After Hurricane Harvey hit, our expert, bilingual disaster response team sprang to action and headed to areas hardest hit by the storm to ensure that community cats were rescued, received veterinary care, and underwent Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). Fourteen days after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana, Alley Cat Allies is continuing to provide critical supplies and funds to local organizations involved in hurricane relief efforts in those states.
TNR was a vital part of our disaster relief efforts because many community cats were displaced by flooding, and consequently, joined other colonies. Whenever new cats join colonies, it’s important to get them spayed or neutered and vaccinated so they can live healthy lives in their outdoor home.
One of the first places our expert, bilingual disaster response team carried out TNR on many community cats was in Baytown, TX, a coastal town ravaged by flooding, with the animal rescue organization A Life to Live. Local caregivers asked for help after displaced cats began turning up at their colonies for feeding, and most did not have eartips, a universal sign that indicates they went through the TNR process. One woman who typically cares for a colony of four cats said 15 cats showed up one day; a few days later, 27 cats were counted.
As we worked on the ground, parts of southeast Texas were still flooded and closed off to rescue personnel. We set up shop in areas where the floodwaters had receded and community cats were starting to emerge again. Many caregivers in those places had evacuated before the storm so it was important for us to get to those cats and ensure they had food, fresh water, and were healthy and not injured.
Our Alley Cat Allies expert disaster response team also worked with Texas Litter Control, a low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinic and a member of our Feral Friends Network. The group had evacuated the adoptable cats in its cat sanctuary, but its community and special needs cats were still on the property. We went to the flooded sanctuary to provide food and water to the cats, and to deliver supplies to the organization, including traps, dens, and cat carriers.
Alley Cat Allies also provided emergency funds to local groups, including A Life to Live, Austin Pets Alive!, Catnip, Friends for Life, Humane Society of Louisiana, Texas Litter Control, and Wharton County SPOTjust to name a few.
The Humane Society of Louisiana (HSLA) used funds provided by Alley Cat Allies for vehicles to transport animals out of rising flood waters. “This critical support is helping us to save cats and other animals who need our help,” says Jeff Dorson, HSLA executive director. “The generosity, partnership, and goodwill are helping us to get through some very challenging days as we try to do as much good as we can.”
Alley Cat Allies will continue to partner with these groups and others throughout Texas and Louisiana to support recovery efforts and rebuild community cat programs for as long as necessary. Keep watching for updates on our efforts and the cats we save.