Cat Writers' Association, Inc.


Over 100 people attended the gala Cat Writers' Association annual awards banquet held in San Mateo, CA on November 18, 2006. Through the generosity of corporate sponsors, the CWA presented the following Special Awards:

ASPCA Humane Award - Cathy Conheim, winner (presented by Jacque Schultz of ASPCA)
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The ASPCA National Programs Office sponsors the ASPCA SPECIAL HUMANE AWARD, presented to the author or creator of the work that best illuminates an aspect of the ASPCA's mission, such as pet overpopulation, humane education, shelter adoptions, or the prevention of cruelty.

The winner is "What's the Matter with Henry?" by Cathy Conheim and BJ Gallagher, Published by Breakthrough Press

The judge for this category was Carole Slade, who has spent a lifetime caring for and speaking out for animals. For the last four years she has been employed by The Meow Mix Company, where she developed a donation program for the vast majority of the company's surplus products and partnered with the humane community to provide pet food for annual hurricane relief, to assist in the formation of the first data bank for feral cats and their caretakers ever established in the New York City area, and to promote the sponsorship of a radio program concerned with animal welfare issues. In 2005, Carole received the "Cat Hero of the Year" award.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "This entry grabbed me right from the beginning with its wonderful photography, both on the cover and interspersed throughout the book, drawing you in so once you started reading it, you couldn't put it down. It teaches that preconceived notions go right out the window when you open your heart to new experiences, and that all creatures deserve a chance to live their lives as they see fit, not as we might feel they ought to."

AKC Companion Animal Recovery Award - Elissa Wolfson, winner (presented by Gregory Beck of AKC)
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The AKC COMPANION ANIMAL RECOVERY AWARD is given to the best single entry that informs and educates the general public about issues relating to lost cats, stray cats, behaviors of roaming and feral cats, and all forms of pet identification and recovery.

The winner is "My Cat is Lost" By Elissa Wolfson, Published in Catnip

The judge for this category was Robert Gordon, DVM, owner and director of the Oakland Animal Hospital in Oakland, New Jersey, since 1979. His professional memberships and leadership activities are numerous, and he was named the NJVMA Veterinarian of the Year in 2003.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "This entry was chosen because it emphasizes not just the information on reuniting cats with their owners and uses excellent resources for techniques, but also becaue it shows the significance of preventing cats from getting lost. The author was able to incorporate examples and personal vignettes that make the article easy to read and easy to relate to the individuals involved."

The CORNELL FELINE HEALTH CENTER VETERINARY ISSUES AWARD is offered by Cornell University's Feline Health Center to the highest-quality entry on the topic of technological advances, research, new medical developments or innovations in feline veterinary medicine.

The winner is "Mapping the Feline Genome" By Arnold Plotnick, DVM, Published in Cat Fancy

The judge for this category was Anne G. Evans, DVM. In addition to her full-time position with the Veterinary Information Network, her current professional activities include consulting services for veterinary general practitioners on the diagnosis and management of dermatological, allergic and immune-mediated disorders of all animal species; academic research involving comparative aspects of dermatology; dermatologic product development; and specialty practice management.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "This entry is an exceptionally well-written, succinct piece that focuses on a topic that represents a major technological advancement, well founded in high-quality research. The article also addresses how the outcomes from this research may result in new medial developments and innovative treatments in feline veterinary medicine. The author chose to write about a topic that is likely foreign to many cat owners, yet because of his excellent efforts he has now educated them about an important advancement that is part of the future of feline medicine."

The FORT DODGE/GREAT CAT WATCH AWARD is for the best published work by a beginning cat writer or photographer. The purpose of this award is to encourage qualifying writers and photographers to strive for the highest professional level of excellence and to provoke a significant change in the recipient's cat-writing career. This is a "turning point" award.

The winner is "The Foster Formula" By Rebecca Poretsky, Published in Our Animals

The judge for this category was Harriet Weatherford, a former president and member of the board of directors of the Champaign County Humane Society in Illinois. She has fostered nearly 900 cats, dogs and other species. In 2004, The Veterinary Medical Alumni Association and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois awarded her the Special Services Award for outstanding service to the college and the veterinary profession.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "This article is very well put together. The rhythm of the first paragraph pulls the reader along and into the topic. I particularly appreciated that the author was straightforward about the emotional highs from caring for these little charges, as well as the very realistic hard work of caring for young and sick animals. She even had the courage to say that sometimes a kitten dies in foster care."

Friskies Writer of the Year Award - Amy Shojai, winner (presented by Kaite Northcutt from Purina)
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
THE FRISKIES® WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD s presented by Nestlé Purina PetCare Company to the writer who has done the most to promote the welfare, health, and proper care of cats during the contest year. This award is for "a body of work" and can include different publications during the contest period. The award honors writing excellence and the ability to communicate technical information in a clear and creative manner to better educate cat owners and help improve the lives of cats.

The winner is Amy Shojai

The judge for this category was Paul Jolly, director of the PETCO Foundation. Since the inception of the PETCO Foundation in 1999, more than $31 million has been donated to over 3800 animal welfare organizations across the United States.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "Her very personal, yet relatable stories leave no doubt for the reader that her heart has been touched deeply by a cat. Her informative articles, on common issues encountered by cats and the people who love them, both educate and entertain. She is an entertaining, touching, and very informative writer of all things Cat."

The HARTZ EVERY DAY CHEWABLE VITAMIN AWARD, ponsored by the Hartz Mountain Corporation, is given to the highest-quality entry on the topic of older cats. of $500, a travel stipend of $350, a certificate and a crystal cat sculpture.

The winner is "Old friends: Keep them happy, healthy" By Wendy Christensen, Published in The Monadnock Ledger

The judge for this category was Mike Patrick, a Certified Veterinary Technician who currently works at the Animal Diagnostic and Wellness Center Temple in Terrace, Florida. He is President of the Florida Veterinary Technician Association. In 2000, Mr. Patrick received the Veterinary Technician of the Year Award from the Florida Veterinary Technician Association.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "Though this article is written with formality, one can extrapolate the need for keen observation and active medical intervention. I found the article easy to read and it kept my attention."

Hartz Glamour-Puss Award - Mordecai Siegal, winner
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The HARTZ GLAMOUR-PUSS AWARD sponsored by Hartz Mountain Corporation, honors the best single entry on the topic of feline skin and coat care.

The winner is "I Just Got a Kitten, What Do I Do" By Mordecai Siegal, Published by Simon & Schuster

The judge for this category was Erica Sanfiz, the owner and pet stylist of Just 4 Paws Mobile Pet Spa, a mobile grooming business based out of Rutherford, New Jersey. Educated at the prestigious Nash Academy of Animal Arts in Fairview, Erica currently enjoys her days fulfilling the two biggest passions in her life: working with animals and succeeding in business.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "Being a multiple cat owner myself, I figured I would be reading typical information that I already knew about. This was not the case at all. In fact the book kept me quite interested and wanting to know more. The book also included expert information on cats in general, as well as the many breeds of distinction."

Hartz Milk Replacement for Kittens Award - Dusty Rainbolt, winner
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The HARTZ MILK REPLACEMENT FOR KITTENS AWARD, sponsored by the Hartz Mountain Corporation, is awarded the best single article or single radio or television broadcast on the topic of rescuing kittens.

The winner is "Gigi's New Life" By Dusty Rainbolt, Published in Cat Fancy

The judge for this category was Janell Granier, a Doctor of Industrial Organizational Psychology, who has been a foster mom to more than 60 orphaned bottle baby kittens over the past four years. Currently employed as Director of Programs by the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, at least one foster cat or kitten is typically sharing Manhattan apartment space with the five resident cats, Janell, and her husband.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "Very practical advice on how to bring new kittens into your home. The contrast between Stan and Gigi's socialization progress is very informative for new foster homes. Not all kittens progress at the same rate socially, and this article does a beautiful job of providing some basic tips on how to draw a shy kitten out of her shell."

The Humane Society of the United States presents the HSUS PETS FOR LIFE AWARD o the best single work of the year published in the mass media that highlights keeping cats in their homes for life. Highest consideration goes to in-depth reporting that appears in general interest publications or that reach non-cat-owning audiences.

The winner is "Pet Central" By Steve Dale, Broadcast by WGN Radio

The judge for this category was Joseph S. Cavarretta, who has more than 18 years of experience as an author, editor and publisher and 8 years of experience as a media marketing specialist in the direct-response industry for cable, broadcast and online media. He currently serves as Executive Director of People Animals Love, a non-profit organization with a mission to bring people and animals together, brightening the lives of the lonely, easing the pain of the sick, and enriching the world of at-risk children.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "His commentaries were the most uniform among all the entries in directing and encouraging people to work with their feline friends to ensure longevity in a happy, healthy home environment. His voice, and that of his guests are clear, easy to understand, and engaging. His process for obtaining questions from listeners is well organized, personalized and entertaining. Answers to listeners' questions always begin with basic queries, gradually moving up to more in-depth probing and, ultimately, offering progressive steps to take to solve the feline problem at hand."

Iams Responsible Cat Ownership Award - Magaret Bonham, winner (presented by Bud Most of Iams)
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The IAMS Company offers the IAMS® RESPONSIBLE CAT OWNERSHIP AWARD for the best individual or series entry, in professional print or online venues, on the topic of pet owner responsibility.

The winner is "Bring Me Home! Cats Make Great Pets" by Margaret H. Bonham, published by Howell Book House

The judge for this category was Alice Wolf, DVM. Dr. Wolf is a Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. She is also a Chief Consultant for Veterinary Information Network, an online resource to inspire and facilitate excellence within the worldwide veterinary community.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "This book has some very good basic information about pet selection, good resource information, and good basic health information with sound recommendations about veterinary care."

Merial sponsors the MERIAL HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND AWARD, presented to the entry that best reflects and promotes the strengthening of the human-animal bond, highlighting the bond between a cat and its owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian as another direct caregiver.

The winner is "Through Katrina's Eyes: Poems from an Animal Rescuer's Soul" By Ed Kostro, Published by

The judge for this category was Dr. Caroline Schaffer, a veterinarian and assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama. She was appointed as the first director of Tuskegee's Center for the Study of Human-Animal Interdependent Relationships in 1997, and received the Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award in 2000.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "From his experiences as a volunteer in the Gulf Coast pet rescue efforts, he exquisitely captured the heroism of veterinarians, cats, dogs, and volunteers who fought bravely to honor and preserve the relationship between animals and people. His poetry, written from his heart and soul, described his first-hand observations of the undaunted strength of the human-animal bond following Hurricane Katrina."

Petmate Safe Cat Award - Elissa Wolfson, winner
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The PETMATE SAFE CAT AWARD for the best entry on cat safety, is sponsored by Petmate Pet Products. The entry should take a positive approach to inform and educate the readership about feline safety issues.

The winner is "My Cat is Lost" By Elissa Wolfson, Published in Catnip

The judge for this category was Aggie Kiefer, a licensed veterinary technician who worked in private practice for 12 years before making the jump to pharmaceutical sales. Six years ago she became the first technician to be editor-in-chief of "Veterinary Technician" magazine. Currently, besides managing the journal, she tours the country giving lectures, attending national veterinary conferences and producing Seminars.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "It is a great story that catches your attention and gives good advice (some of which I've never heard) on returning your kitty to his happy home."

Pro Plan Pedigreed Cats Award - Lynn Thompson, winner (presented by Kaite Northcutt of Purina)
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The PRO PLAN® PEDIGREED CATS AWARD, presented by Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, is presented to the writer or creator of the best entry of the year that focuses on cat breeds, pedigreed cats and professional breeder issues.

The winner is "National Alliance of Burmese Breeders Newsletter," editor Lynn Thompson, Published by the National Alliance of Burmese Breeders

The judge for this category was Annette Wilson, an all-breed judge licensed by The Cat Fanciers' Association. She has shown CFA-registered Russian Blue cats since 1973 and bred them since 1976. She has been an elected director of the CFA Board of Directors since 2004 and is currently the chair of the Breeds and Standards Committee.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "Each issue of this quarterly publication includes photographs and articles of interest to both breeders and pet owners all over the world. Articles are well written, photos are clear (and in color), the design is attractive and editing is tight without being obviously restrictive. Though I am not nor have I ever been a breeder, owner or exhibitor of this breed, this newsletter is one I would put on the top of my list of cat-related reading."

Purina Cat Chow Nutrition Award - Dusty Rainbolt, winner
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company offers the PURINA® CAT CHOW® NUTRITION AWARD for the best entry on the subject of feline nutrition. Highest consideration goes to those works that are both skillfully written and technically accurate.

The winner is "Dear Hobbes" By Dusty Rainbolt, Published in City and Country Pets

The judge for this category was Joan Banks, a freelance writer with four suspense novels and five children's books to her credit, as well as hundreds of articles. Her work has appeared in such publications as Animal Watch, Cats, Kittens, Your Dog, Dogs for Kids, National Geographic Kids, Woman's World, and Ranger Rick. Her book, "Second Chances, Inspiring Stories of Dog Adoption, will be published in November 2006. She also writes part-time for

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "This article is very thorough, giving readers not only the usual advice about nutrition, but also explaining the facts behind the advice. The article offers practical suggestions as well. All in all, the piece packs the double punch of being lightly humorous and informative."

Purina Kitten Chow Kitten Award - Dusty Rainbolt, winner (presented by Kaite Northcutt of Purina)
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The PURINA® KITTEN CHOW® KITTEN AWARD is presented by the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company to the author of the outstanding entry on caring for kittens.

The winner is "Gigi's New Life" By Dusty Rainbolt, Published in Cat Fancy

The judge for this category was Sheila Smith, the Founder and President of Shadow Cats. Along with more than 65 volunteers, Shadow Cats has spayed and neutered more than 2,000 cats. They feed more than 300 cats each day and trap several nights each week. While their focus is Trap-Neuter-Return and Manage, they have also found homes for an average of 150 cats per year. Shadow Cats works with area shelters and Animal Control to continue to reduce the number of feral, stray, homeless or ill cats in the Round Rock and Austin areas.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "She receives my vote because of her ability to immediately draw me into her story. She made me care about these cats and their outcome through her words and the mental pictures I saw through her writing. She shows the power of love, compassion and kindness and the importance of animal welfare organizations with her story. She tells a compelling story while at the same time subtly teaching us each person's involvement is vital to the whole."

Purina One Health Award - Kim Campbell Thornton, winner
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company offers the PURINA® ONE® HEALTH AWARD ffor the outstanding single article reporting on feline health issues.

The winner is "Not enough testing for urinary woes in pets" By Kim Campbell Thornton, Published on

The judge for this category was Kenneth Bell, DVM, a graduate of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine with professional experience in small animal general practice, small animal emergency practice and veterinary toxicology. He is currently the Director of Veterinary Services at PROSAR, a poison control and drug safety center in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "This article provides a good survey of the origin, diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract problems in companion animals. But more importantly, it confronts a common dilemma known to every small animal practitioner and conscientious cat owner, alike - expeditiously addressing complex medical problems in pets when money and time are at a premium. Such articles can help open the minds of owners to the complex nature of many common pet health issues, prior to the all-too-brief and often-hurried appointment, as well as help open the door for the practice of solid, thorough, evidence-based medicine when an ill cat needs it most."

Sticky Paws Training Award - Dusty Rainbolt, winner (presented by Chris Ruben of FeLines Inc.)
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The STICKY PAWS® TRAINING AWARD, sponsored by Fe-Lines Inc./Sticky Paws®, is for the entry on training techniques.

The winner is "Dear Hobbes - Feline Eye for the Single Guy" By Dusty Rainbolt, Published in City and Country Pets

The judge for this category was Ginny Price, a veterinary technician educator with an interest in animal behavior. She taught animal behavior at Saint Petersburg Junior College beginning in 1995 after many years of working at a small animal practice. In 2001, Ms. Price, along with Donna Dyer and Julie Shaw, founded the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "Her article used humor to discuss a serious issue in cat ownership: the addition of another cat to a household with already established cats. It educated the public regarding proper techniques to use when introducing a new cat to an established cat's territory, using scientifically established methods of learning. When cats are introduced within the guidelines outlined, they have the best chance of creating a social bond."

Tidy Cats Feline Behavior Award - Nancy Peterson, winner (presented by Kaite Northcutt of Purina)
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The TIDY CATS® FELINE BEHAVIOR AWARD is presented by the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company for the best entry on the subject of feline behavior.

The winner is "Indoor cats, scratching, and the debate over declawing: When normal pet behavior becomes a problem" By Katherine Grier and Nancy Peterson, Published in State of the Animals III: 2005

The judge for this category was Lawrence J. Myers, DVM, PhD. Dr. Myers has more than 35 years experience dealing with domestic animal behavior problems. He has been professor at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine since 1982 and founded Animal Behavior Clinics in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2001.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "This piece is well researched and annotated. It is clearly written, although the information content is somewhat dense. Further, it addresses a common problem uncommonly well. It provides a real service to the cat-owning populace."

World's Best Cat Litter-ary Award - Shirley Rousseau Murphy, winner
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The WORLD'S BEST CAT LITTER-ARY AWARD, is for the outstanding novel, short story, poem or radio/television dramatic script that portrays cats and cat ownership in a positive way. Highest consideration goes to those entries that include cats as an intrinsic part of the plot.

The winner is "Cat Breaking Free" by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, published by HarperCollins

The judge for this category was Alice Ng. Ms. Ng has a diverse background in the environmental and non-profit sector and serves as the Executive Director of Animal Balance. She has participated in research to help manage harbor seals and coordinated international campaign efforts to combat the global shark crisis. Ms. Ng also heads up the national offices for the China-based group Animals Asia Foundation.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "Her writing is exquisite. The suspenseful twists and turns keep you at strict attention, and her portrayal of the feline persona makes it all the more enjoyable to read. This book made me want to read her earlier novels!"

Kuykendall Image Award
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The KUYKENDALL IMAGE AWARD is sponsored by CWA and is presented to the outstanding "image" entry featuring cats-whether photography, illustration or graphic art.

The winner is "Katrina's Kitten" By Weems Hutto, Published in Cat Fancy

The judge for category was Diane West, publisher of New York Tails Magazine, the first and only magazine addressing the unique needs of pets and people living in an urban environment. New York Tails works closely with a number of animal welfare groups on a regular basis, and is distributed at hundreds of locations throughout the tri-state area.

The judge's comments about the winning entry include: "The photographer succeeded in capturing many intriguing elements in one photo: the intent look of concentration on the cat's face while reaching for the toy with upraised paws, the long, lithe form of the cat's body, the way the cat is deftly balanced on hindquarters. In short, the photo captured the essence of that which is uniquely feline."

Shojai Mentor Award
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe
The SHOJAI MENTOR AWARD, sponsored by past-president Amy D. Shojai, 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.

The winner is Nancy Marano

The CWA PRESIDENT'S AWARD, ssponsored by the Cat Fanciers' Association, is presented to the best entry among all Muse Medallion winners in the regular contest categories.

CWA President's Award - Clea Simon, winner for her book, MEW IS FOR MURDER (presented by Joan Miller of CFA)
Photo: ©Betsy Stowe

The winner is Clea Simon, "Mew Is for Murder," published by Poisoned Pen Press

The judge for this category was Fran Pennock Shaw. Fran has been president of CWA since 2002 and was its treasurer from 1995 to 2002. Before becoming a full-time freelance writer, she worked as a newspaper reporter, editor, and public relations director.

The judges comments about the winning entry include: "It is an honor to judge this award, in which every entry is already a winner, but it's also very difficult. How do you compare an excellent health book to an excellent membership newsletter or an excellent editorial? This year's winner is an excellent example of fiction. The plot is intriguing, the make-believe world believable, and the characters ring true -- especially the cats, who are essential to the story and who act like real cats! Perhaps what kept me flipping the pages was that I identified with the heroine, an ex-newspaper reporter turned freelancer, as curious as the cats she loves, and also (incidentally) attractive -- at least to every male character in this, the author's first mystery novel."

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