|Peter W. Cat, Author|
LIVING HAPPY: INSIGHTS FROM A BLIND KITTY
It’s not often I get to interview a cat. Actually, I’m pretty sure that, although I have two of my own who are quite vocal, I have never interviewed any cat—ever. So I relished the opportunity.
Peter W. Cat has written a story about how he and his humans have lived happily following his going blind. A reviewer touts LIVING HAPPY: INSIGHTS FROM A BLIND KITTY as “inspirational” without being “preachy.” Pete does admit that he had some help from his humans to illustrate his book and write down his lessons. He is currently working on his autobiography.
Q: It is unusual for a cat to write a book. My cats, for example, sit on any book I’m trying to read or walk on my laptop to prevent me from typing to create one. What inspired you to write LIVING HAPPY: INSIGHTS FROM A BLIND KITTY? Would you characterize this book as your “memoir?”
Peter W. Cat: I went blind in September of 2013. When my family realized I couldn’t see, they decided to see if anyone on the internet could give them tips on how to help a blind cat. What they found was a lot of people who thought it would be a good idea to put a blind cat down. They were horrified that anyone would consider doing that to a healthy animal. I was determined to show my family that my quality of life would not be affected. They were very amazed at how I learned to adapt, and how I re-learned my way around the house. They were also impressed that I never seemed to get upset when I ran into walls or furniture, and how I still wanted to hang out with them and be a buddy.
I tend to take things in stride – for example, I didn’t let my bad experience with my first family prevent me from trusting humans. If I did, I would have never found my new family. And I thought, if everyone could do that, take the positive side of things, and don’t let the negative control you, it makes for a much happier life. I decided to put what I learned in a book, in the hopes of inspiring everyone to be positive – especially when it seems difficult. While there are snippets from my life in the book, it isn’t really so much of a memoir.
Q: Did you get any assistance from your “people” to write your book? Who did the art work?
Peter W. Cat: Yes, I have to admit, Gram did the artwork and helped me type up my lessons.
Q: Can you give us 3-5 tips from your 20 uplifting lessons?
Peter W. Cat: I sure can.
Accept change: I’ve had a lot of change happen to me. Change is going to happen no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Sometimes it’s bad change – being declawed or being abandoned. Sometimes it’s good change – finding a better home than the last one, finding very loving people. If I had a bad attitude because of the bad change, I would have missed out on all the good things that happened to me.
You don’t know what you can achieve unless you try. I’m a cat. I like to sit on high places and in windows. Once I went blind, my world shrank. Getting off the floor meant taking chances. Up is always easy, but down…down can be scary when you don’t know how far down it. So I reasoned that if I could stretch up on my hind legs and feel the top of something with my front paws, up and down wouldn’t be that difficult. Soon I was getting on the couch, the chair, and the bed. I even managed to get on the dresser, and get down by myself, which really surprised my humans.
Don’t let bad things rule you. If you hold onto anger, you will never see the joy. If you hold onto the bad times, there will never be good times.
Q: One of the reviewers of LIVING HAPPY said, “It's nice to see a positive message that doesn't come across as preachy.” Did you write LIVING HAPPY purely to entertain your readers, or did you want to deliver a message? Educate?
Peter W. Cat: I actually had two goals in mind when I wrote LIVING HAPPY. The first was to show everyone that life is full of its joys and sorrows, but as long as you stay positive, the sorrows don’t hurt as much and the joys are so much better. The second was to show everyone that even poor little rescue kitties have value, even if they have a handicap like being blind or deaf, and all kitties can have a good quality of life.
Q: What makes your book unique from other “how-to-live-happy” books?
Peter W. Cat: Each lesson in my book is from personal experience. My humans always marveled that no matter what seems to happen to me, I always seem so happy and easy going. I’ve survived a serious illness that even my Vet was amazed that I had recovered from. He had given me about a week to live. My humans were so worried about me, but even though I felt very sick, I still would cuddle on laps and purr. I lived this book, and learned these ways. Positive cats live longer! So do positive humans.
Q: How have you trained your people to focus on you and feed you at the time you require and how do you get them to make room for you on their laps no matter what?
Peter W. Cat: Actually, getting fed in my house is easy. Gram always feeds us breakfast in the morning when she gets up, again at lunchtime, then once more at dinner. Sometimes if we are really hungry, we just head out to the kitchen and sit by our dishes and she knows we want a little snack. And if I hear my people heading out to the kitchen and I’m hungry, I’ll follow them out. I’ve learned to listen for footsteps. For example, I can tell when the footsteps stop at the bathroom, it is still night and not time to get up and eat. And if I’m sleeping in the bedroom and don’t hear the call to dinner, my people always come find me and lead me out to the kitchen.
My people are really very good to me. They let me do things on my own, but they will help me out a lot. They figured out that I can follow sound, so sometimes if I get turned around, they will snap their fingers and call my name to help me get going the right way. I don’t like to be picked up and carried around too much because it makes me confused as to what room I’m in and where everything is, but when they pick me up, they always put me back down in the same spot, or next to something like the couch so I know where I am. And sometimes, when I get really lost or I’m not sure how far down I have to jump, I will meow as loud as I can and they will come in and help me.
My people love lap kitties, and I love being a lap kitty, so anytime I want to cuddle, they are more than willing to make room for me.
Q: Who are your target readers? Who are you trying to reach with your story?
Peter W. Cat: I had a very nice email from a reader who told me that the one thing that they read that really stuck in their mind was “You’re going to make mistakes”. They told me that they were a perfectionist, and they would get really upset when they made a mistake. But something about that particular lesson really made them see that making mistakes is a part of learning, and it’s a part of growing.
These are the kind of people I’m hoping would pick up my book and really get something out of what I’m trying to say.
Q: How important is backstory to telling your story? Humor? Character development? I understand that you live with two other kitties in addition to your people. Are they supporting characters?
Peter W. Cat: My humans might sum up my backstory by saying that if I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all. I think it’s significant in showing that cats and humans can overcome anything. It also illustrates that I’ve lived each lesson, and that if I can overcome, everyone can.
The two other kitties and I get along. Cats communicate by facial expression. When we meow, we’re talking to our humans. So when I went blind, the other two kitties had a hard time understanding why I kept bumping into them! But they eventually figured it out, and will even help me out a little. They have always been indoor kitties since they were tiny kittens, so they have no idea what it’s like to have to hunt for your own food.
Q: What’s next? Will you write another story?
Peter W. Cat: Yes. I am working on my next book now. My publisher thought it would be a good idea to write my autobiography.
Q: Tell us about Peter W. Cat. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Peter W. Cat: I love to sleep on Gram’s bed. She has this big, soft pillow that’s my new favorite spot. I also like to sit with Mom and Gram when they play games or are working on their own stuff. And I really love it when they play with me. If I can hear it, I can chase it.
About Peter W. Cat
Peter W. Cat, aka Sneaky Pete, is a pure white cat and is about sixteen years old. He didn’t always live with his current family – his first family mistreated him and eventually abandoned him outside without any claws to help him hunt or defend himself. He eventually wandered into the yard of his current home where he was taken in and given all the love and affection he could handle.
In 2013 Pete suffered from detached retinas and went blind. He was determined to keep his quality of life, and with some help from his Family, they both learned how to live with this latest change in his life. His unofficial birthday is October 31st, because that is the day his new Family officially made him their third kitty member.
Pete’s life wasn’t always good, but he didn’t let adversity dampen his will to live a happy life. Through his own life experience, Pete shares the lessons he’s learned in his first book so that cats and humans everywhere can live happy.
Little Things Mean a Lot: A special treat or a special place to sleep – or even a nice pat on the head or a kind word – these always make me feel better. So when my Family is feeling upset or stressed, I will always give them a cuddle or bump my head against them to let them know that I love them. Please remember how happy kindness makes you feel and pass it on to someone else.