Ruger the Adventure Cat raises $60,000 for UPAWS

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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - It's always nice to give back, and one local cat is doing just that.

Meet Ruger the Adventure Cat. Kim got Ruger in 2015 from the Upper peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter (UPAWS).

"As soon as I brought him home - I have other pets at home, I have a German Shepard - I took him out of his crate and I put him in front of the German Shepard, he instantly puffed up and took off after her like he was going to be the boss and she let him, so he got his name Ruger because he's a pistol of a kitten. He just took off after Zoey right away and we knew he was going to be a little feisty handful and he needed a name that suited that," says Kim Rudolph, Ruger's owner.

But that's only the beginning. As you can tell from the name, Ruger enjoys adventure. "He likes the outdoor adventure just like we do. We're big hikers, campers and adventurers ourselves, so he fits right in with our family," Rudolph says.

Ruger was so unique, Kim decided to enter him into PETCO's 2017 Holiday Wishes Grant Campaign, which awards 52 lifesaving animal shelters around the country with a grant between $5,000 and $100,000 based on adopted pets' stories.

"There are thousands that are submitted across the entire nation and they pick 52, so ya know we were hoping but you never quite know especially in our small area. So when we were chosen and knew we received an award and that they were gonna help tell Ruger's story that was great, but then to find out the actual amount was just icing on the cupcake," says Kori Tossava, Executive Director of UPAWS.

Ruger stole the hearts of many - receiving one of the four $50,000 awards and an additional $10,000 for being a fan favorite - and all the money goes to UPAWS.

"When we opened that check for $50,000 I cried, tears of happiness. I was so amazed that such a big business/foundation was willing to give a shelter in an area where they don't even have a store $50K was just amazing," explains Rudolph.

"To be able to see his beginning to where he is now, we were very excited and honored that his story was submitted on our behalf and even more so when Petco said 'We agree,'" Tossava says with a smile.

With Ruger's $60,000 contribution, UPAWS has raised almost $2.9 million of its $3.7 million goal. The shelter is hoping to move into its new location in Gwinn by next summer.