I’d been watching the decline of the world’s big cat populations and their habitats over the past few years—their numbers impacted most greatly by human-animal conflict, habitat encroachment or destruction, loss of prey species, and good old fashioned illegal hunting and poaching, with all 8 “big cat” families (tiger, lion, cheetah, leopard, jaguar, snow leopard, mountain lion, and clouded leopard) severely impacted. By 2016 I was stirred to action and determined to see their fortunes reversed—though not completely sure how I could help.
Meanwhile, I’d been toying for some time with the idea of getting my first tattoo (not a fan of needles, this wasn’t a light decision!), and on finding a fantastic artist (Adam Miller from Millhaus Tattoo) and falling in love with the neotraditional art style was finally ready to permanently “wear“ something both creative and personally meaningful.
Tats 4 Cats: It’s a donation. A fundraiser. And a permanent reminder.
The idea behind Tats 4 Cats was simple: in 2016 I’d not only make a donation to help support the preservation and survival of big cats, but I’d also finally get my first tattoo… deciding on a tiger as the basis of its design. And as it happened, Global Tiger Day (held each year on 29 July) in 2016 was the halfway mark of a 12-year international project to double the number of critically endangered wild tigers by 2020… so for my first tattoo, what better moment to commemorate?
That got me thinking further: big cats meant enough to me that I’d be willing to “wear“ one for life, and to support them financially… but surely I wasn’t alone—so why not invite others to encourage my efforts and donate to help save big cats too?
My mind was made up on three goals for 2016:
- I’d get a tiger tattoo;
- I’d donate to big cat conservation projects an amount equalling whatever its cost would be; and
- I’d raise funds for big cat projects through a crowdfunding page, receiving donations from family, friends, followers—anyone who wanted to get behind my crazy idea.
Tats 4 Cats was born.
2016: The challenge.
Thanks to the generosity of supporters far and wide, Tats 4 Cats raised a figure of over AUD $2,300 in just 4 months, with the proceeds donated to Panthera, a leading big cat conservation group with projects worldwide and a decade-long history of both researching and protecting big cats’ lives and habitats. And, by the afternoon of Global Tiger Day 2016, my tiger tattoo had been fully realised—a permanent reminder, worn proudly, of the difference just one person’s passion can make for big cats.
2017: The commitment.
Almost 16 months later, I decided to try this again—surely getting a second tattoo would be easier than the first?! This year I got a cheetah tattoo (again from Millhaus Tattoo), and targeted International Cheetah Day held on 4 December as my fundraising timeline, with my own donation and any proceeds I collected benefiting cheetah conservation projects led by the Cheetah Conservation Fund, specifically donating via their local arm CCF Australia. In only 5 weeks Tats 4 Cats raised about an amazing AUD $1,200 for critical cheetah conservation and research programs.
My promise. Our action. Their benefit.
If you want to make a donation yourself in support, it’s so easy—just donate directly to CCF (or, for taxable donation purposes, through their affiliates in Australia, Canada, or the UK) and tell them Tats 4 Cats sent you—and don’t forget to let us know you’ve made a donation too!
Are you getting a big cat tattoo? Make a difference while you’re at it—use our Donate Now page to find your nearest big cat conservation organisation and make a donation; any amount helps. And when you post pics of the end result, use #Tats4Cats on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to connect and spread the word!
If you’re a tattoo artist (either sole operator or in a larger studio) and want to get involved through holding fundraiser events like flash days or “donation drive” months (or if you already are!), please get in touch—Tats 4 Cats would love to hear from you and see this idea spread even further.
Tats 4 Cats: Get a big cat tattoo. Give big cats a future. Donate now!