Tiny Kittens in the Big World

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.”

This shelter cat has been waiting 10 YEARS for a forever home

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 adoptions@bestfriends.org.

Follow and share Wilbur through his Instagram account, @purrwilbur.

The 26-Pound Chonky Cat That Caused an Internet Sensation Has Found a Home!

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

Cats and Christmas Trees Gallery!

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! 

Christmas noms! 

Need some more feline festiveness? Check out our cute Christmas cats gallery!

Lil BUB, internet cat sensation, has died

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.

Sociable Cat Loves Hanging Out At His Local Pub!

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! 

Be sure to check Eli out on Instagram for all his fun adventures and if you are thinking of taking your own cat on some adventures, see our leash training guide here.

Traveling With A Cat: Top Tips and Advice

Thinking about travelling 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 travelling 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!

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Feline Superstars

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.

Why Influencers?

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.”

Modern Cat’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts for Cat Lovers

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.

Buy Now: carriecramer.com

Cat Themed Subscription Box from Cat Lady Box

CatLadyBox is a subscription box for cat ladies and their cats! Get cat-themed items like shirts, jewelry, home decor and more, plus toys for your cats, too! Makes the purrfect gift for cat lovers!

Buy Now: catladybox.com

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.

Buy Now: mythreecats.com

Ceramic Cat Plate from ViviPet

This super cute handcrafted ceramic cat-shaped plate from ViviPet can be used in multiple ways. It’s perfectly safe for both humans and cats! Finally, functionality meets design!

Buy Now: vivipet.com*

Glass Cat Ornaments from Anything Dogs

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!

Buy Now: anythingdogs.com

Pet Keepsakes from Buddies

Keep your pet with you, always, with Buddies Pet Keepsakes! Features your pet’s unique paw or nose print created by skilled U.S. artisans. Designs suited to both feminine and masculine tastes.

Buy Now:  thumbiesandbuddies.com

Cat Blueprint from Animal Blueprint Company

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!

Buy Now: animalblueprintcompany.com 

Cat Themed Mugs from The Purrsonal Store

Purr-k up your morning brew in a great cat themed mug from The Purrsonal Store. With over 40 original designs to choose from, it’s great as a gift for yourself too!

Buy Now: thepurrsonalstore.com

Kitten Lady’s Big Book of Little Kittens by Hannah Shaw

An adorable picture book about saving the tiniest kitten from New York Times bestselling kitten rescuer and online sensation Hannah Shaw. It’s a top choice on our list of gifts for cat lovers!

Buy Now: simonandschuster.com 

How to Foster a Cat: The Unsung Heros of Foster Care

In Partnership with MyThreeCats.com

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.