by Elisa Black-Taylor
Furby the Feral is on Facebook
I call this article "Confessions Of A Facebook Cat Lady" because that's what I am. There are also Facebook dog, horse and rabbit people on Facebook. I'm proud of this self proclaimed title as I feel I've earned it.
Michael (PoC) recently ran an article stating people spend too much time on Facebook and should get a life in the real world (note from Michael. I think Elisa means this article). I won't deny having a life outside of Facebook is a good thing. It's just not practical for some people.
I imagine many Facebook cat people are like myself. We hold down jobs with long hours and can get on the site at work to pass the time. Others are disabled or retired and Facebook provides not only entertainment but also companionship. I don't consider myself antisocial or afraid to meet people. I just don't have much time left in my day after working and caring for the cats at home.
Most of my friends are on Facebook. I've even given Facebook as my address when people in my "real" life ask me where I live. I smile and reply "on Facebook."
I began using Facebook in 2009 as a way to keep people up to date when my ex was dying of cancer. I could post updates to everyone at one time in one place. It's a known fact that anyone you've lost touch with will eventually open a Facebook account. The police even use the site to track down wanted felons.
Facebook has turned into a lifestyle for me. By this I mean I love sharing photos of my cats and dogs. I love sharing the stories I write. And I can keep up with all of my new friends whenever I have a free moment. This is really the "pen pal" system we had in the 20th century. We gather friends based on who we know and what we like.
When I make friends I look for cat lovers. That's just me. Many are out there looking for love or looking for trouble. You just have to be careful and weigh the odds that you choose good friends. If you make a mistake and befriend a potential stalker, there's a function to "block" that person. Just don't give out more personal information than you want people to know.
I'd also like to invite Michael to get on Facebook a little more often. A lot of good is being done here. Many animal shelters now have a Facebook page where they promote the animals needing rescue instead of being euthanized. We've saved over 50 animals now who we never would have known about if not for Greenville County Pet Rescue on Facebook.
Facebook is also used to promote events, many of them involving raising money for shelters and rescues or promoting adoption events. It also promotes many businesses. It's a form of free advertising.
Many of my cats would be dead now if not for Facebook. I use the site to promote the chipin events I do to raise money for their general care and vet bills. A chipin is a site where a goal is set and people are asked to donate whatever they can for the cause. You can check out an example at -- this Chipin URL has failed at March 2013 - sorry. Without a social site to promote these, they'd be useless.
I can tell everyone a month ago when Sealy became ill, I didn't have to think twice about getting him the best treatment available. I had faith my Facebook friends would help me with the bill. I about hit the floor when I saw that $300 vet bill. If not for my faith in the people who support my work, I'd have had to have Sealy euthanized or gone without treatment and hoped for the best.
I've raised hundreds of dollars now using chipin and Facebook. All of Sealys vet bills have been paid by people I've never met but consider my extended family. I consider them all cousins. Some of them I consider sisters and I even have a few "fake" sisters on my page. Many of my cats have found "Godparents" through the friendships I've made. These people pay some each month or whenever a crisis arises (and I always seem to have an ongoing crisis) and it enables me to provide for my cats. Without these kind souls, I would only be able to provide for one or two pets.
We had a fire a month ago. We lost our stove and a double hot plate unit. This doesn't sound like much considering the loss could have been horrific. It left us with only an electric skillet to cook with. I got on my Facebook page and told my friends what had happened and they donated enough for me to get a good toaster over and a double hot plate unit. Also we had to have over $200 worth of cleaning supplies to get the house back to normal due to the heavy smoke damage.
I have a lot of fun doing accounts for my cats. This is a no-no, but there are THOUSANDS of animals on Facebook. I have a "like" page for Furby the Feral Feline. Furby has a smart mouth and thinks he should have "nine wives" instead of "nine lives." Midnight Munchkin Whineybutt, our sole distemper survivor, is a very sweet and lovable kitten on her page. She is far more famous now than Furby and has over 3000 friends. Her innocence comes through as she tries to make too many friends and is often put on "restriction." This only makes her more popular.
Michael, you really should spend some time looking at the group page I set up for pictures-of-cats. I don't think a lot of people read the description and just started uploading pictures of their cats. This is great because it's a fun page. People upload their photos and post their cat blogs and newsletter links. Sometimes a prayer comes in on the group page for a sick cat. The page hasn't been exactly what I expected it to be, but it's for the cat lover and by the cat lover. You really can't ask for more than that.
I also post most of my stories to my personal page and to the pictures-of-cats Facebook group page. This attracts more readers. A lot of people comment on the stories on the Facebook pages rather than the article comment section. So I'm using the site to promote a website and also my person writing. I've written over 300 cat articles to date. Many ideas are sent to me as Facebook messages. I try to build a story around ones I believe cat lovers would take an interest in. I've probably done around 20 articles based on Facebook messages.
Let's do a little math now. Twenty articles and the www.pictures-of-cats.org website has roughly 11000 readers per day. That means my articles have had a potential 220,000 readers based on those figures on just twenty stories. This figure doesn't include those who see the link posted on my Facebook profiles. Hmmmm....Michael, would you care to live on Facebook now? It's fun, free, easy and profitable!
I can't wait to see the comments for this article. Any other cat ladies (or gentlemen) have any confessions to make.
I will give everyone a good laugh. My unlimited cell phone data provider threatened to cut off my cell phone data plan because I'm on Facebook too much. I got the situation straightened out, but I don't know whether I should brag about my Facebook man-hours or not. You all don't even want to know the figures for that one.