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I bet most of you had no idea that there’s a professional group just for people who write about cats. But yes, Virginia, there is — and it’s called, not surprisingly, the Cat Writers’ Association.

Today I’m reporting from the annual Cat Writers’ Association Conference in White Plains, N.Y. About 100 of us are gathered here, and a lot of names will be familiar to those of you who read Cat Fancy, Cats USA, and other cat magazines and websites. Some of the people whose work has been the inspiration for my own work as a cat advice blogger are also here, and it’s an absolute thrill to meet them.

Amy Shojai, author of 22 books on cats and dogs, is here. It was her book Complete Care for Your Aging Cat, as well as Pam Johnson-Bennett’s Think Like a Cat, that got me started on my path to learning everything I could about felinekind, and from there, to writing my own cat advice column, Paws and Effect, in 2003. If it hadn’t been for these women and their work, I certainly wouldn’t know nearly as much as I do about cats. I also wouldn’t have had any idea that a cat writers’ association exists.

I feel especially honored because I’m giving a workshop of my own. I’m a nerd and I love to teach and speak in public (yes, that’s an extremely rare combination), so I’m going to show people how to set up a blog. It’s a pretty awesome privilege to have the opportunity to help a group of people for whom I have such profound respect.

The conference is just getting started today, so I don’t have lots of incriminating photos or new information yet. But the “swag bag” we’ve received is full of incredibly awesome goodies that might just cause my cats to forgive me for heartlessly abandoning them for a few days.

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