Here at Your Cat Backpack by Travel Cat, we strongly believe that being a “cat person” means more than loving to cuddle and care for our furry friends. It means advocating for and supporting all cats around the world, whether they live with a loving family in their forever homes or in a colony on the streets.
We are strong supporters of the importance of encouraging people to adopt don't shop and appreciate the work folks do to help cat populations in their communities.
Since we started, throughout the year, we offer our biggest discount to individuals and organizations who help cats by fostering, doing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), and working with and for animal shelters and non-profits.
We launched our "Forever Home Heroes" program in 2019 as a way to continue supporting cat welfare advocates with our words and wallets!
We asked our catstomers and community from around the world to nominate their favorite animal welfare organizations and individuals, who deserve recognition and financial support for the work that they do. We were blown away by the amazing nominations we received.
We are thrilled to present our grand prize winner, silver and bronze winners, and 6 other top nominees.
Forever Home Heroes $1,000 winner: Shelley Roche of TinyKittens based in British Columbia, Canada
Tiny Kittens is all about rescuing locally and educating globally. Their purpose is to change global perceptions about feral cats. They demonstrate that every life has value and take on the really hard cases that wouldn't be given a chance anywhere else and tell their stories on social media and Youtube livestreams.
This creates emotional connections between everyday people and feral cats, which generates an increase in compassion and empathy. Creating these connections is absolutely essential if we want to end cat overpopulation.
Greater compassion brings more volunteers, donors, adopters, advocates and resources to humane Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and rescue programs, which are perpetually struggling to keep up.
Some of the work that Tiny Kittens does along with TNR includes:
- Fostering pregnant feral cats.
- Caring for sick, injured, and terminally ill cats.
- Running a Feral Recovery Ward where injured cats are kept in a comfortable, cage-free environment.
- Livestream everything they do to provide a window into the world of cat rescue.
- Developed a Feral Cat Mapping App.
Here are some incredible testimonials from a few of TinyKittens' nominations:
"Outstanding global service and outreach for feral cat rescue." - Jayden
"Tiny Kittens are amazing! They feed and look after feral cat colonies every single day. They bring in pregnant mamas so they can deliver their kittens in a safe environment." - Wendy
"I have been watching Tiny Kittens for the last two and a half years. They motivated me to adopt a semi-feral cat from a TNR colony that had been in the shelter for 1 year with nobody adopting her because she was too shy. It's been one lovely year with her, and we are growing closer." - Nicole
"TinyKittens has an amazing team of the most thoughtful and giving people. They are informative and helpful to help people learn about how every life matters! Love the livestream as well. Great organization no doubt. Thank you Shelly Roche!" - Cyndi
"Their work with feral cats is beyond awesome. They are what kindness is all about." - Fawn
Along with running this incredible organization, Shelley is a computer programmer who has spoken at conferences internationally about tech and social media. Zuck used one of her facebook apps for his keynote presentation at Facebook F8. She has loved animals her whole life, and is delighted to be able to use technology to reach a global audience with TinyKittens' message about the value of cats.
We are proud to award Shelley Roche with a prize of $1,000 USD for the hard work she does saving lives. Congratulations, Shelley!
Forever Home Heroes $500 Winner: Courtney of Steel City Adventure Cats - Pittsburgh, PA
Steel City Adventure Cats is an in-home foster program run by Courtney.
"The mission of Steel City Adventure Cats is to reduce the number of homeless, abused and abandoned cats in our community and to educate the public on the importance of spay and neuter. We provide medical care, love and a safe haven for cats until an appropriate permanent home is found."
What will Steel City do with their $500 grant?
The $500 will be used to provide all services needed to give our newest 6 fosters the best start to their new lives. They were brought in from the cold on the same day Pittsburgh had its first snowfall. They will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, FIV/FELV tested, microchipped and treated for parasites.
I can’t thank you enough for this generous program, we have entered so many things but we are small and never quite make it- I love that you targeted the little guys who are still doing big things, thank you. - Courtney
Some nomination testimonials:
"There is no better feeling than seeing a cat grown up and healthy in their new home, safely indoors, fixed and no longer contributing to the masses born sick and unwanted outdoors."
"They do such amazing work supporting and fostering cats/kittens and getting them adopted to great homes. Just recently, they took on 2 FIP positive kittens are paying thousands of dollars on their veterinary care. Courtney is truly amazing and loves helping cats so much ❤️" - Jen
Forever Home Heroes $250 Winners:
"Cat People of Oahu is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to help people help cats. We provide information, education, and resources for individuals who own or care for pet, feral, and free-roaming cats.
As a rescue that operates exclusively via a network of fosters, every animal adopted from Cat People of Oahu opens up foster space for another animal in need. Our organization runs 100% on donations and volunteers."
"They are always there to help the people who help rescue and rehab any cat that needs help" - Dana
In Lower Mainland, British Columbia is a volunteer-driven, no-kill rescue who focuses on caring for very young, mainly bottle-feeding kittens. The volunteer-run organization is responsible for getting over 1,800 cats per year off the streets and thousands of feral cats spayed and neutered over the years.
"We rescue, heal, then place cats - first in our network of foster homes, then in carefully matched, loving, forever homes. We are a passionate, volunteer-driven charity with extensive cat care experience. We believe that no kill is the only responsible approach to rescue, that Trap-Neuter-Return works and that cats are AWESOME!"
Other Top Nominations:
Katie says, "I started Rescuing kittens off the streets when I was just ten years old, and ever since I haven’t been able to stop. My love for all animals has definitely grown into respect for who they are and knowledge that they are worth saving. I started Katie’s Kats Island Rescue two years ago because I wanted to be able to save more lives. Through the years I’ve rescued injured, abandoned, and unwanted cats and kittens off the streets and have found them all loving forever homes."
"Geneseo, NY has a very large feral cat and kitten population. Many of these cats and kittens don’t make it. Mur & Company is working tirelessly to save these cats and kittens by catching them, giving them vet care (including spay/neuter), and finding them homes. Mur & Company’s success rate is amazing—particularly given the great need in the area, and also given how small the Mur & Company operation is. The organization’s reach is also remarkable; people drive the 5+ hours from New York City to adopt cats in Geneseo. Every bit of support for the Mur & Company’s efforts helps—and it goes directly into the care of cats and kittens in need." - Seki
Best Friends in Harford County (BFHC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to assisting animals in need in Harford County, MD. Our mission is to establish and manage programs for the welfare of community cats, companion animals, and pet owners needing assistance, in collaboration with other community partners, rescue groups and shelters.
CSC is a feral cat management program and kitten rescue working with Winnipeg's 100,000+ community cats. We are the only organization in Winnipeg that is actively working to humanely reduce the free roaming cat population in this city, and advocating for change to make that happen. CSC is also the largest cat specific animal welfare organization in Winnipeg.
We're a group of cat ladies trying to limit the number of community cats by spaying and neutering colony cats. We are doing our part to enhance cat's lives by TNR and cat fostering.
"Hardworking caring group spending their own $$ to TNR, foster and find homes for wayward cats and kittens!!" - Jill
"So much impact, such as having almost 3,000 animals adopted into forever homes, providing over 10,000 low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for Charlotte and nearby communities and much more!" - Katelynn
A big thanks to everyone who voted & nominated their community's cat people!
We know this is a very difficult time for everyone. If and when you're able to provide support to cat heroes, search for local people and organizations and consider donating your money or time to make the biggest impact!