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Big Sky Ranch/CATNIP Foundation: Disaster Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Funds from this grant helped us to continue to meet the overwhelming medical needs of animals in this region in an unprecedented climate of multi-tiered devastation brought on by multiple hurricanes in the same area, on top of one of the hardest-hit COVID-stricken areas, in an already impoverished region. With a desperate shortage of options for sick, injured, and surrendered pets, and an overwhelming number of animals needing homes, it became more critical than ever to utilized our transport partners and get animals out to adopters in other parts of the country. These dollars helped us do just that.

We are known for our roles in emergency response, but the situation created by these multiple disasters was very different from responding to singular disasters like hurricanes Michael or Harvey. We were functioning as a de facto emergency room for animals all over the state, and from Texas to Mississippi, as well as one of the very few intake resources for cats. The opportunity for alternative, positive outcomes for these animals was almost non-existent. This grant helped us fund the medical care and expenses associated with that care, as well as additional transport that not only allowed more pets to get out of Louisiana and on to new homes, but also created space for new intake.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Many cats and kittens were rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, but one little kitten’s journey certainly stands out. In the two short months of Chafaye’s life, she experienced more than most kitties do in a lifetime, even when they use all nine lives!

Chafaye was rescued one dark, rainy night, in the middle of an 18-mile stretch of bridge over the Achafalaya swamp, by a good Samaritan on his way back to Lake Charles from our clinic, where he sadly had to say a heartbreaking goodbye to one of his older kitties.

It was a miracle that he saw her, and that she had not been hit by all the cars and trucks speeding by. He immediately took the sick, soaked and terrified kitten into his lap and warmed her, brought her home and for the next few days, cared for her, syringe-fed her and helped her regain her strength.

Then came the news of Hurricane Laura heading straight for them as a Category 5. He did everything he could to secure his small trailer and create a safe space for himself and his cats to ride out the storm. The next 24 hours were sheer terror, as everything around his humble home was devastated. Amazingly, his carpentry skills paid off, and in the wee hours after the storm had passed, he quickly learned that it was only his trailer left standing for as far as the eye could see.

It was another miracle for this tiny kitten, but the stress and lack of food and water had taken its toll on her tiny, already-depleted little body. As soon as we could get through the tree-covered roads, we made our way to his place in DeQuincy, LA, one of the hardest-hit areas, and brought little Chafaye, and dozens of other cats and kittens in need, back to Big Sky.

Once again, Chafaye was in need of critical care. Sick and dehydrated, she spent the next two weeks receiving critical medical treatment, and as she got stronger and healthier, her personality blossomed. She was one of the sweetest kittens at the ranch.

We worked with our transport partners, and with the help of this grant, Chafaye once again boarded our van with several other kitties from the same location to make her longest trip yet: 1,500 miles to the Northeast, where she quickly found her forever home — before we even returned home!

What a long journey in such a short life, but what a happy destination — and thanks to the Petfinder Foundation for making that last, so very important, leg possible!

Further Reading