Today, we have Merlin, Gris Gris, Domino and Odin – the four handsome mancats from Cat Wisdom 101. In case you haven’t met them yet, we know you will enjoy their story. And if you do know them well, are you certain you know everything about them? Let’s see how much you remember.
Funny Farmer Felines: Would you introduce yourself and your mom to everyone?
Merlin: As the eldest cat, I’ll speak first. All four of us are very lucky to have the best pet parents which we call cat daddy and mom. Thank you for providing this opportunity to speak our minds. I’m a chatty Siamese who will be 19 in October with CKD (chronic kidney disease). I’ve been blind for a couple years. We live in an antique farmhouse in Westchester County, NY with my mom Layla, a holistic cat behaviorist, writer/photographer and the brains behind Cat Wisdom 101, but she has help. I dispense my wit and wisdom with Mondays with Merlin. My fur bros test and review cat products, do cat book reviews and act as general blog assistants.
Gris Gris: I’m shy and don’t like to be photographed. let alone be interviewed. I’m almost 15 and lived for ten miserable years as a basement mouser, and then over a year in a tiny room at a shelter being bullied, but I’m happy as a clam now. I’m only 6 pounds, whip smart and not the cuddly sort but like being brushed. Btw, my name is pronounced gree gree.
Domino: I’m also very shy, being a former feral with a very rough past, and don’t have much to say. I’m ten-years-old, FIV+ and lived as a feral on the porch for seven years before I allowed myself to be trapped and neutered. Yeah, I’m a wily survivor with broken teeth and tail to show for it. Now I’m an indoor lap cat. Apparently, I’m a breed called a Snowshoe and love drooling while making biscuits.
Odin: What about me? I’m the youngest at three and shy is not in my vocabulary. Despite my rotten kittenhood I turned out okay. Well an ADHD version. I was abandoned as a kitten in the mean streets of the Bronx, got an infected eye that ballooned to the size of a golfball and then the eye had to be removed, so I only have one eye. I’ve been on TV with Jackson Galaxy, plus I’m an expert tree climber, wrestler and world-class hunter. I’m a little insecure and like to brag. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m a mama’s boy.
We’re all damaged and imperfect and that’s why we advocate for cat adoption of special needs cats.
Funny Farmer Felines: What nicknames does your mom have for you?
Merlin: Merlie, Merliss, Murr Murr, Bougie Bearskins, Moojee.
Gris Gris: I do not answer to any foolish nicknames.
Domino: Dom Dom
Odin: Odie, Otis, Otis Winker
Funny Farmer Felines: How did you come to live with your mom?
Merlin: Mom adopted me and my sister Angel Coco 18 years ago. After Coco died in 2010, I was bereft and lonely so mom thought fostering cats might help. Odin and Gris arrived together and we bonded immediately and the rest is failed foster history. I’d been outdoor friends with Domino for years but we didn’t get close until he came to live indoors. He’s my best friend and snuggle buddy.
Funny Farmer Felines: What do you consider the main theme or purpose of your blog?
Merlin: Our tagline is to enlighten and entertain cat lovers everywhere. It’s a mix of educational articles on feline wellness and cat behavior from vets and other experts to fun cat product giveaways, cat book reviews and always lots of cat art and photos. We’ve had tremendous growth in two years and it’s time for us to give back. Our new ETSY shop of feline fine art and photography benefits cats in need.
Funny Farmer Felines: You advocate for cat adoption of special needs cats. Any particular reason?
Odin: We’re all special needs cats and know what it’s like to be imperfect and unwanted in a shelter. We demonstrate daily at our blog how wonderful adopting a special needs cat can be. I mean, look at me, would you ever think I was “special needs”?
Funny Farmer Felines: We loved reading your bios. You all have some intriguing interests, such as.singing opera, chief imagineer, or general buffoonery. But Gris Gris, we truly hope you will explain “shapeshifting.” That’s a new one on us.
Gris Gris: Well, I’m very private but if you insist. Shape-shifting is the ability to change one’s appearance and shift into another form the way we do when we dream.
Funny Farmer Felines: We are quite curious to know why you each list a different religion in your bios – Love, Zen Buddhist, Jewish (does not keep kosher), Druid. Did you each learn this from your catmom or did you choose when you became of proper age?
Domino: Mom listed different religions according to our personalities but it’s tongue-in-cheek. Our true religion is love and our temple is found in nature under the sun, moon and stars.
Funny Farmer Felines: Also, you each have a different occupation. Would you like to share these with readers?
Merlin:Occupation: Professor Emeritus of Cat Wisdom 101, chief cat book reviewer,columnist, model and muse.
Gris Gris: Chief Imagineer and seeing-eye cat for blind Merlin.
Domino: Chief of security/vermin exterminator/bodyguard/unwitting supermodel.
Odin: CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer), official cat product tester and model.
Funny Farmer Felines: Your blog is a Petties finalist. Which shelter or rescue will benefit from your prize if you win the Best Blog Award?
Merlin: If we win the Pettie Award Best Cat Blog, it will benefit The Annex Cat Rescue which was founded by mom in Toronto, Canada in 1997.
Funny Farmer Felines: We didn’t realize your mom has a rescue. She must be a very caring person. Would you tell us a little about the rescue?
Merlin: My mom loves all animals but is crazy about cats and their treatment, since she was a toddler. Animal cruelty drives her insane! When we lived in Toronto, Canada, she used to feed a feral colony in the neighborhood called the Annex. After we moved she had the idea to create a cat rescue called The Annex Cat Rescue ( I know, not very original!) to help feed the colony, and set up a network of foster homes for strays and a TNR program. So she contacted the local newspaper and they printed a call for volunteers and unexpectedly printed our address.
On evening our doorbell rang and a woman on bicycle asked, is this the Annex Cat Rescue? Mom said yes, and the woman handed over a hundred dollar bill and so that was the humble beginning. I was the original mascot and mom and I hosted several fundraisers in our home. Early meetings were held in our living room where we’d also make catnip toys to sell. Before long we grew and acquired charitable status. After we moved to the U.S. we focused on local cat rescue. The Annex Cat Rescue has grown tremendously since the early years and remains our legacy.
Funny Farmer Felines: Every kitty likes to get into mischief.. What kind of mischief do you get into? Separately or together?
Merlin: I no longer get into any mischief since losing my vision. Actually, I was always inordinately civilized except for my penchant for catching chipmunks.
Gris Gris: I much prefer esoteric pursuits to mere mischief.
Domino: I’m a good boy. It’s not mischief but I love loud wrestling matches with Odin.
Odin: Mischief? Where do I begin. According to my mom, I attract trouble like flies to honey but I’m just being curious and helpful. I leave nibbled mousie gifts. I help mom declutter by knocking things off shelves. I spy on neighbors by climbing on their roof and last but not least, I like shiny objects and hide them. Mom is still missing her favorite watch and earrings. hehehe.
Funny Farmer Felines: What advice would you give to anyone just starting a blog, in particular a specific purpose blog?
Merlin: For cat blogs, I would suggest being as niche and specific as possible. i.e. cats who work in a vet’s office, blind cats who volunteer in nursing homes etc. There are so many cat blogs and if you want to stand out it must be different.
Gris Gris: Before beginning, identify why you want to blog, what your niche is, what’s unique about your angle. Identify your strengths. Are you good at photography but not writing or vice versa? If you’re tech savvy, I recommend a self-hosted WordPress platform. If you’re not tech savvy, try to learn as much as you can technically. If you’re not skilled at design, have a pro design your blog.
Domino: Decide what your goals are and how much time you’re willing to invest. Blogging successfully takes time, creativity and energy. Decide if it’s a fun hobby blogging once a week or a serious pursuit to build an audience with goals to monetize it. It may be a way to build a platform for writers or other businesses. Serious bloggers blog 5 to 7 days a week, are highly engaged in social media, create consistent, compelling content but still have fun. They interact with their readers, social media share and comment on other blogs.
Odin: The cat blogging community has many talented bloggers willing to share their expertise and best of all, their loving hearts in times of need or loss.
Funny Farmer Felines: Very good advice, guys. We can’t thank you enough for sitting down with us today.
Odin, we’ve never met a real live mouse. Perhaps one of these days you’ll loan us one of your nibbled ones to leave around to give Jan a good laugh. Come to think of it, she’d probably have apoplexy if she found one, nibbled or whole. Perhaps we’d better not try it.
Be sure to visit Cat Wisdom 101 to read more about Merlin, Gris Gris, Domino and Odin.
Oh, Cat Wisdom 101 is s Petties finalist,so we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you to vote at petties.dogtime.com for your favorite blogs daily. Voting ends July 31, 2013, so hurry.