The Quiet Heroes of Cat Con 2019
Updated: Jul 29, 2019
In June, we made the trek to Pasadena, CA to check out Cat Con 2019. As we grew closer to the convention center, it was clear where we were headed. You could clearly follow the masses of cats. Er, well, humans dressed as cats. Some were more casual with just a cat t-shirt or headband of cat ears. Others were decked out, head to toe, in skintight costumes, sequined capes with pointy cat ears, and everything in between.
This was our first time braving Cat Con, and it was not as crowded as expected. We were able to leisurely peruse the aisles, chatting with cat lovers, cat influencers (well, their humans), and brands alike. While there were many interesting brands in attendance, there were two non-profit organizations that caught our eye. When we got back to our offices, we thought it would be a disservice not to bring awareness to these organizations, working daily to help those in need and for the greater good.
When we came across RedRover, we expected it to be some kind of a dog toy. Upon further inspection, this quaint booth, nestled on the edge of a busy aisle, housed a plethora of statistics involving pets and victims of domestic violence. It turned out that RedRover is an organization that "brings animals from crisis to care".
Many domestic violence victims are hesitant to leave their homes for fear of leaving their pets behind. They fear for the well-being and safety of their pets. Additionally, shelters do not offer housing for animals. That's where RedRover comes in. RedRover offers financial assistance to victims of domestic violence through their relief program. On their website, they shared the harrowing story of one survivor, Lynn, and her pup, Coco, who they helped get out of an abusive situation for both the human and pup alike. They provided Lynn's pup, Coco, with 30 days of emergency boarding, ultimately allowing Lynn to leave her unsafe situation and start over safely with her family--Coco included.
According to RedRover's website, more than 50% of domestic abuse victims delay leaving an unsafe situation or, if they do manage to get out, unwillingly leave their pets behind. A higher number of victims, more than 70%, report that their abuser hurt or threatened to abuse their animals in an effort to control them.
As previously mentioned, while most shelters don't take in animals with domestic violence victims, there are many grants and relief programs that can provide a safe haven for pets. RedRover is working avidly to educate and get the word out to those seeking a safe space for their pets and themselves. With RedRover's help, there can be many more happy stories like Lynn and Coco's.
The TNR Project, which stands for "trap, neuter, return", is specifically tailored to cats. TNR works to sterilize cats and avoid euthanasia. The group is made up completely of volunteers who practice the trap, neuter, and return policy within their own neighborhoods and cities. These volunteers help control the growth of cat colonies. For those feral cats who prefer to live within a colony, they provide education to the communities where cat colonies are present and they work hand-in-hand with residents to care for the colonies and find out why so many cats are in the area. If some cats seem like they want to become domesticated or are not feral, The TNR Project works to find foster homes and forever families for those in need. This organization works to keep animals happy and healthy, educate communities, and keep the cats out of shelters.
In their own words, "By preventing unwanted births and stabilizing the colonies that have been left behind, we are keeping the intake numbers down, thereby allowing shelters to focus on people who surrender and those who need spay/neuter for personal pets. We fix communities by pulling people together to tackle the problem, explain how cats are beneficial to their communities and provide the way to resources for everyone to benefit from...people and cats."
Both of these organizations touched our hearts at Cat Con last month, we hope everyone takes a moment to learn more about them and share their information to those who may benefit.