Bayou Corne is a small place in Louisiana on the Gulf of Mexico, USA. On 3rd August 2012 a massive sinkhole opened up in this community. The sinkhole, which is a large hole in the ground caused by mining underground, was a result of mining by a company called Texas Brine. They had mined for salt under Bayou Corne and the day came when it all caved in. The residents had to leave. Some of their cats were left behind including feral cats that they had fed. It is said that there are now 40 “feral cats” at the location but it seems that some of them are domestic cats because when their degree of socialisation was measured by Jackson Galaxy, the well-known cat behaviourist, it was found that half of the cats allowed those caring for them to touch them. This may be partly due to the person who has been caring for them since the sinkhole opened up, a lady called Teleca Donachricha, but in the video the cats are described as being “left behind”.
When Teleca drives up to the colony of abandoned domestic and feral cats she honks a horn and they all come out to be fed. At one stage this person was alone but about seven months ago Jackson Galaxy of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell” and Tia Torres of Pit Bulls and Parolees stepped in to help. Pit Bulls and Parolees is an organisation which rescues pit bull dogs with the help of what I believe is parolees from prison. It is a nice combination of rescue elements.
The challenge now is to rehome those cats at Bayou Corne who can be rehomed by which I mean they are sufficiently domesticated and socialised while at the same time relocating those cats which are deemed to be feral to places where they can live an independent and safe life in, for example, a barn on a ranch. The process is going to be videoed and will form part of an upcoming season of “Pit Bulls and Parolees”.
As can be expected the Bayou Corne community is deserted and Teleca has been caring for them to 2 years both in terms of feeding them and ensuring that they are spayed and neutered but it has been decided that they can’t remain in this empty, deserted neighbourhood. Texas Brine the company responsible for the sinkhole are going to demolish the houses but are awaiting the conclusion of litigation before doing so. In the meantime they are maintaining the area.
In addition to the feral and domestic cats that are in the area, it is thought that some of the cats there have been dumped by people wishing to abandon their cats. People do tend to seek any possibility by which they can abandon their cats surreptitiously.
Before the cats are finally settled in their new location or home, they are to be placed in a new rescue facility that Tia Torres of Pit Bulls and Parolees is building in Napoleonville. At this location they will be evaluated with respect to their domestication. Currently, there are three cabins which are air-conditioned. The cabins are designed to look like living rooms in a home to allow the cats to become more familiar with the human environment.
It seems to me that an major unknown in this situation is how many of the cats of feral and how many are domestic. It does beg the question as to why there should be a domestic cats at the location because over the intervening period you would have thought that the owners would have re-claimed and been reunited with their cats. Anyway I don’t know the facts fully enough to be critical.
Jackson Galaxy, in a way, sums it up after he saw a cat sitting in the driveway of a property at Bayou Corne:
“What I saw was a picture of that cat seven years ago, kids playing in the driveway, mom and dad, picket fence – the whole 9 yards… Here he is, seven years later, thinking, ‘What happened?’… These guys are going to get the life that we promised them.”
Here is a news media video (their website is the source of this article with an email form Gail.
Location of Bayou Corne: