Rescue cat’s popularity helps to raise thousands for local non-profit

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FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — The Animal Welfare League of Frederick County rescues hundreds of animals, but one, in particular, has captured the hearts of people all over the world. And the feline’s online fame is helping to raise thousands of dollars.

“He instantly had this really intense following. I don’t even know how to explain it because we have many, many kittens but he was very popular right from the beginning,” explained volunteer with the Animal Welfare League, Karen Severns.

That witty kitty is Yam. On the Facebook page for the Animal Welfare League of Frederick County AWLFC), he brings in hundreds of likes and reactions.

“I mean every day the following got bigger and bigger,” Severns said.

Yam’s story is similar to many orphaned cats. In June of 2019, he was found with a litter of kittens in a woodpile.

 It was later determined that Yam was too young to be part of the litter he’d joined.

“He clearly had either been left behind or actually rejected from his family,” Severns explained, “He was quite anemic, cold. So we warmed him up and hydrated him and he actually came home with me that evening.”

And since that day, Severns had cared for Yam and shared his progress online.

His popularity quickly signaled an opportunity to raise money for the non-profit.

“We started putting yam on tee-shirts and they just kind of went wild, like the sales on them. And because we do photos every day, at some point somebody said ‘oh we should do a calendar,” Severns recalled.

300 copies of the 2019-2020 Yam calendars were created and every copy sold out. Some were shipped as far as Canada and Japan.

The non-profit has also created mugs, tote bags and greeting cards. The Yam-themed merchandise has raised close to $10,000.  

“We are a hundred percent volunteer and a hundred percent of our funds raised go directly to our programs. A huge portion goes to our veterinary costs,” explained volunteer and board member with the AWLFC, Angela Gonzales.

Severns says the Animal Welfare League of Frederick County is already getting to work on a Yam calendar for next year.

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