As the seasons change, temperatures are starting to drop. But unlike humans, animals are unable to run to the thermostat and adjust the temperature. They are at the mercy of the elements. Thankfully, in the South Jersey town of Moorestown, volunteers are working to make sure there a few less freezing felines and passerines this winter.

On October 8th, dozens of kind-hearted New Jerseyans came together to build 25 cat shelters and 16 birdhouses. The event was inspired by World Animal Day (October 4th) and was part of a series of volunteer events led by New Jersey State Senator Troy Singleton.  For this event, the state senator collaborated with three local animal advocacy and support nonprofits — HousePaws, the BooTiki Fund, and Wandering Whiskers Rescue.

According to Wandering Whiskers Rescue President Amy Alexeyko, offering food and shelter to stray cats is a win for both cats and birds. Cats are spared from the freezing cold and birds have one less predator to contend with.

In an increasingly cold world this simple story of individuals coming together to build shelter for animals warms the heart. New Jersey has an estimated 2-3 million stray and feral cats. While small-scale volunteer efforts will not tackle the larger, more systemic problem, small acts are crucial. Animals need our help. These shelters will be life changing for many felines. They will provide a place to endure the cold and be treated to a meal as well as a straw blanket for comfort. And they have the potential to save many birds who would otherwise likely fall prey to starving cats.