When Skinny, a neighbor’s scrawny rescue cat, sets out to win the affection of the author’s own cantankerous kitty, at first the fur flies-but Skinny knows a secret that can change the world: how to love with unwavering persistence. For weeks, Skinny faithfully showed up at the author’s door hoping to get a glimpse of her feline princess-sometimes getting a triple right paw punch for his pains. But her unlovable behavior never stopped him from loving her. Skinny will open your heart, too: he’s the cat who not only refused to give up, but who showed an entire community the miracles that can happen when you practice loving kindness. Skinny reminds us that those who appear to be the least deserving of our compassion and gentleness often need it the most, and that loving those who seem unlovable offers healing for ourselves and for the planet. When we allow ourselves to be touched by this peacekeeper, and are inspired to emulate him, we can spur the ripple effect of kindness out into the world. A funny, captivating tale complete with heart-warming photographs, Skinny the Cat and the Magic of Kindness will take its place with those beloved animal stories that have changed our lives forever.
In addition to writing and love of animals, Donna is a voice actor, singer, and songwriter whose songs have appeared in major TV shows and films. Represented for voice-over by William Morris Endeavor in Beverly Hills, her commercial credits range from Macy’s to United Airlines to Suzuki plus audio book recordings like The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs, Tami Hoag’s, Taken by Storm and Dana Reinhardt’s, Harmless. She also voiced the character BT in the American premier season of the Japanese anime series .hack//Sign and is a member of Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA, and BMI.
What motivated you to write this book?
The story literally showed up on my doorstep. I was in the midst of writing a novel when these neighbor cats started hanging out at our property. It was clear that Skinny was determined to make friends with our indoor cat, Bhava, who (to other animals) was a bit of a grouch. Skinny just would not give up his efforts to win her over. This went on a long time—well over a year—but my epiphany actually occurred when my husband started joking around using Skinny’s name as a verb in reference to softening some tough clients. And at that point it “clicked” and I was compelled to share the story because it was lighthearted and powerful at the same time.
What about this genre appeals to you?
I love creative non-fiction because you can take a true story and weave perception into it. Most pet owners animate or interpret the thoughts and actions of their animals, sharing with them our human perspectives.
What inspired the title?
The cat of course, but once I realized how transformational kindness can be, it seemed magical to me.
Are you working on any other books or projects currently?
Yes. I’m working on a novel called, In the Path of Angels. The same novel I started when interrupted by Skinny the Cat! Actually the first full draft is done and I’m diving in to the second go-around. You can read about it at InThePathofAngels.com
I was in the middle of writing my first novel when Skinny appeared in my life and as we accumulated photos of Skinny making such a positive impact on Bhava, my husband Robert actually came up with the “skinny as a verb” model. One night at dinner he told me he had “skinnied” one of his clients that day. Confused, I inquired further. He explained that a guy had come into his studio in a terrible mood, but Robert, determined to emulate Skinny the Cat’s behavior, simply kept being super nice to him. After a while, his client’s mood had taken a 180 degree turn for the better! Immediately when I heard the word in that context, I understood what had happened to Bhava, and from that moment on, “skinnying” became a personal mission.
Earlier I had written a short story about Ichi called, “The Cab Can Wait,” which served as a starting place for the book and eventually became Chapter Four. So in other words, I wrote backward and forward from Ichi’s passing to form the book and fully develop the “skinnying” concept.