Calla’s recently published book, “Measure Your Cat’s IQ: Tale s from the Devilish Genius to the Feeble Minded Fuzzball.” by Len Lear Calla Knopman, 57, began volunteering with Brenda's Cat …
by Len Lear
Calla Knopman, 57, began volunteering with Brenda's Cat Rescue (whose photos of rescued cats appear regularly in the Local) in February of 2019. Before that, she had volunteered at a couple of other local shelters and rescues, “but as soon as I began working with BCR, I saw the difference in how the cats and kittens are managed and treated.
“It’s not that any group loves and cares for the cats any less, but at BCR, each cat has a dedicated foster who is responsible for both its mental, emotional and physical health as well as approving adoptions,” said Calla.
It's not as if Calla has a lot of extra time on her hands. She has a full-time job (“which I do love”) as Associate Principal for the Hackett Group in Conshohocken, which provides digital transformation services to global companies. Calla also opened her own IT consulting firm in 2004, Knopman IT Consulting, LLC, which is not currently operational.
How has the pandemic affected Calla's day job? “For the most part, the type of work I do is required to keep companies operational, so a large percentage of client engagement continues with remote work. However, not all companies have been able to work remotely, and I hear from many friends and peers in the industry of massive layoffs and furloughs.”
Calla, now an Ambler resident, is also a a feline behavior specialist graduate of the accredited online school, the Animal Behavior Institute, and author of the recently published book, “Measure Your Cat’s IQ: Tales from the Devilish Genius to the Feeble Minded Fuzzball,” which is currently rated #175 in cat care on Amazon and available as paperback or Kindle version. “I have gotten some very funny responses from readers,” she said last week.
Calla has written another book, “Gabby the Detective,” a children’s picture book about kitten Gabby, who is very sad one day because she doesn’t know what she will be when she grows up. Calla believes the book will be released later this summer. “We consider all kinds of professions Gabby can consider such as a firecat, a ballerina cat, a teacher cat, a doctor cat and more, but none of them seems quite right until one activity leads to the decision that she will be a detective cat,” she said.
Despite her day job, writing books and helping rescued cats find homes, Calla somehow manages as a certified animal behaviorist to interact with cat guardians on behavior issues almost every day and has assisted more than 100 pet guardians understand their cats’ behavior through a variety of methods. There are a number of very good Facebook groups devoted to cat behavior, such as “Cat Behavior Chat.”
“The great advantage,” said Calla, “is that answering one person’s problem can help many others. I also interact with folks at the shelters, and often time while shopping for myself at pet stores. I see people struggling to make a choice or staring for a long time at the supplements, so I ask if they need assistance.
“Other folks seem to get my email or Facebook access and request advice this way,” she said. “Finally, I am always willing to volunteer a free behavior session for anyone who adopts a cat from BCR. Most of my behavior sessions are free, or if they insist on a fee, I request that it be made as a donation to one of the local shelters.”
What are the most claw-ful pet problems Calla has encountered as an animal behaviorist? “There are two issues that are the most difficult to overcome. The first is that while many clients request your advice and are even willing to pay, they have their own ideas about what will work and refuse to follow through on the instructions. I am sure many physicians see this behavior from people as well. The second is when a pet becomes aggressive to the guardian … I am hoping someday to retire to be able to work full-time work with cats. That is, assuming I can pay off the mortgage first.”
Calla also wanted to take this opportunity to praise her mother, Phyllis Meltzer (stage name, Toni West), a volunteer at senior centers like Abramson engaging the residents in song and dance.
“My mom is a very beautiful, active, youthful senior who was in the movies and was a singer with big bands as well as the Philadelphia Lyric Opera company,” said Calla. “She still gives concerts and has fans who follow her around.”
For more information: @cknopman or firstname.lastname@example.org. Len Lear can be reached at email@example.com