This afternoon Alley Cat Allies’ Disaster Response Team arrived in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to conduct a full assessment of the Boardwalk cat colonies and to determine where assistance is needed most immediately. The receding floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy have revealed unprecedented devastation in the area: boats in the middle of streets, debris from the beach in midtown, and barrier islands completely destroyed.

Along the Boardwalk, where more than 100 feral cats have been living in managed colonies for 13 years, the powerful ocean dragged the cats’ tide-tattered shelters out onto the beach, scattering them around like seashells. The destruction is nothing short of catastrophic.

Despite the devastation, we are very pleased that our program manager in Atlantic City continues to report seeing cats returning to their colonies along the Boardwalk. Often cats will stay away from an area for a few days to a few weeks until they know things are back to normal, so the fact that we have seen almost half of the Boardwalk cats is a sure sign of their resilience. Most of the cats appear healthy and have good appetites, despite their being a bit soggy. We did find one little guy with an injured back leg who is now receiving treatment.

We have deployed our Disaster Response Team to the area to help with clean-up and rebuilding. If you live in or near Atlantic City and want to help, please email us. We also want to hear from people in other areas of the country who were affected by the storm or who are offering assistance to those in need. We know that caregivers and rescuers all along the East Coast have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, and are perhaps without power or a way to get back to their homes or colonies. We are committed to making sure that they have the support and resources they need.