Griffin Hatfield was biking toward his car on West Green when he saw four kittens running around the parking lot.
“(The kittens) were getting underneath cars and running out in front of people,” Hatfield said. “So I went back to my room, got a box, and then I went and spent half an hour to an hour grabbing them.”
He found the abandoned kittens Monday near Stocker Center. Hatfield, a freshman studying graphic design, said the kittens were found “covered in fleas,” and they looked "like they’ve been out there for at least a couple of weeks.”
“I knew that if they were out there for a while longer, they could probably get ran over or killed,” he said. “I really didn’t want them to get hurt.”
The kittens’ mother was nowhere to be found.
Jena Albers, president of Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs, said she first heard of the kittens from one of the organization’s members in their group chat. Albers consulted Kelly Coy, the former president of the organization, and decided what to do with the kittens, she said.
Albers, a senior studying marketing and business analytics, said she created a GoFundMe campaign, an online fundraiser, to raise money for veterinary bills for the kittens because “we don’t really have the funds, as college kids … but we knew if we reached out to people that believe in the same things we do, we could get (some support).”
Residents of Scott Quad helped clean the kittens before they were passed to the members of Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs, Hatfield said.
“It’s really cool that different people around Ohio University … have been stepping up to (help the cats),” Albers said.
As of press time, the online fundraiser has succeeded in raising $550 out of its $600 goal. Albers will be updating the GoFundMe page with the list of expenditures, she said.
The money will be used toward services such as vet check-ups, spaying, neutering and food, as well as treating respiratory problems that some of the kittens have, Albers said.
Dylanni Smith, a freshman studying journalism, said she “stumbled upon” the online fundraiser through the Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs’ Facebook page and immediately knew she had to donate to the cause.
“Especially since Athens is a very rural area, there’s a lot of stray animals that we don’t even know about,” Smith said. “I feel like whatever you can do to help the animals that are there at the moment will (help) bring that stray population down.”
A veterinarian estimated the kittens to be 7 weeks old, Coy, a senior studying marketing, said. They have found foster homes and will be taken care of until the kittens are healthy enough for treatment, she added.
“It should be several weeks before we start the adoption process,” she said.
The members of Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs have been debating about giving the kittens names relating to places in Athens, such as Athena and Pawpurrs.
The organization will be working closely with Athens’ Friends of the Shelter Dogs to ensure the kittens will find safe homes, Coy said.
“We’re so thankful that we can help these kitties,” Coy said. “It’s just another, one more success story.”