On Wednesday we reported that a cat and her kittens were living on top of Gunston Middle School. Today we’re happy to report that the kittens have been successfully removed from the roof.
After a bit of an impasse with Arlington Public Schools officials, yesterday animal control officers from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington were able to find a way to safely get to the roof, capture the kittens and get them back down from the roof.
AWLA detailed the process in a Facebook post last night.
We are happy to report that the kittens have been safely removed from the roof and are in our care here at the shelter!
We were made aware of this little family after a young student saw the kittens outside his classroom window and called the shelter. The mother cat was able to freely come and go from the flat roof, and had decided that it was the safest spot for her kittens!
Because the mother cat is feral, we needed to wait to remove her kittens until they were old enough to eat on their own and not rely on her for survival. Typically our officers do not climb onto roofs for safety reasons, but after we were informed that there was a secured ladder on the side of the building, the officers knew they had to help. And so Operation Roof Kitten Rescue began!
Officers Corcoran, Solano and Dispatcher Barrett were able to capture the fearful kittens in a net and transfer them to a carrier. They created a harness made of leashes so that Officer Solano could “wear” the carrier as she descended the ladder.
The kittens are now the perfect age for socializing: old enough to eat on their own, but young enough to learn to enjoy human contact. They will now go to a foster home until they are old enough and friendly enough for adoption. Thank you to everyone who assisted us in this rescue!
What will happen to the kittens’ mother? AWLA also answered that on the Facebook post.
When it comes to feral kittens there’s a delicate balance between leaving them with their mothers vs taking them into the shelter. If we leave them with the mother until they are completely grown and leave her on their own, they will be too old to socialize and adopt out – they will be feral like their mother, and then those kittens will grow and have more kittens of their own, leading to a larger and larger population of feral cats in the area. The officers and shelter staff feel that it’s in the best interests of the mother and kittens to remove them at this time. As stated above, the officers are looking options for the mother cat. We can assure you that the welfare of both the kittens and mother are what we are most concerned about.
The feline family recently took up residence on the school’s roof, apparently after the cat climbed a tree to get there.
Both APS and AWLA want to get the cat and kittens down from the roof, but are still formulating a plan for how to do it.
“We think that the mother cat is feral, and we want to capture the kittens while they are young enough to be socialized,” said AWLA’s Susan Sherman. “Once the kittens are old enough to get down from the roof on their own, they will likely be too old to socialize.”
Sherman said an AWLA animal control officer has been to the school “several times” to talk to officials from the school and the attached Gunston Community Center. One sticking point is deciding who’s going to go up on the roof. School workers don’t want to get attacked by the cat and animal control officers don’t want to play Spiderman.
“We offered to assist the school facilities people to set a humane trap on the roof, but they said the mother cat might attack them,” Sherman explained. “Our officers do not climb up on roofs. The part of the roof the cats are on is flat, and we requested access from classroom windows but the school facilities person told us the windows cannot be unscrewed or removed.”
“We are working on a plan to capture the kittens as soon as possible but want to do it in a way that is safe for the cats and people,” she said.
Widening Critics Still Questioning I-66 Deal — “Widening the highway for four miles from Beltway to Ballston will not relieve traffic congestion, according to every expert I’ve spoken to,” writes WAMU transportation reporter Martin Di Caro, regarding the I-66 deal struck by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette, meanwhile, says the overall plan for tolling I-66 is worth the compromise. [Twitter, WAMU]
Arlington Probably Won’t Sue Over I-395 HOT Lanes — After mounting an expensive legal battle over a plan by Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) administration to convert the HOV lanes on I-395 to High Occupancy Toll lanes, Arlington appears poised to accept a similar HOT lane plan by VDOT and the McAuliffe administration. There are some key differences between the two proposals, observers say. [Greater Greater Washington]
Arlington Man Arrested in D.C. Cold Case — Arlington resident Benito Valdez, 45, has been arrested and charged with an alleged accomplice in a 1991 triple homicide cold case in the District. [Associated Press]
Chamber Concert in Lyon Park This Weekend — On Saturday, IBIS Chamber Music will hold a free concert of chamber music in the newly-renovated Lyon Park Community Center (414 N. Fillmore Street). The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. and feature music by Schubert, Beethoven and Debussy. [ARLnow]
Local Resident’s Cat Story Appears in Book — A story by Arlington resident April Riser is featured in the new book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat,” according to a PR rep for the publisher.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
A cat was rescued from a high ledge in Ballston this morning.
The rescue took place around 9 a.m., several stories high at the Avalon Ballston Square Apartments (850 N. Randolph Street), after the cat had walked down a ledge from an apartment balcony and its owner was unable to reach it, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Brian Edwards.
Firefighters used a ladder tower to pluck the cat from the ledge without incident, Edwards said.
Edwards couldn’t recall the fire department’s last cat rescue. He noted that “we don’t get a whole lot [of cat rescues] but there are a few throughout the year.”
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 19, 2015
Photo courtesy @B_Flipn
Last year, two kittens rescued by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington became Internet sensations thanks to a viral video of them dancing to the hit song “Turn Down for What.”
This year, another AWLA kitten is getting some Internet love. Winnie, a foster kitten, stars in a video of her “dancing” to the tune of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ pop hit “Uptown Funk.”
Since the video was uploaded to YouTube in May, it has received more than 600,000 views.
The AWLA wasn’t able to provide much information about Winnie, but did confirm that she was a foster kitten and has apparently since been adopted.
“Our foster coordinator recognizes the video kitten as one we had in the spring,” said league COO Susan Sherman.
Sherman said the organization, through its foster program, helps to rescue hundreds of kittens over the course of the summer. More kittens like Winnie, along with adult cats, are currently available for adoption.
“Kittens go to foster care when they are too young and sometimes too unsocial (feral) for adoption,” she said. “Once they reach two pounds in weight and are socialized to people, they come back to the shelter for adoption. We currently have nine kittens up for adoption and 24 in foster care who will be available in the next few weeks. Every summer our foster families help 200-300 kittens.”
AWLA Cats Star in Movie Trailers — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is releasing a mock movie trailer each week this month starring their very own cats. The adoptable felines will then be given the star treatment at the shelter. “Guests who visit AWLA each Friday in June will be invited to walk the ‘Paw of Fame,’ enjoy some popcorn and take a photo with one of the starring ‘caters’ or ‘catresses’ or to take one home for free,” The first trailer is set to a “Jurassic World” theme. [Facebook]
Arlington Sells $77 Million in Bonds — Arlington County issued $77 million worth of bonds Tuesday, at an average interest rate of 2.8 percent. “Our Triple-AAA rating has helped ensure the lowest interest rates possible, ensuring taxpayer dollars for bond funded projects are used as effectively as possible,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a press release. [Arlington County]
Sierra Club Endorses Fallon — Peter Fallon has picked up a key environmental endorsement ahead of the June 9 Democratic County Board primary. The Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club has endorsed Fallon, saying he has “a long history of community activism,” is “well versed in the environmental issues facing the County” and is “a strong supporter of [Arlington’s] Community Energy Plan.” Though there are two open County Board seats, the group said it “opted to only endorse one candidate.”
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The event is being held at the shopping center from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on March 28. It will be followed by a “Yappy Hour” at Zaika restaurant from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The pet adoption day is scheduled to be the only D.C. area stop this year for the North Shore Animal League “Tour of Life” bus. New York-based North Shore bills itself as the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. Beyond that, it’s perhaps best known nationally as the animal shelter publicly supported by Beth Stern and her husband, Sirius XM host and America’s Got Talent judge Howard Stern.
North Shore Animal League is partnering with Arlington-based Homeward Trails Animal Rescue for the event.
“The Tour of Life bus… will park on the Community Loop and house approximately 50 animals ready for adoption,” according to a Market Common spokeswoman. “The Loop will be transformed into an interactive dog park, where Arlington residents will have the opportunity to bring their pets to mingle with other animals, as well as have the opportunity to adopt from and donate to Homeward Trails.”
Ten percent of the proceeds from the Yappy Hour will be donated to Homeward Trails.
Two locals are opening a veterinary clinic on N. 10th St. between N. Garfield and N. Highland Streets. Set to open in early 2015, Clarendon Animal Care will provide a range of treatments.
“We’ll be a full-service general practice doing everything from wellness care to geriatric treatments to management of chronic conditions,” co-owner Kayleen Gloor said.
Gloor, 32, and co-owner Natasha Ungerer, 34, will also perform basic dentistry and have X-ray machines. The office will focus on making both human and animal clients comfortable and helping pet owners understand how to keep their companions healthy.
“I can’t count the number of times people have told me they wish I were their own medical doctor because I explain things so clearly,” Gloor said.
Gloor, an Arlington resident, and Ungerer, a McLean resident, met during an internship at a veterinary emergency office in Gaithersburg. They believe Clarendon Animal Care will be the only all-woman-owned veterinary clinic in Arlington. The majority of veterinary students are women, yet few own their own practices, Gloor said.
“It’s a bit of an old boys’ club.”
A kitten named Speedo is getting the physical therapy he needs.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is treating a two-month-old domestic shorthair known as a “swimmer” cat who walks by making swimming-like motions with his front paws.
Born with rear legs that splay outward, Speedo was dropped off at the AWLA at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. by an owner who wasn’t in the position to deal with his medical issues, Chief Operating Officer Susan Sherman said.
The shelter found a foster home for the kitten, who gets physical therapy treatments every day. Rather than opting for surgery on his legs, Speedo gets massages and may even receive acupuncture treatments.
“The massage is meant to train the muscles and ligaments,” Sherman said. “The acupuncture would stimulate nerves.
“We do not believe he’s in any pain,” she added.
AWLA veterinarians made a special “alley” for Speedo to walk through with his hind legs bound, encouraging him to walk correctly.
To help pets like Speedo, AWLA is asking for donations to their Woody and Mickey Healthy Pet Fund, which helps special needs pets by paying for”above and beyond” services like orthopedic surgery, blood tests and dental surgery.
Despite his ongoing treatments, Speedo is a sweetheart, Sherman said.
“He is adorable. He’s very sweet and amazingly friendly.”
AWLA expects the kitten will need a permanent home later this year.
“We’re going to see how much he’s able to progress, and as soon as we think he’s going to be able to live a healthy, happy life, he’ll be up for adoption,” she said.
AWLA made this video of Speedo walking through his “alley”:
Editor’s Note: The Scratching Post is a new column that’s sponsored and written by the staff at NOVA Cat Clinic.
Has Fluffy been drinking a lot more water lately? Have you been cleaning out her litter box more often than normal?
These can be some of the initial signs of kidney disease. We rarely think about our cat’s kidneys and how well they are functioning, but they are very important organs in the body. Kidneys filter the blood to remove waste from the system. Most commonly due to aging, but occasionally from infections or toxins, the kidneys can become weakened. This may lead to kidney disease, which is sometimes called Chronic Kidney Failure.
Here are some commonly-asked questions we get regarding feline kidney issues.
Q: I’m cleaning Fluffy’s litter box all the time. How can her kidneys be failing if there is MORE urine?
For us humans, we might think it’s a good thing. We are told to drink 8 glasses a day to stay hydrated, but cats are different. When Fluffy’s kidneys are functioning well, her urine is fairly concentrated (yellow) and she doesn’t need to drink a large amount of water. If her kidneys begin to fail, it doesn’t mean they aren’t producing enough urine; it means they are not eliminating waste as well. In order to compensate, her body will increase blood flow to the kidneys which makes her kidneys produce more urine. To avoid dehydration, she will become very thirsty. This compensation may help initially, but over time she may experience loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and very bad breath. While these symptoms can be due to kidney disease, they can also be caused by other conditions and should be investigated by a veterinarian.
Q: How will I know if my cat has kidney disease?
The only way to know how well the kidneys are functioning is through testing the blood and testing a urine sample. These lab results, in conjunction with a discussion with your veterinarian about your cat’s overall health and behavior, will help us to determine the appropriate course of action.
Q: What can I do if my cat has kidney disease?
Though every cat’s needs are different, there are a few common treatments we use to help ease the burden on the kidneys. These treatments can range from special diets and medications, to giving fluids under the skin, or even acupuncture treatments. If the kidney disease is more advanced, we may recommend placing Fluffy on IV Fluids for up to three days to flush waste out of the kidneys. This will hopefully help her kidneys to function better for some time while some of the other treatments are provided.
Q: Will treatment cure my cat?
While Fluffy’s kidneys will never return to normal, she may live with a great quality of life for an extended period of time. Following your veterinarian’s recommendations and closely watching Fluffy for changes will give you a leg up on keeping her as happy and healthy as possible.
If you feel your kitty is showing any of the signs of kidney disease, give us a call at 703-525-1955. We can work with you to figure out the best plan of action for you and your furry friend.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Firefighters were called to a home on the 4400 block of Pershing Court in the Barcroft neighborhood around 4:45 this morning for reports of a fire. Units arrived six minutes later and found flames coming out of a front window on the top floor, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah-Maria Marchegiani.
The blaze was quickly extinguished but firefighters found a cat inside the home in “respiratory distress,” Marchegiani said. The cat, which was foaming at the mouth as a result of smoke inhalation, was brought outside and given oxygen. It was then transported to an animal hospital — the VCA SouthPaws Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Center on Route 50 — where it is now listed in stable condition.
There were no human injuries as a result of the fire. The blaze caused about $50,000 in damage.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, which started in an upstairs bedroom, according to Marchegiani. Other than the cat, the home was unoccupied — its residents were on vacation at the time.
Photo courtesy ACFD
Arrow, the cat found that was found in Ballston shot with more than 30 BBs, including at least 20 that remain lodged in his head, was adopted today at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
Bluemont resident Anne Hancock took Arrow — who the shelter estimates is 6 years old — home after an emotional goodbye with AWLA staff. Arrow was brought to AWLA Jan. 18 by someone who found him wandering near Ballston Common Mall.
He came in with an upper respiratory infection and when he was given an X-Ray, veterinarians were shocked to find his body riddled with BBs and buckshot. One eye had to be removed, and he’s blind in his other eye.
Hancock’s daughter and grandson volunteer with AWLA — in fact, her daughter transported Arrow from the shelter to the vet — and they told her about the cat who, despite being horrifically abused, was so friendly and gentle around people.
“He seemed to be a special cat,” Hancock said. “He’s affectionate, sweet and very, very dear.”
Hancock will take him to a home with two other cats — cats that she said have been lonely since her third cat, which was similar in age and color to Arrow, died from cancer a few months ago.
Hancock was one of about 15 who expressed interest in adopting Arrow after ARLnow.com and other news outlets reported on him last month, AWLA Adoptions and Rescue Coordinator Amy Laferrera said. Frequently, animals that have been abused take longer to find homes, but Arrow was quickly in demand.
“We were shocked at how, all of a sudden, there was this huge outpouring of support,” LaFerrera said. “People not only wanted to adopt him but they wanted to donate and help the shelter any way they could.”
Arrow quickly became a favorite around the shelter, coming to humans who called for him or made noises to let him know they were nearby. Hancock picked him up at 2:00 p.m. today, and Arrow spent all morning saying goodbye to the staff at the shelter.
“I’m sad, in a good way, to see him go,” Charnita Fox, an animal care manager whose desk was just a few feet from Arrow’s pen. “I knew he was special when he was brought in because he pretty much let us do anything to him. We didn’t believe he was blind at first because he uses his other senses so well.”
After Hancock signed the adoption paperwork, Arrow was brought to AWLA’s front desk in crate to meet his new owner. He meowed a few times when his crate was closed, but when he was let out he quickly explored the desk he was on. Once Hancock picked him up, he settled peacefully into her arms as he was showered with affection. One AWLA staffer, after snapping a few cell phone photos, excused herself, saying “I’m going to go cry now.”
“He’s a special fella,” Hancock said after meeting him. “I feel like I won the lottery.”
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) wants to make life a little better for its feline residents by upgrading their housing.
In the upcoming weeks, the shelter will undergo a complete facelift of its cat quarters that includes six cageless cat colonies, a separate kitten room, an adoption area with enlarged windows, and larger cages with spaces for hiding, perching and stretching. There will also be two isolation rooms for sick cats, two private rooms for potential adopters to “get acquainted” with the cats and a new HVAC system.
Neil Trent, AWLA President and CEO, expects all of the renovations and construction to be finished by the middle of March.
To pay for the renovations, the league launched a fundraising campaign dubbed Care And Transform (CAT). It has a goal of raising $670,000, to “improve the intake and quality of life for feline and small companion animals at the shelter,” according to a press release.
AWLA’s cats stay for 35 days on average, but some end up staying for as long as a year, according to the press release. For long-term cats, the new improvements are very important.
In a 2010 report, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) claimed that “poor cat housing is one of the greatest shortcomings observed in shelters and has a substantially negative impact on both health and well-being.”
“We believe that while cats are in our care we must do everything that we can to enrich their lives and that includes an opportunity to stretch, climb and play,” said Trent.
AWLA held an adoption event this Valentine’s Day weekend to benefit the CAT campaign. For just $14, attendees could adopt a cat, bird, or rabbit to call their own.
However, due to last week’s snowstorm, the event didn’t go quite as planned. One cat found a permanent home, but several others are still waiting to find a match. So far the CAT campaign has raised just over 35 percent of its goal.
Photos courtesy AWLA
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is helping a cat recover from injuries suffered as a result of being shot numerous times with a BB gun.
An Arlington resident recently found the cat near Ballston Common Mall and brought it to the AWLA shelter, according to the league’s email newsletter. The cat, a male tabby, had a blind right eye and an injured left eye — likely the result of being shot with more than 30 BB pellets.
“We named him Arrow and sent him out for x-rays,” according to the league. “We were shocked to learn that he had at least 20 BB pellets in his head alone. This is most likely the reason for his blindness. Although it was shocking to see so many BBs in one animal, there was no medical reason to remove them, as it would cause more trauma.”
“We were able to do thorough diagnostic work on Arrow,” the newsletter continued. “We also neutered him, removed his badly damaged right eye, and performed a dental cleaning with extractions. This sweet boy is now recovering in our offices being closely watched by our medical team. We are hoping for his full recovery and eventual adoption!”
Arrow was originally found on Jan. 18. It appears that the cat’s wounding was an isolated incident.
“We have not seen any other animals with BB pellets,” AWLA Chief Operating Officer Susan Sherman told ARLnow.com. “This is something that could have happened some time ago.”
“Everyone here is impressed with Arrow’s will to survive and thrive,” Sherman added.
Photo courtesy AWLA
Deputy Accused of Murder Again Denied Bond — Arlington County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Patterson, who is accused of murdering Julian Dawkins, has been denied bond for a third time. Patterson’s defense attorney argued that Dawkins may have been using and dealing drugs, and Dawkins’ previous dealings with police caused his confrontational nature the night of the incident. Patterson’s trial starts on December 9. [WUSA]
Home Sales, Prices Rise — The combination of higher sales and increasing average sales prices boosted Arlington’s total sales volume for August by 29.4 percent, to $173 million, compared to last year. The average price of all residential properties rose 8.1 percent to $594,479. Homes sold last month spent an average of 29 days on the market between listing and contract, compared with 50 days a year ago. [Sun Gazette]
Lost Dog/Stray Cat Profile — A Washington Post story profiles two of Arlington’s well known restaurants that help pets find homes — Lost Dog Cafe and Stray Cat Cafe. Co-founders Pam McAlwee and Ross Underwood describe how they started rescuing strays from shelters before the age of cell phones and the internet. Each year the duo, along with their 300 volunteers, helps around 1,800 dogs and 700 cats find homes. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by maryva2