Friends, we are excited to present a new monthly blog post Feature Friday where we will shine the spotlight anipals, authors, and highlights that we are excited about, giving them a chance to tell us in their own words about themselves, their lives and their adventures. So, grab a cup of coffee, settle down and meet our first guest @PurringSmokey - who has the World's Loudest Purr and who is authoress of her own book! (@ bottom of interview).
Smokey, exactly how LOUD is your purr?
A normal cat will purr at 25dB and I was measured at a distance of 1 metre (about 3ft.) away at purring at a level of 67.7dB. As decibels are measured logarithmically this is equivalent to a purr level 14x louder than your average cat. (For ever 3dB increase in the sound recorded the intensity of the sound increases by a further multiple.)
The measurements were taken by a sound engineer using a Category 1 Sound Meter, in front of witnesses, and with no background noise to interfere. I'm told my purring compares to having a very contented hoover or hairdryer purring on your knee.
You are famous around the World, but where in the World do you and Mum live?
Our family all live on a farm in the county of Northamptonshire which is in the Midlands area of Great Britain.
Your purr is amazing, you must have quite a story to tell, so what made you put paw to paper?
My ‘mum’ Ruth Adams was talking to a friend last year who volunteered for the Northampton branch of the British feline charity Cats Protection, she wanted to help promote the spaying and neutering of cats. An un-spayed female cat has the biological capability to lead to up to 42 cats if she mates and her kittens then go on to have kittens themselves.
This can lead to a lot of distress and unwanted kittens, many of whom will die. My mum and her friend wanted to do something about this. Ruth suggested that as I had a very loud "and annoying!" * smiles * purr that it would be a fun idea to hold a phone in purring competition on the local BBC radio station.
The radio station agreed to the us visiting the studio for an interview and I gave a purrfect purrrformance. My first operatic purr was broadcast on the John Griff afternoon show on BBC Radio Northampton on Wednesday 9th February 2011. An article followed in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo newspaper asking "Is this the loudest purring cat in Northampton?" Readers were invited to listen to a recording of my purr on the internet to decide.
Then, a media agency picked up on the story and within 1 week I was featured in every UK National newspaper and on radio stations all over the World! Television crews soon followed and I carried out filming with Ukraine, New Zealand and from America ABC 'Good Morning America' and NBC 'Today' programme. I even gave a purr interview for the BBC World Service.
My purring had gone truly global. I had accidentally become an International Cat Celebrity and the Worlds media asked “Is this the Loudest Purring Kitty in the World?”
My staff very reluctantly agreed to apply for a Guinness World Record on my behalf and was horrified when she found out how complicated and costly it was going to be to sort out providing all the evidence required!
Fortunately for us, a team of volunteers rallied around and we were able to organise the Guinness World Record trials, although things did not run according to plan :-) We did however eventually manage to be awarded the Guinness World Record title and a certificate on 5th May 2011.
Pals might be interested to know that all applicants for a Guinness World Record must supply and finance their own bids and Guinness World Records provide no financial award for receiving the title just the honour of knowing that you are the biggest, loudest or fastest in the World at something.
Our unintentional journey to stardom, although very quick, had its share of set backs, and my life prior to joining my current family was not always a happy one - I was passed through several homes. So, I thought that if Mum and I were to put paw to paper we could write an inspirational story with a happy ending.
We wanted to write a story of determination, and one which would help promote the animal welfare messages we felt so strongly about. We hope you will enjoy reading about my life and may even learn a bit about Guinness World Records, the pressures of dealing with the World’s media and sound recordings along the way. It’s quite a journey!
Mum and I think your book is amazing, and we appreciate the wonderful colour pictures, they make it all come alive. How important are the pictures to your story?
My owner was trained and works as a graphic designer so she is very passionate about colour. The photographs help to bring the story alive and help the readers to relate to the book. They could almost think they were looking at a family photograph album.
I was originally hoping with the ink drawings that I could organise an International colouring competition for children all around the world and the winning entries would be published in the book along with the child's first name, age, and country. Unfortunately, the idea never got of the ground, but I did think it would have been a fantastic way to involve children in a global project. A Big Idea to match my big purr. Sadly the publisher may be producing our second edition with only black and white photographs inside HISSS. (Shocked look from Dash)
Are you enjoying meeting new friends, for example, the anipals on Twitter and Facebook?
We are having a fantastic time meeting new friends from around the World the internet is so amazing and we have a lot to learn, we are very new to social networking. We are going to expand our Facebook page and when I can track down my web designer (who has gone into hiding MOL!) I am going to carry out more updates on our site. We find Twitter an amazing source of contacts, friends, and information and I think it is becoming rather addictive to my mum.
Do your fans ever get to meet the real Smokey? Are you doing any book signings?
It has always been important to us to allow our many friends have an opportunity to meet us and so we have arranged many 'pawtograph' sessions around the Midlands area where we live. I am a very ordinary cat, who came from a rescue shelter and it is important to us that to spread hope and happiness.
My life a few years ago was very sad and then through helping others I was adopted by the world’s media and I wish to continue promoting hope and happy purring. It's not very often that fans get a chance to stroke an International celebrity (without getting a restraining order placed on them!) but I loves meeting my fans. Video
My staff always ensures that I am comfortable and relaxed and feeds me lots of hammy. I have a pawsome rubber stamp made from my paw so that I can sign my own autographs and 'pawtograph' copies of my book 'Smokey the Very Loud Purring Cat'
We have several book signings coming up. One is this Saturday with Your Cat Magazine at Walkers Bookshop, 10 High Street, Stamford, Lincs PE9 2AL. Others will be in London on 3rd June 2012 at Waterstones Oxford Street Plaza 12-3pm, and Bedford on Saturday 9th June.
Where can pals grab a copy of your book?
'Smokey the Very Loud Purring Cat' is suitable for children aged 8 years and up, adults and families. It is available internationally and from the publisher DB Publishing. Book shops/libraries/schools are very welcome to contact the publisher if they would like to stock my book. In the UK the book is stocked nationally in Waterstones and some independent bookshops. (List of links below - Dash)
To get your own personally addressed and 'pawtographed ' copy of my book with special matching bookmark and post cards, which I am proud to say can be shipped anywhere in the World (with a postal address!) check out my book page. Pals can request your own dedication messages and my mum will dedicate the book for you. I think it would make a wonderful special surprise gift for any animal lover.
A last word for your fans Smokey? Keep happy and keep purring Smokey xx and p.s Please spay or neuter your cats if not used for intended breeding purposes.
How to get a copy of Smokey's Book ISBN: 9781908573100
Smokey's web page here
Personalised copies (with special extras) here
Kindle Edition here
E-Readers and Kobo here
Finally, a lovely magazine