Five Years of Saving Fire Cats
This week was the 5th year anniversary of the Camp Fire, in northern California, and life-changing doesn’t even begin to describe my experience in that aftermath. But it captivated me and made me want to get involved again—because inevitably it would happen again. Here on Maui, I found myself again in the midst of a community of survivors of a horrific wildfire that changed their lives, homes, jobs, families and pets forever. It has been my honor to serve and help every person and every cat who needs it.
Providing pathways to outcomes for the fire cats is an essential part of the recovery process that our team has led. Along each pathway, from the moment a trap door secures them in the field, efforts are being made to find each cat’s family. Our ultimate goal was and is to reunite them. For those who can’t, finding a great home is the next step. For every single cat, a good outcome.
Taking care of 100+ cats in cages, keeping them healthy and as comfortable as possible has been an enormous undertaking. It would be hard enough with normal(ish) cats but adding on fire trauma brings their stress to a whole new level. I am proud of our team, FieldHaven and local volunteers included, for having successfully done this, because with very few exceptions the cats remained healthy, both physically and mentally.
However, the time has come for me to step back from Maui, so that I can continue my leadership for my own organization at home. We have provided the local team protocols, training, guidance and more, setting them up for as much success as possible. We have positively impacted locals, including individuals, residents, and businesses. Most importantly, we have positively impacted cats, giving them the continued chance to move past the trauma of the wildfire, and began paving those pathways to good outcomes for everyone.
I am so appreciative of the opportunity to collaborate and work with Maui Humane and all of the local residents. I’ve learned, I’ve taught, and I’ve grown. While it is incredibly hard for me to leave behind the cats, I know that things are moving forward enough so that I can step back and focus on FieldHaven.
We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and the giving spirit of so many here on the Island. You have all been so welcoming of us; your love of the cats and their people shines through every day. Thank you to everyone who helped turn as much of this tragedy around to good. People see what we are doing, and it matters to everyone.
-Joy, executive director of FieldHaven