When I was part of the AmazeCats “Next Top Cat” competition, I met many great kitties, but one of my favorites was Smoky, who works very hard to help her fellow black cats, and special needs kitties too. She used the competition as a way to campaign for donations for cat rescue and raised thousands of dollars! Smoky is a very creative and generous cat. Some of you may not know her because she does not blog, but instead uses her Facebook page to campaign for her causes. She also has a secondary Facebook page, and she is on Twitter as @BlackCats_RULE, on Pinterest and has a YouTube account. So even though she does not blog, she is one busy cat! I was lucky to get her to agree to an interview… actually she was more than happy to talk about what she does, and some of the cats she has helped. I think you will like her as much as I do!
Smoky, tell me a little bit about yourself — where you came from and how you came to live with your family.
I was abandoned in a neighborhood when I was approximately one year old. My parents first spotted me on Thanksgiving, 2007. I was wearing a collar, so they did not know I needed a home right away. Since it was a holiday, they gave me some smoked turkey as a treat. My name is Smoky because I am black like smoke and because of the smoked turkey. I am an advoCAT for black cats.
What inspired you to help make a difference for your fellow black kitties?
When I learned the statistics, I knew I had to do something to help. In many cases, black cats are the first to be euthanized and the last to be adopted due to superstitions and stereotypes associated with black cats. Many consider black cats “unadoptable” because of their fur color. When a cat is black and something else — black and a senior, black and special needs, black, senior and special needs, you can imagine the outcome. It is not good. Black cats can wait up to four times longer to get adopted as their lighter colored fur friends.
Meet Cola. Cola is one of my new BFFs (black fur friends). She has been waiting for her furrever home for over 890 days; that is almost two and a half years! Do mew have room in mewr heart and home for a black beauty? If you live in the Sarasota, FL area, stop by the Cat Depot.
Love knows no geographical boundaries. Cat Depot will approve an out of state adoption.
**Breaking news: Cola has been ADOPTED!**
Please tell humans out there why black cats rule! (Honestly, you are talking to the already-converted here, but it is always good for them to have talking points at their finger or claw tips.)
Black cats have a reputation for being “mean” and “scary.” Just the opposite is true. Black cats tend to be very social and affectionate. Their fur is black, but their heart is pure gold.
You are so right, Smoky! My human has found that black cats tend to be friendlier and more fun than many other kitties. What are the dumbest myths you have heard about black cats?
There are many, but the dumbest of all is that black cats will steal mewr soul. A black cat will only steal mewr heart. I like to focus on the positive. Black cats are thought to bring good luck in many cultures.
Tell me about a couple of your most gratifying moments as a kitty who works to help black cats.
I recently competed in the AmazeCats Next Top Cat Competition. I used this opportunity to help educate the public about black cats. In addition to black cat advocacy, my campaign raised money for three different charities. This was a “bracket style” tournament competition and went on for weeks. The longer I was in the contest, the more people would learn the truth about black cats. Despite the fact, I was the “undercat,” competing against cats that have very large followings in social media, I made it all the way to the “Feline Four” round of the competition. Thousands of people learned about black cats and over $3,600 was raised for charity.
These are the organizations Smoky raised funds for during the AmazeCats competition:
Black Cat Rescue (of Boston, MA)
Black Cat Rescue is dedicated to saving the lives of homeless black cats and kittens by providing quality foster care while actively seeking loving, permanent adoptive homes.
Tenth Life (of St. Louis, MO)
Tenth Life Cat Rescue saves stray cats and kittens in the St. Louis area, prioritizing those with special needs.
Spay the Strays (of St. Cloud, FL)
Spay the Strays works to reduce the feral cat population in Osceola County, FL through TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and to place the many wonderful cats and kittens left behind into loving homes.
Another gratifying moment is when I learned my BFF (black fur friend) Gentle Ben was adopted because his meowmy learned how difficult it is for black cats through my advocacy work. Gentle Ben is missing an ear in addition to being black.
In addition to the groups above, what are some of your favorite causes/ charities?
So many! I have been impressed with the following:
Forever Home Feline Ranch (of Springfield, IL)
A sanctuary where cats will have a second chance to live a full life in a no-cage, no-kill environment. Forever Home Feline Ranch was an “Achievement” winner in my “2012 Black Cats RULE! Charity Challenge”
The Grannie Project (of Southeastern, PA)
Advocating on behalf of senior pets and helping senior pets find their furrever homes.
Penn Vet (of Philadelphia, PA)
Innovative research into the diseases and conditions that affect companion animals; providing advance treatment options through biomedical research, teaching the next generation of veterinarians. (Full disclosure, my daddy is a Penn Vet grad.)
Do you have any special black cat heroes?
Oh yes, Lincoln. I call him Linky. He is one of my BFFs. Linky was born a quadriplegic. Through a lot of physical therapy and love, he now has use of all four of his limbs and paws. Mew can watch his physical therapy and his first steps on his YouTube channel.
Linky was rescued by Tenth Life and is one of their spokescats. Here is his Facebook page.
Thanks so much, Smoky! You are living proof that Black Cats Rule!