Monday, January 30, 2012

Aromatherapy for Kitty?

Image Detail

(My cats' interpretation of aromatherapy)

Aromatherapy has become a very popular form of alternative medicine, used for the treatment or prevention of disease, pain and anxiety reduction, relaxation, etc. by use of essential oils.  

But, what's good for us humans isn't necessarily good for Kitty.  There are mixed opinions amongst veterinarians if it is a safe practice for cats.  Whether applied, ingested or inhaled, the essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream and metabolized in the liver, but Kitty lacks the enzyme necessary to metabolize the oil, and some oils can actually be toxic to cats.*  With mixed reviews, I am not willing to risk trying aromatherapy with my cats.

But, I've recently discovered another option for helping Kitty overcome some issues. They are called Floral Essences.  A friend of mine with whom I volunteer at King Street Cats introduced these to me.  There are floral essences for abandonment and abuse, anxiety, grief and loss, jealousy, transition, etc.  Green Hope Farms has an exhaustive list of floral essences to help Kitty.  Their staff is excellent when you have questions or concerns.  I highly recommend them.

Check out their website!

What do you think?  Do you have any experience with either aromatherapy or floral essences for Kitty that you would like to share?  Post your comments below!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kitten Purrlooza Write-Up

Last weekend King Street Cats hosted "Kitten Purrrlooza."  Even though Fall and Spring tend to be kitten season, 
we've had a bumper winter crop 
and wanted to spend a weekend promoting them.  
It was a great success!  
Romy Maimon, who writes for the Examiner
and is one of our biggest fans, 
came by to snap some pictures.  
Read Romy's heart-warming write-up and be sure to check out the slide show of some of our adorable kitties.

Weren't able to come by last weekend?  No worries!  
We still have kittens and a full age range of other cats
 that are ready for their furrever home.  
We are open on weekends from 1:00-4:30, 
or by appointment during the week!  
Drop us a note any time:

Monday, January 23, 2012

What About Me (TM)? January Campaign

King Street Cats' January "What About Me (TM)?" 
campaign features 6 of our very special kitties.

We are most pleasantly surprised to announce
that month to date,
4 of these kitties have found their furrever homes!


Four sets of four paws that are no doubt
kneading the legs of their new owner's lap.
Or maybe they are planted firmly in the kitchen,
insisting on treats.
Or maybe they are facing the ceiling,
along with that furry tummy,
so comfortable in their new home.
Or maybe all of the above.

We are so happy
with the success rate of this campaign,
and we're not going to stop there.
Our 2 other featured kitties this month deserve that same happy ending.
So to continue to manifest the pawsitive!

I'd like to introduce you to our 2 remaining January kitties,
Pandora and Reggie.
Won't you take a minute to read their story
and help us find them a furrever home
for their four paws and fuzzy tummy?

I'm Pandora and here's my story:

I'm Reggie, and here's my story:

We have plenty of other kitties too!  
I have no doubt we have the purrfect one for your home:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kitten Purrr-looza January 21 & 22

Kitten season is typically in the fall or spring, 
but lucky for you, 
we've got plenty of the little sweethearts now, 
ready for their furrever home.

We've got some non-kitten-y types too, 
if you're looking for something a little lower-key.

Please come by King Street Cats this weekend, 
from 1:00-4:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday,
and be prepared to overdose on kitty cuteness.  
You've been warned.

25 South Dove Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314

For a preview of all our kitties up for adoption:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Winter Safety Tips for Stray and Free-Roaming Cats

Winter Safety Tips for Stray and Free-roaming Cats**

By Barbara J. Koll, Best Friends Network volunteer
Alley Cat Allies offers online guide for community cat colony caregivers

Stray and free-roaming cats may spend their entire lives outdoors, but during the cold and damp winter months they can use some extra help staying safe, warm and well-nourished. Alley Cat Allies has an online guide offering tips to community cat caregivers and anyone else who wants to help protect stray cats from the winter elements. The guide offers simple instructions for constructing appropriate shelters and feeding stations for feral colonies.

The information below is an excerpt from a December 7, 2010, Alley Cat Allies press release, “Alley Cat Allies Offers winter Safety Tips for Feral and Stray Cats”:

“We know that millions of people already help to care for the cats in their communities each day, said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies. “While most feral cats are skilled at finding their own food and place to sleep, providing specially-built shelters and dedicated feeding sites guarantee the cats a warm spot to escape the harsh winter weather and deter them from places they aren’t wanted.”

Feral cats spend their whole lives outdoors, and can be found all over the country, from the largest cities to the mostrural landscapes. They are not socialized to humans and can’t be adopted into homes. Feral cats live amongst their own in family groups called “colonies,” and studies show they are just as healthy as pet cats.

To help the feral and stray cats in your community this winter, Alley Cat Allies suggests the following simple steps:

Build an outdoor shelter and a feeding station.

Shelters are easy and inexpensive to build. You can use the plans [available in the 
guide] or modify a pre-built dog house. Some manufacturers also sell pre-built cat shelters.

The shelter should be elevated off the ground and sited in a quiet, unobtrusive area with a minimal amount of traffic. A good-sized shelter offers a space just big enough for three to five cats to huddle. The door should be no more than six to eight inches wide to keep out wildlife and bigger predators. Install a flap on the door to keep out snow, rain and wind.

In addition to a shelter, you can build a simple feeding station with a roof and sides to protect cats from the elements while they eat.

Insulate the shelter against moisture as well as cold.

Straw resists the wet and keeps a shelter warm, and is the best choice for insulation and bedding. Blankets are not a good idea, as they absorb moisture like a sponge.

Keep food and drinking water from freezing.

Wet food in insulated containers is most ideal for winter time feeding, as it takes less energy for cats to digest than dry food — and cats can use all that extra energy to keep warm.

Preventing liquids from freezing can be a challenge during the winter and can lead to a risk for dehydration. Keep water drinkable by using bowls that are deep rather than wide, and place them in a sunny spot. If possible, refill the bowls with warm water. A pinch of sugar in the water also keeps it from freezing as quickly, and provides an added energy boost for the cats. Alternatives include the heated electric bowls found in many pet shops.

The cats will come to expect you if you keep a regular feeding schedule, and the food and water will spend less time in the cold before it is consumed.

Get educated about cats, and stop the breeding cycle with trap/neuter/return.

Make sure to educate yourself, your family and your neighbors about the habits of outdoor cats during the winter time. For example, know to check under the car or give the hood a tap before starting the engine, as cats will sometimes crawl into car engines or hide under them for warmth.

Prevent another “kitten season” next year by getting the outdoor cats in your neighborhood spayed or neutered now. Cats have a 63-day gestation period and usually mate in winter. End the cycle of breeding and help the cats lead better lives by humanely trapping them and having them spayed or neutered by a veterinarian as part of a trap/neuter/return program. Make sure the trapped cats are quickly moved to a warm vehicle for transportation to a veterinary clinic. A local volunteer group that practices trap/neuter/return may be able to help.

Alley Cat Allies’ web site for more information about connecting to local resources and starting a trap/neuter/return program in your community.

For more information:

Photos courtesy of

**Article taken from The Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network Website.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

KSC wants to win the Shelter Challenge!

The Animal Rescue Site does so much good for so many animals.  They are running their Shelter Challenge again. 
King Street Cats is determined to win it this time around!  

As we mentioned before, we had a record-breaking 2011 
in the amount of cats we rescued 
and placed in their furrever homes.  

But, with that, came more expenses, 
some expected and some not.  

We spare no cost to provide a better life for these kitties. 

 Friends and volunteers of KSC have been more than gracious with their time and money to help the effort, 
but winning something like this Shelter Challenge could put us in a better spot for whatever 2012 holds for us.  

Won't you consider adding this link to your calendar 
and vote for us daily?  

We, and our fuzzy feline friends, thank you for whatever effort you can extend to us!

Monday, January 9, 2012

2011-King Street Cats' Biggest Year Yet!

2011 was a banner year for King Street Cats!  We took in, and adopted out, the most cats yet.  

Click the link below for our Year in Review video, highlighting just some of those special kitties.   

For all those who donated to KSC, either with your time, money, or efforts, we cannot thank you enough.  
You made it all possible!

*Video designed by Volunteer, Allie Phillips

Monday, January 2, 2012

Therapy Cats

King Street Cats Volunteer, Allie Phillips, and Tony the Therapy Cat

Ever hear of Therapy Cats?  No, not the cat that needs therapy, although many of us kitty parents often wonder if a little therapeutic couch time might do our fluffer duffers some good.  Rather, we're talking about cats that are taken into different venues to provide a sense of love and companionship for those who need it most.  
One of our volunteers, Allie Phillips, has had extensive exposure to this topic of Therapy Cats, so we thought we'd sit down with her and gain some insight.

KSC: Today we are talking with Allie Phillips about the topic of Therapy Animals, specifically cats. She's a long-time volunteer at King Street Cats, and a nationally-recognized author, attorney, advocate and trainer on animal protection issues. She is the co-creator of Therapy Animals Supporting Kids (TASK) Program, which advocates for placing therapy animals with abused children.

AP: For years I have been advocating for the expansion of therapy animals into the criminal justice system. Part of that involves advocating for the inclusion of therapy cats since therapy dogs are most prevalent. I have found a wide spread belief that cats are aloof and would not make good therapy animals, but over the past 12 years of doing cat rescue I have come across hundreds of cats that would have made amazing therapy cats. And since I have a national platform to provide trainings to criminal justice professionals across the U.S., I am using this platform to not only advocate for therapy animals, but to also think about including therapy cats in the process. Since some children or adults may be afraid of dogs (even nice dogs), it is good to have a therapy cat available for that child or adult.

KSC: Allie, please define the role of a therapy cat. 

AP: Therapy dogs are more prevalent, but there are therapy cats who are doing amazing work. Therapy cats who are registered with a national therapy animal organization, like Delta Society, go through the same testing and training that therapy dogs do. Most therapy animals spend time in hospitals, schools, nursing homes and even hospice facilities. Recently, therapy animals have been expanding into the criminal justice system, even going in to the courtroom to help crime victims testify. But some people have designated their cat to be their own private therapy cat for psychological and mental health reasons. If a doctor provides a note that a patient requires a therapy cat (or dog), then that person cannot be discriminated against in housing.  

KSC: Are therapy cats used with both children and adults?  If so, do the needs for which the cat is providing vary at all between the two?

AP: Therapy cats can benefit both children and adults. If someone is ill, in therapy, struggling in school, lonely, or a crime victim, therapy animals can provide unconditional acceptance, positive human-animal touch, or a nonjudgmental ear (and whiskers) to listen. I have witnessed child abuse victims actually make their disclosure by whispering in to the ear of a cat; the child felt safer telling the cat than telling the child protection professional because cats (and dogs) do not judge. The therapy animals simply take the information and send back unconditional love. That is something that humans, though they try, are unable to do.

KSC: How are therapy cats trained?

AP: Personally I have not been involved in the training of therapy cats; instead, I work on the legal aspects of effectively incorporating a therapy animal into the criminal justice system. However, in working with animal-assisted therapy professionals nationally, I have learned that it is more about training the handler (the person who has the therapy animal) to properly guide and advise the therapy animal. Therapy animals are typically chosen by a handler based on their natural personality. We've all met cats who are outgoing (but not obnoxious), love everyone, enjoy traveling in a carrier, and maybe are trained to walk on a leash. All of the therapy cats that I have met have been rescue cats; there is no cat breed that is needed to be a therapy cat. When a handler has a cat that has the personality of a good therapy cat, the handler-animal team undergoes temperament testing for the cat and training of the handler. They are a team and it is important that the handler be able to advocate and care for their therapy animal. For instance, a handler needs to know when their therapy cat is tired and needs to rest. If a handler is properly trained, then the handler-animal team is effective. My co-creator of the TASK Program is the founder of Denver Pet Partners. They have a wonderful website that describes what it takes to be a good handler-animal team.

KSC: Are therapy cats adopted into homes where there is a need, or is it more of a visitation/short-term process?

AP: Therapy cats (and dogs) are actually "owned" by their handler and they will visit facilities. It is just like you and me getting our cats trained, tested and registered as therapy cats and then finding organizations that can benefit from our services. The therapy cats have homes just like regular cats. The only difference is that they have a day job. And when a therapy animal is registered through Delta Society, their services are free of charge. So if a children's reading group or a nursing home could benefit from a therapy cat, you as the handler would volunteer your time once a week, once a month, or however often you want. And with that registration with Delta Society, you and your therapy cat come with $1 million in insurance. This is a lovely story of a Delta Society therapy cat in Colorado Springs.

KSC: Where can someone reading this blog go for more information on therapy cats ?

AP: They can go to Delta Society to learn more about therapy animals and google "therapy cats" and their locality to see about opportunities available for training and testing. Or go to my website to read more articles and listen to me talk about therapy animals on the radio.

We'd love to hear your comments, either on Therapy Cats, or just the healing you've seen cats (or dogs) do in your or other peoples' lives.  There's no doubt the joy that a kitty can bring to our homes...
I know my life wouldn't be the same without
those 3 little fuzzballs that greet me at the door every night.  Post your thoughts below!