Over 100 people attended the gala Cat Writers’ Association annual awards banquet held in Atlanta, GA on November 22, 2008. Through the generosity of corporate sponsors, the CWA presented the following Special Awards:

The AKC COMPANION ANIMAL RECOVERY AWARD, sponsored by the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery, is given to the best single entry which informs and educates the general public about issues relating to lost cats, stray cats, behaviors of roaming and feral cats, and all forms of pet identification and recovery.

Judge: Melanie Pozez, the founder of two non-profits: Chicago Canine Rescue Foundation and Bark Avenue Foundation (Los Angeles).

The judge’s comments: “”The columns are engaging and entertaining, encouraging the reader to finish the article, and makes learning the information fun. The organization of the information was thorough, detailed and helped even novices to the subject (s) to follow the information and stories.””

The winner is Dusty Rainbolt for “”Ask Einstein.””

The DR. JIM RICHARDS/CORNELL FELINE HEALTH CENTER VETERINARY ISSUES AWARD, sponsored by Cornell Feline Health Center, is presented to the highest-quality entry on the topic of technological advances, research, new medical developments, or innovations in feline veterinary medicine.

Judge: Margie Scherk, DVM, ABVP is board certified in the specialty of Feline Practice. She served as the president American Association of Feline Practitioners during 2007 and has also served on the AAFP Feline Vaccine Guidelines Panel. Among her numerous accomplishments she is the North American editor for the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

The judge’s comments: “”The tone is lovely; it is delightful and easy to read these columns. Several other entries reported very well and accurately on feline heartworm and H.A.R.D., but the winning entry imparted the information to the reader in a manner that was the easiest to integrate.””

The winner is “”Ask Einstein”” by Dusty Rainbolt.

The FORT DODGE/HEALTHY CATS FOR LIFE TURNING POINT AWARD, sponsored by Fort Dodge Animal Health, is for the best published work by a beginning cat writer or photographer. This award has very specific criteria: At the time of entry, the author (1) must not have published more than three short works on companion animal topics in professional markets, e.g., a market that pays $75 or more for each work, and no books; and (2) must have not yet had his/her work honored by a CWA Muse Medallion™ or CWA Special Award. The purpose of this award is to encourage qualifying writers and photographers to strive for the highest professional level of excellence and to provide a significant change in the recipient’s cat-writing career. This is a “”turning point”” award.

Judge: Elizabeth Egan Miller has been publishing City + Country Pets Magazine, a free monthly in Dallas, since 1996. She has a BA from Emory University and an MBA from TCU. Pets and publishing are her twin labors of love.

The judge’s comments: “”This story is heartwarming. Without being sappy or sad, the author does a good job of bringing the reader into the unlikely events that follow. A touch of humor with a dash of excitement and a dose of hope. A good tale with a happy ending.””

The winner is “”Miracle on O’Farrell Street”” by Judi Basolo.

The FRISKIES® WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD, sponsored by Purina, is for the writer who has done the most to promote the welfare, health, and proper care of cats during the contest year. This award is for “”a body of work”” and can include different publications during the contest period.

Judge: Diane West. She is founder and publisher of New York Tails Magazine, an all-volunteer magazine for the people and pets of New York since 2002. It was voted “”one of a pawful of the best pet publications”” in the U.S. by Utne Reader.

The judge’s comments: “”In engaging, easy-to-read and vividly descriptive prose, this writer manages to impress upon the reader the seriousness of a number of health topics, including several which even the most devoted cat owner may not have been aware.””

The winner is Arnold Plotnick, DVM, medical editor of Catnip and Cat Fancy columnist.

The HARTZ EVERY DAY CHEWABLE VITAMIN AWARD, sponsored by Hartz Mountain Corporation, is given to the highest-quality entry on the topic of older cats. Topics can include but are not limited to adoption, health, innovative care, and senior-for-senior programs.

Judge: Brian T. Voynick, DVM, director of the American Animal Hospital Association. His fields of interest are in diagnostics medicine, endoscopy and alternative medicine. He has served as chairman of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association Ethics and Grievance Committee as well as president of the Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce.

The judge’s comments: “”Very concise, accurate, up-to-date, easy to follow & well indexed for the lay person.””

The Winner is Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook by Debra M. Eldredge, DVM, Delbert Carlson, DVM, Liisa Carlson, DVM and James Giffin, MD.

The HARTZ GLAMOUR-PUSS AWARD, sponsored by Hartz Mountain Corporation, honors the best single entry on the topic of feline skin and coat care. Qualifying topics include, but are not limited to, coverage of home and professional grooming, parasite control, nail care, teeth and ear care, and feline skin/coat disorders.

Judge: Anne Horowitz, owner of The Cat Connection boutique and a grooming salon exclusively for cats.

The judge’s comments: “”I liked the humor mixed with all the very accurate information. Whether you were talking about cat grooming or litter box issues, all topics were addressed from the point of the view that the author has gone through these problems as well. Great job!””

The winner is Dusty Rainbolt for Cat Wrangling Made Easy: Maintaining Peace and Sanity in Your Multicat Home.

The HARTZ MILK REPLACEMENT FOR KITTENS AWARD, sponsored by Hartz Mountain Corporation, is awarded to the best single article (published in a newspaper, magazine, newsletter, or professional online venue), or single radio or television broadcast on the topic of rescuing kittens.

Judge: The Cat Therapist, Carole Wilborn. Carole was co-founder of the first Manhattan cats-only hospital in 1973. For three decades she had been curing and preventing behavior problems in cats. Her monthly column “”Cats on the Couch”” ran for 16 years in Cat Fancy Magazine.

Judge’s comments: “”I have chosen this article because it tells rescuers what to do with the rescued kitten from the moment the kitten appears and how to make the kitten’s life easier with common sense, love and products that will make the kitten more comfortable. Comfort and love are critical.””

The winner is Dusty Rainbolt for “”7 Products to the Rescue”” in Catnip

The IAMS® RESPONSIBLE CAT OWNERSHIP AWARD, sponsored by the IAMS Company, is awarded to the best individual or series entry, in professional print or online venues, on the topic of pet owner responsibility. Qualifying entries include single articles, columns, short stories, books, brochures, or labeled series of articles.

Judge: Margo Biblin, the founder of Margo for Animals, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing services and education to promote responsible animal care and the prevention of cruelty to animals.

Judge’s comments: “”Excellent. Complete yet short enough to be read and hopefully followed by many. Whether fostering or adopting, these guidelines are vital to responsible cat care.””

The winner is Dusty Rainbolt (l) for “”Focus on Fostering/Spotlight on Fostering”” in Catnip – Presented by Randy Bish (r) for Iams

The MERIAL HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND AWARD, sponsored by Merial, is presented to the entry that best reflects and promotes the strengthening of the human-animal bond, highlighting the bond between a cat and owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian as another direct caregiver.

Judge: Randy Grim, founder and director of Stray Rescue, Grim and his staff have received the Red Cross Life Saver Award and the St. Louis FOCUS award for “”innovative solutions.””

Judge’s comments: “”It met all the judging criteria for special awards, wonderful story telling. (It had the) best ability to reflect and promote the strengthening of the cat/guardian bond and relationship.

The winner is Linda A. Mohr (r) for Tatianna: Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend. – Presented by Natasha Joseph (l).

The PRO PLAN® PEDIGREED CATS AWARD, sponsored by Purina, is presented to the writer or creator of the best entry of the year that focuses on cat breeds, pedigreed cats, and professional breeder issues including (but not limited to) health, care, nutrition, and showing cats.

Judge: Jan Rogers, a Birman breeder since 1987. She’s also a CFA all breed judge, the treasurer and a board member of the CFA Foundation, president of Cats Limited, secretary of Gulf Shore Consortium and Show and Tell Cat Club and a board member of National Birman Fanciers.

Judge’s comments: “”This article was concise, spoken in understandable terms, bridging the pedigreed cat with the wild cat issues, and driving home the points of concern. 100% about the cat – big or small, and focusing not only on the breeder but the general public as well. Very educational, extremely well organized, no fluff, and accurate.””

The winner is “”Pedigreed Cats in Peril”” by Joan Miller.

The PURINA® CAT CHOW® NUTRITION AWARD, sponsored by Purina, is presented to the best column or article (print or professionally published online) or book entry on the subject of feline nutrition.

Judge: Susan Lauten, PhD, a clinical instructor in nutrition at the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine. She works in the veterinary teaching hospital training students, interns and residents and also see outpatients interested in nutrition, home cooking, or weight loss for their pets.

Judge’s comments: “”The winning article was outstanding–the perfect mix of numbers, information & situations. It was excellent, concise and accurate. It also made me want to read to the end.””

The winner is Sally Deneen for “”Serving Safe Food for Cats”” in Catnip

The PURINA® ONE® HEALTH AWARD, sponsored by Purina, is presented to the outstanding single article (print or professionally published online) reporting on feline health issues.

Judge: Dr. Cynthia Rigoni, who opened the fifth cats-only veterinary practice in the U.S. in 1984. She still owns and runs All Cat Veterinary Clinic in Houston. In the late 1970s she began breeding and showing Cornish Rex. Dr. Rigoni is also a Cat Fanciers Association master clerk.

Judge’s comments: “”This column provided the reader with vital, thorough and accurate information about heartworms and panleukopenia in an enjoyable format. Despite the fact that it was written from the point of view of a cat, it didn’t talk down to the reader. It made you want to keep reading.””

The winner is Dusty Rainbolt, columnist of “”Ask Einstein””

The PURINA® KITTEN CHOW® KITTEN AWARD, sponsored by Purina, is presented to the author of the outstanding entry on caring for kittens.

Judge: Beverly Freed, founder of Kitty Save, a nonprofit cat rescue organization based out of Carrollton, TX.

Judge’s remarks: “”Comprehensive and educational. Good work.””

The winner is Fran Pennock Shaw for “”Surviving Kittenhood/Understanding Kittens”” in Catnip

The NEW SF/SPCA ADVO-CAT AWARD, sponsored by the San Francisco SPCA, is presented to the author or creator of the single work that best illuminates shelter programs that advocate for the welfare of cats, save and protect cats, provide cat care and treatment within the shelter and to the community, promote adoption and fostering, prevent cat overpopulation and cruelty, and advance humane education.

Judge: Richard Thompson, founder and Top Cat of Zootoo.com – a pet community website that offers a new way to help pets. He is currently a board member of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, NY. Thompson has been a life-long pet lover and is now applying his experience in pet industry to help animals.

Judge’s comments: “”This article is very well written and speaks about the numerous concerns of cat caregivers. The article is well organized with real life examples and it also generates awareness of the many issues facing cats.””

The winner is Carrie Allan for “”The State of the Cat,”” in Animal Sheltering magazine.

The STICKY PAWS® TRAINING AWARD, sponsored by Fe-Lines Inc./Sticky Paws®, is presented for the best article or tape entry on training techniques. Entries should have a “”how-to”” focus.

Judge: Bash Dibra, the author of six best-selling books on responsible pet ownership, training and the proper treatment of animals in the entertainment industry, and pet trainer to celebrities, including Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathleen Turner, Mariah Carey, Joan Rivers, Kim Bassinger and Alec Baldwin. His own pets are featured in motion pictures, television commercials and print ads.

Judge’s comments: “”The writing was good and informative.””

The winner: Kim Thornton, “”The Trick To Training Cats”” in Catnip

The TIDY CATS® FELINE BEHAVIOR AWARD, sponsored by Purina, is presented for the best entry on the subject of feline behavior. Highest consideration goes to those works that are both skillfully written and technically accurate.

Judge: Kayce Cover, who started training marine mammals at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1973. She later oversaw training and management programs for aquatics, bears and Beaver Valley at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. And her work has been presented in Equus, American Animal Trainer Magazine, and more in North America, the UK and the Netherlands.

Judge’s comments: “”This writer’s material consistently checked out for accuracy and is presented in a well-organized format, with lots of useful information extracted into easy to access lists and boxes. The writing is cogent, informative and very entertaining. I also appreciate that the author makes the source of her expertise clear.””

The winner is Dusty Rainbolt, author of Cat Wrangling Made Easy

The WORLD’S BEST® CAT LITTER-ARY AWARD, sponsored by World’s Best Cat Litter®, is presented for the outstanding novel, short story, poem, or radio/television dramatic script which portrays cats and cat ownership in a positive way. All fiction genres are eligible. Highest consideration goes to those entries that include cats as an intrinsic part of the plot.

Judge: Ruthanne Brockway, a lifelong journalist with more 30 years of editorial experience-20 of them as an editor at the Fort Worth Star Telegram. She judged this category with assistance from Smokey, a long-haired gray rescue cat.

Judge’s comments: “”What distinguishes this book is the smooth pace of the writing. Never too rushed. Never too slow. Always interesting. The author describes a fire and makes readers feel it, smell it, see it: Wow! That’s a page-turner.””

The winner is Victor DiGenti, author of Windrusher and the Trail of Fire.

The KUYKENDALL IMAGE AWARD, sponsored by CWA, is presented to the outstanding “”image”” entry featuring cats—whether photography, illustration, or graphic art. This may be a single piece or series entry, including but not limited to photos/artwork published in a magazine, newspaper, newsletter, book, pamphlet, calendar, poster, greeting card, or commercial online publication.

Judge: David Handschuh, an award-winning staff photographer at the New York Daily News for more almost 20 years and has been an adjunct Professor of Photojournalism at New York University since 1994. He’s a past president of the National Press Photographers Association.

Judge’s comments: “”The pictures clearly showed how much she was a friend and companion over her life. She appeared snide and sly, comical and regal. Clearly the photographer captured many of the lives she had lived.””

The winner is Betsy Stowe (r) for “”Many Faces of Katy”” Presented by Nancy Peterson for CWA (l)

The SHOJAI MENTOR AWARD, sponsored by past & new president Amy D. Shojai, recognizes the CWA member who has offered guidance, encouraging counsel, 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, networking, and mutual respect between colleagues.

Dusty Rainbolt made the nomination and said: “”When you think of a mentor you usually think of someone who shares her vast writing experience with another writer. Occasionally you find a rare individual who can mentor writers with far more years under their quill. In the beginning she’d call me worried about lethargic bottle babies or seeking advice about upcoming assignments. Every now and then I’d ask her opinion my current project. What made her such a rare person was when she answered, she was honest. No holding back. None of this, “”Nice work,”” when an article obliviously needed more work. Instead, when it was warranted I gotten such thoughtful comments as, “”It’s really not your best work.”” Or “”You must have been tired when you wrote that.”” Without honest feedback, none of us can grow and improve, and this writer frequently provides that feedback that forces me to go back and polish. But when she says, “”Great work,”” I know that I’ve hit a bull’s eye.

While working on my book Cat Wrangling Made Easy, I was having problems cutting down the vast amount of information I wanted to share with my readers. She helped me figure out what was wheat and which sections were chaff. Because of my extremely tight deadline I often worked late into the night. If she was awake, she was willing to brainstorm even at two in the morning. Despite her lack of years, her honesty and encouragement helped bring out the best in me. And isn’t that what being a mentor is all about?””

The winner of the Shojai Mentor Award is Mary Anne Miller.

The CWA PRESIDENT’S AWARD, sponsored by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, is presented to the best entry among all Muse Medallion™ winners in the regular contest categories.

Comment from CWA President Nancy Peterson: “”This feline rescue organization’s mission to humanely reduce the homeless cat population on the San Francisco Peninsula is reflected in its wonderful quarterly newsletter. Noteworthy news, educational information about cats and touching stories celebrate felines and the individuals who care for them. As the Feral Cat Program Manager for The Humane Society of the United States, I hold a special place in my heart for homeless cats.

My choice for winner of the President’s Award goes to the Regional Newsletter of the Homeless Cat Network, Cat Tales, edited by Cimeron Morrissey.””


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