The Happenstance of Cats Loving Naps, Animal Advocacy, and Ellen DeGeneres


We’ve all had it happen – those happenstance moments in life where it seems you are destined to meet someone for a significant reason, but you don’t know why at the moment. For me, that chance moment actually happened to Dan, and the person he met was actually meant for me.

Dan was on his way home from a business trip in Boston several months ago and had a connecting flight through Baltimore before his return flight to Fort Lauderdale. The flight was crowded and Dan who is an imposing figure at over 6 feet tall, happened to be in the same seating row as another gentleman who was of equally imposing stature. In the middle of these two gentlemen was that lone, tiny, and unwanted middle seat. Knowing that his flight was already going to be cramped and uncomfortable for him, he quickly realized it would be far worse as he saw the next few passengers in the aisle looking to board who were also of imposing size. That is, with the exception of a young and very slender woman he had not seen at first, and once he did, he immediately offered her the middle seat as a practical solution.

The story doesn’t begin right away as you might suspect. The majority of the flight had gone by and this woman spent most of her time talking to the other gentleman. Not deliberately eavesdropping, Dan zoned in and out of her chatter and heard that she was a newlywed from the Baltimore area and also did charitable work. Nothing too unusual about that. However, it turns out that when she got married, the entire wedding (click here to read the feature story in the Baltimore Sun about her wedding) was done in an animal rescue theme to bring awareness to local animal rescues and the charitable work she did was through a company she had founded called Cats Love Naps, which started as a means of making cat beds to help raise money for an 8  year old black cat that she was fostering, and eventually adopted, who had significant health issues that resulted in mounting vet bills. Do you see where this is all going?

Minutes away from landing, Dan just knew he needed to interrupt her conversation and introduce me to her, even though I was not physically present. He wanted to let her know I was an author, blogger, and cat advocate and that we needed to make a connection. He wasn’t sure why he felt the need to let her know this, but somehow he just sensed that she and I needed to know one another. She was thrilled to learn about me and told Dan she wanted to send our kitties a homemade bed in a custom leopard print to try out and review. They exchanged information and I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from her shortly after. We hit it off immediately and I offered to send her a complimentary book in exchange for her cat bed.


This pawsome pet bed had my name all over it and was on its way for my kitties to try out for themselves!

Well, once the cat bed arrived, the cats fell in love with it. It is like a giant chenille bowl of fluffy comfort and it is obvious it is made with an extreme amount of love and care. The only way I can properly describe how it must feel to a cat, is to compare it to that feeling of reassuring comfort you get when you put on your favorite worn out, soft, and warm and cozy bathrobe after a long and stressful day. It is just a wonderful hug of pure contentment and that is how the kitties feel when they nap on it – pure bliss.


Sweet Mia loves her new bed!


Peanut is in deep sleep mode while Kizmet poses for the camera!


Everybody is awake now and are using the pet bed as a comfy couch to watch “Bird TV!” Mia is on the left, Kizmet to the right, and Peanut on the windowsill.


TV time is over and now it’s Harley’s turn to nap!

So, who is this wonderful woman? Her name is Liz Wyman and she is what I would call an “old soul.” She is one of the most generous, giving, thoughtful, caring, compassionate and unselfish people I have ever not met in person and what she did for me recently completely blew me away, although because that is who she is, it really is no surprise.

If you might recall, I declared June 8th “National Deborah Barnes is Trying to get on the Ellen DeGeneres Show Awareness Day” and begged asked you to submit emails to Ellen on my behalf to get me on her show, of which many of you did and I am so appreciative and grateful for. I honestly was not expecting anything else, but Liz took my request to a different level, so much so that she has devoted herself to helping me make my dream come true! Out of nowhere, she surprised me with an email saying she was going to send Ellen the copy of the book I had given her, a Cats Love Naps bed, and a letter on my behalf. I told her she did not have to go to such extremes, but not only did she want to, but she went out on a  “get Deb on the Ellen show shopping spree” and bought all kind of fun little kitty items, including a cute little leopard patterned hat with ears! I told her to keep the book I had originally sent her and sent her another one that I autographed for her special project and let the fun begin. She sent me a progress report via pictures of what she did and I am happy to share some of them with you.


The first step Liz took was to make two special books – one featured all of my efforts to get on the Ellen Show and the other was to highlight happy cats napping in Cats Love Naps beds!


Liz put together a very sweet and compelling letter on my behalf to let the Ellen people know how much it would mean to me to be on the show.


Liz did an entire page by page of the post I did for “National Deborah Barnes is Trying to get on the Ellen DeGeneres Show Awareness Day” and this was the excerpt where I let Ellen know an entire chapter was devoted to her in my book.


This is the specially autographed book I sent to Liz for her package!


It’s all starting to come together – look at the beautiful pet bed and all the fun stuff Liz bought for Ellen!


Just look at that adorable leopard hat with ears! Ellen would look so cute in that and must try it on the show!!


Liz puts the finishing touches together before the gift presentation is packaged up for mailing! She did such an amazing job and I can’t thank her enough for all her efforts!


Ta Da!!! Here is my sweet Liz at the post office!! Now all we have to do is keep our fingers and paws crossed that our phone will ring! One thing is for sure, no one can say we didn’t give it our all!

I don’t know if this will get Ellen’s attention, but it certainly got mine. We live in such a stressful, often disjointed world, yet here is a woman, a virtual stranger in the scheme of my life who has opened her heart to me with no expectations in return, other than it makes her happy to make others happy. I love her message and it inspires me even more to reach out with kindness to others when I can.

I will keep you posted if we hear anything and hopefully one day I will be telling you all to tune in to the Ellen show to watch me crown Ellen with leopard cat ears. In the meantime, if you are looking for that purrfect pet bed for your beloved kitty, please check out the Cats Love Naps site. You will note that our very own Harley is the model gracing the home page and I don’t think she has left the bed since we got it! All the beds are lovingly made by hand from recycled materials such as old blankets and towels and they come in a variety of fun patterns and colors to choose from. Plus, 10% of the proceeds go to several Baltimore area animal shelters!


Have a wonderful weekend all – I hope you enjoyed meeting Liz and I will have a touching guest post this August where she will fill you in on just how Cats Love Naps came to be and why black cats are so special to her.

And as a reminder, don’t forget to vote for your favorite blogs for a Pettie and a chance for them to win $1000 for a rescue or shelter of  their choice! Zee and Zoey is up for “Best Designed Blog”-  voting is open until July 31st and you can vote once a day.


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  1. Ingrid King says:

    There are so many things I love about this post, I don’t even know where to start! The bed looks amazing, but what’s even more amazing is the whole sequence of events from Dan meeting Liz to Liz sending the package to Ellen. Did I mention how much I love this post?

    • Deb says:

      Thank you Ingrid – Liz is one of us and I hope one day she will attend a BlogPaws event so we can all meet her in person. I am so glad you enjoyed the post and the sequence of events truly is amazing!!

  2. toni says:

    Ingrid says it all Deb…..I too LOVE this post!! And for some reason I feel my friend is a little closer to acquiring her dream…Ellen just looks too good in those leopard print ears!!

  3. Beverly says:

    I love this story! Thanks so much for sharing it. It is very heartwarming to hear that people will do things like this for a perfect stranger…now a cyber friend. I am rooting for you to get on Ellen’s show!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for your support, Beverly! It truly is inspiring to know people like Liz are out there in this world. Although I have come to find that us cat loving people are a special group indeed…

  4. Julia Williams says:

    Yep, sometimes the universe works in mysterious ways! If that amazing package doesn’t get Ellen’s attention, all her staff is blind. And she’d be a fool not to have you come on the show! Paws crossed that your dream finally comes true.

  5. What a great story – and what a generous heart Liz has!

  6. Rosemary says:

    What a wonderful story! Love the bed too! i will be looking for you on Ellen’s show!

  7. mariodacat says:

    OMC – what a fantastic story and post. Talk about a “chance encounter.” Liz is a fantastic person, but then so are you. I so hope you make it to the Ellen show!!

    • Deb says:

      Awww… you are always so sweet, mariodacat!!! Thank you and glad you enjoyed the post and “meeting” Liz with me!

  8. Marg says:

    That is terrific and we sure hope it all works for you. That should get you on the show for sure. Good luck.

  9. Wow, this is synchronicity at its finest. May it continue until you both reach your goals. P.S. I’m voting every day for you.

  10. Hazel Marie says:

    Fate has intervened. I’m positive you’ll make it on Ellen !

  11. What an amazing story!!! Liz is awesome and we would love to see you BOTH make it to the Ellen show!!!
    How can she resist?!


    • Deb says:

      Glogirly and Katie, with all the stunts I have pulled, I have asked myself everyday how she can resist, so I am hoping that Liz’s heartfelt plea will do the trick!

  12. “Happenstance”. Great word and lovely story! Here’s to coming closer to reaching your dream to be on the Ellen show!

    • Deb says:

      I happen to love that word too, Christine! I hope it will have greater meaning one day soon and I am counting on you being with me on this journey as well!

  13. CATachresis says:

    What an amazing story! And what a very sweet and generous person, Liz is!! We now wait with baited breath to see what happens!! x

  14. Brian says:

    That is one amazing story, and one amazing bed too. Believe me, we’ll all be doing the happy dance here when we see Ellen with those cat ears on. After all, my Dad wore them so Ellen should too!

    • Deb says:

      Just that fact alone, Brian, should be enough for Ellen to want to wear those cat ears…. not everyone can say they wore ears that your Dad wore!!

  15. Vicki Cook says:

    synchronicity [ˌsɪnkrəˈnɪsɪtɪ] n (Psychology) an apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two or more similar or identical events that are causally unrelated [coined by Carl Jung]

    or a song by the Police 😉

  16. Andrea says:

    I’ve always valued synchronicity – what a wonderful chance you have. And a great new friend!

    I’ve tried to interest Ellen in having Mewdy Blue on her show. I would have loved to show the world that cats will do things for the camera, that cats can be trained, but I guess it is too late for that. I am all for you getting on the show.

    • Deb says:

      I have always valued synchronicity myself, Andrea, and it was the cornerstone premise of The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey and how the whole book was written! I hope it will help lead me down the path to meeting Ellen, but, either way, as you said, I now have a great new friend!

      I would have loved to have seen you training cats on the Ellen show and you just never know! 🙂

  17. meowmeowmans says:

    What an amazing story! We love this post, and really enjoyed “meeting” Liz. We have our paws and fingers crossed that you and Liz both realize your dreams!

    We’re voting every day!


    • Deb says:

      Meowmeowmans – so glad you enjoyed meeting Liz – she has the same kind heart as you and Tracey and you would love her!!

  18. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    hole lee mackerull….we wuz reedin this ta R mom N her said ta uz, dood jazz’ mom iz gonna bee on de Ellen show !!!????

    N we uz like yes !!!!!

    & R mom wuz like WHEN…

    N we toll her we iz knot sure

    coz dood jazz put in a sekrit call ta Liz N then Liz kneaded ta get sum case goods ta Ellen after talkin ta dood jazz’ dad who bee at de eggs act same place az Liz who hurd bout Deb who iz waitin ta heer frum Ellen’s manager coz fate said sew but just like knot what day yet

    then R mom wuz like awesum !!!!

    • Deb says:

      Oh my goodness, da tabbies… “to be continued” is all I can say… you have me on pins and needles and I can’t wait to see what jazz is up to next!!! <3

  19. Miss Liz is such a pawsitive energy purrson…I simply must have a bed like that one…I just luvluvluv it…and I think my Foster Brofur Leo would too…

  20. Kitties Blue says:

    The beds are so cute and sure seem to be popular with your kitties, and wow, the price is so reasonable. I hope a couple of these will be under the tree for the kitties this Christmas. I usually just have to hint to their Dad. With all of your past efforts and Liz’s current ones, we absolutely can’t imagine you not getting on Ellen. I love the word, serendipity, and think that fits your current situation. I’ll be watching for updates as will the kitties. Purrs and hugs, Janet and the kitties, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo