Interview with Sonia Zjawinski of

Sonia Zjawinski
Sonia Zjawinski and Lulu

Have you seen  It’s a very fun blog about all things that are pet-awesome!  I’ve been following it for awhile and also Sonia Zjawinski who is the co-founder of the blog with Sarah Han, and finally got the guts up to ask her for an interview!  She was very willing!

Here’s how Sonia sums herself up: I’m a freelance writer based out of Pacific Grove, CA, which is a hop, skip, and jump away from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I live with my husband and our three cats, though we hope to one day add a pup into the mix. I run Pawesome with my best friend Sarah Han, and write for the New York Times, ReadyMade,, and Wired. I’m also a certified dog trainer!

1. How long have you been writing for the NY Times?  What are the subjects you write about?

I’ve been writing for the Times for about a year now. I cover both the home and technology.

2. How do you come up with the subjects for your NY Times article?

A lot of reading. I spend most of my day reading blogs, online newspapers, and magazines looking for trends and people doing interesting work.

3. Do you have to get articles approved through an editor before you publish them?

Yes. There’s a pitching process that involves doing preliminary research on the subject/topic and writing up a proposal for the type of story I’d like to do.

4. Are your NY Times articles published in print and online?


5. I see you’re a founder of the Pawesome blog with Sarah Han?  What was your inspiration for it?

PawesomeI’ve been a journalist for the past 10 years and have had the opportunity to write for the New York Times, Wired, and New York magazine, but have rarely had the opportunity to write about my true passion, pets. When the economy tanked, I, along with my fellow journalist, Sarah Han, decided to take what we’d learned over the past decade and create a pet blog we would actually want to read. Pawesome’s daily posts inform readers on how to be responsible pet parents, while spotlighting those doing inspiring work helping animals, working with them, or creating beautiful things to spoil or honor them. Oh, and there’s the occasional cute kitten photo (okay, more than occasional) and adorable animal video.

6. How long have you been writing for the Pawesome blog?

Sonia's Cat, Dim Sum
Sonia's Cat, Dim Sum

We started the blog in December 2009.

7. How do you all come up with material for the Pawesome blog?

See question #2 😛 We both rely on the web to inspire us, but we also gather stories from friends and readers. Since we work on the blog in our spare time, with no monetary compensation, it can be hard to dedicate a lot of time to an original story, but we try to at least put an original spin on what we find.

8. What is your favorite part of your Pawesome blog?

Sonia's Cat, Gizmo
Sonia's Cat, Gizmo

Reading all the feedback from our readers. It’s so amazing to hear from people we don’t know, who found our blog on their own and stuck around because they like it.

9. How did you get interested in kitties?  How old were you when you got your first kitty?

My first cat was an orange tabby named Pimpek. I think I was about 6 when we got him, though we had cats since the day I was born that I obviously don’t remember. Pimpek was probably one of the most patient cats you could ask for. As a kid I saw him as a doll and would dress him up, pick him up for hours, lay on him; how I didn’t end up with a mauled face is beyond me.

10. How many paw friends do you currently have?  What species are they?  What are their names?

Sonia's Cat, Pookie
Sonia's Cat, Pookie

We currently have three cats, all rescues from the streets of Brooklyn, NY. Dim Sum is our calico and she was the first cat I picked up a few blocks from my old apartment. Gizmo is our Russian Blue, who’s still partly feral though he’s made some great strides. He was what lead me to trap-neuter-return. I trapped him and his two siblings and thought, I can keep picking up kittens or I can nip this in the bud. A few months later I embarked on my first TNR project, in which I trapped 12 cats! Our last cat is Pookie, the final rescue I picked up in Brooklyn. I found her a month after my dog and best friend, Lulu, passed away. As soon as I picked her up I felt this connection I’ve never felt with a cat before. Call me crazy, but I’m convinced she’s Lulu reincarnated. They have very similar personalities, plus Pookie is a polydactyl and Lulu had an extra set of dewclaws.

11. Have you ever featured Ragdoll cats on Pawesome?  Can you send me a link to your post on that?

Unfortunately no, but we should!

12. Do you ever not feel like writing?

All the time! Since I write/edit for a living, spending my free time writing for the blog can make me feel burnt out very quickly. That said, if I’m really into the subject matter it can be incredibly fun.

13. Can you tell me a little bit about your other websites and  What were the inspirations for them?  I can assume what they were, but don’t want to!

Sonia's Dog, Lulu
Sonia's Dog, Lulu was launched in August 2006 when my dog Lulu was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She had to have her leg amputated and go through chemo. The blog was put in place so I could keep family and friends updated, but also so I could have a place to let out my emotions during this tough period in Lulu and my life together.

The blog quickly lead to a shirt, which I made (with the help of friends) in order to offset the costs of Lulu’s vet bills. The shirt proved to be quite a success and has lead me to be able to send money to other pet owners facing similar financial hardships. Once I got involved with TNR, I decided to try to replicate the success of I Heart Tripods and make shirts to help offset the costs of doing cat rescue. was born from that.

Thank you, Sonia, for your interview!

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