Meet Kevin 'the cat who gives back'
SYDNEY MINES, N.S. -- A Cape Breton cat has gone from feral -- to famous.
Kevin has thousands of followers on Instagram and he uses his celebrity to help his feline friends.
"He is a fluffy, black feral that came with the house when we moved here," said Shelly Leblanc.
She and her husband Ken quickly fell in love with the black ball of fur and took him in.
"He's sassy, He's classy, and he does a lot of good for people," said Leblanc.
Kevin's journey as a philanthropic feline started when Shelly set up an Instagram account for him in October 2018.
That holiday season, his owners took the money they would have spent on Christmas cards and donated it to a local cause, in Kevin's name.
"So, instead of sending out cards, we donated that money to the Feral and Abandoned Cat Society over in Sydney," Leblanc said. "So that's how it started, and now he's 'the cat who gives back.'"
In the more than two years since, Kevin has developed quite the fan base online.
"He's got over 18,000 followers and people just want to help," Leblanc said.
Through his Instagram account, he's raised more than $13,000 for various animal-related causes locally, and all over the world.
"When we get the donations, we just see who needs the help, and sometimes it's TNR (trap/neuter/release) caregivers," Leblanc said. "Sometimes it's Food for Ferals. So, we donate to anything that is an animal welfare organization."
Kevin's owner says for a while, she and her husband would match what their cat made, but eventually had to stop because he was bringing in too much money.
They feel he is an ambassador of sorts for Cape Breton, even if not all of the donations end up here.
"It encourages them to give back," Leblanc said. "They might not give to us, and that's OK, but they'll give to a local rescue where they are, which is wonderful."
Leblanc runs her own online business and has been working from home during the pandemic, but says handling Kevin's account -- and online popularity -- has been like a second job.
"It's a lot of work, but it's worth it, because we get back from it so much more than we give," Leblanc said.
As for the future for this fundraising feline, she says the sky is the limit.
In addition, how does this at-times crabby cat feel about his own celebrity?
"He thinks he's pretty good stuff, but he enjoys giving back to his friends," Leblanc said.
So, behind the sassy attitude, it seems there's a big heart.