Meghan Hoffman is a lifesaver – literally.
Hoffman, a 14-year-old Greenville resident, is so devoted to animals that she spends her free time and money saving cats and kittens as a volunteer with Feline Lifeline. She started helping the organization in April.
“I’ve always had a love for animals and rescuing them,” Hoffman said. “I had been rescuing animals on my own for about four years.”
Many of the cats Hoffman saves are feral.
They are caught in humane traps, spayed or neutered and returned to their colony if possible.
If they are kittens or adults that can be socialized, Hoffman works to find them forever homes with a family. She has found loving homes for about 14 cats since April and has others in foster care who are waiting for the right family.
“A lot of the kittens have come from feral colonies,” she said. “We put them back in the colony if they are feral and feed and water them daily, of course.”
Hoffman, who is home-schooled and in eighth grade, takes care of several colonies. She said the need is great.
“There’s a huge need for foster, volunteers and donations,” she said. “You’d be surprised at how many cats there are suffering in the streets every day.”
Hoffman has two dogs and four cats of her own and is the youngest of six children. She already has plans for a life devoted to animal care.
“I plan on being a veterinarian and opening up multiple animal sanctuaries,” she said. “All my dog walking money and my allowance and the money I get from my grandma – all of it goes to the animals. My mom said when I was little, I didn’t want baby dolls. I wanted stuffed animals. I tried to do spay and neuter surgeries on my stuffed animals. It’s my calling in life.”
Sheri Hoffman, Meghan’s mother, agreed. She recounted that her daughter once wrapped her body around a tree to stop another child from killing ants.
“People say to me that she has such a pure heart,” Sheri Hoffman said.
Because of her age, sometimes people don’t take Hoffman’s efforts seriously. That doesn’t last long.
“Most people listen to what I have to say because I am educated about the animals and so passionate,” she said. “It’s a lot of work. Every day you get calls. You can’t take them all. Our organization desperately needs donations and fosters. That’s what fuels our rescue.”
And for those who think pets are disposable, Hoffman has a clear message.
“It’s important to understand that you can’t just dump cats,” she said. “People expect them to fend for themselves and they can’t. They’re domesticated. It’s important to understand before you get an animal that you are taking it for life.”