Cats vs. Cancer could very well be the most brilliant idea the internet has ever seen. The new nonprofit, which launched on December 1, 2014, encourages you to watch cat videos via its website to help raise money for the fight against cancer.
Cats vs. Cancer is the brainchild of Tom O’Connor and Eddie Peña, two Georgetown University graduates who started work on the nonprofit’s website back in 2012. O’Connor said the idea to combine cat videos and fundraising for cancer came to him once he realized how easy it was to raise money on the internet for good causes.
“You can ask anyone you know and they can probably name someone close to them who’s been affected by cancer, so it’s an important cause to us,” he told The Daily Dot. “But we realized we love charities that help you have a good time while also doing something good for others.”
And of course, the internet knows watching cat videos is always “a good time.” In fact, felines are such an online video phenomenon that cat food brand Friskies holds a yearly cat video contest where it chooses the year’s best cat clips, Minneapolis’ Walker Arts Center hold its own cat film festival, and online fans have turned several cats into full-fledged celebrities with their own video programs (like Lil Bub, who has her own web series and Grumpy Cat, who just debuted her first feature-length film).
“What makes cat videos so special is that a lot of times it seems like cats don’t want to be filmed,” explained Peña. “When people catch them on camera in those small moments, hilarity is bound to happen. And you don’t really have to be a cat person to think cat videos are hilarious.”
Currently, Cats vs. Cancer has six employees and is registered as a 501(c)(3) with the IRS. Its first charity partner is the Vickie S. Honeycutt Foundation, which aids educators and their family members who are dealing with cancer. O’Connor and Peña raise funds for their partner organizations through advertising and direct donations made on the Cats vs. Cancer website (you click a “donate meow” button to contribute – again, brilliant). The co-founders also hope to create partnerships with famous feline-themed and pet brands down the road.
“The sky’s the limit,” they said. “We hope to grow into one of the top 100 publications on the Web. I want people to think of us like BuzzFeed Animals, except all the time they spend on our site is for a good cause.”
Check out the Cats vs. Cancer explainer video below, and make sure you spread the word about the nonprofit’s genius existence. Don’t forget to bookmark the website, too; heaven knows you’ll be visiting it often.