Today’s Cat Woman Wednesday (CWW) is brought to you by Tina Modugno, who is proud to call herself Mom to “The Oreo Cat” (along with three other fur babies!). She’s has an amazingly creative and giving soul. Her post not only describes life growing up with a domestic menagerie, but how one very special and unexpected cat (You guess it, Oreo), enriched her life in ways she never thought possible, ultimately inspiring her to be a supporter and proponent of “The Paw Project.“
I’ve always loved animals. At a very young age I realized had much more of an affinity with animals than actual people! I could spend hours with my Godmother’s cat, Philip. I would talk to him like anyone would a human and always had the sense he understood.
I was one of those lucky kids who got to have petsother kids couldn’t. I had a pony named Cinderella, she was one of the happiest parts of my childhood. She made me feel like a real little princess and taught me how to care for a pet at a young age.
When I was around ten, I had a budgie birdnamed Tweety. He would sit on my head while I walked around the house and loved eating cookie crumbs from my chin! Even my turtles were special! I use to take them out of their tank and let them climb all over my homework. Ever try to use the excuse, “my turtles pooped on it”? I did!
As a teenager, we got a family dog Trixie. I would sneak her out of the garage every night and let her sleep in my bed. She was my best friend at the time and I told her everything!
The first furkid I got on my own was my cat Sunshine, now 15 years old, from the SPCA the very day I moved out of my parent’s house and into my first apartment. It was love at first sight.
I found her in the bottom most cage at the SPCA hiding behind her litter box, she was making this weird squeaking sound. I knelt down to look in her cage and as soon as I did, she poked her head out and came waltzing right up to the cage door!
I took her out and she licked my nose and nuzzled me instantly. I took her home and she became my very best friend, and still is. She knows all my secrets and has never failed to be there for me when I needed her most. There is nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for her!
When I met Christian, my now-husband, he had two cats. Both real sweethearts and it was easy to fall in love with them as well! Besss is 14 years old and is super sweet and loving/ Coco is a huge 20 pound ball of fluff and love! He loves to follow me around the house and has become my quite uncomfortable lap cat while I work!
Christian I worked together at the same company when we met…he was my boss! He had a picture of Besss (the white cat below) on his computer desktop. I had a picture of Sunshine on mine.
Needless to say it sparked our first real conversation and it went from there. He was fantastic with all of them from the start. I’d actually bring Sunshine with me when I went to his house for the weekend. She loved to play with Coco then and still does now!
The summer of 2013 is when Oreo and Patches entered the picture. They were completely unplanned and were found by my brother-in-law in his parent’s back yard. No more than a couple of weeks old with no mother to be found, he to take them in. But since my sister is very allergic to cats, I came to care for them.
Patches was adopted by a childhood family friend and we decided to keep Oreo after a near death ordeal. You can read his whole story on his webiste: www.theoreocat.com
Right from the get-go it was easy to see that Oreo was a special cat. He often has my husband and I almost in tears with laughter. He has his own way of doing everything from eating and climbing to snuggling and everything else in between!
I’ve always been adamant about helping local shelters and rescues and would make donations whenever possible. Oreo helped inspire me to do even more. He tapped into a deeper level of creativity I never realized was there.
While Iwork as a children’s illustrator from my home in Boucherville QC. and have always loved illustrating animals, Oreo brought something special to the table.
When I began drawing him, a whole new world of possibilities opened up. My first big shelter donation was inspired by him. I began creating his portrait using the letters of his name, and suddenly others wanted them made for their cats!
Selling these custom portraits allowed me to raise and donate $500 to a local Animal Rescue in Montreal for Christmas last year.
My first ever illustration of Oreo.
People really freaked out over the drawing of Oreo below. I guess because it’s all done with text. After posting this, I started getting requests from people to draw their cats in the same style.
Here is one I did of Kona The Awesome from N2 The Talking Cat!
After this feeling of accomplishment I started getting ideas for even bigger projects! People on Facebook and other social sites fell in love with Oreo and his antics, and as a result, his fame began to grow (now with over 19k Facebook fans!).
When requests from numerous fans, I decided to write a kids book, “The Oreo Cat. Bacons..and other stuff,” that includes stories of his escapades as well as poems and short stories inspired by his love of food.
Already involved with “The Paw Project,” a documentary and campaign educating the public about the myths about and horros of declawing cats, I decided to use his book to give-back to that cause and approximately 20% of profits from each book go to them.
Currently, I’m involved in fundraisers to raise money to donate Oreo’s book to entire elementary school classes in an effort to teach children why cats need their claws.
All books donated to classrooms will include a fact sheet that I created for “The Paw Project,” and an additional page has also been added to the end of Oreo’s book that lists 5 reasons cats need their claws.
In addition to the book, I’ve also helped establish our very own branch of “The Paw Project” in Quebec!
I still can’t believe that all of this started with one sweet little black and white kitten! I am so thankful to have him in my life.
My cats are what brings joy to every day! They make us laugh and and they help bad days to seem brighter. They are my best friends and the greatest colleagues anyone could ever ask for!
Tamar here! To check out more of her artwork, go to Tina Modugno’s website. Can’t let the cat get ALL the attention. It is Cat WOMAN Wednesday is it not!
But OKAY, since he’s cute and all and it’s for a good cause, for more information about Oreo’s book and the “Portraits 4 Paws” campaign in support of “The Paw Project,” visit: www.theoreocat.com. Oreo also has Twitter and Instagram accounts so be sure to follow!
I personally get a kick out of the “comics” Tina makes with Oreo for his Facebook page. Here are just a few of my recent favorites.
Mom: Oreo are you trying to eat the bacon from the cover of your book and calendar again?
Oreo: N.. No, no mom… I was just looking at the pictures… My fur is all messed up in them mom.
Mom: Well what do you want me to do about that now Oreo?
Oreo: I think you need more practice with pictures of me and bacons mom. In fact, I think we should practice right now…
Mom: Good-morning Oreo! What’s up?
Oreo: Talking to Bob the finch mom. He asked what you want for Christmas. I told him bacons.
Mom: Oh but Oreo… I don’t want bacon for Christmas!
Oreo: Don’t worry mom! You can regift it and give it to me!
Mom: Oreo what are you doing?
Oreo: Talking to Boris the spider mom. He says that he lost his girlfriend…
Mom: Oh no! They broke up?
Oreo: No mom, she got lost last night while watching movies in bed with us…
Mom: Oreo what are you up to now?
Oreo: I am going to call Pop and tell him his dinners is ready mom.
Mom: Okay, but what’s the bag of Kittles for?
Oreo: I just have to shakes it into the phone and he will come running home.
Have you ever had a special cat in your life that has inspired you to do something you never thought you would? Or who helped you uncover a different facet of your personality, unleash a passion for a cause? We want to hear about it!
And don’t forget, you can go to Amazon to get OREO CAT’S BOOK – it’s a wonderful book that makes a fabulous holiday gift for children and adults.