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Mariella is a kitty available for adoption from ‘Hillsdale Felines and Friends’ Courtesy | Hillsdale Felines and Friends

Hillsdale Felines and Friends is a new non­profit orga­ni­zation that rescues stray cats in the com­munity. Its new facility is scheduled to be fin­ished soon, according to Pres­ident and Trea­surer Kátia Sherman. 

“It’s already up and going — we are just fin­ishing up elec­trical stuff,” Sherman said. “I am going to begin to move fur­niture and cats over there.” She noted that she cur­rently has 30 cats staying at her house, and another 12 outside of her home. 

Sherman, who is also an assistant pro­fessor of Spanish at Hillsdale College, said her interest in cre­ating this program began after noticing a large problem with stray cats in the Hillsdale area. 

“When I began to realize the extent of the problem, I decided to do some­thing about it,” she said. “The tax sale from the county of Hillsdale happens every year. I was informed that the two empty lots behind my house were going to be auc­tioned in the county tax sale. I went and was able to pur­chase those two lots.” 

Sherman talked through some of the other steps involved in starting the orga­ni­zation. She noted that Hillsdale Felines and Friends is a non­profit orga­ni­zation, and has tax exemption status with the IRS. The final step is to become an offi­cially licensed cats-only animal shelter. 

Though the facility is still in progress, the program has already been helping rescue cats by helping them find homes or simply caring for them.

Director Sandy Puvogel, pro­fessor of Spanish, said she has also helped rescue stray cats in the com­munity.

“I’ve had neighbors who had cats but couldn’t handle getting them neutered and spayed or keep them up to date on vac­cines,” Puvogel said. “I helped when I could to take the cats in.” The idea is to help the com­munity in this way — to help the cats first and foremost. I think there are a lot of street cats like that who don’t have a home and we are hoping to provide various things for them.” 

Both Sherman and Puvogel said they hope their love for cats draws interest and support from stu­dents and from the Hillsdale com­munity. 

“We are launching a $5 fundraiser chal­lenge in which people go in through our website and set up a recurring monthly donation of $5,” Sherman said. “We hope that people under­stand that if everyone who follows us on Instagram or visits our website were to give $5 per month, most of our costs would be taken care of. It takes a large amount of indi­viduals each giving a tiny bit.” 

Sherman and Puvogel also stressed the impor­tance of student vol­un­teers in main­taining the program. 

“A lot of stu­dents really love animals and would like to use some of their vol­unteer hours to devote to animals,” Puvogel said.

According to Sherman, there are stu­dents already inter­ested in vol­un­teering.

“I have about 35 to 40 stu­dents who have emailed me that are willing to vol­unteer,” she said. “The shelter is going to be about one block from Christ Church, so it’s very easy to get to on foot.”

Those inter­ested in helping with Hillsdale Felines and Friends can visit their website at www.hillsdalefelinesandfriends.org.