by Elisa Black-Taylor
Furby the little man is Mr Network in the cat world
Good morning cat lovers. This is going to be a fun, lighthearted article. And at the end I'd like for everyone to comment as to where online we can find YOUR cats. Today I want to talk about social networking your cat.
I'd like to thank Ima Hemingway, CATitude Sabrina and Furby the Feral Feline for introducing me to the world as seen by cats.
First of all I'd like to point out there are two main reasons to network a cat. One is to meet other cat lovers in the hopes of a romantic partnership forming. I can understand the motives behind this as I'd never consider a relationship with anyone who didn't love cats as much as I do. But those aren't the cat lovers I want to talk about here. Feel free to explore that option on your own.
The second reason to write about your cat on a social network is: stress relief and entertainment. So perhaps there are three reasons. LOL.
Today I want to take the readers at PoC into the world of cat owner's writing as their cats.
I came upon the idea for this article as I was making new Facebook and MySpace friends. It didn't take me long to notice many people who are using a cat for a profile picture are writing AS their cat. Which I think is a great idea. Possibly because I do it myself. And yes, I may be slightly insane. Aren't we all these days?
Facebook has a group titled "Let's see how many cats there are on Facebook" with over 5400 members.
Facebook and MySpace have thousands of cat profiles. Here are some of the other cat networking sites for those interested. Here are some pet themed sites. Social Networks for Per Lovers (new window).
One word of warning from someone who's been there. Once you start one social networking page for your cat, you'll want another. It's addictive.
There are several reasons behind writing as a cat on a social networking site. The first is it's FUN! It enables the cat lover in each of us to take a step back and focus on what's important to our cats. How do they see the world we live in? I feel sure they have much different opinions on life than we do. I write as my cats on one site in a cat site "diary" detailing their week. I have a blog site where I tell of the adventures my cats have in their day to day life. I also have a blog written by my cat.
Many of my cat loving friends feel the same way. We all tend to go about promoting our cats through social networks. Most of us also have a separate site where we post blogs written by us pretending to be our cats. The social networking sites are the easiest way to promote the blog sites.
To many of us, our cats are our children and this is the same concept we used years ago when creating "Baby Books." Except in this internet age with the creation of Web 2.0, which allows blogging, we are posting photos and memories of our cats and in many instances by our cats. I do both, as do many of you.
When I began the research for this article I expressed concerns that a few will think this a strange thing to spend time on when there are so many greater concerns going on in the world. One of my online friends agreed with me in that writing as a cat is a way to cope with all of the bad things happening around us.
I sent out a message on my readers forum asking for feedback on this issue. Ima Hemingway and J.W. Griffith both responded and I'd like to share their reasons with the readers here. For all responses to this discussion please see
Networking Your Cat (link broken 2012).
"I started Meatball's (Ima's account) because I just needed a little "fantasy" world from the stress of real life. Under Ima's account, I can just be totally goofy, silly, playful - whatever - and also show Meatball's personality (purrsonality) through me. It's just fun. She is such an adorable, sweet, silly, innocent little creature & by pretending to be her, I can show that to others.
Plus...it is nice to find like minded people who can give the support needed when one of our furbies is sick, injured, or gone to the bridge. Non-cat lovers tend to just not get it & therefore aren't supportive. Regarding my two, both times they each were suffering from a major illness, a bonehead at work said I should've just had them PTS. I didn't even solicit their opinion. So having the cat lovers support in general, and then again after that insensitive statement, is a blessing."
"I love the idea of Social Networking your cats. I have had a group for my cat (Thomas the Ginger Cat) for over a year and he is getting a little following now. He is my pride and joy and I consider him to be one of my kids. I have gotten closer to him than any pet I have had in a very long time and spoil him almost excessively. Here is the link to his group. The Adventures of Thomas the Ginger Cat (new window).
I've learned most of the "cats" writing on social networks are women. Perhaps there is a bit of feline in all of us. Not to say men aren't doing this. I just haven't found as many.
There are two categories of blogs on the internet. Those are informative blogs and vanity blogs. Informative blogs are exactly what the name says. Blogs that are written with the purpose of educating the reader. Vanity blogs are blogs where the writer wants comments on things that are important in daily life. Namely, their cats. Even though we may write as a cat, we are educating each other along the way by sharing experiences and encouraging friendships as ourselves. Therefore we fall into both categories.
I, for one, don't intend to stop writing as a cat any time in the near future. I'm having a ball at it. Plus learning how to build interesting websites.
In case you haven't tried cat blogging or social networking, it's a lot of fun. I enjoy it because I'm in control of the blog. I grew up in the day that went you wrote a story, you had to first mail it off and then wait for a magazine to accept it for publication. More often than not (a LOT more) the story would be rejected and the story never published. Blogging allows the writer to get the story online in just a few clicks.
There's a lot of pride when you see your writing go online. I've always encouraged readers to write stories on their cats and submit them to pictures-of-cats.org. You don't have to be a professional writer to enjoy writing. The same holds true with blogging. Find a site you like and try it. It's very calming. Not only that, it's free. Few enjoyable things in life are these days.
Check out the blogs at Blogger.com or WordPress.com. I also like hubpages.com for my dog stories. These three sites are all easy to use. Many online cat newsletter sites also have a blog spot. This is entirely a personal decision. The most difficult aspect of blogging for me was finding the blog site I wanted to post on. Many more can be found by entering "social networks for cats" into your search engine.
I've noticed many cat blogs are really elaborate in the use of backgrounds and fonts. Again, this is an individual choice. Personally, I stick to backgrounds that don't swallow up the cat. Some of the cats out there have sites that are impossible to read because the person who built the site went a little too overboard. Just a word of advice for those seriously promoting their cats. Keep the social networking/blog page simple and professional looking to attract more readers. Photos really "POP" when they're not competing with the page for attention. Just remember you're promoting your cat and not a background and you're on your way to a very enriching activity.
Be prepared to answer questions from friends when you start promoting your cat online. They'll either support you wholeheartedly or think you're a little on the crazy side. Just go back to answering fan mail for your cat and don't worry about what your friends are thinking.
I never thought I'd use my college education to promote my cat. I studied marketing, advertising, communications, photography and journalism to name a few. I guess stranger things have happened.
If any of you have a blog or cat social page you'd like to share, please leave a comment on what name your cat goes by online or leave the URL in the comment section. Feel free to leave a few lines on why you enjoy the networking. Plus any tips you've found helpful in setting up or promoting your cat.