A cat named Romeo has made history for feline-kind by raising thousands of dollars for animal shelters and rescues as a way to pay back people who helped him get a second chance at life. Romeo's human mother, Caroline Cofer Golon, is sharing with us what life is like for a cat that lives his life for a good Cause and what this incredible kitty strives to do for the lives of his purring friends.
Tell us something about Romeo and his story. How did Romeo come into your life?
My husband and I adopted Romeo in 2005 from The Forgotten Persian Rescue & Friends in Marysville, Ohio.
From what we know, Romeo was turned into a shelter in Kentucky when he was around a year old. He was adopted but then brought back to the shelter for some reason. The shelter in Kentucky knew about The Forgotten and called to see if they wanted Romeo. Of course they did! They drove down to get him and bring him to the rescue. He was deaf in both ears and had a strange skin condition. We wonder now if these two health issues were the reason Romeo was returned to the shelter.
The Forgotten works with vets who volunteered their time to tend to Romeo’s ailments. He had eight surgeries on his ears and can hear just fine now (although sometimes he acts like he doesn’t hear us!) One ear is folded down now permanently so it looks like he only has one ear but we think it gives him character!
The vets also think the deafness and scabs were from some sort of food allergy so he’s in good shape now.
We adopted Romeo when he was two. He spent about six months at the rescue before we saw him on their Web site. We knew right away that he was perfect. And we were right! He is the most loving, sweetest boy. We have a hard time believing anyone could ever give him up. Everyone who meets Romeo loves him. He climbs on strangers’ laps and snuggles up next to them and even purrs when he’s at the vet.
How would you describe a typical day for Romeo?
Well, Romeo sleeps on a pillow next to my head almost all night. Around 6 a.m. he likes to start waking me up for breakfast. Why he does this to me and not my husband, I don’t know! Only when I am not there or my husband starts stirring before me does Romeo “target” him. Anyway, readers of my blog are familiar with Romeo’s daily wake up tactics. He has a few main themes and then variations on those.
After I get up and get him breakfast, the rest of the day is about napping, chasing Pugsley around the house and following me around, mostly when I go downstairs because he thinks it’s time to eat. I work at home and spend a lot of my day on conference calls. Anytime the phone rings, Romeo has to be in on it and jumps up on my lap to participate.
Who is Pugsley? Tell us something about him.
Pugsley is Romeo’s adopted brother. He is a black Persian as well. We adopted him from the same rescue as Romeo. He was an “11th hour” rescue. They were preparing to euthanize him because they thought he had a rare contagious disease. It turns out he does not. He’s just fine now too! Pugsley is an extremely sweet boy as well. He even has his own section, Club Pug, on the Web site because so many of his fans demanded “More Pugsley”!
What inspired you to start the Romeothecat twitter account?
I was already on Twitter with my own account. I noticed some animals on Twitter and told a co-worker how funny I thought it would be if I put Romeo on Twitter. So I did. Little did I know at that time what was to come!
Romeo has so many twitter followers now. What do you think it was that attracted so many people to Romeo?
I think that Romeo’s mission resonates with anyone who has a pet and particularly those who have rescue pets. Romeo is dedicated to raising money for animal rescues through a variety of ways. I also think his story and his appearance – his misshapen ear and grumpy look - really get people’s attention!
What is the purpose behind Romeo the Cat?
Romeo the Cat is dedicated to raising money for animal rescues. Everything we do is for that purpose. Romeo had a tough time of it and so did Pugsley! My husband and I are so grateful to the people who stepped up and rescued our boys and we want to be able to do something to help those people who are working so hard in the rescues every single day to save and adopt out as many pets as possible.
Were you surprised to see the number of people following Romeo on twitter?
It was surprising at first. But once I understood why people were following him, it made sense. He has struck a chord with anyone who loves animals.
When did you start the website for Romeo the Cat? What is on the website?
I started the site pretty soon after I launched the Twitter account. The site is about engaging readers and the community in fun ways to raise awareness for animal rescue.
How much money have you raised for shelters and rescue organizations?
As of November 2009 I’ve raised almost $30,000 since February 2009.
Can you name a few shelters or rescue organizations that you have helped raise funds?
Animals in Distress, Beaufort Community Cat Project, Angels for Animals, Kitten Rescue, Spay Neuter Action Project, The Emergency Animal Rescue Service, Red Door Animal Shelter, Persian and Himalayan Cat Rescue and Nine Lives Foundation.
Is Romeo aware of all the donations that he has helped raise?
I think so. :-)
What's your next goal in fund raising?
I would like to raise $50K in 2010
Tell us something about the Rescue mom/dad magnet?
I started selling magnets and stickers that say Rescue Mom or Rescue Dad as another way to raise money for the FURPOWER beneficiary of the month. It’s also a great way to raise awareness for the importance of rescuing.
What kind of difference can people make for shelters or rescue organizations through donation?
Particularly for smaller, local organizations, literally every penny counts.
How can people help through Romeo the Cat?
A. Purchase a Rescue Mom or Rescue Dad magnet or sticker at http://www.romeothecat.com/products-page/
B. Or make a donation at http://www.romeothecat.com/donate/