Little cats helping big cats. It’s a new campaign spearheaded by Chris Poole, owned by internet-famous cats Cole & Marmalade. If you love cat videos and you haven’t seen Cole & Marmalade, you are missing out! These two funny cats are an internet sensation thanks to the great work that their dad, Chris Poole, does for all cats – big and small!
We had a chat with Cole & Marmalade’s dad, Chris, to find out about his latest project, Little Cats Helping Big Cats and his commitment to helping big cats, the various issues facing them and why he is promoting super-tasty, wild and amazing cat treats to help big cats.
TCT: Chris – why are you promoting cat treats for little cats to benefit big cats?
Chris: Most people know me as Cole and Marmalade’s dad… many aren’t aware that I spent years working at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. I learned so much about the plight of big cats and since leaving Big Cat Rescue, I’ve resolved to continue helping raise awareness for big cats. Particularly how they end up in sanctuaries like Big Cat Rescue – and why it has to stop.
TCT: Where will the money go?
Chris: Running a sanctuary for over 80 big cats means there’s many, many things that require funding. Caring for just one tiger or lion (diet, meds and vet care) each year costs around $10,000. Other costs include general maintenance of the property, extra medical expenses for emergencies, funds for future rescues. Big Cat Rescue also needs help with legislative issues to get laws passed that will make it increasingly difficult for big cat breeders/exploiters to continue.
TCT: So how did you end up at Big Cat Rescue in the first place?
Chris: I interned there in 2006 for 90 days learning about animal care, animal welfare issues and also doing all of the hard work, like landscaping. In 2007 the videographer at the time decided to move back to his home town (Chicago) and Big Cat Rescue contacted me because they knew I had a background in design and also knew I was a hard worker from my time as an intern. So they offered me the job, I accepted and we began the visa paperwork! (Cole & Marmalade’s dad is originally from England)
TCT: Did you always love big cats?
Chris: I’ve always been fascinated with predators in the animal world particularly big cats and sharks.
TCT: What is the biggest plight or issue facing big cats?
Chris: In the wild, the biggest issue is habitat loss and poaching; too many people destroying where the big cats live and too many people killing them for profit.
Big Cat Rescue’s biggest goal is to end the private possession of big cats. Believe it or not, it’s actually legal in many states to own tigers, lions and other big cats! But even in states where it’s illegal, people often still have them since there’s not enough money or manpower to properly regulate this. Some just don’t realize that these are wild, dangerous animals.
Chris: Many times the motivation to own big cats is ego-driven. Those keeping the big cats as “pets” want to feel special and unique and ultimately don’t care about the welfare of their “pets”….
Tigers don’t belong in tiny backyard cages, garages and living rooms. Not only do they exist in cramped conditions, they are fed poor diets with little-to-no vet care. It’s also a massive public safety issue! Many of these animals escape and attack each year – and these are just the ones that are reported. The biggest and most horrific incident to date in the USA was the Zanesville incident (warning – this story is very upsetting).
TCT: I remember that. It was horrifying and absolutely senseless to lose so many majestic animals.
Chris: There are so many shady facilities out there that breed these animals in order to exploit them. They’re used as photo props. Cubs are used at fairs and roadside zoos, and then when they get too big to handle they disappear. They’re usually killed for their body parts or sold into the exotic pet trade. It’s a massive problem that really needs to stop. The general public are blindsided by signs that say “conservation” at fairs and just want to pet the tiny tiger cub. Sadly, they are unknowingly supporting this irresponsible practice and contributing to the abuse.
TCT: That’s really horrifying…and you’re right. I don’t think the general public is aware of this. What’s the number one thing you would like to come out of your efforts?
Chris: Raising money to help care for the residents at Big Cat Rescue and helping with their legislative work would be great, but the most important thing for me is to help raise awareness about all of these issues we just talked about. I want more people to visit the Big Cat Rescue website, educate themselves and then ACT to make a difference and help big cats.
TCT: How can little cats help the big cats?
Chris: Treat your cat to our amazing cat treats and proceeds will go to support Big Cat Rescue!
Want to help?
- Start by sharing this story. The more people that become aware, the better.
- Try these cat treats! They come in chicken, rabbit, minnows and tuna.
- Visit Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fl., can’t visit? Consider donating.
- Talk to your kids about conservation and helping to become a steward for all animals, big and small.