|Zeke is a therapy cat|
I have just returned from BlogPaws 2014 conference in Lake Vegas, Nevada*. As always I'm buzzing with excitement and ideas. The conference is a welcoming break and getaway to learn new social media trends, reconnect with online friends and cat bloggers, forge new friendships, and simply enjoy a change of scenery. It also recharges my batteries and motivation to fulfill big ideas.
BlogPaws is exactly what it says--a pet blogging conference. This was my third year in attendance but my first year as an award nominee for not one but two awards--Best Cause and Best Video. Many attendees recognized the name and follow my efforts as evidenced in their applause at the ceremony. It is comforting and a motivational boost that my hard work, sweat and tears is paying off. The support of fellow pet bloggers can only mean that each year more cats will be saved from abandonment in the streets, at the pound and from euthanasia. The POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA!
|Herman at age 15 is a seasoned traveler|
A highlight was the pets in attendance along with their human owners. Since this is a cat blog, this review will focus more on the cat stuff, fluff, and furr.
We love our cats so much we blog about them, dote on them, worship them...what better way than with a portrait. Artist BzTat is a huge supporter of animal welfare and specializes in pet portraits both digital and painted that she raffled off 40 digital portraits at the conference! Visit her website to admire her work and contact Bz (aka Vicki) for a personalized contemporary art piece of your beloved furry family member.
|Christine Michaels and BzTat at BlogPaws reception|
|Digital portrait of my eldest cat Jean Pierre by BzTat|
Networking with key individuals in the industry is important in reaching my goal of raising awareness for homeless, feral and black cats. Pictured below is a dear person who truly loves her job and cares about animals--Olivia Melikhov, the social media manager for the ASPCA.
|Olivia Melikhov (ASPCA) and Christine Michaels|
The conference would not be possible without the sponsorship of major brands like Only Natural Pet, Hill's, Pet360, PetSafe, Natural Balance, and AAHA. I thank them all for their support to subsidize the majority of costs, which allows bloggers, many of whom do not make money from blogging, to attend, network, learn and advance animal welfare!
|Petsmart Charities wearing red capes--very snazzy ladies!
(I wonder if they have superpowers like me? Where's my black cat suit?)
|(No superpowers here but those cute photos would have me sign up!)|
I was impressed that this year Hill's sponsored a number of events including a private luncheon to brainstorm ideas of how to increase adoptions of shelter cats which far outweigh that of dogs. I offered my "proven formula" for getting cats adopted within six months. Paws crossed Hill's can turn it into blueprint for all shelters across the country!
|Attendee proudly shows her frosted nose from devouring|
the yummy cupcakes sponsored by Hill's
|Odilia at BlogPaws 2013|
|(Courtesy of Bernadette Kazmarski of TheCreativeCat.net)|
|Odilia today (Courtesy of Amy Hanna)|
I came across many pets including dogs and cats, ferrets, birds...but word circulated that the famous Waffles (from Glogirly's Katie & Waffles) was in the hotel! You see I harbor a secret crush on this orange fluff ball. Please don't tell Jean Pierre my original orange love, aka "my husband". No one will replace my beloved Jean Pierre. But something about a younger fireball...Could I be a cougar?
Calls, text messages ensued and I kept missing the elusive Waffles. Then as I set sail, or should a I say start "rowing" in a paddle boat I received a message that Waffles was making an appearance at the conference--of course now that I was in a bathing suit outdoors in middle of the lake. I hustled back to the beach, (got my workout--thanks Waffles!) and hastily donned my coverup and raced to the conference lobby. And there he was--tucked away in his sporty orange stroller.
|"I see people"|
|Marketing and Image is everything when you're a celebrity cat like Waffles|
|Waffles loves to poke his head out to catch the A/C breeze while strolling|
|"Oh no more Catarazzi. Better duck"|
FAMOUS CAT BLOGGERS
|Debbie Glovatsky (Glogirly) and Christine Michaels (Miami Cat Lady)|
Another highlight is reconnecting in person with online/blogging friends. We connect year round online through blogosphere and social media-sphere--Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest...Below are leading cat bloggers in the country. JaneA Kelley (left) from Paws and Effect and Angie Bailey (right) from CatLadyland. These are pros who know how to write, engage and make a difference in educating about cats!You want to follow their blogs, learn and have a good laugh too!!!
|JaneA Kelley, Christine Michaels and Angie Bailey|
And finally I met the Queen of cat bloggers--Ms. Layla Morgan Wilde from Cat Wisdom 101! Layla is a holistic cat behaviorist and and has won numerous awards and accolades. I'm so honored to meet and pose with her! Following in these cat steps is no easy feat! And that's why I attend #BlogPaws--to learn from the best.
Pleasure to meet and follow:
Meg Hart www.housecatconfidential.com
Linda Rodgers www.SavannahsPawTracks.com
Kimberley Koz www.wonderpurr.com
Robin Mudge www.Playfulkitty.net
And great to see Ann Boyajian from the artistic and humorous www.cattywumpuscats.blogspot.com
I'm looking forward to what the year will bring up leading up to next year's conference in Nashville, TN. Elvis and Dolly--look out! Here comes the Sexy Cat Lady from Miami--I'll need to get high heel cowgirl boots and a matching hat. What I do for these cats in the name of publicity...
*Note: While legal to do so, Christine elected to pay for all expenses out of her pocket and refused to use any nonprofit funds. The cats need it more for vet care.