Meet Some Cat Writer’s Association Members

badge for CWA

To my delight, I was recently accepted as a Cat Writer’s Association member.  CWA is an international organization of 150+ members who write about cats. The group’s members fit many categories, such as writers, editors, bloggers, journalists, photographers, vets, consultants, cat rescuers and filmmakers.

The writing from this diverse and creative group covers a wide spectrum of cat topics. In this and subsequent posts, I will be introducing a few members at a time and listing their available publications.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, or if you want more information about the author, please let me know in the comments at the bottom of this page. I will forward your inquiries to the author.

Tammy Banks

Now let us begin. Our first author is Tammy (T.J.) Banks, who hails from Connecticut. Tammy is a freelance writer. She writes a cat behavior column for petful.com, and teaches writing classes and workshops.

Tammy says she has always had cats. She remarks, “I’ve written about them, rescued them, and done Reiki on them. (I’m an animal Reiki practitioner.) My current cat gang includes both purebreds and garden variety moggies.”

Tammy wrote Catsong, a book that won the 2007 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. This book is a collection of stories and poems about the cats who have owned Tammy over the years and the life-lessons they have taught her. Here is an excerpt from that book:

They (Phoebe and Circe) became the Thelma and Louise of our cats. One morning, I was sitting on the breezeway couch with my coffee: from there, I could see the high-speed chase going on in the hallway. Circe whipped by for the umpteenth time. Phoebe, coming up from the cellar, suddenly reared up wild-mustang-style; she somehow got enough momentum going to actually go after her buddy on her hind legs, holding her front paws straight out in front of her and looking like a benevolent werewolf.

Black cat by computer

Part of Tammy’s Cat Gang

I stared. I couldn’t possibly have seen that, could I? I asked my coffee mug. But I had. Hadn’t I?

 

She also published a book titled Houdini. About that book, she writes, A Siamese only gives his heart to a human once. For Houdini, a down-on-his-luck Flamepoint Siamese kitten, that human is young Jill Leonard. He lives a good life out-of-doors with her other cats. But that life has dangers of its own, as he discovers when he inadvertently strays far away from his home.

 

Debbie De Louise

Our next CWA writer is Debbie De Louise, who is a librarian from Long Island, New York. Debbie is a prolific writer, has to her credit a number of books, including a series of cat mystery stories. Here is a selection from one of these, entitled Love on the Rocks.

It’s February in the small town of Cobble Cove. Love is in the air…but so is murder!

When Alicia helps plan a Valentine’s Day party at the Cobble Cove library that also includes a surprise for her newlywed friend, Gilly, things go wrong when a mysterious box of chocolates addressed to the director turns out to be laced with poison.

Clues Lead to a Dead Suspect

Although Alicia promised John she’ll no longer meddle in crime investigations, she and Gilly set out to find the person threatening Sheila, who was also the one who murdered the courier of the deadly candy. They have 3 suspects…

New Cat in Town

While Alicia and Gilly are trying to solve this new Cobble Cove mystery, Sneaky is introduced to Gilly’s new kitten, Kittykai, a calico she brought home from her honeymoon in Hawaii. It’s not like love at first sight, but the two cats eventually become friends. They also both play a part in foiling the killer’s murder attempts, but will Alicia and Sheila survive unscathed?

woman in red sweater holding 2 cats

Debbie with Harry and Hermione

Debbie tells us that she has three cats. Stripey, her tabby, is 10 years old. She also adopted two brother and sister kittens this past October, Harry and Hermione. They are now eight months old.

Here is a favorite cat story from Debbie:

After my beloved senior Siamese, Oliver, died at 17 from kidney disease last November, my daughter and I were heartbroken. We still have our nine-year-old cat, Stripey, but Oliver left a big void in our family. This past September, a cat cafe opened on Long Island, and my daughter wanted to visit it.

We weren’t looking for a new cat, but she fell in love with a kitten named Ringo there. We considered adopting him, but found out he was already claimed. She was very upset, but we promised her we’d find another cat for her.

We visited several shelters and pet stores, but none of the cats and kittens we saw seemed to be right for us. Then we decided to take a trip back to the cat cafe in October when a fall fair was taking place in the town.

We never got to the fair because Holly fell in love with another kitten. His name was Harry, and he was all black, the type of kitten Holly had always wanted even though Ringo hadn’t been black. When we asked if Harry was available, we were told that he was but that he had to be adopted with his sister, a muted calico named Hermione.

I knew my husband wouldn’t like the idea of adding two cats to our house, but both kittens seemed perfect for us. I also found it ironic that I’d just written about a calico in my latest Cobble Cove mystery.

I decided to adopt both kittens but then learned that they were FIV positive. It was explained to me that they would be tested again at six months and might be negative at that time. They might just be testing positive through their mother’s immune system until they were mature enough for their own system to take over.

Even if they were actually FIV positive, I was told that many cats lead normal lives with this condition. I had to consider the impact this would have on us if the kittens remained FIV positive, but my heart told me to take a chance. It was nearly a year since we lost Oliver and three months since my mother passed away. The two kittens seemed like a way to help heal our hearts.

Adopting Harry and Hermione turned out to be the best thing we ever did. They are now nearly nine months old

3 cats lounging

Debbie’s furry family members

and are just the sweetest and most adorable kittens. They also both tested negative for FIV.

I will never forget Oliver because every cat is special, but I’m so happy that I took a chance on Harry and Hermione, whom I consider my grandkittens. My cat, Stripey, has also welcomed them into the family and is much more active and less lonely now that they all run and play with one another.

Cindi Goodeaux

A business analyst from Jacksonville, Florida, Cindi Goodeaux says she loves all things furry. Her adult son and daughter have three cats between them. However, Cindi has an unfortunate allergy to cat dander, so she can’t have a cat living in her house.

She says that Hazelnut, her daughter’s beautiful cat, does not trigger the allergies. So, when they both come home from college she gets lots of loving kitty snuggles.

tortoise cat lying, looking alert

Meet Hazelnut

Cindi has written a book titled The Adventures of Princess Jellibean. In this story, a very colorful cat decides to leave her comfy castle life to see the world she’s only read about. Her dreams swirl with these things, and she always sleeps with a smile. Someday, thinks she, someday I will see it all!

Princess Jellibean, a curious rainbow-hued cat, teaches us lessons through her many adventures. She demonstrates how important it is to approach the matters in life that might not always be the happiest with a sense of wonder and positivity. With such an approach, there is normalcy and beauty in everything and everyone.

Cindi says, “When I was in junior high school, I rescued several stray animals around the school, including several kittens. They always seemed to find me, and I loved helping them find new homes.”

Mollie Hunt

woman holding black cat

Mollie Hunt with Tinkerbell

If you like mysteries, here is another cat mystery writer with a number of books to choose from. Mollie Hunt, who is from Portland, Oregon, writes a series. It’s called the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, and it features Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip.

Mollie’s books can all be purchased on Amazon. Here is a one-line summary of the five books in the series:

Cats’ Eyes, Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery #1:

Look what the cat dragged in! When Lynley’s old kitty Fluffo discovers a stolen uncut diamond, Lynley finds herself accused of murdering the thieves.

Copy Cats, Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery #2:

When Lynley exposes a breed cat counterfeiting ring, she becomes the target of a serial killer who murders with a grizzly cat-like claw.

Cat’s Paw, Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery #3:

Two suspicious deaths at an elite art retreat send Lynley running back to Portland, but murder follows in her wake.

Cat Call, Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery #4:

Lynley takes over as cat handler for a TV pilot only to find the show is hexed and murder is waiting in the wings.

Cat Cafe, Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery #5

A body is discovered on the floor of the cat cafe, and all the black cats are missing!

Mollie, who describes herself as a writer and cat lady, has something in common with her series character. Mollie is a grateful shelter volunteer. She has been a long-time volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society, where she socializes sad, fearful, and

woman holding black cat

Molly and partner

behavior-challenged cats. She also fosters sick and elderly cats in her home.

She says that four cats “own” her, though she prefers to call them cohabitors.

She tells this cat story:

In 2014, I had the privilege to work with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy on a particularly thought-provoking case. Lux, the four-year-old Maine coon had become hostile when the baby pulled his tail and the dad kicked him. Lux chased the family into the bedroom, from where they proceeded to call 911. The event went viral, and Mr. Galaxy stepped in with his “My Cat from Hell” troupe to see what they could do to save the cat. I was chosen to foster Lux, and he was lovely for the first few weeks. I had decided to adopt him, but then out of the blue he had another series of violent outbursts, one of which sent me to ER. It became obvious he needed more than I could give. Mr. Galaxy spared no effort of expense for Lux. From my home, he was taken through many steps to find his triggers. Now, five years later, he has been adopted into a loving home. He still gets restless in the wind or if something surprises him, but his family understands his foibles, and for the most part he is a mellow and sweet cat.

Amy Shojai

Next, let’s meet an author from North Texas (near Dallas), Amy Shojai. Amy is a full-time author, with 30+ pet care books to her credit, and is also a certified animal behavior consultant (cats and dogs). .

Here is her very useful book, titled CAT FACTS: The Pet Parent’s A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia. This book is designed to answer all your questions. How do I choose the right cat. What holistic help and preventive care should I give? Why do cats act the way they do, and what cat behavior indicates illness? What constitutes an emergency, and how/when can I safely treat my cat with home care and first aid? Inside you’ll find:

  • An alphabetical A-to-Z listing, with more than 200 entries and 160+ cute cat photos and illustrations, covering everything from abscesses and hairballs to whiskers and zoonosis.
  • Charts that list symptoms for a particular condition, the corresponding home care or first aid, the comparative veterinarian and holistic treatments, and preventive advice.
  • A poison first aid chart to save your cat’s life. A symptoms/conditions table that helps you identify which ailments might be bothering your cat.
  • Breed-At-A-Glance chart to compare personality, looks, care challenges and other issues when choosing your pedigreed cat.
  • A comprehensive, easy-to-use index that makes quick reference a snap
  • Contact information for dozens of cat organizations and veterinary resource

Accessible, yet comprehensive, CAT FACTS can be used with ease and trust. And doesn’t your cat deserve the very best?

woman with dog and cat

Amy and Karma-Kat

Amy currently lives with Karma-Kat, a silver shaded tabby boy, and his best friend, Bravo-Dawg. The cat is the boss, of course! She also frequently offers cat consults on behavior issues to help other folks with their kitty challenges.

She shares this story:

My first cat, Seren-Kitty, lived to be nearly 22 years old. She ruled my office, and frequently answered the phone (but wouldn’t take messages), and “played the buttons” on my fax machine. Clients were sometimes puzzled when met with a “meow” when they called me.

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

Your next author was born and raised in Rochester, New York, but now lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Ruth E. Thaler-Carter is a freelance writer and editor.

Cat on chair

Skitter

Ruth has written a heart-warming short story about how a cat and her person found each other. The title of this story is Sometimes You Save the Cat. It is the story of a long-haired little tortoiseshell that I literally rescued from a windowsill on a street in D.C., Ruth says. She explains that though the actual rescue was real, it was her first effort at writing fiction since high school. The cat was super-affectionate, which Ruth thought was because the cat knew Ruth had saved her from disaster.

She has also written articles about cat topics for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).

She says she has always been somewhat of a cat person, but has not had a real cat until recently. When her husband died, she ended up by herself, and adopted “an adorable calico cat” from the Missouri Humane Society, just a couple of months after moving to St. Louis.

She has a story to tell us about Skitter, her new cat:

For the first few weeks after I adopted Skitter, she was very, well, skittish — hence the name — and spent most of the day hiding. I found one hiding place, on a dining room chair under the tablecloth, when I almost sat on her! I only knew she was here

Cat with stuffed dog

Skitter and friend

because food would be gone and the litter box had been used.

One night, she suddenly hopped up on the bed and snuggled in with me, and now she does that every night, patting my chin as if to say “Good night, sleep tight.” If I go anywhere near the bed, she jumps up on it and looks at as if to say, “it’s time to snooze now.” In the evenings, she curls up in “her” chair while I sit in mine to watch TV and work on my laptop computer in the sun room of my condo. She’s become a lovely companion and makes my new place feel like a real home.

Siri Zwemke

A resident of Virginia for 40 years now, Siri Zwemke is the director of the Siamese

Siamese cat, sitting like person

Siamese, if you please

Cat Rescue Center. She says she runs a non-profit cat rescue that has spanned 20 states and rescued over 12,000 cats. She says she owns two, but at one point had way too many!

Siri is excited because her first book was recently published. It’s called Rescue Meez, and is a personal memoir on how she went from Crazy Cat Lady to Non-Profit Cat Rescuer (12k cats) and all the missteps she took along the way.

Siamese sitting; rescue meez caption

Siri’s new book!

When asked if she had a favorite cat story to share, she said, “That’s what the book’s for.”

This concludes our first post about CWA writers and their stories. I will put up another post as soon as I receive enough questionnaires to do so.

If you wish to comment about any of these authors or their books, or if you would like to contact the author, either to order or to ask them questions, please leave your name, email address, and which author or authors you would like to contact. I’ll forward the information quickly; most likely the same day. Help us celebrate cats!

 


10 Responses to Meet Some Cat Writer’s Association Members

  1. Great article!

    Welcome to the CWA!

    • Fran Kelso says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I see from my magic list that you, too, are a member. If I send you a copy of my little questionnaire, would you fill one out too? Would love to include you in an article.

  2. Linda Schell says:

    Hi, I have written four children’s fantasy adventure books that intertwine history with fantasy, and all have a cat as one of the protagonists. My fourth book, “A Key West Story” is about a run-away Hemingway House cat, and is available in the Hemingway House Museum Gift shop. How do I become a member? Thank you.

  3. Thanks for the interview. It’s so great that you post these, so we can all get to know each other.

    • Fran Kelso says:

      I’m glad you like them. I am enjoying them for that very reason — I get to learn something about the people in our organization, and to find out what they are doing. There are some amazing people in CWA, and for me it is a pleasure to post their stories.

  4. Ropata says:

    The Cat Writer’s Association look like an interesting place, was it hard to get accepted? are you required to have an established publication of cat authority?  Cats can provide days of stories with love and encouragement:) I recently read a and reviewed an interesting book about cat language which I found encouraging and helpful with bonding more with mine and other cats in the community. They are real quite smart:)

    Anyway thanks for the intro

    all the best Rob

    • Fran Kelso says:

      Yes, the CWA is an interesting place.  To be accepted, you have to have published a book about cats or have a blog about cats that has been online for at least a year.  Then a committee looks over your application and approves or disproves it.  The organization is international, which is kind of neat.

      I’m getting to know members by posting these little biographical sketches.  It’s been quite a fun project.

  5. Eleanor Skibo says:

    I love reading about all these exciting writers and their gorgeous cats. I adore cats! I’m a semi-retired Photo/journalist. I also enjoy painting cats and I’d love to start writing about my adventures with all my pets, especially my cats. Maybe someone out there in ‘Cat Writing Land’ can help me.

    • Fran Kelso says:

      If you have cat stories to tell, just start writing. That’s what I did. Pretty soon you have a collection of stories. You could put them on a website if you wanted. Contact me if you’d like to learn more about how to do that. You would have an advantage because you could do your own illustrations.

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