Last week, the Petties were kicked off with the award for Best Cat Blog. Sparkle the Designer Cat was voted the winning blogger and her human, Janiss Garza, picked up the trophy. DogTime managed to snag an exclusive interview with the most sought-after cat in the blogosphere.
DogTime: Who or what is the inspiration for your blog?
SparkleCat: I was conscripted! When my human brought me home in October 2002, she already knew I was going to be online. She even made sure to give me a “nice,” family-friendly name (her cat before me was named Harlot). But once I got online, I decided that since I was cat, I was going to write FOR cats, not humans. She had no say about that.
DT: How did you get started?
SC: Originally, sparklecat.com was laid out in traditional html (my human even designed the site herself, which is why it looked sorta rinky-dink and cheesy). It was just a monthly diary of my exploits. Eventually I added an advice column (which was the inspiration for my two books), and then book reviews, and then product reviews/ commentary. Even more eventually, we switched over to a nicer-looking WordPress format.
DT: Do you consider yourself an animal lover who happens to blog – or a writer who loves animals?
SC: I consider myself a cat who happens to blog. My human, who has written professionally since 1986, says that someday she would like to have a book out with her own byline and not have to share with either me or a rock star (her first published book is White Line Fever, the autobiography of Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, which she co-authored). We’ll see when that ever happens.
DT: What do you do when you’re not blogging?
SC: Playing, napping, catching and eating fluffy moths and crunchy crickets. Hacking up the occasional hairball. The usual.
DT: What’s the best thing that’s happened to you personally or for the larger community, thanks to your blog?
SC: Hands down, the best thing that has ever happened as a result of my blogging was helping save Freya, a very nice black kitty who wound up on death row in a Georgia kill shelter. Robin Olson of the Covered in Cat Hair blog had a post about her, so I featured her on my blog and Facebook page. So did Dorian Wagner of Your Daily Cute. Word about this kitty spread like wildfire all over the cat blogging community and on Facebook. She wound up getting pulled at the ninth hour from the kill shelter and was transported a few days later to her new home in Arkansas. It took the internet to save a kitty! Several other cats also were rescued as a direct result of the attention Freya got.
Getting the book deal with Adams Media for my new book, Dear Sparkle: cat-to-cat advice from the world’s foremost feline columnist, was great too, and that came partly as a result of my blog… but I think helping save Freya, was an even bigger rush.
DT: What direction do you see your blog – or the blogosphere in general – going?
SC: I see the pet blogging community becoming more of a force for good, and specifically working harder for animal welfare. We animals always want to help our fellow creatures, and humans who are into pet blogging just naturally seem to gravitate towards causes. And we know how to have fun while we’re doing it! So it’s a double-win.
DT: How have the Petties impacted your blog?
SC: It’s still early on, so it’s hard to tell! I know have some new visitors and more word about my blog has gotten out. I’m waiting for the Animal Planet people to call me. I’m surprised I haven’t been on yet! Maybe winning the Pettie will put them over the edge.
DT: What are you favorite blogs (or who do you read regularly)?
SC: I have a bunch, and I hate to leave anyone out. But I will say that one of my favorite all-time blogs (and a lot of other cats’ favorite blog) is Daisy the Curly Cat (http://daisythecurlycat.blogspot.com/). If she had actively campaigned for the Pettie, she would have gotten nominated and won, hands down! I visit Daisy’s blog all the time. I also enjoy Housecat Confidential, run by a senior kitty named Fin (http://housecatconfidential.blogspot.com/). Rumblebum, run by two New Zeland cats, Rumblepurr and Inigo (http://rumble-bum.blogspot.com/), is also a fun read. ANY of the nominees in my category are great, and I just blogged about them (http://www.sparklecat.com/special/petties-cat-blog-nominees). And I want to give a special shout-out to the Cat Blogosphere blog (http://www.blog.catblogosphere.com/) – ML has a big heart and also keeps us up-to-date on the happenings in the cat blogging community, and Covered in Cat Hair (http://coveredincathair.com/) – Robin does an amazing amount of good for kitties!
Check out the red carpet interview with Janiss Garza–and the rest of the Petties’ winners–after the show: