Happy birthday, Taylor Swift: Shelters raise money in honor of cat-loving pop star

Taylor Swift is arguably the biggest celebrity on the planet right now. From her record-smashing Eras Tour to being named TIME’s Person of the Year, this past year has definitely been a high point for the pop megastar.

Today, she’s celebrating her 34th birthday — and some shelters are using the occasion to raise money for pets in need, in honor of the world’s most famous cat mom.

Brian Friedman / Shutterstock.com

Taylor Swift loves cats, and her beloved pets have become celebrities in their own right. Her cat Olivia Benson is listed as one of the richest pets in the world (with a whopping $97 million net worth), and her other feline friend Benjamin Button recently made headlines after appearing on her TIME Magazine Person of the Year cover.

Her pets have even come up in the lyrics of her hit songs: “Karma is a cat purring in my lap ‘cause it loves me,” one lyric goes (and inspired the name of actress Mariska Hargitay’s new pet, repaying Swift after she named Olivia Benson after her Law and Order: SVU character.)

As Taylor celebrates her 34th birthday today, some shelters are taking the opportunity to hold a fundraiser in her honor, hoping to raise money for some homeless cats in need.

The Pennsylvania SPCA launched the “#TaylorSwiftChallenge,” encouraging people to donate $13 (as any good Swiftie knows, 13 is Taylor’s lucky number) to an animal shelter of their choosing.

“Animal shelters have had a challenging year, with adoptions slowing dramatically and owner surrenders flooding into shelters at an unprecedented rate. The need for support is immense, and there is no better time than the present,” Gillian Kocher with the PSPCA said in a statement, per CBS News.

Swift was born and raised in West Reading, Pennsylvania, so it’s fitting that the Pennsylvania SPCA would want to pay tribute to their local hero. But the challenge has since spread nationwide, and many other shelters are now participating, encouraging people to donate.

“We have been thrilled to see it catch on with rescues and shelters from North Carolina to Texas, Missouri to Massachusetts and Kansas City to Oklahoma participating,” the PSPCA wrote. “We’re not on our own, kid.”

It’s not the first time shelters have used a celebrity birthday to call for donations. In January 22, fans launched the “Betty White Challenge” in honor of what would’ve been the 100th birthday of Golden Girls star and animal advocate Betty White, who had recently died. Many shelters saw a huge uptick in donations.

Swift herself isn’t officially involved in the challenge, and she hasn’t commented on the fundraisers in her honor — she might be too busy partying with NFL boyfriend Travis Kelce for her big day — but we have to assume she’s happy that her fans are donating to their favorite shelters.

Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

Swift, who officially became a billionaire this year, has used her fortune to support many philanthropic causes, including animal shelters.

Earlier this year, Williamson County Animal Center, in Tennessee, announced that they had received a “generous donation” from the “Cruel Summer” singer. As a thank you, they named four adoptable puppies after her songs: “Carolina,” “Bejeweled,” “Midnight Rain” and “Willow.”

“While all Swifties know Taylor loves cats, we hope she won’t mind that we named our newest adoptable puppies after her songs,” the shelter wrote.

Meanwhile, a lot of people across the US have been naming their pets in honor of Taylor Swift. In a review of the top pet names of 2023, Rover.com had a whole category dedicated to the singer, with trending names including “Swiftie” and “Cardigan.” (“Kelce” was the top-trending dog name of 2023, no doubt thanks to the Taylor bump.)

Happy birthday Taylor Swift! We hope these shelters get lots of donations in honor of her big day!

Please share this story to spread the word about the #TaylorSwiftChallenge and support local animal shelters!