These Guys are the Cat’s Meow! And How!

By Julie,

Photography Side Projects

As I gaze up at the ceiling, awake at 2:30 in the afternoon, I often wonder – Who IS Who in the Lou? Just the other day, Mandi Kohlmeier chanced upon my daydream and offered a solution to my deep query: a confetti of cats chilling with St. Louis’ leading fellas. All at once, I felt the fluorescent floodgates open as I reached enlightenment.

Ok, so really she shared the final specs of her passion project in the form of this years’ Tenth Life Calendar, “TopCats.” Which is spectacular. The calendar features glamorous shots of cats from Tenth Life Cat Rescue snuggling up to influential men from the STL community who make St. Louis a rad place to live. We were extremely fortunate to get the involvement of local sports stars, businessmen, news anchors, artists, and musicians, all of whom volunteered their time and smiles to make this project work.

This calendar passion project sprouted up just last year in efforts to generate support and awareness for St. Louis’ Tenth Life Cat Rescue. Last year’s calendar, “Tomcats,” paired fine men with fancy cats; you can see where it all started here: Cats? Titillating Men? Why Wouldn’t You Put the Two Together? This first calendar generated $6,500 for Tenth Life. The goal for this year’s calendar sales is $10,000, all of which will go straight to helping the kitties.

01-David Backes and Beau

Quick Facts:
– Imagery for the entire calendar was shot in just 2 days
– Many of the featured cats are available for adoption
– At the end of the day, one of the guys adopted his modeling buddy!
– One of the cats in the calendar came to Tenth Life after having been shot in the face – TWICE! Despite his troubles, he was super friendly and cuddly during the shoot. He is a superb example of the impact TL rehabilitation has on the cats they rescue. Another cat was found ON FIRE after he was blown from a house explosion. After months at TL, he’s in great spirits and was recently adopted by an awesome family!
– Bruton Stroube Studios opened their doors to the project, volunteered many of its talented people and assets, and sponsored a month in the calendar. How could we not? Here’s how much fun we had:

St. Louis Top Cats featured:
David Backes :: Blues Team Captain, Founder of Athletes for Animals
Kevin Steincross :: Fox 2 News Anchor
Dr. Ed Migneco :: Veterinarian for Hillside Animal Hospital, one of the local vet offices that helps TL cats
Randy Grim :: Founder of Stray Rescue St. Louis (the doggie equivalent of Tenth Life)
Mike Woods, Matt Thornton, and Billy Rath :: Trader Bob’s Tattoos
Jack Hornberger and Jay Indovino :: Pedal the Cause, a biking charity organization that raises money for cancer research
Jeff and Randy Vines :: Owners/founders of STL-Style, creators of STL Inspired Clothing, and neighbors to Tenth Life on Cherokee Street
TJ Vytlacil :: Owner of restaurants Blood & Sand and Death in the Afternoon
Salman Shah :: Owner/Founder of JORD Wood Watches
Corey Smale and Jason Bockman :: Owners of Strange Donuts
Brian Owens :: Vocal Artist in Residence at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Jake Eshelman :: Founder of Side Project Skateboards, works for Paradowski, and has since gotten Paradowski involved with doing pro-bono marketing for Tenth Life. He’s the one who adopted his model-cat!
Drew Davidson and Karl Frank :: of Goshen Coffee, local coffee roasters and brewers (and regular coffee providers for Bruton Stroube Studios)

A giant Thank You goes out to everyone involved in this project – the great folks at Tenth Life, Mandi Kohlmeier for her ideas, enthusiasm, and excellent photography, Roger Stagner for his golden digital retouching, Andy DeVries for nailing the behind-the-scenes video editing, and all you wonderful men for making an impact on St. Louis communities.

There will be a Calendar Release Party on October 11th at the Tenth Life Store Front, 3202 Cherokee Street, from 1-4pm. The crew, some of the talent, and buckets of adorable kitties will be there. Everyone is welcome. Pre-sales for the Topcats Calendar are going on now, so order one for you, your cat-loving friends, and your favorite St. Louisan. All proceeds – that’s right, 100% of sales – will go towards Tenth Life rescue efforts.  You can learn more about what Tenth Life is doing for the cat community on their website, or as “tenthlifecats” on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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