Winner Winner, Haiku Dinner?

Elsa Clair cat haiku- table slow service


Elsa Clair cat haiku- table slow service


















This week’s Haiku image features Elsa Clair, Susan Willett’s cat. Most cat lovers can relate to the discriminating and demanding tastes of cats. Tell us: do your cats treat you like a waiter they’d rather not tip?

Visit Susan Willett at her blog Life With Cats and Cats.



Copyright Cautions for Bloggers

Copyright Cautions for Bloggers by Barbara Florio Graham

Terzo cat
Photo credit: Barbara Florio Graham


Blogging is growing as a way for authors to communicate. But there are concerns you should consider before you start or contribute to a blog.

The first think you need to ask yourself is where your blog is located. If it’s not on your own website, you may be making a huge mistake.

I heard a scary story recently from a friend who works full time as a school librarian. She’s also a published writer who used to write for magazines and newspapers.

However, with the decline in print markets, she started a travel blog. It’s very popular, especially since she always includes photos. She recently met the travel editor of the Montreal Gazette and asked about submitting travel articles. As a sample of her writing, she sent the editor a link to her blog. The editor told her nothing she had already written on her blog could become a travel piece for the Gazette because it had already been published online.

So many writers never think about this when they give their best writing away on a blog, in Facebook posts, or on other online media. Once it has been published – in any form – first rights are no longer available. So if you’ve written something a magazine, newspaper, or other publication might be willing to pay for, you’ve lost that possibility the minute you post it anywhere online.

The issue of ownership of your work is crucial.

That means you should never post anything on a blog that could be stolen, unless that blog is attached to your own website. That offers the protection of your unique URL.

Close to 75 million blogs live on WordPress, with over 100,000 new blogs added every day. That’s great for them, but not so good for their bloggers. How likely is it that your blog post will be read by more than 5 or 6 people? Also, the nature of blogs is that older posts move down, so whatever great ideas or fine writing you posted a week or two ago are never going to be read by anyone ever again.

And you no longer own that material, because it’s been put online by a service you don’t control.

If your blog is on your own website, you have many options. You can repeat or refer to older posts. You can delete something you feel is no longer relevant. You can sell or trade articles with other bloggers, or sell these to paying magazines! The problem of first being published on your blog can be eliminated by removing the blog post in question if you decide to market the article.

There are many advantage to creating your own website, in addition to a safe place to host your blog. You can link to other CWA members, or other organizations you want to support. You can feature your books, providing a link to wherever they are for sale (unless you want to handle sales yourself via your site).

When you create your own bio on your website, you can change the photo whenever you wish, add additional photos, either to the blog or other pages, and update information about recent accomplishments, such as winning a contest.

Remember that you don’t own your work unless you own the media where it appears. Anything you write in a blog hosted by someone else, on Facebook, or in any social media can be taken away from you. We tend to forget that Facebook is a business. They can change how we access the site at any time, and have done that repeatedly over the past year or two.

As a publishing consultant, I see many books that have been published by print-on-demand companies. In many cases, contact information in the book is only for the publisher. So if the publisher goes out of business, your book contains no viable contact info.

When you own your own website, your email can be attached to that, so it will never change if your current ISP changes. It’s also a good idea to use your own name in your email communications and on social media. I don’t always remember who people are on LinkedIn when they post under the name of their company or their nickname.

And just because something is free now doesn’t mean that it will always be free. You have no control over a site that begins to charge users. Notice how LinkedIn is continually asking you to upgrade to their premium service. Other social media are doing the same. But both LinkedIn and Facebook are a very good way to promote your books or your blog. Just make sure you don’t “give away” your best ideas on social media but rather point to your own website URL.

You may wonder why I’m contributing to this blog. It’s because this article was adapted from one already published in a newsletter where I’ve been a columnist for more than a decade. I also used it in a paid presentation for Ottawa Independent Writers, and it will also appear on a website I contribute to regularly. I can do that because I own it. Holding onto rights so I can recycle my work is one of the ways I make sure I’m paid for my work. So don’t copy this; it’s mine.

Bobbi Florio Graham
Barbara Florio Graham

Barbara Florio Graham was a charter member of CWA, an author, publishing consultant and   marketing strategist. Her website is:

Editor’s note: There are instances of blogs and their content scoring book deals in the business and humor/parody category (e.g.,Stuff White People Like) and memoirs such as Julie & Julia and Waiter Rant. And yes, we’d love more blog content from our talented pool of members. Email your submission queries to Layla Morgan Wilde, CWA blog editor

Peek Inside The World’s Biggest Pet Product Expo

If you’ve ever wondered what Global Pet Expo, the world’s largest annual pet products expo looks like, take a peek at this video.

Thousands of new pet products were launched last week and CWA member Julie McAlee shares a few geared for our feline friends. 

Visit Julie at her blog Sometimes Cats Herd You where she reviewed her experience at Global in detail.

Global pet expo 2015 cat products

Global pet expo 2015 cat products-001

Global pet expo 2015 cat products

Global pet expo 2015 cat products

award winner Hagen

Global pet expo 2015 cat products-006

Global pet expo 2015 kitten adoption

This cute kitten was available for adoption from a local Orlando rescue group Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando

Global pet expo 2015 cat products

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!

Karen Payne, Editor of Meow, Honored by CWA

Karen Payne2Dear CWA Members,

By now many of you know that Karen Payne has tendered her resignation as Editor of Meow, our long-standing and award-winning CWA newsletter. You also may know that Meow is changing formats.

It was Lorie Huston’s (our sorely missed late President) intention to change the Meow to a totally digital newsletter. As I understand it, she had several conversations with Karen on the subject. I agreed with Lorie’s vision and when I was elected, it was added to my “to do” list for my term in office.

Under the direction of Karen Payne, the Meow won a Muse Medallion for Excellence

The usual post conference newsletter did not happen for a number of reasons. As I observed Karen’s struggles to get an issue out in January, it became clear that Council needed to deal with the fate of Meow sooner than later.

And so, on Friday January 30th I brought it before Council for the first time. A majority were in favor of changing the quarterly newsletter to an end-of-the-year “CWA Highlights of 20–” to be posted on the website at the close of each year. (More about this to follow in a separate announcement.)

With the obvious decision in sight so quickly, I emailed Karen late that same afternoon to give her a heads up on what was happening. I did NOT want her to hear from anyone but me, and I also did not want her to spend any more time on the issue she was still trying to pull together.

I then put before Council the request to honor Karen in some way. This idea, too, was unanimously approved and I delayed announcing the change until I had the award pictured above in hand so as to share a photo of it with everyone and publicly honor Karen.

Council, all of CWA and I are all so very appreciative of the six long years of service Karen has selflessly put in as our newsletter Editor. It is an end to an era for sure and, as it often is, there is pain involved. We cannot thank you enough, Karen, but please accept this award, now in the mail to you, as a token.

Many purrs,
Marci Kladnik
President, Cat Writers’ Association


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.

Book Signing Ops for CWA Members at Amazing Pet Expos!

Depositphotos_18034341_CatDogOur CWA Sponsor, good friends at have offered to share their booth space with Cat Writers’ Association authors and artists at any one or more of 30 Amazing Pet Expo events held all over the country!

Look for your favorite cat book authors and artists at these PAW-some book signing events!

You’ll need to let them know at least two weeks in advance of your participation. The same invitation has been extended to our colleagues, members of the Dog Writers Association of America, as well. Be sure to contact Chris Ruben to take advantage of this offer! You can find his email and all the latest locations on the:


Events Page.

The 2015 Cat Writers’ Calendar for the Special Days, Weeks, and Months Devoted to Feline Care and Awareness

2015 calendar
Once again the New Year is upon us and once again there are numerous special days, weeks, and months devoted to promoting causes and awareness for our feline friends. To follow, you will find all the pertinent dates for 2015 – please take a moment to look them over and bookmark the site for reference purposes. Whether radio, blogs, columns, websites, magazines, art, photographs, or more, we all have the voice and talent to highlight these causes to help educate so that we can continue to make the world a better place for the safety, health, happiness, and well-being of cats.


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

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.

American Heart Month.
National Spay/Neuter Month (HSUS).
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 15 – 21: National Justice for Animals Week.
February 20: Love Your Pet Day.
February 24: World Spay Day (Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States – held the last Tuesday of February).

Poison Prevention Awareness Month.
March 1 – 7: Professional Pet Sitters Week.
March 2 – 8: National Severe Weather Preparedness Week.
March 15 – 21: National Poison Prevention Week.
March 16 – 22: National Flood Safety Awareness Week.
March 23 – 29: National Tsunami Awareness Week.

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 (Mr. Swanson’s Day).
April 11: National Pet Day.
April 12 – 18: National Volunteer Week.
April 12 – 18: National Animal Control Appreciation Week.
Third week in April: Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week (HSUS).
Third full week of April starting with a Sunday: National Pet ID Week.
April 18: Pet Owners Independence Day.
April 22: Earth Day.
April 24: Hairball Awareness Day.
April 25: World Veterinary Day (World Veterinary Association).
April 26: National Kids & Pets Day
April 30: National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.

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 3 – 9: Be Kind to Animals Week (AHA).
May 3-9: National Pet Week (AVMA).
May 9: Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.
May 15: Endangered Species Day.
May 23: National Heat Awareness Day.
May 25 – 31: National Hurricane Preparedness Week.
May 27: Free Feral Cat Spay Day (Alley Cat Rescue).

National Pet Preparedness Month (Timed for the first month of hurricane season).
Adopt-a-Shelter Cat Month (ASPCA).
Adopt-a-Cat Month (AHA).
First week in June: Pet Appreciation Week.
June 4: International Hug Your Cat Day.
June 14: World Pet Memorial Day.
Mid-June: Animal Rights Awareness Week.
June 22 – 28: National Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

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.

National Immunization Awareness Month.
August 15: Check the Chip Day.
August 20: National Homeless Animal Day (International Society for Animal Rights).
August 17: National Black Cat Appreciation Day.
August 22: National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day.
August 30: National Holistic Pet Day.

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 13: Pet Birth Defect Awareness Day (MBJungle Foundation).
September 14: National Pet Memorial Day (International Association of Pet Cemeteries).
September 19: International “Talk Like a Pirate Day” (not a cause, but somehow cat bloggers love this day!)
September 24: 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 (

National Animal Safety and Protection Month (Emergency Animal Rescue Service).
National Pet Wellness Month.
October 4: World Animal Day.
First full week of October: Animal Welfare Week (AVMA).
October 14: National Pet Obesity Day.
October 11 – 17: National Veterinary Technician Week.
October 16: National Feral Cat Day (Alley Cat Allies).
October 29: National Cat Day.

National Pet Awareness Month.
Adopt a Senior Pet Month (ASPCA).
Pet Cancer Awareness Month.
Pet Diabetes Month.
First full week of November: National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week (HSUS).
November 17: National Black Cat Day.

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.


About the Author:

Deborah Barnes is the author of The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary starring her feline family as well as the award winning blog, Zee & Zoey’s Chronicle Connection that covers the everyday journey she shares with her cats as well as topics from the humorous behaviors of cats to very serious subjects on pet responsibility. She was bestowed the Friskies Writer of the Year Award in 2013 and her current circle of works has brought her to where she is today – a contributing writer for and Cat Fancy Magazine as well as 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.


Farewell CWA President Dr. Lorie A. Huston

lorie beautiful bestYesterday humanity was diminished by the passing of Dr. Lorie A. Huston, friend, ailurophile, veterinarian, writer, blogger, social media expert and one of the kindest people ever.

I met Lorie at a CWA conference in Westchester, NY, and we visited occasionally at veterinary social media conventions. I was struck by her gentle demeanor, her intelligence and her subtle but quick wit.

When she agreed to take the reins of CWA I was thrilled. And for almost a year she guided our organization through a difficult transitional period. Over the last 11 months Lorie and I became good friends.

loriehustonprofile-1333478613On several occasions I offered to buy her a glass of wine. She always declined. She eventually shared that she had struggled with liver issues her entire life. Earlier this year she had a close call. Despite her more frequent and severe hepatic bouts, she never sought a liver transplant because of the lifelong complications.

Lorie called me two weeks ago to remind me that she was visiting family in Nebraska. She promised she’d be available by cell phone or email if I needed her. She’d be back in a week.

That was our last conversation.

I learned later, the day she left for Nebraska, her skin was orange. She assured coworkers that everything was under control. Apparently it wasn’t.

officersLorie always responded to phone calls. Always. When she failed to return calls or answer emails, I became concerned. Finally, CWA newsletter editor Karen Payne reached her. She told Karen she was in ICU in Nebraska.

I tried calling and emailing many times to check on her, to no avail. On Monday, that little voice of mine told me to hunt down her vet clinic. I spoke to Tia, the receptionist. Fortunately, she knew I was a friend and told me Lorie was on life support. The prognosis was “poor.” Tia was also awaiting the arrival of Lorie’s house keys so she could check on Lorie’s six cats. Since Lorie only expected to be gone a week, she had set out two weeks rations of cat food and water.

I received another call from Tia. I thought the news would be about Lorie’s cats. It wasn’t. Tia struggled to tell me that Lorie had just passed away.

Oh God, no!

At approximately 04:25, September 30, Lorie A. Huston joined her many pets at the Rainbow Bridge. Heaven may be a happier place, but Earth feels empty.

Funeral arrangements are still pending.

Lorie-Huston3-400x300Help Lorie’s Cats

Lorie’s family has asked for help rehoming the cats. The clinic is too small to house them and it’s a hardship on Tia (who is recovering from a serious dog attack) to care for the pets. We are working on obtaining details and photos of the kitties. People have offered donations for shipping and boarding. Let me know if you are willing to adopt, foster, transport, monitor or donate money. I’ll let you know when and if funds are actually needed.

lorie & ZekiThe Real Lorie Huston

Now a little bit about Lorie. She is survived by her six “beautiful” (her words) kitties, her brother Tim, her sister-in-law Karen. I don’t know about her parents. She lived near Providence, Rhode Island. All of her cats were either rescued or had been abandoned at her clinic.

Lorie attended the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 1986 as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to that, she attended the University of Nebraska, where she received a Bachelor of Science. In 1988, she moved to Rhode Island to work full-time as a veterinarian at the Hoffman Animal Hospital in Providence. Caring for primarily for cats and dogs, she was responsible for most of the surgical procedures, which according to Lorie surgery was her favorite part of the business day. She also cared for sick animals and provided routine preventive health care.

loriehustonSeveral years ago, Lorie saw a need for more accurate online pet care information. As a result, she started writing and blogging including her award-winning personal blog, Pet Health Care Gazette. Lorie’s articles have been widely published both offline and online, and can be found in FIDOFriendly, Pet Sitter’s World, and many others. Her interest in social media and search engine optimization sprang up as a natural extension of her online writing. She was a reporter for National Pet Health Examiner, host of Animal Cafe. She was a certified veterinary journalist and wrote a regular column for and assisted CATalyst Council with their social media outreach to promote the status of cats as pets.

lorie beautiful2In November, 2013 CWA members elected her president. Because of her desire to share accurate information, she freely gave interviews to fellow pet writers.

Recently, when I was working on a very technical article, she sent me links to articles that helped clarify the complicated topic. She even offered to fact check the article before I submitted it to the publisher. Thank you, Lorie. I really appreciated that. So many writers and befitted from her wisdom and her intellectual generosity.

Her Pet Health Care Gazette won the 2012 Petties Award for Best Pet Blog as well as the Winn Feline Foundation prestigious 2014 Media Appreciation Award. She was a 2014 finalist for the Pet Industry Woman of the Year.

Lorie, we miss you. We cat writers will continue your crusade to improve the quality of life for pets and their people. Rest in peace, dear friend.


Special Discount Offer for Members and Conference Registrants Plus Other CWA News

Hello fellow CWA members and cat lovers.

I have some exciting CWA news to share with you today.

CWA members and conference registrants are entitled to a special promotional offer from our sponsor and official PR firm Fetching Communications and its service. will write a press kit or press release announcing your company’s new products or services, and then you can choose the media categories the release will be distributed to… all in the easy online order form at Please watch your email for the discount code or contact me at PR Newswire is also available as a service on, but is not subject to the promotional code as it is already discounted to’s clients. Try it out, and get your news out to the media who are looking for pet stories!


In related news, a press release issued Tuesday, June 17 and widely distributed through many channels serves to encourage entry to CWA’s annual writing contest as well as publicizing the upcoming conference. Please join me in thanking Fetching Communications and for their generosity and for their assistance in helping us meet our public relations needs. You can see the press release here: Cat Writers and Publishers Vie for Top Honors. And, if you haven’t already done so, be sure to get your contest entries in before the July 1 deadline!

Also, we now have conference badges available to place on your websites, should you wish to announce your participation and help us publicize the conference. More information is available on the Conference Badges page. If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, now is the time!

That’s it for today. I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer.

Your president,
Lorie Huston, DVM

April Member Spotlight: Christine Michaels

Christine Michaels at one of her feeding stations
Christine Michaels at one of her feeding stations

Thank you for this honor to introduce myself and share my work in the CWA spotlight. I’m in awe to join this talented and exclusive membership and learn from your experience and insights.

So what makes me purr, tick and thump (or jump) for joy? Well I’m a tortie of four passions—dance, marketing, Art Deco and blogging about cats!

My love for the arts and performing ballet started very young but I knew at age 23 a “starving artist” would not sustain a lifestyle of travel and modern comforts. Dance remains a cherished hobby so I chose marketing as my career path. It came as natural as ballet and marketing remains my secret weapon in helping the cat community.

However, after four job layoffs in 20 years it was time to reinvent myself as “an educator with flair”. At the ripe age of 40 I launched a small business. The Art Deco Walking Tour and Cocktail tour showcase the history and architecture of Miami Beach and I became known as the South Beach Deco Lady before…

My affinity for cats materialized by accident. When I stumbled upon homeless cats in my new neighborhood along the Miami River, I could not ignore their plight and dove into action–learning hands on about capturing kittens, trapping, deworming, bottle feeding, recuperating after spay/neuter, socializing, etc. As a strategist I realized the number of homeless cats against a small army of volunteers was a constant losing battle. Community awareness was nonexistent. Education and communication were critical to reverse the trend. Thus the Riverfront Cats blog was born as I put my efforts into words in hopes to stir reaction and motivate action.

A proud moment was conceptualizing and chairing the inaugural Black Cat gala in Miami to overturn the misconception of black cats and increase adoptions. Le Chat Noir was conceived to showcase the elegance and intelligence of black cats. Against a backdrop theme of old Hollywood black and silver, fine wine and food, and trained black cats strutting down the cat walk adorned with diamond collars, the event elevated black cats and dazzled attendees. We also flew in Otto, the celebrity black cat that rides a motorcycle in Los Angeles. Otto confidently walked the red carpet in his black top hat and didn’t blink an eye in the face of flashing cameras. The 2010 event was featured in a luxury Miami magazine. Mission accomplished!

Now in its fifth year, the Riverfront Cats blog and nonprofit has received media attention for efforts related to community, feral and black cats. My hard work, sweat and tears is paying off. It’s not just a paw print in the beach sand. The blog is leaving tracks and forging ahead and I thank my new cat friends, neighbors and mother for their valuable contributions. I could not do this alone.

Now for my next goal, it’s ambitious. To combine cats, Art Deco, dance, writing all in one– To host the next CWA conference in Miami with an “Art Deco Alley Cat walking and dance tour in South Beach!” Livin’ la cat vida loca!

You can connect with Christine in any of her social media platforms:
Riverfront Cats on Facebook
Riverfront Cats on Twitter
Riverfront Cats on Pinterest
Riverfront Cats on Instagram