Music art management and communication major Sarah Apple spends her free time helping Plattsburgh stray cats find homes.
Apple is a SUNY Plattsburgh junior originally from Duanesburg. She has volunteered for the animal rescue group Animal Rescue and Welfare Services since last year after being introduced to a colony of strays inside a parking lot.
“I started going back every day to see if I could get [the stray cats] to trust me,” Apple said.
Apple made her boyfriend accompany her to the convenience store to purchase cat food for the strays. Eventually, Apple visited the cats and ran into others who worked for Animal Rescue and Welfare Services.
They asked for her help with an event held at PetSmart where stray cats were adopted by visitors. Now Apple helps Animal Rescue and Welfare Services during their weekly adoption fair at PetSmart from 11 to 3 p.m.
“We bring all the cats we have in foster homes,” Apple said. “We just hope that people adopt them.”
Apple uses her role as a volunteer and promotes the organization on her Facebook page to collects donations. Apple said she receives around $100 for her fundraisers. In addition, She likes to spend at least an hour a day with stray cat colonies.
Apple has gained knowledge about throughout her experiences with the organization. She learned the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat, which is essential for assisting the cat with training. Her ability to bond with the cats she helps has also been a key skill,. especially because stray cats are often distrustful of humans.
“The cats all just come to me. I don’t know why; they just do,” Apple said. “We can work with them to a point where [the cats] are able to trust people again. It takes a lot of patience to work with a feral cat.”
She said the problem is sometimes worsened by college students who decide to adopt cats during the academic year. Several students are unable to bring them home because of various issues, so they released them into the streets. Most times, the cats aren’t neutered which leads to a larger problem involving the population of strays.
Apple said she could see herself taking the lead in the organization she volunteers for.
“If there was no one else, I could see myself taking over and making it work,” she said.
Besides her love of animals, Apple enjoys music. She plays the clarinet. Guitar and ukulele. She has also held lead roles in musicals during her time in high school.
Apple wants to have a career within the music industry as well. Her ideal job would include managing musical artists, working in a recording studio or anything involving music technology.
Apple will continue devoting her time to the cats of Plattsburgh until they find a home.