Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New Study Proves TNR is Effective at Reducing Community Cat Populations and Reducing Shelter Euthansia 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.

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.