Monday, November 30, 2009

Give ACR T-shirts as Gifts and Help Save Cats

Each shirt is only $18 (MD residents add $1.08 sales tax) and makes great holiday gifts! So, why not show your support for ACR and for the humane control of the cat population, while marking a few people off your holiday list? Shirts come in sizes small, medium, large, and extra large.

"Spay or Neuter: Save a Life Today!"
(maroon writing on a grey shirt)

"Neuter is Cuter: Spay or Neuter Your Cat"
(navy blue writing on a light blue shirt)

Send orders to Alley Cat Rescue PO Box 585 Mt. Rainier, MD 20712.
Be sure to include which shirt(s) you are ordering, the size(s), shipping address, and remember to include a check or money order. Also, include a phone number or email address in case we need to contact you about your order.

Ways to Give on Cyber Monday

Today is "Cyber Monday," a day when online retailers release a slue of deals leading up to Christmas.

So when you get some down time at work today and you’re surfing the web for online deals, you can also follow a few simple steps and donate to a charity of your choice. Some retailers offer special ways to contribute along with purchases.

Your top bet for buying and giving is Good Shop, a site by which links to online coupons and gives up to 30% of each purchase you make to the organization of your choice. The donation money comes from commission paid by retailers to

Animal lovers can also contribute to good through, a site that's partnered with, Walmart, Macy's and others to donate a portion of online purchases to animal shelters.

Website Information:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Barbi Twins Fight for Cats

According to a Fox News article, “Shane & Sia Barbi have come a long way since making millions of men drool over their Playboy pics. The identical twins have hung up their bunny ears and opted for a career as (Picture Source: full-time animal activists and are right now busy working with in an effort to stop the painful de-clawing of cats across the United States and stop a new legislation from coming into play.”

As I blogged previously, in January 2010, a new law entitled the “Healing Arts Bill” is due to come into effect in California; which will allow veterinarians to prohibit any interference in regards to the surgical practice of de-clawing.

The Fox article goes on to say, “The Veterinarians Association was very tricky with the 'Healing Arts Bill.' It was a very tricky and very crafty way of saying ‘don’t interfere with our cruel practices.’ It's huge money for them and it’s illegal in a lot of other countries. We are trying to reach out to mainstream America to inform them of what is really going on,” Shane told Tarts, adding that people need to call their local and state representatives to push for legislature to prevent the bill from coming into effect and stop it from happening in other states too.

A rep for the American Veterinary Association did not respond for comment.

Toxic Holiday Plants

It's that time of year again to be aware of harmful items around the house to our pets. Holly, mistletoe, Jerusalem cherry, and bittersweet are poisonous plants often included in holiday décor. When used, take care not to place them within reach of pets. Although berries and other plant parts don’t taste good, pets will often be tempted. Even if placed out of reach of pets, watch for dried berries that may fall to the floor. Berries, leaves, and stems of mistletoe are all considered toxic. The greenish white berries fall easily and some florists are now attaching artificial berries to the stems (not toxic but still should not be consumed). It is very important to quickly remove any leaves or berries that may fall on the floor.

Also, be aware of foods that are toxic to pets: chocolate, apple seeds, apricot pits, cherry (pits, seeds, wilting leaves), grapes, onions, peach pits, raisins, almond(pits/shell), horse chestnuts, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, etc. For a more complete list of toxic plants and foods to cats, please visit ACR's website ( and click on Feline Health.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

800 Cats Saved from China’s Dinner Tables

According to a Chinese news article, “more than 800 cats, locked up in rows of iron cages in a store in northern China's Tianjin municipality, would have been transported to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and slaughtered had it not been for about 30 residents who rallied for nearly 24 hours, negotiating with the trader and police, to free the animals Tuesday.”

The cat trader said he purchased the cats, who were to be sent to Guangzhou, slaughtered, and served as food in restaurants in South China. Li Na, along with dozens of other local residents, spent the night outside the "flower and birds store" to ensure the cats were not snuck out. Reports say the store is licensed to sell flowers, birds, fish and worms, but has also been trading cats for the last six months. According to the article, “Qin Xiaona, chief of the Beijing-based Capital Animal Welfare Association, who rushed to Tianjin as word spread, alleged it was obvious most of the cats were stolen. ‘The police told us that the trader bought the cats. But the trader was unable to provide receipts to prove any of the 800 purchases,’ Qin said.”

After 24 hours and the aid of police, Li and Qin finally convinced the trader to release the cats. Qin said that police have given them a room in a school to temporarily house the cats, many of which are in need of urgent medical care. Witnessed said the cats were suffocating in the tiny crates and most would not have made the trip to Guangzhou.

The article continues with Representative of the International Fund of Animal Welfare, He Yong, saying that the incident was only the "tip of an iceberg". It’s true that China still has no laws prohibiting the trading of cats, which results in large-scale theft of animals, who are reportedly eaten. "The chain of the cat trade is really long," He said.

ACR urges our supporters to contact the Ambassador of China and express your disapproval of the cat trade and how you cannot believe that China, being such an advancing country, does not have animal protection laws. Tell him the majority of China’s people consider cats to be companion animals and do not support such outdated traditions of consuming them.

Please write to China’s Ambassador located in the US:

The Honorable Zhou Wenzhong
The People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008-1799

Embassy Phone: (202) 328-2500
Fax: (202) 588-0032

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Irreconcilable Differences

The second book by the author of Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America.

You can read a review of Nathan's Redemption in ACR's newsletter (Vol. 8, Issue 3) found on our website at

Monday, November 23, 2009

African Wildcats: "Check Your Mate" Video

Thanks to Animal Planet, this video captures the mating behaviors of African Wildcats (AWC). You also get a glimpse of two adorable AWC kittens!

Friday, November 20, 2009

UPDATE: CA Declaw Bans

As mentioned previously, the California Veterinary Medical Association successfully passed a bill, SB762, which will make it impossible to pass local declaw bans after 12/31/2009. So now, several CA cities have been rushing to pass their own ordinances—to BAN the declawing of cats.

According to The Paw Project, a nonprofit group in CA that educates the public about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, promotes animal welfare through the abolition of the practice of declaw surgery, and rehabilitates big cats that have been declawed, six CA cities have now passed declaw bans. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Berkeley have approved declaw bans. West Hollywood passed the nation's first declaw ban back in 2003.

The Paw Project’s website answers the question: Why does the CVMA want to protect a procedure that is widely considered to be inhumane?

“Veterinarians want to protect their ability to declaw cats despite the fact that their colleagues in most other nations consider declawing a violation of professional ethics. California vets' British brethren officially list declawing as "mutilation" and as an "unacceptable practice." The AVMA admonishes veterinarians to treat the behavioral causes of unwanted scratching before resorting to surgery, but one need only perform a quick internet search to see that declawing is actively marketed to veterinary clients. It is even offered in discounted package deals with routine spaying and neutering. This practice is known in the veterinary world as "supersizing" a spay (or neuter).” In simple terms, the CVMA wants to protect their right to profit, despite the terrible implications that such a procedure may cause.

Culver City and Burbank City are still considering the banning of feline declawing, but your continued support is needed to make sure they follow through and end this inhumane practice. Please write to city representatives supporting a ban on declawing. PLEASE e-mail the lawmakers and tell them in a short and polite message that you support a ban on declawing. If you are a city resident, please note that fact.

Contact Information:

Culver City Council e-mail addresses:,,,,,

Burbank City Council e-mail addresses:,,,,


Tuesday, 11/24 - Burbank -- Anti-declaw ordinances will be considered

Monday, 11/23 - Culver City -- Anti-declaw ordinance will be considered at City Council Meeting

ACR urges its supporters to write a letter to the CVMA explaining to them your opposition to declawing and ask them to use more of their time and resources for helping animals.

CVMA Officers:
Mark Nunez, DVM, CVMA President
14931 Oxnard Street
Van Nuys, CA 91411
Business: (818) 786-1651
Fax: (818) 786-0121

Dean Henricks, DVM, CVMA President-Elect
7404 Auburn Blvd.
Citrus Heights, CA 95610
Business: (916) 725-2700

William Grant II, DVM, CVMA Past-President
13200 Euclid Street
Garden Grove, CA 92843
Business: (714) 537-5390
Fax: (714) 537-1971

CVMA Staff:

Executive Director, Valerie Fenstermaker
1400 River Park Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95815
Phone: 916-649-0599 - Voice Mail #32
Fax: 916-646-9156
E-mail address:

Assistant Executive Director, Dan Segna, DVM
1400 River Park Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95815
Phone: 916-649-0599 - Voice Mail #36
Fax: 916-646-9156
E-mail address:

Monday, November 16, 2009

ACR's "Kitty Daycare"

ACR's new office is now complete! Thanks to a group of handymen (and donations from Terrapin Pets!), the loft/attic area has been transformed into a wonderful play area for our office cats. We call it "Kitty Daycare" or "Kitty Day Spa;" as you can see from the pictures, there is plenty of rest and relaxation. However, when they decide it's playtime, it sounds like horses upstairs romping around! These kitties get their fair share of exercise too.

Our office cats are usually permanent residents and fall into one of the following categories: have behavioral issues, medical issues, very shy/scared, and/or getting older. We also use our office space to socialize shy and semi-feral cats and kittens. The kittens in the pictures fall into that category. Once they have been tamed, they will be placed into the adoption program.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help support our resident office kitties, please send a check, money order, or credit card information to: Alley Cat Rescue PO Box 585 Mt. Rainier, MD 20712.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Typical “Crazy Cat Ladies” Show

This past Friday, 20/20 aired a show that completely missed a perfect opportunity to educate the public on the cat overpopulation problem and how cat rescue really works. Instead, they did a show that has been done a million times before…they chose three random ladies and delved into their personal and emotional lives and let the public judge from there. How sad.

In talking with these ladies, 20/20 should have also interviewed individuals from no-kill rescues, so the workings of rescue efforts could be told. These news stations always feature individuals, who although they mean well, usually do not have solid experience in cat rescue. Watching the woman trapping the feral cat made most of us rescuers cringe, knowing that that is not the correct way to handle a cat in a trap; and listening to the gentleman animal control officer talk about “rescuers” trapping feral cats and taking them into their homes; this too is not a standard rescue practice. These examples and suggested circumstances are what the public have to draw their opinion from; which paints an unfair picture of cat rescuers for these reporters do not always use the most accurate of information or they portray a biased interpretation.

The reason most individuals become “crazy cat ladies” and some “crazy cat men,” especially us rescuers, is because there is a huge cat overpopulation crisis in the country and none of us can afford to buy a shelter or have the resources to start our own nonprofit organization, so we keep the cats in our homes. Most real cat rescuers would gladly reduce the number of cats in their home, if they could find good permanent homes for their cats; that is, if there were more good homes and not thousands of cats waiting for a home or waiting in a shelter to be killed. Most rescuers also end up with “too many cats” because they usually keep the "unadoptable" ones that no one wants; most people want a lap cat. Just the other day, ACR had a cat returned, a beautiful, healthy, not even a year-old cat, because she was not a "lap cat." Sorry, but to us rescuers, they are all beautiful and worthy of a good home.

Yes, there is a thin line between animal rescue and animal hoarding, but to use a “number” as a deciding factor and to stereotype anyone with more than this particular number (of cats) is irresponsible. Each situation should be looked at individually, and in cases where an individual has “too many cats,” it should be decided if the person really has good intentions (the animals are well cared for) and he/she should be put in contact with a rescue group to help place the cats in an adoption program; for individuals, who are diagnosed with mental or emotional issues (most often the cats are not taken care of – hoarding situation), then that person should receive the appropriate help they need…rescuers do not condone this type of behavior.

What 20/20 needed to do was to talk about spay/neuter programs and the importance of sterilizing companion animals, so that unwanted cats and dogs are not sitting in shelters waiting for homes, waiting for death, living in the streets, forming feral colonies. They needed to talk with experienced individuals about the benefits of trap-neuter-return (TNR) and how it works. They also needed to educate people on where to go for resources in their area to get help with spay/neuter services and TNR programs. Unfortunately, 20/20 decided to show the public how three ladies live and think who happen to own cats, and let us judge them as the stereotypical “crazy cat ladies.”

To express your opinion on 20/20’s “Crazy Cat Ladies” episode, you may contact them at:

Online email page for 20/20:

Online email page for ABC news – 20/20:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Petaluma, CA at it AGAIN!

This story is not cat related, but in a place where cats and birds caused a large debate is now hearing another type of animal debate – frogs. Animal activists are now expressing concern for a proposed plan by wildlife conservationists to remove bullfrogs from a local sewer plant pond to protect the native California Red-legged Frog.

(Picture: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
The California Red-legged Frog)

According to, “Margaret Orr, the project manager for the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, said the city’s permits from federal and state agencies require that the Red-legged Frog be protected. That means taking steps to control the competing bullfrog population, draining the ponds and using nets to scoop up egg masses and tadpoles, she told the council. ‘It’s a pretty massive infestation if it’s allowed to take off,’ Orr said of the bullfrogs. ‘What we’re doing is breaking the reproductive cycle by getting the tadpoles out.’”

City residents believe there are better ways to spend tax-payer money than to kill animals. “We do not want to pay to have animals killed,” Diane Reilly Torres wrote in an e-mail to city officials before last week’s meeting. It is estimated to cost $9,500 for two days and nights of work by biologists to control the bullfrog population at this particular site.

Again, says, “The city’s consulting biologist, Jim O’Toole of the firm ESA, said failure to remove the bullfrogs and their eggs would be a violation of the Endangered Species Act and could result in a fine or possible shutdown of the sewer plant.”

After reading an article on trapping and killing cats to save squirrels, I asked this question and I will ask it again…why are humans so obsessed with managing the natural world?

As the Rev. Professor Andrew Linzey of University of Oxford, England puts it “In the name of biodiversity, these ‘managers’ regularly kill one form of life in order to ‘allow’ another to survive…perhaps populations rise and crash as a matter of course…we seem to have forgotten…that it is a self-regulating system. [And] in the end, everything depends upon our own moral vision of ourselves in the world of nature. I believe that we should be not the master species, but the servant species. That means as little interference as possible, and only then with genuinely benign intentions. Biodiversity is a classic tale of how an idealized view of the world can result in individual harm.”

In protecting a particular species, we need to be sensitive to other species within the ecosystem that may be affected either directly or indirectly. We should not be acting as Professor Linzey put as the “master species” but rather as the “servant species.” We should not be deciding who lives and who dies; instead, we should be implementing practices that ensure the survival of all species. ACR understands that this is easier said than done, for ecosystems are highly complex and sensitive to outside disturbance, but we also believe that whether it is the cat versus bird debate or the bullfrog versus California Red-legged Frog debate, somewhere there lies great promise in finding the middle ground, where NO species needs to be sacrificed for another.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Call to Action: Save the Cancun Tigers!

There are nearly a dozen tigers and other exotic animals suffering in Cancun, Mexico today and their lives hang in the balance, as they wait for someone to help them!

In 2005, Hurricane Wilma hit Cancun, Mexico causing massive destruction. Before the hurricane hit, the owner of Pepé’s (previously a restaurant) fled, leaving the animals behind to fend for themselves. When he returned to his property, he found that some of the animals had escaped and some had died, while others were found battered and bruised still inside their enclosures.

Returning to Mexico with no money, Pepé did not reach out for help in caring for these animals, instead he left them in their decaying environment. He is quoting as saying he feeds them whatever he can and often the tigers feed on stray animals that accidently wander into the cages. One female tiger in particular desperately needs medical attention for an inured leg; she is seen in the video severely limping.

Since the summer of 2008, The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) located in Colorado has been working with Last Chance for Animals (LCA) in California and a group in Mexico called Gente Por La Defensa Animal (GEPDA) to rescue these desperate animals. The Mexican government revoked Pepé’s permits and officials from the Mexican Wildlife Department (PROFEPA) met with representatives of GEPDA, LCA, and TWAS to discuss a rescue mission to save the animals in Cancun. The Mexican Government had originally agreed to rescue these animals and have them transported to TWAS in the US, but changed their minds a few days prior to the scheduled rescue--leaving the animals to suffer in their filthy environment.

For more information on this situation and how you can help, please watch the following video made by The Wild Animal Sanctuary. More information can also be found on a website that has been created to save these tigers at

Save the Cancun Tigers from Wild Animal Sanctuary on Vimeo.

ACR is urging our members to please help rescue these tigers in Cancun, Mexico. Take a moment to watch TWAS’s video regarding the story and contact Mexican and US government officials to express your concern for these beautiful creatures and their desperate need to be rescued.

Contact Information:

United States:

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania AV, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

Tel: (202) 728 1600


Name: Secretario Juan Rafael Elvira Quezada
Title: Titular de la Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
(Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources)
Address: Blvd. Adolfo Ruiz Cortinez 4209
Jardines en la Montaña
C.P. 14210
Tlalpan, D.F.

Name: Dr. Hernando Guerrero Cácerez
Title: Coordinador de Asesores Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
(Chief of Staff to Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources)
Address: Blvd. Adolfo Ruiz Cortinez 4209
Jardines en la Montaña
C.P. 14210
Tlalpan, D.F.

Name: Martín Vargas Prieto
Title: Director General de Vida Silvestre
(Director of General Wildlife)

Name: Patricio Patrón Laviada
Title: Procurador Federal de Protección al Ambiente
(Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection)
Address: Camino al Ajusco No. 200, Piso 8 Ala Sur
Col. Jardines en la Montaña
C.P. 14210
Tlalpan, D.F.

ACR in the News!

ACR was contacted by a local newspaper, The Gazette, about our recent donation from Terrapin Pets. To read the article please follow the link:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ACR Receives Large Donation from Terrapin Pets

One of ACR’s volunteer trappers, Christi Fries, also operates Terrapin Pets, a pet sitting business located in Beltsville, MD, and she was so kind to gather donations for local animal rescue groups.

From June until the end of October, Terrapin Pets gathered items such as blankets, beds, toys, crates, scratching posts, dishes, litter boxes, etc, for the “Presents 4 Pets” campaign sponsored by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). This annual collection drive benefited pets in shelters by providing items desperately needed to help keep the shelters operational and their animals comfortable and safe.

According to Christi, Terrapin Pets cleaned, logged, and staged 1681 items, with a Salvation Army value of $3618.00! After receiving a slide show of the donations, Alley Cat Rescue, College Park Animal Shelter, and Greenbelt Animal Shelter submitted their "wish list" so items could be distributed per their needs. Courtesy of Animal Control Officer, Abigail Lightnting, of College Park. K.C. Company, Inc, the area's Pella Window and Door Distributor, a truck and driver was donated to help Christi deliver the presents to the pets during the first week in November. On Nov. 6th, excitement was in the air when a large box truck pulled up in front of ACR. We were speechless to see how large of a donation we would be receiving!

We are grateful to have such thoughtful volunteers and thank the community for their kind donations. We will use every item donated and our kitties are already enjoying their new toys, beds, and scratch posts. Thank you to everyone who participated! For more information on Terrapin Pets, please visit

Monday, November 09, 2009

Animals Take Flight

This past weekend about 30 cats and dogs were rescued from an animal shelter in South Carolina by the Animal Rescue Flights (ARF) organization. According to an NBC news story, the animals were flown to safety on Saturday. Pilots from the South flew the animals up to Frederick, MD, where they were transferred to planes from the North.

With a short pit stop in MD, pilots who volunteered their time and their planes, gave the dogs a potty break and short walks before transferring them to planes that continued north. This effort was made possible by ARF, who transfers animals from kill-shelters to no-kill shelters across the US.

Jeff Harris, a pilot from York, SC, said, "One of the dogs, Travis, was barking the first 20 minutes or so because he wanted to get the cat. Fortunately, we had him strapped in so he couldn't get to her."

Many of the animals stayed at their next stop in Montgomery, New York, while some continued on to Maine and Connecticut.

ARF was created by pilots who want to bring awareness to the need for widespread, low-cost spaying and neutering programs as a solution to America's animal over-population problem. They are a non-profit, charitable organization of pilots, volunteers, and friends who believe in the benefit of volunteering their skills and resources to help save animals in need. ARF promotes, plans, and performs the transportation of animals from overcrowded shelters where they face certain death to other parts of the country where qualified families are waiting to adopt them. There is never a fee of any kind, either to the sender or the receiver of an animal flying with ARF. For more information on ARF check out their website at

Thursday, November 05, 2009

ACR's President Talks to The Sentinel about Feral Cats and the Economy

Louise Holton, ACR's founder and president was interviewed by The Sentinel on feral cats and TNR. Holton explained how the declining economy has greatly affected cats (and dogs) and has put a growing burden on animal shelters.

Individuals are losing their homes and cannot put food on their plates, let alone continue to care for their companion animals. To make matters worse, no one wants to relinquish their pets to kill shelters and no-kill shelters are overwhelmed, so many, desperately abandon their animals hoping they will find new homes and take care of themselves. Unfortunately, many of these oust cats are not sterilized and go on to join feral colonies or form new ones by continuously breeding. Sadly, it is a never-ending cycle that is worsening due to the economy. Fortunately, organizations like ACR are doing their best to sterilize and find homes for as many cats as possible.

To read Holton's interview that appeared in Wednesday's issue, please follow this link:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

ACR Featured on Paw Talk

ACR was recently featured on Paw Talk’s blog, a website devoted to animal rescue and rights, wildlife conservation, pet care tips, and the like. I took a few minutes to stamp out the common misconceptions surrounding stray and feral cats and set the record straight. Please take a moment to read my interview and check out what Paw Talk has to offer!

Read it here:

Monday, November 02, 2009

California Looks at Banning Declawing

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, several cities in California are considering proposals that would ban declawing within their city limits. The article continues to say that, “The issue has gained urgency because of a pending California law that gives the state authority over medical scope-of-practice issues and prevents cities and counties from passing ordinances banning medical procedures starting Jan. 1.”

Here are public meetings being held to discuss the topic:

The city of Los Angeles' public safety committee will look at the issue Monday at its 9:30 a.m. meeting.

On Tuesday afternoon, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will consider an ordinance that would prohibit onychectomy (declawing) and flexor tendonectomy procedures on cats except when necessary for a therapeutic purpose.

The Beverly Hills City Council is slated to discuss a ban on nontherapeutic animal declawing at its meeting Thursday night.

The Malibu City Council will consider a resolution opposing cat declawing in the city at its Nov. 9 meeting.

On Nov. 10, the Santa Monica City Council is expected to have a second reading of a measure that would ban onychectomy and tendonectomy except for the medical necessity of the cat.

ACR urges individuals to attend one or more of the above meetings to voice your opposition to declawing cats.