For all you cat lovers – a heartwarming book of tales from The Critter Room live kitten cam

The past 6 weeks have been so busy! It’s been worth every moment. I offered to become a part of a 5-person committee of dedicated cat lovers whose goal it was to get one very talented British author and illustrator published. We were on a quest to get her collection of stories printed and made available to the public.

Those of you familiar with The Critter Room and TinyKittens will know to whom I refer. Viewing live kitten cams along with thousands of other rabid fans from around the world, Jill Pickford began writing fanciful stories about individual cats and kittens that had captured her heart. In the midst of writing these tales she created a magical world that kept readers clamoring for more.

And thus was born Sing to the Moon: Tales from the Kitten Cam.

It’s been a long time since my reading experience has been truly visceral. While reading Sing to the Moon, I laughed out loud many times. I was also as quick to grab a tissue. There was something about these stories that truly touched my heart. And it’s not just because I am a self-confessed cat lady. Sure, I love cats (having 2 of my own) and I am as addicted to live kitten cams (and the daily reports on Facebook) as anyone. What really grabbed me about these stories was the world that unfolded before me as the book progressed. It was a place I thoroughly enjoyed visiting and was very sad to leave. When I finished the book I felt like I had gone on a long vacation in my head. And it was a really nice feeling.

Jill Pickford is not only a marvelous writer but a terrific illustrator. Several of the stories are graced with her simple drawings which embody the spirit of the book.

One aspect of Sing to the Moon that I appreciated was that “hoomins,” (aka, people) were portrayed as compassionate and caring. This is not always the case in animal stories. Pickford’s book reflects that aspect of the Live Kitten Cam community that I find so wonderful. Taking after the leaders (John Bartlett, aka “Foster Dad John” of The Critter Room and Shelly Roche of TinyKittens), this community is filled with people as generous and loving towards each other as they are towards cats and kittens.

It helps to know the backstory of these tales along with their very special language (including British colloquialisms). If you are unfamiliar with the world of live kitten cams or if you are rusty with kitten cam language, there is a glossary of terms on the Sing to the Moon Facebook page along with pictures of the many cats and kittens featured in Sing to the Moon.

Want to know more about what went on behind scenes of this quest to bring this book to print? Check out the blog post of our illustrious editor and proofreader, Mar Penner Griswold.

All the royalties from sales of this book support a wonderful no-kill cat shelter known as Purrfect Pals, located in Arlington, WA; this is the shelter that sponsors The Critter Room. Your purchase helps abandoned cats and kittens find good and loving homes.

Be sure and join the Sing to the Moon Facebook page where you can talk with the author and join a wonderful community of fans.

Nancy Freeman, the creator of our committee, had a dream to bring a collection of . Sing to the Moon will be a constant reminder to us that dreams really can come true!

I close with some more illustrations from the book.

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Spring means kitten season is in full swing! Catch up with The Critter Room and TinyKittens.

the_critter_room_note_cards_pk_of_10-horzGoodness, kitten season has kicked off in a big way as seen through the live cams of The Critter Room and TinyKittens.

“What are live kitten cams,” you say?

Foster Dad John Bartlett with Spock
Foster Dad John Bartlett with Spock

It’s a real world view of kittens being fostered by people dedicated to their welfare. The cams come complete with chat rooms so you can get to know your fellow cat lovers. It’s a great stress reliever, community builder and kitten classroom where viewers can learn all about the ups and downs of fostering kittens. Continue reading “Spring means kitten season is in full swing! Catch up with The Critter Room and TinyKittens.”

Faced with denying your pet medical care because of the cost? Now help is available through Four Paws Lifeline

four-paws-and-31-talesUPDATE: Four Paws Lifeline has released a book of pet stories, told from the point of view of the pet. This lovely book will help raise funds for this organization which provides help for vet expenses. Four Paws and 31 Tales is available from Amazon for only $10 — pick up your copy today and support this wonderful organization.

My guilty pleasure is my love of cats. I have two that I spoil (Jenny and Rameses); I also spend time watching live kitten cams and chatting with other cat lovers. I grew up with dogs and love them too.

jenny and rameses

Along with the pleasure of their company is the responsibility for their well-being. What happens when your beloved pet is struck with a catastrophic medical emergency? What do you do if the lifesaving procedure your pet needs costs more than you can afford? Continue reading “Faced with denying your pet medical care because of the cost? Now help is available through Four Paws Lifeline”

Latest Catholic Free Press Column – Lessons learned from crazy cat people

This is my latest monthly column for The Catholic Free Press.
I have now admitted in print that I am a crazy cat lady! 🙂

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I am a crazy cat lady. There, I said it.

While I have two cats of my own, that’s only the beginning. I also follow live kitten cams online and chat regularly with the many viewers. My main reason for visiting Facebook is to follow the lives of foster kittens after they have been adopted. Continue reading “Latest Catholic Free Press Column – Lessons learned from crazy cat people”

From Kitten Cam to Granny Cam: The beauty of seniors

Picking up Peaches from Purrfect Pals (from The Critter Room)
Picking up Peaches from Purrfect Pals (from The Critter Room)

Foster Dad John has a new foster—meet Peaches Chutney. She is not a kitten but a beautiful elder calico. At thirteen she (along with four other older cats) was surrendered to a shelter. All five cats have hyperthyroidism, a common condition for older cats that requires treatment.

Lady Peaches Chutney (from The Critter Room)
Lady Peaches Chutney (from The Critter Room)

Adopted by a community

Foster Dad John’s shelter, Purrfect Pals, rescued these five seniors from being euthanized as the other shelter could no longer keep them. Members of the Kitten Cam community raised over three thousand dollars in just a few days to secure medical treatment for these cats.

And now Peaches Chutney (aka “Granny”) has won the kitty jackpot being placed in the home of Foster Dad John. John has a special affection for seniors as several of his own cats fit into this category.

 As you can see, cat and human have fallen in love:

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Do cats really sleep 16 hours per day?

It’s funny watching the chat that goes along with the live Granny cam: “O! She moved.” “Cute meow!” Obviously not a lot of action from a senior. Cats are reported to sleep some sixteen hours a day. We’re getting a first hand look with Lady Peaches.

Growing mellow with age

me-with-noah1Peaches is a cat that I instantly want to scoop up into my arms. Senior cats can be so loving and affectionate. I remember my Noah, standoffish and grouchy most of his life until he hit fifteen; then he turned into a total love. Bacci was a senior I adopted from my late mother’s nursing home and I lost my heart to him the day he tapped me on the arm with his giant mitten paw.

Old is good.

Calling for John
Calling for John

And I love how Foster Dad John’s “Granny cam” brings that point home. This Granny cam is such a wonderful way to promote the idea of adopting senior pets. They have a lot of love to give and want all the love you can give in return.

Old is scary.

Old is good but old is also scary. You take risks getting attached to seniors. They have health problems. They suffer and sometimes they get crabby because they hurt. And they pass away and break the heart you gave so freely to them.

Taking a chance with the heart

me and jackieElderly cats. Elderly people. My best friend just turned eighty and I am fifty-nine. Jackie is deep, gentle, loving, funny and empathetic. I can’t imagine my life without her but I know that time will be coming sooner rather than later. I know it’s risky to give my heart away so totally to her but I can’t help it. It’s worth my heart being busted to pieces just so I can be a part of Jackie’s life, even for a short time.

John and Peaches. Me and Jackie.

Yeah. Old is good.

Check out the Granny Cam on Livestream and see Peaches in action (though likely she will be sleeping :-)).

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Give a gift of kittens to your friends while supporting a no-kill cat shelter – 20% Off on The Critter Room Memory Book!

Wondering what to give your cat-loving friend?

How about giving twice with just one purchase?

640 critter room memory book banner1For a limited time during this holiday season, The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One is being offered at a 20% discount – now just $15.95 for this 68 page book chock full of:

  • tons of color photos from Foster Dad John, “Mr  Ripley” (James Petts) and Tam Woods  including closeups of your favorite kittens and mama cats. Lots of Facebook screen shots.
  • an interview with Foster Dad John by Connie of “Tails of Foster Kittens”
  • fan art by Cazul R, “Thorn” and Sandra Andreasen
  • kitten collages by Nicoya Grobman
  • fan fiction by Jill Pickford and Annie Staats
  • remembrances of Peter and Honey

Purrfect Pals, the fabulous no-kill cat shelter that sponsors The Critter Room receives $7.15 for each book sold.

Check out these sample pages:

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Ruth Ludlam recently reviewed The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One  on Amazon:

I have been watching the Foster Kitten Cam and share the experience of the community described in this book. It seems to me that different people understand the kitten cam in different ways. Some just enjoy seeing cute kittens. Others learn about cats and fostering. Susan Hoyle Bailey shares my perception of the kitten cam as a force for the good in the lives of all involved. The experience brings out empathy, altruism, and generosity in the viewers, and we learn these qualities from Foster Dad John and from each other. I watch for more than just loving the kittens and cats; I watch because I know this is a community with a positive impact on the world. I would like to think that the goodness shared in the community ripples out and touches the lives of others, even those who really don’t get why we watch and care so much.

Thank you for expressing the goodness of the kitten cam community so clearly, and sharing your thoughts with the world.

Introduce your friends to the wonderful work done by Purrfect Pals including their Foster-Prison program which is now socializing two of Foster Dad John’s kittens, Ellen and Luna.

Get The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One for the cat-lover in your life or treat yourself to a copy.

Another way to give to Purrfect Pals is to buy copies for them to sell in their store–they receive the donation from your purchase plus the sale of the book in their store. You can send your books to:

Purrfect Pals
230 McRae Rd NE
Arlington, WA 98223

Thank you for your support of Purrfect Pals.

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The reviews are in! Update on the success of The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One

Thanks to all of you who have ordered The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One – so far we’ve raised over $900 for the Purrfect Pals no-kill cat shelter (exact figures – 102 books sold, $910.68 USD; £17.20 GBP; €17.28 EUR).

Here are reviews from Amazon, :

5 star graphic
I just wanted to let you know that I received my book today. All I can say is….. MARVELOUS!!! This book is a wonderful reminder of all the work and effort John puts into all his fosters. I laughed, I cried. I remembered. The only John left out in his interview is how Dorian flirts with each Momcat. LOL This is great fundraiser for Purrfect Pals. I can’t wait for the next volume. Well done to everyone who was a big part of the creation of this book.
A lovely book! Perfect for any fan of The Critter Room or, really, anyone who loves cats and kittens. Looking forward to Volume 2!
Received my book yesterday and had to look it over on the spot. In a word: PAWSOME! Even if you are not a follower of The Critter Room, the stories about these kitty families, coupled with the tireless efforts Foster Dad John and Purrfect Pals, is absolutely heart warming. I love the fact that you have their early days chronicled in front of you and can the follow them on Facebook to see where they are today. Can’t wait for Volume 2!
What a wonderful book. Foster Dad John and Purrfect Pals will touch your heart.

Double the Donation!

How about buying two or three extra books to send directly to Purrfect Pals so they can sell them in the store?  That doubles the donation and exposes more people to the book. Contact Connie Gabelein on the Purrfect Pals website to let her know of your intention and to find out the shelter’s address.

What inspired me to make the book

1. Two kittens – Ray and Arthur (now Ace) – I wanted high quality prints of these two adorable guys:

ray and arthur

2. All the wonder fan art:

L- Honey welcome Peter by Cazul R; R - Sheba reads to Honey and Peter by Sandra Sarah Bjødstrup Andreasen
L- Honey welcome Peter by Cazul R; R – Sheba reads to Honey and Peter by Sandra Sarah Bjødstrup Andreasen

 3. The fan fiction by Jill Pickford and Annie Staats which includes “Over the Bridge” and Ray’s letter to Trillian.

Now I have my scrapbook of memories and many of you do as well. Grab your copy of The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One if you don’t have one yet, donate copies to Purrfect Pals or give some as gifts – Christmas is coming … 🙂

Thanks for all your support of Purrfect Pals!

Farewell to Ripley’s Kittens – a video by Cherry Martini

For the many thousands of you who have followed the lives and antics of this mother tuxedo cat and her five kittens online, you know that today is bittersweet. As one chat member dubbed it, it’s “Graduation Day.” Ripley and her kittens will be adopted out to their forever (aka “furever”) homes bringing joy into households in the Washington state area.

Artwork by Thorn Bulle - Visit her blog at http://www.bulleblog.com
Artwork by Thorn Bulle – Visit her blog at http://www.bulleblog.com

It may seem like a waste of time to foster kittens (and even more so to spend hours watching them online). The true mystery and beauty of life, however, lie in these little things. There are countless stories of kitty watchers (who call themselves “stalkers”) finding comfort from the grind of daily life: grief, pain, physical ailments and loneliness are assuaged for a time watching a family of kittens grow and thrive.

Foster dad John with Ash
Foster dad John with Ash

There is something very touching about a grown man cradling a kitten in his hands, giving the little tummy the raspberries. 🙂

The commitment of time and resources is far more than anyone could imagine. Especially the emotional commitment.

It’s all very life-affirming. God, I’m sure, would approve.

So on this adoption day I wanted to share the customary goodbye video created by Cherry Martini on http://animoto.com:

Click to Tweet & Share: Farewell to Ripley’s Kittens – a video by Cherry Martini http://wp.me/p2D9hg-pc

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A woman, a cat, and a global family (Ripley’s Kittens from The Critter Room)

For the last week or so, I have been glued to the latest foster family cared for by a generous man named John and Purrfect Pals in Arlington, WA.

http://www.purrfectpals.org/
http://www.purrfectpals.org/

I became addicted to kitten cams after Noodles and her seven kittens (see previous post). I have since watched the Scientist Kittens and the Spice Kittens, falling in love with all of them. The names based upon themes.

But Ripley’s kittens (names coming from the movie “Alien”) have to be the most beautiful of them all. Three are girls, black, gray, white and “floofy” (a “crazy cat person” term) and the other two are boys, both tabbies.

In the course of following the chat room that accompanies the live feed, I came upon a website known as kittenwritten.net. For every 100 words you write, you are rewarded with a picture of a kitten! Writers always need a little push to get going and I thought this seemed like the purrfect opportunity to try it (yes, I know it should be spelled “perfect” but I’m one of those crazy cat ladies.)

So here’s my first attempt, inspired by kittenwritten.net.

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White padded paws belonging to a sleek black and white tuxedo cat waded carefully through puddles on the street. The wind was brisk and every now and then water would soak through the fur, giving the cat a chill. She could feel the movement inside of her lower body and knew her time was coming. The bulging of her belly made it difficult to navigate those puddles.

Her eyes black and wide open in distress, she whimpered with hunger pangs, searching for a place to bear her brood.

It was then that a woman in her mid thirties came upon the cat who by now was shivering uncontrollably.

“Oh my, you poor thing!” said the woman, crouching down and extending her open hand to the stray to sniff. The cat shrunk back slightly but the woman was patient, cooing softly, “Come on sweetheart, it’s okay, you’re such a pretty kitty, come sniff my hand.”

After a long pause, the cat leaned forward, sniffing the hand and touching it with her cold nose. The woman remained in a crouch and continued to coo, extending her left hand while with her right, searching her pocket for a treat.

photo from The Critter Room on Facebook
photo from The Critter Room on Facebook

Finding a couple of soft kibbles, she offered them to the cat. Sniffing audibly, the eyes opened wider and the cat pressed forward, taking the kibble delicately into her mouth. The woman pulled out more kibbles and soon the cat was eating a handful.

Drawing back her left hand, she turned it over and hovered over the cat’s head, slowly descending until it just barely touched the fur so wet and cold. At first the cat shrank back but the odor of the kibbles was too much and she remained, carefully nibbling.

“Oh sweetheart, how hungry you are!” said the woman as she reached out again to stroke the head. It was then that she noticed the cat’s true condition.

Searching for a collar and finding none, the woman noticed the movement in the bulging belly. At once her heart was lost in love with that homeless and hungry cat.

Placing more kibbles on the ground, it took but a moment for the woman to take off her fleece coat and wrap it gently around the cat. At first the cat wiggled and shrank back, eyes going black with fear. But somehow the woman’s cooing and the memory of the kibbles was enough for her to begin to trust someone. Instinctively she sensed she must if she and her soon-to-be born kittens were to survive.

The woman gently scooped up the black cat and laid her in her arms, continuing to coo. “You look like a Ripley to me sweetheart,” she said and in a singsong voice, saying the name over and over again. She stood still, waiting for Ripley to relax just a bit, and stroked her head slowly, softly. Ripley began to close her eyes as the slightest hint of a purr rippled through her body.

photo by Brenda Veldwijk
photo by Brenda Veldwijk

A woman in her thirties and a half-starved and very pregnant tuxedo cat made their way to a new home where kittens would be born and tens of thousands of strangers from across the world would share in the joy of the new family.

And this is just the beginning …

photo by Brenda Veldwijk
photo by Brenda Veldwijk

If you’re inspired by Ripley’s Kittens too, consider voting for Purrfect Pals to win a $10,000 grant. Go here to vote, and vote each day. It will ask you for the shelter and location – just type Purrfect Pals, Arlington, WA.
Click to Tweet & Share: Inspired by kittens: A woman, a cat, and a global family (Ripley’s Kittens from The Critter Room) http://wp.me/p2D9hg-m7

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