Cat adoption group rallies behind Buffalo Bills kicker

A no-kill, non-profit cat adoption agency in Western New York says it has received over $150,000 of pledged donations since declaring support for Buffalo Bills placekicker Tyler Bass, calling him a “Cat Dad.”

The Ten Lives Club posted to Facebook on Monday, “WE STAND WITH TYLER BASS. DON’T BULLY OUR FRIEND.”

The organization says Bass received criticism online after he missed a game-tying 44-yard field goal late in Sunday’s 27-24 playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Ten Lives Club, founded in 2001, called for fans to show their support for the kicker by pledging donations to the organization in the amount of $22 in Bass’ name. Bass wears jersey No. 2 for the Bills.

Previously, Bass had not missed any of his field goal attempts in the last two minutes of fourth quarters or in overtime when his team was tied or trailing by three points or fewer.

The Ten Lives Club knows a thing or two about Bass that others may not.

As the group said on Facebook, “Tyler doesn’t deserve any of the hate he’s receiving. He’s an excellent football player and an even better person who took the time to help our organization and rescue cats last year. Leave our friend alone.”

The Ten Lives Club’s original post showed a picture of Bass posing with an kitten in a campaign for “Show Your Soft Side.” The accompanying caption referred to Bass as a “Cat Dad.”

The ad for the non-profit read, “No wonder Tyler Bass is so fast on his feet. He’s part cat.”

CNN has reached out to Bass and the Bills.

As of Tuesday evening, the Ten Lives Club had raised more than $155,000 via Facebook, its website, Venmo and a $5,000 donation from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, club PR manager Kimberly LaRussa told CNN in an email.

“Donations are coming in from all kinds of football fans – Chiefs, Steelers, even Dolphins fans,” LaRussa said.

One post read, “I’m a born and raised Bears fan but I have a LOT of Bills fans in my life - happily, happily donated!”

Another donor states, “Chiefs fan here. Happy to donate!”

LaRussa told CNN affiliate WKBW on Tuesday she hoped people would see there’s more to Bass – and life – than football.

“He’s human, he’s a person, we all have feelings. I know people are very passionate about football in Western New York, but you also have to think about him as a person, and the human that he is,” she told WKBW.

“He happens to be an excellent football player and is an excellent human as well.”

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