Homeless Cats from Hurricane-Ravaged St. John Coming to Jamaica Plain

On Tuesday the MSPCA-Angell took in 34 cats from the St. John Animal Care Center on St. John, the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands that was left devastated when Hurricane Irma barreled through as a category 5 storm on Sept. 6, clocking wind gusts of up to 200 miles per hour.

The MSPCA medical team tends to the cats at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm (credit MSPCA-Angell)

The cats arrived at Nashua Airport in Nashua, New Hampshire on Tuesday evening.

The cats were already homeless and living in the shelter before the storm struck. With homes, bridges and roads across the island destroyed—and with residents dispersed and tourism frozen—shelter staff worried that the cats would languish indefinitely in the tiny shelter.

“This is a devastating situation for the people and animals on St. John and we’ll do everything we can to settle the cats into our [Jamaica Plain, Methuen and Centerville] adoption centers before placing them into new homes,” said Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs at the MSPCA-Angell, who received the call for help.

The cats range in age from several weeks to 16 years old and are incredibly social (credit MSPCA-Angell)

A new arrival peeks out from inside a cozy nook (credit MSPCA-Angell)

The cats were to spend their first 48 hours in a special isolation space set up at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen where they can rest, and where staff can tend to any health issues that may have surfaced during the four-hour flight. All of the adult cats have been spayed and neutered and vaccinated against common disease such as FIV/FELV.

Keiley said the cats are mostly young adults, a mix of males and females, with one senior cat (aged 16) and several kittens.

After 48 hours in isolation the cats will be distributed among the MSPCA’s two other adoption centers in Jamaica Plain and in Centerville on Cape Cod. “By all accounts these are wonderful and highly adoptable pets and we expect there to be tremendous demand for them,” he said.

MSPCA staffers and volunteers carry the cats in after their arrival at Nashua Airport in NH (credit MSPCA-Angell)

How to Adopt

The adoption protocol for the new arrivals will be the same as for every other cat. “Come in, meet one or more of these cats and, if you feel the cat’s personality is a fit for yours, we’ll happily send you home with one,” said Keiley.

Keiley stressed that the MSPCA still has many other homeless cats awaiting adoption and hopes news of the arrivals from St. John will encourage anyone thinking about adoption to commit to bringing home a new cat this weekend.

Adopters are encouraged to visit the MSPCA adoption center closest to them. Locations, hours and directions can be found at www.mspca.org.