Putting life first—that included taking care of myself, that included nurturing my two wonderful cats, that included serving everyone and every living thing with whom I came into contact. I began exercising and eating more fruits and vegetables. I’ve actually completed four marathons since that time. I made sure my cats, Chloe and Chamois, ate the most nutritious foods I could afford. I also made sure they received playtime and affection from me every day.
My cats were there for me, too, by the way. In fact, they taught me so much about surviving and helping others through grief. Chloe sat on my lap, while Chamois snuggled tightly next to me during some of my saddest moments. I learned that presence alone is comfort and we don’t have to say a word.
Shortly after my sister passed, I received a phone call from Fancy Publications, the publishing company that had been publishing Cat Fancy since 1975. The editor of Pet Product News, who interviewed me several months earlier for another position, was leaving the company and recommended me as her replacement. Long story short, I landed the job and have been specializing in animal topics ever since. When the editor position opened up at CF, I moved onto that publication and I’ve served as editor for the past ten years.
I see it as my job to make sure that my staff members are happy, because happy people do their best, most creative work. I also believe it is my responsibility to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. In the case of CF, that includes both wild and domestic felines. My constant guide is to put life first. The people I work with and the lives I influence, both human and feline, are more important than any of my ambitions, achievements, possessions or even my dreams.
Even adversaries are more important than whatever it is we’re fighting about. I had the chance to practice the golden rule when someone took me to small claims court for something I inadvertently failed to disclose in escrow documents. I put the people in that courtroom first even though it meant I would lose some money, and the plaintiff was so appreciative that he sent me a Thank You card.
I have to say that once my worldview became clear, I found friends everywhere, because it’s all about being a friend and caring for life.