animal lovers

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I’m Vegan and Other Vegans Make Me Cringe

Published April 15, 2022 by Maryanne
Let Go of Your Ego

Though I’ve used cruelty free products since 1996, I haven’t officially become a vegan until last summer.

I think what took me so long was the fact that the certified bat shit crazy vegan troupe was stuck in my brain. I had to separate myself from them first in order to make that final leap.

No matter what I say in this post, some crazy vegan will see it and argue with me. But I dare just ONE vegan to come forward and say, “You’re right.” Because I am. Because non-vegans agree with me.

Vegans make loving animals seem like a cult. Trust me, I’ve been to the Peta House back in 1998, during one of the many times I’ve dabbled in veganism since 1986 when I first gave up meat.

They are downright NASTY to anyone who disagrees with them and use their vegan card as a badge of ego, being condescending to others and being overly proud of their vegan knowledge.

It’s discouraging to those who want to change to become vegan, because they don’t want to be like that. And meat eaters just laugh at us because of how insane we are.

Here are some of the over-the-top, ultra-ridiculous vegan “things” I — as a fellow vegan — disagree with:

  1. Vegans who won’t date non-vegans. This is so ego-driven it’s sickening. You are alienating yourself from others and acting superior. It’s also a missed opportunity. If you date someone who isn’t vegan, you are exposing him/her to vegan foods and helping animals by getting a meat eater to give up meat meals a few times a week. It’s like how plant-based eaters go for their Meatless Mondays. It is NOT a bad thing and shame on you vegans for judging others. Date whoever you want! Do not listen to kooky vegans!
  2. Vegans who don’t keep cats as pets because cats can’t be vegan. This is just wrong. Yes, farm animals deserve to live, but so do our pets. Cats can survive outside, but the odds are against them. If you live in a city, they can get hit by a car. If you live in the country, they could get attacked by coyotes. It’s a thin line here, but not everything is black and white. It’s gray. When I feed my cats, I say a prayer to the farm animals and hope that someday scientists can come up with a better solution. So shut the fuck up you vegan control-freak hypocrite! I have three cats and they will not be vegans because that is cruelty to animals! I took an old cat out of an animal shelter and adopted him. If you see something wrong with this, you are a cruel, weird individual.
  3. Vegans who alienate themselves from non-vegans. This is weird too. They won’t go to non-vegan restaurants. Or they go and look sad the whole time because they’re not getting the full vegan experience. It’s not about YOU! We are on this planet to get along with other people. Just live and let live. I would like to believe that everyone will become vegan in due time. But why shun others who are not? For whatever reason, they don’t make the connection about why eating animals isn’t cool, but who the fuck are we to judge them? I sound angry because I am angry about how condescending vegans can be. There are MANY non-vegans who do great things for animals, whether it’s donating to shelters, adopting not shopping, volunteering for animal rescues, and so on. Yet, you continue to preach and judge them! Fellow vegans, I am ASHAMED of you, and cringe that I am in YOUR elitist club!

We need a NEW name for the vegans who aren’t this way. Those who are compassionate towards others who aren’t vegans but love animals. Those who admire others who aren’t vegan but who are doing their best. THAT is who I am as a vegan. If you’re not a vegan and you’re a great pet mommy or daddy, I ADMIRE YOU! If you’re not a vegan, but you make an effort eating plant-based meals, I ADMIRE YOU! If you’re not a vegan, but you sign petitions for justice for animals that have been abused, I ADMIRE YOU!

Do not let these OTHER vegans put you down. This is not my troupe! I honestly am disgusted by them. And believe me, while many ARE like that, not all of us are.

I would LOVE to hear from fellow vegans who agree with what I have to say. And for those vegans who don’t agree, I DO NOT want to hear from you, because I’ve heard ENOUGH from you for the past several decades and you are DEAD WRONG! I’m so glad I am not like you!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at:

She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here:

Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.

And for positive messages, visit Be YOUnique, the Anti-Bullying You Tube Channel:

Bloganuary Challenge – Day 16 – What is a Cause You Are Passionate About and Why?

Published January 16, 2022 by Maryanne
Photo by Mauro Sbicego

Well, what a coincidence to see this question come up for today. A cause I am passionate about and why? Do not read unless you are ready for a mouthful in defense of a cat because I am LIVID!

My cause is CATS! They are mystical, beautiful, loving (YES LOVING) creatures who are misunderstood. I’d had cats (and other pets – guinea pigs, snakes, hamsters, turtles, and dogs) all my life and never had a bad one. Why? Because I KNOW how to treat animals. You do not tease/taunt them. You respect, and train, a pet and the pet will be your friend forever. YES, even CATS (and lions/tigers too; do the research on how loving they are! Even PIGS are loving!)

The thing with cats is, you have to win them over. Once you do, they will love you like a dog does. I had a few cats that ran to the door when I came home, slept near the door when I was on a business trip, and instinctively knew when I was very sad.

So, animal lover that I am, I follow animal pages, on WordPress and Facebook. But after yesterday I will no longer support Facebook because of what I saw and all the hate this video provoked.

Have you ever heard of The Dodo? They make “inspiring” videos about animals. They start out with a tragic sad story, but it ends up happy. Usually I skip the sad part and go straight to the happy ending. However, this disgusting story they posted on Facebook yesterday made me ill. An aspiring You Tube influencer, who, I guess sees herself as a model, made a video taunting her gorgeous cat to give the impression, “I love my cat, but my cat hates me.”

This woman is unstable and knows nothing about cats. Or children. She teased the cat, then put her children in harms way, where the cat reached out and almost clawed them. The cat hissed at everyone. “Influencer” said, “The cat hates happiness. He is a grumpy cat.”

Ginger cats are the most docile cats. I never saw a ginger hiss like that. This woman was dangling her fingers in the cat’s face, putting clothes on him that he didn’t want to wear, and exposing the cat to a noisy household with children who teased the cat.

I wrote to The DODO and said, “I’m sorry Dodo, I love your channel but this is a fail. That cat doesn’t “hate happiness” as the owner says. The cat is obviously stressed for some reason. This family needs to hire a feline behaviorist to get to the bottom of it. I’ve taken in ferals who hissed at first and then became loving cats. You need to work with them, and try to understand them.”

I received over FOUR THOUSAND LIKES! (Damn, maybe I should have promoted my latest book on that thread too?!) HOWEVER, I also met the nastiest people ever on the internet, which solidified my decision to go off Facebook permanently. First, I shared the post in my private animal group. I was disappointed that friends saw the post and it didn’t seem to phase them. Then I read the hundreds of comments from people hating me for defending the cat.

Some of them went like this:

“Who are you, the cat whisperer?” — Yes, bitch, I am. I am a certified feline behaviorist.

“Put that cat in a burlap sack and drown it.” — Wow, what a nice, loving guy! I wonder what your mom thinks of you?

“Treat it like a puppy and smack it in the nose.” — Pure evil. Never smack an animal. But I’ve seen it. I used to work in a dog grooming facility, and dogs would always get smacked. I had to quit. I couldn’t take seeing that abuse on a regular basis. It was a long time ago, but I should have reported the bitch who ran the grooming salon.

“That cat has to be put down.” — WRONG. That cat was a perfect good cat who was ruined. The influencer had the cat since she was a kitten–I saw the pictures on her Instagram page. However, this “influencer” seemed to be too busy modeling for animal crackers instead of training her kitten — and her children. Can we say SELF ABSORBED?! YES WE CAN!

People who mistreat and hate animals, I’m sorry, they are the scum of the earth. Our cats are gentle, loving creatures, who are part of the family. They want to be in the same room as us, no matter what room we’re in, they follow us. Even the shy feral who rarely lets us pet him. He still shows us his belly to say, “I like you.” (Cat lovers understand this).

If your cat is hissing or clawing at people, it’s your responsibility to figure out what is wrong! It’s not a bad cat. YOU are the bad owner. Just like parents. If the kid is bad news, it’s not the child’s fault.

Taking in a pet is a huge responsibility that can last up to two decades, maybe even three (some cats lived until their 30s! Lucky owners!) If you can’t be responsible, DO NOT GET A CAT.

And all this to jack up likes on Instagram, which THE DODO promoted for this crazy woman!

SHAME ON THE DODO. I will NEVER watch their happy ending animal videos again, because this cat did not have one. I hope someone in authority sees the video and takes the cat away from her. There needs to be more strict laws on animal abuse.

I’d love to hear from other animal lovers, and on this issue, I’m sorry I’m not going to agree to disagree. I stand strong on my beliefs.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at:

She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here:

Rest in Peace, Dear Bennie Cat

Published February 15, 2019 by Maryanne

BennieBennie Grover Hemmingway

Earlier today we had to put down our sweet Bennie cat.

He was a feral who started showing up at our doorstep last August. My husband and I fed him. He was enticed by the food, but more so, the pets we’d give him. It seemed he was more starved for love than for food! He’d take a few bites, but then put his head up to be pet. Of course we fell in love.

One day he wasn’t around. I called, “Bennie!” He knew his name and ran through the grass like a gazelle! He had such a personality.

Before we took him in, we got him checked out by a vet and learned he had FIV, a feline auto-immune disorder. We wanted him anyway. We knew with FIV, he’d come with health problems, but we didn’t realize it would be so soon. He was only 3-years-old.

When he was officially inside, he loved it! He did this cute thing we called “Happy Paws.” He’d purr very loud and wiggle his paws. Sometimes he’d lie on his back with his happy paws up in the air. And he was so cute when he cocked his head to the side, like a puppy would do!

Bennie was a lazy cat. He loved to lay around and be pet constantly. He really liked butt rubs. And he loved music. I’m not a singer, but I’d sing to him and he’d stand up and look right at me, as if he was giving me a standing ovation! Even if I had a punk rock band, like The Dickies on the CD player, he’d sit right in front of the speaker and listen.

We only had him five months. He had brain cancer. And he was a little fighter too. He was determined to make a go of it, but unfortunately worse came to worse and the sad day had come. I collapsed in my husband’s arms. We were both devastated.

Our vet said Bennie knew he was sick and he came to us to give him a good home  before he passed. I know we did! And I’ll miss those purrs and that beautiful face.

Godspeed Bennie.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France

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USA and Denmark Friends Unite Over Love for Animals

Published April 9, 2017 by Maryanne

Her photoIben (left) and Maryanne at Mundo Vegan in Montclair, NJ 

Yesterday was an incredibly special, happy day. I finally got to meet my lovely friend Iben, who is visiting the USA, from Denmark. And her 14-year-old son, Mads, who is wise beyond his years and an all-around great kid.

Two years ago, Iben and I bonded online, over our love for animals. Cecil the lion was just killed and, of course it bothered us both terribly.

This was the summer of 2015. A short time later, Iben told me she’d be visiting the USA in 2017, so we planned to set a date to meet.

Yesterday I met Iben and Mads for the first time at a train station in Cranford, New Jersey. They’ve been staying in NYC, enjoying their holiday.

After two days of rain, we lucked out with a warm, windy day, perfect spring day. First stop was Montclair. We first went to an indie bookstore, then enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Mundo Vegan:

We couldn’t rave enough about how great the meal was. I had organic quinoa salad and pumpkin “cheese” cake for dessert (made with tofu, almond crust, pumpkin and cashews). Delicious!

Afterwards we did some shopping in Montclair, then went for a walk around the gorgeous Verona Park. There, we coincidentally started a conversation with a woman who was from Denmark, living in the United States for 60 years! What are the chances of that?! And her brother lives in the same town as Iben.

And why did we start talking to the woman to being with? Because she had two cute dogs! It’s always hard to resist stopping to meet dogs, especially in a park.

We all ended our beautiful day with a last stop to my house so Iben and Mads could meet my kitty Nicholas. Nicholas is definitely a “people kitty.” Nicholas loved my new friends and did his “Circus flips” for them (which my husband taught him).

I’ve been so high since yesterday, meeting two incredible people. Fresh air, good food, and great conversation. So much fun!

I wish Iben and Mads a beautiful, safe trip while they continue their visit in the USA. And thanks to Facebook, we’ll be in touch, ’til we meet again! ❤

Montclair - MadsMaryanne and Mads, Montclair, NJ 

Verona ParkVerona Park (Photo by Iben) 

Save the Seaside Boardwalk Cats!

Published June 6, 2016 by Maryanne

Seaside CatsPhoto from Megan Meyer’s petition to save Seaside Cats

Please sign this petition which will go to five decision makers in Seaside:

What this is about

From Megan Meyer’s petition:

The Seaside Heights Animal Welfare Organization has cared for the majestic cats of the Seaside Boardwalk by creating a colony system, which provides well maintained shelters and feeding stations since 2012. Through grants and individual donations, over 300 cats have been trapped, neutered and released at no cost to the tax payers. We all love to see the cats under the Boardwalk but the way they control the rodent population in this tourist hot spot is of huge importance. Recently, the board members who work tirelessly each day to feed and maintain the colonies, have been stripped of their positions leaving the cats without the care they are used to or supportive people who would do anything to protect them. Please sign this petition to help the Mayor of Seaside Heights understand how important these cats are to the public who visit this town regularly and love seeing them. Further, to see how the team leading SSHAWO need to be reinstated to their established place helping the cats in a hands in way. With the upcoming camp outs on the beaches-the cats are of critical importance against rodents that might move in. TNR works and this group is a wonderful part of the town of Seaside Heights. Please sign and share with anyone who comes to the Jersey Shore.

Appearing on “Phoenix Rising Show” Monday, Sept. 21

Published September 19, 2015 by Maryanne

Phoenix RisingAugust 1, 2015, I founded the group R.O.A.R. (Respect Our Animals’ Rights). R.O.A.R. is a non-profit organization. We are a group of animal lovers who got together and bonded over the death of Cecil the Lion. We are now doing exciting things for animals such as raising money for animal rights groups, signing petitions, and bringing awareness to the public. R.O.A.R. is a trademark and copy written 2015.

NOTE: This is not a vegan group. Meat eaters and non-trophy hunters welcome as they too have the right to love animals. No judging, no qualifications other than to be pro-preserving the beauty and lives of all animals.

We are on Facebook:

I am honored and humbled, as founder of R.O.A.R. to be a guest on “Phoenix Rising” Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 at 9 a.m.

We will discuss Cecil: the events, the follow-up, and also what you can do as an individual, a couple, and/or a group, to educate and prevent our beloveds who cannot speak for themselves.

There is an epidemic of torture and abuse to millions of different species that do not have the ability to speak up for themselves.

Audience seating available — FREE!

R.O.A.R. (Respect Our Animals’ Rights) is a copyright and trademark.

R.O.A.R. t-shirt
R.O.A.R. t-shirts!

To get your R.O.A.R. t-shirt, email Maryanne at:

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is also the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon, paperback and kindle editions:

I Dreamed My Cat Was Alive

Published September 6, 2015 by Maryanne

Billy in the SkyBilly Cat, in Heaven on the Rainbow Bridge

September 3, 2013, my beloved Billy Cat passed away. He was 19. This is the blog I wrote on that horrible day:

For the past two years, I was always sad during the reunion date of his death. Billy was not just a cat, he was family, as you can read in the previous blog.

Last night I believe I was on the Rainbow Bridge, as our baby came back to us in a dream.

It was so realistic, Billy was alive again. The dream felt like a dream. I thought he was a ghost visiting us on his death date. Then it was several days — maybe 20? I said to my husband, “Billy is still here.”

He said, “Don’t question it, just enjoy Billy.”

I said, “There has to be an answer for this.”

Then my husband said that Billy never died. When he was sick he put him under a tree. He heard about neighbors talking about “a cat.” Billy came home to us. He was better and alive.

When I woke up in the middle of the night, my heart was racing. I really thought Billy was alive! Then I realized, my husband never put Billy “under a tree.” We were together on that sad day we brought him to the vet and had no choice but to put him to sleep. Our baby had bone cancer and was down to four pounds. It was the humane thing to do.

I woke my husband up and told him about the dream. We hugged.

I went back to sleep and dreamed:

I saw a cat in the back seat of someone’s car. I opened the car door and there was a key. I turned it so the car could be warm for the cat. It was dark and again — the cat looked like Billy Cat.

Neighbors came out and I told them I wasn’t stealing the car, I just wanted the cat to be warm. A woman picked up the cat and his dark tiger stripes turned orange. It wasn’t Billy.

I woke up again and was so happy that Billy was on my mind so much that I got to dream about him. It was like having my little guy back, even if it wasn’t real, the surreal Billy was extremely rewarding to have.

Damn, I miss that little guy! ❤

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions:

Feeling the Love for Cecil

Published July 29, 2015 by Maryanne

Cecil 2Rest in peace, beautiful angel ❤

Thousands have signed the petition to demand justice for the beloved Cecil the Zimbabwe lion who was shot and killed ILLEGALLY as a “trophy” animal by a Minnesota dentist, Walter Palmer.

I am as torn and heartbroken as are millions of animal lovers. We are hurting because such a beautiful animal was killed needlessly — not for food or clothing — but beheaded simply for show. It’s a tragedy and I am sick to my stomach over this.

I’m dedicating the following song, by Elton John, to Cecil’s memory. Cecil, you are our Lion King, may your soul be at peace in heaven! We love you! ❤

In honor of Cecil, donations can be made for the conservations of lions at Wildlife Conservation Research Unit:

You can also demand justice for Cecil by signing here:

Disney Nature Monkey Kingdom

Published May 3, 2015 by Maryanne

Monkey KingdomKumar, Maya and little Kip


I was thrilled that my husband took me to see “Disney Nature Monkey Kingdom” last night! It was an incredible documentary about the lives of monkeys living in the ancient ruins of Sri Lanka, adorably narrated by Tina Fey.

You know you’re in for something really special when a movie about monkeys opens up with “Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkees” by The Monkees.

And you learn something new right from the start. I never knew monkeys had cliques and classes just like humans do. The Monkey Kingdom is ruled by alpha male Raja and a trio of high status nasty bitch monkeys called “The Sisterhood.” The Sisterhood could do whatever they want, and their little monkeys could do whatever they want. (Pfft … sounds like some townships I know of in New Jersey, but I’ll keep my mouth shut!)

Immediately, your heart goes out to Maya, who is at the low end of the class. She gets the least food of all the monkeys and is treated poorly by The Sisterhood. It’s kind of like the story of Cinderella and her evil stepsisters. But Maya never becomes jaded. And of all the monkeys, she’s really a looker! You can see her soul through her blue-lidded eyes (which looks like she’s wearing eye shadow!). She was really a good monkey — all she ever wanted was to provide for herself (and later her family). Pretty is as pretty does!

During mating season, Kumar, an outsider, gets his heart set on attracting Maya. He flirts by chattering his teeth, making a lot of noise to get her attention. She likes him, but Alpha male Raj is determined to keep the outsider OUT.

It’s a Romeo and Juliet situation, but the tragic couple do find some time together and Maya becomes pregnant. Since Kumar is an outsider and forbidden into the Kingdom.

Life isn’t easy for a single mom, especially not in Monkey Kingdom. Maya has to raise little Kip on her own, hunting every day to find the best food to make the best milk for him.

The Sisterhood punish Maya for stealing their food and take little Kip away from her. Maya is heartbroken — and so seems little Kip. When The Sisterhood get bored taking care of Kip, they desert him and the little monkey baby is now lost and scared. (See, I told you they were nasty bitches!)

Kip and Maya cry for each other and eventually find each other again.

Meanwhile, Kumar doesn’t give up on wooing his lady. He’s a strong, chivalrous monkey and is able to entice Alpha Raj with some jack fruit. Kumar also makes friends with some of the younger monkeys in the tribe by playing with them. Raj finally accepts Kumar and allows him into the Kingdom to reunite with Maya. But Kumar has to work for it — his job is grooming other monkeys. And for the first time Kumar meets his son, Kip. Kumar, Maya and Kip become a happy family.

All is well until the Kingdom is upset by an outside tribe and the monkeys are forced to temporarily live elsewhere. Maya becomes a heroine when she teaches The Sisterhood how to hunt for food in the “real world.”

“Low class” Maya showed them how it’s done!  She makes it a “high class” style party, leading all the monkeys into a village where they hit the jackpot when they break into a hut and all hell breaks loose. The pickings were plentiful: cake, fruits, and other delights. The monkeys learned something they never knew before — a sense of a full tummy!

The story has a happy ending with Kumar and Maya moving up in class and having another baby monkey, a little sister for Kip. And little Kip ended up having the same great personality as his parents, wanting to make friends with all the other monkeys.

It was all so precious, I was crying my eyes out. Kumar and Maya stole my heart — they are my favorite celebrity couple!

In addition to monkeys, this film has other animal cuteness like deer, bears, squirrels and other wildlife.

I highly recommend this unforgettable adventure!

Here’s the official trailer from Disney:

I Learned God’s Most Beautiful Gift From a Cat

Published November 24, 2014 by Maryanne

Billy in the Sky

My Late Billy Cat, 1994 to 2013

“Slow down, Maryanne.”

That’s all I used to hear from my husband, Dennis. I used to do everything fast. (I still do if I’m not careful). I write fast, I type fast (92 wpm), I’m the queen of multi-task. But in my later years, I’ve come to realize how great life is when you slow down a bit. When you take a break, stop and smell the roses, look outside the window at the birds in the feeder. That sort of thing.

But what made me realize this? My cat Billy.

Dennis and I nicknamed Billy, “The Forrest Gump of Cats” because he was a simple cat who seemed to have deep thoughts in his tiny little head. Sure, once in a blue moon Billy Cat would scatter around the room like he had an agenda, but most of the time he was just sitting or lying around, sometimes with his tongue hanging out of his mouth (as goofy cats often do) just taking it easy.

I paid more attention to Billy in his later years, as I knew he wasn’t going to be around much longer. I learned from him, how to take a deep breath and stop and smell the roses. I used to work like a fiend behind my computer, non-stop. I still do if I don’t catch myself and force myself to stop. But now, most of the time, I embrace my breaks. I love to slowly drink a glass of flavored water, or even stop the world for a cup of tea. Or not eat my lunch while I’m working.

Then it dawned on me … Even though I do things fast, I was always a bit of a late bloomer. I didn’t have my first article published until I was 32. My business at 45. Marriage at 48. And my first book at 50. Do you see a pattern? (Not to mention, the best girlfriends I have are the ones I met in my 40s and 50s).

The truth is, when you take your time with precious things in life, they tend to not only last, but be the best things life has to offer. My marriage is amazing. It’s been a blessing to make a living as a writer and to have my own business book editing and as a public speaker. And all this great stuff happened to me because I never rushed into anything. I took my time with it — and believed in it.

When something is nourished, rather than rushed, it turns into something very special and dear that will be close to your heart for a lifetime.

Now at 51, I’m starting my second business. While I can go full force — promoting all over social media and having parties left and right — I prefer to take it slow. Because it’s yet another thing I love and believe in and I want to have this business around until I die. I want don’t want to just enjoy the successes of my second business, but all stages: the beginning, the growth, the spiritual aspect of it and all the amazing people the business brings into my life along the way.

Because “slow” is the most beautiful gift from God and the universe that many people tend to over look.