Now that Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) has finished (for links to all my posts and to watch my vlog of the entire week visit here) I’m free to commit to other projects, pieces of work, and collaborations! Don’t get me wrong; I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s MHAW and producing all the posts for it, but I also missed being able to dedicate time to creating more varied content. 

The planning for the MHAW content actually began a while in advance to the week itself so this is the first chance I’ve had to talk about Calico Catch-Up (which launched May 1st!). The brand new monthly column on Cats Protection Tyneside Adoption Centre’s blog; The Daily Mews, was a genius idea brainstormed with myself and the Centre’s staff. The original plan was to write a one-off guest piece for their blog about how huge an impacts cats have had on my mental health; but I was really interested in the idea of making the opportunity into a bigger commitment. Being unable to work in a fulltime role right now because of my mental (and in parts physical) health means that I obviously have a lot of time outside of my support sessions that needs filling. As it was, my only real long-term, regular commitments were to my blog and to the support group that I Chair; LEAPS, and I felt as though I could manage an addition to those. At the same time though, I stayed reasonable and practical and knew that I wouldn’t have the time to be able to commit to writing a weekly column, so we agreed upon Calico Catch-Up publishing monthly. 

The entire idea felt like a very sensible but exciting opportunity and I loved the thought of being able to take another blank space on the internet and mould it into something that could be helpful to others. I was also interested to see how things would unfold in terms of working in constant collaboration with Cats Protection. I mean, it’s not unheard of for me to publish partnerships and collaborations with organisations and individuals on I’m NOT Disordered, but I wouldn’t say it’s something I frequently do either so engaging in such a relationship would be a huge change. Having to get the organisation’s approval before my writing is published is one of the most obvious biggest differences to my usual blogging. And it’s a little bit intimidating when you’re a huge fan of being in control like I am! 

It’s so important to me that anything published on the internet that is associated to my name is something that I’m really proud of and which I feel really reflects who I am and what I stand for. Fortunately, I could not have picked a better organisation to go into partnership with than Cats Protection and the staff of their Tyneside Adoption Centre, who are all so lovely, supportive, and understanding! I really feel respected working with them and reassured that my thoughts and feelings are listened to and that the pieces I turn into them are regarded as important to them as they are to me.

Deciding on the title of the column was surprisingly easy; we wanted something snappy, something which readers could easily say because word-of-mouth is one of the greatest forms of publicity! And something memorable and yet different and unique! Of course, I wanted to somehow adapt the title to incorporate my own kitten; Emmy (who is a Calico!), into it… 

Then, designing the logo for Calico Catch-Up was so much fun too! I’ve designed every logo that I’m NOT Disordered has had so I knew I was capable of doing it, I just wasn’t sure if my work would be up to scratch for as big an organisation as Cats Protection! Obviously, it was and our little logo featuring a Calico kitten that greatly resembles my Emmy, was established!

I chose to write my first post in the column about the first cat in my life; Saffy – the family cat who lived at my Mum’s. I thought it would make sense to start at the beginning of my life with  cats and go in chronological order from that first post by writing about the first cat I owned; Dolly, and then about Emmy! That would be three posts… If I’d written about all the cats I’d ever owned, then how could there possibly be anything else I could have to say on the subject?! But as I began writing posts ahead of schedule, I found that I actually have a ton of ideas for more content!

As with I’m NOT Disordered, my intention for the content of Calico Catch-Up is to help others; and whilst it’s in a completely different way, the main thing is that my words have the power to reassure and encourage others that they aren’t alone. Whether that means that they aren’t alone in training their cat to use the litter tray or aren’t alone in mourning the death of their family cat… The message is the same: have faith, courage, and hope.

All the links you need:

Cats Protection: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, website, YouTube

Cats Protection Tyneside Adoption Centre: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, website
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