WINTHROP — Several of the 43 cats gathered in the community room at P.A.L.S. cat shelter Friday morning watched, and in the case of an orange tabby looking to make friends, interfered with, the two men bopping up and down on the floor doing push-ups. But the others appeared to be largely unimpressed.

Some of the cats of all shapes, sizes, attitudes and colors watched intently while friends Dave Dostie, of Augusta, and Tony Routh, of Randolph, knocked out 60-push-ups in their final round of push-ups for a fundraiser for the no-kill Winthrop cat shelter. The rest went about their usual cat-business, sunning and grooming themselves, nuzzling and head-butting visitors, or just sitting, purring, and taking it all in with feigned disinterest.

Regardless of their interest, or lack thereof, all the felines at P.A.L.S. will benefit from the exercise taking place in their midst.

Dostie and Routh raised about $1,100 in donations by doing as many push-ups as they could in one session every day of December, up until their fundraiser’s conclusion Friday, with 45 people donating funds in recognition of their daily push-up efforts.

Dostie said their initial goal was $200, so he was happy they were able to turn in a check for $1,100 to Theresa Silsby, director of P.A.L.S., or Protectors of Animal Life Society. He said it turned out to be a good way he, and others, could contribute to the shelter’s work to help homeless cats.

“We’re both huge animal lovers and this seemed like a way to both raise some money for them but also a way to get the community to come together, and make it a larger cause,” Dostie said. “A lot of people feel they can’t give more this time of year, with it being Christmas time, people are already giving to other charities, donations may be tight. But this just sort of took off. Which is awesome.”

He and Silsby noted it is great if people can contribute money to help animals in need, but there are other ways to help too, either by donations of items such as pet food, toys and cleaning materials, and donating their time.

While Dostie and Routh’s fundraiser, which had its own gofundme page, concluded Friday, they both encouraged people to keep donating, directly to P.A.L.S., which generally has between 70 and 100 cats in its care any given day. Contributions may be made via the shelter’s website at

The shelter, which was created on donated land as a nonprofit organization in 1980, is not funded by any municipalities, instead relying on past and ongoing private donations.

“We wouldn’t survive without the donations,” Silsby said.

The shelter currently has about 80 cats. Of those, 43 were in the community room Friday morning as Dostie, who works for the state and is a professional photographer, and Routh who is a telecommunications manager for Key Bank, did their final round of push-ups.

An orange tabby crawled underneath Dostie as he began, appearing to want to nuzzle with him. Another feline sat and watched, switching its gaze back and forth between the two fit men, as they worked out.

Dostie, who has previously adopted cats from P.A.L.S., said it’s a great place and provides an important service. He said an advantage of the organization to people who already have cats, and are considering adopting another, is that most of the cats roam free in rooms and an outdoor enclosed area at the shelter, so potential adopters can see how cats there interact with other cats.

“They’re a pretty amazing organization,” Dostie said of P.A.L.S.

Routh has two geriatric cats, ages 14 and 16, which he adopted from Kennebec Valley Humane Society.

Routh said they did a total of 1,600 push-ups during the fundraiser. They posted video of themselves doing their push-ups on social media every day, both to prove they did them, and to raise awareness of the fundraiser and cat shelter.

“We hope it brings awareness to the fact, if you want to do something, you can do it,” Dostie said. “It’s a great example of what you can do, just by reaching out.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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