CAT MAN MONDAY: Adventure Writer

Today’s Cat Man Monday is written by best-selling author and adventure writer James Dziezynski (who was my sister’s classmate in college!). You can read more about him at the end of this post! Enjoy! 

James Dziezynski

James Dziezynski with Xanadu (aka Xanny, aka X-factor)

I like all cats and most dogs.

It’s true. I’ve never met a cat I didn’t like. I love a cuddly ball of fur that melts into feline butter as much as the jittery, hiss-machine that demands personal space. I love rough n’ tumble tomcats. I love pampered, sunlight hoarding housecats. I love the entitled and the downtrodden, calico to tuxedo, kitten to tiger and everything in between.

I’m an unapologetic cat man. I also happen to work as a travel and adventure writer. My editors have come to accept that no matter where I go, from the Falkland Islands to Japan, I’m always going to try to shoehorn a picture of a cat in my articles. I rarely pass an opportunity to say hi to a cat – whether or not I get to pet them is entirely up to them. At 37 years old, I still have toddler-like enthusiasm during random cat encounters.

Cat Cafe in Japan

Visiting some of the locals on my visit to Japan at one of the fabled cat cafes.

I’ve never understood why more guys aren’t cat men. Cats are low-maintenance, easy on the eyes, clean, independent and compatible – the perfect companion for a guy on the go. Call it indifference or independence, but you can leave your cats for a weekend without remorse or guilt on either side. Getting a friend to tend to your cat is much easier than the time-intensive routines required by dogs.

Cat Man With Childhood cat Mittens

My childhood cat Mittens and me catching some zzzs.

I was lucky to grow up in a cat-intensive household. A house doesn’t fully become a home until it is graced by a feline presence. As a professional writer, I can’t imagine a setting where I’m forced to toil the hours away without the quiet presence of a cat– which gives me the perfect segue way to brag on my own kitty, Xanadu.

Xanadu was the brightest ray of light during an otherwise low time in my life. I was working part time at a small magazine, where the paychecks rarely made five-figures with cents included. Despite having two college degrees and professional experience, writers were swept up in the shift away from print media. I was forced to work at a pet store to make ends meet. I figured if I’m going to have to take a step down from my aspirations, I damn well better be surrounded by as many furry, friendly faces as possible (the pets, not the customers).

xanadu in the sun

She’s quite lady like, wouldn’t you agree?

This little calico cat that has been my best pal for the past 11 years is the only confirmed instance of love at first site in my life. She was a little beat up, having lost her home and ended up in our adoption shelter. I remember slyly putting my adoption application on top of a family’s who had sought to adopt her first, a slight breach of etiquette that I think turned out for the best. Xanny (or the X-factor as she is known) came into my life January 1, 2003 and has been by my side ever since.

Xanadu the cat licking

Close up of one of my many photo sessions.

I have grown accustomed to her warm presence and soft purr as I go to sleep each night. I am keenly aware of her absence when I travel and she is not there. She has napped soundly in front of my computer as I’ve labored away at articles and books. She has quietly nuzzled me as I’ve confronted rejection letters and has tolerated being swept into my arms and dancing with joy at my success. She is the perfect cat, sweet but not needy, personable but independent and always a picture of grace. Xanadu is the cat that even cat-haters can love.

Best Selling author with his cat Xanadu

Typcial morning selfie.

On a few rare occasions, I’ve had trips long where Xanadu stayed with trusted friends. The times when I’ve walked into my house and she wasn’t there felt empty, soulless. I look forward to her trademark greeting: an unrushed canter accompanied by a soft, barely audible meow.

When all the adventures are done, nothing ends a day better than a good book and a cat. As the years go by and life has its ups and downs, I’m so grateful for this little, gentle soul that starts nearly every day and concludes every night. As a bit of an introvert, I find it difficult to talk about myself but if the subject shifts to cats, you’re going to get an earful.

Cat Man Monday

Xanadu napping on my desk as I write this article.

Yes, I am an unabashed cat man. I wear cat t-shirts un-ironically. Cat statues, photos and banners festoon my work area (not to mention a real, live cat). I have kitten stickers on my snowboard. In fact, Xanadu is just entering the room now so I’m going to wrap up this article and go love on her.

In a very manly way, of course.

Kitten stickers on his snowboard

Proof that I do in fact have kittens on my snowboard.

James Dziezynski is a best-selling author and adventure writer based out of Boulder, Colorado. He has written for Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Backpacker, Denver Post, Discover and more. James volunteers at several animal rescues, including Every Creature Counts, the shelter he adopted Xanadu from. James is an avid mountaineer, rock climber, explorer, tri-athlete and mountain biker and does so on a vegetarian diet. You can visit his website and blog at www.jamesdziezynski.com and find him on Facebook www.facebook.com/jamesdziezynski and Twitter @James_Dz. 

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  • Brooke

    Love this article! It’s so heart warming when a man willingly admits he loves cats. #melts 😉

    • Tamar

      Couldn’t agree with you more! 🙂

  • Gina

    Love this article. She’s beautiful!

    • Tamar

      Xanny looks stunning!

  • dude, you need a girlfriend?

    • mel

      And you need a cat… lol

  • Nisreen

    Love your wording. You are a real sincere cat lover. I have 8 cats indoors and another group of street cats I care for and they fit into the description you mentioned from tom bossy cat Timmzy to lovely Lady Zara who knows she is beautiful.

    • Tamar

      What a sweet comment Nisereen, I’m sure James would appreciate it. Thank you for your readership and the best to you and your kitties!

  • Rebecca

    What a fabulous guy! Loud and proud he embraces his title of Cat Man!!!! Great article! Thank you IHC & Tamar!!!!

    • Tamar

      Awwww, thanks as always Rebecca 😉 He is pretty fab eh?!

  • How sweet. Looking forward to reading his work too now, though is not about cats 🙂

    • Tamar

      🙂

  • It’s great to find a man who admits he loves cats.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

    • Tamar

      I couldn’t agree more! T

  • simply aaaaaaaaaaaadorable!!!
    so sweet and truthful.
    really cool when guys, even shy ones, open up their hearts!!

  • christine

    James, you have taken the words right out of my mouth (except for the athletic stuff & guy stuff). When I adopted my Teddy it was also love at first sight. Saw his face in the kennel my instant thought was “Alf will love him!” &he does very much. Cat men rule!! =D

  • Love this! My mantra: never trust a man who doesn’t love cats.

    • Tamar

      I hear you on that one – loud and clear!

  • Connie Marie

    Absolutly heart melting article! Oh, that selfie of you 2 sleeping is adorable!! Going to have to look up your writing!

    • Tamar

      I’m sure James will appreciate your comment – thanks for your readership Connie!

  • Christina

    I love the message here! And Xanadu is super cute.

    • Tamar

      So stunning I agree! James isn’t bad either 🙂

  • YAY for cat guys!! Xanadu is lovely and a lucky girl!

    • Tamar

      Agreed! 🙂

  • 🙂 <3 Warm cockles, here! Quick story; Several years ago, I was getting several estimates on interior painting in my home. While "Steve" was looking around and calculating on his clipboard, one of my cats approached him, and that was a rarity in my house. Normally, all scattered when a stranger was in their territory. I told Steve how very unusual for her to go right up to anyone! Steve said; "She knows I'm a cat person". Well THAT did it, Steve got the job, and many other jobs to follow. To this day, he is my go-to handyman, whom I trust completely. Yes, it is true, that one can definitely trust cat people.
    When I would come home from a date while living at home, my mom always asked me; "Who would you rather kiss, him or your cat?" I answered only one time, the word "Him", and we've been married 44 years! Oh, and we have 4 indoor rescue cats.

    • Loved reading this. I have been married to my cat guy for 41 years. We currently have eight kitties with nine who have graced our lives in the past. Janet

  • Looks like a tough guy too…Which makes it 20 times cooler that he has a kitty!

    • Tamar

      Tehe! Agreed, they are the best! Makes for the cutest coupling!

  • spicysugar

    • Tamar

      Bahahaah are these your cats? LOLOLOLOL!

  • Great article and Xanny is absolutely gorgeous!

    • Tamar

      I’m sure James would be appreciative and totally agree about Xanny!

  • Loved reading this, Tamar. If I were 30 years younger and single, I’d be on the first plane out to Colorado. James is a hotty, a terrific writer and a cat guy. That is a dynamite combo. Thanks for sharing his story. I will be checking out his blog for sure. Hugs, Janet

    • Tamar

      HA! You always crack me up Janet! Glad you enjoyed it! Agree with you on all points! 🙂

  • BC

    Men who are kind to animals are my favorite…