It amazes me how much the pet blogosphere has exploded in the last few years. You can find blogs about dogs, cats, ferrets, parrots, guinea pigs, rabbits, just about every pet possible. I thought it would be it would be fun to meet some of the pet bloggers behind these blogs and learn more about them.
Meet Caren from Cat Chat and Dakota’s Den
How did your love of animals start?
First, thank you for this great new feature and opportunity!! What fun! Now, on to your question: Tough one! Probably when I was about two. We had a Boxer named “Brandy” My mother said she acted like a “Nanny” with me because she was there before I was born. One day my mother heard me laughing my head off but couldn’t find me. She went into the bedroom and saw Brandy’s butt by the bed her head going under the bedskirt….under the BED was ME. She said I was laying there pulling Brandy’s jowls playfully (Brandy let me)….and was just LAUGHING to beat the band! I moved on to Lassie from there, my love of cats didn’t begin until I was 15.
What made you decide to start a pet blog?
I had lost my advertising job (due to downsizing) in 2007. I spent nearly two years incredibly depressed. First, I saw the movie “Julie & Julia” and thought “What FUN!! I can do that!” Then, I had answered an ad for “Citizen Journalists” that my local paper had placed. They wanted me to cover City Council meetings (soooo NOT ME!). I noticed at that time they had very few blogs. I suggested that I do a blog instead. They had me submit topic ideas and I submitted about 5. The first was Cat Chat (because cats were my first passion). That was chosen and I began my blog in October of 2009, my link is sponsored by the newspaper but I am NOT their employee. They own the link, I own all of my content.
Dakota’s blog is completely independent and was begun in the Spring of 2011, it’s a baby!
How long have you been blogging?
Since October 2009.
How would you describe your blog to a first time visitor?
For Cat Chat it would be:Cat Chat is a cozy corner featuring information, stories, book/product reviews, videos and more that are all about CATS! It’s a “Chat” about CATS!
For Dakota’s blog it would be: “Dakota’s Den, the daily doings of a dog named Dakota. Let the barking begin!!”
If a reader could only read 1 post on your blog which post would you recommend?
I have a few but this one would probably be it: “My Love Of Cats, When Did It Begin?” http://opcatchat.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-love-of-cats-when-did-it-begin.html
What has been the best part and what has been the hardest part about blogging?
There are sooo many BEST PARTS! Probably the best part was finding the BlogPaws website/community. When I had discovered them I knew NOTHING about blogging. I was lost. I remember running out of the bedroom shrieking with excitement the day I found them. I had told my husband it was as if my prayers had been answered. It provided so many answers to my questions, gave me guidelines, even helped with my topic selection at the time. Meeting the PEOPLE behind the site and the members of the site both in person and online has been richly rewarding
The hardest part would be now that I have two blogs, coming up with decent content (yep I know I am not the best out there, far from it!) and finding the time to blog. Sometimes the “fun” that it once had for me is sadly lacking due to various pressures that naturally occur when your blogs start to get a decent following.
What have you learned from blogging?
Sooo much! Too much to list here. I am STILL learning and hope to always continue to learn. I have learned things that are technical, I have learned how to write better (I still need huge work on both of those issues!!), I have also learned a lot about people, both fellow bloggers and my readers. Most good, some, not-so-much 🙂
What is 1 piece of advice you would give to a new pet blogger?
Listen to your heart.
Speak as yourself (even if you are speaking through your pet) be true to yourself. Blog because you love it, blog because you love your topic. Let your authentic self shine through your words. Not everyone is going to love you, you can’t please everyone. Don’t give up. Learn to give and take with other bloggers. It isn’t all about YOU. Be supportive. Give other bloggers what you want for yourself, an audience. Don’t just be a “taker.” Be sincere, readers and other bloggers respond to sincerity. Blogging shouldn’t always be self serving. People spot that a mile away and both readers and fellow bloggers will be turned off by it. (Ooops! that was waaay more than one thing!)
Where can readers find you online?
Caren was 1 of the first people I met when I attended BlogPaws last year in Virginia. She’s a great person to talk to if you ever get the chance. Thank you for taking the time to time to answer some questions, Caren!!