Tag: Cat Lovers

Crazy Cat Ladies Rock! Okey – the cat who started a movement

Okey's Promise white cat named Okey
“Okey” artwork by Bztat

I was already a Crazy Cat Lady before Okey found me.

As much as I love cats, I have always been pretty staunch in sticking to my boundaries with taking in new pets. I had four cats when Okey showed up, which was already one over my limit. I had only stretched my boundaries for the fourth (Who) because my mother’s cat needed a home when she went into a nursing home.

I really did not need another cat.

To be truthful, I tried to ignore Okey’s presence at first. She appeared in the parking lot of my building one day, which was not highly unusual. I live in a downtown area where occasional transient feral cats travel by.

But Okey would not be ignored.

I don’t think she wanted to be noticed, but she was bright white in color, making a strong contrast to the drab colors of the parking lot.

And she was not transient. Unlike other cats I have seen in the area, she stuck around. I eventually discovered that she had made herself a bed under the air conditioning unit of the building behind mine.

Okey was not streetwise either, which was different from other cats I have seen around my building. It was pretty clear that she had been “dumped” as she was not very good at staying out of traffic and out of view.

After she nearly was crushed beneath the wheels of my truck twice, I decided to rescue her.

I set a trap near her “bed” beneath the AC unit. It took a couple of days, but she eventually went in the trap and was no longer a parking lot kitty. I named her Okey after the Okey Law Firm building where she was rescued.

When she came inside, I realized that she was not feral. She was open to human contact, and she loved having her head rubbed. She was very timid, though, and seemed fearful that I would hurt her.

I expected that I would try to find Okey a home other than mine, but when I took her in to be spayed, I realized that I had fallen in love with this little cat. Getting back into my truck alone while she was at the vet, a Dixie Chicks song on the radio brought me to tears.

“How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough cuz I’m never going to give you up.”

It was clear to me at that point that Okey had found a home.

It also became clear to me that Okey had likely been abused before she found me. Her behavior had all the classic signs – desiring affection but fearing it; shrinking away at sudden movements; constant anxiety and hypervigilance; etc.

Knowing that child abuse and domestic violence often are present when animal abuse occurs, I was haunted by the knowledge that Okey’s previous home may have had other victims.

Many people had followed Okey’s story on Facebook, as I had shared with my friends about the newest creature in my life. In fact, a number of them had contributed funds for her vet care.

I knew that her story was powerful, and that others wanted to hear it.

Soon the Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause project was born.

Okey’s Promise is a public art initiative to raise awareness about the connections between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.

Most people are unaware of those connections. It is my mission, and my little cat’s legacy to make sure that EVERYONE becomes aware. My hope is that awareness will lead to action that will make ours a safer world for animals and for children and other vulnerable persons.

I can create great artworks that move people and open their eyes and hearts. I need help, though. I cannot do it alone.

I need the support of others to make it happen. Would you like to be one of Okey’s Promise Keepers?

You can read about my latest project and fund raising campaign here. Please share with others who you think may be interested,

More than everything, please help me share Okey’s story, so that we can eradicate animal abuse and it’s connected abuse to humans.

If doing that is crazy, who wants to be sane?

 The video below was made to celebrate Okey’s Gotcha Day on October 30, 2011. it chronicles her journey from being a parking lot kitty to taking her place among my fabulous felines to being a worldwide sensation.

Please contact me if you would like to share Okey’s story and info about the new project on your blog or other media. I look forward to Okey’s story being told by many!

Crazy Cat Ladies Rock! The Brew and Me

Artist BZTAT and her cat Brewskie Butt
BZTAT and her cat Brewskie Butt

Every year, the Pets Add Life Campaign (PAL) asks me (and a bunch of other bloggers) to help them share about the joys and benefits of pet ownership. PAL’s mission is to encourage pet adoption and responsible pet ownership, and their method is very positive – share real life stories about how pets can enhance your life.

I usually let my cat Brewskie Butt (AKA the Brew) handle the writing for the campaign on his blog Just Meowin’, but since I am writing about being a Crazy Cat Lady here this week, I thought the PAL concept fit the theme. I decided to write about the campaign myself in this space.

I am sure that the Brew will add his thoughts in future posts as well. The Brew ALWAYS has his own thoughts, and he is ALWAYS one to share them.

Artist BZTAT's Five Cats
BZTAT’s Five Cats

Brewskie sure adds life in my home, as he is the constant stirrer-upper.

Whatever I or any of my 4 other cats are up to, Brewskie seems to find a way to be smack dab in the middle of it. He can be quite obnoxious about it, in fact.

I cannot imagine my life without him, though, nor can I imagine living without any of my 5 cats.

I truthfully do not recommend having 5 unless you are financially and physically able to keep up with the care and demands of 5 animals. Three would be a better number for me, but, you know, things happen.

I do recommend having more than one pet, though. Having multiple pets allows you to have that very special connection that pets offer many times over. It always amazes me how I relate to each of my cats in a unique way that is special to that animal alone.

Having multiple pets also allows the animals to socialize with each other, which is good for them. It is nice for them to have buddies when you are not around.

All of my cats were rescued in some form or fashion. I will try to share each cat’s rescue story this week in different blog posts.

Brewskie was rescued from the side of a country road when he was a kitten by a school teacher. He found his way to my home through a friend whose niece was in the teacher’s class.

Brewskie Butt cat on the beach with a beer painting by BZTAT
“Beach Brew” painting by BZTAT

As I was contemplating a name for him the first night we met, I looked over and saw him sampling my freshly poured beer on the counter.

I am a firm believer that cats earn their names.

Now, you may think that I am crazy for having 5 cats. You may think I am crazy for allowing my cat Brewskie Butt to have his own blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

So be it. It is a way of life that has nourishes me since I was a child, and I think that there are many worse ways to live your life.

My cats provide me with love, companionship, constant humor, and as a pet artist, constant creative inspiration.

Crazy Cat Ladies Rock and their Pets Add Life.

Nuff said.

(Make sure to follow Pets Add Life on Facebook, and share photos of your beloved pets on their page!)

This post is sponsored by the Pets Add Life campaign and the American Pet Products Association. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the benefits and joys of pet ownership. What a gig, huh?

Crazy Cat Ladies Rock!

Gray Maine Coon Cat photo by BZTAT
“Who” photo by BZTAT

The myth of the Crazy Cat Lady being some kind of social reject who hoards cats and ends up neglecting them is so yesterday.

Even the recent attempt by the media to connect cat lovers with an evil mind-wasting disease was knocked down with ferocity by cat bloggers world wide.

In a Facebook group of which I am an avid participant, we consider being a Crazy Cat Lady a badge of honor. Crazy Cat Guys are the bomb too! Loving cats and sharing with other cat lovers is for socially connected folks, not social rejects.

I decided that I would do a series of posts about being a Crazy Cat Lady this week and write how my feline brood influences my artwork. I hope that you enjoy the posts and the cat photos with which I plan to inundate you this week.

Are you a cat lover? Do you wear your status as badge of honor?

Disclaimer: I am an avid dog lover too, but having cats as my personal pets, they are my first love. No dissing of dogs and dog lovers is intended with this series, although my cats may hiss at them here and there.