It was an ordinary day as Stacy LeBaron was driving down the road, listening to one of her favorite podcasts about business and financials. Then it struck her – an Aha! Moment, out of nowhere. Her realization? There should be a podcast for community cats.
LeBaron had been looking for a way to enhance the lives of community cats on a large scale. After retiring from her position as president of Merrimack River Feline Rescue, LeBaron ran the mentoring program assisting over 80 organizations with setting up TNR programs and getting funding to support those programs. The problem was that the waiting list had grown to over 400 groups, making it nearly impossible for her to help them all. That’s why the idea of the podcast was so appealing.
“I had been doing a lot of driving at the time, and thought the podcast could be a great way to reach all of the people I couldn’t talk to individually,” said LeBaron. “Plus, I’ve met so many incredible people during my 22 years in the industry. I can’t tell you how many times I’d had a wonderful conversation with one of them and wished I could share it with the rest of the world. Now I can!”
After giving it more thought, LeBaron decided she wanted the goal of the podcast to provide education, information and dialogue that would create a supportive environment empowering people to help cats in their community. “We especially wanted to reach and inspire people who might not feel they have the resources, relationships, or general support to do what they’re trying to do.”
With the help of a few friends (and her 12-year-old son on the technical side), the first-of-its-kind, “Community Cats Podcast” was born.
The result? Less than a year and 130-ish episodes later, the podcast has become a favorite of cat lovers everywhere, with 100-200 downloads per episode. Among the things listeners rave about is the “informative and inspirational information” they glean from listening.
“There are so many awesome stories out there to help bolster us up, to remind us that what we are doing is making a difference, and that we are not alone,” LeBaron said.
So, what can you expect from a podcast episode? “There’s something for everyone,” she said. “From industry professionals, to individual trappers, to cat lovers in general. It just depends on the guest and episode.” Each episode is around 20 minutes long, “perfect for listening to while driving or waiting to trap,” as her listeners confirm through their testimonials.
You can always go through past episodes and choose by topic, but LeBaron shares that a good place to start is with some of the most popular interviews:
- Hannah Shaw, “The Kitten Lady”
- Susana Della Maddalena, CEO and President, Central OK Humane (Oklahoma)
- Brianna Lovell, Outreach and Events Manager, Alley Cat Allies
While each guest brings a different perspective and set of experiences, LeBaron has noticed a common theme among all of them. “Passion. Enthusiasm. Determination,” she said. “Their energy is contagious, which is so important in our industry.” One other common theme? “Resourcefulness. Don’t be afraid to pivot and try new things in the name of lifesaving.”
One final word from LeBaron to all the community cat lovers and cat owners out there: “Don’t be shy. We are all in this together, so feel free to reach out to the Community Cats Podcast. That’s why we’re here.”
You can get inspired by listening to the Community Cats Podcast past episodes, including the ones with Maddie’s Fund’s own Mary Smith and Dr. Sheila D’Arpino. You can also tune in for three new episodes each week, then take what you learned and apply it to your own community!