Cat Fanciers’ Association Cat Show Review

While attending the Cat Writers’ Association Conference in Houston, Texas, I had the extreme pleasure of attending my very first cat show.  I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical at first.  Now I’m a cat show addict!

 

Welcome to the show!

 

Unlike the famous Westminster Dog Show, the cats are not put on a leash and paraded around in a circle.  Instead, each cat is placed into a metal cage behind the judge’s table.  The cages have numbers that are specific to each participating cat.  One by one, the cats are removed from the cages and judged individually to see who will be the best in breed.

 

This cute kitty is waiting to be judged.

The judge in action!

As I toured the room with a fellow CWA attendee, I was surprised at how friendly all of the show participants were.  Nothing at all like what numerous comedy films portray.  The cat owners loved talking about their fancy felines and even encouraged petting and photo taking.

Taking a nap between judging.

I really wanted to hug this cat!

That face!

Striking a (grumpy) pose.

I fell in love with this Maine Coon!

Pick me, judge!

Being a show cat is hard work!

Snuggle time.

Would you believe that this cutie only has one coat of fur?

I love the look of these cats.

A gorgeous Bengal ready to pounce!

Can you see the eyes of the snuggling cat?

Patiently waiting.

My favorite cat that I met is Aharon.  He is a Norwegian Forest Cat.  His owner, Leah Dow, shared Aharon’s journey from being mistreated to being best in show.

Aharon was a former show champion who eventually went to live with an elderly couple.  When the couple divorced, a local rescue group discovered that Aharon had been living in a cage outside in the Texas heat!

Leah remembers how happy Aharon was when she and her husband adopted him.  She even showed me videos of Aharon zooming around his new home.  Leah said that she was surprised when she was given Aharon’s papers and awards certificates during the adoption process.

Now, Aharon is living the life of a true champion.  He dazzles judges with his stunning good looks and charms them with his calm demeanor.  I would definitely vote for this king cat!

Aharon is ready to win!

I had a wonderful time attending my first cat show.  I met so many wonderful people as well as fabulous felines.  To learn more about the Can Fancier’s Association, please visit their website at:  cfa.org.

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El Gato Coffee House and Cat Cafe Review

When the MC for the Cat Writers’ Association Conference announced that attendees would get to  visit El Gato Coffee House and Cat Cafe, I was thrilled.  Having visited Mauhaus Cat Cafe in St. Louis, Missouri (where we adopted Sven), I was anxious to see what El Gato had to offer.  They did not disappoint!

The building is painted a bright, eye-catching green.  Upon entering, I found myself in the official El Gato shop.  This is THE place to go for all of your El Gato merchandise needs.  I purchased two shirts and a sweatshirt.  I’m definitely a proud cat mama!

 

El Gato Cat Cafe in Houston, Texas.

 

The official logo and food truck of the cafe.

 

Stepping into the cat room, I gasped.  Window seats contained hidden compartments for cats looking for privacy.  Doors had small round cut-outs for additional relaxation space.  The ceiling supports an intricate system of wooden walk-ways and bridges for cats on the move.

 

This kitty enjoys people watching.

 

Cat-shaped cut-outs are adorable and functional.

 

Can you spot the cat hiding behind the door?

 

Toothless claims his spot on the wooden bridge.

 

Jackson Glaxay would be proud.  This cafe is catified!

 

A back room boasts a gorgeous wall mural dedicated to those who helped make El Gato a reality.  The artwork is truly stunning.  This room also houses a mini library that is filled with feline friendly books for readers of all ages.

 

A stunning mural tribute to those who helped bring El Gato to life.

 

El Gato is proud of their feline residents.  They even have their photos hanging on the wall.  A separate poster includes photos of the resident cats that call El Gato their home.

 

Meet the El Gato family!

 

 

The resident cat lineup.

 

This gorgeous muted calico is so sweet.

 

Attention diva!

 

Domino was unsure about all of the cat crazed people.

 

Striking a pose.

 

I fell in love with this Maine Coon!

 

The perfect snuggle face!

 

Aside from an amazing facility and adorable cats, El Gato has the friendliest staff around.  The owner is beyond sweet and was kind enough to keep El Gato open late just for the CWA attendees.  I made fast friends with one of the cat caretakers as we bonded over our love of all animals, especially cats.  Before I knew it, we were sharing photos of our furry babies and swapping stories.

If you are ever in the Houston area, I would highly recommend that you make El Gato Coffee House and Cat Cafe one of the stops on your to-do list.  From petting cats to making new friends and sharing a snack, El Gato has it all.  Be sure to check out their official website at:  www.elgatocoffehouse.com

 

Don’t forget to follow their social media channels!

Cat Writers’ Association Conference 2018

Ding!  My iPhone announced the arrival of a new e-mail.  Unlocking the phone, I read “CONGRATULATIONS!” in the subject line.  My heart pounded as I read the message.  “You have won a ticket to the Cat Writers’ Association annual conference.”

A million thoughts began to swirl around in my mind.  I actually won?  I’m going to Houston, Texas?  How much vacation time does my husband have left?  What type of clothes should I pack?

With just a week before the conference, my house bustled with activity.  From booking the hotel, to packing, to going over the eight page care guide for our fur babies with my parents, there was so much to do.  Being an active member of the Dog Writers Association of America, I could hardly wait to see what the CWA had in store.

We made the 12 hour drive from Illinois to Texas in record time.  The hotel had its own restaurant and we decided to give it a try.  While we waited for our food, a friendly female hotel guest walked over and complimented me on my cat shirt.  I soon found out that she was also attending the CWA.  We immediately began talking about our blogs and cats.  These are definitely my people!
We made it to Houston…with no problems!
The schedule for the conference was packed full of great sessions.
The CWA members were so welcoming.  I felt like I was chatting with friends I had known all my life.  We shared photos of our fur babies and talked about our blogs, books, and passion for all things cat.
The first session was entitled Research:  First, Last, and Always.  The panelist did a wonderful job explaining why research is crucial to all types of writing.  They even offered some special tips and tricks along with wonderful resources to help make research a breeze.
Panel experts Amy Shojai, Patricia Fry, Arden Moore, and Lea-Ann Germinder.
Cozy mystery author Mollie Hunt took to the stage for her session entitled:  Changing the World Through Fiction:  7 (plus 1) Techniques to Effectively Promote Your Point of View.  She delved deep into the world of fiction writing while stressing the importance of maintaining values as an author.  I loved how passionately she spoke about introducing one’s cause into his/her writing.
Author Mollie Hunt spoke about adding values in fiction.
The CWA Conference keynote was delivered by none other than America’s Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker.  His presentation focused on the Fear Free brand that he created to help pets (and their humans) take the stress out of going to see the vet.  Dr. Becker offered up great strategies for attendees wishing to build their own brand.
America’s Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker!
Marketing guru Lynn Thompson shared her knowledge of branding in Brand Yourself!  Presenting a Unified Image Online.  Following a quick break, author/blogger Amy Shojai took to the stage for her presentation:  The Hybrid Author:  Publishing Print, Ebooks, & Audio.  Amy gave great advice as well as links to websites and services that she uses to publish her books.
Amy Shojai breaks down the world of publishing.
The final presentation on Friday was one of my favorites.  Photographer Rick Reichenbach shared his secrets to taking awesome cat photos in:  Cat Photography Made Simple.  I was blown away at how simple taking photos of my cats can really be.  Reichenbach did a fabulous job of keeping the photographer jargon to a minimum.
As a special treat, CWA attendees were invited to El Gato Cat Cafe.  Having been to Mauhaus Cat Cafe in St. Louis, Missouri, I was eager to attend.
El Gato Cat Cafe in Houston, Texas.
This cafe is amazing!  The staff was beyond friendly and the cats were simply adorable.  I love the layout and design of the cat rooms.  They are definitely catified.  Jackson Galaxy would be proud.
Check out these adorable photos of the gatos!

This dedication wall is amazing!

I fell in love with this gorgeous muted calico.

Toothless dominates the cat bridge.
Saturday’s sessions were equally amazing.  Editor Janiss Garza gave an amazing presentation about adventure cats.  She even had her gorgeous cat, Summer, with her.  Summer even performed tricks to the smitten crowd.
Summer dazzled the crowd with her tricks.
The final session was presented by Lea-Ann Germinder, President and Founder of Germinder + Associates.  She gave a very informative presentation about storytelling methods that work for brands both on and offline.  
CWA attendees were also allowed to attend the CFA Cat Show taking place on the main floor of the hotel.  This was my very first cat show and I absolutely loved it!  All of the owners were more than happy to gush about their cats.
Meet Aharon!  Can you believe that this showstopper was left outside by his previous owners?
This pretty kitty has only one coat of fur!
A judge inspects a kitty contestant.
I had a fabulous time at my first CWA conference and cat show.  I’m in the process of completing my CWA application and hope that I will be able to join this group of amazing cat writers soon.  To learn more about the organization, please visit:  http://catwriters.com/wp_meow/
Thank you, CWA!

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Cat Writer’s Association Conference 2018

Ding!  My iPhone announced the arrival of a new e-mail.  Unlocking the phone, I read “CONGRATULATIONS!” in the subject line.  My heart pounded as I read the message.  “You have won a ticket to the Cat Writers’ Association annual conference.”

A million thoughts began to swirl around in my mind.  I actually won?  I’m going to Houston, Texas?  How much vacation time does my husband have left?  What type of clothes should I pack?

With just a week before the conference, my house bustled with activity.  From booking the hotel, to packing, to going over the eight page care guide for our fur babies with my parents, there was so much to do.  Being an active member of the Dog Writers Association of America, I could hardly wait to see what the CWA had in store.

We made the 12 hour drive from Illinois to Texas in record time.  The hotel had its own restaurant and we decided to give it a try.  While we waited for our food, a friendly female hotel guest walked over and complimented me on my cat shirt.  I soon found out that she was also attending the CWA.  We immediately began talking about our blogs and cats.  These are definitely my people!

We made it to Houston…with no problems!

 

The schedule for the conference was packed full of great sessions.

 

The CWA members were so welcoming.  I felt like I was chatting with friends I had known all my life.  We shared photos of our fur babies and talked about our blogs, books, and passion for all things cat.

The first session was entitled Research:  First, Last, and Always.  The panelist did a wonderful job explaining why research is crucial to all types of writing.  They even offered some special tips and tricks along with wonderful resources to help make research a breeze.

 

Panel experts Amy Shojai, Patricia Fry, Arden Moore, and Lea-Ann Germinder.

 

Cozy mystery author Mollie Hunt took to the stage for her session entitled:  Changing the World Through Fiction:  7 (plus 1) Techniques to Effectively Promote Your Point of View.  She delved deep into the world of fiction writing while stressing the importance of maintaining values as an author.  I loved how passionately she spoke about introducing one’s cause into his/her writing.

 

Author Mollie Hunt spoke about adding values in fiction.

 

The CWA Conference keynote was delivered by none other than America’s Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker.  His presentation focused on the Fear Free brand that he created to help pets (and their humans) take the stress out of going to see the vet.  Dr. Becker offered up great strategies for attendees wishing to build their own brand.

 

America’s Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker!

 

Marketing guru Lynn Thompson shared her knowledge of branding in Brand Yourself!  Presenting a Unified Image Online.  Following a quick break, author/blogger Amy Shojai took to the stage for her presentation:  The Hybrid Author:  Publishing Print, Ebooks, & Audio.  Amy gave great advice as well as links to websites and services that she uses to publish her books.

 

Amy Shojai breaks down the world of publishing.

 

The final presentation on Friday was one of my favorites.  Photographer Rick Reichenbach shared his secrets to taking awesome cat photos in:  Cat Photography Made Simple.  I was blown away at how simple taking photos of my cats can really be.  Reichenbach did a fabulous job of keeping the photographer jargon to a minimum.

As a special treat, CWA attendees were invited to El Gato Cat Cafe.  Having been to Mauhaus Cat Cafe in St. Louis, Missouri, I was eager to attend.

 

El Gato Cat Cafe in Houston, Texas.

 

This cafe is amazing!  The staff was beyond friendly and the cats were simply adorable.  I love the layout and design of the cat rooms.  They are definitely catified.  Jackson Galaxy would be proud.

 

Check out these adorable photos of the gatos!

 

This dedication wall is amazing!

 

I fell in love with this gorgeous muted calico.

 

Toothless dominates the cat bridge.

 

Saturday’s sessions were equally amazing.  Editor Janiss Garza gave an amazing presentation about adventure cats.  She even had her gorgeous cat, Summer, with her.  Summer even performed tricks to the smitten crowd.

Summer dazzled the crowd with her tricks.

 

The final session was presented by Lea-Ann Germinder, President and Founder of Germinder + Associates.  She gave a very informative presentation about storytelling methods that work for brands both on and offline.

CWA attendees were also allowed to attend the CFA Cat Show taking place on the main floor of the hotel.  This was my very first cat show and I absolutely loved it!  All of the owners were more than happy to gush about their cats.

 

Meet Aharon!  Can you believe that this showstopper was left outside by his previous owners?

 

This pretty kitty has only one coat of fur!

 

A judge inspects a kitty contestant.

 

I had a fabulous time at my first CWA conference and cat show.  I’m in the process of completing my CWA application and hope that I will be able to join this group of amazing cat writers soon.  To learn more about the organization, please visit:  http://catwriters.com/wp_meow/

 

Thank you, CWA!

Archie Book Review

Archie by Domenica  More Gordon tells the tale of a dog fashionista.  One day, Archie receives a sewing machine from his Great Aunt Betty.  He seems perplexed by the gift but becomes inspired when he looks at his own pet dog.

With a few snips of the scissors and some carefully placed stitches, Archie has made a coat for his pet.  While out on a walk together, he is approached by a female dog wanting a dress for her pet.  The pair become the talk of the town.

Archie’s phone begins ringing off the hook.  Everyone wants to wear his designs.  Will Archie be able to keep up with all of the demands?

I thought this was a fun read.  The story is nearly wordless and focuses on Gordon’s whimsical illustrations.  Children will love the cast of colorful canine characters.

I do struggle with the fact that the story doesn’t seem to have a plot.  The main character doesn’t appear to face any obstacles.  I am also greatly confused at the idea of a dog owning a dog as a pet.  This made me wonder why some dogs get to obtain their freedom and walk around on two legs while others are forced to be a pet on all fours.  I thought this to be the greatest disconnect with the book.

Overall, this is a fun read for children ages 3-6.

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Friends Book Review

Friends by Michael Foreman follows the adventures of a feral cat and his fish friend named Bubble.  The cat has the freedom to wander the city.  He can come and go as he pleases.  His friend, Bubble, doesn’t have the same luxury.

Instead, Bubble is stuck in his small tank.  He spends his days swimming in circles and sighing.  One day, the cat gets an idea.  He knows exactly how to help his friend.  Now Bubble must choose between his freedom and the only friend he has ever known.

I absolutely love this book!  While the text is sparse, the story definitely packs a punch.  My heart ached for the cat and Bubble.  They have a unique friendship that gets tested in a big way.

Foreman’s illustrations are big, bold, and full of heart.  I love the vibrant color palette in addition to his placement of the main characters who always remain at the center of each picture.  Children will fall in love with the wide-eyed cat and multi-colored Bubble.

This is a fantastic read for children ages 4-8 and for anyone who needs a reminder of what true friendship means.

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Snow Dog’s Journey Book Review

Snow Dog’s Journey by Loretta Krupinski follows the winter time adventures of siblings Anna and Olen.  The pair love to play in the snow.  Anna decides to build a snow dog instead of a snow man.

The children fall in love with their snowy creation.  They even provide a scarf and hat to keep him warm.  Later that night, the Frost King, bringer of all snow, flew overhead.  Spying the cool canine, he stopped and decided to make the pooch his companion.

Snow Dog can’t believe that he has come to life!  The Frost King happily scoops him up and flies back to his icy palace.  Snow Dog cares greatly for the King, but deeply misses Anna and Olen.  He must now make the ultimate decision:  live forever with the King or risk melting away to be with the children he loves.

I thought this was a fantastic read.  The story is a mixture of Frosty the Snowman meets Pinocchio.  Krupinski has created in-depth characters that are full of heart.  The idea of a Frost King bringing the winter snow is truly magical.  Children will love the sense of fantasy that this story evokes.

Krupinski’s illustrations are stunning.  Most of the scenes take place at night.  She does a magnificent job of balancing the dark background with cool blue tones to create winter pictures that will make readers want to snuggle up with a blanket a mug of cocoa.

This is a wonderful book for animal lovers of all ages.

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