Growing up in a beautiful little village about 20 miles SE of London, Cathy Kangas, now 55 years old, cared for three tortoises, one horse, dogs, and a ferret. “I had a little bit of a farm going right there at a young age,” said Cathy, whose lifelong passion for creatures led her to create the Cathy Kangas Foundation for Animals. “We ensure that every animal is protected and loved, particularly those in animal shelters. Two to three million healthy dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States every year,” she explained.
“We hold all the power with animals, and how we use that power shows who we are. Nothing gets my hackles up more than someone who is deliberately cruel to them,” Cathy said. Living with her husband and four rescue dogs in New Canaan, CT, she also shelters 12 rescue horses and a rescue donkey in a barn. Not surprisingly, she sits on the board of The Humane Society of the United States.
Free The Shelters, one of Cathy’s foundation programs, is an international campaign to unite homeless shelter animals and families by paying for adoption fees. “Shelters have to charge these fees to offset the costs associated with the animals’ medical and food bills. But many people will say, ‘Why spend $200 for a shelter pet when I can buy a pet for $250?’ By removing that obstacle, we give shelters the chance to promote free adoption weekends,” Cathy explained. “The first weekend we did, a year ago in Tampa Bay, FL, found homes for over 200 animals. Some had been languishing there for over two years.” Only eight to 12 animals will be adopted at this shelter on a normal weekend, Cathy said.
Giving Homes To Thousands Of Shelter Animals
Three shelters are selected every month to participate in the Free The Shelters program. “We go where the greatest needs are,” Cathy explained, such as to a shelter in a city that’s been hard hit by a hurricane. “We’ve found homes for over 6,000 shelter animals in the last year.”
Fortunately, Cathy can promote her foundation’s work on the shopping network HSN, which has been selling her skin care brand for women over 50, Prai Beauty, since its debut in 1999. After being immersed in the beauty industry as a long-time Revlon employee, Cathy was annoyed when the big beauty giants hired “16-year-old models” to promote their wrinkle cremes and firming lotions. She wanted to create an affordable luxury line which focused on the concerns of “the forgotten woman.”
The collection of about 50 Prai products includes Platinum Firm & Lift Serum and Eye Creme,24K Rose Gold Wrinkle Repair Night Butter, and Radiant Precious Oil Drops. But it’s Prai serums, cremes and concentrates for the throat, neck and decolletage areas that most set it apart from the proliferation of anti-aging brands on the market. “What woman hasn’t glanced down as she’s aging and suddenly thought, ‘OMG all those crinkles have popped up out of nowhere,’” Cathy said. “It’s such a vulnerable delicate area of skin where you get the vertical lines when you wake up, the tree trunk lines around the neck, the double chin and turkey wattle. It’s the area that shows the first telltale signs of aging.”
Saving Our Necks Too
The Prai AGELESS Throat & Decolletage Creme is the company’s number one seller worldwide. “We sell one jar every 60 seconds around the world,” Cathy said. “The complex of ingredients make the creme feel like no other on planet earth. Press your fingers against it and it springs up and down like a trampoline when you’re bouncing on it,” she added. “It’s made with a plant-derived, wrinkle-correcting agent from France, called Sepilift, that firms, tightens and restores elasticity to the skin by stimulating the concentration of collagen fibers,” Cathy explained. “I call this smoothing and moisturizing creme Spanx for your neck and throat because it scoops all that nasty, jiggly stuff back up to where it used to be.”
Prai Beauty is certified cruelty free by Leaping Bunny and Peta. “Leaping Bunny is the gold standard and is very difficult to get. We feel very strongly about not testing on animals and we’re happy to make that higher standard,” Cathy stressed. Besides selling on HSN, Prai is available on QVC around the world and at all Marks and Spencer and Boots stores in the UK. “We use a 68-year-old model in our ads across the UK , so women can feel she’s just like them,” Cathy said. “When you get to be in your 50s, you’re successful, enjoying life, and doing things you want to do. You don’t want to be 20 again, but all the beauty ads for anti-aging products use young models. ‘Oh, that’s not me,’ you think.” Prai also works with five models on its monthly HSN shows who are in their 50s through their 70s. “Our 75-year-old neck model is on every show. An 82-year-old applied to be a model, too,” Cathy noted.
Cathy originally wanted to be a barrister in England, but after working as a Revlon intern in the United States right out of college, she decided the law would be “way too boring.” So she accepted a permanent offer to work at the beauty giant in America, later became a citizen, and launched a successful career. Combining her love of animals with her love of beauty, Cathy donates a portion of each Prai Beauty sale to her animal rescue efforts. Now she’s saving thousands of cats and dogs, not to mention our necks!