Adym Brown is more of a dog person than a cat one he reckons.
He also isn't a keen runner - saying 5km would be the longest distance he could run non-stop.
Despite this, he has entered the 2021 Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon and plans to complete the half marathon event - all 21km of it, to fundraise for some felines in need.
Adym, who grew up in Stratford and attended Stratford High School, says since he got involved with the Taranaki Animal Protection Trust (TAPT) fostering abandoned and dumped kittens for them, his heart has been broken numerous times.
Stories such as that of Drum, a kitten found in an oil drum, covered in oil and terrified, are the ones that stay with you long after the cat or kitten itself has been rescued, cared for and hopefully placed in a permanent home, he says.
"Just some of these kittens, seeing how they have been dumped, or how scared they are, how sick or needy they are when they come to us, it is frustrating knowing the cycle just keeps on going. Kittens and cats are still being dumped and TAPT need all the support possible to keep doing what they do to make a difference to the lives of these animals."
Adym first got to know of the work the trust did through his day job with Animates New Plymouth. Despite preferring dogs, of which he owns three, he says he couldn't ignore the plight of the kittens and cats he came across and soon got involved in fostering some of the kittens himself.
Fast forward just one year to now, and Adym has not only added Helga, the first rescue cat he dealt with, to his household as a permanent pet along with his three dogs, but he currently has 24 kittens in foster care at his own house and is also overseeing the care of another 28 kittens and two cats in foster homes around North Taranaki.
By the time this paper goes to print, that number is likely to have increased again, such is the need currently.
"As a volunteer for TAPT I am the area manager for the North Taranaki area for all our foster carers, so I oversee those kittens and cats too, in homes around Okato, New Plymouth, Inglewood and so on.
"I get the set up to them, the crate, litter, good, bedding, bowls, etc, and flea and worm treatments and then if they have any concerns about the kittens they are caring for they call me and I assess if we need to organise a vet visit and so on."
TAPT do a lot of great work in Taranaki, says Adym, and he wanted to find a way to help them fundraise to cover the constantly increasing costs as they find homes, both foster and permanent, for the cats and kittens in their care, as well as trapping the wild cats and rehoming them, vet bills including neutering and spaying, food and all the other supplies they need.
"Entering the marathon seemed like a great way to achieve two things, to fundraise but also to raise awareness of the work TAPT does at the same time."
When people ask how he is raising awareness, his answer is simple.
"If they are asking me, I am answering, and that is raising awareness right there."
Adym's fundraising page currently sits at just over $2000, but if it reaches $3000 he says he will make sure he is raising awareness even as he runs with the promise to don a cat onesie or cat suit if $3000 or more is raised by then.
"I don't actually own such an item, so am also going to have to go and buy one, but it is for a great cause and is another way to make sure people know exactly what great work the volunteers at TAPT do."
To support Adym in his fundraising, and to help ensure he has to buy a cat onesie - visit his fundraising page: www.givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/taranaki-animal-protection-trust-1