Later I got a chance to visit the makeshift shelter near the airport where they have taken the small animals who have been found wandering the ruins of Paradise. I had to fill out forms, and ten got a tour of the handful of cat cages. There are probably only about forty cats there now, but none were mine. The volunteer said that they are still bringing some down every day, and that here are rescue workers still in the town leaving food and water for animals that are too frightened to come near the rescuers.
The other shelter, in Oroville, has been closed, and many animals have been taken to other shelters around the region, some as far as Redding, which is about ninety miles north. Some injured cats are being looked after in a large veterinary hospital here in Chico which I didn't get a chance to go to. Some injured animals are being treated as far away as San Francisco. It's looking pretty unlikely that I'll ever find any of my cats who might have escaped the fire. Given conditions that prevailed in my neighborhood, and the personalities of most of my cats, it has always seemed unlikely that any of them did survive. I still think about them all the time. I doubt I'll ever stop thinking about them.
There is more rain on the way, and it will probably continue off and on through Saturday. There are still lots of things that need to be dealt with, especially regarding insurance and registering with FEMA so, once it is possible, they can clear the lot my house was on and not bill me for it (unregistered property owners could be looking at fees of $15,000 for the mandatory cleanup.) I really don't want to be dealing with all this stuff. I wish I could be looking forward in a few hours to falling asleep on my couch with Portia curled up purring next to my head, Frosty next to my feet, Shadow or Shredda behind my knees and the other on the back of the couch, and the other indoor cats in their favorite spots around the room. That's what happened two weeks ago tonight, for the last time.