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Hurricane Ian cats rescued by Indiana women

Samantha Grimes and Holly Irwin were on vacation in Florida when they heard about the cats and felt compelled to help.
Credit: Holly Irwin

INDIANAPOLIS — Two Indiana women are on a mission, rescuing three dozen cats from Florida's hurricane damage and bringing them back to Indianapolis.  

The cats survived Hurricane Ian and were taken to an animal shelter in Fort Myers.

Samantha Grimes and Holly Irwin were on vacation in Florida when they heard the news and felt compelled to help.

"We started seeing things about animals on the news. We work in animal rescue so we knew they would be overwhelmed," said Irwin. "They reopened the shelter doors yesterday and we reached out to them and said that we had room for some cats."

RELATED: Hundreds of rare birds rescued from island cut off by Hurricane Ian

Grimes and Irwin are board members and volunteers at SOAR Initiative Indianapolis. They loaded 35 cats into crates and placed them in their Kia Sportage. The women moved all of their personal items into a newly-purchased storage compartment on top of their car in order to make room for the animals.  

Grimes is a crisis mental health clinician. Irwin is an emergency physician. Now, these best friends are embarking on a 1,126 mile journey from Ft. Myers to Indianapolis.

"It's a music cacophony of mews (inside the car)," said Irwin. "The smell is not horrible yet, but I think that might change the longer we are on the road. (The cats) have been troopers, they've been really good."

RELATED: Pets rescued with their owners after severe flooding from Hurricane Ian

The cats have potty pads in each crate and will need to be bathed by a "welcome committee" when they arrive at SOAR in Indianapolis on Saturday. The women have bottled water and cups for the kittens and will be stop for canned cat food during their journey. The 35 kittens will need vaccinations and medical care that could cost up to $5,000.  

"SOAR", which was featured in July on WTHR's Send the Love micro-giving campaign, may need $5,000 in donations to take care of the hurricane cats.   Once the kittens are healthy enough, the animal rescue will make them available for adoption

Irwin says they plan to give the kittens hurricane names, since the animals survived the storm that roared through southwest Florida.

People interested in adopting one of the kittens can click here to contact SOAR. Make sure you indicate that you want a "hurricane kitten."

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