The Conscious Cat “Great Rescues” Review and Giveaway

Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat reviewed Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and is offering a giveaway for those who comment on the post!

I especially appreciate her comments: This is one of the most beautiful cat calendars I’ve seen. The paintings are stunningly beautiful, and the stories are heart touching.  And it’s so much more than just a calendar.

She is giving away one personalized, autographed copy to one lucky winner, ending Friday, August 12. Visit her site to read the rest of her review and enter for a chance to win a book!

Great Rescues: a 16-month cat calendar and gift book | The Conscious Cat.

And don’t forget to vote for her site in the Petties awards—details are at the bottom of the article!

A Special Book Signing with Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat

ingrid king and me

Me, brandishing my camera, with author Ingrid King, human of Allegra, Amber and Buckley.

Jay and Bernie

The two reprobates I arrived with, Jay Davenport, human of Stirfry and Tabatha, and Bernie Tracy, human of the famous Steeler.

On Sunday I took off for Falls Church, Virginia with a person I’d never met before to get together with a bunch of other people I’d met on the internet. Sounds like the sort of thing they tell you not to do, but I happened to know that each of these persons, including myself, owned at least one tortoiseshell cat, so I knew the worst we’d do is talk about what our cats did in the litterbox or deposited on the floor.

Ingrid signs a book

Ingrid signs a book; note the purple Hershey kisses in the dish.

Besides, I did know one of the people—Ingrid King, author of Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher and the personality, along with tortie  Allegra, behind The Conscious Cat website and author of the blog post that brought us all together, “Tortitude”—the Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. I had met Ingrid at a Cat Writer’s Association conference in 2009 and purchased her book the following spring. And the group of us have been trading cat stories for at least a year on the blog post, so we had only to meet in person to feel complete!

Julie Shubin, Ingrid King, Harry Shubin

Ingrid King, center, with Julie and Harry Shubin, humans of Brooke and May.

We met at the Stray Cat Cafe in Falls Church, VA, hosted by Harry and Julie Shubin, and the book signing and Chinese auction proceeds would benefit an organization for which he volunteers and fails in fostering for the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation of Arlington, VA.

car with family stickers

Harry's car is honest about the body count in the house.

I mention “fails in fostering” because they’ve officially added another cat, Piper, who had been a foster for about five minutes, as evidenced by their car…but they’ve also found homes for many cats thr0ugh the years.

ingrid king and renee austin

Ingrid and Renee Austin, human of Eva.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Renee Austin of Whimsy Cats Specialized Home Care for Cats in Ashburn, VA and author “you-know-who” of Eva’s blog EvaEvaEva. Eva and my Peaches were BFF, and Peaches even became Eva’s virtual assistant for a while last year. Don’t just adopt a senior kitty, hire one too! I was very happy for the opportunity to meet  Renee, especially since out cats had become such good friends using our computers behind our backs.

While it’s nice to see Ingrid and Renee, I also wanted to catch a little bit of the artwork in the cafe—really wonderful colorful style and actually dimensional as the paintings continued right off the canvas onto the wall. Along with the Lost Dog Cafe, the Stray Cat Cafe helps to support the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue, so you can “eat, drink and rescue”. The menu includes Mouse Tails, Catnip Dip, Nachos Gatos, and many more feline-themed foods, and feline-themed drinks like a Neuter Shooter, Feral Hiss and other amusing names that have to do with less-than-amusing feline activities.

bernie ingrid jay

Ingrid greets Bernie and Jay.

table of four

Jay, Julie, Bernie and Harry and Julie's daughter Rachel Shubin sample the menu.

Not wanting to arrive empty-handed, I was glad to donate Tortie Girls t-shirts to the Chinese auction and sets of Feline Art Cards and Animal Sympathy Cards for sale to benefit the organization.

We’ve been corresponding on the internet and feel as if we’ve known each other for years, but without the internet we probably wouldn’t even know about each other. All of us remarked at what a wonderful opportunity it was for us to be able to get to know each other, share stories and interests and eventually get together thanks to Ingrid’s one blog post about “tortitude”!

You can see photos of everyone’s cats by visiting The Conscious Cat on Facebook.

E-news About Animals

Peaches and Cookie are exhausted with all the new information.

Peaches and Cookie are exhausted with all the new information.

Even though I’ve rescued and fostered cats for about 25 years and can provide a high level of care for just about any condition that comes along, I never presume I have nothing more to learn. My veterinarian provides the first line of information and my library of reference books complements what she teaches me. The internet has also been able to provide a source for research and a wealth of information, but in using information from the net I use the same principles I do with information found in person and in print—corroborate and substantiate, finding the same information from another source, looking for studies or other ways to back it up before I’ll use a new medication, treatment or other method of care.

I also still have my stacks of magazines and newsletters for reference, years of Cat Fancy, Cats USA, Catnip (Tufts University newsletter), Catwatch (Cornell University newsletter) and other assorted publications I’ve subscribed to or collected individually for particular articles.

Now my inbox delivers yet more information about cats and pet care in general. Just in the past week I’ve received four quality e-newsletters written by veterinarians or animal professionals. While much of what we find on the internet is “canned content”, originally written by a real human but borrowed and passed along as “news”, these are written by the authors themselves with guest article commissioned by the authors. Because these are electronic, they are so easy to share, so I’m happy to provide either links to the electronic versions or excerpts with links for where to sign up. I only wish I could share my reference library as easily!

pets weekly logoPets Weekly publishes an e-newsletter, well, not quite weekly, but frequently. It’s full of articles about dogs, cats and pets in general, wildlife, and product reviews. You can click this link to see their latest e-newsletter or visit their website to sign up for the next one and to link up with them on Facebook and Twitter.

ingrid king and amber

Ingrid and Amber

Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat publishes News for You and Your Pet twice each month. Her newsletter includes timely seasonal information for caring for your pets, information on her upcoming teleseminars with authors or animal practitioners and, as a reiki master practitioner, she also includes practical information on alternative therapies and treatments for our pets as well as a link for phone consultations. Ingrid is the author of Buckley’s Story: Lessons From a Feline Master Teacher and her newsletter includes a link to upcoming book signings.

Dr. Phil Zeltzman composes a weekly e-newsletter completely from his experience as a practicing veterinarian and veterinary surgeon. He’s covered everything from common illnesses to emergency treatments, and wrote a three-part series on pet health insurance from the owner’s, veterinarian’s and insurance company’s point of view. Dr. Zeltzman doesn’t archive his e-newsletters, but he gave me permission to publish an excerpt so you can read the information he provides:

Be A.W.A.R.E. of online pet pharmacy scams

The FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, released some interesting information about online pharmacies and their dangers. So many thanks to the FDA — our taxes at work.

Let’s start with a disclaimer: some Internet pharmacies that sell pet drugs are reputable. However, many others are fronts for businesses breaking Federal, State, and sometimes International laws.

I recently heard of someone who had found a cheap source of medication for a serious (human) medical condition. The person was surprised to received unlabeled capsules taped to a piece of cardboard. An investigation revealed that the capsules contained counterfeit Tylenol…

Illegal online pharmacies may sell medications that are counterfeit, outdated, mislabeled, incorrectly formulated, or improperly made or stored.

These medications may not contain the actual drug, or the correct amount of drug, may contain contaminants, may not work as well due to age or being stored in conditions that were too hot, cold, or humid, and may not have the proper directions for use.

If you are unhappy with ordered products, illegal online pharmacies may fraudulently leave you with no way to get your money back. In the end, you may find buying prescription pet medications online costly to your pet’s health… and your wallet.

If you find a cheaper medication online, ask your family vet to consider matching the price. Many vets are willing to competitively charge based on the online price you’ve found (and can show proof of). You should also know that neither the drug maker nor your family vet will stand behind a product’s guarantee if you purchase the product online.

If you still want to purchase your pet’s prescription medications online, remember there is no fool-proof way to tell if an online pharmacy is legal. However, you can protect yourself by doing your homework and being online pharmacy A.W.A.R.E.

Visit Dr. Zeltzman’s website to sign up to receive his e-newsletter.

And the fourth I recently received is Pet Connection, “A letter from Dr. Marty Becker, ‘America’s Veterinarian’ “. This is also not archived on the internet and I don’t have permission to reprint any of the content, but you are probably familiar with Dr. Becker anyway from his TV appearances and magazine articles. The latest issue includes articles promoting basic health care for cats plus spay and neuter information, Dr. Becker’s latest appearances, product reviews, therapy dogs, breaking up dog fights and more. You can read a little about the newsletter and sign up to receive it here, and you can also enjoy blog postings and a huge archive of articles about animals.

In addition, you can also electronically subscribe to Catwatch and Catnip, and you can also read selected articles from Cat Fancy on

So spend some of these hot days inside learning yet more about our animal companions! I thank these people for taking the time to sit down and write, compile, design and send these out.

We Remember Amber



It’s never welcome news when a friend’s cat is ill, especially when the friend is a skilled caregiver providing all the requirements for a healthy life. Logic or intuition, or both, may warn you that only the most virulent diseases could get through the defenses your friend has provided her cat, and the outcome may not be good.

Yesterday our friend Ingrid King said goodbye to her precious Amber. Ingrid always described Amber as “a wise old soul in a feline body”, quiet, loving, gentle, purring constantly, providing comfort and support for her human mom though times of great change and other loss.

ingrid king and amber

Ingrid and Amber

You could see Amber’s inner peace in any photo of her, always composed and calm. A tortoiseshell cat, Amber had the typically unique markings, and Ingrid found her name from the heart-shaped amber spot on the top of Amber’s head.

image of book cover

Buckley's Story

I’ve gotten to “know” Amber through reading her posts on Ingrid’s blog, The Conscious Cat, in Amber’s Mewsings, but I feel as if I just “met” Amber through reading Ingrid’s book, Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher. I really appreciated getting to know the loving and free-spirited Buckley who inspired Ingrid to change her career and then to write the book, but always in the background was Amber, quietly providing support and love, never questioning, always devoted to Ingrid. I’ve known cats like her, and aside from all the other lessons in the book I came away loving Amber very much.

A chronic illness can prepare you for a loss, but an acute disease, especially with non-specific symptoms, can send you and your veterinarian scrambling for answers, and the loss can be a shock. After noticing some non-specific symptoms about ten days ago she began treating Amber for laryngitis and coaxing her to eat, but Amber ended up in feline intensive care and was diagnosed with a virulent calcivirus, complicated by an underlying heart condition.

Ingrid has also been a supportive mentor for me as I’ve learned social networking, blogging and using Facebook.

It’s hard to believe Amber gone so quickly, and Ingrid and her new kitten Allegra must be feeling very lost, so my household will send them love.

My Creative Process on “Buckley’s Story” by Ingrid King

As both an animal artist and photographer and a commercial artist and designer, my cats are my muse, even if they aren’t the subject of my creative endeavor.

ingrid king and amber

Ingrid and Amber

Ingrid King, author of Buckley’s Story, has featured me again on Buckley’s Story in “The Creative Process” as I get to offer my understanding of how I create a piece of artwork, writing or a poem, and how my cats have been my muse and encouragement all along, even in commercial art.

While you are there, take the time to read about Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher and about Ingrid’s holistic approach to animal wellness, and make sure you visit The Conscious Cat as well.

I met Ingrid King at the Cat Writer’s Association annual conference in November 2009 and heard her speak about her book. From her loss of Buckley, a joyful and affectionate tortoiseshell cat who was diagnosed with heart disease after only two years, came an entire book, written immediately after Buckley’s passing. Since then it has received glowing reviews in the pet and pet loss industries.

image of book cover

Buckley's Story

I featured Ingrid and Buckley’s Story in my series Pet Loss in the First Person in the article entitled “Turning Loss into Creativity with Ingrid King and Buckley’s Story”. Ingrid tells how her career wandered around, forming into a helping, healing profession until Buckley joined, then left her life. She began writing in the midst of her grief, with a goal of having the book available to others by the first anniversary of Buckley’s passing, like a promise kept.