Social Media to the Rescue!
Social media has not only changed the world, it is saving lives. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of animal welfare organizations, shelters, rescue groups and individuals, countless dogs and cats who might not have had a second chance are living wonderful lives with their forever families. One of these dedicated individuals is Rachel Loehner. She is the brains, talent and heart behind Three Chatty Cats, a blog devoted to highlighting the work of great cat rescues and their life saving efforts. Although she just started Three Chatty Cats in January, she has already been nominated for a Liebster Award and is quickly becoming a social media influencer. Her blog posts are fun to read, full of amazing photos and provide relevant information that resonates with animal lovers. Most importantly, she is vastly expanding the reach of the wonderful cat rescues and people she profiles.
Besides all of the research, emailing, writing, editing and photo prep she does for her blog, Rachel is also the mom of – you guessed it – three chatty cats; Dexter, Olive and Sophie, as well as an adorable dog named Eddie. Each of them has an inspiring rescue story which you can read by clicking on their names above. She has kindly offered to share some of her blogging experiences with us.
Your own pets, Dexter, Olive, Sophie and Eddie, have wonderful stories. Did your rescue experiences with them help inspire the creation of Three Chatty Cats? If it was something else, can you tell us a little about what did?
Well, I love my pets and I named my blog after my cats, so in some small way they’re an inspiration behind it. But it’s funny because I didn’t really think out the process of starting Three Chatty Cats. I had recently become addicted to an app for cat lovers (Catastic) and was constantly browsing through all the cat pictures and loved how everyone was sharing their stories and experiences. Something clicked inside of me and I suddenly wanted to start a cat blog.
I think I researched it for all of about one day and then signed up and got started. I definitely rushed into it and probably should have taken a bit more prep time before “going live.” I didn’t know what I wanted to blog about – just that it would be related to cats somehow. I started with a few basic posts on my own cats just to get something posted. Then I asked someone I had connected with through the cat app if I could share their story because they are an amazing couple totally dedicated to helping animals. And that post completely spiraled into where Three Chatty Cats is now – a blog to promote cat rescue groups and individuals who are doing their part to help cats in need. I couldn’t be happier with the direction that the blog has taken, even without pre-planning it! Sometimes you just let things take their own direction and it works out for the best.
Have you had any unexpected or surprising experiences as a blogger?
I didn’t realize how much of a difference a blog could make. I know that because of my blog some featured rescue groups and individuals have received monetary donations and items from their Wish Lists. And just yesterday, I had someone contact me about donating items to a woman I featured in Italy who helps stray cats. An American living abroad in the very city that the rescuer lives in – what are the chances? The woman I featured emailed me to say they were already in contact with each other and set to meet up. Here I am in California, and my blog is helping cats in Italy! Things like that really warm my heart and make me feel like I’m doing my part. I know it’s about the cats, but it’s so nice to have that feeling inside that you’re helping.
In your post on Amanda Whitman, I read about the importance of Facebook in the work she is doing. How do you think social media has changed the landscape for shelters and rescue groups?
I usually ask the rescue groups and rescuers how they get donations or get the word out. So often the response is Facebook. I think Facebook is key in supporting shelters and rescues. In my own personal experience, with the exception of one rescue group post on my blog, I have found every other group to profile through social media (I’ve also since asked for reader suggestions). A lot of them I find on Instagram and then go to FB to learn more about them. Without social media, I would be completely lost!
The Amanda Whitman post was due to the fact that another cat blogger shared her story on FB that she read in a local online newspaper. So again, without FB, I would have never learned about her amazing story. And Amanda wouldn’t be as successful as she is in all her rescue efforts without Facebook. That is primarily how she is able to save so many cats. She’s able to network through Facebook and link up with rescues.
Without a doubt, social media (blogs included) has opened so many doors to shelters and rescues. Some of the groups I’ve featured have mentioned how they get donations from people around the world because of social media. That likely wasn’t the case 10 years ago. Maybe even five years ago!
Do you have a favorite success story since beginning your blog?
I’m probably not supposed to, but I do have a favorite cat rescue story – and that is Sophie (a different Sophie than pictured below) from the Zoo Rescue. Her rescue off the streets and into a loving home is so touching, and I can’t imagine what her life was like as a declawed kitty, abandoned and alone. But luckily she was rescued! Her eyes are so soulful and her face speaks to what trauma she endured in her previous life. Every time I see her picture, my heart just melts. And it’s so amazing what that husband and wife team who rescued Sophie do to rescue all of their animals. They really are an amazing set of rescuers! (This is the post that got it all started for me… in regards to the direction of the blog.)
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I love how social media, as well as the blogging community, brings people together around a common cause. I personally never used Facebook or Instagram to post things prior to starting my blog. I saw it more as a place where people shared pics of their dinner or shared selfies 24/7. But of course there really is much more to social media than that! Yes, there are those who do only use FB and IG to share those food pics. I’m probably the one they roll their eyes at since I share cat pics! But now that I have my blog, I’m glued to my screen (undecided if that’s a good thing or not!), either on FB, IG or reading other blogs. I even opened a Twitter account! I now have so many communities and people I follow who have all helped me on my blogging journey. And being able to connect with people like you is awesome! I feel like I’m coming to the social media game a little late. But now that I’m here, I see how truly helpful it can be in connecting like-minded individuals. My take on social media has basically been a complete 180.
If you are interested in making a difference like Rachel or know of a shelter or rescue group that might benefit from a social media presence, here are a few resources that might be helpful:
By caring and then connecting, we can all do something to help an animal in need.