To secure the Bronze Award – the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can earn – 5th Grade Girl Scout Troop 8438 from Canyon View Elementary in Rancho Penasquitos provided assistance to Friends of Cats, a no-kill feline shelter in El Cajon.

Friends of Cats accepts cats from people who can no longer take care of them, and currently shelters about 320 animals (only about 100 that are adoptable currently). The shelter has a range of cats, about 320, but only around 100 are adoptable.  The facility exists on donations from the public and organizations.

PQ’s Troop 8438 made a variety of cat enrichment items and cat beds, and collected food and supplies to donate to the shelter.  The girls visited the shelter, took a tour, and gave the cats lots of attention.  “Those cats love to be loved!“ one scout said.

The scouts chose to help Friends of Cats because they could interact with the animals – and they could provide handmade supplies.  It took many different steps to achieve the goal of helping Friends of Cats:  First, the troop researched organizations that help animals, and using presentation and negotiation skills came to an agreement on which group to help.  They used their creativity, looked up ideas on the computer and went to pet stores to come up with different possible cat enrichment items, and how to make them.   The troop broke into groups to get each item ready to be made, and then had a sleepover dedicated to making the supplies – which included bottle rattles, catnip pillows, feather and ribbon chaser wands, Mylar balls and washable cat beds.  They even recycled Girl Scout cookie boxes to make scratchpads.

Among the comments made by troop members about the experience:

  • Lauren:  “I really liked this experience because it taught me new things and I learned how to sew on a sewing machine and that’s something I really want to do now,” said Lauren, a troop member.
  • Hannah:  “It was really fun because I love cats and I think the cats liked it to, since they got more attention when we visited and because we made special things for them.”
  • Kendall:  “[I had] fun, but it was sad to see the sick cats, but we know they were in good care of the kind people at FOC.”
  • Danielle:  “I got excited and happy because the cats loved our toys. The cats looked really cute.”
  • Kayla:  “I liked making the scratch pads and it made me feel good to see the cats enjoying and using them.”
  • Caitlin:  “I love cats so I had the time of my life (except for when a cat sneezed on me…).”

This article courtesy of Caitlin Groome, Lauren Jennings, Hannah Lambert, and Girl Scout Troop # 8438 in Rancho Penasquitos.