Rescue Tails / Ike & Irma

Contributed by FKSPCA Staff

The Florida Keys SPCA, in addition to being the largest non-profit animal welfare organization in the Keys, also holds a contract with Monroe County to provide Animal Control services from mm0 – mm70. Animal Control Officers are trained through the Florida Animal Control Association on State, County and City ordinances on animals. In addition to enforcing animal regulations, officers are on call 24/7 at both our locations to respond to emergencies, even in a Hurricane.

On September 28th, 2022, as Hurricane Ian was passing just offshore of the Florida Keys as a powerful Category 3 Hurricane, most residents were hunkered down in the stormy weather waiting for the gusty winds and rough seas to subside. However that evening, a Marathon resident was outside watching the swells and heard what sounded like tiny meows between the howling winds. Concerned that there was a cat in distress during a potentially dangerous storm and rising waters, they called out Marathon Campus for help.

Our Animal Control Officer responded, and amazingly, could also hear the tiny meows through the wind and waves and rustling leaves. Armed with nothing more than a flashlight and a bit of luck, there were bright eyes beaming back in the light from underneath a rock. Even more surprising, there was not one cat, but three tiny kittens tucked in safely from the storm.

Generally, when someone finds a litter of kittens, it’s recommended to leave them be. Usually mom is out hunting for food, and knows exactly where her babies are. When she has finished with her hunt and her meal, she will return to nurse her kittens. However; in this situation, with the unknown track of a Hurricane just miles offshore, and the Weather Service warning of rising waters, our Officer made the right decision to take the little kittens to safety.

The three black kittens were cold and hungry, but otherwise safe and healthy. Our compassionate Officer fostered the little kittens, providing around the clock bottle feedings until they were old enough to move into their next foster home. Affectionately named Irma, Ike and Ian, the three kittens grew bigger by the day. They were happy, social babies that thrived in their home environment. The day finally came when they were big enough to be spayed and neutered and adopted into a forever home.

Ian was adopted first, into a loving family that had been searching for a little kitten to complete their family. His adoption was quick, but his brothers Ike and sister Irma would have to wait a whole three months longer for the right family to notice them. The two formed an unbreakable sibling bond and we had hoped to keep the pair together. Although it took a total of five months, their adoption day was worth the wait! Ike and Irma were adopted together by their new mom Cynthia in February of 2023 and have already become lifelong members of their family. We couldn’t be happier that the three lucky Hurricane kittens all found loving furrever homes.

The Florida Keys sees kittens year round due to warm weather. We do see a significant spike in unplanned and unwanted litters of kittens during the Spring-time peaking in May, June and July. We are always in need of kitten fosters for both our Key West and Marathon Campus. Learn more about becoming a foster at or email for more information.

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