Welcome back, Reader!
Today, I am very happy to talk about a very special friend of mine and her book. I was able to sit down with Jessica Nicholson, speech pathologist and children’s book author with Molly Polacco, to talk about their published book The Adventures of Otitis.
Who Exactly Is Otitis?
For those of you who don’t know Otitis or his story, let me explain.
Otitis is a special-needs cat, but he wasn’t always differently abled. Before he was adopted by graduate student Molly Polacco (formerly Lichtenwalner) and found a home with her and her roommate Jessica Nicholson back in 2016, he lived with another couple. Although not much is known about his former living situation, I have gathered enough to piece together his background for you, Reader.
While he was with his previous owners, he grew seriously ill due to infection in his ears. Unfortunately, his previous owners could not afford surgery for him, so he was surrendered to The Feline Rescue Association, who raised the funds necessary to make his surgery possible. The hearing organs in his ears were removed, rendering him deaf. Otitis is a cat without ears! Shortly after, he was adopted by Molly and lived with her and her roommate Jessica who were completing graduate degrees at Towson University. The pair named the cat Otitis after Otitis media, which is an inflammation in the middle ear.
Otitis is a funny cat. He enjoys playing with Molly and Jessica, playing with toys, and adventuring outdoors – especially since his senses of sight and smell were heightened after his loss of hearing. Because of this, Molly and Jessica decided to create an Instagram to log his adventures. You can follow Otitis on his Instagram page @adventuresofotitis.
After a while, Otitis became somewhat of an Instagram star. It was then that Molly and Jessica determined they needed to share Otitis and his story with the world. They sat down one night and wrote the book now available in stores everywhere – The Adventures of Otitis.
What Is The Adventures of Otitis About?
The Adventures of Otitis follows the origin of the cat Otitis’s illness and his adventures while finding his forever family. He meets a nice doctor – Jessica – who helps fix his ears when he is sick, four different animal friends, and – finally – Molly, who adopts Otitis and gives him his forever home.
How Did This Book Come to Be?
While chatting with Jessica, I learned that the writing and publishing process went very smoothly for her and Molly. First, they sat down and wrote the entire book – in one night. Additionally, the first draft of the book had nearly 2,000 words.
Although neither Molly nor Jessica had previously published a book, they didn’t let this stop them. They searched online for a publishing company they felt would be a right fit for them and stopped when they found Mascot Books. The pair loved all they had to offer including the company’s unspoken mission to educate children through their published books. They submitted their idea and samples and received feedback the very next day. Communication with Mascot Books has always been very easy for them.
Some work needed to be done to clean up their story. Originally, Otitis met six animal friends rather than four. Their story had to be cut from 2,000 words in length to 1,000 – exactly half! In order to do this, readers didn’t get to see Otitis meet two of his other animal friends. Later, they enlisted the help of Angela Privitera Wetzel, Molly’s cousin, to illustrate Otitis’s adventures.
In order to get their idea off the ground, Molly and Jessica began a Kickstarter to help meet their $5,000 requirement to print and publish their book. People around the world were inspired to share his story and pledged to their cause.
What Was Life Like After Publishing?
One of my big questions for Jessica was what changed after she and Molly published their book? To answer my question, she said, “Definitely more fans for Otitis.” Well, people loved Otitis and his story so much, that his Instagram following went up immensely. When his page reached 40,000 followers, Molly and Jessica had a small party. His Instagram now reaches 67,400 followers, while his Facebook page has 10,428 followers.
Otitis’s story was shared through other mediums as well. The Dodo (6,500,000 Instagram followers @thedodo), among other sites, has published multiple stories featuring Otitis including “Cat Who Lost His Ears Finds The Best Mom,” and “Senior Cat Who Lost His Ears Has A Mom Who Thinks He’s Perfect.” Molly and Jessica were delighted when many others reached out via Instagram to help share Otitis’s story.
Additionally, Jessica also began reading The Adventures of Otitis to children in schools and libraries. See below for a picture of her reading to a young class and encouraging unique differences through Otitis’s story.
Where Can I Purchase The Adventures of Otitis?
Luckily for you, Reader, you can purchase The Adventures of Otitis in both physical and digital copies on the following sites: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Mascot Books.
Where Can I Follow Otitis on Social Media?
You can follow Otitis and updates about his adventures on his Instagram account @adventuresofotitis and his Facebook page by the same name.
You may also feel free to follow co-authors Molly and Jessica on their own Instagram accounts.
Share Your Thoughts!
Are you motivated to go pick up a copy of The Adventures of Otitis? If you already have, how do you feel about the book and his story? Share your thoughts with me below, Reader, and let the world know how you feel.
Once again, thank you for visiting my page and coming along this adventure with me. Don’t forget to follow our blog and Instagram @thereadywriter.blog.
Until next time, Reader!
2 thoughts on “Have You Heard About This Deaf Cat?”
Another great post, Ava! You inspired me to pick up one for my little nieces.
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I’m so glad you liked it! It’s really a cute book, and I’m so glad that I got to talk to Jessica about it.
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