LUMBERTON — Contrary to the popular fantasy of a firefighter retrieving a kitten from a tree, it’s more common for the two to meet inside a burning building.
Blind Cat Rescue of St. Pauls recently donated 210 oxygen mask kits designed for firefighters across Robeson County in an effort to save pets trapped in house fires and other life-threatening situations.
Each kit contains three masks that can be used on conscious and unconscious pets suffering from smoke inhalation or exposure to toxic fumes. According to the manufacturer, the kits can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and other animals.
“Blind Cat Rescue’s mission is to promote the welfare of animals in Robeson County,” said Alana Miller, the shelter’s founder and president. “As part of that, we are always looking for opportunities where we can fill unmet needs.”
The donation was made possible by a fundraising campaign the cat sanctuary started in June.
“Lack of animal-appropriate equipment can hinder firefighters’ efforts to rescue family pets, as not every animal can be serviced by standard oxygen masks,” Miller said. “We want to give our first responders the best equipment so they can do their job efficiently, not only for people and property, but also for pets.”
Established in 2005, the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary is home to 91 sightless cats that are considered unadoptable and would face euthanization at traditional shelters. In 2011, the sanctuary expanded to accommodate cats suffering from leukemia and feline AIDs.
Though the facility maintains a low profile in St. Pauls, it has a large following on social media. More than a million people have liked the shelter’s Facebook page, making it more popular than profiles for bigger organizations like the American Red Cross and March of Dimes.
Reporter Jaymie Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5771 or by email at [email protected]