History of Holisticat™
In 1997 Boo Boo's mom Sandy, frustrated with the lack of attention with regards to cat issues on pet care lists, began the Internet's first truly holistic, cats-only mailing list. When she started searching for ways to help her first kitty love, Boo Boo, who suffered from HCM and CRF, she quickly realized that "pet" lists that lumped cats in with other species sometimes advocated nutritional regimens, as well as health treatments and care inappropriate for cats' unique physiological and psychological needs.
As a former university professor trained in Ph.D. level research methods, she also recognized that much of what was being put forward was based more on speculation and assumption than on sound evidence. Finally, "holistic" was misused more often than not. So she started her own list and was pleasantly surprised to find so many like-minded cat lovers.
Website is Born!
In 1999, the Holisticat web site was created to serve as a companion site for the mailing list. The site is a repository for articles summarizing discussion findings, diet recommendations, health issues, selected mailing list archives, and numerous other resources; many of them contributed by list members. We advocate a raw diet or quality canned foods with an emphasis on treating kitties homeopathically or holistically if at all possible. Allopathic (veterinary) drugs, are not totally rejected; support is given to members to help kitties that must take them. Helping these care-givers to choose gentler and safer alternatives, or whole-body support while on these drugs, is our goal. Holisticat has become one of the largest go-to holistic cat sites on the 'net. Several cat lovers have worked tirelessly over the years to provide a resource for cat moms and dads the world over.
Hosting Server Shut Down...
In early 2005, the server that the Holisticat mailing list was hosted on shut down. Although the list had been moved before from listserv to majordomo hosts, after evaluating several alternatives the list moved to Yahoo Groups. During the time on Yahoo Groups, the list grew from about 500 subscribers to over 1,800, and the traffic count averaged about 50-60 messages per day. While the activity was great, and a lot of kitties were helped, keeping the discussion on topic and cleaning up messages to maintain the quality of the digest and archives consumed untold hours of Sandy's time. Even with the generous help of several volunteers, the task became unmanageable and quite aggravating.
Final Move and Exciting Changes
In February 2007 the list moved again, this time to its own server, using specialized bulletin board software. In order to defray the cost of operating and maintaining the board, a subscription fee is being charged for the first time in the history of Holisticat. But in exchange, the new software allows many conversations to proceed in parallel, with topics neatly presented under specific categories. All this in a fast-loading, and ad-free uncluttered environment.
By contrast, traditional mail-only listserves and Yahoo Groups only allowed a few topics to be discussed at a time, and sorting through the maze was difficult. We were also able to broaden the discussions to include a bit on humans and other species, and add more fun topics, as well as a photo gallery on which members can share their favorite kitty pics.
Although we are currently adding several new subscribers each week, the nature of the new board has freed up Sandy and the volunteer crew to add or improve resources. As a result, the traffic count is significantly higher than ever before, even though there are far fewer but very committed subscribers (about 200 so far).
Sandy's new book, while not earning her any royalties, has enjoyed steady modest sales since it appeared in October 2006. While the book is available through a number of sellers, people who buy it directly from Sandy get an autographed copy (with optional custom message) and author's errata sheet. The package deal of book and bulletin board subscription is only available through Holisticat's web site.
In addition to helping countless kitties on the Community Board (and the Yahoo list, etc. before this move), Sandy also offers one-on-one custom consultations for those members that need an individualized treatment plan for their kitties. Her extraordinary insight, experience, and love of kitties is the motivation for offering this extended service. The custom consultation is an on-going process between Sandy and the kitty mom or dad. There is a fee for the consultation because of the individualized nature of the consultation, time consumed, and expertise required. Out of love for kitties, Sandy keeps her fee below the normal rate charged for such a service.
With collaborative efforts by Sandy, Papa J, Shawn, and Jules, the Website is being redesigned and will continually be updated to reflect our commitment to providing a user-friendly atmosphere. Future enhancements to the website and Community Board include a convenient storefront with many of the tools and supplies that members have found useful, but hard to find. And to enrich the Community Board, contributions by Sandy, Shawn, and Jules will eventually include: tutorial videos and slideshows; downloadable articles, calculators, and other reference materials; and spreadsheets and documents for download or by request. We are excited to announce that some of these enhancements are already there for forum members to use!
No Annoying Ads
While everything will always be available to Community Board subscribers, the design of the site will always be such that subscribers will never be involuntarily subjected to advertising or other commercial offerings. In short, there will never be ads on the subscriber's side of the site.
To summarize, if you are searching for a wonderful, caring community of cat lovers with invaluable advice and support, please join us at the Holisticat Community Board. Holisticat can help you make vital decisions for a naturally healthy, happy, and well-fed cat.