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Although this is the season of giving and gratitude, I make a practice of conscious gratitude every day. Other than the cats who have shared my life, I’m grateful for many things.

Thomas and Bella snuggled together, surrounded by a border of evergreen boughs and poinsettias

Happy Holidays!

I’m grateful to have lost my job in the winter of 2003. That sounds like a weird thing to be grateful for, but if it weren’t for that experience, there would be no Paws and Effect. What started as something to fill my time and keep my skills sharp while I looked for a new job has blossomed into something I never imagined it could. How on earth did my humble little website end up lasting so long? So many people start blogs and then they just kind of peter out because the writer runs out of energy or ideas. But you came along, and your letters and questions have provided a steady flow of inspiration for the past 11-plus years now.

I’m amazed and gratified that you continue to read this blog and that I’m somehow able to keep writing stuff you care about. Thank you so much for sticking with the cats and me through our ups and downs and huge transformations in our lives. Thanks also for joining us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I even have an Instagram account where I share mostly photos of the Paws and Effect Gang and beautiful things I see where I live, so if you’re interested in that, feel free to follow me there, too.

I’ve also been fortunate to find people who inspire me to keep giving back and do whatever I can to help cats in need.

The tireless volunteers at HART of Maine, where I volunteered for just under a year before I moved to the West Coast, showed me what dedication and hard work can do to save cats’ lives. Through the folks at HART, I learned about Diabetic Cats In Need, another amazing organization with a small crew of dedicated volunteers helping to keep diabetic cats in their homes and transport diabetic kitties to loving forever homes or foster homes where their special needs will be met.

But you want to know why my real heroes are? Bloggers like Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair and Kitten Associates, Dorian Wagner of Your Daily Cute and the Cute Transport Network, and Peter Wolf of Vox Felina (an advocacy blog for feral cats and TNR) inspire me with their amazing work to save cats’ lives. They’re just regular people. They have full-time jobs, they have families and social lives, but they’ve also got a fire inside them and they show me every day what’s possible when you have the passion to rescue and advocate. I’m lucky to name them among my friends and my role models.

I never would have met these people, and so many other individuals who are passionate about cats and cat rescue, if it hadn’t been for the BlogPaws conference. BlogPaws brings together pet bloggers and people who can help us grow our blogs, but it also brings together a huge community of people, all of whom share one common bond: we love animals and we want to share our love through our blogs and social media outreach.

If you’re interested in joining the BlogPaws community, it’s a free place to connect with people who share your passion about cats. You don’t have to be a famous blogger with a huge following — we only ask that you be active in social media, whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, a blog of your own, or whatever, and that you love animals. You never know if you’re going to meet your next role model or connect with someone who can help you accomplish your animal rescue goals.

Blessings of the season to you and your whole family, both two-legged and four-. And thank you, once again. You are the greatest gift I could have.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BlogPaws. I am being compensated to support Giving Month with an inspirational post, but Paws and Effect only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.