Langley, B.C. –
The floods that devastated parts of the Fraser Valley last month also left many animals in need of help. Over the past few weeks, a Langley-based cat rescue has stepped in to save stranded pets and feral cats from the floodwaters that covered many properties. TinyKittens is now looking to reunite some of the rescued animals with their owners, and for others, find a new home.
Founder Shelly Roche said the organization mostly works with feral cats, and knew they would be at risk during the flooding.
“We know that they are the least likely to be evacuated in a catastrophe situation,” she said. “So we were all just watching with kind of this growing sense of dread.”
Roche said the nature of the group’s work also means it has a lot of experience catching fearful cats, so TinyKittens reached out and offered to help.
“We all felt so helpless (watching the floods). I felt so helpless and wanted to help so badly,” she said. “Everyone’s doing their part, and that’s the part we can do.”
At a flooded hobby farm in Abbotford on Nov. 21, the group was able to rescue three feral cats that had survived days without food and clean water.
“When the owners came … I won’t ever forget just the look on their faces,” Roche said. “Just the heartbreak and the loss.”
Two of the cats are now ready to be reunited with their owners. The third, a female named Jazzy, did not survive. Roche said she had suffered some physical trauma.
“We weren’t able to save her,” she said. “She survived so much and we just felt like it was so unfair that we couldn’t give her a good life after all of that.”
In Hatzic, nine cats were able to be rescued, both feral and tame.
“We had chest waders on, just wading through the water, bringing food and clean water and trying to find little spots to put it out for them,” Roche said. “They’re in great shape now.”
TinyKittens is also currently caring for two other cats that were found in Abbotsford.
One – a silky grey tabby with green eyes the organization has nicknamed Campbell – is up for adoption.
“He’s just a delightful cat,” she said. “He’s still a little bit shy, but he’s healthy, and so we’re hoping to find him a home.”
The other cat found in the Fraser Valley is an affectionate orange tabby TinyKittens is calling “Russet” for now. Roche is hoping his owner can be found.
“Hopefully, he has a family out there who’s missing him,” she said. “We’ll just hold onto him and make sure he’s healthy, and see if we can reunite him with his family.”
While floodwaters have receded, Roche is expecting there will be more animals in need.
“We’re definitely anticipating that there will be still displaced pets showing up and needing to be reunited with their families,” she said. “Another thing we’re sort of keeping an eye open for is that we don’t know what they were exposed to the in the waters.”
Roche said she’s watching to see whether there may be other health effects for rescued animals left exposed to the floods for days.
“We’re hoping for the best,” she said. “But just kind of aware that there may be … something else that we just don’t know about at this point.”
Roche said if people want to help, they could consider adopting to free up space for other cats that need care.
She’s also advising people to try to prepare their pets for emergency situations. She suggested leaving a carrier out and leaving treats inside so animals get comfortable with it and are less afraid to get in.
“If your pet needs medication, just have a little go-bag ready, with some food and meds,” she said. “I think that can help take that piece of stress away from you when you’re in the thick of an emergency.”