Information Updated March 19, 2018, by wac (

CWA ANNUAL COMMUNICATION CONTEST   covering entries published in calendar 2017

Certificate of Excellence Winners

The judges have read, thought, contemplated, puzzled, agonized — and decided! The winners of Certificates of Excellence for the CWA Communications Contest covering the calendar year 2017 have been chosen. Each entry was independently judged by 3 Professional CWA members. Winning a Certificate of Excellence means that the average of those three judges’ scores for the entry is 90 or above — a high bar to cross!

All Certificate of Excellence winning entries are now finalists for the MUSE Medallion in their Category. MUSE Medallions (plus Special Awards) will be presented to the winners at the CWA Annual Awards Banquet, to be held on Saturday, June  9, 2018, in conjunction with the CWA Conference in Houston, TX.

You won’t want to miss it, ESPECIALLY if you’re a Certificate of Excellence winner! Get all the details, and register for the Conference now!

Congratulations to all Certificate Winners!

Certificate winners are listed below, listed in alphabetical order within each Category.


I.1 Monthly Magazine: National

Keiger, Teresa         Cat Talk magazine

October 2017 issue

December, 2017 issue

June, 2017 issue


I.2 Magazine Article: Health & General Care

Thornton, Kim         New Advice on Sterilizing Kittens: Earlier is Better


 I.3 Magazine Article: Behavior & Training

No entries


I.4 Magazine Article: Rescue/Advocacy

Jackson, Candine Lee        Hawaii’s Cat Sanctuary


I.5 Magazine Article: Any Other Topic

Drury, Lucy             Cat Genetics 101 – Part 1: The Basics

Drury, Lucy             Cat Genetics 101 – Part 2: Feline Genetic Testing

Jackson, Candine Lee        How’d They Do That? The Story Behind the

“Cat Herders”  Commercial

Mlynar, Phillip          Steppin’ Out with Adventure Cats

Mlynar, Phillip          Cat Lady Revolution

Reeder, Jen            Holy Guacamole


 I.6 Magazine Column

Kelley, JaneA          Life with Cattitude: Keep it Clean


 II.1 Newspaper Article: Health & General Care

No entries


II.2 Newspaper Article: Behavior & Training

No entries


II.3 Newspaper Article: Rescue/Advocacy

Reeder, Jen            Oldies but Goodies


II.4 Newspaper Article: Any Other Topic

No entries


II.5 Newspaper Column

Camp, Deborah       The Best of the Pet World

Some Animals Rely on Strangers for Survival

Pets are Part of Our Family — vets are too

Lost Kitty Found through Social Media


III.1 Newsletter: Breed Specific

No entries


III.2 Newsletter: National Circulation

Eldredge, Deb M. DVM (with Cindy Foley)   Cornell University CatWatch

Foley, Cindy  (with Deb M. Eldredge DVM)              Cornell University CatWatch

Holton, Louise         Alley Cat Rescue Winter 2017 Annual Report

Holton, Louise         Alley Cat Rescue Spring 2017 Newsletter

Holton, Louise         Alley Cat Rescue Fall 2017 Newsletter


III.3 Newsletter: Regional or Membership Circulation

No entries


III.4 Newsletter Article: Health & General Care

Eldredge, Deb M., DVM     Take Charge of your Cat’s Dental Health

Eldredge, Deb M., DVM     Senior Cats Need your Attention

Eldredge, Deb M., DVM     Halitosis in Cats

Marek, Ramona                 The Trigger for FISS Remains a Mystery

Marek, Ramona                 Caring for the At-Home Cancer Patient

Thornton, Kim                    Ticks become a Full-Time Menace

Thornton, Kim                    Research looks at Skin Microbiome of Cats


III.5 Newsletter Article: Behavior & Training

Eldredge, Kate        Teach your Cat to Like her Carrier


III.6 Newsletter Article: Rescue/Advocacy

Carl, Matt                ACR Sends Team to Help Pets Affected by Hurricane Harvey


III.7 Newsletter Article: Any Other Topic

Eldredge, Kate        Traveling with your Cat

Marek, Ramona       Make Sure your Cat’s Microchip Works!


III.8 Newsletter Column

Garson, Lyn T.        Technically Speaking:

Can Cats with Cerebellar Hypoplasia Live                                                           Happy, Healthy Lives?

Timothy’s View

Keep your Pets, Get Rid of your Allergies


 IV.1 Short Story

Barnes, Deborah     Jazmine’s Story… By Mr. Jazz

DeLouise, Debbie    The Path to Rainbow Bridge

Holm, Catherine      The Ragdoll’s Dance

Hunt, Mollie                The Dream Spinner

Kelley, JaneA              Belladonna – Sweet Sugar Kitty

Lapierre, Melissa      My Visit to the Rainbow Bridge: A Short Story

Richman, Lisa             Allie: My Fair Kitten

Willett, Susan             Jewish Cat’s Purr-spective on Hanukkah and Christmas


IV.2 Poem

Hunt, Mollie             Tyler

Willett, Susan          Haiku by Cat: Liquids

Willett, Susan          Haiku by Cat: Evil

Willett, Susan          Haiku by Cat: Broccoli


IV.3 Humor

No Certificate winners


IV.4 Brochure, Pamphlet, or Short Publication

No entries


IV.5 Annual or Long Publication

Gregg, Paula                            2018 Blogging Cats Weekly Planner

Kazmarski, Bernadette       Rescue, Foster, Rehome, Repeat 2018: Pittsburgh C.A.T. Calendar


IV.6 Opinion Piece, Essay, or Editorial

No Certificate winners


IV.7 PR / Humane Education / Press Kits

Grant, Brianna         Alley Cat Rescue calls on Australian municipality to reverse community cat bounty


V.1 Books: Fiction

Faber, Elaine                       All Things Cat

Hunt, Mollie                         Cat Call

McConchie, Lyn                  Bastet’s Daughters

Murphy, Shirley Rousseau      Cat Shining Bright

Simon, Clea                         As Dark as My Fur

Ward, Sandi                        The Astonishing Thing

Watkins, Eileen                 The Persian Always Meows Twice


V.2 Books: For Children

Redinger, Austin                Caring for your Kitty


V.3 Books: Health & General Care

No entries


V.4 Books: Behavior & Training

No entries


V.5 Books: Gift

Wilde, Layla Morgan      Black Cats Tell All: True Tales and Inspiring Images


V.6 Books: Poetry

Pittman, Vicky         Cat Haiku: Sweet Verses


V.7 Books: Other

Fleck, Denise          The Pet Safety Crusader’s My Pet & Me Guide to Disaster PAWparedness

Garza, Janiss          Rescued Volume 2: The Healing Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes

Lerner, Sandy          Caticons: 4000 Years of Art Imitating Cats

Telson, Jeffyne        Cat Tails: Heartwarming Stories about the Cats and Kittens of ResQCats



VI.1 Video, DVD or TV Production

Carl, Matt                How to Trap, Neuter, Return Feral/Community Cats


VI.2 Broadcast, Audio – Any Format

No entries


VII.1 Online Magazine or Newsletter

No entries


VII.2 Online Article: Health & General Care

Bahner, Sally                     Taming the Longhair’s Locks

Kelley, JaneA                    Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

Lapierre, Melissa            Mudpie’s Vaccination Scare… And what we’ll do differently next time

Marek, Ramona                Proper Feline Diet is Not Vegan

Thornton, Kim                    Skin Deep

Thornton, Kim                    Kitten Fix

Thornton, Kim                    Claw and Order

Willett, Susan                    Almost as Good as a Spa Day: Taking Your Cat to the Vet doesn’t have to be Stressful

Willett, Susan                    8 Ways (And a Whole Bunch of Tips) To Make Your Cat  Happy, and Keep your Cat Healthy


VII.3 Online Article: Behavior & Training

Bahner, Sally                  Clawful Behavior

Barnes, Deborah         With Cats and the Holidays, It’s not About Who’s Naughty or Nice, It’s About Cat Behavior

Barnes, Deborah          Is your Cat Feeling Stir Crazy? 10 Tips to Relieve Boredom in an Everyday Environment

Barnes, Deborah          Cat that Doesn’t Like to be Hugged? He or She Might be More Affectionate than you Think

Garza, Janiss                    Leash Training for a Happier, More Confident Cat

Garza, Janiss                    How to Introduce Yourself to a Cat: 5 Cat-Centric Tips

Marek, Ramona               Get the Scoop on Litter Box Behavior

Marek, Ramona                Fraidy Cat? How to Recognize Signs of Fear, Anxiety and Stress

Munera, Jacqueline         Cat Training: “But it’s So Difficult!”

Nakchbendi, Yasaar        Why Food Puzzles are Vital to Cat Health

Thornton, Kim                     Kitty Come Home


VII.4 Online Article: Rescue/Advocacy

Garza, Janiss                    Change a Pet’s Life Today: The Art of Fostering Kittens

Kazmarski, Bernadette       TNR With a Side of Adoption and Outreach

Kazmarski, Bernadette       The Kitten Game

White, Dawn                      A Haven for Cats on Long Island – The Patricia H.  Ladew Foundation


VII.5 Online Article: Any Other Topic

Ahrens, Tracy                    How to Sing to your Cats

Bahner, Sally                     A Kitty for Christmas? Preparation is Key

Barnes, Deborah             How I Overcame my Fear of the Veterinarian for National Take your Cat to the Vet Day

Barnes, Deborah                10 Tips to Help Children with the Death of a Pet Cat

Dawson, Marjorie               The Cat DNA Test from Basepaws: A Journey of Discovery for Cat Health

Garza, Janiss                    Therapy Cat Rules

Garza, Janiss                    How to Travel with your Cat on an Airplane

Grant, Brianna                   Anne Arundel County Residents: Ask your Council Members to Support Bill 96-17

Lapierre, Melissa               A Decade of Tortitude: The Magic & Mystique of my Heart Cats

Lapierre, Melissa               5 Ways Catios Make Cats Happy & Healthy

Simon, Clea                        Musetta in the Bardo

Stultz, Beth                         5 Tips for Purr-fect Cat-Sitting Visits

Thornton, Kim                   Purr Therapy

Willett, Susan                    What Happens to the Cat on Stranger Things? A spoiler for animal lovers


VII.6 Online Column

Lapierre, Melissa               The Purrfect 10

The Purrfect 10: Things to Know about Microchipping your Cat

The Purrfect 10: Ways to Keep your Cat Properly Hydrated

The Purrfect 10: Fascinating Facts about the Devon Rex

Mlynar, Phillip                    Social Cat of the Week

Munster the Werewolf Cat Stalks, Leaps … and Naps

Fredrick, Lilly and Franklin Are Painting Instagram Orange

Instagram Fame Might Be Only a First Step for Two-Tone Yana

Mlynar, Phillip                    Monday Miracle

Pooh the Cat Lost His Back Legs — Then Got New Ones

Meatwad, Missing 2 Legs and 1 Ear, Is a “Blur of White Fluff”

Bullet the Cat Got His Name From What Almost Killed Him


VIII.1 -Blog: Health & General Care (URL plus 3 blog posts)

Fry, Patricia                       Catscapades blog: Keeping your Cat Healthy

Newsday Tuesday – Protect your Cat’s Health the Smart Way

Newsday Tuesday – Cat Claws Laws and Care

Thoughts for Thursday – Don’t Feed That to your Cat!


VIII.2 -Blog: Behavior & Training (URL plus 3 blog posts)

Hunt, Mollie                       Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and More blog

How to Play with Cats

10 Ways to “Cat” in 2017


Nakchbendi, Yasaar   Chirpy Cats blog: The Pathway to your Cat’s Heart is Through His World

5 Essential Must-Haves for a Happy Chirpy Cat

7 Tips to turn your Bully Cat into a Team Player

The Litter Box Rule that Cat Owners should Not Ignore


VIII.3 -Blog: Rescue/Advocacy (URL plus 3 blog posts)

Hunt, Mollie                       Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and More blog

Adopting a Senior Cat

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Remember Me Thursday


VIII.4 -Blog: Entertainment (URL plus 3 blog posts)

Aurit, Anita                        Feline Opines blog: The World From A Feline Point Of View

Oliver and Alberto Get Fearless

A Feline’s Guide to Treadmill Snoopervising your Human

The Three Feline Rules Regarding Furniture

Nakchbendi, Yasaar   Chirpy Cats blog: Scratching Posts Secrets Revealed

The Silent Treatment

Cats Scratch Their Sticky Note Texts

The Watercooler of the Cat World


VIII.5 -Blog: Any Other Topic (URL plus 3 blog posts)

Fry, Patricia                       Catscapades blog: Series on Travel with Cats

Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – How to take your cat


Newsday Tuesday – The Cat’s Passport

Mindful Monday – Cats Riding in Cars

Kelley, JaneA                    Paws and Effect blog

How can I Keep my Senior Cat Healthy?

How to deal with Inappropriate Urination

What Color was the Father of our Kittens?


VIII.6 Website

Fitzsimons, Helen    Tanya’s Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney website


IX.1 Black & White Photograph (Single)

No Certificate winners


IX.2 Black & White Photography (Series)

Carl, Matt                          Babies Bath Time


IX.3 Color Photograph (Single)

Carl, Matt                Diva Cat

Garza, Janiss          Summer Fun

Garza, Janiss          Making Friends

Richman, Lisa         Groundhog ‘Job Shadow’ Day”

Willett, Susan          Elsa Clair rules the stairs

Willett, Susan          Calvin is shocked


IX.4 Color Photograph (Series)

No Certificate winners


IX.5 Photographic Art

Richman, Lisa         Maxwell’s Musings


IX.6 Cartoon

Piro, Stephanie        Me-Out

Piro, Stephanie        Attack

Piro, Stephanie        Align

Runcie-Unger, Marc-André (storyboards, blog)    Three cartoon posts from Katzenworld blog

(with Elisabetta Palmieri, drawings)

1. Adventures of Oliver & Nubia – The Struggles of Nubia

2.   Adventures of Oliver & Nubia – Oliver and the @Amazonecho, what will he do?

3. Merry Christmas

Palmeri. Elisabetta (drawings)     Three cartoon posts from Katzenworld blog

(with Marc-André Runcie-Unger)

1. Adventures of Oliver & Nubia – The Struggles of Nubia

2.   Adventures of Oliver & Nubia – Oliver and the @Amazonecho, what will he do?

3. Merry Christmas


IX.7 Illustration (Single)

Nakchbendi, Yasaar           5 Ways to a Happy, Enriched Cat

Happy Cat Month graphic

Happy Cat Month pin


IX.8 Illustration (Series)

Franco, Widad                   Widycat Cat Calendar

Kazmarski, Bernadette       Book cover illustration and design: Klepto Cat Mystery Series 21-26

Merriment, Mayhem and Meows

A Christmas to Purr About

Cattywampus Travels

Cats in the Belfry

CATalyst for Clues

The Perilous PURRsuit

Nakchbendi, Yasaar   Caturday Doodles – Scratching Post Secrets Revealed

Lexi Leaves a Message for Lola



Why your Cat Scratches and What it Means

Doodle – Pixie

Doodle – Pixie and Zorro: How Cats Send Text Messages

Caturday Doodle – Zorro

Nichols, Karen                   Cat Scouts 2018 Calendar

Redinger, Austin                Caring for your Kitty


MuseIn November, 1994, the newly formed Cat Writers’ Association, held its first writing contest. Founding member, the late Karen Kuykendall, designed the coveted Muse Medallion™. Karen was also the first recipient of a Muse Medallion. The Muse is awarded to the best work of like kind, such as newspaper articles about health and general care, magazine articles about behavior, or newsletter columns. The special awards go to the entry that best covers a specific topic.

Today, the spirit of the excellence still lives on in the Muse Medallion. That first competition had 5 regular categories and 10 sponsored special awards. Since then the awards have been broadened to most recently include dozens of regular categories and special awards.  View PAST contest awards winners here!

Qualified entries are evaluated by professional members of the Cat Writers’ Association. Certificates of Excellence are awarded to entries that earn an average score of 90 or higher, as judged by three professional CWA members. The Certificate of Excellence recipient with the highest score is the winner of the Muse Medallion for the category in which it was entered. In addition to the highly sought after Muse Medallions, numerous special awards are available through the generosity of corporate and private sponsors. The winners are announced at the Cat Writers’ Association Annual Awards Banquet.

This year, for the first time, the CWA contest invited all-digital entries, to help save postage costs and to help evaluate this option for the future.

And it was a rousing success! 68 percent of all Regular Category entries were submitted digitally, as were 70 percent of Special Award entries. Thanks, contest entrants!

———————————————————————————————–Nominations are now closed for the Shojai Mentor Award and the Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award! Thanks to everyone who submitted nominations!





Sponsored by The CWA’s Council of Directors, this Award is presented to the online blogger (written or visual/video with accompanying text) who inspires cat caretakers to create an enriched and stylish environment for their pets. Qualified entrants must be new members of CWA having joined between January 1 and December 31 of the current contest year. The winner’s blog or site must have a minimum readership of 1000+ subscribers. The winner must publish on a regular basis, and show a consistent pattern of interaction with readers through audience involvement (questions, postings, etc.). The winning entry must demonstrate a written/visual presentation that inspires readers to do more at home to improve their cats’ environment and lifestyle, demonstrating good taste and style in terms of branding/blog identity (i.e. stylish and clever). Most importantly, the blogger must educate the audience on how to improve the lifestyles, wellness and happiness of their cats. The award consists of $500 and a commemorative item.


The CWA SHOJAI MENTOR AWARD is now sponsored by CWA, in honor of Past President and co-Founder Amy D. Shojai. The award recognizes the CWA member who has offered guidance, encouraging counsel, support, or other help that has had a direct and positive influence on another’s writing/publishing success. Qualifying mentor experiences are limited to those occurring within the past three contest periods (approximately the last three years). The recipient shall exemplify the highest ideals of the CWA vision, that is, to promote communal support, networking, and mutual respect between colleagues. Only CWA members are eligible for this award. This award consists of $500 and a commemorative item. There is no entry fee required to nominate someone for this award.


The 23nd Annual CWA Awards Banquet will be held on Saturday evening, June 9, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency North Houston, 425 North Sam Houston Pkwy E, Houston, TX 77060.





2017 Regular Contest Categories List

2017 Special Awards List


2017 Shojai Mentor Award Entry Form

2017 Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award Entry Form

CWA is grateful to all of our sponsors for their continued support of our Annual Conference and Communications Contest. Without them, our Conference and these awards would not be available. If you would like to explore sponsorship opportunities, such as sponsoring a CWA Special Award,  and reach over 260 professional cat journalists and their readers, please email CWA President Marci Kladnik for further information.