2003 CWA Muse™ Medallion Winners And 2003 CWA Special Award Winners


The winners of the 2002-2003 Cat Writers’ Association Communication Contest were announced at the Awards Banquet held November 22, 2003, as part of the 11th annual Cat Writers’ Conference.

There were more than 400 entries in this year’s contest in both the regular and Special Award categories. Winners in the regular categories receive a Muse Medallion. Special Award winners receive the prize designated in the award.


Yearbook or Annual
Bridget C. Johnson – Kittens USA – Fancy Publications
Judge’s comments: “”The articles were easy to read and understand, and very upbeat.””

National Magazine
Bridget C. Johnson – Cat Fancy – Fancy Publications
Judge’s comments: “”Overall this magazine is doing an excellent job of addressing its established audience and perhaps moving beyond.””

Magazine Article/Health
Arden Moore – 9 Ways to End the Weight – Cat Fancy
Judge’s comments: “”Very relevant topic today with so many cats living indoors.””

Magazine Article/Training and Behavior
Ron Bast – Playing for Keeps – Cat Fancy
Judge’s comments: “”An extremely valuable article, as so many people still do not understand felines, and this article is just so good in terms of showing people how to work through the problems and not just hand the cat over to a shelter.””

Magazine Article/Other Topics
Wendy Christensen – Cats and Humans: An Ancient Bond – Cat Fancy
Judge’s comments: “”Beautifully written, fascinating account of the history of humans and cats. I didn’t yawn once.””

Magazine Column
Arnold Plotnick – Feline Frontiers – Cat Fancy
Judge’s comments: “”He writes with a plain-spoken naturalness…his columns are lively, flavorful narratives that reflect a compassionate realism.””

Newspaper Article
Clea Simon – Cat Burglar – Boston Phoenix
Judge’s comments: “”A sheer delight.””

Newspaper Column
Amy D. Shojai – P’Etiquette – Sherman Herald Democrat
Judge’s comments: “”She does have a knack of placing a lot of really good information into a restricted space, in a clear and concise manner.””

Breed-Specific Newsletter
Evelyn Russell – Scottish Fold Association Newsletter
Judge’s comments: “”All I can say is “”Wow!”” This newsletter should be the model for all newsletters.””

National Newsletter (Tie)
Arden Moore – Catnip – Tufts University
Judge’s comments: “”The style is lively yet professional and easy to understand.””
Kris Rerecich – Alley Cat Action – Alley Cat Allies
Judge’s comments: “”Was most consistent, concise and to the point.””

Newsletter Article/Health and Care
Elissa Wolfson – The Skinny on Fat Cats – CatWatch
Judge’s comments: “”The winner brought her subject home with inspired writing and quotes from cat owners.””

Newsletter Article/Other Topics (Tie)
Wendy Christensen – Copy Cat: Feline Cloning – Catnip
Arden Moore – Love Medicine – Catnip
Judge’s comments: “”The top articles took topics that are not particularly new and made them so.””

Karen Commings – Sparky’s Ritual – La Joie
Judge’s comments: “”Clear images and a sure voice convey the extraordinary beauty found in the normal course of a cat’s days.””

Jennifer L. Rechter – Bountiful Love – ASPCA Animal Watch
Judge’s comments: “”I liked how she turned a phrase and I liked its overall message.””

Vanni Cappllei – Homecoming Queen – Cat Fancy
Judge’s comments: “”Almost reads like a short novel…except for the fact that it was true. The innocent animals are often forgotten in war-torn countries. BRAVO for rescuing this kitten and telling others her story.””

Brochure or Pamphlet
The Humane Society of the United States – Cat Care Basics
Judge’s comments: “”Having a new kitten myself, this booklet is a treasure.””

Opinion Piece
Joann I. Lamb – Taking Stock, Taking Control – National Birman Fanciers Newsletter
Judge’s comments: “”This informative checklist should be mandatory for all of us with cats.””

Fiction Book (Tie)
Shirley Rousseau Murphy – Cat Seeing Double ” HarperCollins
Linda Stewart – The Maltese Kitten – Cheshire House Books
Judge’s comments: “”A real treat! Colorful characters, engaging dialogue and a solid plot kept me turning pages.””

Children’s Book
Eileen Spinelli and Linda Bronson – Moe McTooth – Clarion Books Judge’s comments: “”Bold, Picasso-like illustrations. Story is true-to-life in nature. Visual, lyrical text.””

Book, Care & Health
Debra M. Eldredge – Pills for Pets – Citadel/Kensington
Judge’s comments: “”An extremely useful reference book that covers the ground. This is a book that pet owners want on their shelf when health questions arise.””

Book, Behavior & Training
Miriam Fields-Babineau – Cat Training in 10 Minutes – TFH Publications
Judge’s comments: “”A great little book. Well written, with good photos.””

Book, Other Topics
Clea Simon – The Feline Mystique – St. Martin’s Press
Judge’s comments: “”This is a fascinating, well-organized look at the bond between cats and females, with lots of delightful humor thrown in. Fun to read.””

Video or Television Production
Amy D. Shojai – Pet Talk – KXII TV, CBS
Judge’s comments: “”Very informative and authoritative. I’m sure the audience learned a lot—as I did!””

Radio Program
Steve Dale – The Pet News with Steve Dale
Judge’s comments: “”He is friendly and informative, professional and fact-filled, all in less than a minute.””

Online Magazine
Beth Adelman – The Daily Cat ” Studio One

Online Article
Amy D. Shojai – Love to the Max – The CatSite.com
Judge’s comments: “”Made the writing sing.””

Online Column
Amy D. Shojai – Tabbytudes – The CatSite.com
Judge’s comments: “”The author demonstrates an impressive knowledge of cats, along with the ability to communicate in an easy-to-understand manner.””

Black & White Photograph
Bev Caldwell – Photograph – Kitten on the Keys – Catnip
Judge’s comments: “”Kudos for catching that curious kitten.””

Color Photograph
Samarra Khaja – Cover Photo, Spring 2003 – ASPCA Animal Watch
Judge’s comments: “”Exquisite. Perfect lighting, composition and attention to detail.””

Photo Series, Black & White
Bev Caldwell – Volunteer for Life – Catnip
Judge’s comments: “”All three images are presented well. When photographing in black and white, one must think in black and white.””

Photo Series, Color (Tie)
Heike Hagenguth – First Aid for Cats – Our Cats
Samarra Khaja – How to Throw a Kitten Shower – ASPCA Animal Watch

Samarra Khaja – Coming in from the Cold – ASPCA Animal Watch

Series of Illustrations
Laura H. Von Stetina – Mewingham Manor: Observations on a Curious New Species – Greenwich Workshop Press
Judge’s comments: “”Delicate and beautiful.””

Special Awards judges are volunteers, and are not members of the CWA or affiliated with the sponsor of the category they judge. An expert in each special contest topic was selected the Contest Committee. Each expert judged his or her special award category based on criteria established by the sponsor and the Contest Committee. In general, entries are judged on how well they fit the special award criteria, as well as excellence in writing/production.

ASPCA Special Humane Award
The ASPCA Communications Department is happy to sponsor the ASPCA SPECIAL HUMANE AWARD in connection with the annual writing contest of the Cat Writers’ Association. This award, which will consist of a cash grant of $500 and a certificate, shall be presented to the author or creator of the work that best illuminates an aspect of the ASPCA’s mission, such as pet overpopulation, humane education, shelter adoptions, or the prevention of cruelty.

The winner is: Dusty Rainbolt, “”Poison Control to the Rescue”” (article published Sept. 2002 in Whole Cat Journal)

Judge: Richard Avanzino is the President of Maddie’s Fund, and a former president of the San Francisco SPCA
Judge’s comments: “”I thought this article was very well written and very well organized. Ms. Rainbolt used humor to suck the reader in and keep him reading. In the process, she conveyed some very important information about cat safety and resources for handling cat emergencies.””

Cornell Feline Health Center Veterinary Issues Award
The CORNELL FELINE HEALTH CENTER VETERINARY ISSUES AWARD is offered by Cornell University’s Feline Health Center to the highest-quality entry on the topic of technological advances, research, new medical developments and innovations in feline veterinary medicine. Qualifying entries include newspaper, magazine or newsletter articles, columns or series of articles, books or radio/television broadcasts designed to educate the general cat-owning public about new developments. This new award consists of $500.

The winner is: Wendy Christensen, “”Copy Cat: Feline Cloning”” (article published Oct. 2002 in Catnip)

Judge: Dr. Barbara Kitchell is an oncologist and Director of the new Comparative Cancer Center at Michigan State University School of Veterinary Medicine
Judge’s comments: “”The discussion presented by Ms. Christensen was scientifically accurate yet comprehensible to the lay reader. Valid points were raised about the ethics of cloning individual animals in a world where hundreds of homeless and unwanted cats are euthanized daily. The sheer scientific accomplishment that cloning represents was also discussed, as well as the promise cloning holds for preservation of endangered feline species.””

Friskies Publication of the Year Award
The FRISKIES® PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR AWARD is presented by the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company to the writer and publication who have done the most to promote the welfare, health and proper care of cats during the contest year. The award honors an individual writer’s body of work in a single publication/syndication venue. The award is meant to encourage the coverage of cat topics in non-cat-specific newspapers and magazines, and highest consideration goes to those entries. Material published in cat-specific publications also qualifies for consideration. Articles and columns published within the contest period should be neatly compiled in a compact presentation. Content, impact, and volume of articles weighs heavily in the selection. A Baccarat cat figurine and $500 will be awarded.

The winner is: Wendy Christensen, “”Creature Comforts”” (newspaper column published by Monadnock Ledger)
Judge: John Hollon is the editor-in-chief of the San Diego Business Journal, and a former newspaper writer, as well as former editorial director of Fancy Publications and Pets.com
Judge’s comments: “”This year’s entries were all highly educational, well researched, and did a great job fulfilling the goal of the award. One entry, however, slightly edged out the others. The difference was that this writer was slightly more engaging overall and consistently writes with a bit more voice and flair.””

HSUS Pets for Life Award
The Humane Society of the United States presents the HSUS PETS FOR LIFE AWARD to the creator of the best work of the year that reports on shelter or animal welfare organization programs, or community service by individuals or groups whose initiatives are designed to keep adopted cats in their homes for life or help rescue/place abandoned and stray cats in lifelong homes. Topics include, but are not limited to, programs to help owners overcome obstacles such as behavior problems, family changes, housing challenges, health issues or other situations that might cause the cat to lose his home, and reporting on legislation or community projects to help abandoned cats. Qualifying work includes columns, series or single articles, entire newsletters, books, brochures, radio and television presentations. This award is $500 with an additional $300 travel stipend to offset the award winner’s expenses if he/she attends the Awards Banquet.

The winner is: Janet Jensen, “”Shadow Cats: Tales from New York City’s Animal Underground”” (book published October 2002 by Adams Media)

Judge: Bryan Kortis is co-founder and Executive Director of Neighborhood Cats, a New York City-based nonprofit that specializes in working with feral cats.
Judge’s comments: “”No problem is more pressing than the overpopulation crises in our cities. Making the public aware of this crises and engaging them in solving it is critical to turning the situation around. “”Shadow Cats”” by Janet Jensen is a remarkable step forward in this direction. Compellingly written…with an unflinching eye towards truth, yet also [filled]with humor and warmth.””

IAMS® Cat Food Responsible Cat Ownership Award
The IAMS Company offers the IAMS® CAT FOOD RESPONSIBLE CAT OWNERSHIP AWARD for best individual or series entry (includes articles, features, columns, short stories, books, poetry, etc.) about pet owner responsibility. Entries will be judged on clear writing, and should educate readers while promoting positive approaches to responsible cat ownership. $500 and a commemorative plaque are awarded.

The winner is: Sandra Toney, “”The Simple Guide to Cats”” (book published April 2003 by TFH Publications)

Judge: Larry Powell is a staff writer and the pet columnist at the Dallas Morning News
Judge’s comments: “”The Simple Guide to Cats ought to be included in each newborn baby’s hospital kit. It would be a tremendous lifelong guide. The book seems to have a handle on what it means to be a cat person and what it TAKES to be a cat person. I thought that it was magnificently presented—there was easily read text for the adults, and each page has a wonderful illustration with a succinct message that can be understood by younger readers…This book has the potential to save cat lives and enhance human lives.””

Merial Human-Animal Bond Award
Merial sponsors the MERIAL HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND AWARD, presented to the entry that best reflects and promotes the strengthening of the human-animal bond, highlighting the bond between a cat and its owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian, another direct caregiver. Entries will be judged for exceptional quality and on the ability to convey this concept and connect with the reader. Qualified entries include articles, features, columns, short stories, books, poetry, etc. $1,000 and a commemorative certificate will be presented, plus a $300 travel reimbursement for the award winner who attends the awards banquet at the annual CWA conference.

The winner is: Clea Simon, “”The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats”” (book published August 2002 by St. Martin’s Press)

Judge: Ellen Phillips is the editor of pet books for Rodale Press.
Judge’s comments: “”For depth and richness of experience, and for excellent writing, Clea’s book was unbeatable. She avoids all the clichés and dimestore sentimentality and delves deep into the heart of the issue. Clea Simon’s [book]is a moving and very human exploration of the human/animal bond…””.””

Purina Cat Chow® Nutrition Award
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company offers the PURINA CAT CHOW® NUTRITION AWARD for the best column, article, or book entry on the subject of feline nutrition. Highest consideration goes to those works that are both skillfully written and technically accurate. The recipient cannot be an employee of or associated with a pet food company at the time that the entry is judged. The winner will receive $500 and a commemorative pewter bowl.

The winner is: Elissa Wolfson, “”Finicky Felines: Coax-Feeding Your Sick Cat”” (article published Sept. 2002 in CatWatch newsletter)

Judge: Dr. David Dzanis is a veterinary nutritionist and current Chair of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition
Judge’s comments: “”””[This] article…was chosen because it succinctly discussed a very technical subject in a manner understandable to the lay audience, provided sound, practical advice and was based on an excellent course of expert information.””

Purina Kitten Chow® Kitten Award
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company offers the PURINA KITTEN CHOW® KITTEN AWARD of $500 and a commemorative pewter bowl are presented to the author of the outstanding entry on caring for kittens. Qualified entries may include articles, features, columns, short stories, books, poetry, etc. Entries will be judged on writing excellence and content accuracy.

The winner is: Marty Becker, DVM and Janice Willard, DVM, “”Dear (Little) Tabby”” (article published in the 2003-2004 annual magazine, Kittens USA)

Judge: Loraine Shelton is a bio-genetic researcher, former vet. tech, writer, book author, and cat breeder/exhibitor

Purina ONE® Health Award
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company offers the PURINA ONE® HEALTH AWARD for the outstanding single article reporting on feline health issues. Articles are judged on excellence of writing and technical accuracy; significance of the topic and public education impact on feline health are also considered. $500 and a commemorative pewter bowl are awarded.

The winner is: Karen Commings, “”Drawing the Line”” (article published Spring 2003 in ASPCA Animal Watch)

Judge: Dr. Susan Little is a feline specialist, writer, and international lecturer on cat health issues
Judge’s comments: “”This article covered a very pressing topic in veterinary medicine today…The article was very well researched and presented balanced viewpoints, using actual experiences of pet owners. Ms. Commings writing style is accessible and intelligent, while making a complex topic understandable.””

Sticky Paws® Training Award
The STICKY PAWS TRAINING AWARD, sponsored by Fe-Lines Inc./Sticky Paws, is for the best article on training techniques. Entries should have a “”how-to”” focus. Appropriate entries might cover but are not limited to such topics as litter box training, teaching proper scratching behavior, trick training, or training cats to stay off countertops, tables, or other forbidden places. The award consists of $1,000.

The winner is: Dusty Rainbolt, “”Trouble Shooters for Kittens”” (article published July 2002 by Catnip)

Judge: Dr. Carin Smith is owner of Smith Veterinary Consulting and Publishing, writer, lecturer, former contributing editor to Cat Fancy and author of hundreds of articles and 9 books, including “”101 Training Tips for Your Cat””

Tidy Cats® Feline Behavior Award
The TIDY CATS® FELINE BEHAVIOR AWARD will be presented by the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company for the best entry on the subject of feline behavior. Highest consideration goes to those works that are both skillfully written and technically accurate. Qualified entries may include articles, features, columns or books, and should educate readers while promoting a positive approach to understanding and dealing with feline behavior. The award consists of $500 and a commemorative pewter bowl.

The winner is: Sandra Toney, “”Simple Guide to Cats”” (book published April 2003 by TFH Publications)

Judge: Dr. Karen Overall is an ABS certified animal behaviorist at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Neurobiology and Behavior
Judge’s comments: “”””The [winner]is a truly valuable addition to any feline fanciers library. The book is clear, wonderfully and logically organized, easy to use (the index is excellent), contains a terrific list of resources and, most importantly, it provides sane, useful, humane information. In fact this is a book that veterinarians will find useful as a resource for discussing feline companionship for those clients considering obtaining a cat.””

Shojai Mentor Award
The SHOJAI MENTOR AWARD, sponsored by past-president Amy D. Shojai, recognizes the CWA member who has offered guidance, encouraging council, support, or other help that has had a direct and positive influence on another’s writing/publishing success. Qualifying mentor experiences are limited to those occurring within the past three contest periods (approximately the last three years). The recipient shall exemplify the highest ideals of the CWA vision, that is, to promote communal support, network, and mutual respect between colleagues. Only CWA members are eligible for the award. The honoree shall receive $500 and a commemorative award.

The winner is: Karen Commings

Nomination Comments: “”Three years ago I crossed the bridge between writing magazine articles and writing books, thanks to the incredible support and encouragement of author Karen Commings. She believed so fully in my ability to write my first book that I finally began to believe it, too. She recommended me to a publisher. She guided me through the book writing process, lifted my spirits when I became discouraged, and provided good counsel whenever required. She never let me give up for a moment. She celebrated when the book was published and when it won awards through CWA. Thanks in very large measure to her, I am now working on my third book…”” Susan Easterly

Kuykendall Image Award
The KUYKENDALL IMAGE AWARD sponsored by the CWA, is presented to the outstanding “”image”” entry among all the Muse Medallion winners that presents a distinctive style or “”voice”” beyond the ordinary. No additional copies are required. Muse Medallion winners in appropriate categories shall be automatically considered for this award, which consists of $250 and a commemorative award.

The winner is: Laura H. Von Stetina, “”Mewingham Manor: Observations on a Curious New Species”” (book published by Greenwich Workshop Press)

President’s Award
The CWA PRESIDENT’S AWARD sponsored by the Cat Fancier’s Association, presented to the best entry among all Muse Medallion winners in the regular contest categories. This “”Best of the Best”” requires no additional copies. Muse Medallion winners shall be automatically entered and considered for the honor. $250 and a commemorative award.

The winner is: Shirley Rousseau Murphy, “”Cat Seeing Double”” (book published by HarperCollins)



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