How Good Cat Network has responded to the Maui Wildfire Disaster

♥Huge Mahalo to KUOW / NPR reporter Katie Campbell for taking the time to talk with me and report on our efforts, ramping up Good Cat Network‘s Operation Aloha Cat program, which sent 35 cats to Seattle Humane and The NOAH Center via Aloha Air Cargo.

Read the KUOW / NPR article below:
KUOW/NPR by Katie Campbell

Seattle Times:
Seattle Times by  

Organizations that have received cats from Good Cat Network have been given a link and QR code to this page, explaining why adopting a cat from Maui is a good idea, especially in times of disaster. The page includes details on the Maui Wildfire Disaster and its impacts on the community:

♥There have been several other generous offers from individuals and organizations that we just haven’t been able to assess yet, but we will. We promise we are working as hard as we can to organize and harness the opportunities we’re given. Aloha and thank you to everyone for your patience and support.

Here is a recap of what we’ve organized since the wildfire disaster, assisted by the generous donations generated from our disaster response campaign:

August 16, 2023 // 17 good cats land at The NOAH Center

♥On August 16, 2023, 17 cats landed at The NOAH Center due to the incredible work of our amazing foster partner Honi Honi Cats Maui and airline partner Aloha Air Cargo.

Although our first transfer after the Maui Wildfire Disaster was actually part of our regular Operation Aloha Cat schedule, The NOAH Center was ready and willing to accept additional cats and were flexible and understanding with swapping out certain cats for others. There were a lot of moving pieces to organizing two-back-to-back flights, and factors like fosters being evacuated from their homes needed to be considered. 

Honi Honi Cats Maui also assessed adoptable cats at local rescue Surf Cat Ranch and added them to the flight lists, so that they could open their spaces to displaced pets.  

August 17, 2023 // 17 good cats land at Seattle Humane

♥August 17, 2023, 17 Good Cats landed at Seattle Humane

One of the first transfer partners to jump on the chance to help was Seattle Humane. I remember telling Sarah, “I am crying tears of joy” when she told us she could take the additional transfer. 

♥We contacted Aloha Air Cargo to see if they would donate a flight to the effort. Amazingly, they agreed and we started putting the plan in place. We were absolutely delighted to see the outpouring of love on Seattle Humane‘s social media channels and the increased desire to adopt a Maui cat.  

Flying cats to the PNW means we can clear foster space at our non-profit partner Honi Honi Cats Maui and prepare for displaced and injured cats. Simultaneously, Maui is experiencing its second kitten season of the year and we are seeing an influx of kittens.

Put simply, Seattle Humane stepped up when we needed it most. 

♥Malie, whose foster family was evacuated from the Kula, Maui Wildfires, flew to Seattle Humane on this flight. Darlene and husband Kent fostered her after the family was evacuated. Her journey to the airport was captured by Kent, Darlene’s husband.



August 20, 2023 // Flight of 7 kittens land at PAWS, collaboration with
ROAM Maui & The Critter Room

♥Seven kittens land in Seattle, escorted by Ted on ROAM Maui. Boarded and live-streamed by The Critter Room and then transported to PAWS for adoption ✈️

ROAM flight donated to Good Cat Network by:


Seven lucky kittens rescued from Lāhainā, Kula and two other Maui locations boarded a ROAM flight to Seattle escorted by Ted, father of  Whiskers at Home‘s Jessica 🤍
They also livestreamed the whole thing! Watch the kittens deplane and then head to The Critter Room overnight, here:

On Monday August 21st, Jessica, John and Ted brought the kittens to PAWS – Progressive Animal Welfare Society where they were met with news crews! 

August 22, 2023 // 57 Carriers & 250 lbs of Pet Supplies fly to Maui on
donated ROAM Cargo space 

♥The return flight on ROAM carried 250+ lbs of pet food collected by Homeward Pet Adoption Center. Supplies were distributed to Honi Honi Cats Maui and Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation

Cargo space on this return flight to Maui was lovingly donated by the same family that donated the in-cabin space to Ted and the kittens from Maui to Seattle.

♥Husband and wife team Jessica of Whiskers At Home L.L.C. and John of The Critter Room also collected over FIFTY-SEVEN soft-shell carriers through their amazon wish list for future in-cabin flights and to assist in displaced pet-owners needing to fly to the continent with their pets.  

August 26, 2023 // 26 good cats land at Meow Stories
Rescue Kitties of Hawai’i + Good Cat Network

♥26 cats flew to Meow Stories in Virginia due to the generous coordination efforts by Oahu-based Rescue Kitties of Hawai’i

When the wildfires struck Maui, we were still figuring out what to do. We thought we should fundraise and increase our flights to clear foster space, but didn’t exactly know where to start.

Before we could even start putting out feelers to our connections requesting additional transfer dates and flights, Maraya of Rescue Kitties of Hawai’i had already coordinated a generous offer to Good Cat Network and Honi Honi Cats Maui: 26 cats to Meow Stories in Virginia on a donated Alaska Airlines flight.

In tears, we jumped on the opportunity. Maraya knew what we needed and made it happen – and we didn’t even need to ask. Plus, she had a 3AM pickup time for the kitties we sent to Oahu, with a rented van, boarded our kitties for a few days and then transported them to the airport on August 26th. 

We are eternally grateful for her efforts!

August 29, 2023 // 20 good cats fly to PAWS & The NOAH Center
Transport assistance by Feline Friends of Samammish

♥On August 29, 2023, 20 cats landed in Seattle: nine at The NOAH Center and eleven at PAWS – Progressive Animal Welfare Society due to the incredible work of our amazing foster partner Honi Honi Cats Maui and airline partner Aloha Air Cargo with Seattle transport assistance by Feline Friends of Sammamish.

This flight wrapped three straight weeks of clinics and several days at the airport for flights and supply pickups or drop offs. It brought our Operation Aloha Cat post-disaster total to 87 cats flown to transfer partners on the continent, and brings our grand total of cats flown through Operation Aloha cat to 627. 

Our response to this disaster must be a marathon, not a race. We will pause for a week to assess the opportunities, funding and connections that have been presented. We have many more flights and projects that we’re excited to announce. Please stay tuned! 


A final note, if you’ve read this far…

Darlene here, Good Cat Network’s Executive Director. In all honesty, the past past ten days have been the saddest, most stressful, shocking and adrenaline-filled days of my entire life. It started around 4AM on August 8th receiving an evacuation alert on my phone due to a wildfire higher in the mountains, about four miles away. I went to my entry window and saw the orange glow and smoke in the distance. Panic set in. We are not prepared for wildfires. I thought about my mother-in-law, a few miles away. Could we get a hold of her if we needed to? Was her phone receiving the alerts? Could I get all of my cats into carriers in time?

The night was spent googling real-time maps that track wildfires (I could not find one) and social media, scrolling through “all comments” in order to find the newest video of the fire, most often taken from someone’s living room window or lanai. We knew that despite the close proximity of the fires, the strong winds were probably blowing them in the other direction. I was equally comforted and sickened by the thought. Those winds would spread the fire and make it harder to fight. Those winds blew the fire away from me, my husband, and my cats. My body was in fight or flight mode but it hadn’t decided what it wanted to do yet.  

When a foster family was evacuated from the Kula fires, we took in their four resident cats and foster cat, Malie (Hawai’ian for “calm”.) Once the family could return safely to their home, I kept Malie at my house for the week and prepared her for an Operation Aloha Cat flight to Seattle Humane. 

As days passed the fear that our lives and our pets would be in danger was eclipsed by learning of the horrors that took place in Lāhainā town. We started to learn of friends and colleagues that lost everything. Five people. Ten people. Friends of friends whose entire families perished. The heaviness of the disaster was starting to sink in. 

We decided that as a non-profit that had programs specifically used in times of disaster, we had a responsibility to the Maui community to do as much as we could do to help.

It is common practice to transfer animals out of a disaster zone so that the resources and foster or shelter space is available when the inevitable happens: cats and dogs rescued from the disaster area need fosters, shelter or treatment. Simultaneously, Maui has entered its second kitten season of the year. We hit the ground running and the last ten days have been a flurry of communication, tears, and love. 

We know that there are many people suffering, grieving, and in need of financial assistance during this time. We encourage you to support, donate and volunteer for any organization or individual that you feel connected to. Everyone involved in Good Cat Network’s efforts has been volunteering and contributing to several others as well. That is beautiful, and desperately needed. We are grateful for the compassionate and generous people that surround us.   

Despite the pain, the sobbing and the breakdowns, I have never felt more love from those I have never met. All of the love and the support from those that I do know has meant the world, too. That combined love is what has kept us going. 

Thank you and aloha,