12 | WINTER 2020STATE HIGH TEACHERS TOTHE RESCUEBY NIRANJAN ANOOPEnglish teacher Jennifer Evans holding two of her four rescued kittens during a Google Meet interview.It has become increasingly common in StateCollege to find stray cats outside. They maybe wandering around a neighborhood, hidingunderneath a shed or bench, or sleeping withindense shrubbery. These animals are in seriousdanger of starvation, disease, and other harshenvironmental conditions. While feral cats canbe brought to shelters like Centre County PAWSfor treatment and adoption, members of theState College community have the ability tohelp. That’s exactly what a group of teachers atState High did.English teacher Jennifer Evans was one of themajor players in rescuing these stray cats. Sheand her boyfriend have already volunteered atPAWS, so they have much experience in gettingstray and feral animals the care that they need.She decided to do something about the recentrise in the number of feral cats.“In May, on the Facebook Greentree page,someone posted: ‘Hey there’s a kitten wanderingoutside my house. Does it belong to anyone?’”Evans said. “So I texted Ms. Rito (Englishteacher), and she said ‘I just saw, I was going towalk down’ cause it’s only a few blocks fromher house. So, I got a box and some food and astring, like a toy. I got in my Jeep, I had a maskon, and I went to her house, and we went to thearea where the kitten was supposed to be.”When they got to where the kitten wassupposed to be, they heard a faint meow comingfrom a lilac bush in the surrounding area. Evansand Rito managed to pluck out a black kittenwho Evans now owns and has named Bandy(pictured above).From here, Evans and Rito found Bandy’s
13 | WINTER 2020mother and her siblings hiding in a drainageditch, but they couldn’t reach them. Later on,a different set of neighbors found the kittensliving underneath their sheds, and Evans helpedthem to find care.Recently, Evans heard from former BuildingConstruction teacher Chris Warren, that therewas a cat and her three kittens hiding near hishouse. She managed to trap them after spendingnearly three hours. Learning Support teacherCarolyn Fries took them in to foster until theywere ready for their next steps. Additionally,Ms. Schunk has rescued a little black kitten andEvans has taken it upon herself to pay for itstreatment. It has yet to be adopted.Since May, this group of teachers succeededin getting ten cats off the street and into homes,and Evans now owns four of them. Findingthe cats, purchasing supplies, trapping them,getting them treated and then finally adoptedwas quite the ordeal. Without Evans and severalother teachers, it wouldn’t have been possible torescue these cats off of the streets.“It’s animals for the win!” said Evans as shedescribed why she does what she does. “Theycompletely give me joy throughout this wholescenario. It’s kind of an escape, away from all ofthese things.”Evans addressed how much of a struggleliving through the COVID-19 pandemic hasbeen for her. Rescuing these cats brought lightto her life, and doing such a task for the StateCollege community feels like a reward for her.When asked about whether or not it ever feltchallenging to rescue these feral cats, Evans saidit did. However, that didn’t stop her from doingthe work that she felt needed to be done, andshe’s glad that she didn’t have to do it alone.“The challenge is outweighed by, you know,the purpose, your goals, and your hope to dosomething good for the community and theanimals involved… It’s a lot of work and hopingthat other people will be so kind as to help youbecause doing it alone is tricky.”In the future, if one ever happens to spot aTwo rescued kittens ready to be brought to a vet for treatment.(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Evans)stray or feral animal in our community, Evansexpressed that she’d be ready and willing tohelp. Her experience in rescuing animals hasprepared her for anything she may face.“I feel like I’ve learned so much,” Evans said.“I’ve learned a lot about what to do and whatnot to do with capturing and setting traps,about always having some place to take theanimal before you even set the trap, so havinga plan for when you catch something. There[are] some things that you’ll need: you need asmall space, you need the litter box, the litter,and the food, the finances to be able to take theanimal to the vet for worming treatment, howto give them flea baths and flea treatment, howto tame them down… I think that there are a lotof things that are important, mostly space andtime.”Community members who want to play arole in rescuing local feral animals can followEvans’ example by trapping them and bringingthem to a vet for treatment. If possible, donateto or volunteer at an animal shelter like PAWSor Pets Come First. One could always fosterpets, especially with the pandemic limiting theamount of pets that can stay at a shelter.Evans and her fellow teachers have trulyworked hard to rescue all of these cats. Let theirwork set an example for what the communitycan do for State College.