AUSTIN (KXAN) — Twenty-seven cats arrived at an exclusive hangar at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport courtesy of a personal driver. They were then carefully seated on a private plane with water and food free of charge.
It’s quite the reversal of fortunes for these two dozen felines.
They’re among the 1,040 dogs and cats Austin Pets Alive! rescued from all over Texas since the historic winter storms.
“There was a surge of intake, animals coming in, not enough kennels, so Charlie was one of those cats at risk of euthanasia,” said Maddie’s National Pet Supply and Demand Director Clare Callison.
The Charlie she’s referring to is an orange tabby dressed in a dapper bowtie. He was the 1,000th pet rescued, in his case from an overwhelmed shelter in South Texas.
Volunteer pilot David Nelson is flying Charlie and the other cats to a shelter in Kansas City, Missouri.
The hope is that the less than two-hour flight will be significantly less stressful than the more than 11-hour drive.
“There are a lot of stray and uncared for animals, and I guess they just kind of tug at my heart,” Nelson said. “Normally this is my wife and I and two dogs. I don’t know how many cats are in there, but it’s very different.”
Why send the cats to Kansas City?
The shelter they’re headed to, the KC Pet Project, does not have enough cats to supply all the people who want them.
“They told us that they cannot keep cats and kittens in their adoption centers, they have a waitlist of adopters,” Callison said.
All are expected to be living large in their new homes by the end of the week.