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.

Monday, March 17, 2014

ACR Supports National Do Not Adopt Registry

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has started a campaign to create a national registry of animal abusers to try prevent them from adopting animals in the future, even if they move to a different state than where they were originally convicted.  Alley Cat Rescue believes that this is an important step in keeping all animals safe and making sure that when they are adopted, they are going into loving homes where they will be protected.

While many states have enacted state-wide databases, these do little to prevent animal abusers of procuring more animals in different jurisdictions.  Take the case of Heidi Erickson.  From the ALDF run website, In 2003, Boston authorities raided Heidi Erickson’s filthy apartment, seizing dozens of dead cats, five cats who were near death, and a Great Dane so emaciated he was unable to walk. Erickson’s apartment was condemned and a Housing Court judge banned her from living in Boston with cats. One month after the Boston raid, Watertown police seized 50 sick cats and a dozen dead ones from Erickson’s second apartment. All of the living cats were ultimately euthanized.
In the Boston case, Erickson was found guilty of six counts of animal cruelty and sentenced to 3 years of probation. She was allowed to have animals, and the four surviving cats were returned to her. Charges in the Watertown case were dismissed.
In 2009, Erickson resurfaced in Plymouth where authorities removed three dead cats and eleven living cats, some needing immediate medical attention and some suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, and open sores. Erickson was convicted of eight counts of animal cruelty and sentenced to 90 days in jail and 5 years of probation, during which she must have no contact with any animals and must take anger management classes.
In 2010 (prior to her sentencing in Plymouth, Mass.), Erickson moved to Kentucky where deputies discovered five cats and two horses allegedly living in poor conditions.
Animal hoarders, like Erickson, are frequently responsible for causing dozens and even hundreds of animals to suffer for years, and they exhibit recidivism rates near 100%, especially in the absence of counseling and court-ordered bans on possessing animals.

If there was a national database, it would be easier to prevent these kind of repeat abuse cases.  Please visit and to find out how you can support these efforts.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Can you help Shelter "Jessica" in Serbia?

We recently received a letter from Sandra, a great supporter of Shelter Jessica, one of only two registered cat shelters in all of Serbia.  These pictures are some of the cats who need to find homes.

This shelter needs our help and support.  Despite their efforts, adoptions are hard and only 50 cats have found forever homes, mostly abroad.  Sandra writes "This shelter is unfortunately struggling to keep taking care of its 146 cats at the shelter made by the shelter’s owner, Ms. Zlata Korjenic , who has spent her whole life fighting a corrupt and abusive animal “welfare” system in Serbia. Her Cat Shelter Jessica is in her own house, which she so graciously donated to the shelter, and she is taking care of all the cats by herself and with an occasional help from a few volunteers. Ms. Zlata is a true hero that never got the recognition she deserved and help that her cats desperately need."

Ms. Zlata also wrote a letter, explaining that the donations of food from the city have stopped, which have put them in a desperate situation as far as resources go.  

If you can help, please contact them any of the following ways:
Cat Shelter Jessica
Zlata Korjenić, Predsednik Help Animals
Beograd, Sestara Janković 12, Serbia, Europe
tel. 011/2755-358
mob. 063/253-776

Monday, February 24, 2014

Washington DC vs. PG County

Recently, the blog "Out the Front Door", a blog that focuses on communities that report saving 90% or more of shelter animals did post in their "worth watching" category about Washington, DC.  The "worth watching" category lists communities whose animal shelter systems are doing substantially better than average, but have not reported a sustained (for one year or more) 90%+ live release rate. 

According to the post on "Out the Front Door"In a recent article the WHS vice-president of external affairs, Scott Giacoppo, said that WHS had its best year ever in 2013, with a live release rate of just over 80%, including wildlife. Giacoppo said that the shelter had an intake in 2013 of 10,474 animals, which is 17 animals per 1000 people in the district itself. Giacoppo attributed the shelter’s improvement in recent years to several factors, including new adoption policies, off-site adoption events, discounted and free adoptions, an expanded foster program, the community cat program, and a program to work with landlords. He also credited a new perception on the part of the public about the shelter, noting that in the past the shelter had been seen as “a dark, dreary place where animals come to die.”"

This is a stark contrast to the Prince George's County shelter, which has recently been making headlines because the shelter staff euthanized a healthy, pregnant dog just hours before a rescue group was coming to pick her up due to a paperwork mix-up. 

The article points out that PG County euthanizes twice as many animals as Washington, DC.  " Last year, the shelter euthanized 45 percent of the animals that came in. "

The dichotomy between these two programs is especially interesting to us because our office is located in PG county, but very close to the border of Washington DC, and it is important for us to keep up with what is going on.  

How can PG County catch up DC in terms of bringing down their euthanasia rate?  They have a model right next door for programs that work.  Let's hope that they take note, and those of us who live in and work in this area should push for our representatives in the county to fight for the animals here to have a chance.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Meet Julie

Julie is ACR's newest employee.  She is going to help with administrative work, as well as help with fundraising.  

Hi! I’m Julie and I’m new to Alley Cat Rescue. I’m originally from Oklahoma, and moved to the D.C. area

after college. I’m the mom of an almost five-year-old dilute tortoiseshell calico named Isabelle and a year-and-a-half-old pug named Henry.

Prior to coming to ACR, I worked at the George Washington University, but also worked as a kitten adoption counselor. I’m happy to be here with ACR and look forward to helping many cats in the future!

Friday, January 31, 2014

NYS Devocalization Bill Could Hurt Animals: Why You MUST Learn About Amendments

Important Alert from Animal Advocates of Western NY,NYS Humane Association and Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets
Do you know why a law allowing devocalization ("bark softening") for "medical necessity" would hurt dogs and cats?

Or how a law allowing it as a "last resort" or "final alternative to euthanasia" would cause even more animals to suffer and die?

We've been forewarned by NYS legislators that the pending devocalization bill will NOT become law without amendments such as these, pushed by powerful special interests that profit from dog/cat devocalization.
They are loopholes--subtle, ever-evolving and dangerous to animals. Scroll down, learn more, to protect dogs and cats.

The only way the devocalization ban should become law is in the same form it left the Assembly on January 23. NO amendments.

Here are 3 amendments that would HURT animals.
Click on the link to see more.

1. Why Would "Allowable for Medical Necessity" Make the Law Unenforceable?
"Medically necessary" or "medically beneficial" enables vets, who profit from voice-altering surgery, to perform it without any restriction. To protect animals from having their vocal cords cut for barking or meowing, "medical necessity" MUST be defined as this"to treat aPHYSICAL illness, injury or birth defect causing medical harm that cannot be remedied by other veterinary care."

2. Why Would "Allowable as a Last Resort/Final Alternative" Hurt More Animals Than Having No Law?

The "last resort/final alternative" proposal hurts animals in two ways. 

It keeps devocalization/bark softening legal because the law can never be enforced. No vet can know, some won't ask, if voice-altering surgery is a last or first resort. And no vet can know if a client provides responsible care. Animals who don’t receive the companionship, exercise and mental stimulation they need express their distress vocally.

Worse, this loophole codifies voice-altering surgery--an act of cruelty--as an acceptable practice. That can only result in more dogs and cats subjected to risky, painful vocal cord surgery just for barking or meowing. 

Reality Check: NO vet is forced to cut healthy vocal cords OR kill a healthy animal for barking or meowing. Shelter executives say surrender is kinder...and that devocalized animals are given up like any other. They just suffer more.
3. Why Not Allow "Bark Softening" and Ban Devocalization?
Because they're the same thing! Lobbyists claim "bark softening" is different, a benign, "non-invasive" procedure. That is patently false. The soft tissue of the vocal apparatus must be cut to alter the voice. Regardless of the surgical route, through the oral cavity (spun as "bark softening") or an incision in the neck, it indeed is invasive, painful--and dangerous, causing animals lifelong misery or a terrible death.
Learn about the Bark Softening Lie:

Please contact your New York State legislators and tell them why these loopholes will hurt animals.  Don't know who your NYS senator is?  Look it up here: 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Study Narrows Date of Cat Domestication

According to recent article on the Time Magazine Website, a Chinese Academy of Sciences study has
narrowed the date of  cat domestication to 5,300 years ago.  The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Before this, estimates have ranged from "as far back as 9,500 years ago (based on wildcat remains buried near human remains on Cyprus) to 4,000 years ago (when domesticated cats first began appearing in Egyptian art) to as recently as 2,300 years ago, based on DNA evidence and archaeological digs."

According to the article, "The threshold of all domestication is traditionally thought of as the point at which a human-animal relationship becomes what’s known as commensal — when the animal begins eating from the human-food supply and the humans know it and permit it. Rodents and crop-scavenging crows do not have a commensal relationship with us, even though they eat themselves full at our table. House pets and farm animals do.
The investigators in the current study, led by Yaowu Hu, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, excavated a site in Shaanxi, China, where an agricultural village was known to have stood less than 6,000 years ago. The scientists unearthed cat skeletons buried within the boundaries of the village that were physically similar to wildcats but smaller — well within the range of domesticated cats. As with many such skeletal troves, it was not easy to determine exactly how many individuals contributed to the tangle of bones, but the investigators were certain of at least two. Carbon dating gave a slightly different age estimate for both, which averaged out to 5,300 years.
The key to determining what the animals ate and whether that indicated domestication was to analyze the bones in a different way — this time using isotope analysis to detect the particular mix of minerals and other nutrients that went into building the skeleton in the first place. One elemental profile would indicate a meat-heavy diet; another plant- or grain-based; another, different combinations of all of them."

Read more: Earliest Cat Domestication Traced to China 5,300 Years Ago |

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Presents for Your Furry Friends?

A recent article in the Salem News prompted a discussion around the office on what we are all getting our furry friends for the holidays.  Most of us have both cats and dogs for companion animals, and we all like to spoil them around the holidays.  While we are opening presents, we like to give them something to open as well!

Some Cats Just Want The Box!
The Salem News Article  "Christmas Goes to the Dogs.... and Cats" said that "Half of all dog owners purchased Christmas gifts for their pooches last year, spending $11 on average per gift, according to the American Pet Products Association. And more than a third of cat owners put something under the tree for their cats, spending on average $8 for those catnip mice or treats."

Are you going to be one of these people who gets your companion animal a gift?  Let us know in the comments what you might be getting them!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Last Minute Holiday Gifts for the Cat Lover

Uh oh!  Do you need a last minute holiday gift for the cat lover in your life, and want to support Alley Cat Rescue?  There is still time to order them an Alley Cat Rescue t-shirt or sweatshirt!  Let them wear their heart on their sleeve.

Email us at and we will email you an order form!  You can also call our office at 301-277-5595 to order (just leave a message if we are not available and we will get back to you as soon as possible).

Check our our awesome merchandise.

Black T-shirt with White Writing, Alley Cat Rescue- Small through XX-Large ($18)

Blue T-shirt with Navy Writing, Neuter is Cuter- Small through X-Large ($18)

Grey T-shirt with Maroon Writing, Spay or Neuter, Save A Life Today- Small through X-Large ($18)

 Long-Sleeved T-Shirt

Red with White Writing, I am a Cat Angel- Small through X-Large ($20)


Dark Grey with Ear-tipped Cat- Small through X-Large ($30)