Tell me a little bit about your background, both as a writer and a cat lover.
I’ve been a screenwriter for over 25 years. It forces you to be extremely structured and disciplined in your approach, although it does force a more casual voice. My first published works were included in an anthology entitled For Loving Precious Beast, by Purple Sage Press, NYC in 2006. I’ve authored a “Medical Monday” series and and “Origins” series focused on the etymology of pet-related sayings [on atonkstail.com], both of which are in their third year. I am also a contributing writer to Catster.com.
What inspired you to submit to this anthology?
I think it was the opportunity to tell Ryker’s story to a broader audience. Ryker was clearly “less adoptable” and would have been euthanized had I not intervened. If his story encourages even one person to welcome a less adoptable cat into their home, I would consider it a success.
Tell me a little bit about your relationship with the cat in your story — from your own (human) perspective.
Ryker came into my life at a time of great change, and he brought mischief, vibrancy and fun along with him. It was a joy to see him train the man who would become my husband: Marty is now a dedicated cat-man thanks to Ryker.
Why did you choose to support Great Plains SPCA?
Great Plains SPCA recently took over an untenable situation: in April of 2013, they began managing a city-run shelter that had been high-kill. They turned it into a no-kill shelter, but ended up with almost 800 cats over the course of the next 18 months. This was in a building meant to house 100 cats.
I cannot tell you how much I admire the staff and volunteers who work there. I saw them rise to the occasion and — miraculously go from a situation where the Department of Agriculture had to step in and shut down their intake facility to opening their doors again within 6 months.
They have an active feral cat colony on the property, and they actively promote TNR and offer free spay/ neuter services. This, in the face of active opposition from factors in the region (they border the rural outskirts of our city) who believe the colony should be eradicated and that the concept of no-kill is absurd.
I know that very penny they receive from this anthology will benefit these cats, and will help them navigate their way to a permanent solution — and to a great degree, this included outreach and education!
If you had written the story from your own perspective, how would it have been different?
Well I probably would have called our anniversary the anniversary of his adoption, not mine! And, no matter how much he would have liked it if I didn’t set out mousetraps, I prefer my home to be vermin-free.
I would like to think he did have a comfortable, happy and fulfilled life with me. Looking back, I see that adopting Allie when we did was a mistake, and had I known how she would terrorize him, would have held off so that his last 9 months were happier times. Hindsight is a luxury no one gets, though. And I had no way of knowing our time would be cut short by a random blood clot. (He was supposed to live to 20, dammit!)
What’s your next writing project that you’re working on?
Allie’s story is ready to be told, and it’s as entertaining as Ryker’s is, yet completely different. I am also working on compiling my Pet Sayings series into book — hopefully to be released in 2016.
How did you feel when your story was chosen to be included in the anthology?
Well, and why not? It’s about time we felines were given an opportunity to share our stories in a broader venue.
Tell me about your relationship with the human who submitted your story and helped you write it.
We had a delightful relationship. She was eminently trainable (an excellent quality in a human).
Is there an event or anecdote that was left out of the story that, looking back, you wish you had put in?
I must say, she does take dictation rather well. In that regard I had no complaints. She faithfully took down everything I wished to cover, and obediently withheld some rather… oh, let’s not say embarrassing but, well, perhaps revealing instances I instructed her to omit.
What do you think of the other cats in the book? Which one do you admire or look up to the most?
Must I? They are all such sterling examples of felinity!
There are so many famous cats, in the news, in movies, and on the internet. Which one is your favorite, and why?
In all seriousness, I would have to say Lil BUB. Many may see her as a cute if cartoonish feline caricature, but I happen to know how hard she and her human have worked to overcome her physical challenges.
If a movie were made of your life, which actor do you think should be cast to play you? (Using the latest CGI techniques, of course!)
Oh, Hugh Jackman, of course. Now there’s a human who knows how to wield a wicked claw.