by China DeSpain
Categories: Animals, Music
Tags: .
Photo: ASPCA

Country singer Kellie Pickler knows what it’s like to get a rough start in life. Before a stint on “American Idol” launched her career, Pickler struggled with the fact that her mother abandoned her and her father was in prison. But she caught a lucky break, and turned her life around.

Since then, she’s been extending that same break to animals in need. A self-described “critter lover,” Pickler has a soft spot for cats, especially former feline companion Pickles. Unfortunately, because her of husband’s cat allergies, Pickles now lives with a family friend. But Pickler is still devoted to the animals, and she’s showing it through a new partnership with the ASPCA.

February is Cat Appreciation Month, and in honor of that fact, Pickler joined forces with designer Geren Ford to create a limited edition cat sweater. Available at the ASPCA store for $35, the oatmeal-colored “Kitty Crooner” sweater features green sequined embellishments and exudes a country vibe.

Although 100% of the proceeds from the sweater sale will go to the ASPCA, funds will be generated by more than just sweater sales. Pickler is also working with Fresh Step litter; for every person who uploads a photo of themselves in kitty couture to the Fresh Step Facebook page, Fresh Step will donate $1 to the ASPCA through March 15 (up to $100,000). And if you don’t own any cat clothes and aren’t up for buying Pickler’s design, you can still upload a photo of yourself to Facebook, and digitally “wear” the sweater, or one of three others designed by Ford.

According to David Vargas, a Fresh Step spokesperson, “Cats are pretty much the coolest animals alive. They’re mysterious, finicky and funny. Rather than keeping that love behind closed doors or in the anonymity of YouTube channels, we want to bring it out into the open and invite people to show just how much they love cats.  And while they do it, they can do some good too, as Fresh Step will support the ASPCA’s programs in their honor.”

The ASPCA is thrilled with the Fresh Step partnership. Says Elysia Howard, vice president of marketing and licensing for the ASPCA,  “We cannot think of a better time to show your affection for cats than the month of February, when love is already in the air. But on a more serious note, it’s fun and creative programs like these that help the ASPCA step in and provide assistance to animal welfare groups across the country when they are in need. We are excited to see all of the amazing examples of cat pride roll in during the campaign, and we are thankful for the generous contributions that help us continue our life-saving work.”

And Pickler, who is now a proud dog owner, is very pleased with project. “You’ll like these sweaters; they’re really nice — not like crazy cat lady sweaters or cheesy Christmas sweaters,” she says.

Pickler is also planning to autograph and auction the top through charitybuzz. The auction, which will close on February 14, will feature concert tickets, an autographed CD, and a chance to meet Pickler. Proceeds from the sale will also go to the ASPCA.

About China DeSpain

China DeSpain is a San Antonio-based writer and blogger. She loves pop culture, animal rights, health and fitness, international travel, books and wigs. Follow China on Twitter: @ChinaDeSpain

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