Sterling Davis is a man driven to educate and assist communities in Trap Neuter Return (TNR) — the “only human alternative to euthanasia for feral/stray cats”.
The 38 year old ex military vet takes pride in redefining the image of animal rescue, stating that “it’s not a Woman thing, it’s not a White thing….it’s compassion and a human thing. If my mission is successful, it won’t be rare to see more compassionate men and Black people involved in care, ideas, and support for our community pets.”
Sterling has used the Ink To The People platform to help spread the message of TNR, supplying his compassionate followers with a variety of apparel from hoodies to t-shirts as they go out into the communities and make impact in their own ways. We were able to get ahold of him to share some insight on what drives him…
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you and what is your daily hustle like?
I’m a pretty eccentric guy, at least that’s what I get told a lot. I love music; guys like Prince, Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Jackson. I love basketball, am a huge Lebron James fan and lover of ALL THINGS CATS! Currently I’m living out of my van so a regular day for me is getting up, checking on my kitties, and then heading out to spread the word about TNR and community cat care. Before I did a lot more trapping on my own but as of late, my focus has been more towards education and getting people engaged in it themselves. I’m hoping to get a camper to pull with my van so I can travel everywhere and spread the word!
Tell me all about Trap King and your cause.
TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions is the name of my nonprofit. I started it a little over a year ago to get the Black community and men more engaged in community cat care and TNR (Trap Neuter Return — the alternative to death/euthanasia for feral/stray cats). When I started years ago working for shelters, I realized there really weren’t a lot of guys like me messing with cats. I saw how much more effective the mission could be if the Black community and men participated more. Right after a music tour I decided to stay and focus on filling that void. I still record and love doing music but I am currently living the mission of cats, community, and compassion.
What got you started with raising money / working in cat care and why is it important?
At first I knew nothing about a nonprofit. I actually started an LLC and had to immediately dissolve it and start a 501c3 because I didn’t know I needed donations. I’ve always sucked at asking for money. Once I saw that I could start a campaign, I was a lot more comfortable with that route. Donations are how my nonprofit is able to pay for cat food, cat surgeries, cat traps, vaccinations and anything that’s helping the mission to spread the word of TNR! TNR is good because it prevents overpopulation and spreading diseases— so it’s important for communities even if you like or don’t like cats!
Why did you decide to start a t-shirt campaign?
I wanted to raise awareness; I wanted something cool that could get everyone’s attention and what better than a t-shirt campaign with the coolest logo ever on it!
What does the t-shirt design and message mean to you?
The message and design mean everything to me.
I trademarked it and I loved it as soon as I came up with it. The logo is cute, cool, and leaves the door open for the question, “Why is the cat missing the tip of its ear?” That walks me right into the conversation of explaining TNR because once cats are trapped, spayed/neutered and vaccinated; they are given a small notch or ear tip before they are taken back to their colony. This is so that everyone can know that the cat has already been through the TNR process and is ok. He/she isn’t overpopulating or spreading disease.
How did you determine your fundraising goal?
My goal was very modest. I honestly didn’t really have money in mind at first. I tended to be bad with money, so initially my goal was very low because I really just wanted to spread the word. Later on I started to figure out that I needed funds / a realistic goal if I wanted to really be effective with this mission.
Where are the funds being donated? Why?
The funds are donated to TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions. That’s how I am able to purchase cat food, vaccines, spay/neuter. It’s how I’ve been able to not only help rescue cats in Atlanta, but I’ve been able to donate as well as go to other cities to teach and do TNR!
Tell me a little bit about your experience with Ink to the People.
Ink to the People for me are like family. They were some of the first people that believed in me and TrapKing… I’m all about loyalty and positive energy and they have been there and positive from the start! Willing to help with designs, advice, or whatever it is….they have always been helpful rather the campaign sells 6 items or if it sells 500!
Do you have any cats yourself?
Yes I have two cats of my own, Rick James and Damita Jo… I’m also co-parenting a little kitty named Bue with a friend that foster failed!
What’s the best part of having a pet?
Best thing about a pet for me is that they are more than pets, they are family. Coming from child abuse, and not a lot of unity or people in your corner, they are my everything. They are my love, my affection, my motivation! They do so much for me that I look at what I do as repaying a debt to friends that saved my life!
What the best memory you have with them?
The best memory with Rick James is him waking me up in the morning. He’s always on my back, licking the coconut oil off of my head! For Damita Jo, it’s riding in the van and traveling with her to events. She’s so smart and brave. Rick James is older and doesn’t like to travel like that, but Damita Jo is always up for a good adventure. There was an event called KittyCon in Florida and she was just cool with everyone and walking around on a leash! I was so proud of her!
What are you looking forward to in 2019?
In 2019 I am looking forward to getting a YouTube series started as well as the first ever sorority/fraternity based on TNR and community cat care! That’s right, the mission doesn’t stop! Sounds crazy, but I will pull it off!
Do you have any tips for people creating their own campaigns?
For those of you looking to start your own campaign, I say go with your heart and love it! People can grind or work hard to do a lot of things but when you do what you do from the heart, no matter the obstacles, you can keep going. You do more when you do it with your heart, so I would say start a campaign about something and only something that you are truly passionate about.