The perception of cats has evolved dramatically over the centuries. And not for the better. Thousands of years ago the Egyptians’ believed cats were magical creatures, capable of bringing good luck to the people who housed them. To honor these treasured pets, wealthy families dressed them in jewels and fed them treats fit for royalty. Today, cats are often left in garages to catch mice and fend for themselves. The expression that they have nine lives gives the impression they can be harmed and still survive. Black cats are considered bad luck, which projects a stigma making it difficult for them to get adopted. Curiosity killed the cat – placing a negative connotation on the association between the two when in fact it’s curiosity that propels us to learn but cats are considered not bright for being inquisitive. Our feline friends have gone from being a creature of value to a creature that is viewed as expendable. This lack of attachment leads to a lack of empathy. Without empathy, lacks care.
With the launch of our Mutt-i-gree Cat Program partnering schools and libraries with their local shelter, the program now spans thirteen states, and international partners – including: California, Maine, Maryland, Puerto Rico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Hawaii, Texas, Kentucky, and New York as well as Bosnia, The Netherlands and Morocco where the students never stop. Our Mutt-i-grees Global Student Ambassadors have taken the lead in supporting homeless felines. Students who have a passion for animals, students from Veterinary Programs and students working to fulfill capstone projects are learning hands-on while some even receive school credit. Spanning from age five to eighteen, together with the shelter staff, they work to develop events that raise awareness and funds to support adoption and their community cats. Everyone is presented with the opportunity to gain work experience, while learning the importance of volunteering with this service-learning program to help at risk animals.
We’d like to introduce some of the loving dedicated people that joined us to change a negative narrative into a positive one by raising awareness on the plight of our feline friends.