We are thrilled to announce Operation Whiskers, a multi-parish collaborative initiative to address Louisiana cats still impacted by Hurricane Ida. This project is designed to:
RESCUE both owned and unowned cats still impacted by this devastating storm.
REUNITE lost cats with their owners, as our first priority.
REHOME cats that were once pets but cannot be reunited due to the impact of Ida.
RETURN sterilized and ear-tipped community cats through extensive TNR efforts, to include an initial eleven large-scale two-day events.
Working together, organizations from Terrebonne Parish, Lafourche Parish, Jefferson Parish, Plaquemines Parish and Orleans Parish created a regional feline response initiative named Operation Whiskers. This effort will target 2,500 cats that are in need of rescue, reuniting, rehoming and TNR. Our intent is to get displaced cats back home and to their families and stabilize the number of cats not spayed or neutered before the impending cat population explosion that happens every spring in Louisiana.
Hurricane Ida ravaged Louisiana’s coastlines as a Category 4 hurricane. The shelters in south Louisiana lost power for weeks and parts of the coastal communities were completely wiped out. Working with outside partners, the sheltering community focused on responding to abandoned dogs and were quickly overwhelmed with the hundreds of dogs needing to be rescued, housed, reunited with owners, and transported out to shelter partners across the country. Compounded with staffing shortages and the ongoing challenges associated with the pandemic, our community could not do more for cats than feed-in-place.
Many families and community cat caregivers were unable to return due to lack of utilities and ultimately the destruction of their housing. Many pets were displaced in the disaster and their families are desperate to find them. Community cat TNVR initiatives were unable to continue, resulting in an increasing number of cats in the affected area. Compounding the problems was the already established backlog of spay/neuter surgeries due to COVID-19 and inability to reopen veterinary services at all of the shelter locations for nearly two months.
While Hurricane Ida seems like a long time ago, it has only been 20 weeks. Those of us familiar with disaster response understand it often takes years to recover. Now is the time to address the needs of the impacted cats, both owned and unowned.
What is TNR?
The most humane and effective way to control feral cat populations is through an internationally recognized program called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). Controlling feral cats’ ability to reproduce decreases the population in your neighborhood and prevents disease from spreading. Because TNR is less expensive than removing and euthanizing feral cats, TNR saves taxpayers money while saving cats’ lives at the same time.
I Have Cats in My Neighborhood!
If you’re seeing cats in your neighborhood, we can help! Depending on your parish the contact information varies. Please call one of the phone numbers below according to your parish to learn more about Operation Whiskers and let us know you have a community cat ready to participate, or fill out the trapping request form.
We are looking for more volunteers to help with Operation Whiskers. Whether it’s helping us with laundry, trapping community cats or helping us get the word out in your communities we can use your help! To volunteer for Operation Whiskers give us a call at 504.368.5191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can’t volunteer to trap cats in your neighborhood, but still want to help making a contribution can go a long way! Just $35 can help us spay or neuter one community cat!
Additionally, we are in need of towels and sheets to help cats recover after surgery. Unfortunately blankets are too heavy, but if you have sheets and towels that you aren’t using anymore, we can make new use of out of them!
We are also in need of fish flavored cat food to help attract community cats to traps, but will accept any canned cat food (the stronger the smell the better!) All donations can be dropped off to the Louisiana SPCA at 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. in New Orleans from Monday – Saturday.
Special thanks to our sponsors for making Operation Whiskers possible!