CWA Member Dr. Marci Koski Wins Pet Industry Women of the Year Award in Advocate Category

Marci Koski receiving Advocate Award at the Pet Industry Women of the Year awards

Marci Koski receiving Advocate Award at the Pet Industry Women of the Year awards

CWA congratulates our own Dr. Marci Koski. She is the winner in the Advocate Category of this year’s Pet Industry Women of the Year Awards for her business, Feline Behavior Solutions. The award was part of the annual recognition held by Women in the Pet Industry Network.

Dr. Marci Koski is a certified Feline Behavior and Training Professional, and her work with Feline Behavior Solutions helps keep cats with treatable behavior issues in homes and out of shelters. Dr. Koski has had Feline Behavior Solutions for three years, and has received specialized and advanced certificates in Feline Training and Behavior from the Animal Behavior Institute. She also holds a doctorate in Fish and Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University, and worked as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for over ten years, where she focused her efforts on the conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species. All this adds to her expertise as an advocate for cats.

A panel of four independent judges reviewed and scored nominations for applicants in five categories – Solopreneur, Entrepreneur, Corporate, Advocate, and Rising Star. This year’s judges included a director of a non-profit organization, a founder of a successful pet organization, a COO of a design firm, and a director of a top women’s scholarship organization.

Says Shawna Schuh, president of WIPIN, “The Pet Industry Women of the Year Awards are a celebration of women who have made highly successful careers in the pet industry: They shine in large part because they are so passionate about helping women as well as pets. Marci is a perfect example! It is exciting to honor her and other women with a genuine calling to make the pet industry stronger.”

For more information about Dr. Marci Koski and Feline Behavior Solutions, please visit www.felinebehaviorsolutions.com. To find out more about WIPIN, visit www.womeninthepetindustry.com.

How to Keep Your Cat Happy – and Healthy – for Happy Cat Month

September is Happy Cat Month

by Susan Willett

September is Happy Cat Month

You love your cat. You feed her the best food. Scratch him in all the right spots. Take her to the veterinarian for wellness exams.

But is your cat happy? It’s a good question to ask. Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council, explains that one of the best ways to keep your cat healthy is to keep your cat happy. “Studies show that happy cats are healthier cats, and healthy cats are happier cats,” she says.

For the seventh consecutive year, the CATalyst Council declared September as Happy Cat Month: a time “to promote feline wellness by highlighting the link between feline happiness and health, and to encourage actions and activities that support happy — and healthy — cats.”

Most cats spend their days confined to a house or apartment, and have little choice about their food, their environment, or even where they go to the bathroom. As predators, they have few chances to hunt, and as prey (since cats are both predators and prey), they may not have access to safe hiding places. “They’re often not given the opportunity to be cats,” says Brunt.

Living in a threatening or unenriched environment is stressful for cats, according to veterinarian Dr. Tony Buffington, Clinical Professor Department of Medicine and Epidemiology UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “When cats perceive threat — or don’t get appropriate stimulation — their stress response system is triggered,” says Buffington. If the situation goes on for too long, it can affect your cat’s health. “For example,” says Buffington, “lower urinary tract signs or symptoms such as not using the litter box or straining are some of the most common responses to constant activation of the stress response system. It is not caused by spite, as some frustrated owners think.”

By taking steps to increase your cat’s happiness — reducing stress, and creating a more enriching environment for our feline family members — you can help your kitty thrive.

What can you do to make your cats not only less stressed, but more happy?

Here are a few suggestions:

Give cats places to get high — and low

cat on top of linen cabinet

“Cats climb trees for two reasons: to survey their territory as hunters, and to escape as prey,” says Buffington. Give your cat access to high places in your home. This can range from expensive store-bought cat trees to simply clearing the top of a bookshelf for easy feline access. Some cats prefer to hide lower to the ground — under the bed, behind the sofa, or in a closet. Make sure your home has some high and low places, so your cat can find the safe refuge he or she requires.

Let them eat safe and secure

“Like other prey animals, cats are vulnerable when they’re eating,” says Brunt. “Instead of putting a food bowl against a wall, move it away about the length of the cat, so your pet can eat facing the room.” If there are other cats in the house, Brunt suggests leaving space in between feeding stations and, “if dogs share the home, consider feeding on a counter or designated table, so your cats feel safer.”

Encourage the hunter within

cat with food puzzle

“For cats, hunting tends to take place in a particular order: Find. Stalk. Attack. Eat,” says Buffington. Try to encourage that order when playing with your cat. “Think how an injured bird or mouse might act,” he says, “and mimic that behavior with a cat toy.” Buffington is a huge fan of food puzzles, toys that encourage cats to figure out how to get food before eating it. “Studies show that animals — even humans — are happier when they can work for their meals,” he says. “If there’s one piece of ‘happiness advice’ I’d give cat owners, it’s to feed their cats with food puzzles.”

Keep it clean — litter-ally

cat in litter box

“Cats are fastidious creatures,” says Brunt. “Inside our homes, we want them to use litter boxes, but we need to do our part by emptying them at least once or twice a day.” It’s also important to ensure that access to litter boxes cannot be blocked by other cats, or at least to provide alternative locations. Experts recommend at least one litter box on each level of a home, or one more than the number of cats in the house.

Give them their space

cat hiding under box

Whenever possible in multi-pet households, make sure each cat has access to a complete set of resources. “That includes food, water, litter box, and places to rest, scratch and climb — all out of sight of another cat,” says Buffington. Make sure their access can’t be blocked by another cat, even if you think your cats get along. “Conflict among cats is sometimes difficult for owners to see,” he says. “Even an action as subtle as a glance accompanied by a slightly different body posture can be a way for one cat to intimidate another.”

“We all can learn to think like a cat,” says Brunt. “And the best teacher is… your cat! Watch where he hides when startled. Pay attention to how she plays. Enrich his life with areas that make him feel safe and activities that play into her innate capabilities. This will help make your feline friend happier — and healthier.”

For more information and tips about ways to enrich your cat’s life, follow CATalyst Council on Facebook or Twitter, or the hashtag #HappyCatMonth throughout September.

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22 Encourages Cat Owners to Make Sure Their Cats Get Veterinary Care Too

by Susan Willett

It’s easy to argue that cats rule the internet and social media. The prevalence of cat memes and feline Instagram stars attest to that. But when it comes to veterinary visits, dogs win, paws down. According to a study by Bayer Animal Health(1), half of all American pet cats do not see a veterinarian regularly. And Banfield(2) reports that in their more than 900 veterinary hospitals, only one cat is seen by a veterinarian for every five dogs. This, despite many studies reporting that there are nearly eight million more pet cats than dogs in the U.S.

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

Cats are Good at Masking Their Illnesses

Even though they may love their pets, many cat owners don’t take their cats to the veterinarian for routine wellness visits. Cost can be one of the obstacles, and even more than cost is the belief that cats don’t need veterinary care as much as dogs.

“It’s not that cats are inherently healthier than dogs,” says Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council, a coalition whose mission is to connect people and organizations to transform the health, welfare, and value of companion cats, and owner of Cat Hospital At Towson in Maryland. “It’s that they are stoic about their symptoms, making it nearly impossible for even the most observant pet owner to recognize signs of potential problems.”

Routine wellness exams can uncover illnesses before they become life threatening — and expensive.

Getting A Cat to the Vet Can Be a Challenge

The other reason that tops the list is getting the cat to the veterinary clinic in the first place. “Cats are fast learners,” says Brunt, “and if the only time a carrier is around is right before an unfamiliar experience, cats will learn to hide when they see or even just hear it.” And that’s just the beginning. “Once the owner drags their cat out from under the sofa,” she says, “there’s still the challenge of getting the cat into the carrier, followed by an uncomfortable ride in a car with a beloved pet who is scared and yowls the entire trip. It’s no wonder so many people avoid taking their cat to the veterinarian.”

The gap in preventative veterinary care that exists between cats and dogs needs to be addressed. But how?

The CATalyst Council Supports #Cat2VetDay

The CATalyst Council is calling attention to this issue by supporting National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22. The Council is working alongside Royal Canin and partnering with the American Association of Feline Practitioners, The International Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers’ Association in support of cat health and wellness. The goal is to increase awareness of the importance of routine veterinary cat care, sharing tips on how to make a trip to the clinic less stressful and encouraging cat owners to make appointments for their feline family members to be seen by a veterinarian.

Turn Your Cat Carrier into a Home Away From Home

Tips for Making a Trip to the Vet with Your Cat More Pleasant

Brunt has several tips to help make your cat’s trip to the veterinarian a more pleasant experience.

  • Bring the carrier out at least a week before the appointment. Better yet, leave it out so the cat can get used to it, explore it, and maybe even curl up and take a nap in it.
  • Make the carrier more attractive, Brunt says, by placing treats, catnip or favorite toys in the carrier.
  • Place a recently worn article of your clothing — like a t-shirt or sweatshirt — in the carrier. “This can help make the carrier a safe place for your kitty — with something to snuggle in or hide under,” says Brunt. “Plus, in an unfamiliar place like a veterinary clinic, your scent can provide additional comfort to your cat.”

Your Veterinarian Can Help Your Cat Be Less Anxious

Brunt also suggests working with your veterinarian ahead of time to come up with a plan to reduce your cat’s stress. This may include feline facial pheromone spray or wipes, or prescription medications that will help most cats be less anxious. “Remember, cats are both predators and prey,” says Brunt. “They are the hunters and the hunted. It helps for both cat owners and veterinarians to see the world from a feline perspective, understanding what makes them anxious or afraid, and then taking steps to prevent, minimize and manage those fears.”

Take Your Cat to a Feline-Friendly Veterinarian

It may also help to bring your cat to a feline-only practice, says Brunt, or consider taking your cat to an AAFP-designated Cat Friendly Practice®, or a clinic that has been certified as Fear Free. Facilities and practitioners with these designations are focused on making visits to the vet as stress-free as possible.

To help cat lovers everywhere get involved in National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, Royal Canin is asking cat owners to share a photo of their kitty or offer tips for a less stressful visit to the vet. For every post tagged with #Cat2VetDay in August, Royal Canin will donate $5 (up to a maximum total donation of $20,000) to Frankie’s Friends, a non-profit that helps with the cost of veterinary care for pets whose families can’t afford the full cost of treatment.

Take Your Cat to the Vet Day infographic

“Cats are part of our families. Their innate curiosity and playful antics make them wonderful companions,” says Brunt. But she adds, “Cats require more than love. They need our attention and care to keep them healthy and happy. And taking them in for routine wellness visits is one of the best ways to keep them purring for a long time.”

CWA members can help spread the word about #Cat2VetDay by writing, blogging, speaking and sharing information on social media. In addition to those mentioned in the article, the following are great places to find more information and resources to help get the word out, and to help remind people to take their cats to the vet.

AAFP Take Your Cat to the Vet Day web page
Royal Canin’s Take Your Cat to the Vet Day web page
Royal Canin #Cat2VetDay press release

1. Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study III: Feline Findings http://www.bayerdvm.com/show.aspx/resources/feline-practitioners-resource-center/bayer-veterinary-care-usage-study
2. Banfield State of Pet Health Report, 2016: http://www.banfield.com/Banfield/media/PDF/Downloads/soph/Banfield-State-of-Pet-Health-Report-2016.pdf

10 great things I got out of the BlogPaws/ CWA Conference in Myrtle Beach

Winn Feline Foundation panel at the CWA conference
Photo by Julie McAlee

Did you attend the BlogPaws/ CWA conference in Myrtle Beach this past spring? If you missed it, CWA member and newly-installed CWA council member Julie McAlee shares her experience with you. We hope this inspires you to register for a Cat Writers Association conference in the future!

10 great things I got out of the BlogPaws/ CWA Conference in Myrtle Beach

by Julie McAlee

  1. I got to meet lots of cats

    Whenever I travel, I miss my cats. On many trips, I might go all day without seeing or petting a cat, but not at the BlogPaws/ Cat Writer’s Association (CWA) conference! A surprising number of people brought their cats to the conference with them. As a result, I got to spend plenty of time visiting with both cats and kittens.

    In fact, my roommates were three little kittens who are seven weeks old, and as you can imagine they were the life of the party. I still missed my cats, but not nearly as much as I would have without having a “cat fix.”

  2. Dr. Ken Lambrecht's cat Bug
    Photo by Julie McAlee
  3. I met lots of people, too

    For introverts like me, networking with strangers at a conference is exhausting. At an event like the BlogPaws/ CWA conference, it feels different, though. It’s exciting to meet the faces behind the cats, dogs, and ferrets we have already discussed over the internet. I don’t dread small talk because there isn’t any. We jump right into talking about our pets because it’s something we all have in common, like an extended family.

    The networking didn’t end with people I already knew! I was also excited to meet some of the speakers, like Dr. Ken Lambrecht, who founded West Towne Veterinary Center, and who travels with his cat, Bug. I also met plenty of CWA members I had not known before. Now I have more books on my to-read list, thanks to finding out what some of them have written!

  4. I got to see the latest in cool cat gear
    One of the features of the conference was the cat lounge, hosted by CWA member Kate Benjamin’s HausPanther. This amazing room allowed you to see, touch, and test out many of the coolest cat products I had only seen in advertisements or on the internet. Cats who attended the conference were welcome to try out the products, too.

    I was excited by some of the great finds there, and I even won a Cat Dad t-shirt to take home to my husband for being on cat duty while I was at the conference.

  5. Hauspanther Cat Lounge, courtesy Carl Kerridge photography and BlogPaws
    Hauspanther Cat Lounge, courtesy Carl Kerridge photography and BlogPaws.com
  6. I had my first book signing

    CWA had a table inside the cat lounge for book signings, and different authors were scheduled there throughout the conference.

    This was especially exciting for me because it was my first ever book signing! I sold and signed copies of the anthology my story is in, Rescued Volume 2: The Healing Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes. Being around people who were checking out all the cool stuff in the cat lounge was a really fun environment for a book signing. I was lucky to have a kitten sidekick along for my time slot, too.

  7. I learned lots of cat science news

    There’s always more to learn about cats, and I learned some great things at this conference. The Winn Feline Foundation sponsored a panel where they told us about the latest clinical trial they funded for a new protease inhibitor that has saved eight cats from Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). This is really exciting news, since FIP is considered a fatal disease. I also learned that SARS in humans is related to FIP!

    The panel also discussed another study funded by the Winn Feline Foundation that is looking into the treatment of feline stomatitis with stem cells. The anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties of stem cells have given cats in the clinical trial real relief from this painful mouth disease.

    As a science nerd, I couldn’t wait to learn more about both of these foundation-funded studies. They could make a real difference in the lives of cats in the years ahead.

  8. I learned about storytelling on different platforms, too

    One of the great sessions I attended was about storytelling. Susan Willett, who publishes the Life with Dogs and Cats blog, said something in her storytelling presentation that was so obvious, I hadn’t ever really given it any thought: The same story can and should be told in entirely different ways on different social media platforms. The immediacy and brevity of Twitter lends itself to “my cat just did X outrageous thing with a catnip mouse” while the longer space of a blog post allows me to tell the story about “my cat’s complicated relationship with his catnip mouse.”

    This shouldn’t have been a mini-epiphany for me, but seeing it explained in these terms really was. It helped me understand why my trying to tell the same story everywhere wasn’t working, and it was actionable information I could use immediately.

  9. I attended two award dinners
    Both the BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Awards and the Cat Writers Conference Muse Medallions were announced during the conferences in Myrtle Beach. With so many friends nominated for awards that were presented on both nights, the evenings were extra-special.

    Cat Writers Association Awards booklet
    Photo by Julie McAlee

    There’s something really special about seeing your friends up on the stage, being presented with awards that recognize how amazing you already know they are, and that’s exactly what happened. I was so happy for them. If you haven’t seen the list of winners, you can find a list here on the CWA web site.

  10. I attended the annual Cat Writer’s Association meeting

    I have been a CWA member since 2014, but this conference was the first time I had the chance to attend the CWA’s annual meeting. It was a great chance to thank some of the people in person for their hard work on things like organizing the writing contest and the conference itself.

    I was also officially installed as a CWA council member at the meeting. I’m looking forward to being able to help bring new perspectives to the council.

  11. I brought home lots of great swag

    The generous sponsors of both the BlogPaws and CWA conferences really outdid themselves with swag this year. A big thank you to them all!

    I love being able to reuse the extra-large bags we got at the conference. Every time I have shopped with them since I got home, someone has asked me where I got such a big bag, which gave me a chance to explain that it was a souvenir from a cat writing conference.

  12. Swag from the blogpaws CWA conference
    Photo by Julie McAlee
  13.  I added a new member to my cat family

    Speaking of souvenirs from the conference, there’s one more thing I brought home from the BlogPaws/CWA conference. This one was really unexpected.

    kitten Dior, now known as Cupcake
    Photo by Julie McAlee

    I fell in love with one of my kitten roommates and the feeling was mutual. About a month after the BlogPaws/ Cat Writer’s Association conference, we made it official, and I adopted the kitten named Dior. She is now renamed Cupcake, and she is a treasured member of our family.

Unapologetic geek, Oxford comma supporter, and cat herder, Julie McAlee is one of the authors in the anthology Rescued Volume 2: The Healing Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes. Julie lives in Orlando with her husband and four rescued cats who are clearly the ones in charge. See Newton, Ashton, Cupcake, and Pierre’s feline adventures on her blog, Cats Herd You.

If you are a member of the Cat Writers Association and would like to be a contributor to the CWA website, contact editor Janiss Garza. Her email is listed in the “Our Members” tab.

Winners of MUSE Medallions and Special Awards have been Announced!

MUSE Medallions and Special Awards were presented at the gala CWA Annual Awards Banquet on Friday, May 19, 2017, during the CWA/BlogPaws Conference in Myrtle Beach SC.

Please join all our award winners in celebrating their achievements!

Amy Shojai, winner of the Fear Free Pets Award (center) and CWA President Marci Kladnik (right) show off Amy’s special award: a custom-made mirror called “Peeping Toms.”

 

2016 CWA Communication Contest – MUSE© WINNERS
Awarded May 19, 2017
=============================================

I.1 Magazine – National Circulation
MUSE© WINNER: Cat Talk, editor Teresa Keiger

I.2 Magazine Article – Health and General Care
Dusty Rainbolt, Litter Box Basics
Denise Fleck, Torn Nails, Limping and High-Rise Syndrome
MUSE© WINNER: Denise Fleck, Water: A Cat’s Best Friend

I.3 Magazine Article –Behavior and Training
Sally Mullen, Training An Aggressive Kitten
Phillip Mlynar, Ooh, It’s a Box!
MUSE© WINNER: Susan Logan-McCracken, Kitty Quirks

I.4 Magazine Article – Rescue/Advocacy
MUSE© WINNER: Phillip Mlynar, Adventures in Giving Back

I.5 Magazine Article – Any Other Topic
MUSE© WINNER: Deborah Barnes, Kitten Introduction
Ramona Marek, One Health and The Human-Animal Bond
Ramona Marek, The Human-Animal Bond: A Biological Imperative
Shery Clark, Holidays and Heartbreak

I.6 Magazine Column
Mollie Shutt, Su-PURR-Stitions
Anthony Nichols, Showtime
MUSE© WINNER: JaneA Kelley, Keep It Clean

II. 1 Newspaper Article – Health and General Care – no entries

II. 2 Newspaper Article – Behavior and Training – no entries

II.3 Newspaper Article – Rescue/Advocacy – no entries

II.4 Newspaper Article – Any Other Topic
MUSE© WINNER: Jen Reeder, Back in Black

II.5 Newspaper Column
Deborah Camp, The Best of the Pet World
MUSE© WINNER: Amy Shojai, PETiQuette

III.1 Newsletter – Breed Specific – no entries

III.2 Newsletter – National Circulation
MUSE© WINNER: Alley Cat Mews, editor Louise Holton

III.3 Newsletter – Regional or Membership Circulation – no entries

III. 4 Newsletter Article – Health and General Care
Ramona Marek, Cancer Treatments for Cats
Ramona Marek, Hospice Care for Our Pets
Kim Thornton, When Compounding IS Right for Your Cat
MUSE© WINNER: Kim Thornton, Fewer Heartworm Cases, More Severe Signs

III.5 Newsletter Article – Behavior and Training
MUSE© WINNER: Kim Thornton, They Climb Curtains, Scratch the Sofa

III.6 Newsletter Article – Rescue/Advocacy – no entries

III.7 Newsletter Article – Any Other Topic – no entries

III.8 Newsletter Column
MUSE© WINNER: Lyn T. Garson, Technically Speaking

IV.1 Short Story – no Certificate finalists

IV.2 Poem
MUSE© WINNER: Susan Willett, Haiku by Cat: Attraction
Susan Willett, Haiku by Cat: Yoga

IV.3 Humor
Heather Marcoux, 5 Father’s Day Gifts from My Unemployed, Moneyless Cats
MUSE© WINNER: Jeremy Greenberg, Sorry I Slept on Your Face

IV.4 Brochure, Pamphlet or Short Publication
Amy Shojai, My Cat Hates My Vet!
MUSE© WINNER: Matt Carl of Alley Cat Mews, Saving Cats’ Lives Through Trap-Neuter-Return

IV.5 Annual or Long Publication
MUSE© WINNER: Dusty Rainbolt, The Healthy Cat 2017 Calendar

IV.6 Opinion Piece, Essay or Editorial
Amy Shojai, Eight Common Aging Cat Conditions and What to Do
MUSE© WINNER: Deborah Barnes, Break Out of Your Blogging Niche to Make Strides in Cat Welfare

IV.7 PR/Humane Education/Press Kits
MUSE© WINNER: Bernadette Kazmarski, Making Life Better for Every Day of the Year

V.1 Books – Fiction
Clea Simon, The Ninth Life
Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Cat Shout for Joy
Stephen Chensue, The Nine Lives of Ichiban
MUSE© WINNER: Carole Nelson Douglas, Cat In An Alphabet Endgame

V.2 Books – For Children – no entries

V.3 Books – Health and General Care
MUSE© WINNER: Ramona Marek, Cats for the Genius

V.4 Books – Behavior and Training
MUSE© WINNER: Dusty Rainbolt, Cat Scene Investigator

V.5 Books – Gift
MUSE© WINNER: Tamar Arslanian, Shop Cats of New York

V.6 Books – Poetry – no entries

V.7 Books – Other
Lonnie Hull DuPont, Kit Kat & Lucy
MUSE© WINNER: Deborah Barnes, Makin’ Biscuits
Laurren Darr, CatDala Coloring Book

VI.1 Video, CD, DVD or Television Production
Matt Carl, TNR Video
MUSE© WINNER: Susan Willett, Elsa Clair’s Gold-Medal Purr-formance

VI.2 Broadcast – Audio
MUSE© WINNER: Denise Fleck, Pet Safety Crusader Radio

VII.1 Online Magazine or Newsletter – no entries

VII.2 Online Article – Health and General Care      TIE!
JaneA Kelley, When a Horse is Really a Zebra
Kim Thornton, Lethal Lillies
MUSE© WINNER: Kim Thornton, Survival Guide to Traveling Cross-Country with Cats
Kim Thornton, Travels with Felix
Kim Thornton, Fat Cats
Kim Thornton, Feline Mammary Cancer
Jen Reeder, Kidney Transplants for Cats
Lisa Richman, Kidney Transplants for Cats? Yes!
Dawn White, Stressed by the Vet?
Julie McAlee, Anal Glands and Happy Cats
MUSE© WINNER: Jacqueline Munera, Behavior Consulting and Declawed Cats
Susan Willett, My Cat Suddenly Started Drooling

VII.3 Online Article – Behavior and Training
Janiss Garza, Cat Tricks
MUSE© WINNER: Janiss Garza, A Step-by-Step Guide for Harness and Leash Training for Your Cat
Janiss Garza, 10 Tips to Trounce Kitty Troublemaking

VII.4 Online Article – Rescue/Advocacy
Jen Reeder, Oskar the Blind Cat Rallies for Special-Needs Pets
Dawn White: Tabby’s Place
Jonathon Scott Payne, To Sterling with Love
MUSE© WINNER: Susan Willett, A #ClearTheShelters Cat Adoption Story

VII.5 Online Article – Any Other Topic
Deborah Barnes, Living in Comfort with Cats
Janiss Garza, Driving Miss Kitty
Janiss Garza, Five of the Biggest Cat Show Misconceptions
Heather Marcoux, Senior Rescued Cat Saved Her Diabetic Human
MUSE© WINNER: JaneA Kelley, Give Me the Old, Creaky Cats
Tracy Ahrens, Whiskers Stir Up Senses, Luck and Memories
Bernadette Kazmarski, Buddy Gets A Miracle

VII.6 Online Column            TIE!
Phillip Mlynar, Monday Miracles
MUSE© WINNER: Phillip Mlynar, Social Cat of the Week
MUSE© WINNER: Kim Thornton, Dr, Marty Becker and Mikkel Becker, Pet Connections

VIII.1 Blog – Health and General Care
MUSE© WINNER: Mollie Hunt, Life Stages
Marc-Andre Runcie-Unger, Katzenworld Blog
BJ Bangs, Paws for Reflection

VIII.2 Blog – Behavior and Training
MUSE© WINNER: Amy Shojai, The Paw Print Blog
Amy Shojai, Amy Shojai’s Bling, Bitches and Blood Blog

VIII.3 Blog: Rescue/Advocacy – no entries

VIII.4 Blog – Entertainment        TIE!
MUSE© WINNER: Lisa Richman, A Tonk’s Tail
MUSE© WINNER: Bernadette Kazmarski, The Creative Cat

VIII.5 Blog – Any Other Topic
MUSE© WINNER: JaneA Kelley, Paws and Effect

VIII.6 Website – no entries

IX.1 Black and White Photograph – Single – no entries

IX.2 Black and White Photography Series – no entries

IX.3 Color Photograph – Single
Andrew Mattila, Catster Cover Photo
Susan Willett, Double Trouble: Cat Reflection
MUSE© WINNER: Janiss Garza, Vancouver Portrait
Weems Hutto, Cat Scene Investigator

IX.4 Color Photography Series – no entries

IX.5 Photographic Art
MUSE© WINNER: Teresa Keiger, Cat Talk October Cover

IX.6 Cartoon
Stephanie Piro, Cat Woman
MUSE© WINNER: Stephanie Piro, Great Outdoors

IX.7 Illustration – Single
MUSE© WINNER: Stephanie Piro, Makin’ Biscuits Cover

IX.8 Illustrations – Series
MUSE© WINNER: Stephanie Piro, Cat Scene Investigator
Bernadette Kazmarski, Klepto Cat Mysteries
 

2016 CWA Communication Contest – SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS
Awarded May 19, 2017

=============================================
Award #1: The AAFP Cat Friendly Award
Sponsor: American Association of Feline Practitioners.
Winner: Amy Shojai, My Cat Hates My Vet! Furry Muse Publisher

Award #2: The Barn Cats, Inc. Save-a-Feral Cat Award (new)
Sponsor: Barn Cats, Inc.
Winner: Stacey Ritz, How to Help Feral Cats and Why You Should, Advocates 4 Animals

Award #3: The CATalyst Council Connection Award
Sponsor: The CATalyst Council.
Winner: Susan Willett, A #ClearTheShelters Cat Adoption Story, Life With Dogs and Cats

Award #4: The Dr. Jim Richards Cornell Feline Health Center Veterinary Issues Award
Sponsor: Cornell University’s Feline Health Center.
Winner: Dusty Rainbolt, Cat Scene Investigator, Stupid Gravity Press

Award #5: The Fear Free Pets Award (new)
Sponsor: Fear Free, LLC.
Winner: Amy Shojai, My Cat Hates My Vet! Furry Muse Publisher

Award #6: The Fear Free Cat Enrichment Award (new)
Sponsor: Fear Free, LLC.
Winner: Dusty Rainbolt, Cat Scene Investigator

Award #7: The GoodNewsForPets.com Human-Animal Bond Award
Sponsor: Germinder & Associates.
Winner: Deborah Barnes, Makin’ Biscuits, ZZP Publishing

Award #8: The Hartz Every Day Chewable Vitamin Award
Sponsor: The Hartz Mountain Corporation.
Winner: Amy Shojai, Eight Common Aging Cat Conditions and What To Do, Herald-Democrat

Award #9: The Hartz Glamour-Puss Award
Sponsor: The Hartz Mountain Corporation.
Winner: Dusty Rainbolt, Cat Scene Investigator

Award #10: The Hartz Milk Replacement for Kittens Award
Sponsor: The Hartz Mountain Corporation.
Winner: Deborah Camp, It Happened at Big Lots, Best Times

Award #11: The Kari Winters Rescue and Rehabilitation Award
Sponsor: TICA, The International Cat Association.
Winner: Susan Willett, A #ClearTheShelters Cat Adoption Story, Life With Dogs and Cats

Award #12: The Lorie Huston Health Award
Sponsor: PetSafe.
Winner: Lisa Richman, Is Fish in Cat Food Bad for Cats? Catster

Award #13: The Sleepypod Traveler Award
Sponsor: Sleepypod.
Winner: Kim Thornton, Survival Guide to Traveling Cross-Country with Cats, VetStreet.com

Award #14: The SmartCat All Natural Litter Training Award
Sponsor: Pioneer Press.
Winner: Dusty Rainbolt, The Healthy Cat 2017 Calendar

Award #15: The World’s Best Cat Litter-Ary Award
Sponsor: World’s Best Cat Litter.
Winner: Carole Nelson Douglas, Cat in An Alphabet Endgame

The Shojai Mentor Award
Sponsor: Amy Shojai
Winner: Paul Glassner

The Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award
Sponsor: Cat Writers Association.
Winner: Arden Moore

The Kuykendall Image Award
Sponsor: Cat Writers Association.
Winner: Stephanie Piro, illustrator for Cat Scene Investigator

The CWA President’s Award
Sponsor: Cat Writers Association.
Winner: Deborah Barnes for Makin’ Biscuits

The PetSafeScholarship
Sponsor: PetSafe.
Winners, in order:

  1. Rick Reichenbach
  2. Dusty Rainbolt
  3. Kathleen Mueller
  4. Helen Fitzsimons
  5. Susan Willett

 

Congratulations to Certificate of Excellence Winners!

Start booking your travel plans NOW to attend the CWA/BlogPaws Conference in Myrtle Beach on May 17-20. Think of this as the feline version of the Academy Awards — it is your time to shine in the spotlight!

For complete info on registering for the Conference, including info on making your hotel reservations, go to the CWA web site and click on the “2017 Conference” tab.

To earn a Certificate of Excellence, an individual needed to average 90 points or higher, based on the scoring from three judges. The field was quite competitive and there were many stellar submissions!

 

At the Awards Banquet, the Muse medallion winners in each category will be announced (selected from the finalists: the Certificate of Excellence winners), as well as the winners of the Special Awards provided by our wonderful sponsors. So, yes, even if you did not earn a Certificate of Excellence or win a Muse medallion, you could still win a Special Award (and a few of you did) that comes with a monetary award.

 
 
2016 Certificate of Excellence Winners

I.1 Magazine – National Circulation
Cat Talk, editor Teresa Keiger

I.2 Magazine Article – Health and General Care
Dusty Rainbolt, Litter Box Basics
Denise Fleck, Torn Nails, Limping and High-Rise Syndrome
Denise Fleck, Water: A Cat’s Best Friend

I.3 Magazine Article –Behavior and Training
Sally Mullen, Training An Aggressive Kitten
Phillip Mlynar, Ooh, It’s a Box!
Susan Logan-McCracken, Kitty Quirks

I.4 Magazine Article – Rescue/Advocacy
Phillip Mlynar, Adventures in Giving Back

I.5 Magazine Article – Any Other Topic
Deborah Barnes, Kitten Introduction
Ramona Marek, One Health and The Human-Animal Bond
Ramona Marek, The Human-Animal Bond: A Biological Imperative
Shery Clark, Holidays and Heartbreak

I.6 Magazine Column
Mollie Shutt, Su-PURR-Stitions
Anthony Nichols, Showtime
JaneA Kelley, Keep It Clean

II.4 Newspaper Article – Any Other Topic
Jen Reeder, Back in Black

II.5 Newspaper Column
Deborah Camp, The Best of the Pet World
Amy Shojai, PETiQuette

III.2 Newsletter – National Circulation
Alley Cat Mews, editor Louise Holton

III. 4 Newsletter Article – Health and General Care
Ramona Marek, Cancer Treatments for Cats
Ramona Marek, Hospice Care for Our Pets
Kim Thornton, When Compounding IS Right for Your Cat
Kim Thornton, Fewer Heartworm Cases, More Severe Signs

III.5 Newsletter Article – Behavior and Training
Kim Thornton, They Climb Curtains, Scratch the Sofa

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

IV.2 Poem
Susan Willett, Haiku by Cat: Attraction
Susan Willett, Haiku by Cat: Yoga

IV.3 Humor
Heather Marcoux, 5 Father’s Day Gifts from My Unemployed, Moneyless Cats
Jeremy Greenberg, Sorry I Slept on Your Face

IV.4 Brochure, Pamphlet or Short Publication
Amy Shojai, My Cat Hates My Vet!
Matt Carl of Alley Cat Mews, Saving Cats’ Lives Through Trap-Neuter-Return

IV.5 Annual or Long Publication
Dusty Rainbolt, The Healthy Cat 2017 Calendar

IV.6 Opinion Piece, Essay or Editorial
Amy Shojai, Eight Common Aging Cat Conditions and What to Do
Deborah Barnes, Break Out of Your Blogging Niche to Make Strides in Cat Welfare

IV.7 PR/Humane Education/Press Kits
Bernadette Kazmarski, Making Life Better for Every Day of the Year

V.1 Books – Fiction
Clea Simon, The Ninth Life
Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Cat Shout for Joy
Stephen Chensue, The Nine Lives of Ichiban
Carole Nelson Douglas, Cat In An Alphabet Endgame

V.3 Books – Health and General Care
Ramona Marek, Cats for the Genius

V.4 Books – Behavior and Training
Dusty Rainbolt, Cat Scene Investigator

V.5 Books – Gift
Tamar Arslanian, Shop Cats of New York

V.7 Books – Other
Lonnie Hull DuPont, Kit Kat & Lucy
Deborah Barnes, Makin’ Biscuits
Laurren Darr, CatDala Coloring Book

VI.1 Video, CD, DVD or Television Production
Matt Carl, TNR Video
Susan Willett, Elsa Clair’s Gold-Medal Purr-formance

VI.2 Broadcast – Audio
Denise Fleck, Pet Safety Crusader Radio

VII.2 Online Article – Health and General Care
JaneA Kelley, When a Horse is Really a Zebra
Kim Thornton, Lethal Lillies
Kim Thornton, Survival Guide to Traveling Cross-Country with Cats
Kim Thornton, Travels with Felix
Kim Thornton, Fat Cats
Kim Thornton, Feline Mammary Cancer
Jen Reeder, Kidney Transplants for Cats
Lisa Richman, Kidney Transplants for Cats? Yes!
Dawn White, Stressed by the Vet?
Julie McAlee, Anal Glands and Happy Cats
Jacqueline Munera, Behavior Consulting and Declawed Cats
Susan Willett, My Cat Suddenly Started Drooling

VII.3 Online Article – Behavior and Training
Janiss Garza, Cat Tricks
Janiss Garza, A Step-by-Step Guide for Harness and Leash Training for Your Cat
Janiss Garza, 10 Tips to Trounce Kitty Troublemaking

VII.4 Online Article – Rescue/Advocacy
Jen Reeder, Oskar the Blind Cat Rallies for Special-Needs Pets
Dawn White: Tabby’s Place
Jonathon Scott Payne, To Sterling with Love
Susan Willett, A #ClearTheShelters Cat Adoption Story

VII.5 Online Article – Any Other Topic
Deborah Barnes, Living in Comfort with Cats
Janiss Garza, Driving Miss Kitty
Janiss Garza, Five of the Biggest Cat Show Misconceptions
Heather Marcoux, Senior Rescued Cat Saved Her Diabetic Human
JaneA Kelley, Give Me the Old, Creaky Cats
Tracy Ahrens, Whiskers Stir Up Senses, Luck and Memories
Bernadette Kazmarski, Buddy Gets A Miracle

VII.6 Online Column
Phillip Mlynar, Monday Miracles
Phillip Mlynar, Social Cat of the Week
Kim Thornton, Dr, Marty Becker and Mikkel Becker, Pet Connections

VIII.1 Blog – Health and General Care
Mollie Hunt, Life Stages
Marc-Andre Runcie-Unger, Katzenworld Blog
BJ Bangs, Paws for Reflection

VIII.2 Blog – Behavior and Training
Amy Shojai, The Paw Print Blog
Amy Shojai, Amy Shojai’s Bling, Bitches and Blood Blog

VIII.4 Blog – Entertainment
Lisa Richman, A Tonk’s Tail
Bernadette Kazmarski, The Creative Cat

VIII.5 Blog – Any Other Topic
JaneA Kelley, Paws and Effect

IX.3 Color Photograph – Single
Andrew Mattila, Catster Cover Photo
Susan Willett, Double Trouble: Cat Reflection
Janiss Garza, Vancouver Portrait
Weems Hutto, Cat Scene Investigator

IX.5 Photographic Art
Teresa Keiger, Cat Talk October Cover

IX.6 Cartoon
Stephanie Piro, Cat Woman
Stephanie Piro, Great Outdoors

IX.7 Illustration – Single
Stephanie Piro, Makin’ Biscuits Cover

IX.8 Illustrations – Series
Stephanie Piro, Cat Scene Investigator
Bernadette Kazmarski, Klepto Cat Mysteries

Paws up!
Arden Moore
CWA Contest Chair

Remembering Darlene Arden: A Tribute

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

 

REMEMBERING DARLENE ARDEN

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.

 

DISCOVERING DARLENE–A FRIENDSHIP IS BORN

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.

THE EPITOME OF MENTOR

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.

Happy Holidays!

This Message is from Your Prez

Happy Holidays CWA!

As another year ends, I paws to reflect on the changes and health of CWA going into 2017. We have experienced a lot of growing pains in the past two years, but I think we are going in the right direction and our membership remains solid.

My main focus since stepping into the Presidency has been to organize, consolidate, and try to clean up all the loose ends that have accumulated over the years. Trying to work at someone else’s desk (or cook in someone else’s kitchen) is always a struggle because everyone works differently. It is my goal to have things tidied up before I hand the gavel over to a new volunteer President.

I am actually enjoying leading this great organization although it was a giant step out of my comfort zone to accept the position. While it has been challenging and scary (public speaking) at times, I found something inside of me that I didn’t know was there and have grown because of it. I hope that CWA has grown along with me.

There is power in togetherness and we are quite the clowder! CWA members span the gamut of faiths so whatever and whenever you celebrate, I wish much joy, success, and good health for you, yours, and all and your fur kids in the coming year.

With warm purrs and peace from my home to yours,

Your Prez, Marci

Q&A With CWA President Marci Kladnik

CWA President Marci Kladnik with Barney and Maggie

CWA President Marci Kladnik with Barney and Maggie

If you have not been fortunate enough to meet her, Marci Kladnik may just be a name at the top of the sidebar of the Meow Newsletter emails. Here is her short bio:

Marci Kladnik, her four rescue cats, and one rescue dog live in a small town with no stoplights or mail delivery. A retired graphic designer and technical writer, she turned her talents to championing feral cats in 2007. Involved in TNR and feral rescue, she sat on the Board of Directors of Catalyst for Cats from 2007-2013 and in her spare time, trapped and fostered local feral cats and kittens. Her award-winning bi-weekly cat column ran for seven years in three newspapers, she is an award-winning photographer, winner of the 2015 Kari Winters Rescue and Rehabilitation Award, and President of the Cat Writers’ Association. Past columns appear on www.catalystforcats.org.

Maybe you’ve wondered how Marci worked her way up to being CWA president. To give you an idea of who our president is, we’ve put together a Q&A. Even if you’ve met Marci at a conference or traded emails with her, you will learn a lot about her you didn’t know before… and you’ll learn a little about CWA too.

What came first for you – writing or cats?
Cats and books came at the same time. I was lucky enough to be born into a family who loved cats and reading. My mother read to me every night and when I learned to read, I’d bring armloads of books home from the library. I frequently read with a cat on my lap. Writing began in grade school. In sixth grade I was chosen to be the assistant editor of our school’s first newspaper. I was a shy child and found my voice on paper easier than speaking out loud.

What is your background as a professional writer, and how did you come to write about cats?
My professional experience came from technical writing for medical devices. In 2007 I was asked to sit on the board of Catalyst for Cats (a TNR group in Santa Barbara County) as their Outreach Coordinator. Wearing that hat I approached a local newspaper and asked if I could write a bi-weekly cat column and they went for it! Eventually two other local papers picked the column up and I became known locally as the Cat Lady.

How did you get started working with TNR and how did you first become involved with Catalyst for Cats?
Being off work due to injuries and having just filed for divorce, I fell into TNR’ing after I found myself with time on my hands in a tiny town. Catalyst for Cats had one TNR volunteer locally who was looking for a replacement as she had just moved out of town. I heard myself saying, “How about me? I love cats!” At the time I had no idea where that would lead me. It literally changed my life.

Which writing credits are you proudest of?
Winning several MUSEs and the Kari Winters Rescue and Rehabilitation Award for pieces associated with my work in TNR and feral kitten fostering have brought me the most joy. Although my newspaper column ran for over seven years (before I burned out giving it away for free), being recognized by CWA as being a good writer validated my efforts.

How did you find out about the Cat Writers Association?
In 2010 when my newspaper column was included on the Catalyst for Cats website, Nancy Peterson, CWA past President and (then) with the Humane Society of the United States, contacted me in regards to our barn cat program. In the course of our conversations she mentioned CWA and offered to sponsor me. Holy Catfish, and now I’m the President!

How else were you involved with CWA before becoming president?
From the very beginning I volunteered to judge the annual Communication Contest. Next I volunteered to design and produce the conference and awards banquet programs for two years, followed by two years as Contest Chair. Now I’m in my second term of being President. So basically I have been a volunteer the whole time I’ve been a member.

How were you chosen to take over as president when the previous president, Lorie Huston, passed away?
I don’t know the background of how my name came up or the discussions within the Council, but Dusty, the VP at the time, called me and asked if I would consider the position. I was stunned, honored, and hesitant, but took a step out of my comfort zone and agreed to give it a try. I am very glad I did because, even though it was a steep learning curve the first year, I feel that both CWA and I have grown.

What are some of the duties you have as CWA president?
There are lots of little things to do but the two main duties are these.

The first, of course, is to provide a steady and thoughtful form of leadership. This, at times, has been difficult due to the nature of how I became President at Lorie Huston’s sudden passing and because I’m new at it.

The second, and perhaps the most time-consuming duty, is garnering sponsors. Without the funds from our generous sponsors, CWA could not offer an affordable conference and we would not have those wonderful contest prizes.

How much work would you say it takes to get a sponsor to commit to CWA, on average?
Asking for money is never easy. As part of my ongoing strategy to bring new life into CWA and one reason I also took on the position of Conference Co-Chair this year, I revamped the presentation sent to potential and current sponsors this year in the attempt to be eye-catching. That part plus the template for the cover letters took many hours, but I’m happy to say that it was worth it.

Some sponsors replied to a single email from me, while others took several (4-5) follow-up reminders before I had a response. In regards to garnering new sponsors, that is a whole new dance in itself. One has to both tread lightly and also be able to woo a company by tailoring the cover letter or conversation to their specific mission in regards to cats. Sometimes it works and other times not. It is difficult to put an actual “average time spent” stamp on any sponsorship courtship as each is an individual situation. The whole sponsorship genre is an ongoing, year round effort for the President and the Conference Chair.

What are the hardest and most rewarding aspects of being CWA president?
The most difficult thing for me is dealing with internal discord. Different opinions are always welcome, but public bashings and criticisms based on misunderstandings or speculations are just not seemly and cause a lot of hurt. I look at CWA as a nurturing organization and am always very sad when a hairball bubbles to the top.

The private, “Thanks, you’re doing great!” emails that come in from members on occasion make all the hard work worth it. I am working hard at trying to organize the background aspects of CWA so that when a new volunteer steps into my shoes it won”t be quite as overwhelming as it was for me. There is still much to do, but much progress has been made.

What do you love most about CWA in general?
CWA has meant the world to me and has actually changed my life. The love and support of the members, and the encouragement that is offered freely makes this an incredible organization. I know from personal experience that the reason I have reaped so many benefits from being a member is that I got involved. I didn’t just sit back and wait to see if “it was worth it” but made the most of what was out there by stepping out of my comfort zone of anonymity and volunteering.

What are some ways that CWA members can get involved in the organization?
I cannot stress enough that volunteering for CWA reaps benefits, including opening doors.

  • Start small by offering to be a contest judge.
  • Attend the conference and volunteer to help stuff the swag bags or set up the banquet trappings.
  • Want a voice in the running of CWA? Let the nominating committee know you are interested in being on Council or running for an office.
  • The Contest Chair always needs help with sorting entries and packing them up for shipping, if you happen to live near her. She also needs lots of judges and suggestions for the Special Awards judges who cannot be CWA members.
  • The Conference Chair needs help breaking down, packing up and shipping stuff post conference.

Thank you, Marci! I hope you’ve inspired CWA members to take a bigger part in our organization.

2016 Cat Writers’ Calendar of Cat Holidays and Causes

Rolz-2016-quoteHappy 2016! May the year be filled with fabulous endeavors and passionate musings devoted to our favorite subject – the cat. Here is a calendar of the special days, weeks, and months devoted to them (and others) to help bring awareness to their causes and challenges:

Please be aware that this calendar is subject to change. To advise of corrections or additions, please leave a comment.

JANUARY
Walk Your Pet Month (for those that partake in leashes, harnesses, and strollers).
January 2: National Pet Travel Safety Day.
January 22: National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day.
January 24: Change a Pet’s Life Day.

FEBRUARY
National Cat Health Month.
Beat the Heat Month.
American Heart Month.
National Spay/Neuter Month (Humane Society of the United States).
National Prevent a Litter Month.
Pet Dental Health Month (AVMA).
Responsible Pet Owners Month.
February 14: Pet Theft Awareness Day (Last Chance for Animals).
February 20: Love Your Pet Day.
February 21 – 27: National Justice for Animals Week.
February 23: World Spay Day (Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States – held the last Tuesday of February).

MARCH
Poison Prevention Awareness Month.
March 2 – Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day.
March 3 – If Pets Had Thumbs Day.
March 6 – 12: Professional Pet Sitters Week.
March 20 – 26: National Poison Prevention Week.
March 16 – 22: National Flood Safety Awareness Week.

APRIL
Animal Cruelty Prevention Month (ASPCA).
National Heartworm Awareness Month (American Heartworm Society).
National Pet First Aid Awareness Month (Created by the American Red Cross to draw attention to the need to know specialized pet first aid).
April 9: FIP Awareness Day (Mr. Swanson’s Day).
April 11: National Pet Day.
April 10 – 16: National Volunteer Week.
April 10 – 16: National Animal Control Appreciation Week.
April 17 – 23: National Pet ID Week.
April 17 – 23: Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week (Humane Society of the United States).
April 17 – 23: National Environmental Education Week (National Environmental Education Foundation).
April 18: Pet Owners Independence Day.
April 19: Pet Owners Day.
April 22: Earth Day.
April 24: National Pet Parents Day
April 26: National Kids & Pets Day
April 27: Free Feral Cat Spay Day (Alley Cat Rescue).
April 29: Hairball Awareness Day.
April 30: National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.
April 30: World Veterinary Day (World Veterinary Association).

MAY
National Pet Month.
Responsible Animal Guardian Month.
Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.
Pet Cancer Awareness Month (Sponsored by Pet Cancer Awareness and the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research).
Chip Your Pet Month (Home Again Pet ID).
May 3: National Specially-abled Pets Day.
May 1 – 7: Be Kind to Animals Week (AHA).
May 1-7: National Pet Week (AVMA).
May 8: Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.
May 20: Endangered Species Day.
May 23: National Heat Awareness Day.

JUNE
National Pet Preparedness Month (Timed for the first month of hurricane season).
Adopt-a-Shelter Cat Month (ASPCA).
Adopt-a-Cat Month (AHA).
June 5 – 11: Pet Appreciation Week.
June 4: International Hug Your Cat Day.
June 9: Meezer Colors Day.
June 11: Just One Day (One day of no-kill in shelters worldwide).
June 12: World Pet Memorial Day.
Mid-June: Animal Rights Awareness Week.
June 19: International Box Day.
June 23 – 25: Cat Writers’ Association Annual Conference (Wild Horse Pass Sheraton Resort – Phoenix, AZ)
June 24: Cat World Domination Day.

JULY
July 4: While not a feline recognized holiday, please keep in mind that our cats (and all pets) can become highly traumatized during the 4th of July festivities. Keep your pet safely indoors and recognize the fact that they can panic or hide from the sounds that fireworks cause.
July 15: Pet Fire Safety Day.
July 21: National Craft for Your Local Shelters Day.

AUGUST
National Immunization Awareness Month.
August 8: World Cat Day.
August 15: Check the Chip Day.
August 17: National Black Cat Appreciation Day.
August 20: International Homeless Animal Day (International Society for Animal Rights).
August 22: National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day.
August 28: Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day (Purr Prints of the Heart and Zee/Zoey.com).
August 30: National Holistic Pet Day.

SEPTEMBER
Catalyst Council’s Happy Healthy Cat Month.
National Disaster Preparedness Month (Led by FEMA’s ReadyCampaign, Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council, this effort encourages individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together and take action to prepare for disaster emergencies).
National Food Safety Awareness Month.
September 11: National Pet Memorial Day (International Association of Pet Cemeteries).
September 13: Pet Birth Defect Awareness Day (MBJungle Foundation).
September 19: International “Meow Like a Pirate Day” (not a cause, but somehow cat bloggers love this day!)
September 22: Remember Me Thursday (Helen Woodward Animal Center).
Sept. 28: World Rabies Day (Global Alliance for Rabies Control).
Last full week in September: Deaf Pet Awareness Week (Petfinder.com).

OCTOBER
National Animal Safety and Protection Month (Emergency Animal Rescue Service).
National Pet Wellness Month.
First full week of October: Animal Welfare Week (AVMA).
October 9 – 15: National Veterinary Technician Week.
October 4: World Animal Day.
October 12: National Pet Obesity Day.
October 16: National Feral Cat Day (Alley Cat Allies).
October 29: National Cat Day.

NOVEMBER
National Pet Awareness Month.
Adopt a Senior Pet Month (ASPCA).
National Senior Pet Month
Pet Cancer Awareness Month.
Pet Diabetes Month.
November 6 – 12: National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week (HSUS).
November 17: National Black Cat Day.

DECEMBER
No recognized awareness days in December, but this is a good time to share information on preventative safety measures for our cats during the holidays because many of the foods, plants, and decorations that are part of our festivities can be dangerous or even lethal to them. For information on the Pet Poison Hotline, please click here.

About the Author:

Deborah Barnes resides in the tropical paradise of South Florida with her fiancé and feline family of seven. She is the author of the 5-star rated books, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary and Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond as well as the award winning blog, Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles that continues to cover the everyday journey she shares with her cats along with topics from the humorous behaviors of cats to very serious subjects on pet responsibility.  Deborah was awarded 2013 “Writer of the Year” by Friskies Purina on behalf of the Cat Writers’ Association and she is also the Secretary of the nonprofit, Pawsitively Humane, Inc. of Miami, Florida, whose mission is to create public awareness and reduce the numbers of animals on the streets and in shelters through an extensive educational campaign.

 

Christmas and Holiday Season Fun With Cats

A holiday season guest post from Barbara Florio Graham features a few festive photos of her cat Penny. More than ever, cat lovers are celebrating the holidays with their cats. Our beloved felines are receiving gifts in record numbers, special treats and even gussied up in festive costumes. Many of our CWA members have written blog posts and articles about the relevance of cats in our culture during the holidays. I invite you to visit the CWA Facebook page where members often post and read their latest coverage of our favorite topic:cats.

May the joy of the season bring purrfect peace in your heart and homes.

Layla Morgan Wilde

~CWA blog editor

CWA_cat_Christmas
Bobbi loves lights, and we have strings of mini-lights on our “weed
tree” in the living room, and lights above the windows outside. I enjoy
watching these turn on, even when she’s out, because they’re on a timer,
but I usually don’t see them turn off, because we’re already in bed by
the time that happens.

But I’ve noticed that other houses on our street have lights as well. In
fact, the lights across the street are many different colors! Bobbi says
this is for Christmas, but I don’t know what that means, because last
year at this time I had just been taken in by a family who took pity on
me and my sister Belle, when they saw us in their back yard.

We were only there a short time before being taken to the Aylmer SPCA
and put in separate cages. I was happy to be warm, dry, and fed, but
felt really lonesome until Bobbi came along, the day after my first
birthday, to take me home with her.

Here’s the Christmas coat Bobbi wants me to put on. I’m trying to figure
out if it will fit. And here is my teddy (bearing significant battle scars from Tiki and
Terzo), wearing his Santa hat.

As I get ready for Christmas, I’m celebrating the fact that our Fan Club
has reached an amazing total of 59 species from 31 countries on six
continents! Check it out at the fan page

Visit Barbara Florio Graham at SimonTeakettle.com

Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat

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Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish CWA members. Our guest book reviewer is Melissa LaPierre, blogger at Mochas Mysteries and Meows

I was raised in a Catholic family and spent my elementary and high school years attending Catholic schools. I readily admit that I am woefully uneducated about the Jewish faith. As an adult I have found my greatest teachers to be cats, and that it is why I was excited to have the chance to read a copy of Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat by Greta Beigel. I found Ketzel’s “mewsings” to be both whimsical and educational!

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From the publisher: In the playful/educational “Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat,” the much-loved Ketzel pontificates in rhyme on what it takes to be a good Jew in these modern times. Clearly the author’s alter ego, cat Ketzel celebrates the High Holidays, relishing the rituals and ethnic foods of her rich cultural heritage. Each fall, the feline remains in awe of Rosh Hashanah, expressing hope for peace on this Earth. But soon becomes anxious with the rapidly-approaching Day of Atonement–and mandated food fast. Comes Nov/December, Ketzel recalls those “Hanukkah Nights/Lights” dreaming of dreidels and latkes, and recounting how over eight nights we kindle candles as sacred rite.

With the advent of spring and Passover, she listens attentively to tales of the Hebrews’ escape from Egypt & slavery–all the while salivating over the gefilte fish she knows will be served during Seder celebrations. Above all, whether on travels to Iceland, New Zealand, and lovely Hawaii, or merely at home reclining and idle, Ketzel in her musings accords her own Yiddishe Mamma a five-meow rating.
Greta tells the story of how at a cat writers’ conference she was asked by a publisher why she wrote a book about a Jewish cat? Her response: “I love having Ketzel purr away in the kitchen as we prepare for Passover, then sit alongside at the Seder table, watching power plays amongst our Orthodox relatives. So good to have her accompany me on a visit to Iceland and express surprise at the lack of Jewry in this land of lava and mist. And what fun to watch her chasing after dreidels (spinning tops) and plates of latkes during Hanukkah.”
Our cats are an integral part of our lives and homes, so why shouldn’t they share in our religious customs and celebrations? Do you have plans to make your cat(s) a part of this year’s holiday season?

Visit the author at her Facebook page for her latest news.
Find out more or to purchase click on the Amazon Link

Editor's note: We're seeking Christmas-themed short stories (fiction or non-fiction), poems or photos. Please send to Layla Morgan Wilde at Layla@laylamorganwilde.com before Dec.18, 2015. If selected, you'll be notified in advance of posting.