Cole and Marmalade
When Chris Poole, also known as Cat Man Chris, found out that black cats are the first to be euthanized and last to be adopted in shelters, he began making videos showing how loving and deserving black cats can be. His rescue Cole was the star. Then Marmalade came along, and fans fell in love with the duo. Later on, he and his wife, Jess, found out that Marmalade was FIV+ (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and had overcome cancer, so they began to spread awareness on the difficulties FIV+ cats have finding homes. Their work focuses on eliminating stigmas of both black cats and FIV+ cats.
FIV attacks a cats’ immune system, leaving the cat vulnerable to many infections. Approximately 1.5 to 3 percent of healthy cats in the US are infected. Although cats infected with FIV may appear normal for years, they eventually suffer from this immune deficiency, which allows normally harmless bacteria and viruses found in the everyday environment to potentially cause severe illnesses. The primary mode of transmission for FIV is through bite wounds. Casual contact does not appear to spread the virus, so a normal household environment poses little risk to other cats. For more information on FIV, visit http://www.tpg.pet/FIV
Chris is never far from a camera, be it video or still. “My wife and I both work from home so we are blessed with being present all hours of the day to catch the boys being crazy, silly or just sleeping adorably,” he says. “Having a camera at all times is key!” Their first viral hit was “Cat Logic” in 2014, which has over 6 million views. The craziest catch for him was Marmalade starring in the “Cat Mind Blown” which is just about everywhere now. Capturin¬g his little shocked face was pure timing. We won’t ruin the premise – scan the below QR code and watch for yourself!
“The most challenging thing for us is not having enough hours in the day to help all the cats and spread the awareness we’d like to,” says Poole. “It’s certainly a 24 hour/7 day a week lifestyle. You have to understand that not everything happens the way you want it to and accept that there are people that will never change their way of thinking; no matter who or what it hurts,” he explains. “But the most rewarding thing is seeing a rescued or abandoned cat finding their fur-ever home. The look on the new “cat servant” faces (what we call the adopting humans) makes it all worth it.”
The Poole’s videos and imagery are a blend of humor and education, which makes them so endearing and relatable to people. “Every day we are blessed to get messages from fans saying that our videos or comments have helped them in some way; from recovering from illnesses, depression, anxiety or physical ailments to just cheering them up” says Poole. “It’s really overwhelming to think about, but we’re also so grateful to hear that we can help not only animals, but humans too.” Their charity work is extensive. All of their merchandise is sold on their website, http://shop.coleandmarmalade.com or through limited campaigns. A portion of all proceeds is used for what they call the “CaMFund”. Through this they are able to donate to shelters, rescue groups, and often times foster feral or stray cats themselves, including covering some extensive vet bills. They’re working on expanding their merchandise, so stay tuned.
And if that wasn’t enough, they are currently working on opening their own Cat Café. “We want to do as much as possible to help cats in need and if we can take the strain off of local shelters and help get cats adopted, that’s what we want to do,” Chris says. “Our cat cafe will also be a great place to educate the community about cats in need and how they can help purrsonally!”
Good luck, Cat Man Chris and Jess. We can’t wait to visit the Cat Café!