Frequently Asked Questions:

How did you think up Breaking Cat News in the first place?

One night the Man and I were getting ready for bed, and our cat Lupin knocked everything off the nightstand. Elvis, typically concerned when anything happens, came over to let us know as we were cleaning up the mess. I began to joke, like he was telling us the headline to a very obvious breaking news story. Something clicked, and I drew a comic strip detailing the actual news report. Not long after I posted it online, friends began sharing it and asked to see more. I apologized and told them I wasn’t going to turn it into a comic. As a new Mom, I was worried I wouldn’t have the proper time to devote to it. However, the ideas just kept coming, and two new strips later I checked to see if the domain name was available. I told myself if it was, I would give the comic a shot. It was and I did. I decided to aim for two strips a week, and started working during my son’s naps and in the evenings after his bedtime. More and more people began to share it, and here we are!

How do you come up with ideas for the comic?

I think about funny things our cats have done, or cats we know, cats that have passed (the “Bacon” strip was a tribute to a fantastic old fat Siamese named Roscoe I had as a kid. He was a great cat. He loved bacon, and there must be something to it, because he lived to be 17). Occasionally life interrupts and an idea unfolds right in front of me (like the Junebug, who was very real). I try to aim for behavior that’s universal to all cats, but the great thing about cats is they all have such different personalities. I think a lot of the fun is watching how Lupin, Puck, and Elvis each react to the same issue.

What do you use to create the strip itself? 

It is paint! This is all ink and watercolor paint. I draw the comic in pencil first, ink it with Micron pens, and then paint it in watercolors. Once it’s inked and painted, I scan it and clean it up in Photoshop; cropping, resizing etc. Then I would upload it to the site. I used the template ComicPress. It made posting and archiving webcomics very easy. These days instead of uploading them here, I hand the strips into my editor, and Andrews McMeel Syndication distributes them to newspapers all across the country. The whole process has a very old fashioned start, with a thoroughly modern end.

To be more exact, I use Sakura Pigment Micron pens (.005, .01, .02, .03, .05, .08, 1, 2, and 3), Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolors, and heavy white cardstock. I wanted to use fancier paper, lol, but I go through a LOT of paper. 2-7 sheets a week when this was a webcomic, and 3 sheets a week now that the comic is in a newspaper format.

What scale do you work in? What is the size of your artwork?

I work very small, actually. My newspaper strips are drawn and painted very close to the actual scale they appear on your funny pages! I draw four daily strips on one sheet of cardstock, and one Sunday strip on just over half a sheet of cardstock. This typically works out to three sheets of paper used each week, 4 dailies, 2 dailies, and a Sunday. When I offer paintings for sale, they’re usually around 5 x 7 inches or 8 x 10 inches. I used to draw in my notebooks a lot as a kid, and I think this might be why I work on a smaller scale. It feels natural to me. I have worked bigger, and I do actually have about 5-6 pieces that are quite large, but it’s rare. I don’t enjoy working big as much as I love to curl up around a single piece of paper and fill it with my thoughts.

I want Breaking Cat News in my local paper! Can you make that happen?

I wish I could–but the good news is, you can make it happen! Call, write, or email your local newspaper editor and tell them you’d like to see Breaking Cat News in your local newspaper! Newspaper editors choose cartoons based on demand, and they listen to their readers! If you write in and make a case, they may add us! Encourage your friends and family who enjoy Breaking Cat News to join you! If I could put BCN in every newspaper, I would, but alas it’s just not up to the cartoonist. It’s up to newspaper editors, and they need their readers’ input! We’ve already had the comic go into several newspapers because readers asked, and in one case the editor hadn’t heard of it yet and fell in love thanks to their readers and their own cats at home! We’re a relatively new comic, and we need your help to spread the word and get us in the funny pages!

Are the cats in Breaking Cat News based on real cats?

Yes! Elvis, Puck, Lupin, and even Tommy are all real cats. All of the ‘Breaking Cat News’ cats are based on real cats, but all of the ‘Our IX Lives’ cats are completely fictional.

How old are the cats?

Elvis is 9, Puck is 6, and Lupin is 5.

Are any of the boys from shelters?

Puck and Lupin are, they both came from Purrfect Pals in Washington state. You can read about Puck’s story here and Lupin’s story here. Shelters are awesome and do great work! The boys did a special report on shelter that you can read here!

How did you decide who would be the correspondents and who would be the anchor?

Lupin is the most outgoing of the three boys. Whenever we have house guests, he is the first to greet them and sticks by their side for most of the visit. Puck is a little more shy and Elvis is a little more… temperamental. And so, when I first thought up their roles, Lupin seemed the best choice to greet the public most broadcasts. It also seemed fair since he started it all by knocking everything off the nightstand. 

Who were the boys’ reporter/reporting inspirations? 

Each of the boys is styled and inspired by a different era/attitude of reporting. Lupin is based on one of the old timey reporters of the 1940s, in his enthusiasm and his wardrobe (especially his dashing little cat-about-town hat). Elvis is more like one of the cynical, grizzled 1970’s “IT’S A CONSPIRACY, SEE?” reporters. He’s not quite based on Hunter S. Thompson, but he fills that wild card role. And Puck is styled after an idealistic reporter from any time, the young kid in the news room given his first big break in front of a camera.

How true to life are the characters in BCN to their actual inspirations? I.E. Is Elvis that grumpy in real life?

They’re pretty close to their comic-counterparts. Elvis is that grumpy. He can be very suspicious and anxious about change. He is very loyal to the Man, our children, and I, but not crazy about visitors. He does have moments of sweetness, though, just as in the comic. Puck is a very shy, sensitive cat. He is the first to notice if you’re having a bad day, and arrives with quiet head bumps. He loves to watch birds, falling leaves, etc. And Lupin is brave and adventurous. He is curious almost to a fault. He is incredibly bold and loves jumping into the shower or trying to climb into the dishwasher. We have to be very careful to keep him out of trouble.

Wait a second… Is Puck missing a leg?

That’s not your eyes playing tricks on you, Puck is missing one of his hind legs.

No he’s not!

Yes he is.

But in the comic–

It’s not there, take another peek!

Does Tommy actually live with the family in Breaking Cat News?/Is he their outdoor cat?

No, Tommy has his own owners. In the comic, he really does just invade the backyard from time to time, looking for friendship or maybe an extra belly rub. We learn more about him over time, and meet his own Woman. In real life, the real Tommy is owned by a dear friend of mine.

Do the People realize they’re part of a news broadcast?

I try to leave this open in the comic, but my own take on it is: No. I think that the People are completely oblivious to the broadcast, and it would seem that they never notice the boys’ tiny clothes. (Though I have been very tempted to draw the Woman hanging up itty bitty white shirts to dry). I think it’s not a stretch to believe that all cats are certain they are conducting vital business everyday and think we’re in their way/making it harder for them to get their jobs done.

What does “CN news” stand for?

Cat Network news. Cat Network is the channel, and this is their news.

Are there going to be new mugs, totes, prints, etc?

Yes! You can find them here!

Do you take commissions?

Occasionally I offer ten spots for commissions to paint folks’ pets as BCN news anchors. The commissions are usually $200 for a 5×7 original watercolor painting, and I announce them well ahead of time on my Twitter, studio Facebook page, blog, etc. They sell out very quickly, and take me about 2-3 months to complete. People ask if I can offer more or work in different sizes, and I’m so sorry, I can’t at this time! I get asked about commissions more than anything else, and I thank everyone who has been interested! (And apologize one more time). During the day I take care of our children, and at night I write, ink, and paint the comic. Most weeks it’s a real scramble! And crazy as it might sound, I enjoy every minute of the scramble! But I can’t take on anything else at the moment, I’m sorry. I try to offer original artwork 1-2 times a year, in sales in my Etsy shop or on Ebay auctions. I try to announce these opportunities to own original artwork a week or two ahead of time.

Is there going to be a BCN comic book at some point?

YES! In 2016, a ‘Breaking Cat News’ book book was published, thanks to Andrew McMeel publishing! You can find it here or in your local bookshop!

Are there going to be more BCN comic books?
I hope so!

I would like a BCN calendar–

Got you coverered! You can pre-order the 2019 BCN calendar here!

Did you go to school for this?

Yes and no. I do have a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Rhode Island (after switching my major from journalism, funnily enough… Maybe Breaking Cat News was inevitable?) However, cartooning and comics were not part of the course load. I studied printmaking mostly. I spent the years before college teaching myself to draw with ink and paint in watercolors, with a hope to illustrate children’s books one day. After graduating (and before graduating, and while I was in school, and pretty much since I was a kid) I began dabbling in creating comics. Growing up I read comic strips often, especially Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, and Garfield, and since about 3rd grade I have been sketching out panels and creating characters to walk around in them. I tried my hand at two web comics before Breaking Cat News, but neither took off quite the way that BCN has. Beginning in October 2018, you’ll be able to read one of these comics, Swan Eaters, on GoComics!

Do your illustrations look like the art in Breaking Cat News?
Not usually, my illustrations are mostly very different from BCN. I tried to give Breaking Cat News its own look and I keep it very simple so that it’s fun to pull off seven strips a week. You can look at my typical illustrations here.

I like to draw too, and I’ve drawn some pictures of Puck, Lupin, and Elvis. Can I show them to you?

Absolutely! There is a fan art page, if you would like to submit them to share here with other fans! Or, if you’re a little shy about your work but would still like to share them with me, just let me know you’d prefer not to have your work on the fan art page. Either way, I would love to see your rendition of the boys, and you can send any drawings to!

Do the boys have any favorite treats/toys/activities?

They all love catnip, naturally, and are fans of ‘Greenies’, ‘Dentabites’, and the occasional chunk of lean meat. Whipped cream is also a favorite, but we try not to give it to them very often to protect their teeth. Puck is our resident “foodie” (normally that word sets my teeth on edge, but it gives you an idea just how seriously he takes an interest in what we are eating. I keep trying to work in a food critic segment with him in the comic). He adores cheddar cheese and ham especially. All three of the boys love those toys that are a ball with feathers hanging from a stick. Elvis likes to suck on blankets when he is feeling happy, but will not do it in front of Puck and Lupin. Puck loves to knead his paws over new fabrics. Lupin enjoys going through our coin bowl with his teeth, carefully selecting quarters and throwing them down the hall to chase at 2am. (The coin bowl is in a drawer now). They are all crazy about the plastic ring from a milk jug, it’s their favorite toy. We supervise them when they play with it, (those can be dangerous if they eat them!) but so far it’s just a lot of tossing it into the air and batting it out of the sky.

Where does the comic take place? 

Most of the action takes place in or around ‘the Big Pink House,’ in Hope Valley, Rhode Island. There are references in the comic to real places in Ashaway, Hopkinton, and Hope Valley, RI, including the Ashaway Free Library and Forbes Flowers, the local flower shop in town. I grew up in neighboring Carolina, Rhode Island, and lived in Hope Valley when I adopted Elvis. The Big Pink House is based on the real Victorian-turned-apartment building my husband and I lived in with our children and cats from 2014-2016 in Ashaway, RI. It was a beautiful building with a lot of heart, and made its way into the comic shortly after we moved in, until it nearly became its own sort of sweet little character.

Can I see a photo of the Big Pink House?

Maybe one day! I do not own the building, and so I feel badly suddenly pointing all of the Internet in its direction, haha. Funnily, there are several big, beautiful pink Victorians throughout Ashaway, Hope Valley, and nearby Westerly. Rhode Island is full of gorgeous old buildings, and really any one of them could be a beloved star in their own way. Love them all! (…And maybe one day I’ll share a photo of THE Big Pink House!)

What is your work schedule like?

During the day I am home with my children, and my life looks very much like any stay at home Mom. I make us breakfast, I try to keep up on chores and keeping the house clean, things mended, furniture repaired, etc. I make lunch, and I might ink or paint the comic a bit while my kids play. (I’m a very ‘1980s Mom,’ lol! “Go play!!”) Then I make dinner, the real life Man comes home and he and I team up and give the kids baths, read bedtime stories, and tuck them in. This is when my work day starts…

Saturday mornings/afternoons I write the comic in a studio space in our home. I can do almost any other work for the comic (inking, painting, editing) during the week in the middle of the chaos two kids and three cats can whip up–but I really do need calm and quiet to concentrate on writing. I have to hear myself think, and more importantly, I have to hear the characters talk to each other, if that makes sense? For me, so much of writing looks a lot like when I played pretend as a kid. Except now my imaginary friends are in my head or in my drawings. Each week I create three new “pages” of work; four dailies on one piece of cardstock, two on another, and a Sunday strip on the last piece.

Monday I begin to ink what I wrote/drew on Saturday. If I work without interruption, I can sometimes actually do all of this in one night! I pad my schedule with extra time, in case one of my kids has a nightmare, gets sick, can’t sleep, needs me, etc. The Man takes over at night and helps the kids with whatever they need, and thankfully they’re both pretty great sleepers (knock on wood). But, sometimes you just need your Mom, amirite? And I gotta be their Mom before I’m anything else to anyone else, so I give myself some extra time just in case. It gives me peace of mind too, because then I know I have extra time if I need it.

Tuesday I either finish my inking, or (hopefully!) start my painting. If I’ve finished inking, I scan the inked pages. The strips are put together in two parts, which are merged later–the inked scan layered over the painted scan. This helps the lines and inked bits to print more sharply in newspapers. After scanning, I gather up the inked pages and it’s time to start painting them!

Wednesday I have a weekly Skype meeting with my editor to touch base and talk about wrestling. (What? She and I are both big wrestling fans!) That night, more painting!

Thursday is a painting night, however if I’ve finished early (this is rare, I’m usually still painting Friday night… One day I hope to get into a groove where Thursdays wrap up my painting!) then I scan the painted pages.

Friday night I either finish painting or start editing. To edit the strip, I take both scans of each strip in Photoshop and line them up together. I clean up any stray watercolor splashes, ink blots, mistakes etc, and add text. The text is added in a font that I made from my own handwriting. This makes it easier to print the comic in papers, and also for my editor to change something on her end if I misspell a word, leave out a comma, or the like.

Saturday (we already had Saturday, but now you see how it works into the rest of the week!) I write the next batch of strips!

Sunday I finish editing the first batch of strips and hand my work for the week in to Andrews McMeel. They then check it for spelling or grammatical errors and send it out to newspapers to share with you!

How did you make a font out of your handwriting?

I used Fontifier.

Why did the comic start over?

Believe it or not, I had the option to begin the comic where it left off in 2016 online, in newspapers in 2017. However, the more I thought on it, the more I realized it was really important to me that the newspaper readers experience the broadcasts and the story lines as they happened. For this to occur, it dawned on me that I needed to bring an AV cat into the strip, someone who could do the work I was doing behind the scenes in their world. (Plus, isn’t it cuter when you imagine that it was Burt instead of me? I think so!) The comic would come to a point where a pause was needed, and the AV cat would spend that time remastering the original broadcasts. When we came to newspapers, the AV cat would hit “play”, so to speak, and begin the revamped, “high definition” footage with bonus material. In their world, BCN was a small broadcast that got picked up for real newspapers, and Burt had to reformat the old footage for distribution. And so, now their broadcasts actually appear in your local news, and that’s very important to Elvis’ character, a real feather in his cap that their reporting “made it to the People news,” so to speak!

However, the real world reasons behind all of this are much more simple: I wanted the world of BCN to have one timeline, and for all the readers–web readers and newspaper readers–to have a shared history to reference and look back on together. I knew it would take some time and a lot more work, but it felt like the only right way to do it to me. And I’m from New England–we pride ourselves on doing a job the right way, whatever the workload. I promised myself and longtime readers that I would weave in new stories and new jokes as I went along, and I hope so much that it’s been as fun for them to revisit stories as it has been for me. I originally drew so many of these physically exhausted; selling a home, moving across the country (and back!) pregnant or taking care of a newborn and a toddler–I wanted a chance to take my time and make ‘Breaking Cat News’ the strip it had always been in my head, even when time made me scribble or slap strips together!

Are you going to include my favorite characters in the newspaper strips?

Absolutely! Everyone is coming back–everyone!

Are you going to include my favorite headlines and stories in the newspaper strips?

I’m doing my best to include every broadcast. I’m discovering that some of the larger, longer broadcasts may have to be saved for future books. However–they happened in the original timeline. They’re official, they’re canon, they happened in the BCN world, period. And if I ever do find I have to omit a story from newspapers, I will keep my promise to ADD to the comic. You will get a new, ADDITIONAL story. Not a swap out or a do-over. I will find a way to show you a story we all missed the first time around. I only want changes to feel fun, like brand new extras to enjoy!

What is it like to have your work in newspapers?

It is awesome and surreal. It’s a dream come true! My day to day life has not changed too much, and so it’s easy to forget sometimes that I’m in newspapers all over the country. I try to let that happen and write the comic with only a few friends and family in mind. If I write it for them, and it’s funny enough for them, I usually do well. If other people like it, that’s a great bonus! I highly recommend writing this way. Have a few folks you know with great senses of humor be your focus–if you can make them laugh, trust it’s funny, and send it out into the world. I’d have a hard time writing if I thought about all the many people reading this, awesome and and encouraging and friendly they may very well be!! So, I write this with just a handful of loved ones in mind. If they think it’s funny, I’ve nailed it. And hopefully you think it’s funny too!

Has it been harder/easier writing for newspapers?

I get this question a lot, but really it has not changed too much for me! It’s still the same characters and the same subject matter–and the same cartoonist, me! There’s not much I could change about how I write if I wanted to, it’s either going to work or not. The pacing was a little different, and I had to get used to that. I still have a tendency to throw a punchline either in every panel or in the middle of a strip. I worried that writing style might give me trouble when I was first offered my development deal, but early on John Glynn at Andrews McMeel told me to trust in that and not change a thing about how I write. That was a big shot in the arm for my confidence, and I felt on firm funny-footing thereafter tossing punchlines into strips willy-nilly.

Do you ever give talks or signings/do you make public appearances?

I do! Or at least, I try! It’s a lot of me talking to a crowd and apologizing for being nervous until I forget I’m nervous and just finally talk like we’re all old friends, haha. If you’re in western Washinton state, and would like me to give a talk to your library or bookstore, please contact me at

Occasionally I travel to do signings, but it is not often because my kids are little and I don’t like to be away from them for long. (Not the most professional answer, but why lie?) I will be at New York Comic Con on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of 2018 though, and I’m very excited for it! I’ll announce more details closer to the event, but I know I’ll be doing signings at the GoComics booth each day I’m there!

How would the boys feel if they knew they are the stars of a web comic?

I think Lupin and Tommy would be delighted, Puck would be bashfully humble, and Elvis would be just furious. I’ve tried to show it to them, but it was just a lot of chasing the cursor across the computer screen.

How long do you plan to keep Breaking Cat News going?

For as long as folks enjoy it and I can keep it funny. 🙂