Fort Collins Cat Rescue competing in challenge to win $50,000

Sady Swanson

Sarah Swanty, co-founder and executive director of the Fort Collins Cat Rescue, cuddles with Nanna, a six-year-old cat at the rescue. Nanna, is one of about 1,700 cats that enters the shelter each year. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)
Sarah Swanty, co-founder and executive director of the Fort Collins Cat Rescue, cuddles with Nanna, a six-year-old cat at the rescue. Nanna, is one of about 1,700 cats that enters the shelter each year. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)

The Fort Collins Cat Rescue is competing in the Saving Pets Challenge in the hopes of winning $50,000 to improve their facilities.

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The Saving Pets Challenge is a nationwide online donation challenge sponsored by Michelson Found Animals Foundation, according to the rescue’s Executive Director and co-founder Sarah Swanty.

According to Swanty, the Fort Collins Cat Rescue attempts to prevent animals from being euthanized in shelters due to overpopulation or homelessness.

The challenge is open to any animal welfare organization and goes through the month of October. Whichever three groups raise the most money will also win money from the foundation.

“We keep bouncing back between third and fourth,” Swanty said. “So obviously hoping to keep third, if not even move up to second.”

First place will win $50,000, second place will win $20,000 and third place will win $10,000.

The rescue raised over $20,000 as of Friday, according to the website, putting them in fourth place.

“We have people that have joined our fundraising team,” Swanty said. “There is no way that we could’ve raised that much money in two weeks if we didn’t have all these people helping us.”

If the Fort Collins Cat Rescue wins any money from placing in the challenge, Swanty said they plan to use it to buy a new, larger facility.

“We want to be able to offer more services that will help keep pets in homes,” Swanty said.

Examples include expanding the services offered in their veterinary clinic and temporary boarding for people that can not have an animal anymore due to housing loss but do not want to give up their animal completely.

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The shelter, currently located on Mulberry and Timberline, is set up in four separated units and has three landlords, according to Swanty.

Ashley Boothe, Marketing and Grants Coordinator, is a team member on the Crowdrise website for the challenge.

“We’ve all just been trying to work together as a team and spread out among the friends and family that we may not necessarily live nearby … to ask them to support a cause that we are passionate about,” Boothe said.

Boothe also said that she wants to win the challenge to expand their programs.

“I think all of the staff would be extremely excited to have a new, larger facility, and to be able to grow our programs and services,” Boothe said. “I think we are all very eager to get under a single roof.”

The rescue also plans to use any money raised in the challenge to fund current programs that they are already running, like their clinic and the pet food pantry.

Along with being a cat shelter, the rescue has a clinic, a pet food pantry, a free spay and neuter program and low-cost vaccines, according to Swanty.

“This year alone, we will take in probably over 1700 cats and kittens,” Swanty said. “And we’ll perform between 4000 and 5000 spay and neuter procedures.”

Since the clinic’s opening in 2006, they have performed about 30,500 spay and neuter procedures and have adopted out about 7,300 cats and kittens.

Colorado State University junior biology and pre-vet major Meghan Ferguson has been volunteering in the clinic since last February.

“The cats are great and have different personalities,” Ferguson said. “Every cat that leaves here leaves with a happy home.”

The rescue is encouraging anyone in the community to donate at least $10, since that is the minimum donation amount for the challenge, according to Swanty.

“In the grand scheme of things, we are a small organization that has made a huge impact,” Swanty said. “And that’s a lot of money [$50,000] for an organization like ours.”

Donations can only be made online on the Saving Pets Challenge Crowdrise website.

Collegian Reporter Sady Swanson can be reached at new@collegian.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan.