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Discover the Inspiring Journey of Kathy M. Finley and Her Extraordinary Cat, Clio

Interview with Kathy M. Finley, author of the book ‘My one-eyed, three-legged therapist’.

Interview with Kathy M. Finley, author of the book 'My one-eyed, three-legged therapist'

Welcome to another insightful edition of our interview series. Today, we have an extraordinary guest, Kathy M. Finley and Clio, the author of the inspiring book “My One-Eyed, Three-Legged Therapist: How My Cat Clio Saved Me”. This book is a testament to the power of the human-animal bond and the resilience of the spirit in the face of adversity.

Kathy’s journey is one of courage and determination, beautifully illustrated through her relationship with her extraordinary cat, Clio. Despite being the runt of the litter and a two-time cancer survivor, Clio’s indomitable spirit and zest for life have been a source of inspiration for Kathy and many others.

In this interview, Kathy shares her experiences, the lessons she learned from Clio, and how this special needs cat changed her life forever. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the conversation.

Inspiration and Connection:

Q.: What inspired you to write this heartwarming book about your cat, Clio?

Kathy: I began writing about Clio shortly after she passed away. Since there were so many things that made her unique, I did not want to forget any of her antics so I began writing down everything I could remember about her. In many ways, it was cathartic and brought me solace. However, the more I wrote, the more I realized how much Clio taught me and how my life had improved because of her. I decided that the lessons she taught me could be useful to others, so I decided to write a book about her and our unique bond.

Q.: What initially drew you to adopt Clio, despite her physical limitations?

Kathy: I did not adopt Clio. She was a birthday present from my staff. My employees knew I was going through a bitter divorce and was thinking about adopting a cat. Ironically, she would have been the cat I would have picked out because of her spirit and since she looked like the grey and white cat I had as a child. She had a heart murmur and was the runt of the litter, but she had a larger-than-life personality. She had both eyes and four legs as a young cat, but later developed two different forms of cancer resulting in the loss of an eye and a back leg.

Kathy’s journey is one of courage and determination, beautifully illustrated through her relationship with her extraordinary cat, Clio
Credit: Kathy M. Finley

Q.: Can you describe some specific ways in which Clio’s presence positively impacted your life during challenging times?

Kathy: As I noted above, I received Clio at a low point in my life. I was in the midst of a bitter divorce following an abusive marriage. I believed that no one loved or cared about me. Clio became my best friend and showed me that I could love again and could be loved. Through her many antics and unending self-esteem, I realized that I made mistakes or acted silly, I was still a worthwhile human being. That helped to build my self-esteem and self-confidence.

Q.: Clio’s unique personality shines through the book. How did her physical limitations shape your relationship and the lessons you learned from her?

Kathy: Clio’s physical disabilities did not stop her from doing “cat things” – running, jumping, and playing. And Clio did not care that she looked different than other cats. Looks to her did not matter. Watching her, I realized that disabilities do not have to stand in the way of achieving goals and that looks are superficial. It’s what is on the inside of a person that counts.

Q.: Beyond the heartwarming story, were there any specific challenges you faced in caring for a special needs cat? How did you overcome them?

Kathy: Because Clio had a heart murmur, I was always worried when she had to have anesthesia (for either surgery or for something as simple as cleaning her teeth). However, the biggest challenge for me was keeping Clio from doing her normal antics right after surgery. For example, the day after she had her eye removed, she was doing somersaults by the couch to impress guests we had. Six hours after having her back leg amputated, she was trying to walk and remove her stitches. My challenge was trying to ensure she did not overdo it after surgery so she could fully recover. After she recovered, it was no challenge taking care of her. She did not let her disabilities interfere with what she wanted to do.

Clio’s Unique Qualities:

Q: Clio is described as one-eyed and three-legged. How did her physical differences shape your perspective on resilience and acceptance?

Kathy: As I noted earlier, I realized that looks really do not matter. And if you have a physical disability, you can overcome it.

Q.: What life lessons did you learn from Clio’s extraordinary qualities?

Kathy: There are so many lessons I learned from her. The most important lesson I learned is that no one else should let you form an opinion about yourself. For many years, I considered myself fat and ugly because that is what kids in school called me. It was not until years later that I realized that I was not fat and ugly, but I did suffer from low self-esteem. That low self-esteem led me to enter an abusive marriage, and my abuser soon began calling me fat and ugly. When I adopted Clio, I realized that love is unconditional. Even if I were fat and ugly, why would it matter? True love and friendship are not based on looks. I don’t know what Clio thought about herself (having only one eye and three legs), but I ‘m sure she didn’t feel inferior or unlovable just because of her looks. In our home, she still was “queen of the universe” (or at least queen of the cat universe). Also, she never let her disabilities get in the way of what she wanted to do as a cat, and neither should we let our disabilities and challenges interfere with what we want to accomplish as humans.

Q.: Looking back, is there anything you would do differently in your approach to caring for Clio or the way you navigated the challenges you faced?

Kathy: Prior to having Clio’s leg amputated, I pondered whether I was doing the right thing for her. That is, was I making her undergo unnecessary surgery just so I would have her around a little longer? In other words, was I being selfish? I do not believe I was because after her two bouts with cancer and the surgeries, she went on to live life to the fullest. However, we do have to avoid heroic efforts to save our pets’ lives if it only means they will live for a few weeks or months. That means we must have a heart-to-heart talk with our veterinarians to see whether medical procedures will give them a chance to live a normal life or just prolong their existence for a short period.

Crafting the Story and Sharing the Message:

Q.: Your book highlights the special connection between humans and animals. What message do you hope readers will take away regarding the significance of the human-animal bond?

Kathy: There is no doubt that the human-animal bond is unbreakable. Animals allow us to be better humans. I would have laid down my life for Clio. She took care of me emotionally, and I would have done anything for her. I personally do not trust or associate with anyone who does not understand how much animals mean to humans and how much they can improve our lives.

Q.: The book beautifully blends personal anecdotes with insights into the human-animal connection. What was your writing process like, and how did you strike this balance?

Kathy: I began writing the anecdotes first and then wrote about how those personal stories gave us insight into the human-animal connection. I wanted to craft a story that was enjoyable to the pet lover and that made the pet (in this case Clio) come to life, but I also wanted to make sure they saw how those stories related to humans.

Q.: Many readers find solace in stories about the healing power of pets. How do you believe animals like Clio can positively influence our emotional well-being?

Kathy: As the title of my book indicates, I do feel that pets can positively influence our emotional well-being. When I was going through my divorce and after the divorce, I did not see a therapist because I had a furry one living with me. When I was depressed, she made me laugh and showed me unconditional love. When I felt that I could not face a situation, I watched how she approached challenges and realized that we all had more courage inside us that we ever could imagine.

Q.: Did writing this book provide a form of catharsis for you?

Kathy: Writing this book definitely was cathartic for me. For one thing, it helped me accept Clio’s passing and gave me hope that there is an afterlife where hopefully I will see everyone (including  all my pets) again.

Q.: How have readers responded to your book? Have you heard any heartwarming stories about how Clio’s tale impacted their lives?

Kathy: I have heard from others who have lost pets, including one individual who had a three-legged dog and had faced some of the same issues I faced and felt she could relate to how Clio provided me love, hope, and comfort. Several people shared their stories on how important their pets were in their lives and how their pets had impacted them. In fact, just recently, I lost one of my cats (Benny) and I realized that even though Benny was totally different than Clio (and healthy most of his life) that he, too, taught me many lessons about life.

I faced and felt she could relate to how Clio provided me love, hope, and comfort.
Credit: Kathy M. Finley

Looking Ahead:

Q.: Do you have any future plans related to animal advocacy or raising awareness about special needs pet adoption?

Kathy: I have spoken and made appearances at several local places (including a cat care) to promote pet adoption. I had no idea that cat cafés were active in cat rescue and adoption. In fact, one of the local ones has been opened for a little over a year and has found homes for almost 500 cats. I also have gotten involved with a program sponsored by a local council for aging, and I deliver donated pet food to the elderly who cannot drive. This allows them to keep their pets. Furthermore, I am also working with a local women’s transitional housing shelter on their new program which allows domestic violence victims to keep their pets. I hope I can become even more involved in these types of programs to not only save pets but save people.

Q.: Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to share with your readers?

Kathy: I’m working on a second book about lessons we learn from our pets. This one won’t be just about cats and won’t be exclusively about my pets. I’m also trying to branch out and write a humorous book from the perspective of a cat.

Q.: What was the most challenging part of writing this memoir?

Kathy: I think the most challenging part of writing this memoir was having to relive some very painful parts of my past and then telling everyone about them.

Q.: What advice would you give to someone considering adopting a pet with disabilities?

Kathy: I feel that adopting a pet with disabilities can be rewarding to both the person adopting the pet and to the pet. These are the pets that usually don’t get adopted, but yet they are the sweetest and most loving animals.

Advice for Aspiring Authors:

Q.: What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write about their own experiences with animals or personal growth?

Kathy: Like the Nike slogan says, “Just do it!” Even if you don’t get the work published, it’s worth reflecting on your own personal growth.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this enlightening conversation with Kathy M. Finley. Her story is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the profound impact our pets can have on our lives. Kathy’s journey with Clio teaches us about resilience, acceptance, and the transformative power of unconditional love.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Kathy for sharing her inspiring journey with us. We are sure her story will touch many hearts and inspire others to embrace life’s challenges with courage and optimism.

Thank you, dear readers, for joining us on this journey. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories in our upcoming editions.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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