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Book Review: Heavenly Headbutts by Allia Zobel Nolan

Heavenly Headbutts by Allia Zobel Nolan
Heavenly Headbutts by Allia Zobel Nolan

Allia gives us many reasons to believe we may just be able to spend eternity with our feline companions.

Allia lost her two soulmates, MacDuff, the Bold and Angela Dah-ling, six months apart, then Sineady Cat, the Fraidy Cat less than a year later, all in their teens, longtime companions, supurrvisors, and feline muses. Allia and I met over a decade ago through the Cat Writers’ Association and I remember the era when she lost them, and as we all do, lost a part of ourselves and wandered in grief for a while. For all the books and cards she received remarking about, describing and addressing her grief, what Allia felt she really needed was,

“…a card or book that elicited a glimmer of hope. Hope that all was not lost. Hope that someday when I met my Maker, the pitter-patter of padded feet and the tinkling of a collar bell would also greet me. Hope that the spirit of my cats, infused with so much love for me, and reflecting the wonder of the Creator, would somehow go on forever.”

And so she turned to her Christian faith and found an affirmation in the fact that all through the Bible animals played “pivotal parts in God’s plans and were used to teach life lessons.” He created the animals and then the first human and tasked Adam with naming his creations and caring for them. Even though cats aren’t specifically mentioned, it seems we stand a pretty good chance of seeing our puddies again and spending eternity together.

Purrhaps Mimi wonders if she’ll see all those kittens again, and Mr. Sunshine if I’ll still have those great freeze-dried salmon treats for eternity.

Creating Heavenly Headbutts brought hope

Allia says for the grief of loss, “You never get over it, you just get on with it.” Heavenly Headbutts was the result of researching the Bible and Biblical scholars for this evidence after those three losses “gave me a coping mechanism to let me get on with my life with less gut-wrenching distress, and more of a forward-looking spirit,” enabling her to “pull a soft coverlet of hope over my heart so I can put one foot in front of the other and step out in faith.”

I grew up in the Catholic church and in a place and time of immigrant grandparents and first and second generation Americans practicing the Christian faith of their nationalities, but I don’t profess belief in any one religion. Still, I agree with Allia that all the emotion we and animals invest in each other can’t end when they die; there must be an eternal connection or why else would our souls become so entwined?

I enjoyed reading and took to heart what Allia found in the Bible, and in the words of Pope Francis, Martin Luther, St. Francis of Assisi, C.S. Lewis and more theologians, scholars and professors of Christian faith, expressed with her quirky sense of humor and pointing out that cats are one of God’s finest designs and are actually very Godly too, being so clean and all. You don’t need to profess Christian faith to hear her message of hope. I’m an easy cry, so I’ll just say I had to keep tissues handy to be able to continue reading, but they were happy tears.

I also enjoyed the design and formatting of this slender book. It’s 7″ square with pages partially filled with text but softened by a muted background color and gently colored flourishes and little cat sketches interspersed with two-page spreads of cat photos and quotes. I find design to be very important as a support for the information contained in a document of any sort, and I also believe that looking at a visually pleasing image or design creates peace and joy in our heart, it opens our soul for the message to come in. For all the information and admittance of grief, the design lightens the mood and carries the reader from page to page along with Allia’s light-hearted writing style.

You can find Heavenly Headbutts: Reflections of Hope about Cats and Eternity on

Images of the cover and interior provided by the author.

About Allia Zobel Nolan

And I’m a proud cat mom to have had my Fantastic Four chosen to be published by such a distinguished author as Allia Zobel Nolan.

Allia Zobel Nolan is an internationally-published, award-winning author of over 200 children’s and adult trade titles with close to three million books in print. Her books reflect her two main passions, God and cats, and was a Senior Editor for Reader’s Digest Children’s Books for almost ten years before going freelance as an author and writer. Her illustrated books about cats (actually, I think her cats used her as a medium) include Purr More, Hiss Less, Heavenly Lessons I Learned from My Cat, 101 Reasons Why Cats Make Great Kids, Women Who Love Cats Too Much, Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much and the series expounding the virtues of living with cats beginning with 101 Reasons Why a Cat is Better Than a Man, and that’s the short list. Other choices include such varied titles as The Dreamy, Fishy, Happy Bible Storybook, The Ten Commandments for Little Ones, and The Worrywart’s Prayer Book as well as Smelly Feet Sandwich and Other Silly Poems; The Lord’s Prayer for Little Ones; Thank You, God; Hugs & Kisses, God; The Bible According to Kids and WHATEVER: Livin’ the True, Noble, Totally Excellent Life,.

Among other places, her work has also been featured in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Irish Independent News, The Hartford Courant, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times.

Allia lives and writes in Connecticut with her husband, and their two feline children, Nolan Nolan and Colleen Fiona Shannon Nolan and their rescued dog, Miss Kitty (yes).

Visit her website for more information about her books.

I’ve also reviewed a few other of Allia’s books here on The Creative Cat:


Read other articles in my Creating With Cats series and Reviews of books and other works.

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Great Rescues Day Book, cover and two-page spread.

Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along wit a kitty quote on the left, and on the right the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. After the calendar pages I have a section where the rescue stories are continued, then a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR. Each book includes 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.

The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.

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Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!





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.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Heavenly Headbutts by Allia Zobel Nolan

  • Thanks for sharing at Inspire Me Monday Bernadette – this looks like a book I would enjoy reading! 🙂

    • You would really enjoy this, Ramona. Don’t hesitate to get a copy!

  • A huge thanks to Bernadette for reviewing Heavenly Headbutts. B….Thanks for “getting” what I tried to put out there. My hope is this book will invite all cat lovers to meditate on what their furry felines mean to them in the here and now and will mean to them in the hereafter.

    • I think it’s important to think about eternity before it comes time to grieve. And I hope it means people won’t be frightened of loss and hesitate to love.


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