Just two weeks after Alley Cat Allies’ expert bilingual disaster response team rushed to support Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas and Louisiana, our staff charged to the aid of animals and citizens in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The storm surge caused dangerous widespread flooding and left millions without power.
Alley Cat Allies’ staff moved quickly to deliver vital supplies to Florida’s animal welfare organizations as they carried out relief efforts day after day. Together, we helped cats and community cat caregivers affected by Hurricane Irma after it roared across the state beginning on September 6.
First, our staff traveled to Palm City to get desperately needed wet food, blankets, and towels to the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast (HSTC). HSTC served as an emergency shelter for over 150 animalsincluding pets whose owners could not evacuate with them. The day Alley Cat Allies arrived, the facility’s generator was inoperative and power had been out for over 24 hours. Staff had been struggling to care for all the animals, especially with the 50 additional cats brought in to weather the hurricane.
“It was a difficult situation. We were running low on food and had no way to do laundry,” said HSTC Adoption Manager Deidre Huffman, “Then Alley Cat Allies swooped in and replenished our supplies, and it helped immensely. It was absolutely perfect timing.”
The HSTC is now running smoothly and reuniting more animals with their owners every day. Their team recently sent a transport of 80 animals to Atlanta Humane Society for adoption, and are taking in more displaced animals to help their neighbors in south Florida.
The Alley Cat Allies staff also delivered food to Operation CatSnip in Palm City, a nonprofit animal welfare organization that focuses on Trap-Neuter-Return services for community cats. According to Director Sharon Cooper, Alley Cat Allies came exactly when we were needed most.
“You have no idea how happy I was when Alley Cat Allies arrived,” said Sharon. “We immediately got the food you donated out to as many cats and caregivers as we could. We thank you so much for the huge help!”
Operation CatSnip is well underway to full recovery, and local caregivers have reported no pressing issues with their community cat colonies.
Finally, our supply run headed to Caring Fields Felines (CFF), a nonprofit cat rescue organization in which cats live in secured, free-roaming campgrounds. When Irma hit, the rescue brought all 154 of their feline residents indoors to ride out the storm. By the time it was safe for staff to emerge, only a tiny amount of cat litter was on hand.
“It was a big emergency, because our litter delivery couldn’t come in and local stores were completely cleaned out,” said Pauline Glover, executive director of CFF. “We were desperate, and Alley Cat Allies came through for us. The team brought us 50-pound bags of litter, and it was truly a lifesaver!”
All of CFF’s 154 cats are now safely back in their campground homes, and the organization is in good shape following the storm.
All three rescues are doing well as Florida continues to recover after the hurricane. Alley Cat Allies will continue providing support in affected areas for as long as we are needed.