SLIDESHOW: Miracle kittens rescued from under the snow after Hurricane Sandy

As we deployed rescue staff to Ocean County New Jersey, a representative to the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, DC and managed a temporary animal shelter in Pennsylvania, we got an emergency call from Lorna Vincent Venter, Executive Director of our partners at the People United for Rescue and Rehabilitation (PURR) in West Virginia.

Superstorm Sandy was dumping several feet of snow in West Virginia and there were animals in trouble.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare supported emergency rescue operations for colonies of feral cats caught off-guard by the sudden snow storm.

One of the most incredible stories was the rescue of two newborn kittens born during the storm!

Lorna told us they could hear them crying but couldn’t find them.

They spent several hours digging through the ice/snow drift to reach the babies.

The miracle kittens, “Itty” and “Bitty” were warmed and fed and efforts to track down momma cat are still underway.

Forty cats and kittens either relinquished by their owners or without food or shelter as the storm destroyed feeding stations and colony shelters were spayed or neutered last week through IFAW emergency grant funding.

At a PURR adoption event recently nine of these storm-kitties found their forever home!

The heroics in West Virginia inspired further compassion around the country and several groups came together to bring much-needed food to animals in need in North Central West Virginia.

IFAW, PURR joined forces with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVAG) Threat Preparedness/Response Team to distribute a large donation of cat and dog food from MARS Petcare US, makers of PEDIGREE® food for dogs and WHISKAS® food for cats.

The WVAG team arrived at PURR’s Grafton facility last Thursday with approximately 120 boxes of cat food, 88 cases of canned dog food, and 125 bags of dry dog food.

PURR volunteers unloaded the truck and trailer of pet food and, within the hour, began distributing food to local animal shelters.

Shelters are open for displaced residents throughout this region but unfortunately, pets are not allowed at the shelters.

PURR allocated space for temporary emergency sheltering at their facility offering a safe and warm option for pets.

Dozens of pets are receiving food, water, and medical attention at PURR even as the consequences of Superstorm Sandy continue to leave most of this region with power.

Two baby squirrels rescued days ago received triage medical care at PURR and are now at a wildlife center anxiously awaiting their release back into the wild.

UPDATE: Just talked with Lorna – momma cat was just caught and will be spayed this next week! She is now named Nimsy and Lorna is sending me a picture of her in a few minutes. She will be returned to the colony once recovered from surgery. Itty and Bitty are doing great btw.


Consider a donation in support of our efforts and help the animal victims of Superstorm Sandy.

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy