Just a few days after “the superstorm” Hurricane Sandy laid waste to the Jersey Shore, Joy Smith got some terrible news: A distant relative of hers had been among the victims of the storm’s wrath, and that relative’s two cats were now homeless.
Smith, an experienced rescuer and the co-founder of FieldHaven Feline Rescue in Lincoln, CA, made calls in an effort to locate the cats. Three days later, she found them: They’d been rescued by Shore Area Volunteer Enterprise, also called S.A.V.E., a small rescue based in Toms River, NJ, and were living in emergency foster homes.
As a New Jersey native herself, Smith was heartbroken when she heard about the extent of the devastation the storm had wrought, and the struggles of all the animal rescue groups and shelters in the area.
“We knew the sheer numbers of animals was putting an enormous strain on all the shelters in the region and we sympathized with the small rescues who were just overwhelmed," Smith said. "Like many shelters, S.A.V.E. was already at capacity when the storm hit. We had to find a way to help.”
Smith already knew she was going to bring her relative’s two cats to the West Coast; FieldHaven also offered to bring five more S.A.V.E. cats to its facility. Two other organizations stepped up and played a critical role in making this cross-country rescue happen. RedRover, an organization dedicated to helping animals in crisis, made an emergency grant to cover air transportation costs, and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, donated seven airline-approved carriers.
The cats were originally going to fly from New Jersey to Sacramento on November 28, but Northern California has been enduring heavy rain and gusty winds, which have caused a lot of flight delays. Both the rescue organizations and the airline were concerned about the cats’ safety under those circumstances, so the little refugees are not on the West Coast yet.
According to FieldHaven’s Facebook page, the cats’ flight has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 4. Let’s hope the weather remains good and these seven gorgeous cats can begin their new lives on the other side of the country.
Source: FieldHaven Feline Rescue press release; photos from FieldHaven’s Facebook page