Atlanta resident, Sterling Davis thought music was his calling that was until he left the music industry to pursue his true calling – rescuing cats.
While on a break from a rap tour, Sterling applied for a job at a local shelter cleaning litter boxes to make a little extra money. While he has always loved cats and usually owned at least one, his time spent with feral cats and rescuers inspired him to be the change he wanted to see in the world.
Sterling reached out to his band and told them he would not be returning. He devoted all of his time and energy to assisting in cat rescues and educating others on the importance of trap-neuter-return (TNR). The only way to humanely reduce feral cat populations is through TNR, allowing them to bring them to the shelter to be vaccinated and spayed or neutered and then returned to their outdoor realm.
While Davis learned about TNR, he came to another realization.
“At the county shelter, there were no men and no Black people that worked in the cat department,” he said. “When I would go out and do TNR with all my friends, it would be all women — that’s who trained me. I finally asked the difficult question: ‘Where are all the guys and where are all the Black people?’”
He saw this as a wonderful opportunity to help save cats and add diversity to the cat rescue space.
After spending 5 years in the field performing TNR and learning all he could about cat rescue. He funneled that knowledge and passion and founded the nonprofit TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions in 2017.
TrapKing, as Davis is now known, made it his mission “to change the stereotypes of not only men in cat rescue, but also bridge the gap in communication between black communities and animal rescue/local shelters.”
“I’ve seen rescue be something that’s looked at as hard, tedious, sad,” he said. “If people can see me and I make this look like this is a rock-star type life, this is fun — you can do it.”
He enlisted in the Navy right out of high school and said his military background combined with his entertainment experience helps him connect with people of all ages and race.
“I think being in the military, being around different people, different cultures and being in entertainment is what actually helped me better communicate with all types of people and better communicate this mission,” he told Today. “I’ve literally been pushing to make TNR community cat care as common as recycling and get more people engaged in so many fun ways.”
He realized the dire need of TNR programs in communities across not just his state of Georgia, but the entire country. He hopes to soon travel with his rescue cats Bowie, Damita Jo and Alanis Mewissette across the country promoting TNR and helping local shelters along the way.
Children are the future and Davis has incorporated them into his education of TNR programs and cat rescue. His motto is “You don’t lose cool points for compassion.” He’s even urging Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to add a TNR badge to reach even more young people.
When his music money dried up, Davis sold everything he owned and bought a conversion van to live in to help pay for cat surgeries and support his nonprofit. He plastered the van with TrapKing logos and people started noticing. He hosted contests for kids, who would watch his humane traps. Whoever texted him first about a cat in a trap won $20, second place got $15 and so on.
“I started going into neighborhoods and kids would see me like the ice cream truck,” he said with a chuckle. “I would pull into apartment complexes and see young boys running up to the van trying to give me cats. ‘Hey Trap, look — I got a cat. Do I get some money?’”
In the meantime, TrapKing is working with Java Cats Café in Atlanta to help find homes for rescued cats. While Davis still believes in returning feral cats to their colony after they are spayed or neutered, some are better suited as indoor cats.
Rescuing cats is the focal point of his organization but he hopes to bring people together through a common cause. “I think something as selfless as rescue could be an example to the world of unity and working together,” he said. “So I want to put that out there.”
Davis has found a way to incorporate his love of music with rescue cats through his trap and release videos he shares on social media.
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