Catch Up With Author Nikki Moustaki

Learn more about the inspiration behind her book, "Boredom Busters for Cats."

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What was your inspiration behind the book?
I grew up with cats. As a kid I used to come up with games for them. I taught one of my cats to reliably give me his paw and sit on command. Cats need a lot of stimulation – when they’re not cat napping, of course.

Have you tried all 40 of the “whisker-twitching games and adventures” with your cat?
I’ve tried most of them, and others I learned from other cat lovers. You have to know your cat and know what he or she will like, merely tolerate, or not appreciate at all. You can’t do every activity with every cat.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?
I thought a lot about [the] cats of my past and started missing them quite badly!

What was the most rewarding part of writing the book?
I enjoy writing the book, but I get simply tickled when I see it in its final form with all of the photos. I mean, who doesn’t want to look at cute pictures of kittens?

What type of feedback have you received so far?
The book is new so I haven’t received a lot of feedback, but I think it’s a book that cat lovers are going to enjoy.

What is your writing process?
I meditate on how to be as thorough as possible and turn over every proverbial stone. When you’re an “expert” in something, it means that you are immersed in it, and so you can easily gloss over details that seem like no-brainers to you, but may be important details to a novice. Since I know that my pet books are intended to help people better understand and care for their pets, I reach for both the obvious and the obscure.

Do you own a cat or other pets? Tell us about them!
I grew up with beloved cats. At one point I had five of them for many years – then four, three, two, one. After the last one passed away I was too devastated to get another. Those cats were a huge part of the landscape of my teens and 20s. A big old alley cat was my very first pet when I was 2 or 3, and I had a brother and sister cat when I was a young child. Today I have three dogs and birds, and I live on Miami Beach where there are tons of feral cats and I feed them. Some are very friendly. I fully intend on getting another cat at some point. I do rescue at my local shelter and will pull cats from the shelter to help them find homes.

In your book, you mention the need to narrow down a cat’s personality in order to find out what kinds of enrichment activities would be ideal for the cat. What is your cat’s personality?
When I think of my former cats, three of them come to mind. I found Paisley in a dumpster when she was barely old enough to eat on her own – she was a “Three Faces of Eve” cat – very unpredictable, but I absolutely loved her. Then there was Sylvester, a handsome black and white tuxedo guy who was definitely a “Smarty Pants.” Finally, I think of Gladys, a chocolate Burmese, a very vocal “Love Sponge.”

Have you written any other books?
I have written 40 books, mostly on pets and their care and training.

Do your pets influence your writing?
Pets are probably the number one influence on my writing at this time. They teach me so much.

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Reader Comments

Kathie    Fresno, CA

2/1/2011 7:37:01 PM

OOPS! That should have she has ballooned up to 12 pounds! (I know that is not huge, I had one who weighed 25 pounds years ago) But relative to her size just 4 months ago, she has gained a LOT of weight far too quickly. And, yes, I already had her thoroughly examined by her Vet and ALL blood tests and other tests, including T4 are normal!

Kathie    Fresno, CA

2/1/2011 7:29:06 PM

Help Nikki! I have bought and read your book and have been owned by more than 50 cats throughout my life but I need help! My rescued cat (#2) from Afghanistan was staring to death when I got her here to the U.S> but now, due to being strictly a housebound kitty, has ballooned to 2 pounds in just 34 months! She is BORED and has emotional issues from having had to be a feral cat on a military base for a year and fight off 4 German shepherd dogs and 4 other feral cats for her food. She thinks she MUST hoard her food in her dish, thus the reason I bought your book last week. She has 8 different cat trees and every toy mentioned already, but I CANNOT FIND a cat puzzle anywhere! With toys or for finding her food inside of. WHERE can I buy something like pictured on page 28? I have been to PetCo, PetSmart, Extreme Pets and three smaller local pet stores and cannot find anything like it! I have two of the treat balls and one with the voice recording of me. (My other Afghan kitty loved that while I was gone again last year and my sister kitty sat her while I was serving) Anyway, where might I order the cat feeder puzzle??? THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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