There is a lot of sadness and violence in the world, but unlike what the media reports there is just as much goodness out there, too. And that’s comforting to know in this day and age, or we’d all be sinking down further into the depths of hopelessness and frustration. Take Kyle the rescue cat and his owner Jen. Kyle is currently a social media superstar that is quickly becoming the face of a new trend developing towards animal-friendly domestic violence shelters, thanks in large part to his particular background and new owner.
No-Kill Animal Shelters
Currently basking in love and living the good life, Kyle came up for adoption from a no-kill animal shelter after finding himself deposited there following his previous owner’s death. It seems he and 30 other cats were purported to be “witnesses” to their former mommy’s tragic demise, which occurred as a result of domestic violence (DV). The cats were initially confiscated and taken as evidence in an on-going homicide investigation, believe it or not, before ending up in the shelter. I’m not sure how the police thought they were going to testify, but Kyle’s new owners discovered the sad details through the adoption file and a little legwork on the Internet.
Animal-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelters
It was while doing her Web search that Jen found out about the desperate need for domestic violence shelters that would accept pets and some of the stats in connection to victims of domestic abuse. Apparently, up to “45 percent of battered women have delayed their decision to leave their abuser out of fear for their pet's safety, yet less than five percent of domestic violence shelters accept pets.” You have to figure if somebody is okay with beating you up there’s a really good chance they’ll take your departure or escape from the situation out on the pets you’ve left behind, making their hesitation to flee completely understandable.
Women, Children & Pet Causes
In addition, Jen found out that “batterers who also abuse their pets are both more controlling and use more dangerous forms of violence than batterers who do not.” Furthermore, “nearly 75 percent of animal cruelty in the home occurs in front of children. These children often intervene to protect their parents and pets from being battered and may even allow themselves to be victimized to save their pets from being harmed or killed.” It was this knowledge, and the fact that Kyle was just so darn photogenic, that led Jen and Kyle to their new mission in life: the desire to bring awareness to the immense need for animal-friendly domestic violence shelters.
#mycatkyle on Instagram
While Jen originally posted pix of Kyle on Reddit, she soon began an Instagram account entitled mycatkyle, and he was an immediate hit. He now boasts over 70,000 followers. Due to his high profile and popularity, Jen began marketing merchandise with his likeness and teamed up with various 501(c)3 organizations, which include RedRover and the New York City Urban Resource Institute’s People and Animals Living Safely (URIPALS) program, in hopes of bringing about change. All of the proceeds collected from Kyle’s charismatic good looks (he’s got a mustache, haywire whiskers, a crooked ear and only three teeth) are turned over to these good causes.
In Jen’s view, given his background, it’s only fitting that Kyle, being the looker that he is, should be the face of hope and change for shelters and DV. “There is a dire need for animal-friendly domestic violence shelters,” says Jen. “Pets are not only critical in the recovery process, but they’re also recovering from the experience themselves. It’s a mutual healing process.” In February of 2015, Jen and Kyle launched the #CatsAgainstDV campaign to raise awareness about the need for more animal-friendly domestic violence shelters. As of June of this year, Kyle has raised over $4,000 for programs that support the cause. The pair continues to build awareness and fundraise through flyers, Instagram contests, Charitable Cash for Kyle's Stache store sales and their various company partnerships.
So, the next time you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the negative press, just remind yourselves that for every bad thing reported there are dozens of positive things in life to counter them that we can and should all be grateful for and embrace. We are truly blessed to have the Jens and Kyles of this world fighting the good fight for us.