You Helped Feed Pennsylvania Community Cats!
by Bethany Meissner
Every year Halo, GreaterGood.org, and Freekibble.com donate more than 4.5 million bowls of high quality Halo dog and cat food to organizations like Animal Lifeline. The food’s nutrition helps both pets who are searching for forever homes and colonies of feral cats who are already where they belong. Caitlin Kost cares for just such a colony.
Caitlin was a student feeder with Animal Lifeline’s Temple University Community Feeding Program in Philadelphia, PA. She recently shared with Halo how a donation you made possible helped her colony, especially two cats she calls Milo and Pistachio.
“Milo and Pistachio are a bonded pair; always together,” shared Caitlin. Both boys have been neutered as part of an ongoing Trap, Neuter, Release program. Caitlin began feeding the cats when they were living in the backyard of her apartment building. Unfortunately, after less than a year she needed to move to an apartment that was several streets away and did not have a backyard. Because the cats were so feral, Caitlin did not believe that it would be sensible to feed them on a sidewalk. She worked with Cathy Liu of the Temple University Community Feeding Program to figure out a solution.
Together Caitlin and Cathy found an abandoned house just a few doors down from the apartment’s backyard. The house’s backyard was filled with trash, but they were able to clear out an area safe and suitable for the cats. Once the area was ready, “little by little, I was able to coax the cats out of my old backyard into this abandoned one,” said Caitlin. She admitted that “It took quite a bit of patience and effort, but it worked!”
She then set up multiple shelter boxes and covered feeding areas. They currently have five shelter boxes all of which have insulation, straw, and sleeping mats. Now that Caitlin has graduated, she lives in the suburbs but still cares for her colony, taking the train in several times a week to feed the cats herself. On the days when she’s not there, Caitlin has worked with current students and a Temple University faculty member to ensure daily care.
Caitlin added that some people have asked why she cares for cats who don’t act like pets or allow her to hold them. She said that she answers that “they just show their appreciation and love in a different way; by always being there to greet me when I come to feed, which instantly brightens my day.”
The Halo food has made a difference. Caitlin told us that it’s good “to know that the cats’ bellies are being filled with wholesome quality cat food,” and that “this food has kept [the] colony cats well-fed and has contributed to their overall healthy well-being.” Not only does it keep the cats healthy and mean Caitlin doesn’t have to worry about buying food for the cats, but the Halo food also makes the cats happy. “The cats, especially Pistachio, have really taken to it,” Caitlin shared. We’re so happy to know that! Halo believes that all animals carry a halo above them – whether shelter pets looking for a home, pets in their forever home, or feral cats living where they belong with the help of a colony caretaker. We’re just happy we’re able to help.
Photo Credit: Animal Lifeline