Essay Contest-Winning Teen Donates $50,000 to Cat Shelter

The Ferndale Cat Shelter serves the community of Ferndale, Michigan, and counts 13-year-old Sidney Herzberg among its volunteers. The teenage cat-lover recently submitted an essay to a contest run by Petco, taking home the top prize of $50,000…and then, in an amazing act of charity, immediately donated it to her shelter.

Hertzberg lives with POTS, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a condition that affects circulation. Her adopted cat, Mr. Mittens, was obtained from The Ferndale Cat Shelter and needed bottle-feeding an extra attention since he was only a week old. This attention drove her love of cats, shelter adoption, and contributed to her essay narrative. “I really thought I was going to help save his life,” she stated to WXYZ Detroit. “But I did not even know he would actually help save mine.”

With the $50,000 check in hand, Sidney decided to donate the full prize amount to the cat shelter where she works as a volunteer, hoping it would help alleviate the difficulties of this past year and help others find their own furry companions. It’s an amazing act of generosity by an amazing teenage writer, whose work alongside shelter animals seems far from over.

Herztberg has decided to start a program called “Sidney’s Seniors for Seniors,” where homes are found for elderly cats with senior citizens, along with extra support for food and medical costs. Elderly cats sometimes need greater attention and care, and experience greater difficulty finding successful adoption.

With this incredible donation, The Ferndale Cat Shelter can enter the new year with more resources to help make future cat parents as happy as Sidney is with Mr. Mittens.

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