08/31/2010 AT 01:30 PM EDT
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.
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," Michele, 24, 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 costar 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
With reporting by Monica Rizzo