LoveToKnow Cats is pleased to have had the chance to chat with 9Lives' famously finicky "spokespurrson" about the Morris Million Cat Rescue. After all, it's not every day you have the opportunity to speak with a cat who'll talk back to you, and for once Morris wasn't reluctant to comply!
The Morris Million Cat Rescue Mission
So Morris, we understand you were once a shelter cat yourself. Is this what inspired you to become involved in what is now known as the Morris Million Cat Rescue?
I was originally rescued from a shelter in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. Bob Martwick, a devoted animal trainer and kennel owner, found me in the Hinsdale Humane Society Animal Shelter weighing a mere fifteen pounds and sporting a torn eyelid. I was about to be euthanized myself, literally minutes away from death, which is why I want to help all of those cats out there about to experience the same fate!Did you know that approximately five and a half million cats are euthanized each year, representing seventy-one percent of all cats that enter animal shelters? This means three out of every four cats who enter shelters are euthanized.
I have been very lucky, and done many great things throughout my life as a result of being given a second chance, including TV commercials, a movie, and a legendary run for President on the Finicky Party platform, in case you weren't aware. Despite this, I have never forgotten where I came from. This is why I created the Morris Million Cat Rescue.
How will the cat rescue drive work?
The Million Cat Rescue Campaign is a 9Lives-sponsored effort to find loving homes for one million homeless cats. The campaign is being led by myself and supported by my newly adopted pal, Li'l Mo. As you are well aware, I don't like to do anything "small", so a million sounds about right to me!
We have outfitted a very special bus that is currently traveling the country to raise awareness of the campaign, and to facilitate cat adoptions. The bus will attend local events, as well as stop at major retailers. Cats from local shelters will be on board the bus, and local shelter personnel will be available to educate everyone about cat adoption and caring for cats.
But it doesn't end there, 9Lives has also developed 'Welcome Home Kits' that will be provided to all new parents when they adopt a cat from a shelter. The kits will include free 9Lives products, a booklet on caring for a new cat, as well as coupons for other cat-related products.
Cats rescued on the bus, as well as those who receive the Morris Million Cat Rescue shelter kit from a participating shelter, will count towards my one million goal.
The Rescue has already kicked off and will be continuing until the beginning of August 2007. We will be completing thirty-seven different stops across America.
Do you think the need for cat rescue is greater for adults or kittens?
There are so many adult cats and kittens out there that need homes that I think it's important to concentrate our efforts on both age groups.
Are there any advantages to adopting from one age group rather than the other?
Just like people, we cats are very individual and unique. Every cat that you come across at an animal shelter will be different. It's really about finding the right match for you. Size, appearance, temperament, activity level and exercise are all important factors that adopters should consider.
The main difference between cats and kittens is in maturity, training and time. Most people believe kittens are pretty cute, but honestly, can you get more handsome than me? Plus, you have to be aware that kittens require more time and care than adult cats, as well as being more likely to get into mischief. Li'l Mo is a good example on that one, believe me!
So, you've kicked off the campaign by performing the first cat rescue yourself. What can you tell us about your new companion?
Yes, absolutely. I can't be "all meow and no action," can I?! I adopted Li'l Mo to kick off my Million Cat Rescue Campaign. I felt it was time to perhaps focus a bit less on myself, so I adopted him from a Los Angeles shelter. He looks quite like me. Extraordinarily handsome, don't you think?
Morris, thank you for spending time with us. Is there anything else you'd like to let our readers know?
There is one more thing that I would definitely like to mention.
I think prospective adopters should hear about the significant health benefits of owning a cat. Did you know that, according to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association:
- Pets increase the survival rate of heart attack victims. Twenty-eight percent of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks compared to only six percent without pets.
- Cholesterol levels of pet owners were two percent lower than those of people without pets.
- Elderly pet owners are happier, with fewer visits to the doctor and fewer prescriptions.
- Pets are good for kids, helping them develop self-confidence. Eleven to sixteen year olds have a better ability to understand non-verbal communications.
Also, it's thought that cats can be very beneficial to those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Lastly, thank you so much for talking with me. I think this is a great cause and I can't wait to reach that million mark!