WAIF volunteer Shelly Burton holds Pistol Pete, the only male in a group of 13 cats that came to the shelter from hurricane-ravaged Texas. Photos by Megan Hansen/Whidbey News-Times

WAIF providing shelter to Texas hurricane cats

A group of feline refugees traveled across the country, making it to Whidbey Island last week in hopes of finding a forever home.

Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation took in 13 cats removed from shelters in hurricane-affected shelters in Texas to make room for animals separated from their owners and families during Hurricane Harvey.

The group was among 70 cats flown to Washington state by the organization Wings of Rescue, a nonprofit dedicated to flying endangered pets from high intake and/or high-kill shelters to no-kill shelters.

Seattle Humane initially took all 70 cats, but the sudden influx of cats filled the Seattle shelter to capacity, according to Charles Vreeland, executive director of WAIF, who reached out to offer assistance.

The 13 cats arrived at WAIF’s Coupeville shelter last Wednesday and are being held in isolation for now.

Of the 13 cats, only one of them is male and they are mostly young adults between the ages of six months to two years old, said shelter employee Shelly Burton.

On Monday morning, the cats eagerly welcomed visiting volunteers, purring and rubbing against their cages in hopes of a scratch on the head.

They’re all very well socialized and beautiful, Vreeland said.

They should be very adoptable, he said.

One of the benefits of these cats is that because they had to travel across state lines, the cats are fully vaccinated and were delivered with documentation as well as backgrounds for some of the cats, said Cinnamon Hudgins, development and communications manager for WAIF.

With the stress of transport halfway across the country, the cats are fighting a bit of upper respiratory infection.

Hudgins said it could be a few weeks before the group is made available for adoption.

• To see cats available for adoption, go to www.waifanimals.org

Trisha eagerly reaches outside her cage to get some attention. The young adult female cat is one of 13 that will soon be available for adoption. Trisha eagerly reaches outside her cage to get some attention. The young adult female cat is one of 13 that will soon be available for adoption.

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