Saturday, January 20, 2018

Alley Cat Allies provides help after California wildfires and mudslides

After wildfires and mudslides ravaged California, many companion cats and community cats have been displaced from their homes and remain in peril.

Some are injured, others are too skittish to come out of hiding, and many have disappeared amid the rubble of their properties.

Alley Cat Allies, the global engine of change for cats, is stepping in to help fund rescue groups that save cats and reunite them with their owners and caregivers.

"Many animal welfare organizations in California are stretched to the limit to help with injured and lost cats. By adding our resources to the effort, we're helping them to continue their dedicated, lifesaving work and make the biggest impact," said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies.

"Cats are scared and hiding, so this is very difficult work. We want to help create as many happy endings as possible."

One cat, Nemo, a tiny tabby, disappeared for 87 days amid the chaos of the Northern California wildfires in October. He and many other cats went missing when thousands of residents fled Sonoma County as the blaze there lit up homes and businesses.

Nemo's owners suspected where he was and placed traps on their own, but could not find him. They asked for help from Outcast Cat Help (OCH), from Martinez, Calif. Just a few days into the new year, OCH trapped Nemo and reunited him with his family.

Alley Cat Allies is supporting OCH with a grant to set up feeding stations and trail cameras to catch sightings of displaced cats in the affected area. OCH team members compare the cats they see on camera to descriptions of cats that are appearing on local Facebook groups and at local rescues.

When they identify matches, they catch the cats through organized trapping, which is also supported by the Alley Cat Allies grant. OCH is also using Alley Cat Allies funding to provide local animal shelters with supplies and other necessities.

"The grant from Alley Cat Allies allowed us to feel confident in having extra resources to expand our outreach to find cats we suspect survived and just hadn't found yet," said Julie Linford, director and founder of OCH.

"We've purchased many more cameras and feeding station setups to support the capture of these cats. With that help, we can bring even more families back together."

Another Alley Cat Allies grant recipient, Surfcat Rescue & Adoptions in Oxnard, California, also set up cameras at feeding stations to help locate and reunite cats with their owners and caregivers. Surfcat used cinder blocks to raise dens for community cats above swift and unpredictable floodwaters.

The group is providing lifesaving emergency medical care for injured cats and helping to keep lost cats out of shelters, where they would be at risk of being killed.

Some of these owners and caregivers had little to no time before they had to flee the area. Alley Cat Allies is happy to be able to provide the resources to these groups to care for these cats and reunite them with their owners and caregivers after this traumatic experience.

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