Cat Experiment: Buy one get one free?

The first guinea pig of my experiment: Ava Gardner of Outcast Cat Help in Martinez, CA

The first guinea pig of my experiment: Ava Gardner of Outcast Cat Help in Martinez, CA

Could offering an original watercolor portrait of a hard-to-place cat entice adoption? This question has been on my mind for several years now and I’m ready to find out the answer.

I got the name of Outcast Cat Help’s founder, Julie, from a mutual friend, a long-time Martinez, CA resident. “You might have seen her feeding the strays down at the marina. She traps them, has them spayed/neutered and returns them to where they live” she told me.

Now I’m the Queen of Procrastination and my co-rulers are Fear and Doubt. To give you an idea of how mighty is my reign, I’d birthed this idea of donating pet portraits to animal shelters back in 2007 – four years ago! The first couple years were under Procrastination’s jurisdiction. Then Fear took a turn, reigning supreme for a couple more years. It was now Doubt’s turn and she did not want to disappoint!

I began crafting my email proposal and immediately I got nervous, unsure how Julie of Outcast Cat Help would react. What if she ________ (insert worst possible scenario here), or thinks I’m __________ (insert egotistical or idiotic synonym). I kept second guessing myself thinking she may totally reject such a far out idea. But how could she? This is a win-win situation! Or more like a win4 – win to the fourth power, or win-win-win-win: The animal wins because it finds a permanent home. The adoptive family wins because they get a companion and it’s portrait. The shelter wins because it’s placed another animal, and I win because I feel warm and fuzzy all over…not to mention my art gets exposure.

“Don’t be so sure of yourself!” replies Doubt. “Have you EVER done anything like this before?” she cackles in my ear, playing on my innate, deep seated fear of the unknown. “ANYTHING can happen!” and by this she means anything BAD can happen. Now I know this sounds irrational and totally ridiculous in it’s claims, but the first few moments before I hit “send” on that email, the fear felt very, very real and almost stopped me. But four years of the Power of Procrastination lay behind me and I’d already come to my decision that I must do this for my health, my sanity, and my well being.

I’d learned a few years back at a personal growth workshop a powerful tool of transformation called a dyad. It goes like this: two people take turns asking one question, then listening wordlessly to the answer. That’s it! It’s incredibly simple yet profoundly revealing. The one question that I found most powerful and was probably responsible for me typing that email that day was “what am I tolerating”?

What quality in me or area in my life am I tolerating? In other words, what do I know about myself that I’m not proud of and instead of taking steps to improve or change I’m simply putting up with it, tolerating it?

The moment I hit send was the moment I stopped tolerating my procrastination, fear and doubt about my artistic ability to help animals. I was liberated! Four years of burden were lifted immediately from my psyche and I literally felt lighter. The matter was now out of my hands – I’d fulfilled my end and had only to sit and wait for a reply. I was finally at peace.

That peace lasted exactly seventeen minutes.  Ding! went my inbox and there was Julie’s reply



Ava Gardner (and her portrait) has been adopted!

Ava likes Ava

Ava likes Ava

Cats art for sale

Is anybody out there. . . leave a reply!