This is going to be a VERY long post, with a lot of explanation. But we hope you get a chance to read it, because we're opening up some information we've never shared before!
We hope you comment on this. And if you have any questions or suggestions, we hope you email us at email@example.com -- also, we're interspersing random recent photographs from Mr. Academy's cell phone to help take the sting out.
TL;DR: You all want to watch ads to help the kittens. Watching ads will help the kittens. So please do watch ads when they arrive.
So, recently, we ran a poll on the live stream, asking whether people would rather watch advertisements, donate, or just leave the kittens at the academy to starve.
OK, not really the last thing. We've never expected anyone else to help us on this. We never even really expected anyone else to know about it, or watch. When we first started the YouTube channel and livestream, we thought only our friends would care. And when we started this website, it was only because we happened to be browsing domain names and couldn't resist the adorableness of a name like kitten.academy. We're so glad -- so humbled that all of you have joined us and participated in the love for these kittens since then.
We pay for all food, vet bills, and everything else for these kittens. We don't even let the shelter pay for anything.
"Mr. Academy's" mom -- our mom watches the stream and follows us on YouTube -- suggested we tell you all how much money we spend. In the last month, we've spent a little over a thousand dollars in vet bills for these kittens, and almost the same amount again in supplies cost -- mostly food. We wouldn't normally bring numbers into this, but it was Mom's idea. She even said we could blame her, so we are. It's all your fault, Mom. .... I'm sorry. We love you, Mom. (Incidentally, we've asked my mom to be a guest writer or artist on this blog. Please encourage her in the comments!)
Just so you know, the expense in the last month is not completely normal. For instance, Hazel's litter at the beginning of the year had only one vet visit. Hazel was an incredible mom and her kittens were super healthy. And this month, things are even worse than usual -- We had Victoria Sponge Cake here, she was singularly unwell, and spent two nights at the vet. That was almost five hundred dollars, all by itself. And just for the record, she came back healthy and happy, and is at On Angel's Wings now, waiting to be adopted. She is really sweet. I just dropped in to see her a couple days ago, and she just wanted to roll over and have me rub her belly and purr. As an adult cat, she's a super winner!
Before we get into the poll results, let me say that we've never, ever taken money for this before, in any way. We put up a donation link a week or two ago, on the website. We got exactly ONE donation so far. Marius, from Germany... you're awesome! So many people asked us how to donate you are the only one who actually did. Marius in Germany is a hero to kittens!!
A number of you have asked for PayPal as a payment option. We think that's a good idea. We will be providing that. As soon as we get time to sort it out. As you all know, the kittens here are the priority, and between "Mr. Academy's" day job that provides the money for these kittens in the first place, and the fact that DJ is out of town this month and can't help out around the Academy, time is tight!
You are overwhelmingly in favor of advertising. Now, so far, we don't know what we're doing, and we just hope we manage everything appropriately. YouTube has several types of advertisement. Our plan is to only allow the kinds of ads that appear at the bottom of the screen during a video, and nothing that's too intrusive or interrupting. But we don't know what YouTube will demand.
The important thing here is that the poll says watching ads is better than donating. So we hope you all will understand when ads show up, and watch them. But for our part, we will monitor how things go, and if it turns out to be a real problem, we'll revisit this decision. We'd much rather continue to cover all expenses alone, and have you enjoy the kittens and increase exposure, than have you help with the expenses. If that's the choice. If you can help, and the kittens also get just as much exposure and enjoyment, then that's a win for everyone!
Any of you who have read this far; you're awesome. We're sorry there's so much to say about this. But we're very flattered that you're involved enough to read this entire post! And the kittens are glad too.