The case of Fairfax City's mysterious cat feeder has been solved.
Two weeks ago a passer-by noticed several bowls of dry cat food, water and a bed of straw beneath the huge spruce that stands in front of Fairfax County's governmental headquarters, the Massey Building, on Chain Bridge Road.
But no one in the Massey Building or nearby area was able to say who had been leaving the food.
Last week Burke resident Jan Shriver and a second group of cat feeders came forward. Shriver said she started leaving food for the stray cats last September after she had spotted them one day as she drove past the Massey building.
The other feeders, who asked to remain anonymous, said they feed the cats to "keep them fat and sassy."
Shriver, who likes to stay up late, delivers her care package in the wee hours of the night. "As soon as the car comes around, the cats come flying up," she said.
A few months ago Shriver caught one of the kittens and brought it home. She said she is afraid someone will try to harm the cats if they stay in the wilds of Fairfax City much longer.
One night in November Shriver found another group of women huddled around the spruce luring the cats to some chow. She said she has not seen the second group of feeders since their first meeting.
"These three ladies had rented a cage from the Humane Society to catch the cats. They told me that one time they were there, the daddy cat came into the cage," Shriver said. "They said he had been in a fight and hurt his face, so they took him home."
One of the other cat feeders, who did not want to be identified, said it cost $100 in veterinary bills to fix the male cat's injuries.
"We just want to get them off the street and give them a good home," the woman said. She said her friends will continue to feed the cats until the whole family is captured and brought to safer, cleaner quarters.
Shriver said she has become "kind of attached " to the cat family and that she, too, would like to capture another kitten and bring it home.
"In the Indiana town where I grew up, there was a bulldog that just kind of belonged to the town," said Shriver. "It would just stroll in the streets and even wander into the courthouse. That's how I started thinking of the cats. I just don't want somebody to kill them."