When James Harrison was released from the Pittsburgh Steelers in the off-season, he made the bold decision to sign with the rival Cincinnati Bengals. But the Bengals aren't the only cats that the 4x All-Pro and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year loves. Harrison already gives a lot of his time to the James Harrison Family Foundation, and now he's adding another charity to his causes: the James Harrison Kitty Foundation.
"Cats mean a lot to me," said Harrison. "When I was playing for the Rhein Fire in Europe to keep my career alive, a little kitten used to come to my apartment door everyday before I went to the field. Eventually I adopted the thing, and Fluffy became my greatest friend. He kept me motivated to be a better football player, and I thank him for all of the opportunities I've had to put Joe Flacco on his back."
Details are a little scarce on what the mission and vision are for the organization, but Harrison did say that he only wanted to focus on house cats and strays - although he is considering a tiger foundation in the future. "I'm all about the small cats now, but I might move onto bigger ones later. Right now my focus is on families and house cats; our next foundation will probably be dedicated to something bigger. Like elephants."
Harrison has already recruited some of his old playing buddies for the cause, including future Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis. "If cats were ugly, we would think that they were nasty, cruel little buggers," said Bettis, "but they're cute so we love them. Class is what people care about, and cats are classy animals."
We look forward to seeing what the foundation will accomplish, and maybe next year we'll make the James Harrison Kitty Foundation one of the charities for the 2014 Brocathalon if all goes well. We're still dog people, although the first promo poster for the Kitty Foundation almost makes us like cats: