Firefighters Respond to Fire Alarm at Shelter, Discover Cat Triggered ItCommon Household Chemical May Cause Hyperthyroidism in Cats Stay on target The National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, is home to a 1,000-foot radio telescope—and lots of cats.Featured in movies, video games, and novels, the famed observatory took a hit last year during Hurricane Maria, which ravaged the area, displacing thousands of humans and their pets.“After the hurricane, many people left the island and, in the process, left their animals behind,” observatory researcher Flaviane Venditti told Space.com. “We can see that based on how people-friendly some of the cats are. They might have come to the observatory to shelter during the storm.”Now, nearly a year later, the fluffy friends remain a permanent fixture of the building.Mars—spayed, vaccinated, and dewormed—is recovering well from surgery (via Flaviane Venditti/Arecibo Observatory)But employees, who have generously cared for the furballs, are worried about the growing cat population, and their ability to maintain the animals’ health and safety.But employees, who have generously cared for the furry friends, are worried about the growing cat population, and their ability to maintain the animals’ health and safety.So, the staff did what any desperate 21st-century organization would: they launched a crowdfunding campaign.The “Helping Arecibo Observatory Cats” GoFundMe project launched earlier this month, and has already collected more than $7,500—well over the $5,000 goal.Old Tom, believed to be the father of most observatory kitties—was neutered, and will also be vaccinated and dewormed (via Flaviane Venditti/Arecibo Observatory)Working with the local Hospital Veterinario San Francisco de Asis in Hatillo, the observatory plans to spend the money on surgeries, vaccinations, medicines, boarding, and food.“If the cat is healthy, and no extra treatment and lab tests are needed, the average cost per cat is $200-$250,” according to the project page.“Some cats might also need more medical assistance,” Venditti added, in a statement to Space.com. “I’m buying the food myself, but according to how much we spend with the vets, we could buy food with the help of donations, too.”Siblings Venus (bottom) and Mars (top) are orbiting the same bowl again (via Flaviane Venditti/Arecibo Observatory)Some eight to 10 cats currently live at the observatory—not including two litters of kittens born this month; seven have been adopted by staff and students since Hurricane Maria.Once the space mousers are taken care of, Venditti & Co. plan to extend their support to other regional cats—particularly those often spotted on the road leading to the observatory.Eventually, the staff hopes to find homes for these stray animals in Puerto Rico and the mainland.“I will definitely keep taking care of them, and there will always be new cats showing up in need of help,” Venditti said.This isn’t the first cat crowdfunding project: Previous campaigns have included a flushable catolet (cat toilet) and smart pet feeder. Find out which pet possesses more brain power and find out more about felines here.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.