Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Emergency shelter in Florida ready for rescued cats

Submitted by UAN volunteer Beth Gammie of Tallahassee, Florida

Loading the truck for today's rescue
UAN volunteers traveled to Gainesville, Florida from Connecticut, Texas, Georgia, and throughout Florida to help rescue and care for cats removed from a hoarding situation today. Alachua County Animal Control officials asked UAN and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to help rescue and shelter an estimated 400 cats.

UAN volunteer Bob Dickson sets up cages
UAN volunteers worked throughout the day on Monday, June 6, to transform an empty warehouse into an emergency shelter in anticipation of the cat rescue. Volunteers set up well over 200 kennels -- unloading them from the PetSmart Charities truck, putting them together, stacking and arranging them into a workable shelter, and ensuring each kennel was secure. Janell Matthies, UAN Emergency Services Manager, estimated that the shelter could accommodate 550 cats.

UAN volunteer Leslee Weiss
prepares litter trays
Janell briefed the UAN volunteers in the afternoon, stating that because of unknowns, "flexibility is key." We're ready to construct more kennels if needed, create "maternity wards" for kittens, and do whatever is needed to provide for every cat and kitten that comes into our care.

Creative use of duct tape, and how we
hope the cats feel after being rescued
A strong Florida thunderstorm hit Gainesville mid-afternoon, dumping three inches of rain in a couple of hours. We paused for a moment to watch the lightning strikes and the torrential rainfall. We worried about the hoarded cats--living outdoors, without shelter or protection from the pounding rain--and then continued our work to make a comfortable and safe home for them. It felt good knowing they would have shelter, nutritious food, loving attention and medical care within 24 hours.

UAN volunteers went to sleep last night knowing that better lives for these cats would begin today.

Read more about this response on UAN's press release.


  1. Marcia (UAN Volunteer in Connecticut)6/7/11, 8:09 PM

    Great blog, Beth! I don't know how you found the time to write it and take photos with all that cat work to do! Congratulations, Red Shirts for all that you're doing!

  2. Very very sad, I just volunteered on Easter Sunday this year at Haven Acres, but never went back due to the conditions. I belong to a feline TNR group and a last young kitten I bonded with during trapping went here with her brother just two months ago. Our group took ferrals up there for awhile but stopped due to conditions recently I guess. I dread to think of their future since most of the cats in possession of Haven Acres are ferrals. God bless all these sweet babies and thank you to all the volunteers.


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