2011 has been a fantastic year for all of us here at The Conscious Cat. First and foremost, on a personal note, Allegra and I welcomed Ruby into our hearts and our home in April. Even if nothing else had happened, that alone would have made 2011 a great year.
But it was also a fantastic year for the blog. We won several awards. Our readership and fan base grew in leaps and bounds. And none of it would have happened without all of you who read this blog every day, comment here and on our Facebook page, and share what you read here with your friends and followers.
I appreciate your support more than words can say, and I’m looking forward to another year of bringing you all the information you need to ensure health and happiness for you and your feline family members.
I thought it would be fun to look back over the year and share some of my favorite posts. I hope you enjoy this look back on a great year!
In January, Allegra was still an only cat. She was never supposed to be. When I adopted the then 7-month-old kitten last April, the plan was for Amber, who was 12 at the time, to show her the ropes, and for the two of them to become playmates and best friends. Less than five weeks after Allegra’s arrival, Amber passed away after a sudden, brief illness. I was devastated, and in addition to coping with my grief, which took up almost all the energy I had, I now had a sweet, but rambunctious, slightly juvenile delinquent kitten on my hands.
I learned quickly that I needed to either adopt another young cat, which I wasn’t emotionally prepared to do at the time, or become an adequate substitute playmate to keep Allegra entertained and help with some of her behavioral challenges.
I’m not a football fan, and the only reason I occasionally watch the Super Bowl is for the commercials. But this year, I cheered for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it’s all because of a friend’s tortoiseshell cat named Steeler, who, even though the Steelers didn’t win the final game, turned into something of a good luck charm for the team.
I wrote this post three days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, and it quickly went viral and got more than 10,000 views in just a couple of days. I hope that this number translated into a lot of relief for the animals and humans in the affected areas. Earlier this month, I provided an update about the cats in Japan. They still need help.
On April 17, Ruby joined our family. She and Allegra quickly became friends, and I can’t imagine life without my little sunshine kitten. Many of Allegra’s behavioral challenges disappeared after Ruby’s arrival. Even though it is possible to keep a single cat happy, most young cats do better with a feline playmate.
I was very excited about the opportunity to chat with Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell. It only took a few minutes of talking to him to realize that appearances are, indeed, deceiving: underneath the hip surface lies a sensitive, caring guy who genuinely loves cats. According to Jackson, most behavior problems are not that tough to solve. He’s found that frequently, an hour spent with the cat and her human guardians can take care of the problem and prevent the cat from being returned to a shelter. Season 2 of My Cat From Hell begins premieres on Animal Planet January 7, 2012.
In June, I attended the Winn Feline Foundation’s 33rd Annual Feline Symposium for an unprecedented event featuring two legendary researchers who presented new developments in FIP research. While there is still much research to be done, and funding is hard to come by, there are small glimmers of hope. Help keep that hope alive by contributing financially to organizations that fund FIP research so that some day, there will be a cure for this devastating disease.
I really dislike the term “crazy cat lady.” It diminishes those of us who love cats for the unique and wonderful creatures that they are by assigning a label that usually has a somewhat derogatory connotation, even if it’s used with humorous self-deprecation. The fact that this post was one of the most widely read posts of the year tells me I’m not alone. I believe that those of us who write and blog about cats have a responsibility to think twice before using the term, and to stop perpetuating the stereotype by ceasing to use this disparaging term altogether.
August was a great month for me: The Conscious Cat won the 2011 Pettie for Best Pet Blog, and I attended my first BlogPaws conference. I had a wonderful time at BlogPaws. For three days, bloggers, sponsors and animal lovers from around the country gathered for outstanding educational seminars, inspirational keynote speeches, fabulous networking, and plain old fun. The best part was connecting in person with many of my blogging friends, some for the first time.
When a special cat dies, he leaves a huge void for those who loved him. This September, Bob Dole, my friend Robin Olson’s beloved cat, died peacefully after a long battle with cancer. I never met Bob, but felt like I knew him through Robin’s blog. He also inspired one of my own articles, Making Medical Decisions for Your Cat. Rest in peace, beautiful Bob.
Of all the products I received for review, this one is my hands down favorite. I never would have bought this type of a sweeper, and now I don’t know how I ever lived without it. The fact that Bissell is a company that is very supportive of pets and pet related charities makes me like it even more.
November brought another award for me: My article The Joys of Adopting an Older Cat won the Hartz Everyday Chewable Vitamins Award at the Cat Writers Conference. I was also awarded four Certificates of Excellence, one for The Conscious Cat, and three for individual articles.
Conscious Cat Sunday is one of our most popular features, and this post from the Sunday before Christmas was a perfect one for the season: a story of an improbable rescue. In this season of miracles, it’s nice to be reminded that they do, indeed, happen.
What were some of your highlights of 2011?
Mews and Nips will return next week.