Scroll to Top
The 9 Lives of the Camp Fire Cats
March 13, 2019

The 9 Lives of the Camp Fire Cats
By Chelsea Capaccio, RVT

On November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire was sparked in Butte County, California and quickly became the most devastating and deadly fire in state history. Almost immediately, hundreds of volunteers from across the country poured in to provide assistance to the people and pets affected by the rapidly moving flames. Dr. Jay Kerr, one of the founders of BRVC, was one of the first on the scene as the President of CAVMRC (California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps). He arrived with one of three caches, each bin stocked with life-saving medical supplies for the tough days ahead.

Dr. Kerr and CAVMRC went right to work, setting up a makeshift animal shelter at the Chico Airport to intake some 2,700 dogs, cats, birds, and livestock displaced by the raging fires. As the fires blazed on, five more of our BRVC employees rushed to Butte County to help our local affected community. In addition to the medical donations from Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center and food from our Pet Care Warehouse, we hauled hundreds of pounds of livestock feed, blankets, crates, and other items brought in by our clients and staff. As volunteers of CAVMRC we were tasked with providing medical attention, intaking the pets found by the search and rescue units, and caring for the hundreds of animals housed in the animal shelter. CAVMRC organized 30 veterinary hospitals to receive sick or injured animals that needed intensive daily care and Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center was one of the hospitals to answer the call. We accepted nine cats, four of which needed daily bandage care for the burns sustained in the fires.

Over the next three weeks the personalities of the cats shone as they opened up to their caregivers and our team looked forward to giving them the TLC they deserved after such a traumatic event. Each of them garnered a name as special as they were.

  • "Moon" was strong and silent but really came to life with a little bit of canned food and a lot of scratches under the chin. Moon was transported back to Butte County and one of the shelter workers instantly fell in love.

  • "Brewster" had the most handsome face and would give head butts to anyone that visited his cage ready to scratch that perfect spot at the base of his tail. He now spends his days in his purrfect forever home with one of our AFVC team members.

  • "Punky" was well named for his playful spirt! He loved to bat his toys into the water bowl and liked to take short jaunts out of his cage to explore the room. He returned back to Butte County with his favorite mouse toy in tow.

  • "Harris" sure had a lot to say! He loved to tell us all about the dreams he had over night and would call for more attention the moment he stopped getting petted. He came to us needing care for his burned paws and burned ears. We were lucky enough to find his owners and he was happily reunited with his parents and his human sister, she and him are the best of friends.

  • "Fry" was a confident little man that fit right in with a wonderful foster family while he waited to be reunited with his family. He was the last cat to find his family and there were so many smiles the day he went back home.

  • "Quat" sustained burns on all four paws and required lengthy treatments to nurse him back to health. He quickly stole the hearts of the staff with his loud purr and love of snuggling, Quat loved to be held. He was transferred back to the Butte County Shelter where we know he found his "furever" home.

  • "Princess" also had extensive burns on her paws from the hot ground and was such an angel for her treatments. She was also the first to be reunited with her family and it made the day of every staff member at BRVC when we got the call from her owner.

  • "Soleil" came to us with a severe upper respiratory infection and required daily medication. He was shy at first but came out of his shell at his foster home and was returned to Butte County as a spunky little kitten.

  • "Beast" had burned paws, but he didn't know it! He was always greeting us in the morning and leapt out of his cage for more scratches and cuddles. He went into foster care when his paws were healed and never left. He enjoys his days playing and lounging with the other household cats. His parents are clients of BRVC so our team is still lucky enough to see this handsome man!

After CAVMRC finished their life saving mission, BRVC re-supplied the cache brought to the front lines by Dr. Kerr so it is prepared for the next disaster. We have replenished these caches twice in the past two years and are grateful we can do our part for our community during times of need. Our staff is also prepared to do their part in the coming years, of the 313 CAVMRC volunteers deployed during the Camp Fire, five were BRVC staff members. We thank Leanne Taylor, DVM, Katie Marini, RVT, Chelsea Capaccio, RVT, Kailey Perry, and Shannon Sorrell for their community service.

Sign Up for our Newsletter!
Sign Up