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Two Puerto Rican Cats Found Love in New Jersey After Hurricane Maria!

by Bethany Meissner

Photo credit: St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center

Hurricane Maria caused widespread destruction and millions of dollars of damage in Puerto Rico. On September 20, 2017, more than 3 million United States citizens witnessed horrific winds tear through their neighborhoods and homes. It wasn’t just people who were displaced – animals lost their homes, too. People and pets urgently needed both immediate and long-term help. Even four months after the hurricane, more than 50% of the island’s residents are still without electricity, according to PBS NewsHour. That’s the biggest blackout in United States history, according to the Rhodium Group.

St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey might seem far away from Puerto Rico. However, the amazing staff and volunteers at St. Hubert’s told us that they “welcomed a total of 1,212 animals” affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. These animals included “cats, dogs, and a couple of bunnies and pot-bellied pigs.” On their blog St. Hubert’s wrote about the warm welcome for the animals that even included a sign written in Spanish welcoming the dogs and cats! Nora Parker, St. Hubert’s Goodwill Ambassador, told us that “Early on we committed to being in it for the long haul in assisting Puerto Rico Pets and their people.”

Photo credit: St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center

In a case of good timing St. Hubert’s had recently received a grant of Halo cat food. That grant “provided nutritious meals to the cats as soon as they arrived and for the time they spent in our shelter,” St. Hubert’s wrote to us. 

Many animals were helped by St. Hubert’s, but two cats, Othello and Arwin, stand out. Othello and Arwin “arrived at St. Hubert’s from one of the eight flights out of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria” conducted by our friends at Wings of Rescue with assistance from GreaterGood and the Humane Society of the United States. You Kibblers helped Othello and Arwin not only eat well at St. Hubert’s, but also to even reach St. Hubert’s in the first place! 

Photo credit: St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center

Othello was four months old when he reached St. Hubert’s. The pale kitten had survived one of the worst hurricanes in the United States and the long flight to New Jersey. Despite all that, he was in “excellent spirits” according to St. Hubert’s post on Facebook. Now that he was safe in New Jersey, Othello could be readied for adoption. “He received all necessary care including vaccines, microchip, and neuter [surgery] before being placed for adoption,” St. Hubert’s told us. 

They also shared that while Othello waited for his adoptive family he ate “Halo cat food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” After only two weeks a happy couple adopted Othello into their home. His new mom, Francesca, shared her joy on Facebook when, after bringing Othello home, she posted, “He’s so happy here… And we are so much happier with him!!!” Her words were followed by three adorable photos of Othello in his new home including one with his new feline sibling.

Photo credit: St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center

Arwin was a little bit older than Othello when he took his flight out of Puerto Rico and came to St. Hubert’s. The black and white one-year-old cat “was welcomed to St. Hubert’s temporary shelter area to receive his initial health exam and necessary vaccination,” the staff shared. Unfortunately, they told us that Arwin “started to show signs of an upper respiratory infection.” 

Arwin was in the right place though. The staff were able to treat him and during that time Arwin happily ate Halo cat food, “which provided him nutrition and comfort to help him feel better,” according to St. Hubert’s. Once his infection cleared, Arwin was also adopted into a loving home.

Photo credit: St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center

When telling us about Othello and Arwin, St. Hubert’s shared that they are “grateful for the support of GreaterGood.org, Halo, and Freekibble.com for this incredible showing of support of our work and the cats in our care.” We at Halo are grateful for all of you who make this life-saving work possible. Thank you to the incredible folks at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center and to the Kibblers and Halo customers who enable us to make such donations. You help so many animals and we bet all of them, along with Othello and Arwin, share our gratitude.