Animal Advocates, Part 3: The Tiniest Tiger

Another Animal Advocate I was gratified to meet at BlogPaws 2012 was Joanne McGonagle who founded The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club. I loved hearing Joanne’s story of how her life took a dramatic turn with a very young kitten being thrust upon her unexpectedly. She and her husband were at the local dog pound looking for a friend’s lost dog.  The assistant begged them to take the kitten since they were not equipped to handle an unweaned feline at the dog facility, and her survival was uncertain.

A portion of book sales go to big cat conservation!

Joanne opened up her coat and her heart to the kitten, and took her home. They decided to call her Gracey. On the advice of an experienced cat friend, they raised her on a mixture of goat’s milk and baby oatmeal, and Gracey thrived. Gracey charmed Joanne, causing her to marvel at her tiny tiger-like features. Pondering the link between our domestic felines and their wild counterparts inspired Joanne to write a book called,The Tiniest Tiger about a lost kitten (Gracey) who squeezes her way into a zoo and meets various wild cats and tries to figure out where she belongs. The story cleverly inspires readers to enjoy the wonder of our own cats and expands that towards big cat conservation.

Joanne has mirrored that storyline and taken the gift of Gracey and grown into a full-blown big (and small) cat conservationist, which is probably not the path a former frozen food company owner would have imagined for herself! But Gracey seemed to be guiding this movement, becoming its spokesperson, and doing a bit of modeling as well. Those of us owned by a cat know better than to question these things. It’s better to just go with the flow!

Joanne shared some intriguing stories at BlogPaws about being a part of a program that is going into Africa and approaching the Maasai Warriors that traditionally kill a male lion as a rite of passage to becoming men. In spite of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of years of this tradition, these ladies were able to convince the tribal leaders that it was more brave to become the protectors of these lions than to kill them. They have even produced trading cards listing the protected lions that the local children share with each other!

I hope you will check out Joanne’s various sites and get to know this delightful, innovative woman and Gracey the cat who started it all. She offers books, bags (one of which I won at the conference!) and wonderful information and inspiration:

The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club

Like them on Facebook.

How have your pets inspired you?

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