Tiny Tim has a new home thanks to 11-year-old Sydney Kirby of Brooklyn Park, who hopes Frizzle, Frazzle, Jinx2 and Tiny find new families soon, too.
The cats have all had their adoption fees taken care of at Anne Arundel County Animal Control, thanks to the generosity of Sydney, who pooled her birthday money and some of her Christmas cash to pay for them in advance.
As of Thursday, the remaining four just needed someone to claim them.
"I really like animals and I especially like cats," said Sydney, an aspiring marine biologist who attends Overlook Elementary School in Linthicum.
Animal Control Director Robin Catlett said the Millersville shelter has been allowing residents to "sponsor" pets for adoption for just a few months. About 10 of the 50 cats currently up for adoption have been sponsored, so the adopting families will pay no fees.
Usually, adoption fees are $26 for male cats and $36 for female cats. Sydney's overall donation equaled about $150 for the quintet.
Catlett said some animal sponsors want to help homeless animals but can't adopt any more themselves. Others sponsor adoption fees for strays they've found and brought to Animal Control.
Sydney's birthday falls in January, and at that time of year, she doesn't have a need for a lot of new stuff, said her mother, Dana Kirby. So for the past three years, the youngster has used her birthday proceeds to support animal charities. In past years, she donated to the SPCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.
"She's a very generous girl," Dana Kirby said.
Sydney visited Animal Control's shelter recently and picked cats that reminded her of her own pets, Winter and Smudge, as well as ones she felt needed some love.
Animal Control officials invited Sydney back to the shelter Thursday to visit her five friends — and surprised her with a thank-you card, birthday cake and ice cream. Joined by County Executive Laura Neuman, Sydney got to spend time with her sponsored cats, except for Tiny Tim, who has already been adopted.
Sydney and her mother were joined by little sister Katelyn, 7, and friends Melody Plehn, 11, and Renee Collins, 11. Sydney said she was inspired by Melody, who has donated in the past to Toys for Tots for her birthday.
For more information on adopting, or sponsoring, pets from Anne Arundel County Animal Control, call 410-222-8900, or go to aacounty.org/AnimalControl. The shelter is located at 411 Maxwell Frye Road, Millersville.
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