Ferndale Cat Shelter awarded $50K grant after 13-year-old's essay

In a case of 'who rescued who', a 13-year-old Ferndale girl adopted Mr. Mittens from the Ferndale Cat Shelter. But now her bond is turning into thousands of dollars for the shelter.

13-year-old Sydney Hertzberg is a volunteer at the Ferndale Cat Shelter and, since COVID-19 started, she's fostered 19 feral cats and counting. 

But it's Mr. Mittens that stole her heart. He was only four days old when Sydney first met him.

"He swims, he walks, he skateboards," said Sydney "There was a woman who came in with her hands cupped like this and she had a little tiny cat in her hands that was, of course, him."

"With these cats, all they want to do is tell us that they're scared and need help," she said.

Sydney sometimes needs help too - she suffers from Pots Syndrome which brings on dizzy spells and muscle aches. It can be very painful and she leans leaning on Mr. Mittens for help.

 "He wants to say you're going to be ok and I'm going to help you," she said.

13-year-old Sydney Hertzberg holds Mr. Mittens the Kitten after winning $50,000 for the Ferndale Cat Shelter. Image: Instagram/mr.mittens.the.kitten

Their bond is the subject of an essay for a contest by Petco which she wrote to generate money for the Ferndale Cat Shelter. And it worked. Her essay won $50,000, which will supply about a year's worth of funding for the shelter.

"My heart skipped a beat, I was just shocked, " she said. "$50,000 is so much money to help the kitties," she said.

The future veterinarian or doctor (or both, she says) isn't stopping there. She's actively working on other income streams for the shelter. All the money will ultimately go to save these guys. 

"I just wanted to help them get a second chance," she said.