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'Can the Cats' brings together the Montana spirit of competition and community

Posted at 3:45 PM, Nov 08, 2021

MISSOULA — Can the Cats has been going on for 22 years.

It's a friendly competition between two rival schools with the same goal — helping the community and getting in the spirit of competition.

“Here in Montana, either you're a grizzly or you're a bobcat, and we really want to take advantage of that competitive spirit that we have to not only compete academically and in our athletic venues but also to do good for our state,” said University of Montana spokesman Dave Kuntz.

Together, both universities collected just over a quarter of a million pounds of food last year. The food collected in Missoula goes to the Missoula Food Bank and the University of Montana food pantry.

The canned goods collected in Bozeman go to the Gallatin Food Bank.

The University of Montana’s food pantry has seen about 920 individual visits thus far in 2021 which is more than they saw in 2020. The pantry also has seen an increase in the number of returning users.

“So incredibly helpful," UM food pantry student coordinator Collin Zolinger told MTN News. "It's our biggest obviously our biggest donation that we get in the entire year. And that lasts us through that to the next can the cats. It's what keeps our students fed here on campus that come use our services.”

UM is offering free admission for some sporting events if you bring a certain amount of canned goods with you. There are also drop off locations located throughout Missoula. You can even bring cans to the Brawl of the Wild.