EDGEWATER — The first batches of homeless pets arriving from Texas made their way to Chicago over the holiday weekend and are available for adoption.
On Monday, a group of more than 100 cats and dogs were bundled into a 32-seat Embraer aircraft and flown from Houston area shelters to Waukegan by way of Wings of Rescue, an organization of volunteer pilots that rescues and transports animals, and the Humane Society of the United States.
More than 80 were taken to the Anti-Cruelty Society, 157 W. Grand Ave., and of those, 22 cats were scooped up by Felines & Canines, another shelter in Edgewater, which pledged last week to take in 100 cats affected by the massive disaster.
The transport helped make way for Texas animals that had been displaced by the Hurricane Harvey by reallocating animals already in local Houston shelters.
More arrivals are expected throughout the week.
Felines & Canines Executive Director Abby Smith said cats that have already arrived are shaken, but sweet, and ready to be adopted.
"Despite their frightening ordeal, every single cat greeted us with nuzzles and purrs," Smith said. "We are committed to saving as many cats as we can until these communities are back on their feet."
Felines & Canines, 6379 N. Paulina St., said Anti-Cruelty has been acting as a hub for some of the pets that have arrived in the wake of Harvey, and the two organizations have collaborated on transportation, housing and resources in the last week.
To help foot the expenses for the influx of animals, Felines & Canines has been seeking donations, which would help cover medical costs for the cats.
PAWS Chicago, a Lincoln Park animal shelter, also has been lending a hand in the hurricane rescue efforts.
On Thursday night, a group of volunteers drove a van to Houston to retrieve 43 pets, some of which lost homes in the storm.