In the weeks since the the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire began, rescue organizations have been scrambling to save endangered animals. Santa Fe Cats, which is managed by Felines & Friends, has provided safe haven for nearly 40 evacuated cats.

When Felines & Friends offered to board cats from evacuated areas for free, many displaced families called for help, arriving within a few hours in vehicles filled with whatever they could pack, including their beloved cats.

“Everyone was so grateful we were accepting cats,” said Bobbi Heller, Felines & Friends executive director.

“Pet friendly hotels often only mean dog friendly, leaving people with cats in a panic. While many did not know if they would have a home to return to, at least they knew their pets were safe. Everyone was so grateful and there was a lot of hugging,” Heller said.

Senior cat Aubergine, adopted last summer, was among the lucky. When her owner had to evacuate, Aubergine returned to Santa Fe Cats. Another cat, Opi, a huge Maine coon, is still bunking at Santa Fe Cats because his Pecos owners left on a road trip and knew he would be safe there until they returned.

Santa Fe Cats also offered refuge for strays from evacuated areas. As a terrified Whiskey ran from the fire, he arrived at the home of a person who also had to evacuate. His rescuer couldn’t bear to leave Whiskey behind. Whiskey arrived at Santa Fe Cats oily, smelling of smoke and with a nasty respiratory infection. After vet care and rehab, this once-sooty stray is now a creamy white sweetheart, ready for adoption.

A litter of 3-week-old kittens was also lucky after being evacuated from Las Vegas, Nev. Sadly, rescuers were unable to catch the mother cat — a stray whose fate is unknown. After coming close to a tragic death, these five bottle-feeding babies are thriving in foster care. According to volunteer Christine Dugan, the litter is happy, social, and people-loving. “They are taken with our bigger cats and have fierce wrestling matches, followed by cuddly grooming sessions,” said Dugan.

“They are so good, even coming when called, and nothing is cuter than a stampede of kittens,” said Dugan. “People had suggested names related to the blaze, like Smoky or Ash, but we thought they had had enough fire trauma and were ready for fun-filled entertaining lives, so we named them after games: Mousetrap, Yahtzee, Bananagram, Kerplunk and Parcheesi.”

Offering free refuge for evacuated pets comes at a cost. According to Heller, a conservative estimate would be over $5,000 since evacuees were not charged regular boarding fees. Felines & Friends footed the bill for staff hours to care for extra cats, food and litter, and vet bills.

For those who want to help the nonprofit continue providing care and second chance adoptions for even more cats, Felines & Friends is holding a fundraising event “Cocktails for Critters” from 3-5 p.m. June 26 at the governor’s mansion. Tickets must be purchased in advance at


Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society: Sheri Moon is a sweet 3-year-old dog, weighing 60 pounds. She knows many basic commands, including sit and down. Sheri Moon will put her paw out for a treat and is also house trained.

Snap is a 2-month-old domestic long-haired cat who weighs two pounds. She may grow to

10 pounds as an adult.

These and other animals are available for adoption from the animal shelter, 100 Caja del Rio Road.

The shelter’s adoption hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Call 505-983-4309, ext. 1610, or visit

Española Humane: Alice and her pup, Wonderland, are distemper survivors. Tragically, the rest of Alice’s litter didn’t survive this deadly, and vaccine preventable, disease. After weeks and weeks of intensive medical and foster care, these two are healthy.

The shelter has the cast of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in feline form. Adopt one of these cats, like baby Sleepy, and they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

Call 505-753-8662 or visit

Felines & Friends: Kitten season is in full swing. Four-month-old Gray Tabbies Hotpot, Dumpling and Eggroll were taken in by a good Samaritan along with five similarly-aged cousins. Siblings Wonton and Fried Rice are gray tabbies, possibly mixed with some dilute calico. Cousins Orange Chicken, Shrimp Toast and Potsticker are all orange tabbies.

This eight pack of kittens are socialized and playful, having lived with dogs and many cats. Each kitten must be adopted either with another kitten or into a home with a young, playful cat for company. Visit Petco to meet them or apply at

Dew Paws Rescue: Biscuit is a 4-month-old black Lab mix. Biscuit was rescued in Portales after having his back legs broken by his owner. Biscuit is in recovery after having orthopedic surgery. Biscuit is good with other dogs, cats and children. For more information or if you are interested in adopting or fostering Biscuit, call 505-412-9096 or go to

The Horse Shelter: Kai is a beautiful, 9-year-old, Perlino mare, who has a very sweet personality and has had extensive groundwork experience in the shelter’s training program. She is easy to handle and gets along with most horses. Kai is available as a nonriding/companion horse due to lameness issues. If you are interest in adopting Kai, call 505-577-4041 or go to

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