the course of the day, we met cat-enthusiasts from around the area who came to eat and have fun at Franklin’s Restaurant in Hyattsville, where a percentage of their purchases were donated to us. As a non-profit group, we could not operate without the help of the community and the generosity of supporters, so we really appreciated the kindness of both Franklin’s and everybody else who came out to support us.

We had a great turnout, and we were excited to hear all the ways that our supporters are already helping out the cause for cats. Whether it is by adopting a cat in need of a home or taking care of a whole colony of feral cats, people are doing what they can to help. And by supporting our efforts, you help us help more cats. We proudly provide TNR services to community cats, because we care about the livelihood of all cats, feral and owned, and it’s clear that you do too. Thanks for your support!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Preparing Community Cats for Hot Weather

When we think of preparing outdoor cats for extreme weather conditions, we mostly think of the Winter months; not many of us take the Summer months into consideration. But just as it is important to provide extra care for community cats during the cold season, it is vital to take some precautions when caring for cats during the hot, dry season. Increased temperatures and humidity adds an extra stress for outdoor cats, but by taking a few simple steps, we can ease some of their stress. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Australia Plans to Infect Feral Cats with a Deadly Virus

Last week, Australia's Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, announced that the country will begin researching a virus to kill feral cats. The government has endorsed a nationwide eradication plan of feral cats in an attempt to protect Australia's birds. Research is aimed at finding a “safe and targeted form of biological control.” But how "safe" is this virus, when pet owners are warned that they must immunize their housecats, because the virus doesn't discriminate between feral and domestic. ALL cats would be at risk if this deadly virus is released.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MD Residents: Please Voice Your Opinion to Help Feral Cats

Please take a moment to ask Mark Powell of the Department of Agriculture to help curb Maryland's pet overpopulation problem by making TNR groups eligible for grant funding under The Maryland Spay/Neuter Grant Program.

Currently one section of the language can be interpreted in a way that excludes TNR groups from being approved for funding. Including feral cats is imperative to reducing shelter admissions and euthanasia rates.

Please voice your opinion and urge the Department of Agriculture to amend the current language by clicking on the link below.

 Our kitties waiting for adoption always need food, litter, toys, etc. Please take a look at our Amazon Wish List and donate today!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

First Cases Documented of TB Caught From Cats

We’d like to thank Dr. Donald G. McNeil, Jr., for stating several times in his article that cat owners have virtually nothing to fear when it comes to contracting TB from their cats.

There are two types of TB: Mycobacterium tuberculosis (human tuberculosis bacteria) and Mycobacterium bovis (cattle tuberculosis bacteria). Cats are resistant to M. tuberculosis – meaning they can’t catch it, and therefore can’t transmit it to humans. Cats are usually infected by M. bovis by ingesting infected animal products, usually infected milk. TB in cats affects the gastrointestinal tract. It is very rare for cats to pass TB along to humans. As Dr. McNeil stated, the TB cases in England were all related to a single cluster of sick cats infected with M. bovis.

However, he also goes on to mention cat scratch fever and toxoplasmosis, two diseases concerning cat owners.

Toxoplasma gondii is an intestinal parasite that is a human health concern primarily for pregnant women. The main source of contamination in humans is eating or handling undercooked or raw meat. However, an infected cat may pass the oocyst of toxoplasma in feces. If the litter box is scooped frequently, and if pregnant women avoid handling cat feces from domestic or feral cats, this will lessen the risk from cats. Additionally, up to one third of the world's human population is estimated to carry Toxoplasma. The parasite rarely causes symptoms in otherwise healthy adults. However, those at risk are people with a weakened immune system, such as AIDS, or pregnant women who can pass along the parasite to their unborn child.

This causes lymph node enlargement, fever, fatigue, sore throat, and headaches. Although most patients do not become seriously ill and recover without complications, anyone who has been scratched should immediately wash the wound immediately with soap and hot water then clean with Iodine, alcohol, or peroxide. Clean the wound three times a day, rinse with running water to remove dirt and bacteria, wipe with hydrogen peroxide, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover the wound with a bandage.

With proper litterbox practices and immediate care of any wounds, Toxoplasmosis and cat scratch fever are easily preventable and shouldn’t be concerns for cat owners.