Petties Award Winner Interview: Robin Olson

DogTime interviews Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair, winner of the 2011 Petties Award for Best Cat Blog. Congratulations, Robin!

Robin Olson, Covered in Cat Hair, with Spencer

DogTime: Who or what is the inspiration for your blog?

Robin Olson: In 2006, the stress of living with working at home with eight cats was causing me to have a nervous breakdown. Writing about them was a good way to vent my frustrations and keep me from “accidently” leaving the front door open in the hopes they’d LEAVE! All my venting eventually turned into a book project.

DT: How did your blog begin?

RO: Initially, “Covered in Cat Hair” was created to support my book project. It’s formal title is: “Covered in Cat Hair: Mostly True Stories of a Life Spent with Cats.” I figured a Publisher would “discover” my fabulous stories and award me a contract, I’d become a famous author and the rest is history…except that the manuscript has never been published. I haven’t given up hope! There are excerpts of some of the chapters on my Blog, even today.

DT: Has your life changed since you started blogging? If so, how?

RO: Ha ha ha ha…thud! Okay. Changed? Well…let’s see. Before I answer that, let me say; never write a blog. Let my foolhardy choices be a warning to others. One day I’m whining about my cats. That got boring so I started to write about my foster cats, which was great fun. Then I found out about cats being euthanized in sickeningly high numbers Kill Shelters in Georgia and South Carolina, so I did something about it and started to rescue and foster those cats. Apparently, I was so involved doing rescue, I forgot I also needed to make a living as a Graphic Designer, so now I’m sort of broke. Oh, and to top it off, I also decided that since our Economy is the worst in the history of our Country, that it was a PERFECT time to start a Non-Profit Cat Rescue Group!

DT: What does winning a Petties Award mean to you?

RO: That I better stop thinking I’m writing in a vacuum! My “fans”…I feel uncomfortable using that word, but I can’t think of a better one; are the BEST, BEST, BEST and I love them dearly! Winning a Petties Award humbles me deeply and reminds me that what I do and write about means something to others and this is their way of showing me-with their many votes-that I should keep doing what I’m doing. I’m really thrilled to have won Best Cat Blog.

DT: What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

RO: I’ve touched upon a few things already, but what I’d like to do is inspire more people to get out there and foster cats who need a temporary home until they get adopted. People shy away from fostering because they fear getting attached to those animals and the pain they’d feel when that cat or dog gets adopted. I like to say, I’d rather feel the pain of them leaving me and going to a good home, then the pain of knowing they were euthanized at a Kill Shelter.

I’m also an advocate for feeding a species appropriate diet and I really want to change the mindset of what we, as a Nation, feed our cats so they’ll live longer and healthier lives. I often consult with my readers whose cats are sick and suffering, when a simple change in their diet is all they need to remedy the problem. Education is a key player in what I’ll be doing going forward.

I really want to hit home that we MUST Spay or Neuter our pets and we MUST make sure our neighbors, friends and family do the same for their companion animals. I want to be put out of business some day and not need to rescue any more cats!

Lastly, I’m planning a major re-design of my Blog to make it easier for readers to find content, as well as to be able to follow certain storylines. I’m going to add some new areas that will include Product Reviews, a Storefront that includes my favorite products, and a Newsroom so folks can keep up on my next Podcast or Speaking engagement.

DT: How did you decide which organization would receive the Petties donation money?

RO: That was simple. I formed Kitten Associates, Inc., the NEW Breed of Cat Rescue, last autumn with my fiancé, Sam and my friend, Jennifer. It was a natural extension of what I was already doing, but I wanted the ability to grow the number of rescues we did, as well as to help other animal rescue groups (see our web site, for more about that).

Creating a Non-Profit Corporation was a dream come true. Since we’re still a fledgling operation, the Award money means a lot to us since donations are down from last year. We’ll be able to save many more lives and provide Vet care for the kittens already in our Program.

I’d also like to mention that Ingrid King, who writes “The Conscious Cat,” is donating half of her winnings to KA! Ingrid’s support of both KA and my Blog mean a great deal to me, as does her friendship and generosity. She’s the best and I’m so PROUD of her for winning Best Overall Pet Blog! Go, Ingrid!

Check out all the Petties winners’ interviews…