Veterinary Medical Fund Pet of the Month: Sarah

Did you see the article in The Washington Post recently about how more and more people are adopting senior dogs? We at MCPAW love to see this! But senior pets often have health issues that may require costly treatment. There is a senior dog at MCASAC who needs us now. Say hello to Sarah. 


Sarah came to MCASAC as a stray in December. The staff immediately fell in love with her when they saw how playful and happy she is. She loves her toys! Despite her age, about 10 years old, Sarah has so much life left. 

A physical exam showed that Sarah has a couple of issues: a possible torn cruciate ligament in her rear leg and hip dysplasia in the other leg. These issues are causing her pain, discomfort, and limiting her ability to live life to its fullest. MCASAC's veterinarian has contacted a specialist about doing surgery on Sarah. It is recommended that she get the surgery on the torn ligament first, allow for that to recover, then repair the hip dysplasia.

But these expensive surgeries will require funds beyond MCASAC's limited budget. That's where MCPAW comes in. We care so much about Sarah and other pets who need special attention. We know you care too. That's why we created the Veterinary Medical Fund.

So, come on, let's do it! Let's get Sarah the surgery she needs to be able to run and play again. 

Click here to donate to the Veterinary Medical Fund and help Sarah and other pets like her!


MCPAW Helps Community Cats

We all can agree that outdoor, community cats are a problem. Our hearts break to see these homeless kitties fending for themselves. And many people get angry when they come on their property, often killing birds. MCPAW is leading the charge in Montgomery County to help. On Friday, March 3, MCPAW participated in a team effort to spay/neuter, vaccinate, and microchip 25 community cats. The efforts were coordinated by the Montgomery County Community Cat Coalition, also known as C3.

Cat trappers volunteered their time to trap the cats from designated locations and were brought to the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC). MCASAC offered their enclosed and heated garage space to Metro Ferals’ mobile veterinary van. Volunteers helped Metro Ferals’ veterinary staff as they spayed/neutered, vaccinated, eartipped, and microchipped 25 cats! It was quite an impressive operation.

The spay/neuter surgeries were funded by MCPAW who has a grant from the State of Maryland for our Spay It Forward program. In 2016, we funded the spay and neuter of 440 cats with this grant, and we hope to surpass that number in 2017.

MCPAW also funded the cost of the microchips for all 25 cats who were spayed/neutered on March 3.

We are proud to be a part of the Community Cat Coalition, working together with other animal welfare organizations in the county and caring volunteers.



Welcome to MCPAW’s new website, thanks to the creative team at August, Lang & Husak! And thank you to my predecessor, Karen Gerken, for working with them to make this happen. I am the new Executive Director as of December 1, and am so pleased to be a part of MCPAW. This organization does so much unsung work behind the scenes for the animals and people of Montgomery County. Our dedicated board of directors works tirelessly to spread the word about MCPAW and our mission, and to engage others with our work.

MCPAW is the fundraising partner for the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC). Because they are run by the government, they cannot solicit monetary donations. That’s where MCPAW comes in! MCASAC has a limited budget which only covers basic care for the animals. Should an animal require care over and above routine care, MCASAC turns to MCPAW for support. Last year, MCPAW funded over $13,000 in veterinary expenses for pets at MCASAC. That’s just a small part of what MCPAW is all about. Please look through the website to learn the other ways MCPAW makes an impact for the animals.

Thank you for your support!

Chris Shaughness, Executive Director, MCPAW

What a Cat Wants, What a Cat Needs

A brief guide to environmental enrichment from feline expert Dr. Ilona Rodan.

Long live cats! That’s what everyone wants—you, the cat owner, the cat. But some cat owners may not understand that by bringing these playful yet predatory creatures into a home, the cats may be suffering from lack of enrichment. The problem with that? Less activity can lead to obesity. And these kitties can get really stressed with nothing to do all day, so bad habits might start to pop up—house soiling problems, furniture scratching or destruction, conflict with other cats and overgrooming. Stress can also lead to physical illness, such as feline idiopathic cystitis, the most common problem of the lower urinary tract. Even cats in multicat households can suffer these ill effects.

“Cat owners love their cats!” says Ilona Rodan, DVM, DABVP (feline practice). “Unfortunately, when we don’t understand another species, it’s not uncommon for us to make a mistake and not give them what they need. Many cats are obtained for free. And a little booklet doesn’t come with them explaining what to do to take care of them—that’s a big issue.”

Here’s your chance to provide said booklet, or at least pass on the bare necessities to cat owners:

  • Incoming … Since cats are hunters, a bowl of food placed in front of them takes away the chance to act on natural instincts. “The problem is we put this high-calorie, dense food into a food dish, and there are often other cats eating nearby. That’s not the way cats eat in the wild,” says Rodan. “They eat about eight to 20 small meals each day. Lots of exercise goes into the hunting and catching of these small prey.” To encourage more interactive feeding, Rodan recommends putting the food in food puzzles, providing frequent small meals around the house or tossing kibbles to mimic hunting behavior.
  • Outgoing … Litter boxes should be placed in different spots throughout the house and on each floor in a multilevel house so that a cat sitting at the top of the steps doesn’t block another cat from getting to the boxes in the basement. “Three litter boxes all in one area are really just one litter box in the cat mind,” says Rodan. This is particularly important in multicat households so there is no competition for resources. Accidents may happen if a cat doesn’t feel safe stepping into a box.
  • A place of my own. Speaking of safe, owners can make sure there are areas for cats to hang out without worry—safe spaces, says Rodan. A safe place allows a cat to feel protected, such as a cardboard box on its side, a cat bed with high sides or even a cat carrier. Also include places to perch, since cats like to be on high, looking down on us mere humans, so to speak.
  • The play’s the thing. “As hunters, cats need play,” says Rodan. “Play is really important to teach them to hunt.” Cats can and should play on their own, but at least some of the play should also be interactive, she says. But not with your hands! Wand toys and feathers are great ways to engage cats safely and bring out their pouncing prowess.
  • Common scents. Having familiar scents throughout the house can make cats more comfortable. That can mean feline facial pheromones (Feliway—Ceva), which mimic their own scent.

Each cat is unique, as your cat-owning clients will readily point out. But they all have some basics that can help them live comfortably behind closed doors. Rodan leaves you with this: “Cats are just not something to look at and to sit on your lap or to sleep with you. They need play and attention.”