Hurricane Harvey: What about the cat? (Happy endings in the midst of tragedy)

What can I do to help Hurricane Harvey relief efforts?

(putting this at the top of the post because it is super important, more important than anything I yap about for the next few weeks. I might put it at the top of EVERY post for a while.)

There are a number of ways you can donate money, time, items around your home, etc. Even if you can’t donate money, consider donating blood or organizing a donation drive in your area. Even if it’s something not specifically for Texas and Louisiana, there is ALWAYS a need of blood donations, local charity organizations, etc. You don’t have to sit there wishing you could help but you live too far away or can’t donate money.

NPR has an excellent list of charities and groups assisting in relief efforts for different needs (there are even 2 links for animal rescue efforts at the bottom). I highly recommend confirming through a site like Charity Navigator that the organization is legitimate and to know exactly where your donation will go if you are concerned about donating money towards admin costs and overhead:

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It is heartbreaking to believe the first image above, but this was in fact a real story. Many of us wondered why it had gotten to that point, the owner stated that the nursing home was told not to evacuate. Instead, they were instructed to stay in place and have a disaster plan. Once the flooding started, they had to wait on National Guard helicopters to assist in rescue efforts. According to some comments, The water came to the door and rose to waist high in 15 minutes. With only 3 nurses on staff, they could not evacuate them in time. I’m not passing any judgment in this situation. While I question the city officials telling them to stay (if that indeed was the case), I also have seen how quickly water can rise unexpectedly and trap people.
Thankfully this had a happy ending. The residents were rescued and are safe and dry. It is still a dangerous situation in Texas and Louisiana…flooding is still occurring and levees are being breached in some areas.
But it wasn’t just the human nursing home residents that were rescued, which was a follow-up concern a lot of people had after seeing the cat in the first picture (look towards the back of the photo).

This is wonderful news. Sadly, many animals are left behind during disasters and have to wait it out to be rescued or their families are able to return to care for them. Often times there is no time or room to save pets and they are left behind to fend for themselves. For many people, losing a pet when they are your constant companion is devastating and is a lot of reason why people refuse to evacuate if they can’t bring their pets.

I’ll be honest. I love my cats more than I do most people (close family is first, though close friends might be tied with the cats 😉 ). It doesn’t matter if I’m sick, depressed, crying my eyes out, looking a hot mess, dolled up, or what my religious or political views are. They will worry over me or try to crawl into my lap if I am crying or in pain. They want to hang out or nap with me no matter how I look or feel, but they also give me space if I need it. No judging other than not feeding them at the designated food times, and even then they are quick to forgive. They are the very definition of unconditional love. They’ve been steadfast companions over the years even if they drive me crazy some days with their squabbling and suspicious nausea at the mere sight and smell of a clean blanket/floor/house.

(no, it’s not the cleaning products, they are just assholes who are offended by the lack of hairballs and cat hair in their home. Or it’s payback because I am not paying attention to them. It might be all those reasons and more. Again, assholes.)

Not my cats, but they could be. This looks like a place they would frequent.
There are a number of reasons I’ve come to embrace that animal-lover mentality in recent years and accepted it as genuine me. Those reasons will be a post for another day, because I don’t want to make this all about me today.
But I’ll say this: it’s heartbreaking to see anyone have to make a decision like that during a disaster. I honestly don’t know what I would do if faced with an evacuation order. With 11 cats, transportation and boarding would be a nightmare. But I don’t think I could bring myself to leave a single one behind.
So would I stay? Probably if at all possible. Because I’m one of those people who considers pets family. They would have to tranquilize me and check me in somewhere if I had to leave them facing possible death and/or suffering. Same as I would for B, my family, or my friends.
But seriously, it would be a devastating decision.
But as much as I love my cats, people come first in evacuations and rescues. And I get that. There isn’t enough room, resources, or housing if everyone brought their pets. But in cases like this, I’m thrilled to see a rescue willing to save them all and resources to help.

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