Heartland veterinarian houses displaced pets following Mayfield tornado

Published: Jan. 2, 2022 at 10:38 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 2, 2022 at 11:03 PM CST
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METROPOLIS, Ill. (KFVS) - A Heartland veterinarian is opening her hospital doors to house displaced pets affected by Mayfield’s tornado, with no questions asked.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, my cats!’” said tornado survivor Cheryl Johnston.

She is looking for a new home for two of her cats, Itty Bitty and Shadow, after her house was damaged in the Mayfield’s tornado.

“I did not think the storm was going to be that bad,” said Johnston. “I was going to ride it out in my home. I got all the blankets and pillows off of my bed, closed all the doors to the hallway and just sat down to ride it out.”

The two are not her only pets. Johnston has nine cats. Six of them are currently staying for free at River’s Edge Veterinarian Hospital in Metropolis.

She is still searching for her last three cats.

“The two black and white furry ones, I found them down the side of the hill. They made it, they were terrified but they made it. The rest of the cats were in the house,” Johnston said.

Owner and veterinarian Karla Cunningham said she got the idea from a friend to house displaced pets due to storms.

“I was like, ‘well we’ve got some room.’ So, we put it on our Facebook page and word got out. We were just happy to do whatever we could to help,” Cunningham said.

She said she still has more room available, especially as the temperature drops.

“If they are cold, if they are wet and they don’t have a place to get out of shelter they could freeze to death,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham is also encouraging pet owners to microchip their pets.

Johnston said she plans the bring her other four cats home with her once it is safe to live in.

“It’s been a really big relief off of me, because I really did not know what I was going to do. The house was not in any condition to leave them in,” Johnston said.

She is now looking for a home to adopt the two cats together.

If you are interested in adopting Itty Bitty and Shadow you can contact the River’s Edge Veterinary Hospital at 618-524-7500.

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