March's spotlight is on Ryker, the cat that came before Allie, Maxwell, and Faraday from A Tonk's Tail blog. Since Ryker is sadly no longer with us, I had the honor to speak with his wonderful mom, Lisa Richman. It was my very first interview with a human and I was nervous, bus Miss Lisa is a sweetheart and instantly put me at ease. Following the interview we'll tell you about how you can purchase an extra special copy of Rescued for yourself or a gift for a friend...which in turn is also a gift for kitties in need!
Truffles: Hi Miss Lisa! I am *so* excited to be chatting with you, but a little nervous too. This is my first one-on-one interview with a human! Mommy said you're super nice and Maxie, Allie, and Faraday's mom, so that made me feel more comfortable. What is life like around the house with that crazy trio?
LR: Thank you so much for wanting to chat with us - we're honored! And please don't be nervous. I promise, I don't bite. (That would be Faraday. And he only nips every third Wednesday, and twice on Sundays. Or whenever the spirit moves him.)
What's life like at our home? A never-ending sitcom. Seriously, the way these three interact with each other has us laughing. All the time. Right now, Allie and Faraday are on the mantel above me, and Allie's resting her head on Faraday's butt.
(This is a first, and completely out of character. Wait. THAT'S NOT ALLIE. OMG, SHE'S BEEN BODY SNATCHED!)
Photo: Lisa Richman
The cat that came before me, Tara, was Mommy's inspiration to start writing about cats, and it appears that Ryker was your inspiration. What made him so special and what made you decide to write his story for the Rescued anthology?
Ryker was a cat whose personality was larger than life. Certainly larger than his little 9 pound body should have been able to contain! From the moment I met him, he was wildly extroverted, loud and opinionated. It was clear he believed his every action should be center stage. And if you didn't believe it, just ask him - he'd set you straight. It was easy to tell his story. The challenge was what to leave out, in order to stay within word count.
As you know, us kitties live for the moment and don't think about death and dying the way humans do, but I know that a kitty's passing is one of life's greatest heartaches. Ryker left you quite suddenly and unexpectedly. How were you able to recover and heal from that awful day?
Not easily! I think losses like this are especially hard. With long, lingering illnesses, you can often begin the grieving process before your loved one is actually lost to you. When it happens so suddenly, it can take longer to work through. And as you know, grief has no timetable. The journey is different for everyone.
Mommy always jokes that she was born with a cat under one arm and a book under the other. When did your love of cats begin?
I was in grade school when we adopted our first two cats. That number grew quite a bit over the years. My parents both love cats, too (I think my dad, more than my mom, sometimes! Oh, and books, too. My dad and I swap book titles all the time).
Photo: A Tonk's Tail
We are *ginormous* fans of A Tonk's Tail. The writing is always so creative and the photography is just beautiful. Could you give us a glimpse into how a typical blog post comes to life?
The blog has changed a bit over the past few years. I used to post longer informational articles on everything from the origin of a cat-related saying to the curious science about them. But my day job has made that more difficult, so now my geeky science stuff shows up on Catster every week or two, and I dedicate A Tonk's Tail to photographic humor, feline-style.
How it comes to life? I might have mentioned that being around these three is like living in the midst of a furry sitcom. I just capture the incriminating evid-- err, ah, the photos, and chronicle what I observe. I really do "channel" their personalities!
The rescue group you are supporting is Great Plains SPCA. Can you tell us about the work they do and how you're involved with them?
Over the past few years, Great Plains took over the management of a municipal 'kill' shelter in addition to running their own facility. The challenges they have faced turning this facility No Kill have been virtually insurmountable. It both breaks my heart and makes me incredibly proud to see the gritty determination of staff and volunteers, working to ensure every cat finds a forever home. I began volunteering there (along with their sister shelter, Wayside Waifs) several years ago, and my work centers mainly around video production and social media promotion.
What are some things that everybody can do in their own communities to help "less adoptable" cats find their forever homes?
Educate! It shocks me how few shelter volunteers really understand FIV, for instance. Or that a black cat is 5 times more likely to be euthanized in a shelter environment.
And that goes for me, too. We can always keep learning. For instance, I wasn't aware until recently that there are five different FIV strains that vary in intensity. I wonder how many people know this....
Lastly, you're such a wonderful writer, have you ever thought about writing a book?
Thank you so much for your kind words. There are so many talented writers out there and their words are far more compelling! Someday. Who knows? Allie's story is waiting to be told, and there may be another tale or two waiting in the wings.
Last year, Great Plains - whose capacity is 175 cats - reached a population of almost 800 within a matter of months. This extreme overpopulation threatened not only their No Kill status, but their very existence as well. You can read all about their story here.
They're heading into kitten season again, with a population already at 155. Any donation, large or small, will help. Purchasing a copy of Rescued is one way to do this.
When you purchase your copy of Rescued from the sidebar ad on A Tonk's Tail, you'll also receive a pawtographed bookplate with Ryker's very own signature from the Rainbow Bridge, which was taken by the emergency clinic as a keepsake for his family.
Photo: Lisa Richman