Combining Cats And Cards Against Humanity To Fund Feline Rescue

How SOXrescue is using people’s love for cats and risqué humor to get donations for animal rescue.

Here are some simple truths: A lot of people like cats. A lot of people also like Cards Against Humanity, the somewhat risqué, fill-in-the-blank card game. But, inexplicably, there actually aren’t that many cat jokes in Cards Against Humanity.


So in May, SOXrescue, a nonprofit that supports homeless and sick cats in California, debuted Cats Against The World, a 36-card parody pack that retails for $15.99. It doubles as a fundraising tool: All profits go back to the charity.

“We’re not going to make a penny. We’re not trying to be Internet famous,” says Daniel Mariano, the group’s chief creative officer, who helped design and market the cards. “We just want to get attention and get noticed. The more support they get the more lives they can save.”

SOXrescue has sold 8,000 packs mostly in the last two months. That’s impressive considering sales the previous two months were flat. At first, the group tried to hawk their idea on Indiegogo, but moved just 26 packs. In July, Mariano, who works a day job in advertising operations, switched the campaign to Facebook, so he could more carefully target like-minded audiences.

Many donations now come from cat lovers who aren’t familiar with the game but want to support the charity. The Internet, of course, loves its cat humor. Because they appear to have a hit, the group is continuing to market strategically to spur demand at a rate they can keep up with, Mariano says.

No one’s being paid to work on the project. After covering the cost of production and shipping, about one-third of the proceeds go directly toward felines in need. The group works with no-kill shelters on adoptions, neutering programs, and emergency medical funds. The organization says that each purchase can provide food, shelter, and medical treatment for one cat for one week.

To avoid trademark trouble, the parody is different in a few key ways. SOXrescue’s version uses a slightly different typeface than Cards Against Humanity’s widely recognized Helvetica font. The cat cards have a different logo. Each reads “Cats Against Humanity” but with the last word blotted out by blue paint—a color associated with SOXrescue. It’s been replaced with “the world” scrawled in more blue, graffiti lettering below it. Each card also has a cat silhouette printed in one corner. Or cat butt, really. It’s drawn from the perspective of a cat walking away with it’s tail-raised like it couldn’t bother to pose.


Beyond that, the card themselves are fairly tame, playing on puns more than raunchy humor. “We have to be very careful how we worded things because there is a lot of profanity and vulgarity that gets tossed around and we didn’t want that to be associated with the nonprofit,” Mariano says. “We want to make sure it still maintains the tone but maintains the integrity of the nonprofit.”

SOXrescue may consider another offering for the holidays, if they can figure out the right way to spin it. Cards Against Humanity’s own seasonal releases are known to be pretty outlandish.

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About the author

Ben Paynter is a senior writer at Fast Company covering social impact, the future of philanthropy, and innovative food companies. His work has appeared in Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times, among other places.