R.O.A.R. Squad: Erica and Karl and their cat, Louie

I am very pleased to introduce you to our first R.O.A.R. Squad members from Oregon: Erica and Karl!

Karl is an artist and illustrator and together, Karl and Erica put together an illustrated manuscript about the story of Louie and his adoption. See some of Karl’s illustrations and read more about this wonderful family after the jump.

To learn more about the R.O.A.R Squad (Rescue Owners Are Rockin!), or if you would like to be profiled, all the info you need is HERE. A special shout out to the fabulous folks in New Brunswick and Newfoundland. These are the last provinces we need-  we really need you!

Rockin’ Rescue Owners: Karl and Erica Edwards

Lovely Cat: Louie- a 6 year old Russian blue mix

About Karl and Erica: Karl and Erica are a husband and wife team of creatives that operate Karl Edwards Studio Illustration + Fine Art (check out Karl Edwards Studio). Since 1976, Karl has specialized in humor, children’s books and animal portraiture. He’s done illustration for Random House Books, The BARk Magazine, Johnson & Johnson/Lifescan and other commercial clients. His first job out of art school was as an artist for the San Diego Zoo. His traditional pen and ink and watercolor animal portraits hang in collections across North America and Europe. Erica is the Studio’s managing partner. Her training is in art history and museum administration. In addition to animals and art, Erica is involved with the Right Brain Initiative, a program sponsored by the Regional Arts and Cultural Council to promote and strengthen arts education in Oregon’s K-12 public schools.

Ready for Their New Family Member: About two months after we had to put down our beloved 17 year old brown tabby Sophie (you can see her portrait at the website) whom Erica had raised from a tiny kitten, we were ready to bring a new cat into our lives. We deliberately chose to adopt a mature cat because they are much harder to place than kittens.

Love at First Sight: Erica ventured online and saw a photo of Louie on the website for the Cat Adoption Team (C.A.T.), a no-kill cat shelter located in Sherwood, Oregon. Erica can’t explain it, but it was love at first sight. We went to C.A.T. to meet Louie and learn more about him. Louie had been surrendered to the shelter by a terminally ill owner and had been in a cage for six months. He was an “only child” and the experience of being in the shelter, surrounded by other cats, really stressed him out. He began to excessively groom to the point that he lost all the fur on his belly. To be clear, we include this not to cast aspersions on the Cat Adoption Team. They are an amazing organization with an incredible staff and dedicated volunteers. Louie had a diagnosis of psychogenic alopecia ( Latin for bald from licking his hair off). Now it’s a bad habit, kind of like nail biting and to this day, he has a naked belly.

His Own Special Chair: At first, Louie was really timid and wouldn’t even purr. He was so anxious that he drooled. He was also a biter. He bit without provocation. Erica was bitten about a dozen times in our first year. We attibuted the behavior to trauma – kind of kitty PTSD. As Louie gradually came to trust us, he came out of his shell. He also stopped biting, which was good because his bites were quite painful. It’s been nearly three years since we brought him home. Today, he is extremely affectionate, verbal and snuggly. He sleeps on our bed and has his own special chair next to Erica’s desk in her office.

The Story of Louie: We collaborate occasionally on children’s books. For a children’s book conference at Reed College in Portland in 2009, we pulled together an illustrated manuscript based on  the story of Louie. A veteran in children’s publishing thought the story was too frightening, but the publisher who brought the world Harry Potter pronounced it “pretty good.” We really empathized with Louie’s plight and he did seem traumatized when we brought him home. We’ll never really know what happened to him before he found his forever home with us.

Yoga Kitty: Louie likes to join Erica on the floor to do yoga. He relaxes on his back – like a sea otter.

Where: Portland, Oregon, USA

Join the R.O.A.R. Squad

Our goal is to make having a rescue animal THE coolest thing around.

Send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

Recruiting Members

We are well on our way to reaching our goal of finding at least one rescue owner from every state in the U.S. and at least one rescue owner from every province and territory in Canada by April 2011. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We’re looking for rescue dogs, cats, rabbits, parrots, horses… donkeys… snakes… we’re not biased around here. We just want rescues who have found fabulous homes! Check out all the R.O.A.R. Squad members HERE.

We need rescue owners from the following provinces asap:


  1. New Brunswick
  2. Newfoundland

I look forward to hearing from you!

One Response to “R.O.A.R. Squad: Erica and Karl and their cat, Louie”

  1. Heather says:

    That first picture is so awesome! It’s like he’s working out right along side you! It’s about time Oregon came through. haha. Welcome to the squad!