WASHINGTON — We introduce to you, in all her furry, fuzzy glory our pick for cutest kitten in D.C.: Catmala Hairrus, a four-week-old short-hair tabby rescued by the foster-shelter group DC Paws.
Her platform consists of being adorable, needing to be bottle-fed for the time being and sleeping, which all things considered, seems like an admirable campaign.
DC Paws is a 100% volunteer-based foster shelter, picking up strays from other shelters and places as far as South Carolina. In the case of Catmala, that means a shelter in Prince George's County, which are often at overcapacity as buildings operate on high volume and low staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group then spends time relocating the animals to foster homes, training future caregivers and providing them with the proper tools necessary to make their visits more welcoming.
Kate Viar is the director of the rescue and oversees a lot of the fostering process from start to finish. She said the rescue is just one of many that have seen influxes of fostering and adoption efforts thanks to COVID-19, with quarantining leaving more people at home and more need for fuzzy company.
'When the quarantine first came into place, we couldn't keep up, I mean we were just inundated," Viar said about the adoption. "I had to recruit around seven to eight team members to just go through applications. "
Catmala is currently in the care of a D.C. resident, Lizzy, who will take care of her for the next couple of weeks while she develops and matures past bottle feeding and will prep her until she's adopted. Lizzy also was the creative force behind the name, Viar said.
"You know there were other names, we had almost a list of running political ones that Lizzy had going and other fun names," Viar said of the unique name choice. Others have included Woof Bader Ginsburg and Sir Paw McBarkney.
But Viar also wants to stress the importance of making sure you're a good fit for animals, many of which need a forever home that last longer than the quarantine.
"You're seeing returns," Viar said, talking about how many who originally adopt underestimate the responsibility it takes to properly care for a pet. "We have had just this week someone who returned an animal after two weeks, they said they just weren't ready."
That's hard on groups like DC Paws, who rely on coordinating efforts to make sure the animals are both cared for before the adoption process and in the right hands after. Viar said the shelter provides plenty of resources for new parents and fosterers, offering training help and behavioral health guidance.
If you think you'd be a great fit for Catmala, or one of her adorable running mates -- errr, brothers and sisters -- you can check out DC Paws website here.
She has our vote!