Compassion spurred Catherine McCullough Awad to start Fancy Cats Rescue Team in 1997. Too many nice, healthy cats were being euthanized at the local shelter in Fairfax, Virginia simply because they did not have the capacity to keep cats past their initial hold period. Most of the time the cats were sick with colds and needed at least antibiotics and a 2 week quarantine. 

Cathy was able to take in cats, often scheduled for euthanization, nurse them back to health and bring them to adoption fairs in cooperation with a rescue. When doing adoptions at the Fairlakes Petsmart in Fairfax she always worried about the fate of the shelter's cats inside the adoption center.  These cats were moved out of the center after about 2 weeks and if they went back to the shelter their fate was often uncertain.  Cathy says "I was at the shelter one day and started talking to the Director at the time. I asked him if it was possible for me to adopt cats out for them as their volunteer? Instead of residents visiting the shelter only on Tues-Sat 10-5, Petsmart would call me and I would meet with the adopter and adopt out the cat."  Cathy was soon able to  work it out with the county shelter to intake cats directly from them  and show them at in Petsmart. " In order to work with Petsmart I needed to become a 501c3. So I did. Back then it was myself and my daughters. A full team of volunteers was a dream of mine. It gradually became reality."

The brainstorm of a driven individual has evolved over the years into one of the largest rescue groups in northern Virginia with a team of over 100 volunteers, showing cats at area pet stores (four northern Virginia Petsmarts) and a local cat cafe, Mount Purrnon. Cathy Awad and Fancy Cats and Dogs Rescue Team is recognized as a leader in animal rescue in the DC metro area.

We are extremely proud that since our inception, by working with shelters and the public directly, we have successfully placed over 25,000 cats and 777 dogs into new, loving homes. 

Fancy Cats reaches out to the public to give alternatives to prevent cats from ending up in shelters. We counsel families on the importance of pet retention and suggest ways of dealing with problematic behavior. There are many reasons people surrender their pets, allergies, moving, loss of job and home. We try to accommodate these situations but when our foster homes are full, we provide courtesy posts on multiple websites to help owners give their cats more exposure and get the word out. Another win/win, as it is less stressful for the cats to remain in their original home until a new home can be found and we circumvent the number of cats who end up at shelters. 

We provide an adoption outlet to many smaller rescue groups. Although we have grown in leaps and bounds, the heart of our mission remains the same today as in 1997: to reduce the number of cats who end up in shelters and die a senseless death.