Today, August 28, is a very special day. Deb Barnes, Debbie’s friend and the president of the Cat Writers’ Association, created it to honor her Ragdoll cat, Mr. Jazz, after he crossed the bridge and for others to honor their beloved pets who are no longer with them.
Here’s an article and a video that explains what this day is all about. I’ve also included some photos of Debbie’s cats, Oliver and Floppy, who are on the bridge and two of Debbie’s books, The Path to Rainbow Bridgeand Cloudy Rainbow, that deal with the loss of beloved pets.
Debbie is a professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association. Every year, CWA holds an annual contest and conference. This year, because of the pandemic, the Awards Ceremony of this conference will be virtual. This event consists of the awarding of prizes by sponsors and Muse Medallions, the most prestigious award given by the CWA. To be in the running for this award, you must win at least one Certificate of Excellence in a contest category. This year, Debbie has won 3 certificates in the article, blog, and short story categories. I was thrilled that her blog award was for this blog and my story, Sneaky’s Christmas Mystery. You can find a list of other winners and the award categories at https://bit.ly/CWA2019CertificatesofExcellence.
Here is President, Deb Barnes, opening up the Awards Banquet.
Here is a video of the presentation of the special awards at the banquet.
Here is the presentation of the Muse Medallions.
If you’re a writer, artist, poet, or any creative who features cats in their work, you should consider joining this pawsome group. Maybe you can win a prize and meet some talented and cat-loving people at the annual conference when they meet in person next year. For more information, check out the website: http://catwriters.com/
I just found out that a good friend and fellow writer created a special day in honor of her beloved cat, Jazz. This day, Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, August 28, is a day set aside for us to remember our pet companions who are no longer by our side. Of course, we remember them every day and the special love they brought into our hearts.
I wrote a short story in 2016 called “The Path to Rainbow Bridge” that featured many of the cats I’ve loved and lost. I wrote this story before I lost my Siamese Oliver, the basis for the cat in my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series, Sneaky the Library Cat. Oliver was only with me five short years because he was my mother’s pet for 12. I brought Oliver into my home when my mother became too ill to care for him. He bonded with me and my daughter immediately and was one of the sweetest and most lovable of cats. My mother and Oliver passed away within a year of one another. They will remain in my heart forever.
For Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, I remember Oliver and the cats before him — Floppy, Benny, Kitty, Little Girl, and so many others. My short story featured many of them. Here is an excerpt from it:
Old Tom the tabby was at the Gate. Next to him stood Shadow, a black shorthair who had been summoned while sun bathing on the Bridge. Shadow knew the reason Tom wanted to speak with him. It could mean only one thing. Another resident was arriving.
“Sorry to disturb you,” Old Tom said. “But I’ve had orders from above that another one of Kate Stewart’s cats will be joining us. This time, it’s Sam, her Siamese. He’s had a long life and much happiness with her, but it’s his time. Please alert Kate’s other cats about the new arrival.”
Shadow nodded his dark head. “I will be on it right away, sir. When is the welcome party scheduled?”
“Looks like tomorrow morning around 6 a.m. Remember, it takes time for the soul to reach us.”
“Who will be in charge of the party?” Shadow knew that, according to Bridge rules, the last cat admitted from a human’s family was the next in line to welcome the incoming resident. A year ago, when a car hit Shadow after he stupidly ran out the door
when his human Ben came home from a doctor’s appointment, there had been no other cats in Ben’s family on the Bridge or at least none that Ben had forged the forever bond with, so Old Tom had welcomed Shadow. Now it was Shadow’s job to notify the last member of each incoming cat’s family until another first-timer was admitted.
Old Tom checked the register he held in his paws. Tom had been supervisor of the cat’s side of RB since he arrived 20 years ago because he was one of the unbonded, those pets who had either been ferals, strays, or housecats who had never developed the forever bond, that special connection of heart and soul that united animal and human eternally. In Tom’s case, he had been a stray in the alleys of New York City, living a surprisingly long life of ten years for an outdoor cat.
“Kate’s Floppy was admitted a few years ago,” Tom said. “I think he’s now residing on the north cloud over the rainbow. He’s a gray and white tuxedo fellow. Kate lost him from diabetic complications. It was one of our sadder cases. She administered insulin shots to him for many years and was at his side at the vet’s when the lethal injection was given. She’d had him since he was a kitten, and he misses her dearly but is glad that she found another cat to love while he waits for her on the Bridge.”
Shadow felt a tear wet his cheek fur. He was always choked up when he heard these touching tales. “Thanks, Tom. I will find Floppy and let him know. Although this is the first party he will host, he’s attended enough to know the procedure.” Floppy had already been on the Bridge for eight years, although up there they didn’t keep track of human time.
When I wrote this story, I had no idea that the fictional Sam the Siamese would be my Oliver who passed away shortly after it was written. I was able to get my publisher to offer this story free at that time. It’s still free on Kindle Unlimited and is only $1.49 on Amazon for the eBook. If you would like to read it, I hope it gives you some comfort for the pets you’ve lost. It’s the hardest thing to say goodbye to your fur babies. I know the awful pain of their loss, but I also know the great joy they bring into your home. I adopted two kittens last year, Harry and Hermione, and they have filled my heart, although I will never forget Oliver or any of my other cats who came before them.
If you’d like to post a memory of any of your cats, please comment on this blog. If you’ve read my story, I’d also love to know what you thought of it and if it helped you. Thanks also to my friend, Deb Barnes, the President of the Cat Writers’ Association, for creating Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. She also has an FB event page and blog hop set up
This week, instead of my usual Feature Friday film of cute kitties, I’m showing a video of the Cat Writers’ Association. Have you heard of this group? If you feature cats in your books, articles, poems, blogs, photographs, etc., this is the group for you. CWA will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in St. Louis, Missouri this month. My author is attending this conference and will be speaking on a panel with other cat authors including Mollie Hunt, Patricia Fry, and Sandra Murphy.
In addition to being on the panel of “Communicating, Capitalizing, and Connecting in a Fictional World,” Debbie will be selling and autographing some of our books at a book signing at the Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch on Saturday, May 17. This event will also feature a fundraiser by the Humane Society of Missouri and is open to everyone.
Here is a video compilation of past CWA conferences from founding member and past president, Amy Shojai. Isn’t it pawsome? Note that a younger Debbie appears in the 1999 conference slide taken in Kansas City.