8-year old Kate decided to do something different than most kids for her birthday. Rather than asking for presents, she asked her friends to donate to the Austin Animal Center, which takes in over 18,000 animals every year. The mission of this shelter is to make sure dogs and cats are placed into loving homes, and Kate’s contribution will help give the center the resources they need to achieve this goal.

“Instead of birthday presents, I asked my friends to give donations,” said Kate to KEYE TV.

An animal lover, Kate has two cats, two dogs and six fish at home.

Kate is not the only selfless kid with a penchant for helping animals. 12-year-old Taylor from Mississippi also decided to forgo the usual gifts, and instead asked her friends and family to donate to the local Community Animal Rescue and Adoption shelter. This shelter has received other donations from like-minded kids.

Many other children have contributed to animal shelters in similarly generous ways. Besides birthday present donations, girl scout troops and elementary school classes have worked to donate to a variety of animal rescue shelters.

Animal shelters rely on contributions like these to help save the lives of homeless dogs, cats and other companion animals. The American Humane Association explains that pet overpopulation is a huge issue that is often ignored. There are far more animals than there are homes willing to take them in, mainly because many pets are allowed to reproduce without consideration of who will care for the offspring.

The best ways to solve the problem are neutering and/or spaying, and adopting pets from shelters instead of buying them from pet stores. Of course, it also helps to give donations to shelters, which provides resources for animals in need of a forever home. The fact that Kate and many other children are already working to address this issue is inspiring for the future.