1. CatChannel: What was your inspiration for writing Cat Calls and why was now the right time?
Jeanne Adlon: I felt that after 35 years as a professional full-time cat sitter and caring for so many wonderful cats (and their owners), that now was the time to share my unique cat stories and “commonsense” cat-care advice. Cat-sitting in Manhattan is never dull and I have certainly seen it all, from pampered kitties who require their food served in Waterford crystal, to a special kitty with a delicate tush whose litterbox is filled with facial tissues, to a brave kitty whose roommate is a tarantula! I also have loads of advice to share. In fact, my clients tend to call me before they call their vet, but if I can’t answer them I always refer them back to their vet.
Susan Logan: Although Jeanne shared stories with me that ranged from hilarious to heartwarming, her cheerful tone of voice is what inspired me most to write this book. All you need to do is listen to Jeanne talk for five minutes to know that she cares about both cats and people with an enthusiasm that is both genuine and infectious.
2. What was the most rewarding part of the book? Did you enjoy the writing process?
JA: The most rewarding part of writing Cat Calls was sharing my many experiences. I keep notes on my clients and I loved going back through the years and revisiting the terrific cats I have cared for, their stories and experiences. I grow very attached to my feline charges and their owners, and this book is a tribute to all of them.
SL: The most rewarding part about writing this book was developing friendships with Jeanne, our project manager Karen Jones and the team at Square One Publishers. Even though I live in California, I feel like I now have family in New York.
3. What was the most difficult part of writing the book?
JA: As a first-time author, everything was brand new. I found organizing all the cat stories and advice into chapters challenging. Fortunately my coauthor CAT FANCY editor Susan Logan is a real pro and helped me throughout the entire process. It was a learning curve but I am very proud of the result.
SL: The most difficult part was juggling my responsibilities on a monthly magazine, website, two annuals, and still finding time to write. I actually gained weight while working on the book, because I couldn’t find time to exercise. It didn’t help that I chose Panera Bread as my writing venue, but I had too many distractions at home and at work to write there.
4. How did you enjoy working together?
JA: I loved working with Susan Logan and could not have done the book without her. She is a genuinely warm and funny person, in addition to being a true cat lover and expert. She was able to bring my stories to life on the page and I also learned a great deal from her. Her knowledge of cat care is amazing and I really enjoyed the collaborative process of deciding the best commonsense advice for readers.
SL: Jeanne is such a fun, interesting and genuine person. It’s a pleasure to read her advice.
5. What can living with animals teach us?
JA: That’s an easy question. They can teach us about compassion, patience and the joy of unconditional love. My kitties make me laugh every day. I have to linger just a bit on my way out because they are always doing something I need to be a part of. Also, they don’t ask much of us — just kindness, love, a good meal and cat treats — I am all about cat treats!
SL: My cats have taught me how to just “be there” for someone. You don’t have to worry about what to say or how to say it, and they don’t care about our image. I can completely relax around them and I have nothing to prove. They love and accept us as we are, as long as we care for their needs and treat them with love. I think everyone needs that, because our lives are too stressful without it.
6. What would you like readers to learn from this book?
JA: I want people to enjoy the stories of the many cats I have cared for — each unique and special in their own way. There are also plenty of cat care basics for them to review. Cats like clean litterboxes, fresh food and water, a cozy spot to snooze, treats and TLC. Above all I want readers to celebrate the special bond of sharing their home with a cat. I always say whatever we give our amazing feline friends comes back to us ten-fold.
SL: I hope that people glean many helpful, creative tips for improving their cats’ lives without beating themselves up or feeling guilty for past mistakes. We’re all learning and doing the best we can for our pets with the knowledge we have, and we should never stop learning. Every life has something to teach us.
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