Did you know that being groomed with a toothbrush reminds orphan kittens of their mothers’ tongues and helps them feel safe?
It’s almost more cuteness than we can handle: Kitten rescuer and New York Times bestselling author Hannah Shaw’s adorable and inspiring new book, Kitten Lady’s Big Book of Little Kittens, follows foster kittens just a few days old, palm-sized and their eyes still closed, on their journey to adoption. Orphan-kitten care facts accompany heart-melting photos and playful doodles. Hannah, also known as Kitten Lady, shows how to help these tiny, vulnerable kittens grow up, find homes, and become happy adult cats.
“The best part of fostering orphan kittens is witnessing the profound transformation that occurs when you provide them with love and care!” Hannah enthuses. “There’s nothing better than the celebration of a kitten’s adoption day, and the feeling that you’ve made a lifelong impact for that cat.”
“My mission is self-replication!” says Hannah, whose books, videos, and workshops have reached millions. Though she’s personally raised hundreds of kittens in the past 10 years, she says, “I hope I’ve saved many, many more kittens than I’ve raised.”
Wilbur has been at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary since December 2009, patiently waiting for a home to call his own the whole time.
Although he has a couple of medical challenges that require a little help, Wilbur makes it as easy as he can and goes with the flow, which is a good thing since he manages the PR/Marketing office at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary while he waits. This sweet guy has feline immune deficiency virus (FIV), a heart murmur, and is getting subcutaneous fluids to help his failing kidneys. He has a couple of medicines for blood pressure but in usual Wilbur style, he doesn’t fuss a bit. Wilbur really loves to be with people and can usually find a way to wiggle into any activity. His purr is a pure moment of Zen, says Barbara Williamson, Media Relations Manager at Best Friends and Team Wilbur’s chief proponent.
Wilbur would prefer to be an only pet but can tolerate a mellow female cat or a dog who knows cat rules. Do you have room in your heart to give Wilbur the home he so deserves? To enquire about adoption, email [email protected]
Follow and share Wilbur through his Instagram account, @purrwilbur.
Philadelphia-based Morris Animal Refuge posts adoptable cats to their social media accounts every week, but they never imagined one post in particular—that of an extremely adorable but curvy cat—would garner so much attention. The chonky cat in question, BeeJay, now nicknamed Mr. B, is a sweet Tabby cat that weighs a hefty 26 pounds. Despite earning the title of “Chonkiest cat around” (Chonky being an internet term to describe chubby but cute cats), Mr. B isn’t overweight but just naturally large in size.
His posts went viral almost instantly, generating so much interest and traffic to the refuge’s website that it crashed. They received over 3,000 adoption applications and inquiries, but after a vet exam determined Mr. B had “underlying health and behavioral issues,” the shelter decided to pair him with one of their dedicated foster families experienced with the care of more challenging cats. Mr. B is now happily in his loving foster home and the plan is that it will become his forever home as long as he adjusts to life with his new kitty siblings. Despite being in a new home, Mr. B isn’t shying away from the spotlight and now has his own Instagram account, @chonkymrb, to showcase his adventures outside of the shelter as a chonky cat.
If you were among those interested in adopting Mr. B, don’t worry! Morris Animal Refuge has plenty of other sweet cats in need of forever homes so be sure to visit morrisanimalrefuge.org to find your match.—Alice Sewell
From using it as a cat tree, to snacking on branches, and destroying decorations, cats just love Christmas trees! Check out our cute gallery of cats and Christmas trees to see who will be victorious – cat or tree!
“Did you call me? Or can I get back to destroying your tree?!”
“This ribbon is okay but next year I’d recommend cat treat garlands. Just saying.”
When your cat and your Christmas tree become one.
“Guilty? I don’t look guilty! The tree is just fine – maybe.”
This little fluff has staked out her space for the entire holiday period – not coming out!
The majestic and rare Catmas tree!
“Don’t even think about coming between me and the tree.”
“These gifts would be better if they were tuna flavoured.”
This cute kitten is getting her first Christmas tree experience and is doing it purr-fectly!
Plotting their next move against the strange shiny tree
This kitty just loves Christmas time!!
Christmas kitty stealth level: 87
Quick cat nap before getting back to the important job of batting at ornaments!
“I love you Christmas tree”
Has anyone seen the cat?!
“Feed me treats and tell me i’m the prettiest decoration.”
“What do you mean we only have the tree for a few weeks? Don’t take him away from me!”
To sit in a box or in the Christmas Tree – difficult decisions!
“Oh, you’re home. The tree and I were just … chilling!”
These paws are made for batting at ornaments and that’s just what they’ll do!
Kitty date in the Christmas tree – too cute
When you’re having an awesome time in the Christmas tree and your human says it’s time for bed 🙁
“But hooman, I don’t want to get out of the tree so you can decorate it”
“Why do you need a star? I’m the star!”
“I so was not about to jump into your tree!”
Cats: 1 Christmas tree: 0
Who needs decorations when you have a tiny panther for your tree!
Lil BUB, the internet famous cat with her adorable sticking out tongue that stole the hearts of millions, has died. She died this Sunday, peacefully in her sleep, at the age of 8.
The sad news was announced on Bub’s Instagram page to her 2.3 million devoted followers by her owner (also known as Lil Bub’s “dude”), Mike Bridavsky, along with the first and last ever images he took with her.
“Dearest BUB, I will never forget your generosity, your limitless supply of love, or your uncanny ability to bring so much magic and joy to the world. I am forever honored and humbled that you chose me as your caretaker. Please visit all of us in our dreams” he posted as part of his heartfelt tribute.
Lil Bub was born in June 2011 and was adopted by Mike in November of that year. She was not only the runt of a feral litter but was also born with a range of genetic anomalies. These included being a perma kitten which means she stayed kitten sized and had kitten like features for her whole life, having an extra toe on each paw, and having a rare bone condition called Osteopetrosis. She also had a severe case of feline dwarfism, meaning her limbs were small compared to the rest of her body and her lower jaw was significantly shorter than her upper jaw, resulting in her teeth not growing in and causing her trademark tongue to always hang out.
As one of the original “internet cats”, Bub rose to fame in 2012 when a picture that Mike had posted to her Tumblr page appeared on the front page of Reddit. The little cat instantly became an internet sensation. Since then, Lil Bub has amassed millions of followers across her social media platforms, appeared on many TV shows including The View, “written” books, had a documentary made about her, and was even a Modern Cat cover model in 2014!
She was a philanthro-cat, raising thousands of dollars over her life time for animals in need. She donated to animal rescues such as Best Friends Animal Society and the ASPCA and helped other animals with special needs like her.
She also greatly helped her fans. At the beginning, Mike felt her sudden fame was overwhelming and considered removing her from the spotlight but the heartfelt messages he received from her fans, telling him how Bub had helped them through hard times, made him reconsider. “Her whole thing is about being positive and proving that being different is good – this came from her” he told Modern Cat, adding that he is just the “facilitator” of spreading her positive vibes to the world.
Since the sad news was announced, fans and friends have flooded social media with condolences and to share memories. It is clear the impact she had on her fans and that she will be greatly missed but thanks to the internet, her legacy will live on so that she can continue spread joy and positivity.
Spending an afternoon or evening at your local bar or pub is always a fun time and little kitty Eli totally agrees! This cute ginger cat from Liverpool, UK, loves heading down to his local pet friendly pub, Brewdog, to hang out and enjoy a glass of lactose-free milk with his owner and favourite drinking buddy Molly.
Eli wanders down to the pub on his leash and is quite a hit with the other customers at the pub! Luckily, this outgoing cat adores the attention and seeing a cat wandering around on a leash makes the trip to the pub a little more unique for other pub-goers.
‘Most people see the lead and assume it’s a dog. It’s great to watch their faces when they realise it’s a cat. ‘I’ll invite them to come over and say hello and they get so excited. ‘Luckily Eli loves the attention – I think he’s the most sociable cat ever. ‘He hasn’t let the attention go to his head though.’ Molly told the Metro newspaper.
Eli now even has his own Instagram account following his adventures at home, at the pub, and on other trips (his feed shows him enjoying days out at parks, shopping at his local Pets at Home store, and visiting landmarks such as the University of Liverpool’s Victoria Building.)
Molly, a veterinary medicine student who got Eli when he was 8 weeks old, was worried about the dangers associated with him being an outdoor cat so decided he would be an indoor cat but would leash train him to ensure he could still spend time exploring outside. Whilst he would originally go out on country walks to get exercise, Molly soon decided to try taking him to pet friendly hang-outs, such as Brewdog, and luckily he just loved it!
Thinking about traveling with a cat? Adventuring with your cat can make the trip more fun and reduce your worries about leaving them with a sitter. Whilst we highly recommend leaving your cat at home with a sitter or friend or family member when you go on vacation, if your cat is more adventure prone or traveling with a cat is a necessity (ex. If you are moving), be sure to be prepared and plan carefully. Keep these tips in mind before you head off on your next adventure with your cat!
Traveling with a Cat Packing List
Food and Water: You’ll need to bring enough cat food for the duration of the trip plus a few days extra in case of delays. Cats don’t like to suddenly switch food. Do some research before you leave to see if their regular food will be available at your destination or take their food with you. We also recommend taking a few bottles of water to ensure your cat is hydrated throughout the trip. Your cat will most likely not want to drink or eat during the trip (don’t worry, this is normal) but make sure to stop and offer some food and water.
Treats: Taking treats with you is always a good idea no matter how comfortable your cat is with traveling. Pack their favorite treats and consider getting some CBD infused cat treats to help reduce your cat’s nervousness. Lickable cat treats like Catit Creamy also work great and can be offered to your kitty when you make stops.
Food and Water Dishes: Pop up water and food dishes, such as those from Dexas, are perfect for traveling and can be easily stored until needed.
Carrier: When traveling with a cat, they will need to be in a carrier for at least some of the time, if not all of the time that you are traveling. If traveling by car, make sure your cat is secure in their carrier in the back seats of the car or considering putting a dog crate in the back seats, with lots of blankets and/or your cat’s bed to make a safe and comfy kitty chill zone. If traveling by plane, a carrier will be necessary whether they are travelling in the cabin or below the plane. A carrier will also make it easier once you get to your final destination and if you take overnight or longer stops during the journey as it can double as a sleeping place.
Pee Pads and Disposable Litter Boxes: Consider lining your cat’s carrier with a pee pad in case of accidents and then line with a crochet blanket. If you cat does have an accident, the urine will soak through the holes in the blanket and onto the pad, therefore not completely soaking the blanket. You will also need a litter box for long stops and your final destination. Unless you are sure there will be a box and litter available, either pack a small litter box and enough litter for 2 litter box changes or consider a disposable litter box which will unfold into a litter box with litter already inside.
Toys: Don’t forget toys when traveling! Your cat probably won’t want to play whilst traveling but putting a few catnip filled toys (we love P.L.A.Y’s cute and fun catnip toys) in their carrier can help calm and distract kitty. Bringing a few more interactive toys such as fishing wands can also help distract your cat at their final destination and help them adapt.
Blankets and Cat Bed: Make sure to bring some of your cat’s blankets and line the carrier with them. The familiar scent will comfort and calm them. Blankets will also help keep your cat warm, this is especially important if travelling with your cat by plane. If you have space or are making an enclosed cat space in your back seats, also bring along their cat bed or a cat cave.
Collar, Leash and Harness plus ID tags: Even if your cat doesn’t wear a collar at home, when travelling, make sure they have a collar with an ID tag on. An extra tag with info on your final destination complete with the best contact number for you while travelling is also recommended. To keep your cat super safe and secure, also get them a harness/walking vest – if you need a harness, we highly recommend a Walking Vest from Sturdi – and leash. If your cat is leash trained, bringing their leash and harness also means they can take walks when you make stops. If your cat isn’t used to wearing a harness, put it on them at home in the weeks or even months leading up to the trip.
Cleaning and other supplies: In case of any mess, pack a pet-friendly stain remover, lint brush, and paper towels. Seat covers are also a good idea!
Medication, supplements and/or pheromones: Don’t forget your cat’s medicine and ensure you have enough for the trip duration plus a few days extra. A CBD product such as a tincture or treats is also a good idea to help relax your cat and consider using a pheromone product to calm your cat. Bringing a pheromone plug in for your final destination can help your cat adapt more easily to their new environment.
Health Certificate and Medical Records: Always take your cat’s medical records and vet card when traveling. A health certificate and proof of certain vaccinations will be required if traveling out of the country or even just across state lines. It’s a good idea to get the number of an emergency vet at your final destination, just in case!
Tips for Traveling by Car
Try to practice being in the car before the long trip: It’s a good idea to slowly get your cat used to being in the car before traveling with them. Start by turning the engine on so they get used to the sound before finally taking them on a short trip, extending the length of time in the car each time. Make sure they have something familiar in the car such as a favorite blanket and reward them with treats after each trip.
Create an awesome cat friendly area in the back of the car: When traveling with your cat by car, always ensure they are secure in the back seats. If in a carrier, make sure they are secured with a seat belt. Or consider setting up the ultimate cat chill out area by securing a well ventilated crate (a small to medium sized dog crate works great) with a comfy pad in the back seats of the car. Complete your cat car oasis with their favorite blankets, bed (if there is space), and catnip toys from home.
Keep supplies in the front of the car: Don’t pack food, water, treats, toys, medicines or important documents in the trunk of the car. Keep them upfront so you can easily get them to your cat as needed.
Be aware of Car Sickness in Cats: Cats like people can get queasy when in the car. Talk to your vet before the trip about car sickness prevention methods, especially if your cat has appeared nauseous during or after previous car rides. Also, don’t feed them in the morning/before the trip, feed only once at your final destination or stopping for the night.
Keep your car clean: Traveling with your cat for long distances can result in some mess. Minimize this by using seat covers, keep a lint roller/ pet hair remover on hand, and paper towels and pet safe cleaning spray for cleaning up any accidents.
Tips for Traveling by Plane
Make a vet appointment: There are many rules on traveling with a cat by plane, especially if traveling internationally. Before you start making travel plans, get them checked out by a vet to ensure they are healthy enough to travel and meet all the requirements of your destination country. Get your cat’s vaccinations up to date and make sure they have all vaccines required for entry into your destination country.
Find a pet friendly airline: More and more airlines are allowing pets on board (yay) but call or email your airline before you book to make sure your best friend isn’t left behind. Some airlines allow you to add a cat to your booking online while others require you call. There will be a fee for bringing your cat and you will need to find out the airline’s weight/size requirements to see if you can bring them into the cabin or if they have to be in the hold (generally, cats over 10lbs will need to go in the hold.) If allowed in the cabin, they will count as one of your pieces of carry-on luggage and usually only one pet is allowed per passenger. We recommend booking as early as possible and flying direct whenever possible. Also print out the receipt showing you paid to bring a pet and/or any other proof that your cat was approved to fly to avoid issues at check in.
Find an airline approved carrier: You may need to buy a new carrier to meet airline standards. The sizing for in cabin and below plane carriers will vary so always check with your airline but the standard is 19 x 10 x 12 for in cabin. Carriers cannot have wheels. In cabin carriers will also need to be soft sided (Sturdi has a great selection of soft sided carriers) and below the plane carriers will need to be hard cased. To reduce stress, always get your cat used to their carrier before traveling, ensure blankets from home are placed in the carrier with them, and consider lining with pee pads or shredded newspaper (this is a requirement for some airlines if traveling in hold). Make sure carriers also have contact info labels including your name, home address, destination address, phone number, and an alternative/emergency contact.
Select your seats with care: If your cat can travel in the cabin with you, consider putting more thought into your seat selection. Your cat will have to be under the seat so if you enjoy your leg room, considering upgrading to seats with extra leg room or even to business or first class if budget allows (always check with the airline that cats can be accommodated in all classes). Make sure not to choose exit row seats as pets are not allowed in these sections and window seats are the best choice so that you don’t have to move your cat or stress him out when your neighbor passengers need to move past him from their seat.
Prepare your cat pre-flight: It’s time to prep your kitty for their flight! Make sure to feed your cat well before flying and provide lots of water but take food and water away 2 – 4 hours before your flight. Also, make sure to get your cat’s carrier out at least a few days in advance (try leaving it open with blankets and catnip toys inside so they might choose to sleep there) as this will eliminate the stress caused by your cat seeing the carrier being taken out on the day of the trip.
Be prepared for check in and security: When traveling with your cat by plane, you will need to arrive at the airport a little earlier than if you were traveling alone (allow for around an extra hour) and you will have to check in at the desk. You will also need to be prepared for security as you will have to remove your cat from their carrier which will go through the scanner and walk through the metal detector with your cat. Ensure they have their leash, harness and collar with ID tags on at all times and make sure you have a good grip on their leash; if your cat escapes from your arms at security and you aren’t holding the leash, they are likely to run off and hide, making it extremely difficult to find them again. Lastly, make sure you have your cats health and vaccination records easily accessible in your carry-on bag.
Make your cat comfortable in flight: If your cat is traveling in the cabin, board the plane as soon as you can to make sure you have time and space to set up your cat’s spot. Place their carrier under the seat in front and make sure you have any treats and toys they may want in flight with you. You won’t be able to take your cat out during the flight but reassure them by talking to them and very slightly opening the carrier to pet them or provide treats. Also consider covering their carrier with a cloth cover or blanket to minimize over-stimulation and reduce stress.
General Advice for Traveling with Your Cat
Research cat friendly places ahead of the trip: Before traveling with your cat, become familiar with cat friendly hotels or other accommodation at your final destination. If you plan to be out without your cat during some of the trip, make sure the place you stay allows your cat to be alone in the room (some hotels require you be with your pet at all times) or has the option of hiring a pet sitter. Don’t forget about check out either! Most hotels and other accommodation such as Airbnb require you to check out by 10am or 11am; whilst you may be able to leave your bags, you cannot leave your cat, so make sure they have somewhere to stay if you aren’t leaving your destination straight after check out.
Make your cat as comfortable as possible at final destination or if stopping overnight: New environments are overwhelming and stressful for cats. Make them as comfortable as possible at their final destination by putting out items from home such as their bed, blankets, or favorite toys. If staying in accommodation with multiple rooms or if you have moved to a new house, keep your cat in one room to start with (ideally the room you will sleep in) and then slowly let them explore other rooms. Make sure to check on them and spend some time with your cat as well, so that they don’t feel abandoned. Always be sure to check over the room you are staying in before letting your cat out of their carrier for anything that could be dangerous to your cat or could allow them to escape.
Know your cat: Cats like routine, their home territory, and don’t enjoy change so most cats will prefer to stay home with a sitter when you go away. Whilst some cats are more prone to being comfortable with travel and there may be circumstances in which your cat has to travel with you, make sure to really think about your cat’s personality before planning a trip. If you are having second thoughts, find a recommended cat sitter, friend, or family member that you and your cat are comfortable with to take care of them while you are away.
Do you have any top tips for making traveling with a cat easy? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re a cat person, the odds are that at some point you’ve tried—and failed—to take a cute picture of your pet doing something adorable. Cats are notoriously tough subjects: they’re finicky, active, and definitely have a mind of their own.
Now imagine if your paycheque that week depended on snagging that perfect shot.
“It’s not always easy. We often have to wait until they’re in the right mood to take photos,” says Shannon Ellis, whose Siamese/Tabby-cross cat Nala, who she shares with Nala’s other mommy, Varisiri Methachittiphan, is now one of the most famous cats on earth, thanks to Nala’s Instagram fame.
For Shannon, preparation is key. The concepts and photoshoot are staged in advance, and everything is prepared for when Nala is ready.
“Treats are very helpful in the photoshoot process,” she says.
Welcome to the life of a social media animal “influencer.” Nala is one of a growing number of four-legged trendsetters with a large social media presence who are being courted by big brands to harness that clout to share their message and sell products.
With an astounding 4.1 million followers, Nala Cat is one of the most famous—and powerful—influencers in the world right now. The camera loves the eight-year-old feline, as do the national and international brands who partner with Nala on campaigns to entice fellow pet owners to purchase their products.
Some of the other top influencers of the feline variety include Grumpy Cat (who passed away in May) with 2.3 million Instagram devotees, Lil Bub, with 2.2 million, Coffee aka Mr. White, with1.9 million followers, Hamilton the Hipster Cat, with 819,000 followers, Venus the Two Face Cat, with 1.8 million followers, and Cole and Marmalade, with 582,000 followers on Instagram—and 1.1 million subscribers to their YouTube channel.
The self-proclaimed “crazy cat dad” behind Cole and Marmalade is Chris Poole, whose influencer status was never intentional. After moving to Florida in 2008 to work at a big cat rescue as the videographer and social media guy, he adopted Cole in 2012 and started making small cat videos in his spare time. They were a hit
His motivation? “We were told that black cats are the least likely to be adopted and the most likely to be euthanized in shelters,” he told Modern Cat.
Chris uses his monster social media presence to help further the message of #adoptdontshop in hopes that more cats like Cole will be adopted.
Through his feline fame, he’s made Cole into a de-facto spokeskitty for black shelter cats and also turned a hobby of cat photos and videos into a full-time career with a focus on animal welfare and advocacy—all with his wife Jess by his side.
“We take the pics, we edit the videos, we write the blog posts, we reply to all the messages and comments,” he says. “People know it’s us and appreciate that it is and we’ve been doing this for seven years now and they’ve followed us from the start and through all our moves and other big life changes like health scares with Marmalade and Cole.”
Chris says as their social media presence grew, so did the offers from brands. They are regularly approached, though they are very choosy about who they work with and only partner with brands that align with their personal values. They’re currently working with the pet food brand Weruva. They met at a cat convention and liked the company’s mission and the quality of their food, so started a partnership.
Shannon prefers to partner with brands they use in their own home and have a personal guideline: “If we wouldn’t buy it for ourselves or someone we love we shouldn’t be promoting it.”
She typically works with nation-wide brands, but has also worked with family-owned firms, rescue groups, and also non-profits. Nala has worked with Lyft, Google, LG, Hallmark, ASPCA, PetSmart, PetCo, FreshStep, Universal Studios, and Sony. To name a few.
Yonella Marcu, head of ID Agency, a full-service influencer agency that unites creatives with leading brands, has seen the pet influencer space grow in leaps and bounds in the past five years. She says traditionally you would only see pet influencers promoting pet-related products, like food, pet care, beds, and toys. But as the industry grows, pets are promoting products like headphones for humans, mattress companies—even GoPro cameras.
“No one is going to be offended by a cute pup rolling around on a comfy looking mattress, but you’re more likely to remember that brand’s name the next time you’re in the market for a new mattress, over an unmemorable ad of a person lying on a bed that you’ve probably seen a variation of hundreds of times over,” says Yonella.
Just how big is the industry? Brittany Hennessy, the senior director of influence strategy and talent partnerships at Hearst Digital Media, estimates influencer marketing will be worth up to a staggering $10 billion by 2020.
Cat influencers are notoriously tight-lipped about how much they are paid for each post. Both Chris and Shannon declined to talk money, although Shannon does say the price changes based on the platform and what the brand is asking for. Video posts that require editing would justify a higher production rate, for example.
“Influencers can set their own rates; there is no minimum. Some celebrity accounts charge up to $15,000 a post,” says Yonella, adding that it depends on what the brand is willing to spend and whether the ROI, or return on investment, is there.
There are also industry standards that look at cost per engagement, or CPE, to measure what the influencer’s content is valued at. Multiply the influencer’s engagement by $0.35, and that’s what one photo should cost, says Yonella. So for example, if a cute Instagram photo of a cat posing with a new branded bandana gets 1,500 engagements, that’s a $525 post.
The bigger the influence, the bigger the paycheque, typically. A “micro-influencer” usually averages 500-1500 engagements per post, with 5,000 to 35,000 followers. When an influencer hits 4,000 likes on their posts that’s when they’re considered macro-influencers, with audiences just under 100,000. You hit celebrity influencer status when you have fans in the millions, like the late viral sensation Grumpy Cat, and the posts usually hit levels of six figures of engagement.
So how do influencers build that trust and authenticity with their audience? For Shannon and Chris, it’s through their daily rituals. Posting cute photos, interacting with their fans and followers, being choosy about who they promote—and always having fun.
After all, there’s not many jobs where you get to work with your best friend every day.
“Nala is cute, sweet, inspiring, and relatable. We keep our brand authentic by knowing who we are and never wavering,” says Shannon.
“The best advice I can give is to have fun, be creative, and authentic.”
Cole and Marmalade are simply “regular cats,” says Chris, but he prides himself on creating lots of content that people can relate to, blending fun and silly with educational posts that raise awareness about shelter animals and motivate people to get involved themselves.
His advice to anyone who wants to get started: Start an account, have lots of cameras and video cameras around the house (because you never know when your cat is going to do something cute), use lots of treats and rewards, and just enjoy the time with your feline companion.
The Instagram cat world is deceptively easy to get into—really, just as simple as starting an account. But with so much competition, it’s much harder to make money, let alone rack up thousands of followers and turn it into a career.
“It’s tough these days since so many people are trying to make their pets famous,” Chris says.
In other words, it takes more than a social media account and a camera. Influencers aren’t just lucky—their success is based on consistency and hard work.
“I always say create good content on a consistent basis and keep at it. There’s no magic pill to take for overnight success—at least, if there is, we were not made aware.”
Do you have some cat obsessed friends or family members on your holiday shopping list? Our carefully curated guide of gifts for cat lovers will ensure you find something that each and every cat lover you know will adore!
Cat Charms from Carrie Cramer
These new charms that free-float on the chain from Carrie Cramer are too cute! Wear alone or layer with other charms. Made out of sterling silver, gold plated, 14k gold with diamonds and they are available with or without the chain.
Laurel Burch Rainbow Cat Embroidered Suede Gloves from MyThreeCats.com
Keep your hands toasty warm and feline fine with these stylish Laurel Burch Rainbow Cat Gloves! These suede gloves feature a contrasting black and red design accentuated by an embroidered rainbow cat and are made with ultra soft lining and comfortable, stretchy suede. One size fits all. Save 10%, use code: GLOVES.
This ornament is a cat lover’s delight! These glass cat ornaments from Anything Dogs are hand blown and painted by artists in Europe, making them a beautiful addition to any Christmas tree this holiday season!
Perfect for the interior design loving cat owner, Animal Blueprint Company’s unique and stylish blueprints are available in a range of cat breeds, meaning you’re sure to find the right print for everyone on your list!
You don’t have to look too far to find some really compassionate people, especially when it comes to saving cats’ lives. Throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond, there are thousands of amazing cats-only shelters, sanctuaries, and foster organizations.
Volunteers there quietly work behind the scenes, putting in tireless hours every day rescuing, fostering, and finding loving homes for homeless felines. They are the unsung heros of cat rescue.
Carolyn Kozlowski, founder and president of MyThreeCats.com, is proud to serve on the Board of one such organization, a small, well organized foster network by the name of FosterCat Inc. Established over 20 years ago in Pittsburgh, PA, FosterCat Inc.’s mission is to “save lives, one cat at a time.” Since its inception, FosterCat has successfully fostered and placed well over 2,500 cats. For an all-volunteer organization with an average of 20 foster homes at any given time, that’s quite a remarkable accomplishment. So far this year, FosterCat is on track to break its record for adoptions which has topped 180 through September, under the capable leadership of Barbara Slade, FosterCat Inc.’s President.
Have you ever wondered what drives these foster volunteers to do what they do and how a foster network is managed day-to-day? Carolyn recently spoke with Kimberly Zambrano, Foster Care Manager and active foster parent to help shed light on this critical function and explains how to foster a cat.
CK: What compelled you to start fostering homeless cats?
Kim: The need is just so great, the more involved you become, whether volunteering in shelters, clinics or doing TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return); you see how fostering truly saves lives.
CK: Can you describe some of the daily routine of caring for a foster cat? Is it any different from caring for a permanent family cat?
Kim: It really isn’t any different than caring for your own cats. You take care of their physical needs, spend time with them and learn about their personalities so they’ll be adopted into a home that best suits them.
CK: What do you think makes a good foster parent – what criteria do you and FosterCat evaluate in order to accept a person into the foster volunteer program?
Kim: We are very blessed to have such amazing foster parents at FosterCat. I believe our foster parents truly care for cats; we have such a variety, too. For instance, we have families that just want to foster kittens, which is invaluable when kitten season starts. We also have college and graduatestudents who miss their own pets and enjoy fostering an adult cat for us. Finally, we have a great core group of fosters who are always available to take in cats and kittens when needed. The important thing we look for is a foster parent who truly loves and enjoys cats and wants to help them find their forever homes.
CK: How does a homeless cat come to FosterCat?
Kim: We get all types of cats, cats who just show up on someone’s property or cats who have spent time outdoors as part of the community. Then, there are cats that we know have been someone’s pet in the past, whether they’re intentionally left behind or simply became lost and no one has recovered them.
CK: What is the intake process for a foster cat?
Kim: It differs, depending on whether they’re adult cats or kittens. With adult cats, we take care of all of their medical needs before they are sent to a foster home, so the foster parent can focus on caring for, and enjoying the cat. Usually, kittens are too small to be “vetted” (i.e., fully examined and treated by a veterinarian), so they’re in their foster home until they’re old enough.
CK: How do foster homes socialize the cats who are shy or have behavioral challenges?
Kim: We have certain foster parents who are especially skilled in working with shy cats. We try to match the cat’s needs with a home environment that will be suitable for them. Kittens need a lot of attention, so an environment with children and lots of play time and activity is ideal for their socialization.
CK: What kind of medical care do the cats receive while under foster care and before they’re permanently placed? Does the foster parent pay for medical expenses, or does FosterCat provide for payment?
Kim: All of our cats are spayed or neutered; combo tested (FIV/FeLV); receive rabies and FVRCP shots; are micro chipped and receive flea and deworming treatments. FosterCat pays for all medical expenses, including any medical care needed while the cat’s under foster care.
CK: Once a cat is accepted by FosterCat into their foster program, are they guaranteed a home? How do people find out about cats who are in foster and available for adoption?
Kim: Cats taken under FosterCat’s care are guaranteed a home; we just can’t predict how long they’ll be in foster. We have cats who have been in our program for over a year, possibly longer. Some come in and are adopted very quickly. Our cats are posted on our website , our Facebook page and Petfinder.com. For many years, we’ve also partnered with six area Petsmarts who accommodate and showcase our kittens and cats.
CK: How long does a foster parent typically care for a foster cat in their home?
Kim: We really try to meet the needs of our foster parents. An adult will likely be in a foster home longer than a kitten. We have foster parents who foster kittens only and some who take in adult cats and foster them until they’re adopted.
CK: What’s FosterCat’s adoption process?
Kim: The process begins with the prospective adopter completing and submitting an application. That’s followed up with a phone conversation with the applicant, a vet reference check and landlord check (if applicable) and a home visit prior to the adoption. Since we don’t have a shelter or facility, and applications are submitted online or at the Petsmart locations, we don’t have a chance to meet the adopters until a home visit is arranged. The visit is our opportunity to meet them, answer any questions they may have and review the application contract with them. Once the adoption is complete, we schedule a follow up call to make sure things are going well.
CK: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Kim: No matter how long our cats have been in foster care, it’s always rewarding when it comes time for them to be welcomed into their forever home. We’ve had so many wonderful adopters who continue to stay in touch with notes and pictures – we love that! It makes it all worthwhile.
If you’re a person who loves cats, but for any number of reasons can’t provide a permanent home, why not consider fostering? It’s more flexible time-wise, and just as rewarding as adoption, to know you’re saving a life. Contact your local cat rescue and shelter organizations to find out more.