Today’s guest on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? is Ruth E. Thaler-Carter. Ruth is an award-winning freelance writer, editor, proofreader, desktop publisher and speaker.
Please tell us a bit about your writing career.
My motto is “I can write about anything!”® I write articles for a variety of magazines, newsletters and blogs; edit and proofread projects for organizations, publications and colleagues; and speak and write about freelancing and related topics for several professional associations. In terms of cats, I’ve written for the magazine of the American Animal Hospital Association and (585) magazine, and aim to do a lot more cat-content.
How do cats inspire your creativity?
There’s something about the presence, behavior, and wacky activity of my cat, Skitter, that inspires me to support the local Humane Society (where I adopted her), make and collect (my guest room décor is all about cats) cat-related art, be a member of the Cat Writers Association, and write about topics to help people be more aware of how to care for and appreciate cats.
Now for three arbitrary questions:
- What crosses your mind when someone tells you they don’t like cats?
I feel sorry for them — they’re missing out on so much fun and comfort.
- Tell us a true cat story.
Years ago, I was on my way to an important event when I saw a little tortoiseshell cat huddled in the building entry. Where it came from was a mystery: This was a business district with no homes or apartment buildings, little natural shelter, and heavy traffic.
I didn’t want to miss the event, but I didn’t want to abandon the cat. I couldn’t take it in — my briefcase would have squashed it — but a colleague came out of the building carrying a bulky gym bag that he let me borrow.
I headed for the office, fished the cat out of the gym bag, and said, “I’m attending the workshop downstairs and wondered if I could leave this little lost cat with you until it’s over.”
The staffers broke into big smiles, said “Of course!” and rustled up a box, a towel, some newspaper, a bowl and even some cream.
The pads on her feet were raw, her coat was badly matted, and she had ear mites. But she licked my fingers and patted my face as if she had found a friend. I was smitten.
After the workshop, I headed to a neighborhood animal hospital a couple blocks from my apartment building. It seemed like fate to have such a resource so close to home. She was pregnant, but otherwise healthy. Three days later, she was established in my apartment and my heart. I hadn’t realized how lonely I was, so we saved each other!
- Tell us a fictional cat story.
Everything in the true story — except in the fictional version, the narrator and the veterinarian become a couple! Here’s a shorter version of the rest of the story, which I made into a self-published piece entitled “Sometimes you save the cat …” and have used to raise a few bucks for the local Humane Society:
The veterinarian who took charge of my (yes, now I was thinking of her as mine) cat wasn’t much to look at, but there was something about him. He had a great smile as he looked over the feisty little cat, and a lovely deep voice as he murmured to the cat and asked me about how I came to bring her in when she was in somewhat questionable condition. He roared with laughter when I explained about the flat briefcase, gym bag, and helpful office staff.
It was clear that he cared about the cat — and became equally clear that he might be interested in her rescuer. We marveled at having been nearby neighbors without having met before.
Of course, when you stop looking for something, that’s often when you find it. Thanks to that cat, I had my first Saturday dinner-and-a-movie dates in more than a year, one with a guy from the office from the workshop and one with the vet.
Three months later, I was engaged to that veterinarian, who turned out to be very much worth looking at. And talking to. And dancing with. And exploring with. A few months after that, the animal hospital and local shelter were several hundred dollars richer, thanks to the donations we asked people to make instead of giving us wedding gifts.
“Rescue Rita” queened it over the proceedings throughout, with that smug expression that only a cat can display when events go as it knew they would.
Skitter is a lovely calico with most of her coloration on one side, so in some poses, she looks as if she’s all-white. She’s affectionate and snuggly, and likes to curl up in my lap when I’m about to use my laptop in the evenings, as if to say that I’ve done enough work for the day and should relax by focusing on the cat. Which, of course, I do.
Connect with Ruth E. Thaler-Carter at: