By Bob Wallace, American Red Cross

Edna Hill and her husband Rev. Leon Hill love their felines … all six of them, ranging from the kittens Leo, Black Beauty, and Rasberry to third generation cats. Edna, Leon and all the cats were living with family members when Hurricane Harvey came bearing down on the Texas coastline.

The entire family, human and feline, evacuated to an American Red Cross shelter. But the cats had to stay in a separate facility, away from Edna and Leon. So six days ago, they all moved to the Red Cross shelter at the George R Brown (GRB) Community Center where there is a separate dormitory for people with pets, well isolated from the dormitories for people without pets.

Upon arrival at the GRB shelter, Beautiful, one of Edna’s adult cats, was ill. “It’s been really, really good here,” said Edna. “The pet people provided medicine and even an IV for Beautiful. Now she is fine.”

Edna and Leon were ready to move out of the shelter, but the condition to go back to their extended family was that they must get rid of the cats. For them, that was not an option.

They have funds for a temporary stay in a hotel but have had a difficult time finding a place that allows them to bring their feline family and that is also in a safe locale. Finally, today brought success. After six long days in the shelter and an exhaustive search for a new home, they finally found a place to go in Galveston. Edna and Leon are on their way to the next chapter in their lives with the family, felines and all, intact.

American Red Cross volunteer Jennifer McGrath takes a mental health break from a hectic day at the George R Brown Convention Center shelter by sharing a moment with Leo, a golden-colored kitten that is an important part of Edna Hill’s family. (Red Cross photo by Bob Wallace)