10 Years of Blogging Wisdom From Cat Wisdom 101

Ten years of meows, purrs and yowwwws began in 2011 with my four cats at the time. Only Odin remains from the original Fab Four and he celebrated his 11th birthday this week. Technically my blogoversary is May 28 beginning with my very first post but hey, I’ve learned not to split hairs or whiskers. Oh, where to begin. It feels like the awkward dance of a high school reunion. It’s bittersweet but all milestones deserve acknowledgement.

I know from stats, odds are you won’t read ALL of this post but I have to write it anyway.

We began with a teaser because cats are impossibly curious. Odin, a wily teenager, wasn’t quite the tree-climbing master he is now. And I wasn’t quite the blog virgin. I’d already logged hundreds of posts at my other blog Boomer Muse. It’s languished for a couple years waiting for a burst of inspiration.

curious-cat-wisdom-101-tree-quote 

A quick glance at the massive archive of nearly 2000 posts boggles my mind. Where to begin to sift through let alone curate the best of the best, the worst, the cutest, the most timely or educational is left to you dear reader. I suggest searching any topic that comes to mind and chances something will pop up. Every time I do a random search I’m shocked at what turns up. Sometimes I cringe, sometimes it’s an aw moment and sometimes I have no recollection of writing the post.

I’m proud of introducing many blogger firsts like purrsonality profiles (example below) unique terms, original kitty quotes, cats providing first person reviews and cats posing with splayed open books for book reviews.

Odin the One-Eyed Cat aka Odie Winker, Otis Bear or Odie.

Male: neutered

Breed: white/gray tabby domestic short hair.

Birthday: June 1, 2010.
Born: Bronx, N.Y.
Weight: 12 pounds of pure muscle
Sign: Gemini.
Occupation: CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer) and official cat product tester at Cat Wisdom 101
Religion: Jewish (does not keep Kosher)
Interests: Everything: especially tree-climbing, hunting and fishing, treats, going for walks with mom Layla, flying insects, treats, digging and fertilizing the garden, shit disturbing, catnip, cheese, treats, general buffoonery, watching and appearing on television, advocating for special needs cats, treats.
Dislikes: Nothing. Well maybe losing one eye.
Favorite quote: Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.
~Cato the Elder.

Odin-cat-garden-quote-digging-iris

New bloggers or new Cat Wisdom 101 readers may ask why did I keep slogging away week after week, year after year. What did I learn and if given the choice would I do it again. The short answer is more that I could ever imagine and I’m pretty darn imaginative. But would I do it again? Only with a bushel of caveats.

Blogging, when I began in 2008 at Boomermuse where every Saturday was Cat Saturday (this was before Caturday). You could call it the “Golden Age” of blogging. There were less of us diehard bloggers and in the cat niche we all knew each other. There are only a handful of us old timers remaining, dictated by natural atrophy and let’s face it, cats don’t live forever except in our hearts.

Every cat blogger has to decide to retire after a cat death, adopt new cats or pivot into a new direction. I admire all those who have kept going.

For me, my feline muse will always be Merlin, who personified the wisdom of Cat Wisdom 101.

Layla_morgan_wilde_cat_behaviorist

His wise Siamese words and ways ring true to this day. He had his own column: Mondays with Merlin where is spouted his unique wit and wisdom in every age and season. It happily lives on in the archives.

cat wisdom 101-merlin-siamese-grass-greener-quote

Over the years the Cat Wisdom 101 kitty cast of characters ebbed and flowed. There were foster kitties like Ling Ling, a lost Bengal, Domino, the feral turned lapcat, Radish the cat who famously broke my heart into a million little pieces and Nou Nou the hoarder rescue and bar none the weirdest cat I’ve ever lived with. I can honestly say there has never been a dull moment.

caturday-news-mews-cat-odin-ferns

In the beginning, I followed a daily blogging schedule at two blogs (insane by any stretch of the imagination). Obsessive is an apt adjective. Blogging was just something I had to do. The same is true for any creative endeavor. Writers write, painters paint, musicians play and bloggers create content. Words, images, art work, video all expressing our individual vision of my blog.  Over the years, the logo and blog templates changed with the times.

Being adaptable is a key characteristic of any successful blogger.  Grow or stagnate. It’s is up to you.

Black Cat magazine 1898-June

For many years my tag line, mandate or mantra was to enlighten and educate cat lovers. Several reiterations later, the core message of the Cat Wisdom 101 brand  remains true. No regrets there. 

As I mark a decade as a cat blogger, I have to question where do I go from here. How to bring something new and fresh to the table or is it time to pivot. It feels like a stale relationship that’s too comfortable to think of divorce or even marriage counseling. I’ve threatened to quit several times before and blogger pals would say, NEVER! This blog will live on for as long as I live or pay hosting fees 😉

Seriously, after hundreds of book and product reviews and giveaways, top notch veterinary advice, funny/sad stories and simply the life of a very busy cat expert, what is left to say except thank you. Thank you to each and every reader. I’ve never forgotten that without a reader, a blog is a not a blog but a diary that no one sees.

There are over 50,000 comments and I cherish everyone who takes the time to write one. I especially appreciate the many, many comments from regular readers who have passed in recent years. There are so few regular old time readers who still comment, I want to hug all of you. If there was a prize for the most thoughtful, eloquent body of comments, it would go to Skeeter and Izzy. She isn’t a blogger but her writing skills are better than mine. Thank you, Kathy.

writing blog quote

What have I learned in 10 years?

  • Well, for one thing how to write. This post was dashed off with nary an edit. I’m not the best editor in the world but way better than those embarrassing early posts. I’ve often thought of deleting them but I think it’s important to have markers of progress. It’s healthy to keep the ego in check. 
  • I’ve learned about my limitations, flaws in my character and what makes me human.
  • I learned to navigate if not master the back end of WordPress. I know my way around websites, SEO and just about every social media platform but my skills pale to real tech savvy folks.
  • My photography skills have improved a notch even earning several awards.
  • I learned how to create graphics and excel in digital editing.
  • I learned to negotiate, collaborate and create content with dozens of brands large and small with and without PR and Marketing agencies.
  • In the early years, I learned readers had short attention spans and wanted small bite-sized chunks with lots of visuals. It’s worse now.
  • I really miss reading blogs on a larger screen but everything needs to be mobile-friendly.
  • You can’t put a value on the incredible people I’ve met from celebrity cats, best selling authors, designers, publicists in and outside of the cat world.

In the early days, I thought cat bloggers were special or different but I was wrong. They are like anyone else. There are kind, compassion souls I still count as friends and catty, competitive *expletives* who are happily out of my life. Life is too short to expect everyone to like you. Cats however, are all blameless and purrfect.

Odin and cat wisdom 101 mom Layla

Many years ago I came to terms with my blogging goals. I realized I was never going to be rich or famous from blogging. Yes, some bloggers have millions of followers but I wanted something else. Back in the day, anyone wanting a publishing career was encouraged to blog to grow their platform. Ouch, I was one of them.



It’s clear now, had I blogged less, I would have more than one book under my belt but at least I realized my dream of being published. What a roundabout journey and one I don’t recommend. If you want to write books, write books. Then maybe blog. I take that back. Just write.

I guess after 10 years, I’ve learned how to blog. Could I teach someone? Yes but would I want to? Probably not. I’ve been asked many times to share what I know. Ask again and I’ll consider it 😉

cat blogger quote

Full time blogging is a lot of work. There are deadlines, editorial calendars and the ever present of chance of tech issues, dealing with clients, reader comments and the unspoken rule to visit fellow bloggers. Did I mention tech issues? Formatting, wonky WIFI, so many things can go wrong and they do. Once a blog is published, it needs to be shared to subscribers and to any number of social media platforms. There are stats and metrics to measure and unexpected issues before hello, it’s time for the next blog. It’s relentless. I have enormous respect for newspaper journalists on a never ending deadline.

analog_cat_quote_vintage_leica_camera

Much has changed over the years in social media. Facebook and Twitter ruled in early years but now, at least for me, it’s Instagram and Pinterest. I was an early adopter of Pinterest and despite little effort my stats there are greater than all my other platforms combined. Go figure.

Everything keeps changing in media. Some say blogging is dead. Everyone seems to have a podcast or angling to be the next TikTok star. I don’t know but the online world has become so noisy and crowded, quiet voices are drowned. It’s more important to stay true to who you are.

I’ve learned blogging does not define me. If I never blogged again would I be any less? Of course not. I’ve learned to importance of saying NO and having stronger boundaries. Blogging like all social media pursuits is ADDICTIVE and only the individual can decide when enough is enough because blogging is a bottomless pit. Unlike writing a book with a beginning, middle and end, landing in the marketplace (hopefully) but blogging can go on ad infinitum.

So what’s new?CAT Wisdom Club on Clubhouse - Followers, Members, Statistics

My new love is the audio app, Clubhouse which has snatched away time from blogging. I’ve been growing my Cat Wisdom club on Clubhouse where I’d rather chat in an intimate interactive hour on everything feline with cat lovers from around the globe. I love that it’s not about random likes and follows but genuine one-on-one connections. The app is still invite only but if you’d like to to skip the wait list, click on this invite

I love that on Mondays I host events that don’t necessarily include cats but holistic healing, tarot, numerology and everything woo.

digtal_detox_Layla_boomermuse_catwisdom101

Three years ago, I made a conscious decision to unplug with a digital detox for 30 days. It changed my life and could no longer go back to frequent or daily blogging. There was a time when sick or distracted, I went to bed forgetting to blog. I’d wake up in a cold sweat, exhaling, “Oh my fucking God, I forgot to blog!” Adrenalin pumping, I’d quickly cobble together something to post. Anything just to press publish. 

cat_hiss_unplug

Those days are long gone. It’s liberating not to worry about what or when to post. There are times I feel nostalgic for the more innocent days of blogging before the drive to monetize, when it felt like a small community where we knew the names of dozens of fellow cat bloggers and their cats. It’s that sense of camaraderie that propels me to keep one paw in the cat blogging world. As far as the future goes, I’ll have to consult the cards.

What I know for sure is I’m still as curious as a cat. I’ve brightened lives and made a difference in my own tiny way. This a taste of what I’ve learned in ten years and anyone who has read all the way down here deserves a prize.

Peace, Love and purrrrrrrrs of Gratitude,

Layla

55 thoughts on “10 Years of Blogging Wisdom From Cat Wisdom 101”

  1. An amazing post and I am so glad I have held on to knowing you through cat struggles and tragedies.

    Your picture of Merlin has me in tears. It is so True – we need to believe this not run in circles after something that doesn’t always matter. I love Clyde’s camera too. What a guy.

    I will get back to Clubhouse, I had the most horrible cold (yeah NZ still has colds just not Covid’s LOL!) and coherence was not my best quality!

    1. Marjorie, you are the kindest and of all the supportive cat bloggers I know. I appreciate you 💜 Warm hugs and feel better real soon xoxo

  2. Happy 10th Blogaversary, Layla! I read all of this, it’s a fascinating and enlightening history of your blogging experience! It is marvelous to be so fully involved with it as you have been, but also good to expand your directions and take refreshing breaks at times. Looking forward to keeping up (at my own snail’s pace, lol) with whatever you do in the future, either here on the blog or in other ways!

  3. Happy Blogoversary, Layla! Your posts are always so thoughtful and thought provoking. We loved when our friend Clyde became a part of your family, and we are so grateful that you are still in this space. We will be here reading as long as you keep posting. Hugs to you.

  4. Happy Happy 10th but HEY! I thought it was much, much longer than that! Your blog always was (and still is) one that I looked up to. From the visuals, the content, to the beautiful writing, it still reigns as one of the supreme cat blogs!!!! I always thought “when I grow up, I want to be like you!” I admire your talent, your creativity, your ability to go with the flow and adapt to change. You have been a wonderful friend and blogging or not, I cherish our friendship (even if I am awful with the phone)….here’s to wherever you dip your paw, be it blogging “clubbing” or wherever, you are a true talent! xoxo

    1. Ha, Caren, it feels like a 100 years! Thanks for being there over the years and yes we are overdue to chat 😹xoxo

  5. My journey with you nearly corresponds to the same time and space and 2011 marked so many firsts together. It was then that I marveled at the oddity of where my life was heading. I recall crafting a post in my nearly created blog, Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles, in which my cat, Mia, was going shopping at the mall to buy a hat to wear at her friend Odin’s first birthday party. Mia had a fancy sports car and she could ride the escalator. The post was cringeworthy in its writing style and my photoshop skills left a lot to be desired, but what was most amazing is that it was the road to what was to become my normal. Cats going to birthday parties for other cats was just the tip of the iceberg. We meet for the first time in 2011 at the CWA conference in White Plains. You’ve reviewed my books, you’ve lent an ear when needed, and you’ve been a mentor and support system. I’m not able to blog and comment like I used to, but, like you, I’ve learned to live from the heart and not from a schedule. Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished and thank you for sharing Cat Wisdom 101 with the world. You’re one of the true pioneers in the industry and a very talented and creative individual.

    Warm Purrs from Deb and the Zee/Zoey gang

  6. Layla I certainly have lost track of a lot of the original blogs I followed back when I first began my blogging journey but it was YOU and Merlin who inspired me to make Angel Sammy’s blog one that people wanted to read. Your blog was that way for me. You always had something meaningful to say, wonderful photos of your cat crew(s) through the years…..so many stories to tell and all of them were inspiring in some way. I’m glad you’re still blogging and also sorry that I’ve not followed the twists, turns and changes you’ve had and that we all seem to go through with long-term blogging. At any rate, HAPPY TENTH ANNIVERSARY. Just know that some of us old timers still appreciate your work, your love of life and your cats, and I wish you a future that holds what YOU want it to hold.

    Love and Hugs, Pam and Teddy

    1. Wow, I forgot I inspired your blog about Sammy! I admire your daily passion after all these years. Much love xo

  7. Happy 10th Blogoversary! I love cats, I have cats, and I like to learn more about cats! When I came across your blog, I knew you are a good person and one who loves cats. I have read all of your blogs since I joined many years ago. Sometimes they are sad, especially when we have to say goodbye to a furry family member. I have learned a lot from your blogs, and I thank you for telling your stories.

  8. WoW! Layla it seems like yesterday when you started! You and I both have seen a ton of changes in the cat blogging world but there are still many of the bloggers that were around then, that are still posting now. I was (and still am) blessed to have many blogging friends, such as you! I am so happy when I see that you have posted and I hope you know that you are a friend I would love to spend time with. Layla you Rock! Thanks for sharing your 10th anniversary with us and thanks for being a friend.

  9. Happy Blogoversary!!! 1o years is something to be proud of. I always enjoy your posts. I plan to check out that other site where you discuss tarot and all things woo which I love too, but not quite as much as cats. 🙂 XO

  10. Read the whole charming thing! Ten years – wow!
    Looking forward to enjoying your posts for 10 more years!
    Cat lovers unite!
    Love,
    Amy in NYC

  11. Layla,
    you are the kindest . You totally underestimate your way and power with words. I think that you have improved greatly in expressing yourself once you stopped “blogging” per se and just started letting it flow when you felt like it. Giving something creative a time line often times destroys the Joy and Passion that drives the creativity. Sadly so much of the digital crap out there is exactly that CRAP!!!! A monkey can learn to copy and crop and alter images etc. a true artists creates their own from the inside out. A real unretouched photo is so much more powerful to me simply because of its imperfections, that is what makes it one of a kind and special in ways that digitally created images cannot hope to be.
    We are imperfect and will always remain so but it is when we truly come to accept those imperfections that we are the closest that we will ever come to achieving perfection in this life and on this planet.
    Thank you for all that you have done to help cats, to educate all of us and to share your life good, bad and ugly with us. i feel a great connection to you even tho I have never met you nor spoken to you or than via the computer. That says a lot about you to me. I have laughed and I have cried and I have rejoiced and I have felt your deep sorrow so yes your words are eloquent and beautiful because they come from the heart.
    I will continue to read your posts whenever you decide to put them out. I do not have time for any of the other areas of communication that you use these days, LOL 35 + cats and a full time job leave little breathing room in my life.
    Thank you again for the kind words, and FYI I read every last one of yours as always.>^..^^,,^^..^<~

    1. Oh Kathy, your comment is why I wrote what I wrote about you! It’s beyond perfection. My thanks go out to you for caring and for your devotion to cats. You’re up to 35!? xoxo

      1. Yep, 35 + or – 1 or 2 on any given day! My life is full and my heart is full of Joy! 35 beautiful, unique, individual, wonderful kitties. Indoor only, outdoor only, combination of the two LOL. There is so much love around me! I now have 4 that I was not able to touch at all that have recently allowed me to start full on hand contact, 2 even roll over for the belly rubs. >^.^^..^<

  12. Ten years of blogging – you are a wonder, my friend.

    Looking forward to the next ten!

    Much love,
    Chris

  13. Mondays with Merlin……… it actually was a ‘thing’ for me to read. much like a favorite show .I always tried reading it on Monday but if I was having a bad Monday, I would ‘save’ it to savor on Tuesday.
    I am glad you still blog now and again. Ten years is time to stretch and grow and you go on the path you are lead to be on.

    Happy Blogoversary, Layla & family , always in my heart!

  14. Happy Blogoversary ! We always enjoy reading your blog, and your whole posts. You are one of the three very first bloggers we met, and we’re glad you’re still blogging at your own pace. Purrs

  15. Happy Blogoversary!! Concats, too:)

    I reads your whole post, yuppers!

    And I had to smile at the Leica Camers…it made me remember the time when I was 9 or 10, my little brother ruined my father’s Leica…oops, he had left it in sight and brother had to have his own go at it…My dad was NOT impressed!

    I always enjoy reading your posts, be they frequent or sparse. I feel you on the lets make a post every…whatever the time frame is, but I am addicted and post once a week…I did used to post a lot more, and had two blogs, one for the kitties and one for the dog, but I made them into one to keep it easier…

    Here’s to 10 more years!!

  16. Happy Blogoversary from all of us. I read your entire post, but that probably doesn’t surprise you. One of my favorite things in the last 10 years was getting to meet you in NYC!

    1. Aw, thank you! You’re the best of the best. And thanks for all you’ve done on behalf of cats over the years xoxo

  17. Happy Blogoversary. It’s always interesting to see how bloggers have evolved over the years. We’ll be 13 years in July. We’re going to check out Clubhouse.

    The Florida Furkids and Mom Sharon

    1. Thank you and congrats on lucky 13! Please dm me once you’re on Clubhouse so I can follow you!

  18. Layla……I love your energy and I learn so much from your blog …..I appreciate that you share your knowledge about cats and the photos are so adorable……Keep up the good work……
    ……sending blessings to you and your family and to each of your cats…🐾😻💜…….from Fay…🙋

  19. guyz; happee ten yeerz two ewe !!! we due knot rememburr what yeer we hopped on board but we iz glad we finded yur blog, happee ta call ewe all friendz and 984 paws UP for sayin NICE izza 4 letter werd….and KNOT….BURD 🙂 ♥♥

    heerz two de next ten { and thanx for de prize offer 😉

    1. You taaaabbbiesss are the best! I can’t remember either because it’s been a looooong time 🤪xoxo

  20. ♪♫Happy Blogoversary to you,♪♫
    ♪♫Happy Blogoversary to you,♪♫
    ♪♫Happy Blogoversary Dear Cat Wisdom 101,♪♫
    ♪♫Happy Blogoversary to you.♪♫

    ♪♫Happy Birthday to you,♪♫
    ♪♫Happy Birthday to you,♪♫
    ♪♫Happy Birthday Dear Odin,♪♫
    ♪♫Happy Birthday to you.♪♫

    Have a fabulous day and week. ♥

    1. Letrisa, thanks and I’m so glad you stopped by. Your vet posts are timeless excellence. And you know the door is always open to your words of veterinary wisdom 💜

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *