To say that Ocracats has had an unpredictable year would be an understatement. As we contemplate and reflect on all that has occurred within and outside of our organization in 2019, we are left with a myriad of feelings.
The beginning months of the year were filled with colony feedings and maintaining our healthy populations. February brought a $1000 award from the Outer Banks Community Foundation for a video submitted in a contest held for previous grant recipients. This, supplemented by your donations, kept the food flowing for the kitties.
Spring and early summer brought surprises--kittens and more kittens! Ocracats brought in a record 35 kittens this year, and all were adopted by wonderful families. Seven of the kittens were post-Dorian. Your donations and support allowed us to care for these kittens and secure them all safe and loving homes. We are more than grateful for all the adoptive families and those who have expressed an interest.
We were gifted with a spectacular original charcoal sketch, "Scooter," by East Coast artist Bruce Tarkington. It will be raffled off this spring, and tickets are still available. Click here for more information!
September 6, 2019, will be a day never forgotten. As Hurricane Dorian's seven-foot surge inundated the island, residents and animals alike sought higher ground. Considering the force and level of the water that suddenly covered the island, we are amazed that any Ocracat survived. But they did. and with a determination that is a lesson for all of us. Old friends eventually returned to their feeding areas. New friends have shown up. But we also lost many cats--last estimates were at 150+ throughout the village. Feeding areas were devastated--wiped out--so the familiar places for our colonies were gone. We are still recovering. Cats are still displaced and showing up in strange places.
Enter our angels: Operation Bring Animals Home S&R and the Animal Disaster Relief Coalition. Just a few days after the storm, volunteers with these two organizations came to Ocracoke (all on their own!) and reconstructed many of our destroyed feeding areas. They built us 10 new feeding stations (all are placed and well used by the colonies), brought us food and medical supplies, and helped to treat island cats, dogs, and pelicans while they were here. These people, along with all of you who have donated food, supplies, shelters, blankets, beds, money, and so much more, have kept us going and given us the sense of hope we have needed all these months.
The checks you send us buy food. Our colonies gobble down 30 or more bags of Purina dry cat food each month. Our elderly and ill cats and our kittens have more appropriate canned food when needed, thanks to your donations. You make this possible. Your Facebook donations have totaled over $8000, and you have responded to our pleas for help with such generosity and compassion it can bring us to tears.
We received a grant from the Greater Good Foundation for $3000 to help us cope with Hurricane Dorian's damage. We are using the money to secure food, medicine, and shelters during these winter months and prepare for the next kitten season, which will bring a bumper crop since we weren't able to hold our September spay/neuter clinic. But we are looking forward to having Dr. Johnson and his awesome crew here in the spring for an early clinic.
Eagle Scouts are constructing and bringing us five new feeding stations, a project started in response to our need after the storm. This type of generosity has occurred over and over, and our gratitude is immeasurable.
Along with the good wishes for the cats, you have sent your prayers to us, the humans behind the scenes, and we thank you! Most of the Ocracat volunteers are still rebuilding their homes and businesses. It has been a tumultuous end of the season, that's for sure!
The love and support all of you have shown Ocracats is a beacon that shines brightly for us as we move into 2020. We have much to look forward to as we await kittens, a new retail space and an online store!
Thank you, we love you , and Happiest of New Years to all of you and your furry friends!
Ocracats vice president