Thursday, June 28, 2012

Christine goes to Blog Paws 2012

Scratching belly of "flat cat
 by Christine Michaels

This year I went to my first Blog Paws conference. What is it? It's a pet blogger's conference! It doesn't matter if your pet  is a dog, cat, ferret, horse, or chimpanzee or if you work for a vet or rescue shelter. All pet owners, educators and caretakers were welcome and their pets!

Fortunately, I've had the opportunity to appear on local TV and magazines for Riverfront Cats to raise awareness and educate the public about the plight of homeless cat,  but blogging is a powerful way to regularly engage readers and motivate them to take action--pass on information about homeless cats or make a donation or both. There's so much to blogging than just writing. It's a bit of an art and science involving marketing, branding, social media, networking and more. This conference updated me on proven practices and techniques.

One of the highlights was meeting famous bloggers that I had communicated with for months over email and Facebook but never met. So as I was staring at the name on the badge,  the light bulb went off, and a verbal explosion and refrain ensued, "Oh my cat! You're Janea from Paws and Effect!". These are bloggers who excel at the trade and focus on the cute, the funny, their personal cats, cat behavior, or cat toys and furniture, etc. and have a loyal following. Each of these people have inspired me one way or another.

Deb Barnes, Christine Michaels, Dorian Wagner
(now do we look like crazy cat ladies?)
  When I sounded the alarm on the Loews Hotel cat situation, I was amazed as to how quickly and readily these strangers were ready to help. Peter Wolf from Vox Felina in Arizona, Tamar Arslanian from I Have Cat in New York, Caren Gittleman from Cody Cat Chat in Michigan,  Steve Dale--renowned pet behaviorist, pet columnist, pet radio host..and so many others.

Two people who went above and beyond blogging about the Loews Hotel cats are Deb Barnes author of  The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey, and blogger, and Dorian Wagner of My Daily Cute blog. Their efforts demonstrate that concerted tactics, incorporated into a blog, is powerful!

Thank you Deb & Dorian--you are amazing! (I think it's time we have Cat Lady hero costumes made!)

Christine, Dorian, Tamar, Debbie
(Debbie won award for best Meow blog--Glogirly Congrats!)
 The conference also had various seminars focusing on tips and techniques to help improve our blogs. I'm already revisiting my notes and putting them into practice. Oh my! I have a lot of work to do. No time for cat naps.

Like any conference, vendors were available to showcase new products and explain their benefits.  I was amazed at the advancement and creativity of pet products from food, nutrition, grooming, training, odor control, pet decor and furniture, and the importance of a "Pet Trust" instead of a will to ensure your pets are protected like children and not used furniture that can easily be discarded at a shelter. Very informative and useful information for all pet owners. Off the top of my head was Rachel Ray's Nutrish (pet food), the FURminator (a grooming tool), and Pet360 (education on pet parenting).

Blog Paws thought of everything. With increasing popularity of cats, this conference featured a "Catification Lounge" and a treasure room of modern cat furniture from hosted by Kate Benjamin and Jackson Galaxy.

The conference also featured high caliber speakers such as Steve Dale, Lena West, and  Betsy Saul, co-founder of  For me, Betsy struck a deep chord.  Her presentation covered the history of animal rescue and the current, harsh realities about the biggest problem--stray and feral cats.  She spoke about leadership and what it takes to start a movement. She then asked us to have the courage to get out of our comfort zone and be willing to start the crazy dance (see video below) and  lead this effort. I'm sitting in the back of the room percolating-- "Betsy, I've been doing the crazy dance in Miami!" It was an affirmation, a sign from God, from Bast, the universe--I'm on the right track and in the right place with the right people. Hence my decision to formally start a nonprofit to get to the root of the problem of homeless pets-- EDUCATION--is my movement.

Thank you Blog Paws and fellow bloggers! You have inspired me more than you know. Together we can make a difference and help many homeless pets!!!


  1. Hi Christine,
    Wow what a wonderful experience! I am grateful I found your blog as it is chock full of information in helping me with my blog. Of course I love reading all your updates. If ever possible, could we speak or email directly for me to gather a few pointers from you?
    Thank you ~ Adriana

  2. i LOVE the photo with all of us! Thanks for posting and for the shout-out! Lovely to have met you! Keep on keeping on my dear! You are fighting a good fight! I can't wait to see that fancy cat food feeder in the parking lot!

  3. Hi Adriana!
    Sure feel free to email me at and then I can also give you my private cell phone. Would love to help a fellow TNR advocate.

  4. Christine you are such a natural on video and TV and your genuine passion for these animal shines through! I learned so much from the educational videos. A pet company should hire you as spokesperson! Continued success to you and efforts for Riverfront cats.