Rapper challenges the perception of Black men in cat rescue

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?’’

The answer: There's just you.

Davis realized he had a new calling. He let his band know he would not be coming back on tour. Instead, he was going to devote all his time to cat rescue as the TrapKing.
Sterling "TrapKing" Davis uses humane traps that don’t hurt cats, and baits them with treats like mackerel, chicken and catnip.Courtesy of Sterling TrapKing Davis
After five years of working at the shelter run by LifeLine Animal Project and training with Best Friends Animal Society, Davis founded the nonprofit TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions in 2017.

His bold goal: to change stereotypes of men in cat rescue and bridge the communication gap between Black communities and predominately white animal welfare organizations.

“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.”

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Nearly 80 million U.S. households have a pet, and 42 percent of those households have more than one, according to a 2015-2016 survey by the APPA. There are 77.8 million pet dogs in the U.S. and 85.8 million pet cats.

Davis is changing stereotypes of men in cat rescue through his unique style and outreach.Courtesy of Sterling TrapKing Davis

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’ve had a lot of parents reach out to me and say that their son gets made fun of because he likes cats. I just want it to be known that you cannot lose cool points for compassion.

Sterling "TrapKing" Davis

“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?’”

As the TrapKing became better known, opportunities arose. The Atlanta Humane Society offered to spay and neuter cats he brought for free, which was a huge help since he wasn’t charging anyone for his services.