updated 08/30/2010 AT 6:05 PM ET
•originally published 08/31/2010 AT 7:45 AM ET
Lea Michele may seem a lot like Rachel Berry, the ambitious girl with a killer voice she plays on the hit show Glee, but she definitely has a softer side, one that isn’t often in the spotlight. Michele, who got her start on Broadway, doesn’t just warm up her vocal chords during her downtime – she has also managed to find time to rescue a few animals!
The Emmy-nominated actress and singer tells PEOPLE, in its upcoming Glee special issue, that she once saved six stray kittens she found on the Paramount Studios lot.
“They probably would have been eaten, so I rescued them,” she says. She gave three of the kittens to one of the show’s directors, another one to Heather Morris, who plays Brittany, and kept two for herself. Morris named her cat Zach, while Michele named hers Claude and Sheila.
But the rescue efforts didn’t end there. Michele tells PEOPLE that during a shoot at a Long Beach, Calif., school, she spotted a dog left tied to a fence. “I made the people at Glee send the dog to the vet, and we had him cleaned up,” she says.
The dog, now named Charlie, found a home with Michele’s co-star Harry Shum, who plays Mike Chang on the show.
“I’m a really big animal lover,” Michele adds. “My mother always said, ‘Stand for something, or [you’ll] fall for everything.’ I feel like [animals] don’t have a voice.”
For more on Lea Michele and all the rest of the Glee cast, check out the Glee special issue of PEOPLE Magazine, on stands Sept. 10!
See other Glee stars with a passion for animals on PEOPLEPets.com:
‘Glee’ Star Jenna Ushkowitz’s Childhood Dream? To Be a Vet
‘Glee’ Star Jane Lynch Cheers Her Home Team – 4 Furry Pals!