Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association? SALEEMA LOOKMAN, RVT

Today on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? my guest is Saleema Lookman, RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician). Saleema is also a writer, which is what brought her to the Cat Writers’ Association.

Saleema, can you tell us a bit about your writing career?

Most of my writing is pet health or veterinary-related. I began writing and publishing case reports in 2016 as a means to share information with others in the veterinary field. Not only was the sharing fulfilling, but I found that I was quite fond of the writing aspect as well. This delight quickly blossomed into a career creating educational articles for pet parents.

I currently work as a pet content writer for Lovetoknow.com where I write on a vast range of topics and species— anything from “101 Unique Pet Names” to “Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?” or health topics like “Tips to Spot and Treat Tapeworms.” Of course, I’m particularly passionate about our cat-related content! I also craft veterinary professional-focused pieces for journals such as Today’s Veterinary Nurse. In my free time, I enjoy writing poetry and flash fiction.

How do cats inspire your creativity?

Cats are such unique creatures who present themselves with an infectious air of confidence. This quality inspires me both creatively and in my everyday life! I aim to live my life by cat rules: be curious, rest when I need to, recharge in the sun, view an entire situation from above, and if I fail, try to land on my feet.

Now for three extremely arbitrary questions, or I guess in your case, four!

  1. What is your favorite cat movie and why?

It’s challenging to pick just one, but The Three Lives of Thomasina is probably my favorite cat film as well as the first I ever saw. It was also my introduction to the notion that cats have multiple lives. I’ve always loved the scenes of an afterlife filled with cats!

2. What cat-themed item is sitting on your desk right now?

There are several cat-themed items on and around my desk! I have a cat shaped post-Its holder, Pusheen pencil case, Spirit Cat calendar, cat oracle card deck, a photoshopped image of my Lily as a pirate cat, and a photo of myself as a child cuddling a cat.

3. Do your cats get along with each other?

My cats are finally warming up to each other. Stewie lost his littermate (and my soul mate cat), Lily, three years ago to small cell lymphoma. Clover is the newest addition and because she was a kitten when I adopted her, she’s always been too boisterous for Stew, though I think he was also reluctant to play while he mourned Lily’s passing. However, his indifference appears to have grown into affection (or at the very least, tolerance), because I find them snoozing next to each other or batting toys around together every now and then.

4. Have you ever seen a ghost cat?

I often catch glimpses of cats (my own, neighbors, or those of family members) who have passed on. It might be a flash of a fluffy tail as I move the shower curtain away from the tub or the silhouette of a figure leaping onto the counter. I welcome these visits from special spirit cats!

A bit about my cats:

I have two cats currently:

Stewie is a Bengal I rescued 12 years ago. His litter, along with dozens of other cats, were rescued from a hoarding situation and brought to the veterinary hospital where I worked. I met him when he was only 4 weeks old and immediately fell in love. He and his littermate, Lily, who lost her battle with lymphoma in 2019, came home with me a few weeks later. Stew’s favorite pastimes include drinking water directly out of the tap (cat fountains won’t do, it must be the tap!) and chasing rainbows created by the crystals hanging in the window. He’s also my writing companion and always sits on my lap or desk while I work.

Clover is a docile tuxedo and my lucky charm! I adopted her as a kitten just after St. Paddy’s Day in 2019. She’s arguably the most easy going cat I’ve ever owned, though she does give love bites when my petting isn’t to her liking. Clover lives for wet food and makes the most adorable, high-pitched squeaks every morning as she leads me to the kitchen.

Saleema Lookman, RVT Bio:

Saleema is a writer, speaker, and Registered Veterinary Technician with over 10 years of clinical experience. She aims to empower pet owners through written content and brings both her professional knowledge and personal experience to her writing. Her work has been published in distinguished journals such as Today’s Veterinary Nurse and The NAVTA Journal. As a new member of the Cat Writers’ Association, Saleema is thrilled to be in the company of like-minded individuals who share her passion for cats.

Find out more about Saleema on her Social Links: 

LoveToKnow writer profile (with links to latest articles): Saleema Lookman, RVT | LovetoKnow

Instagram: @SaleemaWritesPets

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not All Mothers Have Human Babies

Happy Mother’s Day, no matter who your babies are.

Mother’s Day can be a difficult time for a lot of people: those of us who have lost a mother, those who have lost a child, those who have not been able to have children, and those who chose not to populate an already-overpopulated world.

This is my favorite video and brings me joy each year. 

Thank you again this year, Furball Fables

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Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association? DIANE A.S. STUCKART

Today on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? our guest is Diane A.S. Stuckart, a New York Times bestselling author who has written fiction in multiple genres including historical romance, mystery, fantasy, and short stories.

Diane, tell us a bit about your writing career.

I am primarily a novelist, mostly of historical and cozy mystery, though I did start out writing historical romance. Additionally, I’ve published several short stories in various magazines and anthologies. In fact, this year’s goal (among may other writing goals!) is to finally finish and publish as Kindle Shorts my trilogy of fantasy cat short stories under the umbrella of The Thomas Moonraker Chronicles.

I have two cozy series featuring cats: The Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the Tarot Cat Mysteries. My most recent series is the Georgia B&B Mysteries (written as Anna Gerard) set in a fictional tourist town west of Savannah. There are no cats (as yet) in that series, though a feisty Australian shepherd plays a prominent role.

How do cats inspire your creativity?

My own two sibling black cats, Brandon Bobtail and Ophelia, are the inspirations for the two felines in the Tarot Cats mysteries. They also hang out on my desk when I write, giving off “creative” vibes. Until a couple of years ago, I also had my ginger tabby boys, brothers Butch and Sundance, who were with us for almost 18 years and “helped” me with my writing.

Brandon and Ophelia

 

Now for three extremely arbitrary questions, or I guess in your case, four!

  1. What is your favorite cat movie and why?

I still have soft spot for That Darn Cat just because it was one of the few movies that featured a feline back when I was a kid. Oh, and of course, The Three Lives of Thomasina (though at the age of six, I found it a bit frightening in spots). These days, however, my go-to cat movies feature Puss ‘N Boots from the Shrek series (how can you resist those eyes! Plus, Antonio Banderas, ya know).

2. Did you grow up with cats?

My parents were not pet people by any means, but I did have my fabulous Topsy, a ginger tabby who was with us for many years. After her came Felixie (originally Felix until we figured out that she was a girl). I didn’t have another cat until college when my husband and I got together…he’s a cat (and dog) person, too.

3. Do you sing to cats? If so, what songs do you sing?

My cats are far too dignified to let me sing to them beyond a “here, kitty kitty kitty” aria. I do, however, sing to my dogs. Each one of them has their own theme song, in addition to spur-of-the-moment compositions.

4. Where are you sitting right now? From where you are, how many cat-themed objects can you see? How many cats?

I’m at my office desk, and on the wall is an oversized framed print of three cats: a ginger tabby, a tortie, and a tuxedo kitty. On my desk, my business cards are held by a seated and smiling tuxedo cat, plus I have a cute drawing of a gray tiger kitty I cut out of a box of greeting cards, and a photo of Brandon when he was just a yawning little kitten. Oh, and there’s a cat charm bracelet I wore yesterday that I forgot to put up. Ophelia (or sometimes Brandon) is normally in the basket I keep for them on my desk, but they’re currently out on the back porch having supper.

Author Bio: 

DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series written as Ali Brandon. Additionally, she is the author of the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries, which received starred reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, as well as a Florida Book Award for the second in the series, PORTRAIT OF A LADY. She’s also penned several mystery, fantasy, and romance short stories that have appeared in various anthologies and magazines.

Diane’s latest ventures include the Tarot Cats Mystery series set in a West Palm Beach botanica and stars a pair of clever feline detectives. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series, written as Anna Gerard, features an innkeeper-turned-sleuth in a fictional tourist town west of Savannah. Book 3 in that series, PEACHES AND SCHEMES, is her 17th published novel and was released in 2021.

A member of Mystery Writers of America, Diane served as the 2018 and 2019 Chapter President of the MWA Florida chapter. She’s also a member of Sisters in Crime and the Cat Writers’ Association. Outside her writing life, she’s an avid thrifter with shops on Etsy and eBay and is a member and current secretary of the Palm Beach County Beekeepers Association. Diane is a native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma but has been living in the West Palm Beach, FL area since 2006. She shares her “almost in the Everglades” home with her husband, dogs, cats, and a few beehives. Learn more about her books at www.dianestuckart.com and  www.facebook.com/blackcatmysteries

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Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association? BONNIE ELIZABETH

Today’s guest on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? is author Bonnie Elizabeth, a prolific fiction writer who, like me, has a few cozy series under her belt. Unlike me, she writes other fiction, short fiction, and is published in several bundles and magazines.

Bonnie, tell us a bit about your writing career.

I write genre fiction and I’m purposely being vague because I have stories that are straight up mysteries, some that are science fiction, and some urban fantasy, and some second-world fantasy.

In novels, I tend to hover around paranormal cozy mysteries, most of which feature cats in some way or another. I have a ghost cat in my Ash Jericho series. I have a feline familiars in my Familiar Café mystery series. Even the newest series I’m starting, while it has ghosts, it doesn’t feature cats, but you better believe my main character has cats at home.

I write full time and I write a lot. I’ve had short stories featured in a number of smaller publications and in Fiction River and Pulphouse.

How do cats inspire your creativity?

I’m not sure if my cats inspire my creativity so much as make it challenging by sitting on the keyboard. My two big boy cats always seem to want to be there, often at the same time. I suppose that inspires me in how to type creatively!

Cheysuli, my chocolate point Siamese, inspired me to blog daily at her blog, discussing her adventures and commentary on life in general, so in that sense, my cats are the reason I write daily and that I can turn out as many words as I do.

Now for three extremely arbitrary questions. 

  1. Do your cats get along with each other?

Short answer, no, they don’t. Longer answer is that Gemini is my eldest cat, a brown tabby who found me as a tiny lost kitten the day after I had lost the second of two beloved cats who died within a week of each other. She tolerated the calico I had then and tolerated Cheysuli when I got her, but she didn’t love them.

When my calico died and I found Ichiro at a shelter, Gemini mostly ignored him. Cheysuli wasn’t thrilled with Ichiro’s attentions and after she got over her pique that I would adopt another cat, she began to like him a little bit. When Chey died, Ichiro and Gemini went at it almost every single night.

We knew that Ichiro was quite a lovebug and needed another cat to interact with but I wasn’t ready to find another cat. Still, my husband took me to the shelter and he picked out a five month old tuxedo cat.

Ham joined the family and was segregated into our sunroom. He was a door-dasher as a kitten and the third morning he rushed out of the sunroom into the living area where Ichiro was. Ham ran up to Ichiro and gave him the kitten version of the alien face hug and dashed off. Ichiro’s tail went up, ears went forward, and he trotted off after Ham. The next day of door dashing, and Ham was curled up with Ichiro getting a bath.

Gemini, however, loathes Ham. It’s gotten so bad that she lives in the main bedroom suite and the boys live in the rest of the house. They do interact some, but Ham usually gets yelled at for bothering her. Now and then—maybe once every three months, Ichiro goes after Gemini and that fight is much, much worse than her irritation with Ham.

It’s clear to me that Gemini is the problem child but she’s nearly 17, so she’s not going anywhere.

  1. Did you grow up with cats?

In 1964, on Valentine’s Day, shortly before my first birthday, our next door neighbor’s cat gave birth. She talked my folks into what a great gift a kitten would be for me on my birthday and so two months later, I had my first cat. She was a black medium hair with a white patch under her chin. She lived twenty years, moving with us throughout the United States.

I, of course, would have loved another cat, but my mom wasn’t really a cat person, though she liked ours well enough.

  1. Does cat love run in your family?

It definitely runs on my dad’s side of the family. My dad grew up on a small hundred acre dairy farm in Racine County Wisconsin. There are family stories of how as a teen he got his ma to accept a big old orange tom to be allowed in the house. They called the cat Pert and I guess he didn’t particularly like anyone except maybe my dad and my grandmother.

My dad was the reason I grew up with a cat. He’d have had another cat or more than one cat in a hot minute. He’d always had cats around the barn and while they were definitely barn cats, they always got treats of extra milk and sometimes extra scraps of food. Remember this was probably in the 1940s and 1950s.

My cousin on my dad’s side has adopted three Maine Coon cats, driving for over a day to pick them up. She’s passed on the love of cats or at least tolerating women who love cats to at least one of her sons, whose wife has her own beautiful Maine Coon.

Author Bio

Bonnie Elizabeth began making up stories and telling them to her black cat, Jet, when she was just a child. Jet, in turn taught that her highest calling was serving cats.

Bonnie has written columns for a cat focused animal shelter newsletter, has blogged as her cat Cheysuli, and written novels and short stories in a variety of genres, many of which feature felines that are far from ordinary.

In addition to writing about cats, Bonnie has volunteered at animal shelters and worked as a veterinary receptionist for over a decade.

Currently, she shares her home with three cats and her husband. She’s a member of the Cat Writer’s Association and is at work on the next book in the Familiar Café series.

About her cats:

Currently Bonnie lives with:

Gemini, a found longhair brown tabby who desperately wanted to be an only cat and got stuck with an owner who is anything but a one cat person. She’s a senior now at 17 (which seems impossible) but she’s still spry and does her best to put the boys in their place.

Ichiro a large Siamese mix with big blue eyes. He’s a big love bug and really needed another cat to love on when we lost our Siamese female, Cheysuli.

Ham, the cat my husband picked out (and he will never do the picking again), a tuxedo cat with attitude to spare. Ichiro adores him.

Find out more about Bonnie on her Social Media, Websites, and Sales sites:

http://www.bonnieelizabeth.com

http://www.mybigfatorangecat.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBonnieElizabeth

https://www.instagram.com/authorbonnieelizabeth/

https://books2read.com/ap/nzgXJ8/Bonnie-Elizabeth

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FIRST CHAPTERS: Cat Call

Cat Call was one of my favorite books to write. I got to utilize my own experience as an extra for various television shows being filmed in Portland. Grimm, Leverage, Librarians, and Portlandia are a few of my repertoire. Since COVID, the film industry has moved out of Portland, and I have gotten old, so it’s unlikely I’ll be doing much more of it, but it was fun while it lasted.

In Cat Call, Lynley takes the role of cat handler for a TV show that included cats. This is another job I have actually preformed in real life for the cult classic, Zombie Cats From Mars, though I was merely an assistant.

For cat-lovers who like clean mysteries with a little bite to them. Cat tips, tricks, and facts at the beginning of each chapter.

Cat Call, the 4th Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery

When cat-handler Rhonda Kane is injured on the set of a TV mystery pilot, Lynley Cannon steps in to help. The sixty-something cat shelter volunteer is good with Rhonda’s identical red tabbies, but the production proves to be another story. Rumors fly of a mysterious “hex” causing mayhem and misfortune on set.

Hex, or a hoax?

A suspicious death is followed by murder, and Lynley enlists famed actor Ray Anderson and her own granddaughter Seleia to help expose a truth that could topple a career and destroy the show itself.

Praise for Cat Call:

5.0 out of 5 stars. Gets better and better! Reviewed in the United Kingdom.

OK, I admit I’m a cosy mystery fan! But, as we all know, there are cosy and there are cosy. This series is up there with the best…

One of the reasons this series works so very well is the authors own experiences with cats and cat rescues and adopting cats.

Lynley finds herself dropped into the deep end of the movie making business when she has to stand in for a cat wrangler on a movie set. Things start to get spooky, and dangerous and she ends up knee deep in trouble as things come tumbling down around her. OK I won’t give any more spoilers, but I have to say, this kept me going till the end.

— C. Watson

Chapter 1

The message contained only three intelligible words: Call… Cat… Help! Interspersed was a garbled squawking that I recognized as the voice of my friend, Rhonda Kane. She sounded drunk, terrified, or both, blithering away like the Simpson’s crazy cat lady, which was ironic because usually I’m the lady considered crazy for cats. I have eight cats; Rhonda has only two, though hers happen to be movie stars.

My name is Lynley Cannon, and I’ll be the first to admit, eight is a lot of cats, but they are all well cared for and healthy. I have to take out a second mortgage on my Old Portland home when it’s time for their dentals, but that’s part of the deal. I love them dearly and they love me, each in his or her own catly way.

It began innocently enough with Dirty Harry. After life as a street stray, Harry was territorial, and I just assumed he wouldn’t tolerate a second cat encroaching on his space. As a shelter volunteer, I’d often heard statements like Missy won’t stand for another cat in the house, or Tom doesn’t get along with other kitties, or I’d love to have a kitten but Spot would throw a hissy-fit—‌he needs to be the only one, you know. I believed it for the longest time; then I got my little sweetheart, Little.

Granted, it took a while for Harry to get off his high horse and accept he could still be king, but I’ll never forget the first moment I saw them playing together. There was such joy in their antics. It took time but they became friends and now that Harry has hit his senior years, Little warms and grooms him like a sister. I don’t know what he would do without her.

The adoption of Little opened the gate to multiple cats. Next came Big Red, the orange tabby male who moved in on my side porch, then Solo, ghost-white, deaf, and totally reclusive, from a needy friend. Violet arrived sometime later, all twenty-two pounds of her, and then sweet Tinkerbelle. I rescued Mab, the Siamese kitten, from a disreputable breeder, and picked up Emilio when I was on an art retreat at the famousand infamousCloverleaf Animal Sanctuary. So far, all good.

As a retiree in my sixtieth year, I have time for the cats. I have time for anything I please and manage to fill the hours with love and good works, volunteering, family, and friends. I was born for retirement and thank God every day I didn’t wait until I was sixty five—‌or seventy!—‌to take it.

But back to the voicemail message. I hadn’t seen Rhonda Kane for quite some time. We’d met at a feline behavior lecture series, and though she was nearly a decade younger than me, we immediately bonded. Ours was one of those friendships that just picks up where it left off, whether it’s been a week or a year. This time it was closer to the year.

Rhonda had continued the behavior training and become one of Portland’s only working cat handlers. With the Northwest’s budding film and television industry, it was turning out to be a rewarding if not lucrative pursuit. Her highly trained pair of actor-cats had starred in a few commercials, held a small but reoccurring role in the IFC production, Portlandia, and had even hit the big time once in an episode of Grimm. Since Clark Gable and Cary Grant were identical neutered males, they often played one part interchangeably.

Cat handling was meticulous work and Rhonda was the best, which was why the crazy communication was such a surprise and, yes, a shock. I recognize the sound of panic when I hear it. Something was very wrong with Rhonda Kane.

I’d just finished a shift at Friends of Felines cat shelter where I spent a big chunk of my time playing with cats and helping to keep them happy during their scary interim between homes. Without thought, I sank down on the bench in the volunteer locker room and hit redial. I held my breath as I waited for her to answer. One ring, three, seven. Just when I was sure it was going to cut off and give me the generic computer-generated click-Rhonda-click is not available at this time, she picked up.

“Lynley!” she gasped. “Thank goodness you called back.”

“Rhonda, what’s the matter? What’s happened?”

“Oh, Lynley!” She was crying now. “It’s so awful! You’ve got to help. You’ve got to… I don’t know. Come, quick as you can…” The voice wavered and threatened to devolve into crazy-cat-lady-speak again.

“Rhonda, hold on,” I commanded. “Just take your time and tell me what’s going on. Of course I’ll help, but first I have to know what’s up. Are you hurt? Are you in some kind of trouble?”

“Worse!” she hissed in a harsh whisper. “It’s Cary Grant!” Through the phone I heard her gulp. “He’s gone!”

* * *

I’d had a tough couple of years, been kidnaped and threatened with death, had acquaintances who were murdered, so my first thought when Rhonda finally revealed her terrible plight was, Big deal! That lasted only a millisecond, however, as my empathy clicked in and I grasped how crazed I would be if one of my clowder went missing. Still, cats do get lost; cats hide or get out and run away. I couldn’t believe Rhonda would take any chances with her valuable pair and assumed they were collared and microchipped. I also knew she had them trained to answer to their names. Chances were good that a concentrated search would turn up Cary Grant in a nearby cubby, golden eyes blinking innocently as if to say, What’s your problem? I know exactly where I am.

“Rhonda, tell me how it happened. From the beginning.”

On the other end of the line I heard her blow her nose. She sounded slightly more collected when next she spoke.

“Okay, Lynley. I really don’t know. We’re on a shoot in Oaks Bottom. Clark Gable and Cary Grant were in the trailer, waiting for their call. I only stepped out for a minute. When I came back, the trailer door was ajar and Cary Grant was gone. We’ve looked everywhere. The entire lot, but no sign of him. What if he’s lost in the wetlands or made it out onto the streets? What if I never see him again?”

“Hold on. You need to be strong. Cary Grant needs you to be strong.”

A big sigh. “You’re right, of course. Everybody’s searching, but it’s been over an hour. It will be dark soon, and the rain is relentless. Oh, Lynley, what should I do?”

“It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. I know it’s hard but have faith. How is Clark Gable?”

“He’s fine but anxious. He’s here on my lap being sweet, but he knows something’s wrong.”

“Okay,” I charged, sensing she needed a plan. “Hang on. Take care of Clark. Tell me where you are and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

She gave me her location and a set of instructions how to find her in the park; I grabbed a raincoat and hat, my bag, and a bottle of drinking water. I considered what else I might need on a cat hunt and decided to throw in a can of Trader Joe’s Tuna-For-Cats, a particularly stinky concoction of fish that cats seem to love. With a quick goodbye to my own little crew, I set out for the Sellwood district.

It was nearly six-thirty; the April night would be on us soon. Rush-hour traffic should have been thinning out but wasn’t, and as I cursed and inched my way across town, I had time to think about what I was getting myself into. I certainly didn’t resent my friend calling me out of my nice warm home for a lost kitty. I knew what she must be going through, the fear and anxiety when one of our furred family is beyond our safety net. But it wasn’t the end of the world. I had no doubt Cary Grant would be found, half-expected my cell phone to ring at any moment with Rhonda saying thanks but never mind—‌he’s home safe. There would be a happy ending, there had to be. Then we would celebrate, maybe go to dinner, talk over old times and catch up on what’s new. Or maybe we’d order takeout to her trailer, a sumptuously furnished and catified vintage Airstream that she and her celebrity pair used for their gigs.

I had it all figured out, right down to what kind of pita sandwich I would order, when I arrived at the park. Little did I know that the missing cat was a mere forewarning of tragedies to come.

 

You can find Cat Call on Amazon or Books2Read.

Posted in Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries, My Cat Cozies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association?  AMY SHOJAI, CABC

I’m super excited to introduce my next guest on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? Not only is Amy Shojai one of the founding members of the CWA, but she has been active in the organization since 1992. Hers was a vision of a place cat people and the general public could find good information about cats. Since then, and with the help of members like Amy, CWA has grown to encompass “a wide variety of (cat-themed) talent, supporting evolving mediums and platforms such as Fine Arts, Journalism, Social Media, Graphic Design, Writing, Radio, Television, Videography, Podcasts, Websites, Blogs, Photography, Illustration, Cartoons, and so much more!”—About CWA, the CWA Website

Amy, tell us a bit about your writing career.

I write prescriptive nonfiction books and blogs. To date, I’ve had about 35+ books published (traditionally and now independent). I also write blogs/articles for several clients, including FearFreePets.com, ReadersDigest.com, and other major pet product companies. 

Switching creative hats, I also write music and am a produced/published playwright. One show, STRAYS, THE MUSICAL, channels your “inner cat and dog” to share how pets perceive their world. Also, I’ve launched a pet-centric thriller series that features a PTSD service dog, and a trained cat that tracks lost kitties. Each of the books in the thriller series includes winners of a NAME THAT CAT/DOG contest, nominated by readers, so the reader’s pet becomes one of the heroes in the story line. Oh, I also have a home recording studio and voice my own audiobooks. Guess I’m a control freak!

Now for four extremely arbitrary questions. ..

  1. How do cats inspire your creativity?

Cats (and dogs) gave me my career. I first worked as a veterinary technician. My first experiences in vet clinics, helping to treat cats (or even assist in surgery), inspired my first published work in the “pet press.” I didn’t have a cat, but loved interacting with cat patients. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I wrote dozens of personal experience stories about the cats at the clinic. I yearned for a community of colleagues who wrote on similar topics, and didn’t laugh at me for focusing on felines and canines. Cats inspired me to write and gave me my first publishing bylines. Ultimately, cats inspired the idea of forming the CWA. 

I’ve always felt fascinated by animal behavior, wanting not just to recognize what a behavior means but WHY an animal acts/reacts in certain ways. That inspired me to pursue become a certified animal behavior consultant. Now the more I know about them, the more they inspire my work. In fiction and plays, I felt inspired to speak in their “voice” in a way I never thought possible when I first started this journey.

2. Have you taken a cat first aid course?

I worked as a vet tech for several years and learned a lot on the job. One of my best-selling books covers the topic: The First-Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats. A couple of years ago, I also updated my knowledge when I took a course with Arden Moore. I highly recommend her course!

3. Where are you sitting right now? From where you are, how many cat-themed objects can you see? How many cats?

I’m standing in front of my desk (I have a desk/treadmill), in my home office. My Karma-Kat has stretched out on the floor at my feet. Cat-themed objects? Ooooh so many, let’s see:

6 cat paintings

Mirror with cats climbing on it (the Fear Free award *s*)

2 big cat statues

Cat-theme ceramic glass

Various glass or wood carved cat figurines (about 9…one for each life?)

Lifelike calico Persian stuffie

And a couple of cat-theme rings (I can’t seem my earrings, but there, too)

4. What’s the craziest thing your cat’s ever done?

My first cat, Seren-Kitty, used to answer my phone. Back in the day of landlines, if left alone in my office, she’d hook a paw under the receiver when the phone rang. I had more than one editor tell me a cat meowed an answer when they called. I also had to shove an empty box over the top of my fax machine, because Seren liked to stand on top and make the buttons beep. She’d take the fax offline, and I missed several important messages before I figured it out.

Tell us a bit about your cats. (I love this picture so much!)

Seren-Kitty(rb) was a petite warrior cat, a Siamese wannabe with blue jean-colored eyes. She lived nearly to age 22. My current kitty muse, Karma-Kat, boasts a chunky man-cat physique. He’s a silver shaded tabby with blue eyes and the sweetest disposition, and just celebrated his ninth birthday. He adores dogs.

Find out more about Amy Shojai:

Blog: https://AmyShojai.com

Website: https://Shojai.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amyshojai.cabc 

Twitter: @amyshojai

Instagram: @amyshojai

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CATTOGRAPHY

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Who Are the Cat Writers’ Association? STASIE FISHMAN

My next guest on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? is Stasie Fishman, author of young adult/young at heart books featuring her cats. Stasie lives with her cat children, Sammie, Bettinna, Freddie and her feral outside cat Lucy and a few more who show up.

About Stasie:

My name is Stasie Fishman, and I am a Long Island New York Author.  I am very excited to launch my third book, Freddie’s Tail, which makes a great set of three books together with Bettinna’s Tail and Sammie’s Tail.   Through these books I hope to inspire and promote kindness to all animals with education about cats and cat rescue from the cat’s perspective and point of view.

The cats tell their story about how they were lost, cold and lonely outside and struggling to find food and warmth.

Children and adults alike will enjoy these books.  Adults have said the enjoyed, laughed and learned something too.

There is education in the back of the books for adults and children.  Ideas about cat rescue and what you can do to help.  Examples about how dynamic Bettinna is and how incredible.  I don’t think she is a cat—she is a little human girl.  She communicates by manipulating objects, sits like a dog, gives kisses, is a yoga cat, she talks, opens doors, closes doors and so on.  There are more examples in the book on how you may be able to bring out the personalities of your own cats.

Stay tuned for more books to follow.

Stasie, tell us a bit about your writing career.

I write from the heart with passion for what I believe in.  I am so inspired to tell the stories that I take what is truth from my own experience and share so others can learn, use and enjoy what I have done.  I want to give back to the animals people have and their families so all can enjoy and enhance their lives.

 How do cats inspire your creativity?

    • In 2012 a friend of mine was feeding cats outside.  I had never had a pet before due to my brother’s allergies as children.  I saw a black cat outside and thought, I can feed this cat. 
    • I started to feed this cat, and she allowed us to touch her and pet her.  We even had her eating in our kitchen, and she would walk back out.
    • I then decided to educate myself about cats and everything I could do for them.
    • I used the local town to have her checked out. Although I could pick her up, I didn’t know a lot so we bought a trap and put her in the trap, as they said if she is feral she needs to be in the trap
    • They said, in or out—inside the house or keep feeding outside, but not both.
    • So we decided on in. They still insisted to clip her ear. I guess they did not believe us.
    • She was a small female we named Sammie, as we thought from my research. I took her in the trap to my local vet for a more thorough exam, as I felt a ball rolling around behind her ear – turns out it was a pellet gun bullet, and they removed it as it was just under the skin.
    • We also found out she may be Burmese, but further research revealed she is a Bombay which comes from the Burmese cat.
    • I felt responsible to make sure she had a great life so I continued to educate myself.
    • Now I had a crusade – how do I tell people not to harm these animals, how it is not their fault they are outside?  I was nicely told you cannot educate the adults (but I do try). You need to educate the children.  My “aha” moment: I’ll write her story and make a book to be a tool to educate.

Now for a few extremely arbitrary questions. Stasie didn’t stop at the usual three, but gives us 10 answers!

 1. What is your favorite cat movie and why?

Well, I just love Lady and the Tramp, especially the cat and her beautiful singing voice and songs.  But before this movie, my all-time favorite is Gay-Puree with Judy Garland and Robert Goulet singing and doing the voices.

  1. Did you grow up with cats?

No, I did not as my brother was allergic. We had a kitten, and it was gone right away. But I did adopt my neighbor’s cats and liked when they walked on me when I slept over at their house as a child.

  1. What crosses your mind when someone tells you they don’t like cats?

I try to tell them that they can experience joy with them if they are open to it.  But writing children’s books as they are open to learning more than adults.  I do try to get through to adults but it is hard.

  1. Does cat love run in your family?

No way.

  1. What famous cat or cat person have you met?

Jackson Galaxy, love him.  When I rescued my first cat, I educated myself as much as possible.

  1. If you were a cat, what breed would you be?

A Bombay like my first Sammie.

  1. Do your cats get along with each other?

Yes they have to.  I always say love love love.  No fights.  They do.

  1. “Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, Donate, Educate” is a common slogan for animal rescue. What do you like to do?

I volunteer, donate, and educate most of all.

  1. What’s the craziest thing your cat’s ever done? 

My cat Bettinna should be a movie star.  She is my movie star.  She is so smart.  She opens doors and closes doors.  She loves her own tablet.  She watches TV.  Sits like a dog and gives kisses—if you come over to her, you can get a kiss.  She loves me, her mother, more than my own mother or anyone else in the world. Unconditional.

  1. What do you wish for?

I would like to see every animal get chipped so the first owner is identified when an animal is missing or found.

Sammie

Freddie

Bettinna

Stasie’s cat’s are: Sammie, Bettinna, Freddie, and Lucy who just came in and is being socialized.

Website:

https://sammiestail.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sammiestail

https://www.instagram.com/sammiestail

Slogan / Mission Statement:

Sammie’s Tail – Tolerance for Animals Inspire Love.

Promoting the rescue, saving & extending lives of cats & their people.

 

 

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Ladew Cat Sanctuary Makeover (Reblogged from Katzenworld)

I want to live here!

Who says cat shelters have to be drab and boring, or worse yet, cold and scary? Here’s a sanctuary that has gone all the way to make both cats and people feel comfortable.

Posted in Animal Shelters, Cats, OTHER BLOGGERS, Other Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2-YEAR LOCKDOWN CHALLENGE

One of this year’s most popular trends, is the #10YearChallenge. Everywhere you go on social media, you find people posting side-by-side photographs of themselves ten years apart. The posts are fun and interesting. We can see how much we’ve changed in the ten-year span and be horrified, amused, or acquiescent.

But, yeah, everybody except Dorian Gray changes over a decade. I’ve got a new challenge for you. I call it the #2YearLockdownChallenge.

It was just about two years ago when we first began hearing about “the Corona virus” and then COVID-19. Words like “lockdown” and “shelter in place” accompanied another, scarier word: pandemic! We had faced challenges before, but nothing like this. Another word became commonplace: Unprecedented.

It’s been a long road, but we’re finally coming out the other side. Those of us that are fully vaccinated are finally shedding masks and going out in public again. The World Health Organization has said the acute phase of the pandemic could end this year, if about 70 percent of the world gets vaccinated.

But COVID has taken its toll, not just on those who were sick or died, but on everyone. The stress, the fear, the bizarre circumstances have changed us. We are not, and never will be, the people we were in March of 2020.

So on to the #2YearLockdownChallenge. Show us photos of yourself before COVID and now. Is there a difference? Did you stop dying your hair? Did you quit wearing pants—forever? Are you more feral? Did the hardship age you?

This is mine. The hair is still long but the face is definitely fatter. The smile seems forced, though I was on vacation in Hawaii. That’s what two years of pandemic did to me. Now it’s your turn.

Post to social media: #2YearLockdownChallenge

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