I recently returned from a week-long mini book tour promoting my new cat humor book, whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds. I enjoyed so many aspects of this tour, including time spent in cities I’d never visited, enjoying the hospitality of friends with whom I rarely get to see, and sharing the excitement about my book with other cat lovers.
During that week, I stopped at two bookstore for readings and signings, appeared on a morning TV talk show, co-hosted an in-home signing party, and signed books at a two-day cat show. Each event had one common bond: The people present loved cats. And they wanted to talk about their kitties! They shared entertaining anecdotes and heartbreaking recollections, and they flashed photos of their precious fur babies — past and present. I guess I expected cat lovers would want to engage me in some cat-chat, but I was a little bit surprised at the level of intimacy we reached in a short amount of time.
I’m accustomed to talking about cats with other feline fanciers, online and in-person. I do it every day. I suppose that week’s experiences felt different because it was several days of personally meeting nearly all brand-new people. I think, as cat lovers, we’re sometimes shy with over-sharing about our kitties, fearing people would be bored and politely nod while we ramble on about cat toys and subject them to countless cute photos. I fact, I know people have hidden my Facebook posts for just that reason. And I’m really OK with that. I know some feel the same way about people’s photos of their kids. Well, I have human and feline children and don’t plan on easing up on my posting habits, so hide away!
When we connect with other cat lovers — even if we’re meeting for the very first time — there’s kind of a sigh of relief. We know we’re with kindred spirits and don’t feel self-conscious or bothersome while sharing cat stories and photos. It’s an instant connection. This happened over and over again during the tour. At a bookstore, when someone would approach me to sign their book, they immediately began telling me all about their cats, and sometimes — in a matter of a few minutes — we’d both be crying because of a beloved kitty that had recently passed to the Rainbow Bridge. All emotional walls were dissolved and we suddenly became vulnerable and the best of friends. It was a total energetic connection.
At the cat show, an elderly woman who’d lost her cat the previous year (yet still wore a button with the kitty’s sweet face on it on the collar of her shirt), spent 20 minutes or more regaling me with tales of her cat’s life. She was wildly animated and had me rolling with some of the stories of her precocious pussycat, who’d lived to a solid 19 years of age. She’d leave and wander the aisles of the show for a while, but then return with more stories. She must have done this four or five times. I loved that she wanted to share all these tales with me and I sensed she needed to — it was cathartic, as it often is when we are still processing the death of a loved one. I felt honored to be a part of it.
People not only approached me with sadness and remembrance, they also wanted share stories of the cats with whom they currently shared their lives. They wanted to tell me all about how the cats found them, their personalities and how they get along with the other animals in the house. They bragged that they were their cat’s favorite and pulled out their phones to show me exactly how adorable their kitties were. Some wanted me to sign books for other people, and then proceeded to tell me all about that person and their cats. I loved every minute of it.
In a strange way, I felt kind of like a therapist or something. As I met each person, there was a sudden safety for them to release and share their love of their cats. They knew I wouldn’t judge them or become tired or bored with their stories. They loved that I asked questions about their fur babies and many of us even hugged after our time together.
I thought I was going out to promote whiskerslist, but what happened was much, much more than selling and signing books. It was more than simply meeting people and talking about cats. It was an unexpected emotional experience whose depth and impact are difficult to adequately express, but I know one things: I won’t soon forget each magical connection, and every person and cat who touched my heart.
Do you feel an immediate bond with other cat lovers? Tell us about it in the comments!
About the Author: Angie Bailey is a goofy girl with freckles and giant smile who wants everyone to be her friend. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, and thinking about cats doing people things. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that may or may not offend people. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.
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