Tag Archives: Cat Writers Association

Wordless Wednesday: Kitties check out swag from Cat Writers Conference

If networking, learning new ideas, reconnecting with new and old cat friends, and helping better the lives of cats aren’t enough reasons to attend the annual Cat Writer’s Conference, check this out.

My cats were delighted as their mom brought home all these goodies from the 2013 CWA conference in Dallas, TX. What’s better? There will be more goodies coming home from the 2014 MeowWorld being held in conjunction with the BarkWorld Expo. And we, kitties can’t wait to see what will be awaiting us in mom’s suitcase.

Better yet, she’s planning to attend a cat show. Could that mean even more goodies for us?


What’s your cat’s favorite swag? Do you bring your cats home lots of goodies when you attend pet expositions or conferences? What’s your favorite part of the CWA conference, MeowWorld or BarkWorld? Please weigh in on the discussion, and share your thoughts.

Kitty checks out World's Best Cat Litter bag chock full of goodies from CWA conference.

Kitty checks out World’s Best Cat Litter bag chock full of goodies from CWA conference.

Siamese checks out these treats thanks to the Cat Writers Annual Conference.

Siamese checks out these treats thanks to the Cat Writers Annual Conference.

Siamese says Music to my ears.

Siamese says Music to my ears.

Kitty can't wait to check out all this CWA swag.

Kitty can’t wait to check out all this CWA swag.

Little kitty checks out the toys thanks to all the swag from the CWA annual conference.

Little kitty checks out the toys thanks to all the swag from the CWA annual conference.

Treats, yummm. Thanks CWA for all the swag.

Treats, yummm. Thanks CWA for all the swag.

Siamese says thanks to all the cat writers for all these goodies.

Siamese says thanks to all the cat writers for all these goodies.

(more…)

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Category: Cat News, Cats
Dr. Lorie Huston, DMV, 2014 incoming CWA President is pictured with Su Ewing, CWA Immediate Past President.

Dr. Lorie Huston, DMV, 2014 incoming CWA President is pictured with Su Ewing, CWA Immediate Past President.

As the Cat Writer’s Association gathers for its annual conference later this week, it will be bitter-sweet as we celebrate the life of veterinarian and CWA President Lorie A. Huston, DMV, who passed over the Rainbow Bridge on Sept. 30 while visiting family in Omaha, Neb.

Serving in her first year as president of CWA, the blogger, author, freelance writer, and social media strategist died at age 54 from complications from liver disease. Many of us who knew her were shocked, as we had no idea that she was battling with these demons. Paws’ mom later learned she had been battling with liver disease almost all her life.

As Paws reflects upon this, we recall my Dad’s final days almost 20 years ago, and his incessant chattering about where he wanted to be buried, and how Mom would live at least another 10 years. He kept telling her, ‘time marches on’. He’s right. This past December, my Mom, my best friend passed on. My sister said, ‘Make her proud’.

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That’s what all the cat writers should do for Dr. Lorie as we attend a CWA conference, one that will be a milestone. This year, CWA is sponsoring MeowWorld in conjunction with BarkWorld in Atlanta, Ga, from Oct. 30 – Nov. 1. The conference dynamics will be very different, yet very much the same. There will be a whole new level of excitement and interaction. It will be bigger with vendors and more people, even if they are ‘doggie’ folks. Mainstays – the awards banquet, the meet and greet party, the agent editor appointments, and the dedication to bettering the lives of cats, will march on, with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, as we celebrate Dr. Lorie, and her die heart devotion to both cats and dogs.

BarkWorld started in 2009 to help pet writers better navigate the online world. Now the Meows will join in. You gotta admit the idea of a whole new MeowWorld is stellar, if not darned right out of this world.

According to BarkWorld’s Facebook page, BarkWorld Expo was created by Denise Quashie, Social Media Strategist for Socially Planned .After putting her dog, Frankie Beans, on Twitter she realized there was a large pet loving community using social media; however there was little education being provided at other pet expositions and conferences for this community. Thus, BarkWorld was born.

Arden Moore and Zeike interview incoming 2014 CWA President Lorie Huston.

Arden Moore and Zeike interview incoming 2014 CWA President Dr.Lorie Huston.

It’s a good thing as that world is constantly changing. There are new social media platforms, and the existing one are morphing into a whole new realm Many traditional print publications struggle with re-identification in a changing world. The demands placed to market oneself keeps getting raised higher and higher. To become or remain successful, we need keep our names out there and stay connected. We need to challenge ourselves to know more and be more.

MeowWorld, Cat Writers, and the BarkWorld Expo are all ways to do this.

Paws’ will not profess to know Lorie well, but was looking forward to learning from one of the best, while serving as CWA’s vice president in 2015.

We had many email conversations about how we could work together to navigate the changing world of print, online writing, and social media. We had discussed various ways to increase traffic and interaction at the CWA website. She was instrumental in giving a tremendous amount of feedback in selecting the CWA Council members. She was also a wealth of information.

Her blog, Pet Health Care Gazette, covered cats, dogs, exotic pets, fish and horses. As Paws was researching information for blog posts, I came across some excellent posts, including one of how smart cats are. She was an excellent writer and cared deeply about her subjects. That showed by the fact that she had 6 cats, all of whom were rescued while doing the work that she loved.

Front row, Amy Shojai, Dusty Rainbolt, Dr. Lorie Huston; back row, Su Ewing, Angie Bailey, and BJ Bangs

2014 CWA Officers and Council. Front row, Amy Shojai, Dusty Rainbolt, Dr. Lorie Huston; back row, Su Ewing, Angie Bailey, and BJ Bangs

As Paws learned more about Dr. Lorie’s accomplishments, the possibilities became even more exciting. While we knew she was accomplished, we didn’t realize just how much so. She was the first veterinarian to receive Winn Feline Foundation’s Media Appreciation Award, an honor celebrated at the BlogPaws conference in Nevada just this past May. Additionally, she was a finalist for the 2014 Pet Industry Woman of the Year Award. Those accomplishments speak wonders to her talents and her contributions to the pet world.

We knew she was a fellow New Englander, practicing at the Hoffman Animal Hospital in Rhode Island. She earned her veterinary degree in 1986 from Iowa State University, after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska. We knew she was dedicated to helping cats and dogs, and helping others when in need of information.

As the cat writers gather for MeowWold, we need to march on in celebration of Dr Lorie Huston’s life, her commitment to bettering the lives of all pets. she was committed to bridging the connectors between traditional and online media. She was doing a great job of it. She reached out to new CWA alliances and partnerships. She had a vision. Now it is up to all cat writers to march on in her honor, and navigate this unknown new world. In that, we all should stand up and salute Lorie, and embrace our whole new MeowWorld.

As Paws has learned over the years, we should celebrate people’s lives. While we will always miss them, as my Dad said, time marches on. Our beloved friends and family move on. Our cats and other pets pass over the Rainbow Bridge. They may no longer be with us, but they are not gone because their legacy lives on through us forever. Paws’ challenges cat writers to make Dr. Lorie proud, and make this MeowWorld an event that will be out of this world!

Whether a cat writer, or not, share your thoughts about celebrating the legacy of the humans and the pets that we love and have shared a special place in our lives. Please weigh in and join the discussion.

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Category: Cat News, Cats

Elizabette Cohen;s book, “Most of My Patients Wear Fur: Tales of Small Animals and Their Big City Vet”

Getting a baseline blood work on your pet will aid in early detection of future problems for your cat, dog, or other companion animal. This is one of a myriad of suggestions that Dr. Elizabette Cohen, DVM makes to pet owners in her book, “Most of My Patients Wear Fur, Tales of Small Animals and Their Big City Vet.”

In a series of vignettes, some serious, others hilarious, and some that are almost hard to believe, Dr. Cohen takes readers inside the world of veterinary medicine and surgery.

Published in 2007, the 109-page book, including acknowledgements, is an amazing, quick, educational read. It’s apparent she knows her stuff, has an intense connection with animals and practices cutting edge care for her four-legged patients. I had never heard of Dr. Cohen before attending the Cat Writer’s Association’s Annual Conference in White Plains, NY last November. She had been asked to do a special presentation on pet care, asked for an encore appearance because she had received such rave reviews the previous year. She also graciously gave a free copy of her book to everyone that attended her presentation. I must say I was impressed. She had an answer for every question with medical reasons to back them up. She discussed litter box problems, dental health, and stress related illnesses. I really zeroed in on the need for baseline blood tests as part of regular veterinary exams to establish a norm for the pet. These baselines can then be used to evaluate results from future tests in the event there’s a medical problem.

I’ve often though the veterinary care my cats have received after leaving central New Hampshire some 15 years ago, has been inadequate. In New Hampshire, baseline blood work, testing stool samples for parasites and preventive dental work were incorporated into the regular exam, not something special that you had to request. Until most recently, I haven’t found a veterinarian that performed baselines or testing for parasites and that was only upon request. But that’s another story to be discussed in an upcoming blog post.

Dr. Cohen is an accomplished veterinarian. She is a USDA accredited veterinarian who practices in New York City and Long Island. She lectures of animal-related subjects and offers her services to several nonprofit organizations (thus the presentation to CWA). She received her BA from Columbia University and her DVM from Cornell University, one of the best veterinary schools in the United States. In addition to practicing veterinary medicine, she shares pet advice, delivering Healthy and Happy pet reports every Saturday and Sunday on WCBS880.com worldwide and WCBS 880AM radio in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

In the book, Dr. Cohen talks about:

  • Owners that think they need to learn a foreign language to communicate with a Japanese Akita or any pet with a foreign derivative.
  • If the owner is upset, the pet may sense this and become agitated.
  • Even for exams calling for only booster shots, a thorough exam is a must.
  • It’s easier to feel the size and shape of organs in a thinner animal than one that’s obese.
  • Adrenaline surges from fear can temporarily numb pain, and owners can think the pet is playing tricks on them to gain attention because they act perfectly fine at the vet’s office.
  • Dogs and cats that undergo chemotherapy do not lose their hair.

As you can see, the book offers a wealth of information. In part one, she goes from “Have I Got a Job for You, Strange Events, Stranger Events, Puppy Love and Kitty Care, Help, to When the Time Comes. In this latter chapter, she talks about how it breaks her heart every time she puts an animal to sleep because she’s gone through it herself saying it is an emotional roller coaster,” she says in the book, because it’s hard to know when the right time is. Euthanasia is a very difficult subject, but it’s also kind, because it can be the most humane option when a pet is in pain, or has no chance for recovery. She also advises people that have put a pet to sleep or have lost a pet due to illness or accident to talk to other pet owners because they will understand that it was not just a dog or cat, but a part of the family.

In part two, “The Doctor is Me,” she outlines her journey from childhood to becoming a veterinarian. She talks about her affinity of animals at a very young age, including hatching an incubated chicken as part of a science project, only to keep those chickens at her parents’+++ house until they grew into big roosters. Then, she housed them at her grandparent’s back yard.  She tells how a guidance counselor discouraged her from going into veterinary medicine because there were so few veterinary schools in the country. It was also a time when there were very few females in the field. They encouraged her to go into an easier field like becoming a doctor.

On a humorous, or maybe not so humorous note for veterinary students, she tell freshman students becoming so immersed in anatomy that they no longer see a dog or cat walking, but see ‘a series of  muscles and bones.” Upon graduation, she was faced with the decision of medicine versus surgery, weighing the pros and cons of both. She also faced the decision of working for a nonprofit organization or private practice. She opted for the latter, taking emergency phone calls at the wee hours of the morning.

Even if you haven’t had a chance to hear Dr. Cohen make a presentation, or hear one of her one-minute radio spots, put “Most of My Patients Wear Fur” on your must read list. You’ll come away with a number of times that you’ll think, “Wow, I didn’t know that.” I certainly did, and admit I came away with a whole new appreciation of how difficult it is to be a veterinarian.

Have you read Dr. Cohen’s book? If so share your thoughts and insights about it. Do you have a favorite pet information book that you’d recommend we read, or talk about in a future blog post? Paws for Reflection welcomes your input and suggestions.

 

 

 

 

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It’s obvious a lot of people love cats. But would you believe there’s a whole organization devoted to writing about them? The International Cat Writer’s Association is devoted to writing about cats, whether it be book authors, bloggers, newspaper writers, artists, or magazine contributors.

Recently, the CWA held their annual conference at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains, NY. Several authors were honored for their hard work, winning Muse Medallions (the top honor in a particular category) and Special Awards. I for one was thrilled by winning a Muse Medallion for a newspaper series on Problems Created from Cat and Dog Overpopulation.

I also had an opportunity to learn so much. There were conferences about blogging, finding credible sources for articles, and writing the perfect query letter. I’ve come back enlightened and energized, with hopes of creating even better cat related articles.

Stay posted, and I share more cat conference information later this week.

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Category: Uncategorized

It’s Monday MEOWsings, and I gotta tell you life can just frankly be a BITCH. and we need to get  in control or it’ll take control of us.

Now, I just love Fall. Living in New England, we have bright orange and red foliage greet us as we drive down the street or walk out the back door. The nights are cool, and the sky is bright blue – except this year, which has been remarkably rainy and dreary.

Add to that gloom -Life’s inconveniences and major catastrophes….. What’s going to break next? When my D70 Nikon broke the end of July, I thought it was enough to put me over the top…It was too expensive to fix, so I bit the bullet and upgraded to a better and more expensive model. I thought maybe I should replace it with the same model on E-Bay, but what if the seller was a shyster, and I got ripped off…. A lot of people have success with used online purchases, but with my luck……

OK, so a few weeks later my car started blowing smoke out the tail pipe, and seemed to have no power when going up steep hills. Well, let’s say, five times into the garage (once was for a tire blow-out that a left me walking two miles with flashlight in hand to get home – there wasn’t  any cell service, a problem for rural New England.) After two months of hit or miss diagnoses with the problem getting worse, I said slow down, you’ve got to do something different. I called a person that worked on cars. No, he didn’t have the equipment to diagnose the problem, but here’s something that I hear is very good. That guy said I’ll recommend …… who diagnoses some of the computer problems on cars I work on…..That next call, yes, we do alot of diagnostic work, but it’s a $75 flat fee whether it takes five minutes or two hours. Then we charge .. by the hour… I think I know what your problem might be… So Wednesday early morning, I trundle off to another garage… You have a sensor gone that’s regulating the oxygen intake on your engine. I’ll bet you’re not getting very good gas mileage… And by the way, you need about $1,000 of repairs to get your car inspected.

I’d planned to have a new bay window put in the old farmhouse. Being able to open the windows in the summer would be great. Plus, I could take some photos of the beautiful birds out back. I’ve wanted some since I sold the old house in New Hampshire in 1995. This was going to be the year. I talked with the contractor in June… It was September before he came to size the window, and another three weeks for it to come in. But when he came to cut the hole for the window – Tuesday – it rained for the next three days, leaving a double piece of plastic covering a gaping 10 x 12 foot hole. The weather did not cooperate, and it took another three weeks to complete that project. I just painted the window yesterday….

That job wasn’t complete when a few weeks ago, the bathtub started draining very slowly, like over an hour after taking a shower. The sink had been gurgling, and I was hoping that the trees I’d had cut beside the house would cut back on possible septic system problems. That thought stuck till I flushed the toilet Friday evening to find it coming up through the bathtub drain….. Yikes, and to top it off, how do you  deal with that and four cats that like to hang out in the bathroom… covering the bathtub so they can’t hang out, just in case, it does this again.

I immediately called someone to pump out the septic system, well expecting the worst of a system that was installed close to 50-years ago. He said call a guy to have him shovel off the cover…. He showed early the next morning. We couldn’t find the tank, and I was expecting the worst. He kept shoveling and shoveling following the pipes he found. He suggested renting a small excavator, and pointed out he could do a replacement for less cost than larger contractors. This certainly was worth considering, but…

  •  Could I trust him to do a good job?
  •  Did he know what he was doing?
  • Would I be sorry I made this choice?

With the excavator, we found the cover, well that is about half of it. Water was pouring in around it from the springs that run all through the hill upon which I live… Oh no, water problems, mud problems.. I put in an order on Saturday  morning for a new septic tank.

Well, 20 loads of gravel later, and a whole host of digging, I now have indoor plumbing once again. Little do we know how we can’t live without it. I remember the days of an old out house some 50 years ago. That’s when this system was put in. It could have been worse, but I have to admit, it’s been a Fall From Hell.

They say when it rains, it pours…and it sure has this fall, or perhaps all year.  The expense is bad enough, but the stress and the time is another. Waiting for returned phone calls, waiting for someone to show up, making sure you catch them before they leave so you know what to do that night or the next day, ordering materials, making sure the work was done the way you wanted it done. I came home to find a kitchen pipe moved, but I couldn’t open the top kitchen cabinet…..just one more thing…I felt like my head was spinning out of control, and I was ready to very thick head of hair completely out.

At least me and the kitties have been healthy (knock on wood). And we say thanks for what is right, or getting through what went wrong every day….

If you have a story to share, please share.

Till next time, when it’s back to Cats around the World Wednesday…. Gotta run to get that car inspected..

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Category: Uncategorized

Catpersonable BJ Bangs



A long-term journalist and photographer, BJ blogs about everything cat, including why they make the best soul-mates here on earth & beyond, giving reason to Paws for Reflection.


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