Last year's calendar sales raised more than $6,500 for SCAT. The extra funds helped to pay for a wide range of medical treatments and procedures that included intake examinations, deworming, vaccinations, spay and neuter surgeries, and treatments for illnesses or injuries.
"We were surprised by the success of the project," says Linda Gubbe, who handles public relations for SCAT Street Cat Rescue. "Once people started to realize that it wasn't just a regular cat calendar and that all the guys were people you could actually bump into on the street – friends and family members – then it really took off."
This year one of the men featured is Dr. Chris Clark from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). Although he's a large animal veterinarian who doesn't have much professional involvement with cats, he has a soft spot for the critters — particularly for rescues. Clark and his wife, Dr. Kimberly Tryon (a medical imaging specialist at the WCVM), have four cats, all of them rescue animals.
"I got a phone call from Heather Ryan, a friend and long-time client of the WCVM's Large Animal Clinic, who is one of the people instrumental in putting this calendar together," explains Clark. "I was blown away when she first asked me, but it took very little effort to be involved, and I think that SCAT does very good work. I was happy to help them out."
Gubbe says that Clark's initial reaction is typical. "Most of the men we ask are regular guys who aren't used to being in the spotlight. But they're usually open to giving it a shot, particularly when we tell them that they don't have to take their shirt off and when they find out that it's a fundraiser for cats."
Clark isn't the first WCVM faculty member to be featured in the calendar: equine surgeon Dr. Spencer Barber cuddled a kitty alongside a horse in the 2012 edition of Men with Cats.
While rounding up volunteer models is an important step in putting the calendar together, the most difficult part of the process is setting up the photo shoots.
"The hardest part is working around the time constraints for everyone involved," explains Gubbe. "We have to match up schedules for the volunteer photographers, human models, cat models, cat wranglers and model wranglers and then set up the location and props."
Clark's photo shoot took place last fall in the WCVM's Veterinary Medical Centre with a backdrop that reflected his veterinary profession – a group of Holstein calves that happened to be in the clinic on the day of the photo shoot.
"I'm always happy to help out with any charitable organization, and my family and friends are rather entertained by the idea of me being in a calendar," says Clark. "Neither my wife nor I have family in the city, so we're actually buying up a bunch and sending them through the mail to my family back in the U.K. and my wife's family in the U.S. The calendars will be part of their Christmas surprise."
While Gubbe hopes that the Men with Cats calendar is even more successful at raising funds than last year, she points out that the calendar is also a great tool for raising awareness of SCAT Street Cat Rescue and the need for volunteers, foster homes and funding.
"We hope to reach a broader base of supporters. Each household or office that has a Men with Cats calendar gives us 365 days a year to remind the community of the work that SCAT volunteers do seven days a week, 365 days a year. With that connection, we hope to involve more members of this great community of Saskatoon."
Want more details? Check out www.facebook.com/MenWithCatsCalendar, visit the SCAT Street Cat Rescue website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the SCAT Adoption Centre at 306-955-7228.