Katrina-survivor cats at north Tahoe shelter still need homes

A veterinarian who brought 23 feline hurricane survivors to the North Lake Tahoe area is still looking for homes for 12 of them.

Two cats and 10 kittens that managed to survive Hurricane Katrina have been bathed (several times), spayed or neutered, and given needed medical care by Dr. Bree Montana of the Agate Bay Animal Hospital in Kings Beach, Calif.

"The kittens were born either right before, during or just after the storm," she said. "They're about 4 months old."

Montana charges a $100 adoption fee per cat, mostly to offset the large amount it cost to ship them. Then the cats had to be spayed or neutered, tested for feline leukemia, vaccinated, and bathed several times to get the smell out and remove any parasites. Finally, there's the cost of food and cat litter, Montana said.

"It doesn't cover anywhere near the cost of taking care of them," she said. "We charge the same fee as The Pet Network."

A recent wine-and-cheese benefit with jazz music raised about $1,000, she said, but she still is about $3,000 in the hole for the animals' care.

It cost $2,200 to ship the 23 cats, Montana said, and about $15 per day to keep them at the shelter.

"It cost about $10,000 per year to run the rescue here," she added.

Montana said she is donating her services, but the rescue operation still must hire workers to clean up after the animals and feed them.

"We are still accepting donations, and we would love for people to come help us work with them, cuddle them, brush them, or donate funds or cat litter or anything," she said.

The rescue program, called Ember's Kitty Cat Rescue, is the brainchild of Montana and her 13-year-old daughter, Ember, after Montana went to Louisiana in September to help care for animals stranded by the hurricane.

Montana said that although large amounts of money have been donated nationwide to aid Katrina's animal victims, more is still needed.

"The Humane Society and American Veterinary Medical Association are still raising funds to pay for the hurricane animals, not just (from) Katrina but Wilma and the others," she said. "Many have found homes, but no less than 40 percent of them are still in shelters needing care."

n Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 351.

You Can Help

To adopt a cat or donate funds or goods, call the Agate Bay Veterinary Hospital at (530) 546-7522 or log onto www.tahoedog.com.


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