I have attended every Cat Writers Association event since the beginning that celebrates cat writing awards, and almost missed the 23rd Annual Conference and Awards Banquet this past weekend. Part of that was concern about my two aging pets. Magical-Dawg at age 10 and Seren-Kitty now 21 years old are not in ideal health, and I know my colleagues understand the pets must come first.
With some gentle purr-suasion, though, I was convinced to make an appearance. So I flew to Myrtle Beach on Friday for an overnight stay, to attend the awards banquet and some of the Saturday sessions before returning home. Boy, I’m glad that I did! With 240 entries and 42 awards presented, for writers like me, this is the a-CAT-amy awards.
One of the best parts of the annual event is reconnecting with colleagues and friends like PetWorldInsider folks (above), and networking with pet products companies. This year, I had little opportunity to visit the exhibit hall, but gave and received as many hugs and greetings as possible.
Shojai Mentor Award recognizes the CWA member who has helped someone else achieve writing/publishing goals.
Wins, Wins Everywhere!
Muse presented by Conference Co-Chair Sharon Melnyk
The Friday night banquet offers a chance to BLING UP. In addition to being nominated for several awards, I also sponsored and presented the SHOJAI MENTOR AWARD (above), this year given to longtime CWA member Paul Glassner.
Muse Medallion presented by CWA Contest Chair Arden Moore
MUSE MEDALLION WINS!
I was delighted to receive recognition for my Herald Democrat newspaper column, P’ETiQuette. These medallion categories are judged by three professional CWA members, and the highest of their composite score selects the winner. It always means so much to be recognized by peers.
My second Muse Medallion recognized a cat behavior blog contributions I write for PetSafe.com Paw Print Blog. This Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog also was nominated so actually, I got to compete with myself!
The prize didn’t fit in my suitcase so I’m still waiting for it to be shipped.
FEAR FREE PETS AWARD
I’ve talked about the Fear Free Pets initiative before and I believe so much in this program, I’ve become Fear Free Certified, too. The program inspired me to write one of my quick tips books MY CAT HATES MY VET: Foiling Fear Before, During & After Vet Visits–and that booklet last Friday night won the Fear Free Pets Award, mee-wow! The prize comes with a $2000 cash award, plus that whimsical mirror shown above (Peeping Toms, LOL!). I was excited to receive the award from Dr. Elizabeth Bales (left) and CWA President Marci Kladnik (left).
Dr. Ken Labrecht and “Bug” presents the AAFP Cat Friendly Award
AAFP CAT FRIENDLY AWARD
Not only did MY CAT HATES MY VET win the Fear Free Pets award, it also was recognized by the American Association of Feline Practitioners with the Cat Friendly Award of $500 and a certificate. The Cat Friendly Practice initiative seeks to make veterinary practices “feline friendly” to increase cat health visits.
To celebrate these honors, I’ve made the Ebook version FREE for the next few days (until Friday). So please tell everyone to get a copy of the free book here and get rid of the HISSES surrounding vet visits.
The Hartz Every Day Chewable Vitamin Award
Finally, an editorial about caring for aging cats received the Hartz Award of $500 and a gorgeous glass engraved trophy. Since I have a 21-year-old kitty, this is a topic very close to my heart. My friend and colleague, contest chair Arden Moore (below, left) presented the trophy that evening.Next year’s event will soon be announced. If you love cats, it’s a conference and cat writing contest you don’t want to miss!
When cat and dog people get together, you never know what to expect. We had an interesting discussion about when a dog uses cat litter box, among other things. Can you train a dog to use the litterbox? Yes! I originally wrote this post while at the Cat Writers Conference in Dallas. At these events, we have a ball attending expert writing seminars and schmoozing with lots of cat (and dog) lovers. At the opening event there were lots of BOO-tiful costumes displayed during the bag-stuffing party. Yes, had to don my wings!
Dog Uses Cat Litter Box
Such a gathering of pet professionals often results in some terrific discussions. We often talk about the most common cat behavior issue–cat litter box problems. I wonder how many dog trainers hear questions about training dogs to use cat litter boxes? Or how often dogs teach themselves to use the cat litter box! It sure did puzzle the pet owner!
(Sherman, TX, 10-17-13) – Local playwrights, co-authors Amy Shojai and Frank Steele, have cast STRAYS, THE MUSICAL with five popular local performers. The completed original show will feature a dozen catchy songs, an ensemble cast, and laugh out loud dialogue.
A free preview of the music from STRAYS, THE MUSICAL will be performed locally at Trinity Lutheran Church on October 27 from 7-7:30 pm. The show will also be the featured entertainment on Friday, November 1st in Dallas at the 19th Annual Cat Writers Association Conference.
STRAYS, THE MUSICAL explores furry foibles from the PETS’ point of view. The actors give voice to a variety of cat and dog characters in this hilarious–and often moving–musical review “drama-dy” that seeks to edu-tain audiences about normal pet behavior while honoring the bond we share with them.
Playwrights Amy Shojai and Frank Steele are both passionate pet advocates. STRAYS, THE MUSICAL is written especially with pet lovers in mind. “We hope the completed show will benefit animal welfare organizations in their fund raising efforts, as well as entertain pet lovers,” they say. STRAYS is their fourth co-written show. The duo most recently wrote, directed and produced the critically acclaimed original show KURVES, performed at the Rialto in Denison.
The cast for the STRAYS preview performances include both Steele and Shojai, with Theresa Littlefield and Gil Nelson (both performed in KURVES), and local orchestra teacher SuEllen Davis. Not only talented singer/actors, the cast brings their love and understanding of cats and dogs to their performances.
Cast for the preview/premier performance of songs from STRAYS, THE MUSICAL: L-R: Amy Shojai, Frank Steele, SuEllen Davis, Gil Nelson and Theresa Littlefield
The music includes solos, duets and full company numbers in styles ranging from pop rock to blues, calypso, gospel and Celtic. The 30-minute performance is accompanied by recorded full orchestral arrangements.
“The performance is a preview only, intended to offer a taste of what to expect from the full two-hour show,” say the playwrights. “We’re looking for feedback from the audience after the performance. That helps fine tune the future show.”
Shojai and Steele plan to hold open auditions (all ages, singers and nonsingers alike) for the premier of the full show at a future date. The completed show’s monologues, scenes and music are written to be modular, to allow only the cat portions, only the dog sections, or both to be performed, based on the audience demographic.
See the free preview performance of music from STRAYS, THE MUSICAL on Sunday, October 27, 7:00 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1515 N. Travis Street in Sherman.To learn more about the performance at the Cat Writers Conference in Dallas, refer to http://www.catwriters.com for more information.
Please SHARE with all your pet-loving friends and animal advocacy groups!