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Mandy Moore Interview: New Album, Saving Cats + Married Life Advice [EXCLUSIVE]

Mandy Moore
Mark Sullivan, Getty Images

Mandy Moore has four rescue cats, two dogs and three feral cats in her neighborhood that she feeds — and from the sound of it, she’s almost ready to give a loving home to another pet! “I’m sitting amongst like two rooms filled with cats, and it’s make me crazy,” she tells PopCrush. “I think I want home a new furry friend today. It’s so tempting.”

Mandy — singer, actress and animal lover — spoke to us via a phone call from an animal shelter in Denver, Colo., where she was promoting the latest cause she’s involved with, Purina Cat Chow’s Building Better Lives program.

While we chatted plenty about her own pets and why she’s so passionate about helping animals, we also had the chance to catch up with Mandy on what to expect from her upcoming album, which she hopes to release in late 2014. Plus, she gave a little married life advice!

Can you give us an update about what you’re working on now, especially the status of your next album?

Career-wise, I’ve sort of been focusing on music for the last little bit and really trying to put the pedal to the metal and have been writing a lot lately and collaborating with my husband, who’s also a musician. I’m hoping to just continue to pour my creative energy into that side of my life and have some new music out later this year.

Does the new album have a release date, or a title, or any concrete details yet?

No concrete details. We’re still writing right now. But I hope to start recording in the next couple of months, so hopefully, I would say in the next six months or so the record will probably surface in one way or another.

With your husband Ryan, who is such an incredibly talented musician, working on the album with you, what kind of sound can we expect? Will it deviate at all from what we’ve heard in the past?

Sure! I guess that’s the point of being a creative person. You don’t want to get complacent and sort of stuck in the same place creatively. I guess as I continue to evolve and have more life experience, that’s gonna certainly influence the type of music I listen to and want to write about. I guess this record will probably … my husband has a studio and it’s all analog, and that’s how he makes his records, so I’m hoping to sort of take the same approach and just record live to tape with a band on the floor. I think that sort of lends itself to having a sort of raw energy, and it feels slightly more dangerous as opposed to like, you know, recording something digitally to Pro-Tools, and you can do a million takes. It feels more like the live performance aspect of getting it right in one or two takes when you’re recording to tape. So I don’t know, [but] I know it’ll sort of at least have that infusion to it.

Is there one song that you’re particularly excited about so far?

It’s so difficult … nothing really has official titles. We’re still very much in the writing phase, so I don’t know what’s going to end up making it on the record or not. But, you know, so much has happened over my life over the last five years since I’ve put a record out! I’ve gotten married, I’ve been friends with people who’ve been married and divorced, I’ve lost some friends … lots of fodder to write about. So all of that is influencing what I want to speak about and what I want to sing about. It’ll all make it on the record.

I’d love to hear all about the four cats that you and Ryan rescued – what’s the story behind rescuing them, what are their names? Do they all get along?

My husband and I have adopted four cats, and two dogs — can’t leave out the dogs, even though we’re here to talk about cats. Our cats are Theo, Vincent, Addison and Maddie, and they’re the apple of our eyes. Ryan grew up with cats, I grew up with cats, and I think we knew when we got married that we definitely wanted to add cats to our family. So we adopted Theo and Vincent first, and they’re brothers and they’re orange. We adopted them from a local animal welfare rescue organization in Los Angeles where we live. And then Addison and Maddie, we were shopping for pet food about a year ago, and a local rescue [organization] was having an adoption fair at the pet store. We were just going in for pet supplies, and somehow, we walked out with two kittens [laughs]. That’s just what happens sometimes in our house. I kind of feel like, if I let my husband — as much as I love our animals, and I would have as many as possible — I think if I let him, we would probably have 10 or 15 cats by now. I sort of had to put the limit — I was like, four is enough, ’cause we also take care of three feral cats that live in our backyard. We feed them twice a day like we do our indoor pets. So we have like a whole zoo happening. I think we’re pretty … we’re kind of tapped out for now.

But I’m actually at the MaxFund Animal Adoption Center here in Denver, for the Purina Cat Chow Building Better Lives campaign. The brand is actually donating $275,000 to 50 different cat-focused shelters around the country, and this one in particular, along with two other shelters — one in Arkansas and one in Minnesota — are getting a $50,000 donation for sort of bigger renovation project. But I’m sitting amongst like two rooms filled with cats, and it’s make me crazy. I think I want home a new furry friend today. It’s so tempting.

Some people are impulse shoppers. It sounds like you’re –

[Laughs] We’re impulse adopters!

You’re giving these cats a good home.

Yeah! We have the love, we have the capacity, so why not?

What’s your favorite part about being a cat owner?

I think beyond it being just a quality of life issue and sort of the unconditional love aspect that pets bring into your life, I think just the health benefits, too. It lowers your blood pressure, it helps alleviate stress. I mean, there’s a million and one reasons to adopt or to bring a new friend into your home. They’re just, they’re the best. And I feel lucky having the combination of dogs and cats and lucky that everybody sorts of gets along with each other, too. Because the dogs bring that sort of constant, unconditional love, constantly. You walk in the door, and they’re excited to see you even if you’ve been gone for five minutes. Whereas the cats, you have to work a little harder for the affection. And I love that they kind of give it you on their own terms. I appreciate that. I really respect that. And once you’ve earned their trust and their love, forget it — it’s over. They’ll be sleeping on your head in no time.

Did you have pets when you were growing up?

We did! I grew up with three cats. We didn’t have dogs growing up, but we had cats. And Ryan had a cat growing up, too. And funny enough, all of our closest friends — our circle of friends — they’re all cat people as well. So the husbands and wives are equally obsessed with the cats. We talk about the cats, we talk about cat furniture, and cat accessories and cat toys and all kind of just ridiculous cat stories that we share with one another.

How would you suggest other animal lovers help out with a cause like this? What should someone do if there are stray cats in their neighborhood that need a home?

I would suggest people contact a local rescue organization to help them out with the feral cat situation, helping them sort of humanely trap them. That way they can get fixed and get all of their shots and either be released back where they were found, or hopefully can be adopted.

In terms of this particular program, I also want to encourage people — another way they can help out is just to log onto their own social media channel, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and use the hashtag #MyRescueStory and share your sort of unique rescue story — how you got to have your furry friend in your life. If we get 1,500 people to do that, then Purina Cat Chow has said they’re going to donate an extra $50,000 to PetFinder.com and all of the shelters that they help out across the country. So get out there, log on, use the hashtag #MyRescueStory, and thank you!

Last question —  as a newly married girl myself, I’ve got to ask this — you and Ryan celebrated 5 years of marriage this year. What’s your best tip for married life?

[Laughs] I don’t really have any tips for married life! I guess just finding time for one another, and making sure that you keep those lines of communication open. That would be my best advice. But good luck to you! Congratulations.

NEXT: See Cute Celebrity Pets!

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