Why did the City Paper think we are collecting cards FOR cats instead of the cat caretakers?

So the Pittsburgh City Paper thought the #santaclawspgh project was about gift cards for cats, not cat caregivers. I was interviewed. I spent time crafting responses on a weekend night b/c of the deadline. Then they pulled the story because they said it is not “upbeat” enough about helping animals. I only found out about this tonight after I sent FIVE inquiries about the publication date.

I had assigned my intern <name removed> a story about the Santa Claws program but was confused about what it entailed. We were under the impression that the gift cards were for the cats, not for the caregivers, and we were looking for an upbeat holiday story to help local animals, so we have made the decision to pull the story. I’m sorry about the misunderstanding.

What’s not feel good about Captain Roy, Rich, Marie, etc doing very under the radar unacknowledged work every single day to help animals? A 95 year old retired tugboat captain saves kittens from a dilapidated drug house and that’s not upbeat? A retired Coast Guard veteran hand feeds a senior feral cat every day until he can save up enough money cutting lawns to pay for feral dental surgery? A father feeds cats at three colonies for over a decade to honor his dying daughter’s wish? A woman gets up at 4 AM each day to visit 20 cat colonies before going to work because she knows no one else will? The neighbor who donated all of his tips from a performance to this gift card drive? What about my youngest nibling rallying his family to make 20+ felt ornaments for the colony cats’ Christmas tree? That I had to hang on a needley tree in the cold today while my colony stared at me with complete bewilderment?

I truly do not understand how anyone could think we would collect gift cards for cats. That doesn’t make any sense. They don’t have thumbs to scratch off the security code. Or access to online shopping. And once that mistake comes to light, why not put the interview up online anyway because that’s a kind way to make amends for my wasted time and implying cat caretakers are not a positive story? I would never have known. Now I must shake my head.

Gift cards for cats?

I just don’t understand. No big pronouncements or refusal to work with them or anything like that. Just letting you know and thanking all of you who have donated gift cards for human beings and also thanking anyone who has donated a gift card to a cat because that’s sort of cool and apparently very trendy in the philanthropy media world.

Or something. I mean … I feel really ridiculous about this.

But it is not too late for you to help the caretakers (and, by extension, the cats.) We are accepting gift cards through New Years Day. Then we’ll be back to collecting food, beds, shelters, straw, litter, and all the other day-to-day items.

This gave us a really good laugh tonight. We’ll have a poll up soon to see which of our cats you would trust with a gift card. And photos! Oh so many photos … cats on gift cards, cats photos on gift cards, cats scratching gift cards, cats trading gift cards, cats eating gift cards … the options are endless …

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Sun Volt is trying to figure out how to use his Target gift cards. He’s flummoxed. 

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