It was one of those crazy mornings; cleaning up a scarf and barf incident thanks to Charlie, trying to coax senior girl Sarabi to eat her favorite flavor of Fancy Feast and scurrying around trying to find a new spot for my latest cat grass project that the two Yoots had just uprooted! I was late for work and things went pear-shaped from there.
But later that evening I learned I had won an award! My day went from pear-shaped to on top of the world!
I couldn’t attend the event so I watched the live streaming and almost fell out of my chair from excitement when my name was announced as the winner of the Rising Star Pet Industry Woman of the year. On October 2, 2018, Women in the Pet Industry Network (WIPIN) held their annual Woman in the Pet Industry Woman of the Year Awards in conjunction with Pet Connections Expo in Philadelphia. This award celebrates and honors the unstoppable women in the pet industry and their remarkable achievements. I am incredibly honored to be mentioned alongside these highly successful women. Congratulations to all the winners and the finalists and a huge thank you to WIPIN for hosting this amazing platform of women uplifting women. I would like to thank Deborah Barnes President of the Cat Writers’ Association and award-winning author and blogger at Zee & Zoey’s Cat Creations for her support and encouragement along the way, even before we had actually met in person. Thank you to my fellow bloggers from whom I am learning every single day!
There are five categories:
Advocate Winner & 2018 PET INDUSTRY WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM with Naturally Healthy Pets
Carol Borden with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc
Peggy Hoyt with Petfriendly.love
Jen Reeder with Divided Sky
Rising Star Winner
Yasaar Nakchbendi with Chirpy Cats
Firstly, being honored as a rising star finalist allowed me to dig a little deeper into my story and why I write about cats. There was a questionnaire to submit which was a great tool in helping to define my mission and how I would like to take Chirpy Cats to the next level. Winning the Rising Star Pet Industry Woman of the Year Award solidifies my mission and purpose and inspires me to continue serving my readers (you!) useful and entertaining content that will help your cats live enriched lives.
So why write about cats?
Although cats have carved their hallowed place on the internet in the past decade, in some circles cats are still seen as evil or jerks. We see it in funny cat memes and social media all the time, often perpetuated lightheartedly by cat lovers themselves. I had encountered many people over the years who genuinely thought cats are evil! (Yes, still in this day and age). But as cat lovers, we know cats are not evil or jerks, but one of the most misunderstood species!
That doesn’t mean your cat is not going to steal the dog’s bed, because, well, they have to keep the interwebs going! But when starting my blog I wanted to reach newbie cat owners to create awareness about a cat’s particular needs, that cats are not small dogs, and to foster harmonious relationships between cats and their people. That means fewer cats in shelters and more cats in forever homes. I wanted to highlight the importance of cats as equally important members of the family, just as much as dogs are revered so that hopefully more cat-based scientific studies and research can be done on illnesses such as chronic kidney disease in cats.
I also wanted to squash the tired old stereotype, you know, the crazy cat lady myth. When people hear I have a cat blog the first thing that’s said is “Oh, so you’re the crazy cat lady.” I once wrote about this tiresome trend in a Mother’s Day post about what it means to be a cat mom and how we should embrace our cat lady status without the crazy label. We’re all strong women who are passionate about our purry paws and animals in general. We’re mothers, teachers, engineers, single, married, childless, caregivers, entrepreneurs and people who want to make a difference. There’s nothing crazy about that right!?
Women supporting women
If you have one burning question for me, whether it’s about your cats, or how to improve your photos, your branding or anything else, ask away! Even send me a private message in the contacts section if you don’t wish to leave a comment, I love getting messages and always reply! There was one question that was asked in my questionnaire and that is: “If you win Pet Industry Woman of the Year in your category or overall how will you use this title to improve this industry and women leaders?”
My answer was: “I will continue my mission to improve the lives of pets and would also love to offer my insights and expertise to others starting out in the pet industry. Often one is held back by thoughts of ‘impostor syndrome’ or that “I’m not an expert so who am I to give advice?” But I have learned to embrace and highlight my strengths and to know that the things that make me uniquely me CAN add value to someone’s day and to help make a difference in the lives of people and their furry companions.
Below is my video presentation which we were asked to produce as part of being a Pet Industry Woman of the Year Finalist, showcasing who we are, overall achievements, what our passions are and why we do what we do. In a nutshell, this is The Lady Cat behind the Chirpy Cats blog.
So, I’ve managed to salvage my cat grass project from mischievous paws, but I still have to figure out why Sarabi only likes her favorite cat food for four days of the week. I suspect I will never the know answer to that! There is one thing about the cat species that we can all agree on, some things will remain a mystery!
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