Admit it. You laugh when you watch an online video of a cat climbing and knocking over a Christmas tree. And you want to adopt a kitty from Heart of Idaho Animal Sanctuary this holiday season.

Thanks to a $500 donation from The Coach Works auto body shop in Salmon, at least a dozen cat lovers will be able to adopt one free at the sanctuary. So far, three free cats have been adopted, leaving nine more available through the program, HIAS founder and CEO Tirzah Stuart said.

More free cats may be adopted if the animal sanctuary’s board earmarks funds raised by Challis High School student Lexi Lanier’s senior project, Stuart said. Lanier, a part-time HIAS employee and volunteer, came up with the idea to design and sell T-shirts to benefit HIAS.

“We were hands off on the whole thing,” Stuart said of Lanier’s project. “She’s done a great job.”

Lanier’s T-shirt design has the words “Live, Love, Rescue” with a doggie chew bone for the “i” in Live, a paw print for the “o” in Love and a horseshoe for the “u” in Rescue. The design has white letters on a black background next to a drawing of a pet house. To order a T-shirt, call the sanctuary at 208-879-6500 or Lanier at 208-833-5017.

Lanier has raised $500 and counting. Her T-shirts and other art and craft items will be on sale at the Challis American Legion Hall’s Christmas Bazaar this weekend, Stuart said. People can also pick up a gift tag for a shelter pet at the bazaar.

“It’s amazing she’s raised so much to help us with our overpopulation of cats that need loving homes and to help people for Christmas,” Stuart said. People who want to adopt a cat but can’t afford the usual $40 adoption fee will be able to do so, she said. The animal sanctuary subsidizes two-thirds of the veterinary bills needed to spay, neuter and immunize cats.

The sanctuary will be closed between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2 because there aren’t enough volunteers to keep it open during the holidays, Stuart said.

As always, the shelter needs volunteers to walk dogs, cuddle and play with cats and fill in as receptionists, Stuart said. Prospective volunteers should call 208-879-6500, contact the sanctuary through its Facebook page, use the website or send an email to

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