A hilarious book about a dog - allegedly written

by a cat, in an extraordinary diary

LIFE IN THE CAT’S LANE
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THE AUTHOR:  A pet owner on a mission

 

Why does an American-born businesswoman “well over 40” don a Disney-style cat suit and parade a highly-bred Chow dog past hundreds of mongrels at a family dog show in the shadow of Windsor Castle or stalk along The Thames giving London mimes a run for their money?  To sell her book Life in the Cat’s Lane of course –  to raise money for charity.

Fundraising for Charity

 

“There’s no way I’d be doing this otherwise!”  long-time UK resident Diana Comber would exclaim whilst struggling into the equivalent of a head-to-toe fur coat on what might be a scorching summer’s day. The amazing outfit, a bespoke creation costing almost £1,000 pounds, gives even Mickey Mouse a run for his money.

 

Her zany paperback Life in the Cat’s Lane is the mythical diary of her own “enraged” moggy, identified on the cover as one A.S. Cat (A Superior Cat) as he copes with the arrival of a “most squirrelous” puppy.

 

Diana closed down her marketing communications consulting business for nearly two years, lived off savings and borrowed money so she could finish what she saw as the first of a series called Pets Diaries. The idea was – and still is – to help fund initiatives to fight brain-related diseases whilst supporting other relevant charities wherever possible.

 

Five years helping her mother to care for her retired surgeon father with vascular dementia deeply affected Diana. So much so she decided to redirect over 25 years of business and marketing experience into writing, publishing and promoting the book to support Europe’s leading dementia research centre located at The National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery in London.

 

Pets Note Cards

 

Prior to writing the book, the author worked with its illustrator Christine J Allen to sponsor production and sales of cat and dog note cards, contributing 100% of their proceeds to the charity. The Pets Note Cards, produced from watercolour illustrations of photographs of the author’s real cat and dog, were created by the artist who’s better known for her landscapes and exhibitions in the Home Counties and New York City.

 

Life in the Cat’s Lane is what the tongue-in-cheek author labels “autobiofiction,” a work based on her own real-life experience of “mismanaging the sharp end of dual-pet ownership.”  For by her frank admission, she made a cardinal error as a pet owner – daring to introduce a rather too curious pup into a 17-year-old cat’s household “without permission.”

 

“Year 1 was hell,” she recalls of 2003 when her real cat Sooty was so put out by the appearance of real Chow Tamba that puss “snubbed his owner royally” for the next six months. “Left my bed the day the dog arrived,” Diana quips.

 

“My home office became a War Zone with their ongoing scuffles, chases, spitting and claw swiping. They drove me nuts. The dog thought the cat was her exclusive play toy while puss considered dog the bitch from hell.

 

“After a few weeks, though, I began to see the funny side and started taking notes – thinking I might turn all the mayhem into a book to raise more money for The National Hospital.”

 

Self-publishing

 

Despite warnings from others not to give up her day job of marketing and business consulting, Diana did it anyway. “For 18 months I tried writing it whilst working but couldn’t find enough time to make real headway. So, when my biggest contract ended, I decided to wind down the whole business temporarily – and ‘just do it!’ “

 

By mid 2007, after almost two years of full-time effort, she had completed the manuscript.  Thus was born the purported diary of one A.S. Cat who vents furious meowings about betrayal, trials and final triumph in the face of a hapless owner besotted by a dog.  And when Diana couldn’t find a publisher, she again did it anyway.

 

Brain Disease Research

 

“My father was once a dedicated cardiovascular surgeon,” she states. “Watching his brain being destroyed by vascular dementia showed me how devastating such diseases are for sufferers and carers alike. These illnesses are distinctly unglamorous and terrifying to many but even small money-raising ventures like mine can make a difference.”

 

Life in the Cat’s Lane was published by the author’s communications consultancy Mspec.co.uk which has been supporting work of The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (Registered Charity No. 290173), and the new European Dementia Research Centre there, since 2003.

 

The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery is a leading centre for the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with a wide range of neurological conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.  Together with the Institute of Neurology, NHNN is a worldwide leader in the research and treatment of brain and spinal cancer, dementia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and stroke and head injuries while providing a major international centre for training.

 

The European Dementia Research Centre (EDRC) has become the UK's leading centre of clinical research into Dementia and a clearinghouse for European activities in this area while the Hospital has

become noted for its trialing of new drugs to slow the progression of Alzheimer's Disease, which causes so many dementia-related illnesses.

 

Mspec.co.uk specialises in strategic and tactical communication

consultancy, training and coaching, working with both multi-national companies as well as small and medium-size businesses.

 

Charities Supported

 

Primary:

The National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery                        

Other:

Cats Protection

Cat Search

Geriatric Society for Health in Aging

Sam Beare Hospice

UK Kennel Club Charitable Trust WHSMITH Educational Trust                                                                                            

 

The Author

Illustrator