Chris Poole, colleague of feline phenoms Cole & Marmalade

by | Feb 20, 2019

Chris Poole—a Tampa resident best known, as he describes it, being owned by feline phenoms Cole and Marmalade—remembers growing up in Nottingham, England and his family having an array of pets, including his first black cat, Sarah. Poole recalls landing an internship at Big Cat Rescue, in Tampa, which sounded appealing, as an animal-loving young Englishman: undertaking various tasks at the Florida sanctuary for abused, abandoned, and orphaned big cats. Sometime later, Pool says, he learned there was a job opening at Big Cat Rescue for a videographer, applied, was hired, and spent the next few years living in a trailer on the sanctuary grounds, shooting all sorts of video pieces. During this time, Poole explained, he heard about a tiny, skinny, flea-infested that a friend found on the side of the road in Pasco County. He adopted this frail black cat, and nursed him back to health. Poole notes that once he learned that black cats are typically the last ones to be adopted from shelters–and, likewise, are euthanized at higher rates than other cats–he made and posted a video, “10 Reasons To Adopt A Lucky Black Cat,” which elicited strong response and a huge number of views. (Though impossible to quantify precisely, the clip likely boosted the number of black-cat adoptions.) Then came Marmalade, among a litter of kittens that people living nearby were trying to get absorbed into a feral colony. Poole and his wife, Jessica, adopted the orange tabby, and the videographer shot a piece documenting the two cats’ introduction, “When Cole Met Marmalade…” which drew more than 2.4 million views! It was a whole new ballgame, and probably marks the beginning of the Cole and Marmalade phenomenon—at this point, across the cats’ Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube accounts, they have more than three million followers. Poole addresses some of the good works they seek to do through messaging—including the importance of adoption, spay/neuter, avoiding the declaw procedure, etc.–to that large following, as well as helping cats &/or their humans, who are facing a significant medical, financial or other challenge. (

Here’s the Facebook Live stream of the interview with Chris Poole:

ALSO: I spoke with Ornella Varchi, Chief Development Officer of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, who provided an update on the organization’s progress and plans for the building of its new shelter—which will be more than twice the size of the current shelter, and equipped with new features and amenities, including air conditioning—as they enter the final fundraising phase. (

COMEDY CORNER:  Dana Gould “Snakes & Alligators” (portion) (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Los Lobos’ “Will The Wolf Survive?”


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