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Volunteering with the Cats: A Manly Thing to Do

Posted by Harry Shubin on

Last month on Mother's Day, we paid homage to FFGW moms - feline mothers, and the foster mothers who work very hard to nurture them and their baby kitten families.   This week, we salute the men involved with FFGW's cat rescue effort.  (There are more than you'd think!)

It seems in some quarters that caring about cats isn't thought of as a mainly thing to do - or else, there would be no market for this shirt:

Nor for this one:


Or certainly not this one:


 Nor would the New York Times find "Man Bites Dog" to be equally newsworthy with "Man Has Cat", the entire article a (lukewarm) endorsement that it's alright for men to live with cats:  

"Straight men with cats seem to be really secure and stable. They don't need to be running around the park and proving their masculinity like the dog guys."

Cats are clearly thought of as a woman's pet, a woman's department.  The "crazy cat lady" is always a lady, never a man. 


Definitely an image problem - and then there's the bad image that male cats carry around.  "Tomcatting around" is hardly a compliment.  One observer has analogized cats and dogs to automobiles, saying that cats are to dogs as a Cabriolet is to an Explorer.   (Ed. note:  Full disclosure time - I'm not qualified to form an unbiased opinion here, since I both own a Cabriolet and have that crazy cat lady doll... even if it doesn’t have enough cats in the package... but trust me, the stereotypes here are unjustified, and are preventing a few guys from having a rewarding rescue experience.)   

Well, FFGW cat guys, the few, the mighty, the proud - you know the truth.  And now, we finally have a manly spokesperson - seriously, would you argue with this guy 

 "Cat Daddy" Jackson Galaxy, Host of The Cat From Hell, photo courtesy

Even if you don’t have any cats at home or you stay away from reality television, there’s still a good chance that you’ve heard of Animal Planet’s hit show My Cat From Hell. Starring cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy each episode chronicles a specific family and their troublesome cat. With its seventh season wrapping up, the program addresses the popular stereotypes and misnomers pet owners have about not only caring for their feline friends, but about the communication needed to actually understand the furry creatures on an emotional level. With his instantly recognizable guitar case full of treats and toys, the tattooed Galaxy spends days getting to know the pet owners and their ferocious felines, so he can offer advice on how everyone can coexist in harmony. Jackson knows, and is spreading the word, working with the cats is just as manly as any other contribution to making our planet a better place. Jackson’s work helps solve behavior problems and so keeps cats out of shelters – and any cat not given up to a shelter for behavioral issues is one less cat rescues have to save.

If you think that there’s nothing manly for guys to do in cat rescue – think again. FFGW needs transporters (you can drive that Explorer!) to help get cats to where they’re going, needs muscle to help with set up and breakdown at our adoption events (what’s more manly than hauling heavy crates?), needs talent to take photographs of adoptable cats for our website (a few famous photographers have been men, right?) and – this one is important – to drop by adoption events and interact with the cats – so that the cats are exposed to men and become less frightened, and so potential adopters see that it’s ok for a man to love a cat!

Not sure if you love cats? Jackson says: I will take the challenge from anybody. If you say, “I’m a dog person” or “I’m just not a cat person, I don’t like them,” I will find you that cat. That is a stone guarantee. All we’re looking for is […] taking the extra time to break down the stereotypes and as soon as we do that, they’re like, “Oh my god, where have you been all my life?” It doesn’t take much. We are compassionate at our core, we want to make connections—whether with animals or humans—it’s part of us. We just have to work against certain stereotypes of what it is to be a cat and what it is to love cats. Nothing kills us faster than the "crazy cat lady" thing.

And so today, Father's Day, rise up and band together to call our brothers to the cat cause!  We will work with cats!  We will tirelessly work to find good homes for unwanted felines, and we will be sure to declare our affection for cats until we're rewarded with our own Crazy Cat Guy Doll!!!  Ok, maybe not that last one.  But we will spread the word that real men do work with cats, and they're not afraid to enjoy it. We will hold cats in our arms at events, unafraid to be seen by big guys with tattoos.  In fact - some of us ARE big guys with tattoos!  

Click HERE to download our new poster featuring one of FFGW's own manly volunteers, and please help spread the word!

FFGW Volunteer Jason Bench Presses a few Kittens

We won’t make you dress up as a cat, we promise.

-Your editor, making good on a promise to dress up as a cat if enough money was pledged in a fundraiser.

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