10th blogoversary cat wisdom 101

10 Years of Blogging Wisdom From Cat Wisdom 101

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

Ten years. An entire decade devoted to cat blogging began innocently enough. I launched Cat Wisdom 101 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, the odds are you won’t read ALL of this post, but I have to write it anyway. I’ve learned that blogging is a dance. The reader is your dancing partner and it’s more about them.

Let’s begin with a teaser from the past 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 but ready for its second act.

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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 or aha moment, and sometimes I have no recollection of writing the post at all.

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

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

Male: neutered

Breed: white/gray tabby domestic short hair

Birthday: June 1, 2010.
Born: Bronx, N.Y.
Weight: 15 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 (it evolved into Caturday). You could call it the “Golden Age” of blogging. There were less of us die-hard bloggers in the cat niche we all knew each other. There are only a handful of us old timers remaining, dictated by natural atrophy, aging and let’s face it, cats don’t live forever except in our hearts.

Every cat blogger has to decide whether to retire after a cat dies, adopt new cats or pivot into a new direction. I admire all those who have kept going no matter what, but I also respect a graceful bowing out when a blog becomes stale or repetitious.

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

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His wise Siamese and often very LOUD words continue to reverberate at this blog. He had his own column: Mondays with Merlin where is spouted his unique wit and wisdom in every age and season. His contribution happily lives on in the archives and deserves to be transformed into a book. One day.

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 cross-eyed Ling Ling, a lost Bengal, Gris Gris the cat who thought he was a racehorse, Domino, the feral turned lap cat, Radish the cat who famously broke my heart into a million little pieces and Nou Nou the one-eyed hoarder rescue and bar none, the weirdest cat I’ve ever known.

I can honestly say there has never been a dull moment.

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In the beginning I followed a daily blogging schedule at two blogs (14 weekly posts is 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 a blog.  Over the years, the logo and blog templates changed and tweaked with the times.

Being adaptable is a key characteristic of any successful blogger.  Grow or stagnate. It’s is up to you. I continue to mine the past  for fresh new ideas and love a modern spin on vintage art. 

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. I’m so comfortable with the process of creating and publishing content I can almost do it in my sleep. I’ve never struggled coming up with new topic ideas. BUT it’s beginning to feel 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. I could write a book just from your pithy comments.

writing blog quote

What have I learned in 10 years of blogging?

  • 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 much improved from those embarrassing early posts. I’ve often thought of deleting them but I think it’s important to have markers of progress. It’s also healthy to keep the ego in check. 
  • I’ve learned about my limitations, flaws in my character and what makes me human.
  • I’m come to terms with not comparing my blog or content to those lucky enough to go viral or grow to millions of followers.
  • I learned to navigate if not master the back end of WordPress. I know my way around every aspect of 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 MUSE awards. Thank you Cat Writers’ Association.
  • I learned how to create graphics, photo quotes, infographics and excel in digital photo 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 more true than ever.
  • I really miss reading blogs on a larger screen but everything needs to be mobile-friendly. Sometimes I’ve create posts entirely on mobile.
  • You can’t put a value on the incredible people I’ve met from my fellow cat bloggers, 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. Well, usually.

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, and unfortunately my passion for blogging interfered with writing books.



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

What I wish I’d known before I started blogging.

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, sponsors, 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.

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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 remains a favorite place to hangout. That and I love making Instagram reels. 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 in an endless loop.

So what’s new Pussycat?

My new love is the audio app, Clubhouse which has snatched away time from my 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. 

It was a rude wake-up call.

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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 choose to be like a cat and live in the moment.

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

69 Comments

  • Trouble Jones

    I actually just came across this blog reading something else 😎, but I’m so glad I did!!!
    I’ve just been reading several different dates (back in 2011😳) and then found link to newer posts.
    Annnd here I am!! I’m sorry you feel like you can’t ‘blog’as much as you used to. I’ve so enjoyed your posts that I’ve read. I’ve read them all the way through, also…. just to let you know😻😻
    I did click link on the invite to Clubhouse and I’m in there, but have NO idea how to find YOU 🤣🤣.
    Be patient with me as I learnt to navigate the new playground.
    PS: Mom says it’s time to get off her phone, so bye for now!!
    😻😻😻😻

  • Sweet Purrfections

    Congratulations on 10 years! Sweet Purrfections celebrates 10 years next week, but I’ve been blogging since 2008 (Sweet Praline). A lot has changed, but much has remained the same. Thank you for sharing your memories.

  • Erin The Cat

    I KNOW I AM SO VERY LATE, BUT I IT HERE IN THE END, AND COVID FREE, TOO.
    A VERY HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY, AND A WONDERFUL, COMPLETE POST YOU GAVE US. EVERY BIT AS INTERESTING AND FUN TO READ AS YOUR OTHERS, AND YES I DID READ IT ALL 🙂
    I HAVE SUBSCRIBED TO THE CLUBHOUSE APP AND HOPEFULLY WECAN ALL PURR AND CHAT NEXT TIME AROUND.
    AS THE GREAT PERSON ONCE SAID: LIVE LONG, PROSPER AND LOVE CATS!
    PURRS OF BEST WISHES
    ERIN & MRS H

  • Marjorie at Dash Kitten

    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!

    • Layla

      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

  • Leah

    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!

  • meowmeowmans

    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.

  • Caren

    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

    • Layla

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

  • Deb Barnes

    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

  • Pam

    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

  • Cindy Hall

    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.

  • Marv, Jo Jo, Kozmo, Cinnamon & Barb

    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.

  • Ellen Pilch

    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

  • Skeeter and Izzy

    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.>^..^^,,^^..^<~

    • Layla

      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

      • Skeeter and Izzy

        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. >^.^^..^<

  • Christine Davis

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

    Looking forward to the next ten!

    Much love,
    Chris

  • ellen beck

    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!

  • The Swiss Cats

    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

  • Meezer'sMews&TerrieristicalWoofs

    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!!

  • Brian Frum

    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!

    • Layla

      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

  • The Florida Furkids

    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

  • Fay Kennedy

    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…🙋

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    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 😉

  • Sandee

    ♪♫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. ♥

    • Layla

      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 💜

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