"You can't just put a pet out," Aine Doley, who is a co-block captain with her sister on Rockland Street near Germantown Avenue. "I don't understand how you can abandon your cat and walk outside and see it every day."
For the past few years, the Doleys have been finding homes for stray and abandoned cats, and helping neighbors who are cat owners care for their pets. They said animal neglect has been a nagging issue among some people in their neighborhood, and they have organized cat-health days to get neighbors' cats spayed, neutered, vaccinated and treated for fleas at a discount at the local Pennsylvania SPCA.
The Doleys are hoping to hold another cat-health day soon, but in the meantime, their concern is finding safe homes for the group of young cats who have taken up residence on their porch. The kittens are to be spayed or neutered at the PSPCA on Friday.
As the sisters hung out on the porch last week with kids from the neighborhood, Quincy, a gray-and-white kitten, wandered playfully, stopping to let a little girl from the block cuddle him before curling up next to Aine Doley.
Lucy, a calico with a few extra toes on each foot, affectionately rubbed her head on the Doleys' legs, while Calvin, a jet-black kitten with amber eyes, meowed through the screen from inside the Doleys' house.
"I hate going and dropping them off" at the SPCA, Aine Doley said, adding that surrendering cats means accepting that they could be euthanized. She said last time she dropped off a cat from the block, SPCA workers told her the cat was the 15th that she had dropped off.
Ela Voluck, spokeswoman for the PSPCA, said that between the city shelter and the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Team, more than 14,000 strays were taken in last year.
"I feel like these cats would probably get rescued [from a shelter]," Aine Doley said of the kittens who recently took up residence on her porch. "But I don't like taking the risk."
To learn more about adopting a cat from Rockland Street, visit RocklandStreet.com or email RocklandStreet@gmail.com.
On Twitter: @morganzalot