Donate Now: Help Alexandria’s King Street Cats Save Cats From Afghanistan – The Zebra

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Jimbo and Ella (Photo courtesy KSAR)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-It takes over 14 hours to fly on a commercial flight from Kabul, Afghanistan to Alexandria, Virginia. For animals, the 6,944-mile journey can extend over 24 hours because of layovers and customs, requiring long time spent in carriers in a cargo hold. Despite the arduous trip, if all goes according to plan, two lucky cats will soon be taking that long flight to their forever home somewhere in the DMV.

King Street Cats has teamed up with Kabul Small Animal Rescue (KSAR) to help in its incredible effort to airlift 300 dogs and cats out of Afghanistan and into foster and forever homes in the United States. King Street Cats has been one of the KSAR rescue partners for the past five years. “It all began in September 2019 with a single cat named Agatha,” said Patti Gross, a volunteer and Board member at the all-volunteer, cat-exclusive, no-kill rescue facility in Alexandria. “Since then, we have taken in, sheltered, and placed over two dozen cats from Afghanistan.”

Once the cats arrive at the King Street Cats facility, Gross said that they typically take a day or so to recover from their long journey and get acclimated to their new surroundings. After that initial transition period, the cats from Afghanistan are just like their domestic neighbors, with one notable exception: “They’re very talkative,” said Gross with a laugh. “When we get a new one in, and they’re in one of our intake rooms getting used to everything, the volunteers can definitely hear them.”

KSAR is a veterinary clinic and animal shelter in Afghanistan working to help animals in need. It provides routine care for owned animals, medical care and shelter to injured and orphaned street animals, and loving homes for homeless pets by providing adoption services in Afghanistan and abroad. KSAR is currently home to about 450 animals, including over 300 dogs, 110 cats, 14 budgies (a type of small parakeet), six sheep, four tortoises, three peacocks, two roosters, two bunnies, two goats, and one cow.

KSAR is actively raising funds to fly 300 rescued cats and dogs, including nine dogs who worked alongside NATO and US troops before the American withdrawal in 2021, to forever homes and rescue placement in the United States in early June on a chartered cargo plane. “Flying our rescues to their homes is a gift of thriving lives, each with a family of their own, and every animal homed is another animal saved here in Afghanistan,” said KSAR’s founder and director, Charlotte Maxwell-Jones.

Charlotte Maxwell- Jones (Photo courtesy KSAR)

This is not the first time that KSAR has attempted a transport of this size. In early 2022, it successfully airlifted 286 animals to Canada that it had earlier tried to evacuate during the NATO withdrawal. King Street Cats received four cats during that airlift. This time, the need to evacuate these animals is even more acute. “Our shelter in Kabul is overflowing, and the needs we are faced with every day overwhelming,” Maxwell-Jones said. “Lowering our population drastically is the only way we can survive as a clinic, shelter, and sanctuary for the animals that need it most.”

KSAR will be managing this endeavor from shelter to home with the help of trusted rescue partners and dedicated volunteers along the way. One of those partners is King Street Cats, which is slated to receive two cats: Jimbo and Elfa. “They are a ‘bonded pair,’” said Gross. “Meaning that they are BFFs, have grown up together, are dependent on each other, and will get adopted together.”

KSAR is desperately seeking funds to cover the charter plane fees for flying from Kabul to the United States; all the stopovers along the way; customs, export, and import fees and USDA and CDC processing; custom-made travel crates; pre-flight medical testing; and in-flight veterinary personnel. Donations can be made at

SEE ALSO: Adopt a Pet in Alexandria – Meet Max]

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