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The Best Friends Podcast Episode 18

What’s the deal with cats?
June 18th, 2020

America loves cats. There are conventions entirely devoted to felines and the people who love them. The internet helped spur the mania with worldwide sensations like Grumpy Cat, who have forever changed popular culture. Despite our collective obsession with felines, they continue to be the animal most often killed in shelters. More than two-thirds of cats who enter shelters lose their lives.

Some programs have proven to be effective, but widespread increases in the lifesaving of cats continue to be elusive. Why?

From the ancient mythology around cats to the cutting edge programs that are saving lives more effectively than ever before, this week we explore the question, "what's the deal with cats?"

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Guests this week
Christi Metropole

Christi Metropole

Founder and executive director, Stray Cat Alliance

When Christi Metropole encountered a stray and needy kitten in 1999, she was appalled to learn that little to no resources existed to help her, her cat, and thousands like them. As a result, she founded Stray Cat Alliance and soon, feral and free-roaming cats had found a formidable ally. Under Christi’s unwavering leadership, hundreds of volunteers and scores of donors have since united to provide education, human power and skills to Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) thousands of cats who need help. Under her astute direction, Stray Cat Alliance’s dedicated network helps ensure a safer, healthier quality of life for feral, stray, homeless or community cats—often misunderstood and targeted—that wouldn’t otherwise survive and flourish.

Christi is acknowledged as the influential and candid voice for those cats. She is the "go to" source on the subject, whose opinion is sought by other humane proponents needing sound advice. Her experience as a teacher with Los Angeles Unified School District and as a realtor with Keller Williams Realty Brentwood has honed integral skills that help strategically steer the course and further development of Stray Cat Alliance.

Peter Wolf

Peter Wolf

Policy and research analyst, Best Friends Animal Society

Peter J. Wolf is the research and policy analyst for Best Friends, a leader in the development and operation of community cat programs. Peter’s role involves the analysis of science and public policy related to community cat issues, a topic he’s been researching and writing about for nearly seven years.

Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in industrial design. His professional experience has focused on the acquisition, analysis, and synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data. As a lecturer in The Design School at Arizona State University, Peter taught courses in product design, visual communication design, design thinking and qualitative research methods.

Leah Long

Leah Long

Community cat outreach specialist, Best Friends Animal Society

In her role as a community cat outreach specialist for Best Friends Animal Society, Leah mentors animal shelter staff on how to reduce the number of cats dying in their communities. Before Best Friends, she worked as a foster director and program coordinator for Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends in Atlanta, Georgia. Leah spends her free time exploring the Louisiana hiking trails with her dog Oscar.