Purr-fect ending for Fort McMurray evacuee kittens
'Hope this picture makes people [in Fort McMurray] smile, even just for a second.'
A Fort McMurray evacuee has shared an adorable cat photo, with the hope it will cheer up her neighbours — many of whom are struggling with the aftermath of wildfires.
Marissa Heath's seven kittens were just over three weeks old and awaiting adoption when the fires hit in May.
In the rush to escape the flames, Heath packed them into a single carrier with mama-cat Lily. The family was among the thousands stranded north of the city. CBC interviewed Heath after she had waited more than 24 hours in her vehicle at the side of the road.
"It's been brutal." Marisa Heath has been at the North <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FortMacFire?src=hash">#FortMacFire</a> roadblock since 8 pm Wed. <a href="https://t.co/izyDlukhdl">pic.twitter.com/izyDlukhdl</a>—@warnicam
Hi <a href="https://twitter.com/warnicam">@warnicam</a>! Marisa Heath wants you to know she made it thru the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ymm?src=hash">#ymm</a> convoy to Wandering River with her kittens! <a href="https://t.co/uolIjfxrHl">pic.twitter.com/uolIjfxrHl</a>—@angjohnston
The next morning, the Canadian military led its first convoy of stranded northern evacuees through the still-burning city to safety.
Like hundreds of others, Heath had no idea if her home was all right. Her city was in flames. And she hardly had enough supplies to take care of herself and her husband, let alone her pets.
In a radio interview that day, she described how it felt.
The Heaths found a place to stay through evacuee services in Edmonton. A volunteer took in her kittens. They all lived a nomadic existence for several weeks. Near the end of May, Heath found out her home had survived. But she was devastated to find out how many other homes were destroyed.
Before the family returned to Fort McMurray on June 3, a special surprise was waiting for them. The volunteer who looked after the kittens in Edmonton had a friend who was a pet photographer and had arranged a too-cute-for-words photo shoot.
The volunteer also adopted two kittens. The remaining five were adopted by other Fort McMurray evacuees.
"I call them my little Fort McMurray wildfire mascots," Heath said.
"I'm hoping this picture makes people smile as much as it does me. So many people can't because they lost so much. To make them smile, even just for a second, would be really nice."