Angels

I am surrounded by angels. Some of them took care of our home and our cats when Hurricane Sandy slammed into the eastern seaboard of the United States. We were far away – across the Atlantic on a long-planned vacation in Sicily. It was surreal to be so far away from home when that terrible storm hit. Anxiety about Sandy’s impact on the New York area intermingled with the suspicion that family and friends were trying to protect our vacation state of mind even as their basements filled with water and their electrical power went out.

As Hurricane Sandy made its turn toward Staten Island’s shores, our cat sitters were prepared for the worst. They reached out to two of our friends in the neighborhood to make sure there was back-up if they couldn’t get back to the house after the storm. One of them brought heavy bowls from her own home to make sure our feral cats would have access to food and water even if the wind gusts were strong.

In the hours before the hurricane made landfall, one of our friends stopped by to patrol the exterior of our house and tuck away anything that could become a projectile. Small patio table? Put that in the garage. Flag? Better take that down.

After Sandy knocked out power, one of our cat sitters navigated the darkened streets (60% of Staten Island was without power for several days, including many street lights) to take care of our cats. She texted us that she was using a flashlight to get around our house and to feed our resident cats, Emmett and Koda. We texted our neighbors to take anything they wanted from our refrigerator and freezer. The timing was excellent. One of our friends, who lives just three houses away, had provided refuge to residents of New Dorp Beach and Midland Beach, two of the hardest hit areas of Staten Island. Our food helped her feed them until the fallen trees were removed from her street and she could get to the grocery store.

Meanwhile, angels were at work all over the island. As the flood waters receded, people flocked to the beach, providing food, clothing and muscle to help the recovery effort. Empty storefronts and parking lots became staging areas for rescue organizations. Boxes of food poured out of the doors of Staten Island bakeries, delis and restaurants. Electrical workers came from all over the United States to help restore power. A group of Baptists, who had worked with the residents of New Orleans after Katrina, came to advise residents on how to safely clean and rebuild their flood-damaged homes.

At the same time, animal rescue groups were looking for pets and feral animals dislocated by the storm. An acquaintance of mine made the rounds of her feral cat colonies. One of them was near the beaches and it had flooded, but she had stacked bales of straw and put shelters on top of them. Because of this very special angel, every one of the cats had survived the storm.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *