To those on the ground, the tornadoes that tore through six Heartland states this week were unlike anything they had ever experienced. Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson was asked to come by community leaders in Mayfield, Kentucky, so she flew to the city yesterday. There, she saw the destruction for herself.

“I was born and raised in the Heartland, and I have never seen devastation like this. No images on a screen can convey the real scope of the disaster,” Becky said. “I stood at the edge of buildings torn down to their foundations, just flattened. So many lives have been lost, and people are still missing. And now, as they pick up the pieces, so many are worried about family members—including their animals.”

“Cats and kittens are fierce and resilient survivors. Amazingly, they are emerging from the rubble alive,” Becky continued. “But some are injured. Because of Alley Cat Allies and our emergency response, these animals will receive urgent veterinary treatment. Emergency surgery, provided within minutes of being found, will be some animals’ only chance.”

A cat survived for five days in debris from the tornado with a broken pelvis, and needed emergency surgery to survive. One dog, now named Lucky, was impaled in his side with a shard of lumber, blown by the winds of an EF4 tornado. After surgery, Lucky is walking, eating, and drinking again.

It was the heroic efforts of the veterinary team at the Mayfield Veterinary Clinic that saved these lives. We are deeply thankful to them as they continue their critical work with only a backup generator and no running water.

Alley Cat Allies is the leading organization strategizing immediate rescue as well as long-term infrastructure and innovative programs for animals. That is why leadership of the Mayfield Veterinary Clinic, with whom we have a longstanding relationship, called us in to help. It is why we were able to start the Becky Robinson Alley Cat Allies Veterinary Hospital™ with Big Sky Ranch/CATNIP Foundation to serve animals in historically underserved communities of Louisiana. It’s also why we could launch the Alley Cat Allies Recovery Center® to rescue and reunite animals in the aftermath of California’s Camp Fire.

Strong connections and action are the heart of how Alley Cat Allies operates, and is how we save lives in the aftermath of major disasters.

The tornadoes’ impact will be strongly felt for months to come. Mayfield’s water tower was levelled, so there is no running water. For some, power is out for the foreseeable future, meaning no heat with winter upon us.

Alley Cat Allies is here for the duration. We will keep you informed on alleycat.org.