Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson touched down in the Gulf Coast Tuesday with a plane full of lifesaving supplies to rescue cats and other animals impacted by Hurricane Ida, one of the strongest storms to hit the mainland United States. Just some of the supplies include generators (which are more valuable than gold), veterinary triage kits, microchips, carriers, and cat and dog food.
“The clock is ticking, and every hour is critical to save the lives of cats and other animals who are in danger because of Ida,” says Becky. “If help doesn’t come soon, many animals will die. That’s why we are rushing to deliver these supplies where they are needed the most.”
Before and upon landing at the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport in Mississippi, Becky spoke to several news outlets such as WTOP News in Washington, D.C. and Mississippi’s WJTV and WDAM television stations to explain the massive need in hurricane-affected areas, including for the care and rescue of cats. WJLA-TV dispatched its news helicopter to Dulles International Airport to show its D.C. audience how Becky was loading supplies into the plane before takeoff.
Becky met with Jeff Dorson, Executive Director and Founder of the Humane Society of Louisiana, to unload supplies from the plane to be distributed immediately to Greater New Orleans and other highly impacted areas. Alley Cat Allies also provided another emergency grant to the Humane Society of Louisiana to further support recovery efforts.
Alley Cat Allies has a long history of protecting and improving the lives of cats in Louisiana, particularly in the wake of disasters. Exactly 16 years ago, we were instrumental in the rescue of cats and kittens during Hurricane Katrina.
We are keenly aware that swift action is essential in the aftermath of powerful storms like Ida—which scattered debris across roads and left entire neighborhoods underwater. Travel in affected areas is challenging, important supply chains have been disrupted, power and water are still out for hundreds of thousands, and many evacuees have been told not to return until infrastructure is repaired.
In many cases, animals are still trapped in homes and could be for days—demonstrating that Alley Cat Allies’ education and advocacy work is as important as ever. We continue to inform the public to always evacuate with their pets and to map out a disaster evacuation plan ahead of time.
“We are hoping to send inflatable Kodiak boats to assist with some of the rescues of pets left in homes and bring chainsaws into affected areas so we can clear roads,” says Becky. “As people who have cats know, cats will hide under beds and squeeze into all kinds of places in stressful situations. They will not make themselves known until they feel safe. We have to move fast to ensure these cats have food and water, provide a veterinary workup, and get them reunited with their families.”
The work spans beyond on-the-ground rescue. Alongside continuing our disaster preparedness education and advocacy, Alley Cat Allies will also act to hold governments accountable to laws and policies put in place to protect people and animals during disasters. It is law in Louisiana that local governments establish evacuation shelters and protocols for animals and require animal shelters and animal control agencies to develop a disaster response plan.
Alley Cat Allies will sustain our efforts to save animals’ lives in the aftermath of Ida for as long as we are needed. Stay tuned for more information and support our work at alleycat.org/HurricaneIda—and watch Becky’s video messages from the field before and after the supply delivery.
To learn how to protect your family, including the cats you care for, in the event of a disaster, visit alleycat.org/DisasterTips.