One orphaned black kitten shrink-wrapped into a boat. Four orange babies abandoned by the road. Several cats, of every shade, trapped by the concerned workers at a pallet mill. All ended up at PALS, on Case Road in Winthrop.

Their future is uncertain. Some will test positive for disease; others may spend years waiting for a family. The kitten from the boat has a birth defect, a deformed foot.

PALS is a no-kill shelter on a limited budget, dependent on donations, dedicated volunteers and a small, hardworking staff. The shelter currently holds more than 100 cats, and we have enough food for perhaps a week. The budget for veterinary service has been exhausted.

Kitten season no longer ends in the summer, and adult cats come in all year. People surrender cats for a variety of reasons. The saddest are the older animals who have had a family; now they’re caged, in strange surroundings.

Here in Maine, a stray dog is a rare sight, but cats are abandoned every day, thrown away to fend for themselves or become feral.

Many of us struggle in our own way, but if each of us does a small thing, we can collectively accomplish great things and, perhaps, ease some of the suffering.

Dori L. BurnhamMonmouth