Enter for Your Chance to Win CWA Conference Registration in Houston TX!

Win CWA conference registration by entering and sharing this fun contest — You’ll love this 24th CWA Conference event, whether an experienced professional writer or an aspiring writer just starting out. Sessions apply to all genres, whether you write fiction, nonfiction, cat- or dog-content or (fill in the blank). It’s the PURR-fect opportunity to pounce into publishing a book, blog, biography or more!

cat writers conference


Calling All Writers — experienced and yet-to-be-published — for a PAW-TASTIC conference event with an incredible celebrity keynote speaker!

But you don’t even have to love pets (or write about them) to benefit, because the writing/publishing/promotion sessions offer universal information:

  • PUBLISHING (Print, Ebook, Audio)

Value added if you also love cats the way we do–visit the cat show for shopping, book signing, and drooling/SQUEE-ing ops!

Don’t delay–the clock is ticking on this opportunity. NOTE: the more you SHARE the contest, the greater your chance to WIN THE REGISTRATION.  So enter now!

Remembering Darlene Arden: A Tribute

Darlene Arden with Aimee the Chartreux. (all images from CWA Anniversary Slide Show Presentation)



It has taken me quite a while to put my thoughts together and write something about Darlene Arden, who recently passed away. Although not a member at the time of her death, Darlene was a longtime supporter and member of the CWA, a Charter Member, and served in many capacities through the years. As a volunteer, she coordinated the agent/editor appointments several years in a row. As a professional member, she spoke at our conference events and frequently moderated panels. Darlene served on the Council and was a mentor to many new members–as well as experienced ones.

Quietly behind the scenes, and without fanfare, she championed good writing about cats and dogs, and the people who shared her passion. In 2013, Darlene received the Shojai Mentor Award–but she never mentored for the attention or accolades. I know the award caught her by surprise, and I hope she treasured it as much as those who received her support and advice.

She believed in helping others achieve their dreams. In the early years of CWA, Darlene was not only a trusted confident, and guiding light for CWA, she was a treasured friend.

L-R: Cheryl Smith, CWA Secretary and Darlene Arden, with Rodale Press editor Matthew Hoffman. CWA Conference 1996, Anaheim, CA.



I met Darlene at a Dog Writers’ Association of America awards banquet back in 1993–where I also met (and roomed with) Cheryl Smith, another one-time CWA mover-and-shaker who has passed on far too early. The three of us became fast friends, never mind that Cheryl lived in the Pacific Northwest, Darlene in Boston and me in Texas. We were all passionate about pets, and writing. I convinced both of these award-winning dog writers to join CWA–it took a bit of wranging for them to write “cat copy” and qualify–and they jumped in and adopted the organization with enthusiasm.

Besides, Darlene and I had other things in common. We were both actors. She was a dancer (I tried), and we both were singers. She had been a coloratura soprano (that’s the highest of the high opera range) before dedicating her work to the written word. Our round-robin-email-exchanges were spicy, hilarious and supportive.

1996 CWA Conference in Anaheim


When I met her, Darlene lived with Ebeneezer (Neezie), a gorgeous Yorkshire Terrier show dog she described as a “toddler looking for the zipper in his dog suit.” It took her years after his passing to bring herself to adopt another fur-kid. Even then, she thought beyond herself and set out to find a companion her beloved mother would also adore. I was there when Darlene met her sweet Chartreux cat Aimee for the first time, in a hotel room during the CWA conference event held in conjunction with the CFA show….In Houston, I believe. Darlene went on to become a certified animal behavior consultant for both dogs AND cats, and who knows how many pet lives and relationships she saved.


It wasn’t only strangers and new acquaintances she helped. Darlene was equally generous with her “chosen family” of close friends. When CWA member and good friend Kari Winters died, Darlene led the charge and secured a memorial contest special award in her honor that continues today. That same year, she accepted a posthumous award on Kari’s behalf (see picture above).

Darlene knew and was respected by veterinarians all over the world, who she interviewed for print or media stories throughout her career. For example, when many speakers for Tufts Animal Expo (an October event) cancelled attendance right after the September 11th attack, Darlene reached out to Tufts organizers. She recommended a number of last-minute fill in speakers. That’s how Cheryl, Darlene and I (and I don’t know how many others) ended up presenting at this prestigious event. That was Darlene.

Her biting wit and take-no-prisoner opinions were also Darlene. She demanded respect and accepted nothing less and had little patience with “good enough” — it had to be the same high standard to which she held herself. She could cut with the written word in oh-so-politely phrased sentences more deeply than anyone I know, but she reserved this for when she felt her cause was just. Darlene was champion of the underdog (and cat). Even when we disagreed, which happened more often in later years, I always respected her for that.

I have to wonder what incredible conversations Mordecai, Michael and Darlene now enjoy!


Different people adapt to change more easily than others. Darlene’s vision of right and wrong never wavered. Her personal ethics ruled her life. While she was an “early adopter” of some kinds of social media (Darlene RULED Facebook and Twitter!) other changes–particularly to publishing and blurred lines defining blogging/reporting–weren’t as easily accepted. I know that was very difficult for her these past several years.

Darlene Arden was one of a kind. CWA wouldn’t be what it is today without her valued guidance and support. I will deeply miss the friendship we shared and talented woman I knew.

Cat Writers’ Association Announces Winners in its International Communications Contest

The 2016 CWA Awards Banquet Program is available as a PDF that can be downloaded at your convenience.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (all images Copr. Jerry Thornton, used with permission, unless otherwise noted)

CHANDLER, AZ: The 22nd annual Cat Writers’ Association Communication Contest drew more than 290 entries from all over the globe, with Catherine Holm taking home the “best of the best” CWA President’s Award for her short story entitled Sideways.

More than $11,000 in prize money and more than three dozen Muse medallion awards were presented in writing, photography and graphic arts categories at the special awards ceremony held at the joint CWA/BlogPaws conference at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Chandler, AZ on Friday.

Contests Chair Arden Moore provided an entertaining presentation event.

“Each year, we set new records for entry submissions and each year, the quality of submission improves,” said Arden Moore, founder of Four Legged Life.com, who served at this year’s CWA contest chair. “Some of the most competitive categories were for blog posts – a clear sign of the impact and influence online articles are having on the pet community.”

Among the highlights from the awards ceremony:

  • JaneA Kelley scored the only perfect score among all 290 entrants for her article entitled, “Recessionista.” She scored 100 from each of the three judges.
  • Leslea Newman won both the Books for Children category and the Litter-ary Award sponsored by World’s Best Cat Litter for her book Ketzel: The Cat Who Composed.
  • The most competitive category – online article focusing on health and general care produced a tie. Sharing this category and each winning a coveted CWA Muse medallion were Dusty Rainbolt for her article, “Researchers Study Kitten Mortality” and Kim Campbell Thornton for her article, “Catch It Early.”
  • Kim Campbell Thornton was also recoginzed for her lifelong impact in the pet industry and was named the recipient of the Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award. Fran Pennock Shaw nominated Thornton and noted, “Kim is a professional in every sense of the word – an award-winning editor, author and journalist, an advocate for the betterment of cats and all animals, and a leader within the Cat Writers’ Association.”


CWA 2015 Communication Contest

Muse Medallion Winners

Teresa Keiger (L) receives Muse from Dusty Rainbolt.

Magazine National Circulation

Teresa Keiger – Cat Talk

 Magazine Article/Health & General Care

Fran Pennock Shaw – An Aggressive Foe

Magazine Article/Behavior & Training

Sophia Yin, DVM – Young Cats, New Tricks

Magazine Article/Rescue & Advocacy

Bethany Wynn – Three Mascoteers

Magazine Article – Any Other Topic

Catherine Hess – The Cat’s Meow

JaneA Kelly (L) receives Muse from Dusty Rainbolt.

Magazine Column

JaneA Kelley – Recessionista

Jen Reeder (L) receives Muse from Dusty Rainbolt.

Newspaper Article/Rescue&Advocacy

Jen Reeder – Cat Crusader

Newspaper Column

Ewing, Susan M. – The Pet Pen

Louise Holton (L) receives Muse from contest chair Arden Moore.

Newsletter/Regional Or Membership

Louise Holton – Alley Cat Mews

Newsletter/Health & General Care

Sally Deneen – Can Treats Make Them Pack on Pounds?

Newsletter Article/Any Other Topic

Ramona Marek – Estate Planning and Your Pets

Newsletter Column

Lyn Garson – Technically Speaking

Catherine Holm (L) receives Muse from Dusty Rainbolt.

Short Story

Catherine Holm – Sideways

Linda Mohr (L) receives Muse from Dusty Rainbolt.


Linda Mohr – Morning Visitor


Allia Zobel Nolan – Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much

Contest Chair Arden Moore (L) presents Muse to Jen Reeder.

Opinion Piece

Jen Reeder – Let’s Discuss Pets During Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Humane Education Press Kits

Bernadette Kazmarski – Homeless Cat Management

Books – Fiction

Carole Nelson Douglas – Cat In A Yellow Spotlight

Books for Children

Lesléa Newman – Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed

Kim Thornton (L) presents Muse to Amy Shojai

Books Health & General Care

Amy Shojai – Cat Facts: The A-to-Z Pet Parent’s Home Care Encyclopedia

Books – Other

Dahlynn and Ken McKowen and Margie Yee Webb – Not Your Mother’s Book on Cats

JaneA Kelly (L) presents Muse to Lisa Richman.

Video, CD, DVD or TV Production

Lisa Richman – Our Wish

(L-R) JaneA Kelly, Kim Thornton, Dusty Rainbolt, Arden Moore.

Online Article/Health & General Care (tie)

Dusty Rainbolt – Researchers Study Kitten Mortality

Kim Campbell Thornton – Catch It Early

JaneA Kelly (L) presents Muse to Janiss Garza.

Online Article/Behavior & Training

Janiss Garza – 5 Myths About Cat Walking

CWA President Marci Kladnik (L) receives Muse from Dusty Rainbolt.

Online Article/ Rescue & Advocacy

Marci Kladnik – How One Massive TNR Project Broke My Heart and My Spirit

Online Article/Any Other Topic

Camille Dodero – Corporate Cats Still Suck

Online Column

Phillip Mlynar – Monday Miracle Column

Lisa Richman (L) receives Muse from Dusty Rainbolt.

Blog Entertainment

Lisa Richman — A Tonk’s Tail

Blog/ Any Other Topic

Melissa Lapierre – Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries and Meows

Jerry Thornton (L) receives Muse from Kim Thornton.

Color Photograph Single

Jerry Thornton – Jaguar – Wild Cats of the Americas

President Marci Kladnik receives Muse from Kim Thornton.

Color Photographs Series

Marci Kladnik – How One Massive TNR Project Broke My Heart and My Spirit

Kim Thornton (L) presents Muse to Christine Booras.

Photographic Art

Christine Booras – Me, My Ferals And I


Stephanie Piro – Dream

Illustration Single

Bernadette Kazmarski – Snowy Morning

Illustrations Series

Ewa O’Neill – I Want A Cat: My Opinion Essay



AAFP Cat Friendly Award – Sponsored by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Winner: Nancy Peterson for “One More Reason to Book Your Cat’s Next Vet Checkup Today.”

Deb Barnes (L) is presented with the Adopt A Shelter Award from Dusty Rainbolt

Adopt a Homeless Cat Award – Sponsored by AdoptAShelter.Com. Winner: Deb Barnes for “Oct. 16 – National Feral Cat Day: Any Cat Can Be Feral…Even Yours.”

Amy Shojai (L) is presented with the Dr. Jim Richards Cornell Feline Health Center award by Contest Chair Arden Moore.

The Dr. Jim Richards Cornell Feline Health Center Veterinary Issues Award – Sponsored by Cornell University’s Feline Health Center. Winner: Amy Shojai for “Cat Facts: The A-to-Z Pet Parent’s Home Care Encyclopedia.”

Lea-Ann Germinder presents the Human Animal Bond Award from GoodNewsForPets.com

Human-Animal Bond Award – Sponsored by GoodNewsForPets.Com. Winner: Ramona Marek for “The Strength of the Human-Animal Bond.”

JaneA Kelly accepts one of three gorgeous Hartz awards on behalf of the winner.

Hartz Every Day Chewable Vitamin Award – Sponsored by Hartz Mountain Corporation. Winner: Deborah Camp for “Cats Are Subject to Mental Changes.”

Hartz Glamour-Puss Award – Sponsored by Hartz Mountain Corporation. Winner: Debbie DeLouise for “Brush Your Cat for Bonding, Beauty and Better Health.”

Hartz Milk Replacement for Kittens Award – Sponsored by Hartz Mountain Corporation. Winner: Valerie Sicignano for “The Cats On My Block.”

JaneA Kelly (L) presents the Kari Winters Rescue and Rehabilitation Award from TICA to the CWA President Marci Kladnik

The Kari Winters Rescue and Rehabilitation Award – Sponsored by The International Cat Association (TICA). Winner: Marci Kladnik for “A Blind Kitten Finds a Friend and Eventually, a Home.”

The Litter-Lifter Litter Box Awareness Award – Sponsored by Preferred Merchandizing. Winner: Phillip Mlynar for “Why Do Cats Act Weird When It Comes to Litter Boxes?”

The Litter-Lifter Newcomer Responsibility Award – Sponsored by Preferred Merchanizing. Winner: Leslie Goodwin for “Cat Skills: Loving Care for Cats.”

Michelle Mullins (L) presents the PetSafe Lori Huston Health Award to Andrea Dorn. Accepting on Andrea’s behalf is Deb Barnes (R).

The Lorie Huston Health Award – Sponsored by PetSafe. Winner: Andrea Dorn for “Don’t Let Plants Be Pet Killers.”

Contest Chair Arden Moore accepts the Sleepypod Traveler Award for Nancy Peterson.

The Sleepypod Traveler Award – Sponsored by Sleepypod. Winner: Nancy Peterson for “8 Tips to Make Sure Your Cat Is Prepared for a House Fire.”

Nancy Schmid (L) presents the Smart Cat award to Janiss Garza.

The SmartCat All Natural Litter Training Award – Sponsored by Pioneer Pets. Winner: Janiss Garza for “5 Myths About Cat Walking.”

The World’s Best Cat Litter-ary Award – Sponsored by World’s Best Cat Litter. Winner:  Lesléa Newman for “Ketzel: The Cat Who Composed.”

The Kuykendall Image Award – Sponsored by CWA.    Winner:Amy June Bates, Illustrator, for “Ketzel: The Cat Who Composed.”

Amy Shojai (L) presents the Shojai Mentor Award to Carole Nelson Douglas (not pictured). The winner was nominated by Dusty Rainbolt (C) and accepted by President Marci Kladnik (R)

The Shojai Mentor Award – Sponsored by Amy Shojai, co-founder of CWA. Winner: Carole Nelson Douglas.

President Marci Kladnik (L) and Teresa Keiger from CFA (R) present the Michael Brim Award to Kim Thornton (C).
The Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award – Sponsored by CWA. Winner: Kim Campbell ThorntonCatHolm-MarciKladnikCat Holm (L) receives the President’s Award from Marci Kladnik.

The CWA President’s Award – Sponsored by CWA and chosen by CWA president Marci Kladnik. Winner: Catherine Holm for the short story “Sideways.”



Thanks by Stephanie Piro
Original artwork from CWA member Stephanie Piro
Angel CWA Thanks
Angel-CWA pendant design by CWA member Wendy Christensen (Image courtesy of Amy Shojai)
Amy Shojai (L) surprised with retirement honors by CWA President Marci Kladnik.
Amy Shojai retirement bracelet
Retirement gift from CWA Council, designed by CWA Secretary and artist Wendy Christensen. (Image courtesy of Amy Shojai)
Amy Shojai retirement bracelet
This custom commemorative sterling charm bracelet includes Amy’s recent book covers, charms with her pets’ names, typewriter, cello, paws, Muse Medallion, CWA logo and more! (Image courtesy of Amy Shojai)


MuseThis is a message from your CWA Contest Chair, Arden Moore.

And the certificate goes to….possibly you! We have just tabulated the judging scores for the entries for the 2015 Cat Writers’ Association Communication Contest. This annual contest drew nearly 300 entries in 37 categories – and yes, one person did earn a perfect score.

If you haven’t done so, please book your reservations now to attend the annual CWA conference June 23-25 at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler, AZ (near Phoenix). We’re teaming up with the 2016 BlogPaws Conference – double the opportunity to network and bolster your journalistic skills.

And, remember, the top score in each category will win the coveted Muse medallion. MUSE medallions and other CWA awards will be presented at the 22nd annual CWA Awards Banquet, to be held on Friday, June 24, 2016, during the conference.

We give “paws and applause” to all of you CWA professional members who graciously stepped up to serve as judges for this year’s contest.

We are pleased to announce that the following entrants scored 90 or higher (based on averaging from three judges in each category) to become finalists and earn Certificates of Excellence:

CWA 2015 Communication Contest
Certificate of Excellence Winners

1.1 Magazine National Circulation (no entries)

1.2 Magazine Article/Health & General Care
Bahner, Sally E. – Grooming Longhaired Cats
Barnes, Deborah – New Kitty on the Block
Dorn, Andrea – Don’t Let Plants Be Killers
Griffin, Brenda – What’s That Bug in Your Ear, Kitty?
Marek, Ramona – Cognitive Dysfunction in Cats
Sharp, Michael – What Goes Down
Shaw, Fran Pennock – An Aggressive Foe
Shaw, Fran Pennock – Little Kitty, Big Appetite

I.3 Magazine Article/Behavior & Training
Yin, DVM, Sophia – Young Cats, New Tricks

I.4 Magazine Article/Rescue & Advocacy
Antoniades, Kate – She Longed to Be Part of Their World
Fry, Patricia – Chose Your Cat’s Godparents
Funkhouser, Maggie – From Loved Companions to Vilified Killers
Hettinger, James – Change for the Better In Chico
Hettinger, James – The Road to Happy Returns
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – Spectacular Seniors
Lange, Karen E. – Fostering Hope
Peterson, Nancy – The Purrpose of Life
Wynn, Bethany – Three Mascoteers

I.5 Magazine Article – Any Other Topic
Bangs, BJ – Visit 50 Places for Your Cat Fix
Hess, Catherine – The Cat’s Meow
Kennedy, Bianca Lundien – A Bond Beyond Illness
Shaw, Fran Pennock – The Meaning of Meow
Thornton, Kim Campbell – Wild Cats of the Americas

I.6 Magazine Column
Kelley, JaneA – Recessionista
Thornton, Kim Campbell – Who’s That Cat?

II.1 Newspaper Article – Health & General Care (no entries)

II.2 Newspaper Article – Behavior & Training (no entries)

II.3 Newspaper Article/Rescue&Advocacy
Reeder, Jen – Cat Crusader

II.4 Newspaper Article – Any Other Topic (no entries)

II.5 Newspaper Column
Ewing, Susan M. – The Pet Pen

III.1 Newsletter/Breed Specific (no winners)

III.2 Newsletter/National Circulation (no entries)

III.3 Newsletter/Regional Or Membership
Holton, Louise – Alley Cat Mews

III.4 Newsletter/Health & General Care
Deneen, Sally – Can Treats Make Them Pack on Pounds?
Shaw, Fran Pennock – Special Renal Diets Can Lengthen Lives
Thornton, Kim Campbell – Living Fully to the Last Moment

III.5 Newsletter Article/Behavior & Training (no entries)

III.6 Newsletter Article/Rescue/Advocacy (no winners)

III.7 Newsletter Article/Any Other Topic
Funkhouser, Maggie – Cats and Coyotes Living in Harmony
Marek, Ramona D. – Estate Planning and Your Pets

III.8 Newsletter Column
Garson, Lyn T. – Technically Speaking

IV.1 Short Story
Holm, Catherine – Sideways

IV.2 Poem
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – Upon Seeing Himself in a Mirror
Mohr, Linda A. – Morning Visitor
Willett, Susan C. – Haiku By Cat: Drifting
Willett, Susan C. – Haiku By Cat: River
Willett, Susan C. – Haiku By Cat: Counterintuitive

IV.3 Humor
Nolan, Allia Zobel – Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much

IV.4 Brochure, Pamphlet or Short Publication (no entries)

IV.5 Annual or Long Publication (no winners)

IV.6 Opinion Piece
Rainbolt, Dusty – January Is Celebration of Life Month
Reeder, Jen – Let’s Discuss Pets During Domestic Violence Awareness Month

IV.7 PR/Humane Education Press Kits
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – Homeless Cat Management

V.1 Books Fiction
Boneham, Sheila Webster – Catwalk
Douglas, Carole Nelson – Cat In A Yellow Spotlight
Powell, Lisa Annette – Catskill: First of Catskill Trilogy
Shojai, Amy – Show and Tell

V.2 Books for Children
Newman, Lesléa – Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed

V.3 Books Health & General Care
Holton, Louise – Alley Cat Rescue’s Guide to Managing Community Cats
Robins, Sandy – The Original Cat Bible
Shojai, Amy – Cat Facts: The A-to-Z Pet Parent’s Home Care Encyclopedia

V.4 Books: Behavior & Training (no winners)

V.5 Books: Gift (no entries)

V.6 Books: Poetry (no entries)

V.7 Books – Other
Barnes, Deborah – Purr Prints of the Heart
Booras, Christine M. – Me, My Ferals And I
Garza, Janiss – Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats Through Their Eyes
Hodges, Pamela – Color the Cats
McKowen, Dahlynn – Not Your Mother’s Book on Cats
McKowen, Ken – Not Your Mother’s Book on Cats
Reichenbach, Rick – How to Take Beautiful Pictures of Your Cat
Webb, Margie Yee – Not Your Mother’s Book on Cats

VI.1 Video, CD, DVD or TV Production
Richman, Lisa – Our Wish

VI.2 Broadcast, Audio – Any Format (no entries)

VII.1 Online Magazine or Newsletter (no entries)

VII.2 Online Article/Health & General Care
Eldredge, DVM, Deb M. – Eye Problems in Kittens
Eldredge, DVM, Deb M. – Bad Breath Solutions for Pets
Eldredge, DVM, Deb M. – Common Eye Problems of Old Cats
Eldredge, DVM, Deb M. – What to Expect With Kitten Teething
Eldredge, DVM, Deb M. – What to Expect When A Young Cat Is In Heat
Kladnik, Marci – How I Lost JD – My Heart Kitten
Kladnik, Marci – How to Help Cats with Skin Cancer
Palika, Liz – Helping Your Cat Through a Feline Upper Respiratory Infection
Peterson, Nancy – One More Reason to Book Your Cat’s Next Vet Checkup Today
Rainbolt, Dusty – Researchers Study Kitten Mortality
Reeder, Jen – Missing
Richman, Lisa – The Weird Science of Cats’ Ears
Richman, Lisa – Blindness in Cats Comes From An Unexpected Source
Richman, Lisa – 5 Facts You Need to Know About Injection Site Sarcoma
Thornton, Kim Campbell – Happy Kitten Vet Visit
Thornton, Kim Campbell – Feline Diabetes
Thornton, Kim Campbell – Catch It Early

VII.3 Online Article/Behavior & Training
Ahrens, Tracy – Does Your Cat Ever Hide His Toys Around the House?
Garza, Janiss – 5 Myths About Cat Walking
Mlynar, Phillip – My Cat Fought My Plants – And My Cat Won
Shenold, Carol – Does Your Cat Have Any Behaviors That Drive You Crazy?
Shojai, Amy – 9 Litter Box Problems and How to Fix Them
Shojai, Amy – Can Cats Use Dog Doors?
Shojai, Amy – How to Manage Food Aggression in Cats
Shojai, Amy – How to Train Your Cat to Use an Automatic Litter Box

VII.4 Online Article/ Rescue & Advocacy
Bahner, Sally E. – Community Kitty Casualty of Harsh Winter Conditions
Barnes, Deborah – Any Cat Can Be Feral…Even Yours
Becker, Dr. Marty – Adoption Action
Becker, Mikkel – Adoption Action
Garza, Janiss – PJ Was Abandoned Because He Was Too Fat for His Litter Box
Kelley, JaneA – My Cat’s Christmas Wish Came True
Kladnik, Marci – Blind Kitten Finds a Friend and Home
Kladnik, Marci – How One Massive TNR Project Broke My Heart and My Spirit
Kladnik, Marci – How to Properly Feed a Colony of Feral Cats
Mlynar, Phillip – Opie and His Feral Colony Were Saved in a Daring Rescue
Mlynar, Phillip – How to Get a Chill Cat
Palika, Liz – 8 Ways To Held Adjust a Newly Adopted Cat
Peterson, Nancy – It’s Adopt a Senior Pet Month
Peterson, Nancy – Helping Feral Cats Is Up to You
Reeder, Jen – Undercats Get a Second Chance from Milo’s Sanctuary
Thornton, Kim Campbell – Adoption Action
Willingham, Kezia – Meet Grace June

VII.5 Online Article/Any Other Topic
Ahrens, Tracy – Does Your Cat Go Through Life on His Back? Mine Does
Bahner, Sally E. – From Russia With Love
Barnes, Deborah – My Cats and Our Shared Water Cooler Moments
Dodero, Camille – Corporate Cats Still Suck
Garza, Janiss – Hotel Cat: 10 Tips
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – Sometimes This Is What Cat Rescue Looks Like
Kelley, JaneA – Want to Bring Your Cat To Work?
Mohr, Linda A. – 5 Halloween Safety Tips for Cats
Mohr, Linda A. – What My Terminally Ill Cat Taught Me
Mohr, Linda A. – Aftermath
Palika, Liz – Pet Loss: The Five Stages of Grief
Palika, Liz – 7 Fun Facts About Your Cat’s Purr
Peterson, Nancy – 8 Tips to Make Sure Your Cat is Prepared for a House Fire
Peterson, Nancy – Keeping Out Old Man Winter
Pittman, Vicky – Introducing Cats to Children
Rainbolt, Dusty – Random Acts of Kindness
Thornton, Kim Campbell – The Eyes Have It
Willett, Susan – 15 Things Robot Designers Can Learn From Cats

VII.6 Online Column
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – Homeless Cat Management Team Volunteer Profile
Mlynar, Phillip – Monday Miracle Column
Rainbolt, Dusty – Ask Einstein

VIII.1 Blog: Health & General Care (no winners)

VIII.2 Blog: Behavior & Training – 3 blog posts (no entries)

VIII.3 Blog: Rescue & Advocacy – 3 blog posts (no entries)

VIII.4 Blog Entertainment
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – The Creative Cat
Richman, Lisa – Feline Film Noir

VIII.5 Blog/ Any Other Topic
Garza, Janiss – Sparkle Cat Featuring Summer
Hodges, Pamela – Pooh Hodges
Lapierre, Melissa – Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries and Meows

VIII.6 Website (no entries)

IX.1 Black and White Photograph (Single) (no entries)

IX.2 Black and White Photographs (Series) (no entries)

IX.3 Color Photograph Single
Garson, Lyn T. – Open Wide and Say Meow
Richman, Lisa – Post-Holiday Fangs
Thornton, Jerry – Jaguar – Wild Cats of the Americas

IX.4 Color Photographs Series
Kladnik, Marci – How One Massive TNR Project Broke My Heart and My Spirit
Richman, Lisa – Rules of the Game

IX.5 Photographic Art
Booras, Christine M. – Me, My Ferals And I
Rainbolt, Dusty – Coming Soon To TV: Catnado
Richman, Lisa – Inspire Your Art with Heart

IX.6 Cartoon
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – One Long Kitty
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – Fun Things Bella Does With Her Tail
Piro, Stephanie – Picky
Piro, Stephanie – Dream

IX.7 Illustration Single
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – Kennedy
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – Snowy Morning
Solomon, Cori – Jake and Bailey

IX.8 Illustrations Series
Kazmarski, Bernadette E. – Klepto Cat Mystery
O’Neill, Ewa – I Want A Cat: My Opinion Essay

Congratulations to all Certificate of Excellence winners! You will receive your Certificates in the mail, soon.

Remember – check out all the details about the BlogPaws Conference and the associated CWA seminars, events and speakers You must register for the Conference and Awards Banquet separately. (The Awards Banquet is free, but you must register.)

Congrats to all the certificate winners! We will see YOU in Arizona in June!

Arden Moore
CWA Contest Chair




Cat Writers Association president Marci Kladnik explores learns more about THE INTERNATIONAL CAT ASSOCIATION (TICA) and cat shows in a live GOOGLE HANGOUT interview event broadcast Wednesday April 27, 2016 from 2:30-3:00 pm Eastern Time. The event is available to the public, and also will be recorded and available on YouTube to view and share following the live broadcast.

TICA slide

CHERYL HOGAN, an Approved Speciality Judge with TICA, has been judging since 1986, and is very involved in the world of cats, not only attending shows but also pet expos and veterinary conferences. Among other things, you can expect the interview to cover:
  • What is TICA
  • Ways Cat Shows Bring Families (Kids, too!) Together
  • How TICA advocates for the welfare & health of all cats (not just pedigree cats)
  • Cat Personality & How Kitty Matchmaking Helps Keep Cats in Homes
  • Why (and How) TICA Partners With the Cat Writers’ Association

The CWA hosts this interview in appreciation that the TICA qualified as an “early bird” sponsor of our conference events and a prestigious contest award, the KARI WINTERS RESCUE AND REHABILITATION AWARD presented at the CWA conference events, held in conjunction with BlogPaws Conference events in June.


“Kari Winters lived here in Albuquerque and she worked with me each year to put the Mayor’s Dog Ball together. She used to send a shout out to the CWA members to send books, cds, whatever to contribute to the silent auction. Nancy Marano also lives here in Albuquerque and has been a member of our cat club for years. She recruited me for the CWA award judging.

I was president of TICA at the time and had thought about TICA being a CWA sponsor. When Kari died, I contacted you all – I think through Nancy. The CWA members were planning to institute an award in Kari’s honor and I offered that TICA would sponsor it in her honor.

I’m hoping that TICA continues to sponsor the award and its support for CWA for many years to come!”


Cat Writers Association President Marci Kladnik Interviews American Association of Feline Practitioners

Cat Writers Association Google Hangout BannerUPDATE! Watch the video REPLAY.

Cat Writers Association president Marci Kladnik explores the American Association of Feline Practitioners in a live GOOGLE HANGOUT interview event broadcast Tuesday April 5, 2016 from 6:30-7:00 pm Eastern Time. The event is available to the public, and also will be recorded and available on YouTube to view and share following the live broadcast.

aafp-logoDr. Elizabeth Colleran, a veterinarian specializing in feline medicine, will answer questions about AAFP and address some of the most pressing issues for cat lovers, including:
  • Myth-Busting Common Cat Behaviors
  • Surprising “Secrets” About Cats You Never Knew (you’ll want to write about these!)
  • Why Cats Get Fewer Vet Visits (Ways to Make the Trip Angst-Free)
  • The benefits of a CAT FRIENDLY PRACTICE
The CWA hosts this interview in appreciation that the AAFP qualified as an “early bird” sponsor of our conference events and a prestigious contest award, the AAFP CAT FRIENDLY AWARD. Dr. Colleran also will be part of the “FEAR FREE HOT TOPICS FOR PET-CENTRIC WRITERS at the CWA conference events, held in conjunction with the BlogPaws in June

Cat Writers Featured in Wall Street Journal

L-R: Deb Barnes, CWA President Marci Kladnik and Janiss Garza at the CWA Booth at the BlogPaws conference.
L-R: Deb Barnes, CWA President Marci Kladnik and Janiss Garza at the CWA Booth at the BlogPaws conference.

It’s not a cat fight, but purring praise for the Cat Writers Association’s ability to foster and attract the CREAM of the cat writing world. On March 1, 2016 a front page story of the Wall Street Journal examined the pro-and-con arguments for including cat characters in novels, and several award-winning CWA authors weighed in.


All of the quoted authors–Patricia Fry, Clea Simon, Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Amy Shojai, Carole Nelson Douglas–as well as other talented member writers have not only won the coveted CWA Muse Medallion for their work, but generously shared expertise with other writers during the annual Cat Writers’ Association Conferences.


CWA has also partnered with other organizations in the past, holding its annual conference with major cat shows, as well as other pet-centric organizations including hosting a “Writers Track” with the last BlogPaws conference.


This year, the CWA again rubs furry elbows with BlogPaws and will hold a collaborative CONFERENCE that offers educational seminars and workshops for aspiring-to-experienced writers, bloggers, photographers, videographers and authors.

Anyone with a “furry muse” whispering in their ear (virtual or literal) is encouraged to attend! Learn more about the Cat Writers Association Conference partnership with BlogPaws here. And find out who will win the coveted Muse Medallion awards at the annual CWA Banquet!

Read the WALL STREET JOURNAL article here: “In the World of Cat Fiction, Fur Flies Over Whether Stars Get Speaking Roles.”

The CWA Conference and Awards Programs are made possible by the generous support of our amazing sponsors. 

For inquiries about sponsorship and getting YOUR company name out to our pet-centric audience, please email the CWA President Marci Kladnik and/or the CWA Conference Chair Amy Shojai.



CWA Speakers


CWA is pleased to announce the PAW-some speakers for the CWA Annual Conference, held in partnership with BlogPaws Conference. You can find the tentative CWA schedule on this page and the speaker bios on this page.

You’ll also want to check out the entire CWA and BlogPaws speaker listing just posted by the BlogPaws folks at this link.
The Sched.org live LINK will be posted soon, with the confirmed times for each session, as well as the other events.
Also–be aware that the CWA CONTEST DEADLINE is this Tuesday (get your entries postmarked no later than January 19 to qualify!).  Also, the Awards Banquet registration fee goes up the next day on Wednesday, so for those entering the contest and attending the conference, be sure to get your discounted ticket at this link asap.

I want to send a thank you to all the CWA members and others who either applied to speak, or encouraged colleagues to apply. We wish we could have invited everyone, there were so many terrific proposals.


PLEASE SHARE the pages with all your writing friends. See you there!

Google Hangout Answers CWA Contest Questions!



Arden Moore, contest chair, will offer information and field questions about the contest in a special Google Hangout being hosted by Amy Shojai. The hangout will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 8 (11 a.m. CENTRAL time). Anyone (member or not) can enter this contest. Entries must be “cat” focused work published by Dec. 31, 2015. All entries for the CWA Communications Contest must be postmarked by Tuesday Jan. 19. Let’s set a record for the number of quality entries this year!

You’ll need a Google-Plus account to view the live broadcast and connect with Amy here and/or Arden here. Then you’ll simply follow this link and enjoy the presentation.

But don’t worry! Here’s the recording! And check out the quick overview written below.




  • Eligible entries must have been published or broadcasted between June 16, 2014 AND December 31, 2015.
  • All entries must be postmarked by JAN. 19, 2016. They must arrive to contest chair Arden Moore within 7 days of the Jan. 19, 2016 postmark deadline.
  • Arden Moore’s address: 726 Deep Well Drive, Allen, TX 75002.
  • CWA Conference is June 23-25, 2016 in Phoenix in partnership with BlogPaws.
  • AWARDS BANQUET JUNE 24, Friday evening, 6-10:00 pm at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa outside Phoenix, AZ. Member Registration Rate $75 (Nonmember $85) until Jan 19; Jan. 20 until June 10, 2016: $95.00. REGISTER TODAY!


  • Each entry can only be submitted to ONE regular category. Type or print each entry form so that it can be easily read.
  • Each entry submitted for the Special Awards category MUST be entered in the REGULAR category.
  • An entry can be submitted in more than one SPECIAL Award category (more chance to win a money prize!)
  • There is an additional $5 fee for each Special Award entry you submit.
  • Volunteer to judge and receive the discounted entry rate for regular categories at $8.50 (versus $15). Judging is a much-appreciated way to show your support as a CWA member.
  • Submit THREE copies of each regular entry with ONE copy of the entry form per entry. These copies will be mailed to three judges.
  • Checks are to be payable to Cat Writers’ Association. You can pay by mail or use the PayPal option posted here.
  • This annual contest is open to CWA members and non-members. Encourage your colleagues to join our organization!


  • There are 55 regular and 19 Special Award categories, but there may be categories with NO winners due to low scores, no entries or disqualifications.
  • An individual must score an average of 90 or higher among the three judges to be a finalist and receive a CWA Certificate of Excellence.
  • Please judge the entry for its merits and score fairly. Example: If one judge scores the entry 100; another scores it 80 and the third scores it 88, the combined average is 89, one point BELOW being a finalist.
  • The contest chair will do her best to honor your request on judging specific categories and will make sure you are not a judge in a category for which you have submitted an entry. Expect to judge 2 (and in rare situations), 3 categories.
  • Please take the time to read the contest rules posted on CWA before posting a question to the contest chair.



CALLING ALL SPEAKERS! CWA Seeks Topics on Writing/Publishing for 22nd Conference

Pro Writer/Publishing Presenters Please Apply
Pro Writer/Publishing Presenters Please Apply
Calling All Speakers–Apply to Speak at CWA Conference!


The Cat Writers’ Association seeks speaker proposals for our 22nd Annual Writers Conference! Please submit your proposed presentation, along with credentials and other pertinent information on the SPEAKER PROPOSAL PAGE.

We seek topics relevant to ALL writers interested in perfecting their craft in areas of writing, publishing, blogging, promotion, marketing, and more. We encourage CWA members as well as non-members to submit proposals. Details can be found on the SPEAKER PROPOSAL PAGE here.

CALL FOR SPEAKERS will close on December 20, 2015, so get your submission in as soon as possible! The speaker lineup will be announced in January 2016.

Please note: the EARLY BIRD reduced rate ticket for the AWARDS BANQUET has passed, but the discount rate of $75 member and $85 nonmember will remain through January 19, 2016 (contest deadline). Register for the awards banquet here.


Secrets to Blogging Success: CWA Experts Answer Your Questions

Did you miss the February 26, 2015 Google Hangout hosted by BlogPaws? Wanna learn about Bridging the Gap Between Blogging & Journalistic Excellence? Here’s how to blog successfully with your questions answered in this playback recording with BlogPaws peeps Yvonne DiVita and Tom Collins, and CWA members Layla Morgan Wilde, Janiss Garza, Deb Barnes and Alana Greylak in a preview of their upcoming BlogPaws CWA panel in May 2015….it’s FREE! Enjoy!

BlogPaws 2015 Conference Welcomes CWA to Nashville in May!



Have you registered yet for the BlogPaws Conference? You won’t want to miss the Cat Writers’ Association Writers Track! There also will be a boatload of other paw-some seminars, panels, exhibits and more.

The full BlogPaws speaker schedule is here, hotel/travel and registration information is available by clicking the box above. Cat Writers Association members should have received the discount code for attending the event. If you have not received your code, please email President Marci Kladnik.