The incomprehensible devastation left behind by the Camp Fire in Northern California has vanished from the news. As is always the case with disasters, the news cycle moves on, and while there is always an initial outpouring of support, after a few weeks, most people forget. And yet, the victims of the fire will need help for a very long time.
“The crisis is entering a new phase,” Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, a feline veterinarian and owner of Chico Hospital for Cats, told me. “Temporary shelters are being closed and cats are scrambling to find shelter. Many people have found temporary housing but the landlord doesn’t allow cats.”
What also caught the staff at Chico Hospital for Cats by surprise was that once FEMA finally allowed people into the devastated areas, they were finding their cats. “We are getting people calling from the car, reporting that they found their cat and they are on their way to us,” said Dr. Colleran. “A local disaster group went behind fire lines and left dog and cat food regularly in hopes of recovering some beloved cats and dogs.”
The hospital started a GoFundMe in November to help the cats (and their humans) affected by the Camp Fire. The hospital has taken in more than 60 cats who have either been injured or displaced from their homes. Funds will go toward helping out any family who needs assistance in the wake of this tragedy. Many of these cats will be experiencing the stressful side effects of first being evacuated from their homes and then having to adjust to living in new environments.
Darla, shown in the photo at the top of this post, is one of the many cats who have benefited from the generous donations through the GoFundMe and from community members.
Buddy’s is another beneficiary, and his story is only one of many.
Please consider making a donation to the GoFundMe.