Tamar Arslanian is the funny, fearless feline lover behind the popular blog, I Have Cat. I met her last year at the Cat Writers Association conference and felt immediately drawn to her humor, candor and energy. It’s no surprise that her blog is nominated this year for a Pettie award.
LMW: You began your blog, I Have Cat two years ago. What was your impetus for beginning, and as you look back, how has it evolved or mirrored your own growth? Has sharing your life with cats changed you?
TA: Thanks for the reminder, I need to plan something fun to celebrate the second year anniversary of I HAVE CAT’s first post “The Long Soak” (in which I try to give Kip an Epsom salt soak)!
Growing up I’d always been involved in the arts be it taking ballet lessons, playing the violin or putting on theatrical productions for my parents in our basement. As I climbed the proverbial corporate ladder in the world of New York City advertising I never had time to take the dance, painting or pottery classes I intended. It was at the urging of my good friend, published author Nancy Mauro, that I HAVE CAT took form. Writing has never been my strong suit, but with Nancy’s guidance and deft editing skills I slowly began writing posts.
Having cats has absolutely changed me. They’ve enriched my life in so many ways. They’ve given me a sneak-peak into furless motherhood, caused me to re-examine what I eat, allowed me appreciate other animals (including dog!) and even impacted the way I think about and appreciate humans!
LMW: Right now, I see your blog as a mix of stories about your life as a single cat lover, vegan (are you still vegan?) looking for love in the Big Apple. Where do you see the blog heading or will there be brand re-structuring, now that you’ve reached over 14,000 fans?
TA: I’m actually pescatarian (I know it sounds like a religion!) flirting with vegan. No brand structuring as of yet. Ideally I’d write more about how cats impact my dating life but I need to go on some dates in order to write those posts!
LMW: How will the blog change once you get married? Could you, would you marry a man who didn’t like cats?
TA: Honestly I hadn’t thought about how a boyfriend or marriage would impact my blog but I imagine I could evolve the concept. “Married in the city with cats – – and a kid”? I can’t imagine marrying someone didn’t like cats, or wasn’t willing to get to know and love them. For that matter I can’t imagine marrying someone who doesn’t love, or appreciate my love of animals. Now if I met a guy who was violently allergic to cats that would be a real problem!
LMW: Tell us something about each of your three cats that you’ve never mentioned online before.
TA: Kip allows my sister hold him but not me. I’m convinced she uses some sort of Vulcan death grip that renders him temporarily paralyzed. Petie and I have our special “loving time” on my bed, not my bedroom floor as I wrote in a recent post. He literally leads me up the stairs and onto my bed. I was worried it would come across the wrong way! Haddie lets me kiss her face. Since her face is so small and squished, I get her nose and her eyes all at once! Maybe she lets me do it because her eyesight isn’t that great and she doesn’t see me coming!
LMW:Petie has his face on your blog’s header. Does this mean he’s your favorite? Are the other two jealous?
TA: Lucky for me my cats don’t have an online presence (I’m traditional that way), so they are blissfully ignorant that one might be a bit more famous than the rest. I love them all equally but uniquely.
LMW: What to you feed your cats? Favorite treats?
TA: Feeding my cats has gotten increasingly difficult because I’m trying to feed them more wet food as Petie needs to lose a few pounds. They’ll eat almost any brand dry food but when it comes to wet food they all like something different and it’s always changing. As far as treats, they only get them once or twice a week but Temptations and Greenies are the favorites.
LMW: How has your background in marketing and advertising help you succeed?
TA: At the most basic level it helped me with the basics of how to create the I HAVE CAT brand. I was able to carve out my own niche in regards to my tone and point-of-view and reinforced the brand through consistent imagery and message.I also think incorporating my unique voice has helped I HAVE CAT stand out. I’m a real person. I respond to comments and do my best to be honest with my readers.
LMW: You’re a stylish, hip anti-crazy cat lady. How can we eradicate the crazy cat lady image out there forever?
TA: Thanks for the compliment, though some days do lose the battle against cat hair! I have to persevere and remember it’s about winning the war. The stereo type, just like most stereotypes, exists because it’s based in some truth. But it’s certainly a generalization. Cats have a PR problem. People don’t understand cats so they don’t understand people who love them. It’s easier to label us all “crazy” then understand why we love them. It’s human nature to ridicule or ostracize that which we don’t understand.
Having stylish, hip spokes men and women certainly helps our cause. I love it when celebrities like Kate Walsh and Katy Perry publicly celebrate their feline love!
LMW: You were a finalist in the Purina Cat Chow Correspondent competition this year. What were the highlights of that experience?
TA: I cannot believe I’m saying this because it sounds so Miss America, but I was honored to be in the final seven with such worthy competition. Trust me I expected it to be all side-ways glances and stare-downs but the moment we met the were out and we were sharing cat photos! I loved that each of the finalists were so different from one another. I couldn’t feel bad about not being selected because it was clearly not what they were going for. It’s not like they picked a different version of me!
LMW: Do you volunteer with any rescue groups/shelter?
TA: Yes, I foster through City Critters Inc., a local 501c rescue group in New York City established in 1994. City Citters doesn’t have an actual shelter so they rely on their network of foster parents to home cats when they aren’t being shown for adoption on the weekends. To date I’ve fostered around 20 kitten and cats and had only one “failed foster” (my third and only girl cat Haddie). for a Pet Blog.
LMW: I Have Cat was nominated this year for a Pettie award Dogtime.com’s Pettie award for Best Social Integration category. The awards will be announced at the pet blogger conference BlogPaws on August 26. You attended last year. What was your take-way about the conference and pet bloggers in general?
TA:I attended the first ever Blog Paws in Columbus Ohio on April of 2010 and in retrospect cannot believe I went there not knowing a single person. I left with so many amazing professional contacts and friends who I stay in touch with – some on a daily basis – via email and facebook. I missed the second one but I’m very excited to attend this August. If we win, City Critters will receive a $1,000 donation so please do vote. Voting is simple and does not require registration. Vote up to 2x each day through July 29 (you can vote for as many or as few categories you want).
LMW:World domination. Who will win: cats or dogs?
TA: Need you ask?