A Little About...Annie T Baxter

Hi there and welcome!

Since you have clicked on the "About Me" link, chances are pretty good that is what you want to know about. However, before I tell you more about me, I'd like to start by asking you some questions...


  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • Can you remember?
  • Did you do it?


Kindergarten-Where it all began



As for me, I originally wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.

When I was three years old, I had two kindergarten teachers - a mother-daughter team...they made learning so much fun.

Their positive impact had me leaning toward the profession of teaching for most of my high school years, but, eventually, I realized that the draw to be a kindergarten teacher had waned.






When I was in high school...

The summer before my senior year in high school I had the opportunity to attend a Super Summer Science Program.  This college level program consisted of four “mini-courses”.

So, why would I want to spend my summer taking science classes?  Because of one course in particular: The Science of Animal Behavior.  When I read the course title, I had a feeling of excitement I had never known over anything academic.

I was so excited...something just felt so right...studying animal behavior!

Fish science lab


Well...though the animal behavior course was interesting...it was not exactly what I had imagined.

Where I had envisioned working with warm, fuzzy mammals, maybe dogs, cats or rabbits...we studied... fish. Yep...fish.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike fish, but I just didn’t expect to spend four weeks studying how they responded to environmental stimuli!


The clinical setting of the science lab left me feeling cold...for a while, thoughts of studying animal behavior were to lay dormant.


Time brings new opportunities...

My hubby hard at work




Fast forward eight years and you’ll find me married and building a business with my husband. We had moved from the big city to a small town where we bought 55 acres of land...woods and waterfront.



Mama Mallard and ducklings




Over the years, my husband and I had the joy of sharing our lives with a vast array of wonderful animals...our family dog, chickens, ducks, peacocks, horses, burros, a llama, and two nanny goats.


One on one conversation with Dakalooloo, the llama


Imagine the bliss (and sometimes challenges) of living with and learning from all these wonderful creatures...watching their interactions and learning to understand why they did what they did...having the opportunity to “learn their language”...

...and in some cases, to speak it!



You could say that eventually life provided me with the perfect “lab” in which to study animal behavior.

For over the years, I have found the combination of “text book learning”, guidance from veterinarians and real life “hands on” experience to be the best teachers.

Burro hugs



As you can see, we have had quite a menagerie. 


Though the animals were very different...from furry to feathered...one thing remained the same:  I wanted to understand their behavior and successfully communicate with them.



Just like Dorothy, I was searching for something...

As the years passed, though happy as I was working with all of our animals, I always felt that I wanted to do something more with my passion for animal behavior and communication. I felt I had a calling, but I wasn’t exactly certain what that calling was.

Life can be a funny thing. You know you’re searching for something, but you don’t know where to look. Sometimes, the answer can be as close as your own backyard...

Mine was.

The “foreshadowing" of what would become my answer came to me when a wonderful little creature wandered out of the woods and into my heart. You see, I didn’t find my calling, it found me!

My first cat - An American Shorthair


The IT was a beautiful American Short Hair kitty! When Mr. B strolled out of the woods and into our yard, it was only a short time before he took permanent residence in the hearts of both my husband and me.

(Just for the record, I didn’t actually recognize this as my calling for a while!)


The sweetest Miniature Schnauzer ever


I will say, in total honesty, at first we didn’t quite know what to do with a cat...for neither my husband nor I had ever had a cat. (Or, been had by one!)

But then again, besides both of our childhood pets of dogs and lastly, our Mini-Snoozer puppy (as we like to refer to Miniature Schnauzers), we hadn’t had prior experience with other breeds of animals such as horses, goats, ducks, peacocks, etc...but we learned!

We did it before, we would do it again...we would learn all about felines!



A new “season” of life...

During the course of the first year with Mr. B, I learned, through first hand experience, the challenges that come with adopting a stray cat...some of which include:

  • The crash course on understanding that a cat is not anything like a dog.
  • The concerns of having a primarily outside only cat (who grew to have inside privileges).
  • The realization that the unexpected introduction to the peaceful grace of a cat was the welcome and perfect match to our calmer day to day pace.

And then there were two!

My second kitty - another American Shorthair

 

On a warm day in October, almost 5 years to the day that Mr. B first arrived, out of the very same woods tumbled the sweetest cutie-pie kitty...and it was a girl!

Though I wish I could say that Mr. B welcomed her with open paws...it would be more honest to say that he welcomed her with open claws.  With her half white face and being so small, at a glance, Tumbles did bear a resemblance to a baby possum!



Dismayed as we were, Baxter's reaction to this little "interloper" was just as natural as could be expected...a lesson learned as we worked on introducing the new cat to the "family".

I will say this, the arrival of Tumbles began another chapter of incredible hands on experience that both demanded and further enhanced my passion for the study and understanding of feline communication, behavior, care and training.

The Creation of Cat-Talk-101.com

In 2007 I found myself at the threshold of new opportunity: My husband and I had sold our business of 15 years, semi-retired and moved. 

The question before me was...now that I had the time, what did I want to do?

The answer was simple...I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people and their cats.

But how?

After some brainstorming and reflection, it seemed that the best way to reach the most people would be to create a website. 

And once again I asked:  But how? 

I knew nothing about how to build a website.  There was no way I was going to hire someone to build my site.  This was my dream.

One thing I really do believe in is that with the right information, amazing things can happen. 

Through trial, error and divine intervention, I found SBI (Site Build It)

It was, and continues to be through their incredibly in depth program, that I have been able to acquire the knowledge and skills to create Cat-Talk-101.com.

Eventually I plan to share my experience in how I created my website.  If that is of interest to you, please be sure to check back for the update!

Dreams really do come true!

When you think about it, I have actually ended up being what I wanted to be "when I grew up"...a teacher of feline animal behavior and communication.



The final thing to know about me is this...

I believe that the more you understand what your cat is telling you, the stronger and healthier your feline relationship will become.

In turn, the result  will be a peaceful household, happy humans and contented kitty!



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