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Girl Scout project benefits felines at LAPS shelter

By Staff | Aug 31, 2016

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary As a result of a Girl Scout Gold Award project by Breanna Snyder of Hughesville, these felines acclimate themselves to 'Cat Trees' donated to the LAPS shelter in South Williamsport. Volunteers and donors celebrating delivery day Sunday, August 28, include (From left): Michele Hopkins, Penelope Shetler, Joy Jones, Terry, Breanna and Karen Snyder, Dennis Mulliner and Bonnie Inman.

HUGHESVILLE – A cat’s trait for climbing trees are well known, but felines kept indoors need alternatives. To keep the furry creatures active at the Lycoming Animal Protection Society (LAPS) in South Williamsport, a dire need was filled on August 28, 2016.

Coming to the rescue with ‘Cat Trees’ was Girl Scout Breanna Snyder, a senior at Hughesville High School. Looking for a project to earn the scouts top status, Breanna decided on the “Cat Tree’ project. “I visited the shelter last September looking for a way to help. It was then the trees in use were removed as volunteers were unable to clean the permanent coverings. The shelter needed trees with removable easy clean surfaces,” Breanna said.

To facilitate the process, LAPS volunteer Bonnie Inman, also of Hughesville, was designated as contact person to advise the Snyder family.

“The paperwork process to have the project accepted by scout leadership didn’t come through until early May,” said Karen Snyder, the scout’s mother. It was then items needed for construction were gathered including sisal rope, OSB board, plywood, lumber, paint, and fabric.

Donations to aid the project were received from the following Hughesville organizations, businesses and individuals. They included: the Glenn Sharrow American Legion Post 35 via Bob Hess; John and Diane Santo of The Laundry Basket; and seamstress Pat Smith.

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary These curious cats made quick use of a 'tree' shortly after it was placed in their pen. The need at the LAPS feline shelter in South Williamsport was filled by Hughesville resident Breanna Snyder as her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

Breanna’s father, Terry Snyder, found a pattern on the internet. “We revised it a bit to make the trees more sturdy,” he said. The sisal rope wound around PVC pipe or 2 x 4’s, provide both scratching and climbing posts. The posts led to various levels enhanced with padded mats for the cat’s comfort.

So as to be laundered and thus cut down on transferable infestations and diseases, the removable mats are attached with elastic. Completing the work of one tree required nearly four hours, so forty hours of sweat equity went into making ten trees.

A tour of the facility found Mia, a black and white two-year-old, and Griggs age 11 with orange colored fur, were first to test the trees. Following the photo op, Griggs liked the perch so much, he clung to the mat.

Joy Jones of Muncy, a volunteer of more than 20 years said, “I’m hoping to get a home for Miss Meow. At the midlife age of seven, she needs a grandmotherly lap.” Just in case anyone is interested, Joy quickly identified the the black and white cat’s room number as “5.”

Also on site and wearing a white coat is Sugar. At age two, she is one of the most recent felines accepted and volunteers guarantee she’s as sweet as her name.

Photo by CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary Hanging out in a hammock hoping for a happy home, this feline is one of several cats who'd make a purr-fect pet. The Lycoming Animal Protection Society (LAPS) in South Williamsport is a no-kill shelter.

Due to challenges at the shelter, cats are currently not being received, but put on a waiting list. However, most are healthy for immediate adoption.

Can’t take a pet, no problem. Individuals may choose to donate to the shelter’s Wish List. A partial list of items include paper towels, laundry and dish detergent, pate style canned cat food, dry food without red food dye, scoopable cat litter and more.

Penelope Shetler of Montgomery, a LAPS volunteer of five years said, ” In lieu of buying me holiday gifts, I ask employees at my work place to purchase items the cats needs. They’ve been extremely generous.”

Volunteer Michele Hopkins of Williamsport, takes photographs and writes for a newsletter keeping the public updated on what’s going on at the shelter.

LAPS was a labor of love founded in 1972 by Richard Lewis. He was happy that volunteers took over and continued the life of LAPS, caring for and loving the cats as much as he did.

The community is welcome during open hours to purchase raffle tickets, sign up as a volunteer or receive a newsletter. LAPS is located near the end of the Maynard Street Bridge at 195 Phillips Park Drive, South Williamsport, PA, 17702.