Local 12-year-old inspires effort to bring rescue cats from Puerto Rico to Richmond

Positively Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Nearly 1,500 miles. That’s the distance between San Juan, Puerto Rico and Richmond. 

Later this month, a group of rescue cats will be making that long journey and it’s all thanks to the idea of a 12-year-old Richmond boy.

“I decided I should try and help them,” said Emerson Iwashyna, an advocate for cats. “It wasn’t right that they had to live on the streets with like almost no help at all.”

On a recent family trip to Puerto Rico, Iwashyna was emotional about the homeless cat population in old San Juan.

So when he got back to Richmond, Iwashyna wrote an email to his local animal rescue to see what could be done. 

Nearly 1,500 miles. That's the distance between San Juan, Puerto Rico and Richmond. 

“The Richmond SPCA was moved to help assure that we could help cats in the ‘Save a Gato‘ organizations in Old San Juan and the whole thing was inspired by Emerson,” said Tamsen Kingry, of the Richmond SPCA. Kelly Hunt, a Save a Gato transport coordinator, said the organization’s “mission and that our lifeline for our cats is really placing them with partner shelters in the states.”

This new partnership, thousands of miles apart, but getting to work quickly. 

“We’re setting up now for the first transport and we expect that to happen within the next two weeks,” Kingry said.

These types of connections are absolutely essential, according to Hunt.

Anxiously awaiting that first transport, Iwashyna is glad that he got this show on the road. 

“Anyone can make a difference,” he said. “Just please donate and help make this dream come true.”

There’s a campaign on Facebook to help fund the present transfer and those in the future. So far, almost $2,400 has been raised.

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