See Patty Spitler’s interview with KJ on an upcoming show of Pet Pals TV!
Her first word as a baby was “kitty.” Now, KJ McGlinn has added many more words to her vocabulary and put them into a book about her favorite topic.
As you know, KJ is the enthusiastic and knowledgeable Kitty Correspondent for Pet Pals TV. After many years as pet parent to a variety of cats, she has taken her experiences and put them into a new book, “Raised by Cats: Behind the Mic and the Meows.”
KJ not only shares positive stories about cats on Pet Pals TV, she also has plenty of experiences in other arenas. Originally from Wisconsin, Kari Johll spent many years in radio promotions and programming in various cities around the country before landing in Indianapolis, where she was an on-air personality/co-host for the Smiley Morning Show on WZPL. She also chases spirits on the TV show Paranormal X Road and hosts her own KJ Today show that streams on various media.
As much as she loves performing, KJ’s “feline DNA” is always present, so writing a book was a natural progression.
“That’s my life, being in tune to cats,” she says. “I understand them in a way that I realized was much deeper than most people have in being able to connect and understand cat behavior. I’ve improved my own bond with my cats and want to share what I’ve learned to help other people bond with their cats.”
KJ’s own House of Cats is populated by seven rescues: Rhodey, Grayson, Melody, Amelia, Jayna, Johnny Storm and Malcolm. There’s also her husband, Patrick, in the mix. He wasn’t a cat person when they first dated.
“At the time we met I had Reggie, my first cat as an adult, who had traveled with me all across the country. I told Patrick that ‘Reggie isn’t going anywhere so you might as well meet him and decide if we’re going on another date.’
“Reggie was very selective. If he liked you, he was on top of you, but if it was wrong he went under the bed. Well, he climbed right up on Patrick’s chest and made himself comfortable. Patrick had never experienced anything like that and was immediately charmed. He had always had dogs. At the time he had old beagle and I spent six months with her before she died. I understood the pet bond.”
Bonding with cats came early for KJ, the second oldest of nine kids. Admittedly, she was shy and awkward as a youngster. For privacy, she spent a lot of time in her room . . . with kitty companions.
“I didn’t feel liked I belonged anywhere except in my room with my cat,” she recalls. “It’s difficult to get attention with eight siblings so being in my room with a cat’s full attention was great. It helped me understand that, it takes time for cats to trust us, and that people take time, too. In order for me to have meaningful relationships I had to do the work to show people they could trust me. It goes both ways.”
At WZPL, cats made their way onto the air when KJ was behind the mic. She started a segment called KJ’s Strays and featured adoptable felines from local shelters. “That’s how I got comfortable on the air, talking about cats. I thought if I could talk about cats and help cats find homes, it would make me like being on the air.”
KJ admits she is not a professional cat behaviorist, but her experiences with cats over the years have brought her enough knowledge to be sought out for advice by friends.
“I’m always completely honest with those who contact me. What I tell them is not always what they want to hear, but my job is to advocate for the cat. My friends understand that if they ask me, they will get the truth. I wasn’t born with all of this knowledge, just a love for cats that made me seek the knowledge,” she says.
And so we have “Raised by Cats,” KJ’s personal journey of love, loss, health issues, personalities, bonding with cats and, most important, the mutual understanding needed between cats and humans. She talks about her three-legged “practice cat,” Puffy; how to understand what the “meows” mean; the difficulties of saying goodbye; sick kitties who deserve second chances; how to name your cat, and more.
The book is filled with color photos and stories of the kitties who have shared KJ’s life. One of them is Grayson, who has become a
popular guest on Pet Pals TV and social media with his laid-back personality and trademark tongue hanging out. He has a disease called stomatitis, an inflammation of the gums, and all of his teeth had to be pulled. But that doesn’t stop him from eating medicine-laced food or being adorable. He's also on the book's cover.
Working for Pet Pals TV has given KJ a new way to help people relate to cats, who sometimes get a bad rap for being aloof and antisocial.
“It has been such a joy to be able to share positive stories of cats on Pet Pals TV,” she says. “I think there are a lot of misconceptions about cats and we show people just how wonderful they can be, how unique they are and how much they have to give. My ultimate goal is to change those misconceptions about cats so more get adopted and stay in their homes because we understand them better.”
To order the book, visit kjontheair.com and follow the links.