The Woman Behind Catsparella
By Layla Morgan Wilde
One of the most popular cat blogs is Catsparella, which has grown from a tiny cat lifestyle blog a year ago to rising star status. The woman behind Catsparella is Stephanie Harwin who lives in New Jersey with two cats. Invited by the Fancy Feast team to the “Storybook Cat Wedding” commercial shoot, Stephanie will be flying out to L.A. today to cover the event live tomorrow, Monday June 27. This Jersey girl also was a finalist in recent the Purina Correspondent contest.
I was curious about Purina experience and asked Stephanie about the highlights.
SH: The biggest highlight of the experience was going to Nestle Purina Petcare headquarters in St. Louis, and getting the opportunity to meet the entire Cat Chow team and the other six finalists. It was a whirlwind two days, and not only did we spend time getting interviewed, photographed, and videotaped, but they also treated us to some great meals, a trip to the Gateway Arch, and box seats at a Cardinals game. Also, the bathtub in my hotel room was heavenly!
LMW: There were over 3000 applicants. Were you surprised at the number or
motivations of the applicants?
SH: I wasn’t too surprised. What cat lover wouldn’t want to get paid $50,000
to travel around the country talking to people about their cats??
LMW: Do you think what defines a “cat lover” is changing in terms of age or
SH: Yes, absolutely. Cats lovers are no longer thought of as just “crazy old
cat ladies.” When I look at my own site, I see such a diversity in
readership, not only in gender, but in age as well. Also, men and cats
are such a big “trend” right now, highlighted by Animal Planet’s latest
cat-friendly shows, “Must Love Cats” (hosted by John Fulton) and “My Cat
From Hell” (hosted by Jackson Galaxy). While I wouldn’t go so far as to
say that certain stereotypes don’t still exist, I think the internet has
really paved the way for greater cat lover acceptance within society.
LMW: When did you realize you’re cat person? Are you a dog person as well?
SH: I was raised my whole life having a dog in the house and no cats, so I certainly enjoy dogs, but I just connect with cats in a different way. I
became interested in cats in my late teens/early twenties, and I can’t
even say specifically why or what triggered it, because I didn’t have much
exposure to cats throughout my early life.
LMW: You have two cats, Charlie and Priscilla, which are your first cats.
When and how did they become a part of you family, and what have they taught you about life?
SH riscilla came into my life in 2001, and Charlie in 2006. I got Priscilla
from a woman giving away her cat’s kittens at a flea market, and we found
Charlie living in a sewer near our house, and ended up taking him in and
making him part of our family. (Priscilla’s full story is here:
(Charlie’s full story is here:http://www.catsparella.com/2011/04/happy-birthday-charlie.html)
LMW: Do you have plans on enlarging your cat family?
SH: No, not anytime soon. Priscilla is not really a fan of Charlie, so I
wouldn’t want to disrupt her life any further by bringing another cat on
LMW: How do you feel about cat training i.e. walking on a leash, doing
SH: I think it’s great if your cat is willing do it, but mine certainly
LMW: Where do you see cat blogging headed and specifically your blog?
SH: I started my blog as a place to gather and learn more information about
my own cat-related interests that I didn’t see other sites covering. In termsof where cat blogging is headed, I hope to be part of a growing trend of
“hip” blogs for animal lovers who are looking for something more than
just articles about pet health, and go a little deeper than just posting cute
pictures and videos. I’ve experienced a lot of growth over the past ten
months, and plan to keep going and see where it leads.
LMW: You keep a low profile at your blog (no photo of yourself). What do
you most love about blogging?
SH: I get a real thrill from finding and creating new content. There’s a very
distinct “feeling” I get when I discover something I know will make a
great post, so that aspect of blogging is very exciting to me. Of course, I also
love connecting with other cat lovers who share similar interests, and
getting to learn about their kitties.
LMW: Do you volunteer at a shelter or cat-related cause?
SH: Yes, I volunteer at my local animal shelter, and plan on getting moreinvolved with cat-related causes in the future.
LMW: What do you account for the growing interest in cat culture?
SH: The internet! Mashable did a great article about it back in October
(http://mashable.com/2010/10/21/why-does-the-web-love-cats/), called “Why
Does the Web Love Cats?” While there’s still no definitive answer, the
fact remains that cats rule the internet, and that has also trickled offline,
into mainstream culture. I also buy into the idea that dog lovers are
“out in the world” meeting each other around their neighborhoods and in parks, but most cat lovers don’t have the same opportunity, so they have been able to form this great community and culture online to share all of their cat stories, pictures, etc. in a way that was never possible before.
Visit Catsparella, the Pop Culture Pussycat, All Cats. All The Time. Any time.