There's nothing unmanly about curling up with a beloved kitty, and a group of hunky L.A. dudes hopes to change that gender bias one rippled ab at a time, thanks to a new charity calendar.
It's called "6 Packs/9 Lives," and true to its title, the calendar allows people to spend each month with a good-looking muscleman who poses with cats while dressed (or undressed) in an outfit appropriate for that time of year.
Mr. October wears tight pants and holds a cat mask, flashing a sexy smile. His compadre, a black cat, looks off into the distance mysteriously. And Mr. July makes some fireworks of his own by wrapping himself and his cat in the America flag.
According to Aimee Gilbreath, Executive Director of Found Animals, the Los Angeles-based animal charity that created the calendar, the idea of having physically fit fellows frolicking with felines, came during a brainstorming session.
"We were trying to figure out a way to let more people know that, contrary to the stereotype, there are lots of men who do like cats," Gilbreath told HuffPost Weird News. "In fact, there are more cats owned by people than dogs. On the other hand, 75 percent of all animals that are euthanized are cats."
WATCH: SEE THE HUNKS IN THE "6 PACKS/ 9 LIVES" CALENDAR
Although it would have been easy just to hire a bunch of "himbos" who can imitate Derek Zoolander's "Blue Steel" look while being surrounded by kitties, Gilbreath insisted the project have integrity, lest it be dogged by controversy.
"Part of the auditions was that the models had to own a cat," she said.
The men who made the cat calendar cut are truly an eclectic bunch. Mr. January is a personal trainer; Mr. March is a veterinary technician; and Mr. May, whose name is Igor, is interested in massage therapy.
And yes, while the shots of hunky guys next to pussycats are sure to appeal to women, Gilbreath also recognizes the possible appeal to gay men as well.
"We wanted to make something for everyone across the board," she said. "The people who love it most are 'animal people,' who think it is cute, kitschy and tongue-in-cheek.
One dollar from the sale of every calendar will go to benefit cat-oriented initiatives, such as spay-and-neuter programs, microchipping and adoption events and promotions.
But while Gilbreath is happy with the final results, she admits that getting the kitties to behave during the photo shoots was like, well, herding cats.
"The cover shot was hilarious," she said. "We had 20 kittens running around and we had four or five people who would pick up kittens and put them on this ball of yarn quickly and then step back in hopes of getting the shot."
That wasn't the only kitty "star trip" thrown on the set, according to Steven Snyder, who posed as Mr. July, with the American flag draped over him.
"I didn't want to bring my own cat because she weighs 16 pounds, so one of the people at Found Animals brought hers in," Snyder told HuffPost Weird News. "We had a fan to make the flag blow, but whenever it was on, the cat didn't like it."
Snyder says the chosen shot had no fan at all and while he's surprised that the photographer picked it over some others, a part of him understands.
"I think it was the only one where the cat is looking at the camera."
Snyder, 29, a professional actor best known for his role as "Darius Mason" in the hit videogame "Red Faction: Armegeddon," believes the calendar strikes a blow against those who would dare assume all cat owners are frumpy ladies with no life beyond trips to the pet food aisle at their local grocery store.
"I'm a straight guy and I like cats," he said. "I think this helps people get away from stereotypes. I think people who love cats are tough, supportive, no-nonsense people. My girlfriend is more of a dog person, but she is starting to like cats."
David Joyner, a DreamWorks producer who as Mr. April posed with his own cat, Niko, while holding a dumbbell, says he's surprised at the reaction he's getting from friends and colleagues.
"The cat-lady stereotype is being broken," he said. "I have old college friends who have seen the calendar and are excited. It has already caught on. One of my friends, a guy I work out with, told me that as a result of the calendar, he was thinking of getting a cat instead of a dog."
And who couldn't use a new leash on life?
VIEW: NEW CALENDAR DEMONSTRATES HUNKY GUYS LOVE CATS TOO
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