A cat scampers past Lisa Oakes, director of Humane Society Waterville Area, on Wednesday. Cats at the humane society are helping fundraising efforts through the Love to Litter campaign. Moneys are raised through donations for people who pledge money for a cat to eliminate on the names of individuals that they’d like recognized in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.  Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Valentine’s Day may be for lovers, but at the animal shelter in Waterville, it’s for crapping on ex-lovers — literally.

A cat looks over a litter box containing names on paper Wednesday at the Humane Society Waterville Area. Cats at the humane society are helping fundraising efforts through the Love to Litter campaign. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

“What?” you might ask.

To help garner money for the shelter, the Humane Society Waterville Area is conducting a decidedly nontraditional Valentine’s Day week fundraiser called “From Love to Litter.”

To donate to the fundraiser, listed on the humane society’s Facebook, you pledge an amount and submit the name of your ex. Then a shelter volunteer writes your ex’s name on a piece of paper, places it in a cat litter box, and a feline, well, does its business on it.

“Let shelter cats cover your #1 ex with lots of #2,” the fundraiser says.

Lest you think the idea vile, allow shelter Executive Director Lisa Oakes to clarify.


“It’s really meant as a fun event. It’s not meant to be nasty or mean.”

She borrowed the idea from other shelters around the country that are part of a Facebook group that shares ideas for fundraising and other purposes, according to Oakes. The whole idea is to raise money to help make the lives of homeless pets better.

It is apparently working — and popular.

As of Thursday, the shelter had raised $1,400, and newspapers and radio stations from Maine to Florida had picked up the story.

“It’s a fundraiser with claws,” Oakes exclaimed.

The Facebook page lists comments from donors, who have been pledging amounts from $5 to $50 to have their exes’ names smothered in you-know-what.


“For all the poop he put me through,” one donor wrote.

Another commented, “As if I haven’t spent enough on alimony. Oh, well, what’s another $25?”

Yet another: “Write my ex’s name on a piece of paper, please. He’s a big piece of poop, leaving me after 30 years of marriage.”

One woman calls the fundraiser “hilarious.” Her high school-aged daughter, she said, recently had her first heartbreak.

“This will cheer her up on Valentine’s Day.”

More comments:


“Fondly remembering (name), and in loving honor of all the people he financially screwed over.”

Lisa Oakes, director of Humane Society Waterville Area, is shown Wednesday with feral cats that share a warm space. Cats at the humane society are helping fundraising efforts through the Love to Litter campaign. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

“For (name), who told me that I and my entire family were cold and uncaring while we were out to dinner and he forgot his wallet!”

“Because I think it’s super funny to have a cat poop on my cheating ex’s name.”

Oakes said those who don’t have a computer may contribute through the mail by sending a check and name of ex to the shelter at 100 Webb Road, Waterville, ME 04901.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the shelter has had to be creative and change the way it does business, including not allowing the public into the facility. But the silver lining is, the animals, particularly the dogs, are much less stressed because of that, according to Oakes. Right now, the shelter has 107 cats, about 60% of which are in foster care, and 94 dogs, also mostly in foster care.

And dog adoptions have been constant.


“It’s been a blessing in disguise,” Oakes said.

As for the Valentine’s fundraiser, she acknowledges some people may find it distasteful.

Others, however, claim it allowed them to let off some steam — and help homeless animals at the same time.

Let’s face it. It’s cathartic to be able to laugh, especially during these dismal times.

As one donor declared: “Great fun for a good cause!”

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 33 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.


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