I’ve previously written about following my bliss from corporate America to becoming a cat writer via working in veterinary hospitals and starting my own Reiki business. You can find out more about my path in my latest book, Adventures in Veterinary Medicine.

I never forget how fortunate I am that I found the courage to take the risks that were necessary along my journey. It wasn’t always easy, there were (and still are) moments of worry and doubt along the way, but I wouldn’t want my life to be anything but what it is.

I love sharing my own experience, and I also love cheering on others who embark on a similar journey. A common thread for traveling on this path is accepting that there are no guarantees, and that it frequently takes a leap of faith to change your life.

JaneA Kelley recently took such a leap. JaneA, along with her three cats Siouxsie, Thomas and Bella, has been writing the blog Paws and Effect for the last ten years. She’s also a contributing author at Catster. Up until two months ago, JaneA lived in Portland, Maine, where she worked as a communications and marketing specialist for a nonprofit organization.


Bella and Thomas

Earlier this year, JaneA decided that she wanted to move to Seattle. She wanted to partner with a good friend to start a cat sitting business there, and she was also hoping to make writing, or working with cats, into a full time career.

In September, JaneA packed up everything she could fit into her car, and, along with Siouxsie, Thomas and Bella, drove across the country to start her new life. You can read about her cross country move with her cats here and here.

JaneA and the cats quickly settled into their new apartment in Seattle. She already has cat sitting clients. She continues to write for her blog, and for Catster, and she recently landed a job with Trupanion Pet Insurance as a customer service representative.



I am in complete awe of JaneA’s courage, and her faith in making this huge change in her life. I took risks along my own path, but picking up and moving cross country elevates making major life changes to a whole new level.

I asked Janea how long it took her to make the decision to relocate to Seattle. “I fell in love with Seattle several years ago and had been looking for work there for almost as long,” says JaneA. “It was tough to find work from 3,000 miles away, but the idea of moving there with no prospects for employment was pretty scary. After a couple of personal crises last year, I realized I was stagnating in Maine and I had to make this move for my own greatest and highest good.”

The issue of money was the most difficult part of making this change for Janea. “Having grown up in circumstances where money was scarce, I’ve harbored a fear of poverty for many years,” she says. “I’d gotten to the point where I had a respectable professional job I liked and I was doing all the things I figured an adult should do. Even though I was emotionally not very content – I hadn’t found many kindred spirits back in Maine, and I felt pretty isolated — the fear of things being worse held me back. With the help of my best friend and a good counselor, I finally found myself saying “You know what? I’ll be okay,” and actually believing it. Trusting the universe is ridiculously hard for me, but I took the leap of faith even though my knees were shaking when I did it.”

JaneA will continue to write her blog and her Catster posts. She is looking forward to starting her new job, and hopes  that she can move up quickly. She’ll be working with her best friend to expand their cat-sitting business, Bodhisatva Cat Care. She is also planning to expand her “Dahlia Tells All” memoir, a series of blog posts she wrote from about 2009 to 2010, and publish it as an ebook. “Ultimately, I’m at my happiest when I’m a storyteller,” says JaneA. “I’m exploring how new technology and social sharing sites can be used for group story-building projects.”

I have no doubt that JaneA will accomplish everything she sets her mind to, and then some. That’s just what happens when someone takes a leap of faith and follows her bliss. For more information about JaneA, and to follow her blog, please visit Paws and Effect.

21 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: A Cat Lady Follows Her Bliss

  1. I’m so impressed by JaneA. She def made a courageous decision. I’m currently in a similar situation and def need to find and follow my bliss. I hope I can be half as brave as she (and you!) have been!

  2. This is what my human did three years ago. He decided he was not happy where he lived and that he wanted to move to San Diego. He is very happy he made the move. He had many two legged and four legged friends in Maryland but he did not like it there. So he moved. And now he is happy and I enjoy soaking up the Southern California sun!

    • Baheera,
      that’s what I did. Actually I had plans to move across the Globe to Australia but my mother acted as if I was committing suicide. I left Maryland and returned to my homestate of Florida. I’m a sunshine girl and I thrive in the bright sun and serenity of the ocean. I too packed my car with a small U-haul trailer hitched to my Toyota Celica and drove down to Miami and started my new life. No job, no condo but in less than a month I had both and now I’m a proud Cat lady too!

      • I never knew that about you, Christine! Thank you for sharing your story. Even though this is an admittedly small sample, it strikes me that there are quite a few of us cat ladies who have taken this leap of faith!

  3. Thanks, everybody, for your supportive comments. It wasn’t easy to make this leap of faith and I’m very grateful to have friends here who cushioned my landing. Sometimes I still wake up and I have to pinch myself: I’m really here in Seattle. Yes, I live here! OMG! 🙂

  4. Great post, Ingrid. JaneA is both brave and inspirational. I’m looking forward to seeing you both at CWA in a few days and catching up with you.

  5. This is an inspiring article. Life is all about taking chances. It is a good read. We all have to know and trust in ourselves to take those steps.

  6. I know just how scary taking that first step can be. 17 years ago, at 34, I left security to be a single mother. I won’t pretend I did it alone. I am lucky enough to have my Mother be there with incredible support. I have to say that the idea of moving across country by myself scares me silly! I enjoy JaneA’s blog so much and I’m so glad it will still be there. I wish her every happiness in her new home.

  7. It is so neat to read about people who step out of the box and make a great life for themselves. It is an exciting time for JaneA and I wish her success and happiness! Thanks for sharing the story.

  8. You don’t get what you want by sitting and wishing for it–and sometimes it means literally moving away from who you are, even 3,000 miles. Congratulations on working it out and following through, JaneA, and you’ll certainly find opportunities and success now that you are in the best place for you.

  9. What a wonderfully inspiring post, Ingrid! I’m so thrilled for JaneA and admire so much her courage to leap. That’s one of the hardest things EVER to do in life. I’m wishing her all the success and happiness in the world.

  10. Very awesome indeed. I am very proud of JaneA and wish her all the happiness in the world. The good news is that she took the first step and she is okay… fear can be a powerful tool, but courage and belief in yourself is an even more powerful one.

  11. Isn’t it cool in this day and age that even when she moves clear across the country her persona on the world wide web remains. It’s almost too much for my feeble mind to comprehend. 🙂

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