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REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: Shop Cats of New York

 

You might notice them sitting in a window watching the world go by, or nestled comfortably, napping on a self next to merchandise that’s on sale. These are the cats who make their home inside the shops of New York City, but what is their life really like?

 

Book cover

That question, posed by author Tamar Arslanian, was the inspiration for her book, Shop Cats of New York. In this 176 pg, eye-poppingly colorful book, Arslanian focused her efforts on 40 beloved, cherished shop cats. These feisty felines are well cared for, some even getting fan mail from the shop’s patrons. None are mistreated or left to live on scraps. Tamar makes a fine distinction between “Bodega cats” (small markets that dot the New York cityscape, where cats are often in poor condition and mistreated) to “shop cats” where the cat’s home, from a loving-care standpoint, is the same as yours or mine.

 

Shop Cats of New York is my favorite kind of book—lots of full-page, heartwarming images paired beautifully with charming stories about each featured cat. Arslanian is a heck of a writer, one who may be best known for her blog: IHaveCat.com - “Single in the City with Cat(s)." Tamar looks for the quirky, the adorable, the sometimes heartbreaking in each cat’s tale, but doesn’t overdo it by being too cutesy or overly maudlin.

 

Cshop cats

The book would fall flat without cat photographer extraordinaire, Andrew Martilla’s images. As someone who’s taken thousands of photos of her own cats, I can sincerely appreciate the level of skill it takes to go beyond the cliché posed kitty portrait. Martilla instinctively grabs the decisive moment, where placement, lighting and expression capture the essence of each cat’s personality. Martilla admits he only had 30 minutes or so to photograph each cat; hardly time to focus the camera while his subjects were moving around, unwilling sit still for more than a second. The shops were open during photography so he had the extra challenge: how to side-step customers and balance being unobtrusive with making images.

SCONY sample image 4  Bobo

There’s one image in particular photo that really stands out. It’s a portrait of a big orange tabby named Lionel, who lives in a hobby shop. On first glance, you don’t even see Lionel amidst the clutter of the shop’s counter, but once you find him, you’re caught in his steady gaze. There’s a quality, that doesn’t depend on photoshop tricks or a studio lighting set up that reminds me of a Bernice Abbott image. There’s an honesty and simplicity in capturing this moment that’s very appealing. (You can see what I mean and meet Lionel on page 134.)

Shop Cats of New York is a hefty, gorgeously printed book by Harper Design. It’s a page-turner that’s guaranteed to delight cat-lovers of any age, and one of the best books about cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

Until recently, Shop Cats was sold out, but thankfully the publisher has more in stock. You can grab a copy HERE before they sell out again.

Tamar Signs
©2017 Robin AF Olson. Signing away! This could be yours!

If you’d like to win a Free AUTOGRAPHED copy of SCNY, simply leave a comment here on why you’d like to win. Most amusing comment, as judged by me, by Friday, January 13 (which would have been my daddy’s 87th birthday) 2017 at 11:11 AM EST will win.

Tamar and Andrew Signing R Olson copy
©2017 Robin AF Olson. Ms. Arslanian and Mr. Martilla.

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Bonus Bit

 

I had the pleasure of attending a book signing of SCofNY at MEOW Parlour, a cat café, some of whose cats are featured in the book. The café is clean and charmingly laid out, with doting caretakers and a few adoptable, adorable cats in residence. Two of the rescue-cats are siblings named Fanny and Nicky, who have CH (cerebellar hypoplasia). They also have a variety of cat-themed merchandise that was hard to resist (I didn’t. I got a really cute patch for my jacket.).

 

MEOW Parlour partners with KittyKind a terrific New York City based cat rescue. Their collaboration has helped find homes for over 100 cats to date.

CH Kitty Napping R Olson copy
©2017 Robin AF Olson. Nicky napping.

Tamar and Kitten R Olson copy
©2017 Robin AF Olson. Tamar has Cat!

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Crazy Cat Ladies No More

Crazy Cat Ladies. In many circles that expression is not meant kindly. It connotates instability, excess (too many cats, obsessively talking about cats), wearing sweatshirts with cutesy embroidered artwork of kittens chasing after balls of yarn. We're probably fat. We're far from “cool.” We have no relationship as meaningful as the one we have with our cats. We're probably not married, maybe never even had a boyfriend.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The cat ladies dinner. Between everyone at the table we had or cared for (we counted ferals) 85 cats!

Not any more.

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Tamar from IHaveCat and Angie from CatLadyLand and moi.

Today I'm retiring the phrase: Crazy Cat Lady. It's been dying slow death and it's time to strike it from the dictionary and replace it with something appropriate.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ever-smiling Angie with kitten.

Last week I attended BlogPaws 2013, a conference for pet bloggers. I'll be doing a write up about my trip, my 90-minute session about our Kitties for Kids program and may even dish a bit of dirt, but today my focus is on the real reason why I go to these conferences-it's to spend time with my friends, who happen to write about cats and who love and protect them with the same passion I do.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Our dear friend, Kate from Hauspanther couldn't make it to BlogPaws so we got together and created the Cat Lounge for her.

When I was a kid I had a younger brother. We didn't get along very well, nor do we, today, which is why I used “had” referring to him. Our family moved around a lot and I was constantly uprooted and lonely. Making new friends was tough and it seemed that just as I made a friend, we'd move away and I would never see them again.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Deb from Zee & Zoey sharing a flirty smile (and wearing cat-ear tiaras!)

My Mother never had women friends. She had some interesting male friends, ones whom I'm not sure what their real relationship to my Mother really was. There was the Chief of Police, one of the officers in the Fire Department and another guy who worked doing construction who was like an uncle to me. I never had a role model for how to be friends with women. Women were always creatures you could not trust and who you were in competition with for the cute guys.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA of Paws & Effect with Sir Disco

My “best” friend in high school went behind my back and stole my boyfriend away from me (he returned a few weeks later claiming she smelled like wet cardboard..and I later dumped him). She claimed I should “move on because David loved her now”…some friend.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Tamar, Angie and Debbie from Glogirly

I wrote off being close to women. I just didn't know how to do it…

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Elegant Coco-and yes, she's dressed up. Coco has no problem wearing an oufit or prancing around. She's VERY well cared for, stable and loved. This little cornish rex has one of the biggest personalities I've ever met. Coco has style (and so does her mom, Teri!)

…until I started to do cat rescue and write my blog.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ingrid of the Conscious Cat with a kitten.

What would happen if you met someone who shared your interests? You'd have a good reason to be friendly, at least. But what happened if you hardly even knew this person, but it didn't matter because for some unspoken reason, they felt you were worth the effort to get to know, warts and all and you felt the same way about them.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ingrid, the birthday girl, with Bernadette of The Creative Cat and ANGIE!

There's something magical about the cat ladies. Most of us compete for the same awards. Most of us compete for the same “eyeballs” on our blog or friends on Facebook. While there can be blips of mildly hissy behavior, all in all, those issues aren't issues. We have our own angle, our own stories. We can support each other without losing our readership. We can even be dismayed (to say the least) when a newcomer hits the scene and starts winning “our” awards. Our revenge—we reluctantly make an effort to make friends with her then find out she's too nice for us to hate and instead of shunning her, we adore her (you know who your are, Debbie G.!).

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Janniss of Sparkle the Designer Cat and Tamar get photographed by ANGIE at the welcome banquet at BlogPaws 2013

Where else do people retract their claws and extend a hand in friendship? Getting together with my ladies feels close to a sacred gathering where I'm accepted and accepting. Where even if I lose out on an award, I can still find a smile and hug for the winner, who is also a friend of mine. We're in this together. We're trying to raise awareness about cat wellness, behavior problems, nutrition. We make you laugh about your cat. And some (yours truly) make you cry about cats. Whatever we do, it's done with a deep and abiding love and devotion to our cats, not in an obsessive way, not in an unhealthy way, in a rational, clever, compassionate way.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. It's not a party until someone gets a tattoo. Here's Ingrid flashing her calf while big boy Disco photobombs the shot.

Felina Domina means “Cat Lady” in latin. It rolls elegantly off the tongue. It gives us an air of class and refinement-that we deserve. Sure, we wear cat ear headbands or tiny tiaras, but that's only because we celebrate who we are, without apology. We cherish the bond we have with our cats and we love to share that joy with other like-minded women AND MEN.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Teri of Curlz & Swirls with her girl, Coco.

Many of the Genus: Species: Feline Domina ARE married or are in long-term relationships. Most of us are in good shape mentally and physically. Many of us have friendly relationships with lots of people. We hold down jobs. We help others live better lives with their cats.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Teri and her boy, Disco Noferno. I LOVE THIS CAT. He's completely hilarious.

Feline Domina is about friendship and support. Holding your friend's hand when times get tough or helping your friend laugh after there have been too many tears. Realizing we are in this together, whatever “this” may be. We're glued together by our love for cats and we take great joy in that fact.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Winners of the Nose-to-Nose Awards: Karen of Mousebreath with ANGIE! and Debbie

I honor my ladies with this post. Your friendship means the world to me and without it I am a sad, lonely person. I love each of you and take great delight in your successes and I share your sad days, too. There are few things better than the comfort of sisterhood and I will never take it for granted.

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©2013 Debbie Glovatsky. JaneA and me. This is what sisterhood is all about.

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©2013 Debbie Glovatsky. My dear, Ingrid.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My hotel room full of cat ladies!

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©2013 Debbie Glovatsky. Happy Birthday to Ingrid from all her cat lady pals.

Now We are Seven-Covered in Cat Hair's Blogversary

Who knew the need to vent my frustrations, living with an ever-changing number of cats, would lead to all of this?

It began with this post.

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©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. Here's my cat, Cricket (center) flanked by his brother, Boo-Boo and sister, Sophie. Back then, Boo-Boo was one of the inspirations to starting my blog (because he was so annoying!)Boo and Sophie were later adopted together.

For those of you interested in the origins of Covered in Cat Hair, you should know that this blog was meant to be a book project entitled: Covered in Cat Hair: the Mostly True Stories of a Life Spent with Cats. James Frey had just been busted for lying about his tome: A Million Little Pieces and I figured I had to add the “mostly true” part just in case I goofed up on some facts.

My brilliant idea was that since I stink at cold-calling Editors and Publishers and writing pitches, that simply the fact I was writing a blog would be enough fodder to lure them into discovering my fresh voice, and shortly thereafter offering me a lucrative book deal (which, to date, I'm still waiting for).

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©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. A few months after Covered in Cat Hair began, I inherited my Mother's cat, Bob Dole, after she passed away. My Mother never read my blog or any of my work, saying she would wait for it to be published, first.

In the meantime, I began writing my book, not really focusing too much on blog-length posts. I wrote about 90,000 words (yes, that's a lot, but not quite enough for a book). Each chapter is a short story. Some of the stories are poignant and some flights of foolish fancy. I was determined to finish my book, but I realized no one would want to read such long posts online so I had to change course on my blog.

I was fostering for a rescue group and thought I'd write about the cats in my care. There were many stories to share, but my “boss,” the Director of the group, did NOT like me writing about her or anything else we were up to. I also couldn't post photos with my stories, which frustrated me endlessly. I grew up with a camera in my hand and telling stories and sharing photos is natural to me.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Blueberry and her brother, Blackberry were rescued from South Carolina.

So what did I do?

I kept writing. I used aliases. I waited for technology to get to the point where I could share photos and I began to write posts to help other people with their cats, as well as to continue telling stories about my foster cats.

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©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. Two of the Pi Day babies, Happy and Jelly Belly.

In 2009, I came face to face with the cruel truth of what happens to cats in the southern part of the USA. It was something I'd already heard about, but I didn't know just how horrific it was. I'd been sheltered, pardon the pun, from knowing about abuse, over-population and mass euthanasias of cats, because I felt I was “too sensitive” to handle the truth. I did my fostering and kept out of the rescue part. Once that curtain was parted, my life changed forever.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson & A. Merritt. The Halloween Express-four kittens in a kill shelter in Georgia didn't have a chance. We rescued them, did quarantine, and placed them in a month-ALL TOGETHER with ONE FAMILY! You can see how well they're doing, laying crammed next to their Mom's lap in this recent photo.

When I found out that about 95-98% of cats don't make it out of southern (and other) municipal shelters, I thought I would die from the news.

I imagined all those cats, many of them newborns and kittens, dead in a pile waiting to be…who knows…taken to the dump? Incinerated? Used in pet food? (I'd heard that was true, but could never prove it).

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©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. The now infamous, Huggy Mama, the first cat (and her two offspring, one pictured here) I rescued out of a kill shelter in 2009. She and her two boys were adopted TOGETHER.

I could keep turning away or I could look, stone-faced and soberly at this HELL and I could raise my hand and offer to do something about it-even if it only helped a small handful of cats.

I met with a great deal of opposition. It was difficult work, but I had an excellent team in Georgia offering to help me led by Maria and Bobby. It pushed all my boundaries. I was rescuing cats I never had a chance to meet before agreeing to rescue them. I had to hope they would be nice, adoptable cats who didn't have serious illness. I raised money for these rescues and was overwhelmed by how many people cared, to the point of being willing to send me $5 when that money was the WORLD to them.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. 1 in 7 million are the odds that this little calico named Gingerbread would be a male. He surprised us all.

I left the rescue I was with under great duress and with a great deal of anger for how I was treated. I opened Kitten Associates, scared out of my mind that I was taking on more than I could handle. I knew enough to get myself in trouble-and I did just that, but I kept writing, buoyed by the supportive emails and calls I got from so many of you.

If nothing else, I figured I could be a warning to others about what not to do with your life.

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©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. Poppy, about a week old.

Where Covered in Cat Hair has taken me, I could have never imagined. I've been honored with many awards and accolades. I've met wonderful people who share my passion to save cats, enrich their lives, to help their guardians cope with behavior problems and to feed cats a species appropriate diet. I cherish my cat-lady-babes, every one of them.

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©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. Will & Grace.

The biggest surprise to me, and the most humbling, is that no matter what kind of trouble I get myself into, what heartbreak I share, what triumphs I achieve, you are right there with me, cheering me on, offering your shoulder when times get tough and sharing your insight and stories from your life in return.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. CallaLilly & daughter, Sunny.

I am so in love with all of you and so very grateful for your support these past seven years. Thank you for being part of my journey—it's one I hope will continue for a long time to come.

BREAKING NEWS: Global Domination Phase One

As a Professional Member of the Cat Writers' Association, I'm pleased to announce that I've been nominated to be part of CWA's Council of Directors for a two-year term starting in November of this year.

If I garner enough votes to win, I will finally realize my plans for global domination. Okay, maybe it's going to take another 10 or 40 years to achieve total domination, but being on the Council of Directors is a good start.

I'm proud to be called to serve and pleased to be in such good company. Congrats to my peeps, Janea Kelley of Paws and Effect and Angie Bailey of Catladyland for also being part of team.

©2011 Robin Olson,CiCH, Spencer_tiny.jpg

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Here's the Press Release from CWA

The 2012 CWA Nominating Committee proudly announces the following slate of officers:

President - Susan M. Ewing

Vice President - Dusty Rainbolt

Secretary - JaneA Kelley

Treasurer - Allene Tartaglia

Council of Directors (four open seats) - Joan Miller, Allia Zobel Nolan, Angie Bailey, Robin A.F. Olson

Executive officers are elected annually. Council members hold two-year terms. Because JaneA Kelley accepted the nomination for Secretary, leaving her Council seat vacant for the remaining period of one year, the committee had the option of appointing a person to fill the vacancy or select someone for a full two-year term. Since we had a tremendous outpouring of interest, we chose to select a fourth seat in the Class of 2014 for a full two-year term.

According to the CWA Bylaws, once the slate is published, officers are elected at the next annual membership meeting -- this year it will be November 3, 2012, at the CWA Conference in Los Angeles, Calif. Only professional members may vote, and they may vote prior to the meeting by mail if they wish. However, when the election is uncontested, no ballots are mailed. A majority of the members present and voting at the annual meeting can conduct business, including the election.

This year's Nominating Committee was Ramona Marek (chair), Fran Pennock Shaw, Nancy Peterson and Lyn Garson. We thank the large, record-breaking and outstanding pool of candidates and sincerely hope to see such positive interest for leadership positions next year.

Respectfully,

Ramona Marek

Chair, CWA Nominating Committee

How Great this Joy

They were going to die unless a miracle happened. A black and white cat and her four kittens needed a rescue and needed one soon. They were in an overcrowded kill shelter I've often written about called Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, GA. Over the past few years I've been able to help many cats from this facility, but I can never save enough and at the time, almost exactly a year ago, I had too many foster kittens of my own and could not take on this family.

The mama along with three additional mamas and their kittens were going to be euthanized so I went to work writing blog posts about them and asking for help.

I'm not sure what effect my posts had, but three families were rescued, leaving one kitty we called “The Cow Mama” behind. Her time was up, but no one could help. I asked my friend, Dorian Wagner of Your Daily Cute who LOVES cow kitties as much as I do. We begged, pleaded, wrote emails, made calls. We did not think this family would ever see sunshine again or know a loving home. Instead they would know a lethal injection and a black plastic body bag.

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©2011 Henry County Care & Control. Cow Mama hopes for a miracle.

But that didn't happen.

I contacted our friends at Humane Society of Forsyth County in a last ditch plea for help. They agreed to step in and take the entire family! What a relief! We were deliriously happy, but like with any rescue we always wondered what happened next?

Yesterday I got an email from Rachel C. who's given me permission to share it with all of you. Rachel wrote:

Hi Robin!

Last August we adopted two kittens from a foster mom with the Forsyth County Humane Society. This morning, as I was sipping my coffee, I got a wild hair to do a Google search to find the old postings for their adoptions in honor of the kittens first birthday tomorrow. My search led me right to your blog post “Not on My Watch: Believe in Miracles”. You see, our newest additions are two of the cow kitties rescued last year in the nick of time from Henry County. Thanks to you, the balls were set in motion to rescue these wonderful animals, and in turn, gave us the wonderful gift of these loving felines. The two we adopted were the runt, who is on her back underneath her mama’s arm in the picture, and the one who’s markings resembled that of a domino. I ran into their foster mom a few months back, and heard the other two were also adopted together a couple of weeks later. We were not aware their mother had also found a loving home, and we were excited to hear that. She had walked right up to my husband when we made our first visit to the Humane Society, so she was definitely one to make an impression.

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©2011 Henry County Care & Control. Annebelle tucked under her mother's front leg.

These kittens, now named Annabelle and Princeton (somewhat prestigious names for kittens, but fitting for their “rags-to-riches” story), have adapted well in their new home, and get along, for the most part, with our existing 14-year-old cat, Nikki, who looks like the female twin of your Cricket! The kittens are absolutely hilarious! Princeton has grown into a handsome, talkative little man who likes to torment Nikki, pick wrestle matches with his sister, and yet underneath it all, he’s a little timid when it comes to the unknown. Annabelle is just flat out cute! We call her our vegetarian...she likes bananas and apples and carrots, though we try to keep her out of our human food. She also is the most daring, so we have to watch she doesn’t go exploring into unsafe territory when the rare opportunity arises. Both are cuddle bugs who like to curl up on laps and sleep right between our pillows every night.

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©2012 Rachel C. Princeton (left) and Annebelle (right).

A big thanks for all you do! Keep up the good work and know that felines and humans alike are all greatly appreciative. If there is anything I can do to help with rescues, let me know. I will donate financially when I am able, but can always help with spreading word of rescues in need.

Best,
Rachel

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©2012 Rachel C. Annebell and Princeton with Nikki.

As a Cat Rescuer, this is what I live for-stories like this that illustrate not only the power of what we can do when we work together, but the deep and profound love people have for shelter cats. These cats are not purebred or exotic. They came from a heartbreaking situation, but they made it. They won the kitty-lottery and got a great home which is the goal of every single rescue. If only all our shelter cats were so lucky.

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©2012 Rachel C. Happy Birthday Kitties! (nice tail!)

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“Kitten Season” is in high gear and Henry County Care & Control is full up with mamas and kittens. If you're interested in fostering and live in the area, contact ME at info@kittenassociates.org. If you know anyone who volunteers with a Rescue or Shelter in Georgia, please ASK THEM if they would help-even ONE family or a few orphan kittens. The kittens in need are NOT listed publicly because they are too young to be adopted. Contact the good folks at HCCAC via:
Henry County Care & Control's Facebook Page or by their web site

Let's make another Happy Ending come to pass. All it takes is YOU. Just make the call, send the e-mail, ask one person to help. Look what we can do when we TAKE ACTION over just wishing it would get better. We can DO THIS!

Dining with The Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy. Part 3.

I managed to not drive like a moron, get us lost or scare Jackson with the driving skills I learned when I attended the Skip Barber High Performance Driving School in 2000. Sure, I know threshold breaking and about contact patches, but does Jackson need a demonstration in the middle of the night? Taking a curve on an exit ramp at 80 mph is much more exciting during the day, anyway.

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All roads lead to CVS.

We found a CVS, a different location, but part of the same chain I’d been in that morning to buy mascara. We were the only ones in the place other than a lone employee. It was surreal shopping under the painful glare of fluorescent lights with the snack deprived Cat Daddy.

Jackson had the hood up on his jacket to keep his head warm. I looked at him from a distance and tried to imagine how I’d feel if I was shopping and looked up and saw him without knowing who he was. Would I swoon? Be intrigued? I think he would have scared the [censored] out of me. He is so tall and was so bundled up, all I could see was his face, dark beard and sharp-lined glasses, his dark eyes darting back and forth over the choices in the snack food area. But then, Jackson walked over to the aisle where the “As Seen on TV” stuff was located and mischeviously said that “Furniture Fix,” which are interlocked plastic strips you stick under the cushion of a “blown out” sofa or chair, actually work. See? Never judge a book by his cover.

I told him I used plywood and it just made it feel like the sofa was blown out and the cushion was on the floor, but was glad to know that FF actually works (no, that is NOT a JG Productions endorsement—sheesh!).

Then I pointed at the box for Pajama Jeans, which are my new favorite thing to make jokes about now that Snuggies are passé. I wonder what the world is coming to when people are so lazy they can’t be bothered to take off their pajamas and get dressed. Wait! What was I saying! I live in my pj’s half the time. Who sees me? Maybe I should get some Pajama Jeans? At least they were dry!

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Every fashionista's worst nightmare, but they come in “skinny” AND “boot cut.” How cool is that?

We walked up and down the aisles and looked at the cavalcade of crap: chips and nuts and candy, oh my. We made jokes, talked about what we liked or hated. We both liked Cap’n Crunch® when we were kids. Jackson chose something salty (pretzels, what I always get, too!) so I told him he had to get something sweet to balance it and he agreed. We both sneered at the Oreo®’s (Sorry, Nabisco®). Then Jackson pointed out that peanut butter stuffed pretzels are ALWAYS sold in tubs, never in a small bag or box. I pretended to cry and said that from now on, every time I saw those stuffed pretzels I’d think of him. Then I realized “there’s many a true word said in jest.”

Jackson gathered a few items and went to the check out. I used my Jewish super powers (my Mother was Jewish so she handed her powers down to me before she died) to guilt him into not buying RedBull® for the next day's recording session out of fear of what that buzz would do to his digestion, let alone blood sugar (he wisely chose water).

As we stood at the checkout, the young man at the register didn’t realize who was right in front of him. I looked at the kid’s nametag. It read; “Jackson, ”so of course I started frantically poking Jackson’s arm to get his attention to look at the name tag and he whispered to me that he already noticed and that I was slow! What a joker. Gotta love that guy.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson with his “mini-me” that a volunteer named Chris Fetcho made for Kitten Associates. It's created out of “furminated” cat hair, wool and a maxi pad. Yes, there's a maxi under his shirt…under the faux-Jackson's shirt! Sheesh.

The short drive back to the hotel went just as smoothly as the drive to CVS. Why I didn’t floor it and kidnap Jackson so I could have him all to myself is beyond me. But no, I had to be a good girl and go back to the hotel when I had the chance of a lifetime. I blew it! I’ve never been in jail before nor had a reason to be. I'm such a twit!

Poor Jackson was half asleep in the car. The jet-lag had kicked in full force and I knew it was time to say goodbye.

I pulled up in front of the hotel, killed the engine and got out. Jackson came over to me and we looked into each other’s eyes. Jackson removed his glasses and blinked slowly, making that soft eyes expression he uses to soothe naughty cats on his show. I responded to his gesture by taking off my glasses and giving him soft eyes in return. I felt a purring sensation begin to rise from the depths of my soul. What in the world was going on? Was this guy some sort of Svengali with women, too?

I lost control of my fingers. My glasses slipped to the ground with a “clink.” We fell into a passionate lip-lock, oblivious to the fact that it was [censored] cold outside. His beard tickled my neck as I got lost in his commanding embrace. My knees turned to jelly, but he held tightly onto me. Our bodies started to turn together, as if on a giant lazy-susan. There was no one else, no TV show or book tour to worry about, just us spinning in circles fading in and out of soft focus perfection…

…Really? Come on.

We gave each other a big hug and that was it. I didn’t even score a peck on the cheek, [censored][censored][censored], but I can dream, can’t I? This is MY story about dinner with Jackson so I can write whatever I want!

I think we were both too tired to say much more. I would have liked to tell him good luck with everything and thank you for dinner (thank you!) and a million more things, but I had an hour and a half drive to get back home, so with great reluctance I got back into my old car, I mean my COOL Black BMW (pwned it!) and pointed it west as Jackson’s figure disappeared, the Lobby doors closing behind him.

At least I’d been able to snag Jackson’s yellow wallet during the hug as a souvenir. His Driver's License is a trip! There's a black wavy mustache drawn over his face in the I.D. photo.

---------TUESDAY 3/28/12-----------

I got home at 12:30 AM. The drive along I-95 was spent following an ambulance running lights and sirens. Though I stayed far back from the vehicle, in a way it felt like I was getting an escort home, so I pretended I was a high ranking Government Official (officially tired).

I’d had a cup of tea while Jackson and I shared dessert earlier that night. (OMG I SHARED dessert with Jackson…swoon!) I’m very sensitive to caffeine and only have it, at most, once a day and well before 5pm, otherwise I can’t sleep. I chose to have tea late, knowing full well I’d have to be awake to drive home.

Then I realized how stupid I was. I should have said I too sleepy to drive home! “Oh Mr. Jackson, please pity me. I am so tired and weary and have nowhere to rest my porn-star-hairdood-head and I cannot afford to stay in this luxurious hotel and I am so far from my home. Oh, Mr. Jackson can you help me? I noticed there is a mighty big bed in your room.” Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Why aren’t I more conniving, or at least catty? [censored][censored][censored].

So there I lay, in my own bed, with dry (yay!) pajamas on, my porn star hair getting flat, covered in cats. My heart was racing from the adrenaline and the caffeine. I tossed. I turned. I got up to pee and stepped in a puddle of cat urine that was on the floor by the toilet. I saw one of the cats sitting in the doorway. It was Pee-tunia. I know she did it: the little [censored]. I sighed. It was too late at night to yell, plus WWJD? He wouldn't yell at the cat so I cleaned everything up and went back to bed. I tossed some more. I kept reliving the evening. I told myself to cut it out, to focus on the next day. Some folks from the local media were going to be here to document my rescue group, Kitten Associates, receiving it's biggest donation ever-2500 cans of cat food from HALO. I’d have to be fresh and on point for them. See, Jackson, I’m famous, too. Okay, not like you are, obviously, but…but…but…okay, maybe having my photo in The Newtown Bee and The Danbury News-Times does not qualify me for being “famous, ” but it’s something.

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The only physical proof, other than a beard hair I found in my car that this night really happened.

I couldn’t sleep a wink. I tried to rest. I knew I was going to pay for it later. I’d told Jackson if he wanted to hang out while he was in town, to let me know. Since there was a slim chance I’d see him again, it was another reason not to want to sleep. I wanted the day to get going so I could find out if I’d see him again; the heck with the Press!

-------------later that morning------------

I did my best to get up and go through my normal routine. I got ready for the Media to arrive, but I was so tired I didn’t do everything I wanted to do before they got to my house. I called Paula at the freight company, expecting her to tell me that the shipment would arrive some time in the afternoon. It was 11am. She said the driver should be there by Noon, the latest. NOON?!! Oh no!

I sent out a few quick emails and made some calls, letting everyone know about the time change. They all made plans to arrive, but would miss the actual delivery. I heard something up on the street. I looked up. The truck was at the end of the driveway, on the street. Oh [censored]! It was 11:15!

I ran to the front door and opened it and almost walked into the driver. He apologized and told me the bad news. He would not drive his truck down the dirt driveway and drop off by the garage, so he’d have to drop the 1100 pound load about 200 yards away, leaving us to have to unpack the palette, load up a car, drive down the driveway, unpack the car, repeat four times, then re-load the palette with 290 CASES of CAT FOOD once it was moved into the garage. UGH!

I’ll cover more of this story and complain about My Backache From Hell later…back to Jackson…

Actually, there really isn’t a lot more to say about Jackson. I was still “high” from meeting him, but the reality that it was over and done and that I probably wouldn’t see him again, either ever or, at best at a Conference some day, left me feeling broken-hearted. I realize it’s stupid to feel like that, but I was greedy. I’ve been yearning to have fun for so long that when I got a taste of it I wanted more.

That the “fun” was with the acme of Cat Behaviorists, as well as a TV star was almost more than I deserved, but my birthday is in a few days, so I gave myself a break from feeling guilty.

It’s not realistic to think that Jackson is available to be my buddy, especially now, with so much on his plate for a very long time to come. If we met under different circumstances maybe we’d be able to hang out and get to know each other, but we live 3000 miles apart. I tried to be happy that anything happened at all, but it just reminded me of how sad I’ve been for so long that I wondered if maybe I should have just stayed home in the first place.

Are you [censored] kidding me? Miss out on meeting Jackson Galaxy? Never.

After the Press left and the palette was moved, I went to bed. It was 4:25 pm. If Jackson was going to contact me about getting together, it would be within the next hour. I set my alarm for 30 minutes, not wanting to miss anything. Of course as soon as I laid down, I got texted by my ex-sister-in-law, who I adore, and who wanted to know if we could get together later in the week. I didn’t want to talk. I had the shakes from being so tired. I wanted to sleep, but I stayed awake and texted her for a while. I kept checking my email, just in case Jackson contacted me, but nothing new appeared in my inbox.

I re-set the alarm for 6pm, knowing in my heart that I wasn’t going to hear from him. I didn't sleep at all so I got back up and moped around the house. At 7:30pm I got a note saying he was hunkering down. There was simply too much going on with the show and the book and the…so he was going to stay in for the night. The Inn sent some chocolate covered strawberries to his room, making him feel like a “rock star.”

I wrote him back and said I understood and wistfully told him to save me a strawberry.

I went downstairs and ate a scoop of ice cream for my dinner. A second day had passed and I’d hardly eaten, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t hungry. I was just sad. I had a good cry, then washed my face and went to bed. I have to face my boring life and go back to worrying about getting my taxes done, how I was going to pay my mortgage, when I was going to get my car fixed. I didn’t want to go back to all that without first promising myself I’d work on figuring out why I was so sad and how I could make changes to enjoy my life more.

I would pick myself back up, gosh darn it, just like in a 1950's musical. I’d focus on my work and focus on my words. I'd rescue more kittens. I'd wash that man right out of my (porn star) hair. I’d had a very nice run of good news after a very long drought. Meeting the Cat Daddy was as wonderful, if not better, than I imagined. He’s probably as good of a people-whisperer as he is with cats.

It’s a delicious feeling to get swept away by the thrill of having a heart’s desire realized, but it’s also bittersweet when it has to come to an end.

At least we’ll always have CVS and peanut butter stuffed pretzels.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson & Jackson Galaxy. This is how I would have preferred to end this post, but unicorns are tough to come by this time of year. Honestly, are we a cute couple or what?

As fate would have it, I got another email, but this one wasn’t from Jackson and what it said made my Grinch-sized smile grow three times larger. But what could possibly top this? We'll see my friends. We'll see.

------------------------

A serious note: To all of you who one day have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Galaxy, do me a favor won't you? Treat him kindly. Protect him from stress. Don't ask too much of him right now. Give him some breathing room so he can stay clear, keep his Cat Mojo intact, stay sweet. The kitties need him and so do we.

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For every copy of CAT DADDY pre-ordered before May 10, Tarcher/Penguin will donate $1.00 to the cause of saving shelter cats. To make your preorder count, simply e-mail your receipt (or a photo/scan of your receipt) to: CatDaddyBook@gmail.com.

Red Carpet Cat Twitter Party, Prizes & Cat Walk Blog Tour!

Are you ready for the 84th Academy Awards? Got your designer duds pressed? Zillion dollar jewels? Are you ready to ROCK the RED CARPET? If you've ever watched the Oscar's you know that before the awards show there are rooms set up, filled with Celebrity Swag Bags that can be worth into the thousands of dollars. If only WE could get into one of those rooms!

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Gracey, of the Tiniest Tiger, preparing for the Oscars.

Thanks to The Tiniest Tiger, a popular blog about cats both big and small, we can walk the Academy Awards’ Red Carpet, too with our own Tiniest Tiger Hipster Bag that's FILLED with Oscar-worthy swag! How did we get so lucky? Here are the details from the Tiniest Tiger:

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Joanne McGonagle, author of The Tiniest Tiger and co-owner of Triple T Studios, along with Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell” will be attending the Secret Room Events and Backstage Luxury Lounge where Celebrity Gift Bags are given to the nominees honoring the Academy Awards! Triple T Studios designed The Tiniest Tiger’s Hipster Bag filled with feline friendly products, which will be given to the VIP Celebrities at the event.

McGonagle spent last summer living among lions and the Maasai in Kenya as part of a Global Field Master of Zoology program. Her blog, The Tiniest Tiger, has raised over $30,000 to help both domestic and big cats programs. Proceeds from the sale of The Tiniest Tiger Hipster Bag benefits global conservation programs, with Lion Guardians getting the lion’s share

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This one of a kind hipster features The Tiniest Tiger’s feline finesse quilted into the fabric creating a subtle yet cool cat appearance. The irresistible design combined with the hands free practicality of the cross body Hipster make this the perfect bag when you are on the prowl.

The Hipster is slightly padded, providing protection for your iPad, mobile phone, and other essentials. Handy front zip pocket keeps your ID, cash, credit cards and keys secure yet easy for you to access.

The bag's inside dimensions are 8 inches in width and 9.75 inches in length. There is also a zippered pouch in the front of the bag 6.75 inches in width and 6.75 inches in length. There are two inside pocket to help you stay organized.

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The Tiniest Tiger Hipster Bag is made in the USA. See it being made HERE

It's also filled with $242.00 worth of swag! Check out the sponsors HERE

How do you get all this cool stuff?

You can PURCHASE a TTT Hipster Bag HERE for a special introductory price of $59.00 + $4.95 shipping, which is a savings of $10.00 over the cost of retail to non-tiny tiger-in-the-know-folks.

Part of your purchase benefits global conservation programs!!!

You also have a chance to WIN a TTT Hipster Bag in one of the two following ways:

1. RSVP NOW to Attend the #RedCarpetCat Twitter Party Wednesday, February 22, 5:30-7:00 pm Pacific

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The 90 minute #RedCarpetCat twitter party is being hosted by Event Barkers and promises to be fun and feline friendly. They will be giving away The Tiniest Tiger Hipster bag packed full of feline fun.

Pre-Party Prizes:

•	RSVP signup prize: $50 The Tiniest Tiger gift certificate
•	Pre-tweet prize: 10 bundles of Tiniest Tiger books. 
•	Rafflecopter giveaway prize: $50 The Tiniest Tiger gift certificate

Party Prizes:

•	5:30 party begins with announcement of some of the pre-party winners
•	5:40 bag prize
•	5:50 bag prize
•	6:00 bag prize
•	6:10 bag prize
•	6:20 bag prize
•	6:30 bag prize
•	6:40 bag prize
•	6:50 bag prize
•	7:00 grand prize bag + $100 Tiniest Tiger gift certificate

Click the link to RSVP

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2. We're Part of the Red Carpet Cat Walk Blog Tour!

Because we are one of the chosen cat-blogs to share the news of this event, the second way to win the Hipster is by leaving a comment here! I will have ONE Tiniest Tiger Hipster Bag w/Swag to give away! All you have to do is leave a comment on what was your favorite Oscar moment from any of the Academy Awards in past years or this year OR most creative excuse why you didn't watch the show! One winner will be drawn at random. Just about ANYONE can enter!

If you live in USA, Canada, Europe or Australia you can enter to win! Be creative! I might be swayed by a really good comment.

DEADLINE TO LEAVE A COMMENT HERE IS FEBRUARY 29, 2012 at 10:10 AM Eastern Standard Time-USA.

ONE COMMENT PER PERSON OR YOUR ENTRY WILL BE DELETED. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT I HAVE TO PERSONALLY APPROVE EVERY COMMENT ON THIS BLOG (to prevent Spam) SO YOUR COMMENT MAY NOT APPEAR IMMEDIATELY-but it WILL APPEAR EVENTUALLY!

Start preparing your acceptance speech! Good luck!

The Petties™ 2011-Covered in Cat Hair, Double-Nominee!

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I have to admit that I didn't think we stood a chance at winning even ONE nomination for the Petties 2011 awards, let alone TWO! Last year, we were nominated in the category of Best Cause Related Blog, for which I was greatly honored, but this year I'm simply gobsmacked to be in the Best Cat Blog category AND the Best Social Interaction Blog category! Who knew? Obviously YOU guys knew! The field is so much BIGGER this year, than it was last year. I'm still in shock that we got this far.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO VOTED FOR MY BLOG! I appreciate it VERY MUCH!

Of course there's a TINY bit more to do to get Covered in Cat Hair all the way to the BIG AWARD. You've got to VOTE again! This time you don't have to sign up for anything or give your email address out.

Click HERE to VOTE. It takes about 5 seconds. If you look at the ballot, below, you can see where the arrows are pointing..that's where OUR categories are located. I heard you can VOTE TWICE A DAY so VOTE EARLY AND VOTE OFTEN!

May I also suggest you consider voting for my friend, Ingrid in the Best Overall Pet Blog. She writes the Conscious Cat, and our friends at CatLadyLand, and Paws and Effect need your votes, too!

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If Coveredincathair.com can WIN BOTH categories, it will allow me to take the $1000.00 prize for EACH win and DONATE it to my 501(c)3 Non-Profit Cat Rescue group, Kitten Associates! We REALLY NEED THOSE FUNDS TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE to RESCUE EVEN MORE KITTIES!!! Your vote will help SAVE MORE CATS!!!

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MacGruber is just one of the many cats we've rescued! Help us rescue more with a simple vote!

Please vote today and please DO share this with your cat-loving friends! We need to WIN! We've got two litters of kittens coming in a few weeks! Yes, TWO!

Read All About Us!

I'm very honored and delighted to share with you, an article featuring Kitten Associates, written by Ingrid King, author of the 2010 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award for her book; “Buckley's Story” and the blog; The Conscious Cat.

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Ingrid is a passionate advocate for cat wellness and education. On a personal note, Ingrid is also a very warm-hearted and compassionate friend, who you immediately just have to like, the moment you meet her. I'm very lucky and grateful that Ingrid took the time to get to know Kitten Associates and help me get the word out on my greatest passion-saving lives of high-risk cats.

I hope you'll get a chance to read her article and get to know KA a bit better, while you're at it!

Covered in Cat Writers Part 1 of 2

Once a year, as the full moon rises and the planets align into a cat-shaped orbit, the scribes of the feline world join together. It's a sacred gathering of secret handshakes and mystical rituals that date back to 1992, when the organization first came into being.

In other words, The 2010 Cat Writers' Association, which was established in 1992, held its' annual Conference in White Plains, New York at the Crowne Plaza hotel. Oh yeah, and there was a full moon.

Prior to the formal Conference starting, many of us got together for the “TNT”-Thursday Night Thing? I have no idea what the last “T” stands for, so you'll have to excuse me for guessing. The goal of TNT is for everyone to help stuff the HUMUNGOUS SWAG BAGS full of cat-centric goodies and to get to know each other. After the bags are stuffed, we get to stuff our faces with pizza. Post stuff-fest, We were asked to form a circle, but no joining hands or animal sacrifice followed. We simply took turns saying a few words about our background, how many cats we had and what sort of books we had published so that everyone could get to know us a bit better. There were quite a few folks in the circle, so we added a second concentric ring to accommodate everyone. Many folks said their bit and moved on to the next, but a few decided to pontificate (that's a big word meaning they were time-hogs/show offs, were inconsiderate since it was pushing 9pm and instead of being naked, perhaps we only needed a tease to know enough. I struggled to fight off the urge to roll my eyes back and scream; NEXT! as loudly as I could.)

The thing that surprised and or scared me was realizing that with the exception of only one person, we had the MOST cats of anyone else-by far.

Oops.

I hoped we'd get an elevated status within the organization for our cat-population prowess, but maybe these folks knew better than we did- that having so many cats is not necessarily a great idea. (this is written as I fear finding out how many times my cats puked, pooped and peed in the house while I'm away from home.)

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Enter the Swag Bag!

But then there was the swag bags. As I live and breathe, it's like the Christmas I never had, looking into the depths of that black World's Best Cat Litter Bag. Every time I took something out, I'd get a peek at something even better. My imagination ran wild, anticipating how my cats would dive bomb the bag the second I walked it in the door. They'd drag out the catnip laden Hot Cat (awesome!) or wrestle the KONG Kickaroo (love those!) and we got a NEKO Flies wand toy (with the great tagline: “It's swat cats love!”). I can't wait to see how the cats will react once they see it. In addition to the super-schwing-swag-bag, we got eve MORE goodies. I scored some Feliway diffusers (THANK YOU CARRIE!), a cute kitten-sized cat tree (THANK YOU ALLIA ZOBEL! and ARUBACAT) and coupons to buy World's Best Cat Litter at a discount (YEAH, BABY!). ...AND some folks didn't want some of their swag so they gave it to me to give to my foster babies!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen and Pattycake get first dibs.

Honestly, I could have just gone home with that bag and skipped the Conference, but heck, I had a hotel room booked so might as well stay...oh that and This year I was slated to be a Speaker! The topic was: “Using Analytics to Measure Your Reach.” How boring does this sound? Yeah, pretty boring. In fact, our (Sam was a Co-Presenter with me) presentation was quite perky and charming, but there wasn't much time to get folks excited about it since we were FIRST to go on Friday at 9AM.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. I can't believe Blitzen used this tiny cat scratcher right away!

But now we must change pace. This is the first of two sad parts of my story. We got all set up, the projector ran just fine. Mary, my sister-in-writing, had loaned us her projector as a backup! How great was this? No worries about a failed projector. The Keynote presentations we created were working fine, too.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. MINE! MINE! MINE!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Like Catnip much?

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer, Nora, Petunia and Blitzen are mesmerized by the Neko Flies.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Moonpie grabs it!

But my camera was not doing so well. It showed signs of being under the weather about a week before the Conference. I didn't have time to fool around with it before we left and it was in our room, moments before we were to being that I realized my camera, though it functioned, it only worked when it FELT like doing so. I thought it might be the battery or the fact that my Digital SLR had reached retirement age. Drat! Not having a good camera is like having my arm cut off. Let us take a moment to reflect on the thousands of cute kitten photos that camera has captured for me, as we try not to be pissed off that it's going to cost and arm (and leg) to replace it. But, the show must go on...camera or no.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. No, our Presentation wasn't in an empty room. Folks actually showed up!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The graphics are ready, the bowels are empty, let the Presentation begin!

The Presentation went well. Sam did the tech stuff, I told the warm fuzzy story. We hit our times well, fielded a few questions and were done! Felt good.

Then I realized I had a “pitch” session with Susan Logan the super-boss of Cat Fancy magazine in 30 minutes. I'd worked so hard on the Presentation, I didn't prepare my pitch, which I hate doing in the first place. If I ever want a shot at writing for a national publication, I better get my act together.

My brain started to fuzz over. I hadn't sleep more than an hour the night before. You know how it goes when you try to sleep in hotel. Some times it just doesn't happen. The thought that I'd become accustom to cats jumping on my face, screaming in the middle of the night and laying all over me as my evening tonic was depressing. Here I was in a king sized bed and no cats and sleep would not come. The real reason I couldn't sleep was this.

So I dragged my sleepy self over to the Editors room. I prayed my mind would begin to fire on at least ONE cylinder. I sat down to speak with Ms. Logan and my mind went blank...

...part two of my adventures at the CWA Conference soon! Will I face plant in from of a respected colleague? Will I WIN an AWARD for..umm...ANYTHING YOU MIGHT BE READING? Will I make a new friend? Get rid of an old one? Will I wear more bling than the ladies from Texas? Will there be an underlying theme of FIRE TRUCKS and loss in this story?

Stay tuned...

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