Leader of flood pet-rescue operation thanks Islanders

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THE owner of a St Brelade cattery which housed displaced four-legged residents affected by the Grands Vaux flash-flood has thanked Islanders who have provided food and medication for the pets.

Fiona Stratford, a former vet who owns and operates CozyCatz Cattery, is currently looking after 13 cats and a hamster, named George, belonging to residents whose homes were flooded.

Last Tuesday, Ms Stratford opened up Facebook and saw what she described as the ‘devastation’ caused in the area. As a result of the flooding, she found that she had been inundated with messages from desperate pet-owners looking for a home for their animals.

A cat rescued from Grands Vaux – photo by Fiona Stratford (35087966)

A cat rescued from Grand Vaux. Picture: FIONA STRATFORD

Luckily her cattery was emptier than usual, as she had been preparing to undertake a deep clean. With plenty of room to offer, she headed down to the scene of the flood and ‘spent the afternoon running around collecting cats’.

According to Ms Stratford ‘the emergency services were fantastic’ and helped greatly in the efforts to evacuate the pets. One man, she recalled, refused to leave his house until he was assured that his cats would be safe. Once told that the animals would have a place at CozyCatz, the emergency services ferried him and his pets out of the house on two dingies – one for the cats and one for him.

At the scene of the flood Ms Stratford was particularly struck by the efforts of Andy Le Marquand, from A1 Landscaping, who was instrumental in the recovery efforts in the immediate aftermath of the flood and lent heavy equipment and aid to the emergency services. She said: ‘Without him, I don’t know where they would have been.’

A cat rescued from Grands Vaux – photo by Fiona Stratford (35087975)

Cats rescued from Grand Vaux. Picture: FIONA STRATFORD

Ms Stratford has not had to look after the animals by herself. She said: ‘The community has really come together … it’s been overwhelming and heart-warming.’

She said that she was particularly thankful to Pets Paradise for their donations, and to Jo Abraham, Linda Hammill and Jean Falk, from the Cat Action Trust, for their donations of food and kitty litter. She also singled out ‘all the ladies who have knitted and sewn all the cat-nip mice and octopuses to keep the cats entertained and relaxed’.

The Island’s vets have also come to Ms Stratford’s rescue, for which she said she was hugely grateful, with Jersey Village Vets donating medication and the New Era Veterinary Hospital offering supplies of ‘calm food’ specifically designed to cater to cats who have suffered emotional distress.

Ms Stratford, alongside her son Logan and her daughter-in-law Jessie, will continue to look after the cats while the housing status of the displaced Islanders remains up in the air.

‘It’s one less thing for them to worry about,’ she said.

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