King Street Cats is a busy shelter in Alexandria where staff members provide shelter for dozens of cats. Melissa Murphy is on the fundraising committee and says a down economy means more and more people are abandoning animals not because they want to, but because they cant afford to feed them.
To prevent that from happening, they opened a cat food pantry for needy pet owners.
"Pets are not just pets; they're part of your family. And it's heartbreaking to see a family member have to go," Murphy says.
Employees say dozens of locals have taken advantage of the pantry. Shelter president Vivien Bacon says they even sent a desperate woman in St. Louis a gift card so she wouldn't have to give up her five cats.
"We have seen quite an upsurge in the last year, year and a half with cats being given up," Bacon says.
To help turn the tide, the shelter encourages people to donate to their pantry. They also have a big fundraiser in the works for June.