This San Ramon cat uses social media to raise funds for pet-friendly causes.
Anne Mary Schaefer
Move over, Grumpy Cat. “Ava Gardner, the Cat,” has more than 340,000 Facebook fans, as she campaigns to raise funds for kitties in need.
Ava lives in San Ramon with Stephen and Susie Newton. Susie—who has managed social media accounts for several Bay Area cat rescue organizations—made a page for Ava, who was found abandoned in Martinez.
Ava has raised more than $20,000 so far and gets donations from all over the world. Diablo caught up with the sassy feline to find out how she’s adjusting to Internet stardom.
Q: Why put yourself in the limelight?
A: We have too many feral cats and cats living in shelters. My biggest cause is funding spay and neuter programs because we need to get to the root of the problem.
Q: Tell me about your fundraising.
A: I have regular online campaigns like T-shirt fundraisers and donate every penny, mostly to Maine Coon Adoptions in Oakland. My most successful campaign for them raised $11,000. I also do smaller stuff: I just raised money for a kitty in Vancouver with a rare autoimmune deficiency.
Q: Has fame gone to your head?
A: I have a short fuse, make no mistake about that. If I want a lap, you better make room. If I want to be petted, you better pet me. It takes that kind of brassy attitude to really get things done.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’ll keep fundraising, and I’m making an appearance at the Oakland Internet Cat Video Festival on May 10. I also got engaged over Valentine’s Day to my celebrity cat boyfriend, “Jersey Boy Phillips.” So I’m a total bridezilla right now.
Connect with Ava at facebook.com/avagardnerthecat.