Local volunteers build, donate shelters for stray cats

Almost 150 cat lovers gathered to build comfortable homes for community cats.

Purrfect event: About 150 volunteers came to Holmesburg Boys Club to build shelters for the 400,000 homeless cats in Philadelphia. SOURCE: PHILADOPTABLES

By Amanda Lien

Nearly 150 cat lovers filled the Holmesburg Boys Club with Tupperware bins, cat food and kitty litter as they attended a cat shelter-building workshop sponsored by Philadoptables last Saturday.

Aine Doley, former project coordinator for Best Friends Animal Society, who is starting her own nonprofit — — Catadelphia — — to help city cats, supervised her neighbors as they put together outdoor cat shelters out of plastic tubing, Styrofoam, covered containers, heating pads and straw.

Participants could purchase their shelter for $10 or leave it behind for volunteers to place around the city for community cats, Doley said.

There are as many as 400,000 cats roaming the streets of Philadelphia, Doley said, and her mission is to help her neighbors provide a safe place for them to rest, warm up or stay dry.

“I got the idea from the internet,” she said. “But I wanted to teach people how to make something that’s simple. You can get everything we use from Home Depot or online. It’s easy and cheap, and it really works.”

Stine Chambers was surprised, but “excited” about the turnout. She thinks Doley’s method of teaching neighbors how to construct shelters themselves will empower them to do more to help the cats in their neighborhood.

“She won’t do it for you,” she said. “But she’ll show you how to do it. I think that means more. It gives people an idea of what they can do for these city cats. A lot of them are perfectly happy outside, but they need a little help every once in a while.”

“I’m amazed,” added Angelo Ruffo, a self-described “mad catter.” “It’s like Santa’s workshop, but for cats.” ••