Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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A Special Book Signing with Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat

ingrid king and me
Me, brandishing my camera, with author Ingrid King, human of Allegra, Amber and Buckley.
Jay and Bernie
The two reprobates I arrived with, Jay Davenport, human of Stirfry and Tabatha, and Bernie Tracy, human of the famous Steeler.

On Sunday I took off for Falls Church, Virginia with a person I’d never met before to get together with a bunch of other people I’d met on the internet. Sounds like the sort of thing they tell you not to do, but I happened to know that each of these persons, including myself, owned at least one tortoiseshell cat, so I knew the worst we’d do is talk about what our cats did in the litterbox or deposited on the floor.

Ingrid signs a book
Ingrid signs a book; note the purple Hershey kisses in the dish.

Besides, I did know one of the people—Ingrid King, author of Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher and the personality, along with tortie  Allegra, behind The Conscious Cat website and author of the blog post that brought us all together, “Tortitude”—the Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. I had met Ingrid at a Cat Writer’s Association conference in 2009 and purchased her book the following spring. And the group of us have been trading cat stories for at least a year on the blog post, so we had only to meet in person to feel complete!

Julie Shubin, Ingrid King, Harry Shubin
Ingrid King, center, with Julie and Harry Shubin, humans of Brooke and May.

We met at the Stray Cat Cafe in Falls Church, VA, hosted by Harry and Julie Shubin, and the book signing and Chinese auction proceeds would benefit an organization for which he volunteers and fails in fostering for the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation of Arlington, VA.

car with family stickers
Harry's car is honest about the body count in the house.

I mention “fails in fostering” because they’ve officially added another cat, Piper, who had been a foster for about five minutes, as evidenced by their car…but they’ve also found homes for many cats thr0ugh the years.

ingrid king and renee austin
Ingrid and Renee Austin, human of Eva.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Renee Austin of Whimsy Cats Specialized Home Care for Cats in Ashburn, VA and author “you-know-who” of Eva’s blog EvaEvaEva. Eva and my Peaches were BFF, and Peaches even became Eva’s virtual assistant for a while last year. Don’t just adopt a senior kitty, hire one too! I was very happy for the opportunity to meet  Renee, especially since out cats had become such good friends using our computers behind our backs.

While it’s nice to see Ingrid and Renee, I also wanted to catch a little bit of the artwork in the cafe—really wonderful colorful style and actually dimensional as the paintings continued right off the canvas onto the wall. Along with the Lost Dog Cafe, the Stray Cat Cafe helps to support the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue, so you can “eat, drink and rescue”. The menu includes Mouse Tails, Catnip Dip, Nachos Gatos, and many more feline-themed foods, and feline-themed drinks like a Neuter Shooter, Feral Hiss and other amusing names that have to do with less-than-amusing feline activities.

bernie ingrid jay
Ingrid greets Bernie and Jay.
table of four
Jay, Julie, Bernie and Harry and Julie's daughter Rachel Shubin sample the menu.

Not wanting to arrive empty-handed, I was glad to donate Tortie Girls t-shirts to the Chinese auction and sets of Feline Art Cards and Animal Sympathy Cards for sale to benefit the organization.

We’ve been corresponding on the internet and feel as if we’ve known each other for years, but without the internet we probably wouldn’t even know about each other. All of us remarked at what a wonderful opportunity it was for us to be able to get to know each other, share stories and interests and eventually get together thanks to Ingrid’s one blog post about “tortitude”!

You can see photos of everyone’s cats by visiting The Conscious Cat on Facebook.


From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

21 thoughts on “A Special Book Signing with Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat

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  • This was WONDERFUL! And I am so glad I met all you wonderful Facebook Friends v (I met Ingrid 2 yrs ago at her book signing) !! Sorry I had to leave — I had to catch the once-an-hour bus back home, or I would have spent more time shmoozing!!!

    The Stray Cat Cafe is awesome! The food is GOOD and the portions generous! Gee, food… food.. food…. I shoulda taken Big bad Baby Twinkle – “La Foodista Suprema” with me! (LOL)

    Hope to see eveyone again!! And I WILL see you on Facebook!

    • Ace, what fun to run into you just like that–and even though we didn’t know each other, we knew each other! Cat people always do. Next time, Twinkle for sure!

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  • That sure is a nice post. Nothing better than a bunch of cat people. I wouldn’t have been the least bit worried about getting a car with people that have cats. Love all the pictures. That was great fun to read. Thanks for this. Glad you had such a good trip.

    • Marg, nope, you’re right–cat people are the best, and probably the safest!

  • Bernice T Tracy

    Bernadette, what a great article. You really have an incite for what you do and you do it very well. I think we are all trying to wrap our minds around what had occurred this past few days when a group of Tortie family friends who never met or most of us never met, became instant friends and had a wonderful time. I love the pictures. If you guys, decide on another road trip, give this Grandma time to rest up to keep up with you youngun’s. Loved every minute with you all.

  • Sounds like a blast! I wish NYC was just a little closer but maybe one of these days [‘scuse me while I slide cat off of keyboard] I’ll get a chance to meet up with y’all, too. Okay, my typing is annoying Emma and we all know that the tortie comes first so…thanks for all the great photos and writing about what sounds like an amazing day. Hugs and purrs, Shannah

    • Shannah, we’ll get you in there too! NYC isn’t so far away, and maybe we can catch Glen in Toronto too.

  • What a beautiful story about your internet group of tortie lovers who managed to meet each other in real life this past weekend at Ingrid’s book signing………… a group whose lives are now probably changed forever. I especially loved the description of the Stray Cat Cafe ! — as well as hearing about the The Lost Dog and Cat Rescue. Thank you for sharing. And how special that Ingrid’s book, Buckley’s Story – Lessons From a Feline Master Teacher, made it all happen! This all sounds meant to be!

    • Nance, it was almost too good to be reality–almost like a happy little short story!

  • The event and aftermath were surreally wonderful! Thank you so much for contributing your time, your artwork, and your presence to make it a wonderful experience. PS – I won’t tell your mother that you got into a car with someone you’d never met, to meet a bunch of internet friends!!

    • Harry, that’s okay, I’m 50 now and ought to know better all on my own! I’m glad to help Lost Dog and Cat, and thanks for your wonderful reception on Monday. Wait until you see your cats’ photos!

  • What a wonderful write up, Bernadette! The photos are fantastic. I’m still reliving this wonderful event over and over in my mind. I’m so glad you, Bernie and Jay came!

    • Now I have all those photos from Sunday too! These photos are 1000px, so if you want to download them for your records, just right-click and you should get the full-size image. I can also send them to you.


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