Pierre, Crawdad, Succotash and Gumbo are recent hurricane evacuees to make their home in Lake Tahoe.
They're sophisticated, amiable and ... they're cats at North Shore's Agate Bay Animal Hospital.
Twenty cats arrived courtesy of Dr. Bree Montana's "Orphans of the Storm" effort to rescue kittens from hurricane-blasted Louisiana.
For one week in September, after Katrina hit and just as Wilma was barreling in, Montana landed in Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans on one of the first commercial flights. She slept in a condemned hotel in Slidell, a town northeast of - and recently cut off from - New Orleans, as the twin span bridge connecting the two cities was destroyed.
Montana went in search of the Noah's Wish facility, a corrugated iron shed, where she was greeted by close to 1,000 howling rescued dogs and cats.
This "grass-roots rescue," as Montana describes it, treated animals already in the shelter system and absorbed the overflow of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's animal triage center. Twenty cats and kittens Montana treated in Slidell were flown to California, where they were bathed, spayed and neutered and treated in her facility. They are now ready for adoption.
"I stepped in and took the role of the doctor," Montana explained. Supplies were plentiful, she said, but the number of hours in the day were not. Staff couldn't get everything done in one day, she said. Cleaning and moving big dogs and frightened cats took up much of their time.
Montana's 20 cats are awaiting sponsorship or adoption. Their pictures appear on her Web site, and a few will be featured on the Resort Sports Network as a public service announcement. Montana has organized a benefit at the North Tahoe Conference Center in Kings Beach on Dec. 15, where prizes, food and entertainment can be enjoyed while helping the rescued animals.
Montana said she tries to teach her daughter, creator of Ember's Kitty Cat Rescue, about community service. Montana says she believes, "It's not what you get, it's what you give back."
If you go
WHAT: Orphans of the Storm. The event benefiting kittens rescued from Louisiana, will feature live jazz music, wine and appetizers and a silent auction
WHEN: 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: North Tahoe Conference Center in Kings Beach
net/ekcr or call (530) 546-7522