Finding Inspiration at a Cat Writers Conference
Apparently, November is National Inspirational Role Models Month†. Who knew? But that theme fits right in with my recent attendance at the annual Cat Writers’ Association conference. The conference was three days of meeting and interacting with some of the people who have most inspired me as a writer and blogger.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Cat Writers’ Association, it is a journalistic organization founded to encourage professionalism among cat writers, photographers, artists, and broadcasters. Affectionately known as the CWA, the organization boasts as its members many of the authors and writers who publish material in cat magazines, on blogs, in newsletters and newspapers, on radio, and even on television. Naturally, quite a few members have published books as well, many of them the same books you might have seen on the shelf in your local bookstore or in your local pet store.
While there are far too many human members who have inspired me among this group of writers for me to able to list them all here, there are two very special felines I met there that I’d like to tell you about.
One is Zeki the Cool Cat. Zeki shares his life with Arden Moore and her entourage of feline and canine friends. Zeki is a member of what Arden refers to as her “furry fab four,” which is made up of her two dogs, Chipper and Cleo, and her two cats, Zeki and Murphy. But life wasn’t always so easy for Zeki. As a stray, Zeki was attacked with a knife and partially skinned. Fortunately, she recovered from the trauma and is none the worse for wear. In fact, she is one of the most confident, outgoing cats I’ve ever met. Oh, and she loves turkey.
During the conference, Zeki wandered the conference room, exploring and schmoozing with all the attendees. Needless to say, she was a big hit with everyone at the conference. But it gets even more amazing. Zeki is a certified therapy cat and she teams up with her canine counterpart Chipper and her human Arden to teach pet first aid classes. How cool is that?!
As great as Zeki is, Spirit is equally impressive. Spirit is a blind cat, but he has a curious and indomitable character. During a book signing event that took place during the conference, Spirit ranged up and back along the table among the many books stacked there, accepting attention from all the authors and visitors who came to say hello.
I was also privileged to attend an outstanding performance of Strays, the Musical, which premiered during the conference. Written by Amy Shojai and Frank Steele, this musical features a number of dog and cat characters, portrayed in this performance by Amy Shojai, Frank Steele, SuEllen Davis, Gil Nelson, and Theresa Littlefield. The performance was at times funny, at times touching, but always superbly performed. Written to both entertain and educate audiences about normal pet behavior as well as to honor the human-animal bond, it performs all three functions flawlessly. If you ever get the opportunity to see a performance, I highly recommend it.
Finally, I’m proud to be able to announce that I have been elected president of this wonderful group of writers, authors, bloggers, and cat lovers. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that.
Dr. Lorie Huston