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Hello Marmalade!

Winner of our Star Cat Contest

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Photos by Jen Bergren

To be certain, Marmalade is one popular cat.

He and his best friend, Cole, the snuggly black cat he lives with, call Oceanside, California, home—though one could argue they’re equally at home on the internet, a domain where cats rule and these two have their fair share of disciples. Their people, Christopher Poole and Jessica Josephs, delight their cats’ many fans with the requisite funny cat videos, but their aim is actually much higher: the promotion of rescue, spay and neuter, black cat adoption, and FIV+ cats. Our kind of people, to say the least!

Marmalade’s Story of Triumph: From Unwanted Kitten, to Cancer Survivor, to FIV Warrior, to Internet Darling, to Modern Cat Cover Cat! Phew—that’s quite the trajectory!

Marmalade had a rough start in life. Christopher and his wife, Jessica, then residing in Florida, adopted Marmalade as an unwanted, flea-covered kitten. They had been thinking about adopting a playmate for their cat Cole, whom they call “the world’s sweetest black cat,” so when they learned of this kitten, destined for the shelter or—worse yet—the street, they called it fate and decided to give him a home. Marmalade tested negative for FIV, and when they introduced him to Cole, the two got along from the get go!

“Marm definitely had a lot of fight in him,” says Christopher, “but Cole turned into a very good big brother.”

Cole also started out as an unwanted kitten, found at a busy Florida intersection by one of Christopher and Jessica’s friends. Covered in fleas, anemic, and only about five or six weeks old, they had to bottle-feed him. The payback was in the bond they developed. “He's a big snuggle bug,” Christopher shares. “Marm really isn't a lap cat—unless you're sitting on the toilet!—but Cole loves the attention. He's a very sweet and smart cat. We believe he's a Turkish Angora. He loves to go on walks outside, is great at ninja attacks when you open the door and we feel extremely lucky that he came into our lives.”

Six months ago they all moved to California and “the boys did great,” as you can see in their YouTube vlog. Once they arrived though, there was trouble. Marmalade started vomiting frequently. When he was taken for a check up, the vet not only found a tumor in Marmalade’s intestines, but also found he tested positive for FIV, which is likely why he got sick so early on in life. Christopher and Jessica were undeterred by the diagnoses. Marmalade had the tumour removed, underwent chemo treatments, and is now in remission, “eating the best diet possible, and on supplements to make sure he stays healthy and fit for as long as possible!” Christopher happily reports. 

With wellness restored, it was back to the business of brightening the days of others. (Who says cats are selfish?) We asked Christopher just what it is about these two cats and his videos that have so many people enthralled—they have over 100,000 YouTube channel followers alone.
Q: How did they come to have so many fans? The video of them meeting is so cute!
A: I uploaded a video called "Black Cat Stick 'em Up!" to my personal Youtube channel and it went viral. Then I discovered that black cats were the least likely to be adopted and first to be euthanized so I made another video "10 Reasons to Adopt a Black Cat" which was also very popular. At the time I was working at a big cat sanctuary ( as the videographer so I decided to take my work home with me on a smaller scale and make videos of Cole to show people how awesome black cats are! Then Marm came into the picture and I created a Facebook page and other social sites. I try to keep a balance of funny videos and educational videos so I'm not just making silly videos for our fans to enjoy, we're also helping raise awareness about adoption, spay/neuter, feral cats, declawing, and how people can help save lives.

Q: Why should people consider adopting a cat?
They’re good for your health, make you laugh, and keep you company, but most importantly you'll be saving a life! With millions of cats and dogs being euthanized every year because they don't have a home to go to, doing your part to help stop pet overpopulation is the number one reason why people should consider adoption! #adoptdontshop

Q: What can people learn from cats? 
The main thing I've learned from them—from house cats to tigers and lions I've helped care for—is that you should make the most out of everyday! Sure cats don't have to worry about the future and things like investments and finances, but even though we're burdened with stuff like that, we still need to appreciate the little things in life—which for cats is a cardboard box or a few cat treats or a bird in the trees outside to watch!

Can't Get Enough? More Cole & Marmalade

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