King Street Cats: Finding Furever Homes

This kitty is cozy in his soft crocheted cat bed, thanks to volunteer Elizabeth. (Photo by Amanda Socci)

Forever Finding Forever Homes

By Amanda M. Socci

Now in its 16th year of operation, King Street Cats, Alexandria’s long-standing volunteer cat rescue, will celebrate 10 years at 25 S. Dove Street this coming July. KSC is run entirely by volunteers and is totally dependent upon donations to fund its extensive work.

Melissa*, a KSC volunteer, emphasized that they are a rescue organization, not a cat shelter. “We are completely no-kill,” she said, and operate on “a different set of rules. We keep the cats until they find their forever homes.”

She added that KSC has a stringent adoption policy. “We are very careful. We do extensive background checks to be sure that people are who they say they are.”

Melissa and the many other KSC volunteers devote their time to the cats out of love. “These cats are members of our family,” said Melissa. “We care for them and do everything we can for them.”

Crocheted Labors of Love

One recent labor of love was the brainchild of another volunteer. Elizabeth, an artist who crochets, was inspired by a cat bed she saw on the Internet in 2016 and created her own crocheted version of it: Oval with a flat bottom and high, textured sides. The design works well because cats like roundness and ridges, and to curl up in a small space.

Elizabeth’s cat bed prototype was durable and machine washable, and she was soon teaching others at KSC how to make them. Soon a small army of volunteers was busily crocheting away. KSC offered the cat beds to the public for a donation. In December 2018, both the UpCycle Creative Reuse Center and Pet Valu at the Bradlee Shopping Center permitted this exchange of cat beds for donations, resulting in 50 cat beds out the door.

KSC seeks donations from the public year-round. The constant fundraising effort is necessary because many people mistakenly believe that city government supports King Street Cats financially. Due to its committed no-kill philosophy, KSC often ends up with cats that have severe medical needs or behavioral problems.

“It costs $250,000 to run this place each year,” said Melissa. “At least 70 percent of our expenses are veterinary costs.” So outreach to the public is a constant priority.

Volunteers Patti (R) and Anne (L) comfort a kitten during its initial physical assessment. (Photo by Amanda Socci)

Youthful philanthropy

One response to this outreach came from a little girl named Skylar, who lives in the Fairfax County section of Alexandria. This is the second year that Skylar has asked her birthday party guests to forego gifts and “be generous and help provide much-needed supplies to King Street Cats.”

King Street Cats encourages Zebra readers to support its mission to “rescue, provide safe haven, and veterinary care until the cats and kittens in our care find their forever homes, and to educate and assist the community in regard to cat welfare.”

For the second year, Skylar asked her birthday party guests to donate cat supplies for KSC in lieu of birthday gifts. (Photo by Shannon Scott)

*For privacy reasons, KSC volunteers have asked that Zebra use volunteers’ first names only. For more information, please visit: https://www.kingstreetcats.org.