Blackbeard's Story


June 2011 Update on Blackbeard: Watch a video of his progress.

Your donations help us assist the neediest of animals, animals like cat Blackbeard. Blackbeard was one of those “invisible” feral cats that live in the shadows in many neighborhoods. Thankfully, one person – a dedicated FOHA volunteer – has personally been caring for the ferals in her neighborhood for years. She traps, neuters, and returns these cats to the neighborhood, providing them daily food and shelter in the wintertime. When Blackbeard, a handsome and outgoing black male cat, was injured in March 2011– likely by another animal – this volunteer spent a week trying to trap him. Finally, he became hungry enough to go into the humane trap. She was able to take Blackbeard to our vet partners at Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Centreville on a Sunday, right before closing time. They removed all of the dead skin and fur, and gave him pain medication. Monday, they put in a drain for his infection and further cleaned his wounds. It’s amazing that a feral cat allowed people to assist him – perhaps Blackbeard was not always feral but, perhaps, a cat who was let outside unneutered or left behind when his people moved away.

The diligent and compassionate vets at Caring Hands were able to patch Blackbeard back together, and he has allowed them and his rescuer/caregiver to put healing salve on his wounds daily. In time, his skin and fur will grow back. Because of the nature of his injuries, he is under 6-month quarantine to ensure that he has not been infected with rabies. His rescuer provides this daily care from her home, and FOHA provides the financial support necessary to treat this special boy.


His ability to learn to trust and the fact that he has allowed people to help him is a testament to his heart and his ability to understand kindness. Blackbeard continues to progress, both in physical condition and socialization with people. We are hopeful that when his quarantine period is completed, Blackbeard will be an adoptable, domesticated cat.

Your donations allow us to help the neediest cats in our local neighborhoods – including the feral cats who so often live in the shadows. They may live in the shadows of our neighborhoods, but these cats are in the forefront of our hearts at FOHA. Only through your donations can we continue to help them live a better life.

Update on Blackbeard from his Foster Mom: In terms of his social progress, Blackbeard has been a very good guest in my house.  He never whines or complains about being in his blue collar, nor a confined space, while he is convalescing and in quarantine.  And although I keep my other cats out of his space, he can see them through a gate and he never has words for them when they pass by throughout the day.  (Of course, these are same cats he used to feed with outside, though he was always less social than they.) 

He has learned to enjoy the daily massages he earns by being a good boy while I administer to his healing wounds each morning.  Tuesday morning he even rolled over and asked for a belly rub, which lasted more than a couple of minutes.  It was a very sweet moment.  I think we can definitely say that he is on his way to being de-feralized.  No litter box problems at all -- uses it like a pro.  I am trying to get him interested in toys.  There is one soft toy with a feather plume that seems to move around in his cage, but I've never caught him actually playing.  On the evenings when I am at home I'll go into his room and spend quality time alone with him and try to coax him out of his open crate.  He still won't come up to me to investigate or ask for pets or anything.  But I can tell he really likes the one-on-one time, as his demeanor gets really relaxed when I am in there and he'll stretch out his body and his paws like he's reaching out to me, though still tentatively.  I feel certain this behavior will expand in tme. 

 Please donate today and help animals like Blackbeard.

About FOHA: Friends of Homeless Animals, a no-kill shelter, was founded in 1973 by Judge Anne Lewis. We are located in Loudoun County, Virginia and serve the DC Metropolitan area. Our resident pets are welcome to stay as long as they need to in order to find their forever homes. We have a long-term village where our dogs who have been with us the longest have their own furnished, heated and air conditioned cottages. Our cats live in communal housing, not cages. For more information about our organization and our shelter, visit our homepage at