Strut Your Mutt is the cat’s meow

Central Texas Feline Rescue feeding kittensWith hawks circling overhead, two kittens were hunkered down under a community food trailer in Austin, Texas. Luckily, the woman who found them contacted Central Texas Feline Rescue (CTFR), a local organization dedicated to helping community cats. The group responded quickly and before any harm could come to the tykes, they were whisked to safety.

CTFR provides a variety of services to community cats, including feeding established feral colonies, trapping, providing spay/neuter and promoting adoption for friendly cats or those too injured or sick to be returned to their communities.

Like many rescue groups, they’re incredibly busy helping animals like the stranded kittens, leaving little time for fundraising. But Best Friends’ Strut Your Mutt, a fundraiser designed with groups just like CTFR in mind, is a big help on the financial side. While the name may be all about dogs, cat rescue organizations are also welcome to take advantage of the event, which helps organizations by doing the hardest part of fundraising for them.

Strut Your Mutt events across the country

Organized by Best Friends, Strut Your Mutt is a fundraising tool for Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network partner organizations, and for some groups supplies the bulk of their annual budgets. The Network comprises rescue organizations and municipal shelters across the country working to end the killing of dogs and cats in our nation’s shelters. Strut Your Mutt is an important part of it.

Instead of each organization organizing its own fundraising event, Best Friends does the heavy lifting by organizing everything, providing the infrastructure for the event and making it easy for participating groups to raise funds online. Then, on event day, all they have to do is show up.  

This year, Strut Your Mutt is set for a 12-city run from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between. Beginning with the first Strut Your Mutt event in Salt Lake City back in 1995, the event has grown to the point where nearly $1.7 million was raised last year, with a sizable portion of the funds benefiting approximately 230 animal welfare organizations. Each year more groups participate, and this year there are more cat groups signed up than ever. Additionally, with the virtual version of Strut Your Mutt, organizations not located in actual event cities can also participate.

Central Texas Feline Rescue strutting for community cats

Two community cats adopted from Central Texas Feline RescueThis will be CTFR’s second year participating in Strut Your Mutt in Austin, Texas, scheduled this year for September 13. “There was just an excellent turnout last year. Working with Best Friends is huge; everyone knows who Best Friends is,” says Elizabeth Brumbaugh, founder of CTFR. “It’s the easiest fundraiser I’ve ever been involved in and the networking opportunities are so helpful. The money we raise goes toward feeding our community cat colonies and toward more spays, neuters and medical expenses.”

With 30 volunteers extremely busy helping more than 120 community cats at apartment complexes, grocery stores and restaurants, every extra cent goes straight to the cats in need. Like many Strut Your Mutt groups, CTFR wasn’t quite prepared for just how successful the event could be. Last year its initial fundraising goal was $3,000, but when that total was met quickly, the goal was raised to $5,000. The final tally came in at more than $8,000 to help save more cats.

This year at least 15 of the nearly 250 organizations signed up exist solely to rescue or provide trap/neuter/return for cats. While Strut Your Mutt may be a dog-centric event, cat rescuers aren’t content to sit on the sidelines. When it comes to raising much-needed funds, they can walk with the big dogs.

Find out more about Strut Your Mutt.

Photos by Lori Grunin and Elizabeth Brumbaugh