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Confession time: I’ve always thought of myself as a dog person. I wasn’t too keen on cats, probably because I had never spent a lot of time around them. Sure, when I was a kid, one of my besties owned a cat, but he was a finicky feline. I don’t think Mr. Bojangles ever let me pet him.

Then, a few years ago, I met Sasha. What a beauty! Emerald eyes and the fluffiest white coat. And when I arrive at my friend’s house, Sasha cuddles up to me, jumps on my lap, and lets me love on her. So I’ve given cats a second chance. Now I participate in #Caturday and share adorable cat GIFs on Twitter, as one does.

So when Susi Schaefer got in touch to show me her debut author-illustrator picture book, I took an immediate interest in the cute, quirky and colorful illustrations.

This is CAT LADIES!

There are four Cat Ladies to be exact—Molly, Millie, Maridl and Merthel—and they all share one lovely white Princess.

So Susi, this question BEGS to be asked: are YOU a Cat Lady?

I am a Cat Lady! I am not currently owned by a cat, but I serve many as a volunteer for a cat rescue.

Hmm, that first cat looks a lot like Princess! Did she serve as your model?

She most certainly was a significant influence. Her name is Marilyn, and she has a very glam and regal aura about her.

How did you decide that one cat should have so many ladies looking after her? Was it that regal aura?

Here is the story behind the story.

When my dad’s elderly cousin, Maridl, had to move into a care home, she couldn’t take her beloved cat, Poppele, with her.

I was trying to imaging what if…

What if… Poppele could have moved along with Maridl. 

What if…she would have been the center of all that attention.

What if…that attention was somehow diverted. 

Side-note: My parents have been accepted as the bringer of food by Poppele.

And, Marilyn’s regal aura is cattitude galore.

Oh, I love meeting the original Maridl! 

Do you think Princess is available now to answer some questions?

Princess, you’re a special cat to have four ladies to watch after you. Be honest, do you have a favorite Cat Lady?

Seriously, Princess? You can’t pick a favorite? (You can just whisper it to me…)

Oh Princess, I understand it’s tough to pick the one you love above all others.

But for cats who aren’t as lucky as you, what advice do you have for felines who want to be pampered? How can they attract more cat ladies?

Awww, well done, Princess!

Susi, let me circle back to you. What do you want readers to take away after reading Cat Ladies?

Cats rock!

Ladies rock!

Cat Ladies most certainly rock!

And sometimes, unexpected life changes bring lovely and unanticipated benefits.

Yes, I don’t want to give away what happens in the story, but, I do want to ask you—how did the clever resolution come about?

I had the first and the last line of the story written very early on. And my agent had a brilliant idea that added more heart to everything. Writing and publishing is a team sport!

It sure is!

And this team effort is available now from Abrams!

Or win a copy here!

Leave one comment below about your favorite cat or cat lady! A winner will be randomly selected in two weeks.

Good luck!


​Susi Schaefer trained as a glass painter in the medieval town of Rattenberg, Austria, before moving to Southern California to study graphic design. She’s the illustrator of Zoo Zen by Kristen Fischer. Cat Ladies is her author-illustrator debut. Susi volunteers for a cat rescue group and lives in North Tustin, California, with her family. One day she hopes to use the words “Newfangled”, “Gobbledygoogk” and “Rigmarole” in her work, but she hasn’t yet had the chance to do so. Visit her at SusiSchaefer.com.

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My Picture Books

COMING SOON:

THE WHIZBANG WORDBOOK
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks eXplore
2021

BLOOP!
illus by Mike Boldt
HarperCollins
2021

"PRIVATE I" SERIES #3
illus by Ross MacDonald
Little, Brown
2022

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