JINAN, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Volunteers in east China's Jinan city are raising funds via social media to buy 7.5 tons of cat food, which they say will be enough to feed 1,000 stray cats through three months of winter.
The fundraising was inspired by similar campaigns held earlier in other Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shijiazhuang, according to Zhao Wen, a volunteer.
Temperatures dropped dramatically across large parts of China on Friday. Many cities in the north are seeing temperatures below freezing for the first time this year.
Through a shop on WeChat, China's dominant messaging app, concerned citizens can pay for the cat food to be delivered to a Jinan-based warehouse, where volunteers will pick up the food to feed stray cats on the streets.
Receipts, photos and videos documenting the cat food delivery will be published online to ensure efficient and transparent use of funds, Zhao said.
Zhao and some other volunteers in Jinan regularly pay out of their own pocket to provide food and shelter for stray animals, but they are unable to afford large-scale feedings.
Starting November 6, volunteers raised 24,000 yuan (3,621 U.S. dollars) in ten days, which can buy 1.5 tons of cat food, Zhao said, adding that a cat food vendor is also extending help by giving a big discount on the price.
Winter is particularly hazardous for stray cats, as they have to withstand the chill with little food, volunteers say.
"On behalf of stray cats in this city, I'm asking for mercy," Zhao said. "Next year, I want to welcome the spring with them."