Cat Writer’s Association, Post Number Five

The literate catBe prepared to be entertained by information about more Cat Writer’s Association members. Here are three more talented people for you to meet. It is such fun to write up these little sketches of some of you. I will be sending out another group of questionnaires soon, and hope to get enough response to do another post soon. Meanwhile, here’s your post for today.

With each member, there is a list included of their available publications. If you would like to order one of these, you are encouraged to do so. Either let me know in the comment section below this post and I’ll send the information on to the author, or, in many cases, you can click on the link provided with the story about the author.

Deborah Barnes

Our current president of the Cat Writer’s Association has sent a questionnaire which I’m happy to include in this article. When asked where she was from, Deb answered, “Where am I not from? I was born in Michigan, moved to Oregon, then Illinois, then at least a dozen cities in upstate New York, and finally on to South Florida where I’ve lived since 1994.

Deborah says that writing is her passion, but she does have a background career that pays the bills. This profession includes sales, marketing, purchasing/sourcing, bid solicitations, administration, and graphic design.

She has written three cat-related books during her newly established career as a writer. These are The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey — A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary; Purr Prints of the Heart — A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond; and, her most recent book, the three-time award-winning book, Makin’ Biscuits — Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them.

Deborah says, that while each book holds a soft spot in her heart, Makin’ Biscuits is the one that is beloved by cat-lovers of all ages and lifestyles because it’s so universally relatable. The book is broken into funny chapters, such as “You Can Pet Me, Just Don’t Touch Me.” You’ll read an entertaining compilation of candid and personal anecdotes from cat guardians worldwide.

It delves into the feline psyche, answering those age-old elusive questions, such as, why does my cat zoom from one room to another for no reason? Along with the humorous stories, Makin’ Biscuits is also a serious book with an important message on proper pet responsibility.

The book is filled with well-researched advice, tips, and solutions to ensure your cat lives an optimally happy and healthy life befitting his feline nature.

Deb tells us that cats have always been a part of her life, beginning when she was a little girl. She says she was desperately shy back then and cats gave her the unconditional love she needed. At present, she has seven cats — Zee, Zoey, Mia,Deb Barnes and 7 cats Peanut, Rolz, Kizmet, and Jasmine.

She says her cats have helped set her on the path where she walks today — as a cat advocate, educator, award-winning blogger at Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles, and current president of the Cat Writer’s Association.

A Favorite Cat Story

Deb explains that since she has had cats all her 50+ years of life, there’s little any of them do any longer that surprises her. Cats opening doors, Cats closing doors, Cats stealing her underwear. Cats bringing her gifts in the dead of the night. Even cats visiting her from the afterlife. She says, “You name it; I’ve probably seen some variation of it.

Here is how the idea for Makin’ Biscuits came into being. Deborah was showering like she had thousands of other mornings, and Mia was sitting on the hamper waiting for her to finish. Though Mia had lived in the same house all her life (Deb says she was actually born in her bedroom closet, or even possibly on her lap) and doted on her entire life, she was an extremely shy and reserved cat.

Deborah remarks, “You know the kind I mean — the kind you pick up to pet and they contort their bodies into a pretzel shape, looking at you with wide-eyed horror. Why would you even dream of petting them, let alone picking them up?

Mia allowed random petting, but there were RULES. For example, Deb could only pet her on the hamper in the bathroom, or occasionally on the bed in her bedroom, but only if she didn’t get all emotional about it. If she trod slowly and acted nonchalant enough, like it wasn’t a big deal Mia was getting attention, Deb could get a victory pet in here and there.

You can only imagine Deborah’s surprise, then, when she got out of the shower and bent over to wrap a towel around her dripping hair, to suddenly feel something land on her head. Blindly reaching up, she realized it was Mia. The cat was smack on the top of Deb’s head, purring up a storm, and passionately making biscuits into the towel.

Deb remained stooped over, and Mia let her continue with the petting. The cat soon settled into the soft towel for a contented nap. Being a loving cat parent, Deb remained in the stooped position (with her back in excruciating pain, mind you), clothed only in said towel for as long as she possibly could.

It was at that moment that it dawned on her. This incident was over-the-top weird, and an idea formed in her toweled, cat-covered head, that stories of such way out there incidents would make an entertaining book. That is how Makin’ Biscuits — Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them was born.

You can find all of Deborah’s books at: https://zeezoey.com/the-book.php

Paula Gregg

Paula GreggOur next writer, Paula, was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, when her dad was getting out of the navy. The family moved to South Carolina in 1956, and Paula says she’s lived there her entire 60+ years.

If you meet Paula, you will know right away that she is from the Deep South because of her Southern twang. She says she loves the friendliness and laid-back lifestyle of Southern living. There is rarely any snow in South Carolina, but spring and summer can bring some intense hot days.

Paula’s main writing is done on her blog, Sweet Purrfections. She has published several full-color weekly planners that feature cats from the Cat Blogosphere. If you are interested in seeing these planners, here is a link to the ones for 2019: http://www.lulu.com/shop/paula-gregg/2019-blogging-cats-weekly-planner/paperback/product-23881122.html.  If you would like to see planners for earlier years, those are available as well.

Sweet Purrfections is a blog that reflects living and learning with Persian cats. Information about cat behavior, nutrition, health care, products, and other items is shared in a story-like manner with a research-based background.

The blog began in July 2011, and will celebrate eight years this summer. This blog Silver Persian catfeatures two silver shaded Persian cats, Truffle and Brulee. Photos and stories of their daily lives are shared on the blog.

Paula is currently retired after 40+ years in education and government. She was a middle school mathematics teacher for 17 years, a college professor for 10 years, and a program manager of academic affairs at the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for 12+ years.

Paula earned a BS degree in elementary education from the College of Charleston, a MEd in elementary education with a focus on middle school mathematics, and a PhD in curriculum and instruction in secondary mathematics.

Silver Persian Now she is a pet influencer and blogger. Paula serves as the vice president of the Cat Writer’s Association; she is also an associate member of the United Silver and Golden Fanciers (USGF) Club.

Cats Have Trained Her Well

Though Paula grew up with dogs, she has been owned by cats for 40+ years. She currently lives with Truffle and Brulee, who are silver shaded Persian cats. These two are half sisters and are 12 weeks apart in age. Paula says that living with Persian cats is a challenge with all the grooming and daily care they need.

Her first Persian cat was Praline, who lived with her for almost 16 years. Praline came to live with her when she was going through a divorce after 21 years of marriage.

She tells a story from the distant past, when she and her ex-husband, Randy, owned a cat named Muff. Muff was Paula’s first cat, and taught her a lot about living with cats. Back in the 1980s they had to evacuate their home for the day because they had been infested with fleas. Their home had to be treated to get rid of the creatures.

As Paula’s ex-husband was a band director, they decided to take Muff to the band room for the day. They put Muff in the instrument room and shut her in. When it was time to go home, Randy opened the door to the instrument room and Muff was nowhere to be found. They knew she couldn’t have gotten out through the door because no students were at school that day.

They looked behind instrument cases and instruments, under chairs, and behind shelves: No Muff. Beginning to panic, they looked up at the ceiling and saw a small hole in one of the panels. Randy climbed up the shelves and began looking in the ceiling of the band room. Though they called for Muff, there was no answer.

Finally, with the help of a flashlight, Randy saw the glowing eyes of Muff in the middle of the ceiling. Randy climbed up into the ceiling to get Muff. As he was moving towards her, he fell through the ceiling. He didn’t fall all the way down, but it was scary and created a mess.

Once he fell, Muff, in stereotypical fashion, gave a little meow and walked up to Randy and was ready to go home.

Muff lived to be 19 years old and died about a month before their divorce was final. Paula says she was a special cat and taught her about that unique bond between human and cat.Silver Persian sisters

Lynn Maria Thompson

Lynn Thompson & GillyLynn hails from Jacksonville, Florida. She is an author, speaker, trainer, and coach. She also runs an ecommerce site selling products for cats and cat lovers.

Lynn has written a book called The Feline CEO: How Following a Cat’s Lead Can Make You a Better Business Leader. The book examines business leadership through the lens of cat behavior. Each section examines one cat behavior, looks at why cats do that, then applies that simple wisdom to leadership.

Quotes from successful CEOs back up the principles introduced in the book. There are exercises to accompany each section; these can be found on the book’s website. These exercises help readers begin to put the principles to work in their own lives.

Lynn got her first cat when she was in her early 30s. She named him Minuit. She says, “He was a beautiful black cat, a rescue from the local humane society. My second cat, chosen as a companion to him, was my ‘heart cat.’ Her name was Vixen, and I took her in when we moved from the apartments where I’d lived briefly. She’d been a feral cat who lived in the area.”

Calico cat named Vixen

Vixen

Vixen lived with Lynn for the next 23 years, seeing her through the death of two boy cats and both her parents. She died just after she turned 24. Two weeks later, I began fostering two tiny yellow tabby kittens who would become her Golden Boys, Captain Roughy and Gilligan, AKA Cap’n Boo and Gilly (among other nicknames they have.)

Lynn says they rescued a third cat during Hurricane Matthew, and named her Mattie, or Matilda Stormkitty in full. She looks just like a Russian Blue.

She tells a story about Minuit and a little cat who lived down the street, named Madison. Minuit always wanted to go outside. Living in apartments and condos, Lynn could never let him go out, for safety reasons.

Minuit and Madison

After her father died in ’95, Lynn moved back to her hometown the following year, and moved in with her mother, in the house where she grew up. There, they would let Minuit out in the daytime, and he always stayed close by the house. He developed a friendship with Madison, the little cat from down the street, a little tuxedo girl.

Madison would hang around with him all day and then hunker down in the grass on Lynn’s front lawn to wait for him to come back out the next morning. They would call the cat’s owners, finding their names from a tag on her collar, to let them know where she was in case they worried.

Madison became Minuit’s little protege. He already had kidney disease at that time, and when he died, they buried him in the back yard, next to the bird bath. Minuit used to love to stand on the side of it and drink.

Lynn looked out the bedroom window the next morning, and there was Madison, lying right on Minuit’s grave. Lynn even called her mother in to see it. It was so touching! She came back every day for the next few days. Then they didn’t see her again until many months later.

She came strolling up the street one day when they were sitting out in our front yard with one of their visiting relatives. The found out soon afterward that Madison’s family was moving away, so they decided that was Madison’s way of telling them goodbye. She had deeply loved Minuit, more than they had ever realized.

 


2 Responses to Cat Writer’s Association, Post Number Five

  1. It is so nice to get to know members of the CWA. What a great and versatile organisation it is!

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