‘Chonky’ Mr. B, the Internet-famous hefty cat who finally found his forever home, is now giving back to cat lovers impacted by COVID-19.
The then 26-pound cat became a familiar face online last year after Morris Animal Refuge’s Facebook post in search of an adopter for Mr. B went viral.
Today, Mr. B is living the good life with his new family, including five furry siblings, in Philadelphia—and has lost four pounds, his mom Sarah Bergstein told Modern Cat magazine. Sarah said she began thinking about ways to fundraise for feline advocates after attending a conference ran by a cat rescue organization last year. She realized she had the perfect audience to enlist to help make a difference—while Mr. B is losing weight, he’s still gaining attention, with more than 21,000 followers on Instagram alone.
After the convention, “I just kept thinking ‘there has to be a way to recognize the people who give so much of themselves in service to cats,’” Sarah said. Inspired, she decided to launch what she’s calling a “Random Acts of Kindness” campaign. The GoFundme, titled ‘There is SO much GOOD WE can do,’ has a $20,000 goal with 100 percent of the funds raised being divvied into smaller amounts for cat rescuers “whose lives, livelihoods, work, or worlds have been upended because of COVID-19.”
“I just kept thinking that, you know, here are all of these people who donate so much of their life, and their time, and their work, and the goodness of their heart to doing this phenomenal work in cat rescue,” Sarah said. “A lot of times they’re just not compensated for the amount of work that they do.”
These musings became the impetus to start the $20,000 fundraiser for those trying to help cats during the pandemic, “because I believe that the people who follow Mr. B are kind and generous humans, and I don’t doubt for a second that we could reach a goal like that.”
When the GoFundMe was launched at the end of April, Sarah said they received “overwhelming donations,” adding, “I know people are wonderful, but this is just more than I thought.” As of August, she has raised $8668, with $4000 being donated thus far to eight different organizations and individuals doing rescue work.
“These people that we’ve donated the money to so far took those funds and put them right back into cat rescue,” Sarah said. The very first person to receive a $500 donation from the campaign was out trapping a cat with a hurt leg when they got the call from her. They said, “This is going to pay for so many surgeries!”, Sarah recounts.
Sarah says that even when the goal is surpassed, she “will do this fundraiser so long as people keep contributing.”
One thing she hopes people will take away from this campaign is realizing “we all have the ability to create positive change in the world,” she says, “whether it’s just as simple as posting something on social media, to going and volunteering at your local rescue, to keeping a can of cat food in your purse so that you can feed a homeless cat—there’s so many ways, and none of them are less important than the other.”