Moderncat, Q&A with Kate Benjamin

Kate Benjamin, originally from upstate New York, started three years ago.

But this wasn't a "crazy cat-lady" blog. Benjamin turned the site into a single resource for modern cat products that are functional for Kitty's needs and aesthetically pleasing (say goodbye to the hideous beige carpet-covered cat tree).

Last year, Benjamin decided to quit her day job and run the site full-time. She also started Moderncat Studio, a line of original, handmade, eco-friendly cat products she sells through her Etsy shop and other select boutiques in the Valley.

Today, the blog has 12,000 subscribers from all over the world and the site gets over 150,000 page views per month.

We recently snagged Benjamin for a little Q&A about her work, her cats, the products they love, and the smell of cat breath.

How many cats do you have?

What are their names?
Simba, Mackenzie, Ando, Flora, Dee, McKinley, and Theo.

Do they have a favorite product that you sell?

The natural Jute Bomb cat toys are a big hit. I find them all over the house, always in a different spot.

What's your favorite cat behavior?
I love to watch cats playing together, they are hysterical! I have a few new products in development that serve as play stations where the cats can play together, chasing toys and attacking each other. It's better than watching TV.

What is a must-have item for any cat owner?
A good scratching post. Cats naturally want to scratch and if you give them something to scratch on, they will leave your furniture alone.

What's the strangest reaction you've received from your work?
I have had some very negative comments on the blog from people who are obviously cat haters. I can never understand why someone would bother taking the time to leave a nasty comment like that.

Has anyone accused you of being a "crazy cat lady?"
Many times, usually in good fun. I'm actually working to change that stereotype, to show that cat owners can have a sense of style and live in a beautiful home, happily with their cats.

And how do you really feel about dogs?
I love all animals and anyone who loves their pet is good in my book, however, I really am a cat person. I've always been afraid of dogs and don't particularly understand them. I was probably a cat in a past life or two.

Cat breath - oddly comforting or totally disgusting?
Depends. Milk breath, oddly comforting. Fish breath, not so much.

Visit www.moderncat. You can also find moderncat products at MADE art boutique, Noble Beast Natural Market for Pets, The Kitty Market, or in her studio located in the Bragg's Pie Factory building open on First Fridays from 6 to 10 p.m.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lilia Menconi
Contact: Lilia Menconi