Embrace the Unexpected: Success Beyond the To-Do List

It was a night of unexpecteds.

My daughters and I had planned on dropping off Ivy, our sweet red nose Pit Bull (and KOTAW’s Brand Ambassador!) at our neighbor Jose’s house (where she used to live, before she decided to live with my daughters and me instead!) so that she could spend the weekend with him and his son.

We figured we’d drop her off, go out to dinner, then peruse the aisles of Target (and inevitably end up with a basket full of treats and goodies to give to Ivy when we would be reunited with her two days later!)

Entrepreneur Success Beyond the To-Do List | KOTAW Content MarketingBut as we got to Jose’s, his seven-year-old son ran out to greet us and invited us in, telling us his dad was making dinner for all of us.

Sure enough, we found him in the kitchen rolling out homemade pizza dough, with the plan of making a special vegetarian pizza for my daughters and me and a ham and pepperoni pizza for Ivy and her Maltese Poodle friend, Lucy.

As the pizzas cooked, we watched a movie, played some board games and shared many laughs.

Six hours later, it was nearing midnight so my girls and I thanked Jose and his son for the wonderful surprise of an evening, said goodnight, and walked the three house distance between Jose’s house and ours, ready to go to bed.

Except when we got home, there was a cat waiting for us in our yard!

Without Any Allure of Catnip

It wasn’t just any cat. It was a stray cat that had been born behind Jose’s house two years ago, whom Ivy had nursed and helped survive.

A very kind couple who live next door to Jose had semi-adopted this cat, feeding her, getting her spayed and making sure she had all her shots, but the cat had refused to officially live with them and their other rescued cats, preferring the outdoors life.

For two years, my daughters and I had tried to make friends with this cat, but she always acted aloof when she saw us. She liked Ivy, her surrogate mother, but never gave my girls or me the time of day.

Until this night.

When we opened our gate, she ran to see us as though we were her favorite people in the world! She rolled on her back and started purring, wanting to be petted and wanting to play.

Very confused by her sudden interest in us (though also excited!) my daughters and I sat down on the grass and gave the kitty lots of love.

We adopted a cat! Doosis joins the KOTAW Girl Gang | KOTAW Content Marketing

Meet Doosis: The sweetest Kitten-Cat in the world!

Fifteen minutes later, the cat was still purring and lovingly rubbing against us – and we were still dumbfounded by her newly acquired fondness for us.

I told the cat that her surprise greeting was very sweet, but that it was late and cold and we had to go inside, so unless she wanted to follow us, we had to say good night.

So my girls and I kissed her good night, headed to bed, then were awakened a half hour later by a meow at our door.

We crawled out of our beds, opened the door, and in walked the cat!

Two months later, she is still here.

Cat is to Water as Moth is to Flame

The first 24 hours of the cat living with us were cute. Very strange and entirely unprecedented, but cute nonetheless.

The cat – Doosis – slept on my pillow and didn’t leave that spot for an entire day.

Worried that she was going to starve, my daughters and I went out to buy her some kitty food (and to leave a note for the neighbor couple who look after her to let them know that for some reason unbeknownst to us, she was in our house!)

By day three Doosis would leave for five to ten minute increments to use the bathroom, but she always came right back and it was starting to alarm my girls and me. We hadn’t signed on for a cat. We are dog people, through and through! We knew absolutely nothing about how to take care of a feline.

Ivy, Doosis and LuLu - KOTAW Girl Gang Fur Babies | KOTAW Content Marketing

A kitten sandwich! Doosis nestled in between her Pittie Pie Ivy and her Poodle Doodle LuLu.

Case in point: Even though Ivy has three different water bowls in our house for easy drinking access, water bowls that Doosis could easily share from, we put out a couple of smaller water bowls especially for Doosis.

Doosis would look at the water bowls, put her nose in them, but not drink.

We thought it was weird, but figured she was an outdoor cat and knew how to take care of herself. Maybe she was drinking water at the neighbor couple’s during the short intervals of time when she left our house. Maybe cats don’t drink very much. Maybe –

We noticed she would run excitedly toward us whenever we would turn on the shower or run water in the sink. We thought cats were supposed to hate to get wet so we would turn off the water when we saw her coming, not wanting to scare her.

But Doosis just kept running toward the water, so we finally Googled it and discovered that many cats won’t drink stagnant water (i.e. water sitting in a bowl!) because their kitty instincts tell them it’s unsanitary. Apparently they only want to drink running water because they deem it safest.

KOTAW Girl Gang Power! Doosis, Katherine Kotaw's adopted cat kotaw.com

A ball of peaceful contentment: Doosis having sweet kitten dreams.

Suddenly horrified that we were unwittingly dehydrating the cat, we turned on a bathroom faucet for her, she jumped up on the counter – and drank for five minutes straight!

Converting an Outdoor Cat

We decided to have a chat with the neighbor couple. We told them that other than giving Doosis love, we knew absolutely nothing about how to care for her. She had been with us less than a week and we were feeling guiltier than ever about almost dehydrating her!

Maybe they could try again leaving her inside with their other cats and she wouldn’t be able to run away to our house?

The neighbors told us that they had tried, numerous times, to keep her indoors with their other cats, but that she absolutely hated it. They said she was such a sweet kitty and they so wanted her to live indoors with them, but Doosis had no desire to be an indoor cat. They were completely baffled that she had come to live with us and said they had never heard of any outdoor cat suddenly wanting to be an indoor cat.

So we were left with a choice: Either let Doosis keep living with us or take her to a shelter.

Ivy wanted to keep her.

Drum Roll, Please

Adopting a Cat and Embracing the Unexpected | KOTAW Content MarketingSo now we have a cat!

Doosis and Ivy live in perfect peace and harmony and both sleep together on my bed.

You might be thinking, well, this is a very cute and heartwarming story, but how does it relate to business?

Lucky for you, I’m here to tell you!

If you’re an entrepreneur, I bet you have a plan. A five year plan, a ten year plan, a day-to-day plan that includes a to-do list with more daily “to-dos” than most people accomplish in a lifetime.

Now while this is all well and good (and mandatory – not a lot in life gets accomplished without goals) there is such a thing as too much focus.

If you only allow for the items on your to-do list to come into fruition, you might be missing out on a lot of incredible business – and life! – opportunities.

I had no plans to be a cat owner. But my heart is warmed every time I come home and Doosis RUNS to greet me (she actually acts much more like a dog than a cat!) and I love the sound of her purr by my head as she shares the pillow with me.

I would have missed out on all the love and joy Doosis gives me if I hadn’t been open to the possibility of owning a cat.

Just as I would have missed out on all the great stories I’m able to tell as a content marketer if I hadn’t been open to adding “marketing” to my credentials. I knew as a little girl that I would grow up to be a writer but had no idea I’d own my own marketing company.

But I’m here to tell you, it’s pretty KOTAWesome!

Do you leave room in your always-packed calendar for the unexpected? What’s the greatest business surprise you’ve experienced? What would you do if a cat — or a potential client — showed up at your doorstep without warning? Would you tell them to scat or invite them in for catnip?

Photo credit (top featured image) – Ashley Ella Designs


  1. When I got to, “You might be thinking, well, this is a very cute and heartwarming story, but how does it relate to business?” I thought, “No, I wasn’t!” You had me completely involved. Haha!

    Excellent point though. Leaving our minds and hearts open to the unexpected can lead to wonderful things. What a clever kitty.

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Yes, Doosis is a clever kitty. But I think there’s a flashing neon “vacancy” light over my house, visible only to animals. We seem to attract a lot of unexpected guests of the four-pawed variety. Only a few take up permanent residence, but most of my animals have adopted me, rather than the other way around. And every one of them has made my heart do the Grinch-in-Whoville thing — grow a few sizes bigger — and I’m happily surprised every time.

      Thank you so much for your kind comments and for sticking with my shaggy-cat tale!

  2. Katt….

    I am here!!!! And, much like Alisa Meredith, I didn’t give two hoots about the fact that the first few paragraphs had no ‘marketing’ angle.

    As always, you drew me into your world of heartfelt love, hope, and HAPPINESS!!!!

    As always, you left me in awe of your talent and compassion. I LOVE YOU!!!!!

    And, as always, I agree with you. The most beautiful surprises are always unexpected! *grinning*

    Last week, my husband and I went to an ‘adoption show’ to check out some dogs. My husband isn’t a fan of smaller dogs, but, for some reason, he directed me to a tiny Terrier(/Mix) dog that was being taken care of a lovely old woman. Apparently, Crawford – his name – was a stray and lived in a slightly aggressive environment, so he would not come to either of us for the first 30 minutes.

    My husband – who is usually terrific with dogs – couldn’t cajole him into his arms either, but the little guy stole my heart and hence I urged the old lady to take us to his foster parent.

    Kat – it was HEARTWARMING to watch his transformation as soon as he spotted his smiling foster father and foster siblings . He nipped, yelped and danced around in glee! LOL

    It was CLEAR these abandoned four-leggers just needed some LOVE, and they didn’t wish to undergo the pain of separation after finally finding it! Hence, they stuck very close to those who poured unconditional love into them!

    Anyway, finally, I somehow coaxed him into my arms and spent 10 minutes ‘baby-talking’. He was silent and just stared into my eyes, but didn’t try to wiggle away. My eyes filled with tears and I just hugged him for a few seconds.

    Of course, once I let him go, he gravitated back to his foster father – completely ignoring me! hehe But once we were back outside, he actually came and tried jumping on me. Oh! I was so happy because he seemed to be relaxing in my presence and SOUGHT me out.

    Gosh – I apologize for rambling, but, long story short, my husband realized that I wanted Crawford in my life, so he emailed a letter of acceptance to the foster father. I can’t wait to hold it in my arms and spend time reading, writing, listening to music, taking walks and sharing my life with that sweet pet.

    Indeed, we never expected to welcome a tiny dog into our lives, but he is going to fill our lives with unconditional love!! Unexpected beautiful surprises – nothing is more pleasant, eh?!

    #CushiestKittoHugs to #IvyDoosie&Co :D ‘

    LOVEEE you soo much
    YOUR Kit!

    • Katherine Kotaw says:


      I am SO excited for you, your husband and Crawford. This is a marvelous story — you MUST tell it in your own space — and I’m in joyous awe about the transformation you are making. Just a few short months ago, you told me you were afraid of dogs. And now you’re easing the fears of Crawford.

      I wish you many happy moments and stories.

      Can’t wait for photos and news that you a formally a pup-mom!


      Your Kat

  3. Vincent Ng says:

    I was thinking a lot about my past Katherine. My first cat was a stray, loyal and extremely friendly. I remember back in the sixth grade how I would sometimes feel alone and just talk to my cat who seemed, inevitably, to understand what I was saying. I’ve always had a fondness for cats since then, more than dogs, partially because cats can be more outdoor.

    But I think the best joys in life are the ones that do happen unexpectedly. The relationships that we build, the surprises that end up being more than just a surprise. Life, and business, needs elements of the unexpected. Just not too much. :)

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Thank you for visiting me here, Vincent! And for your insights. We really can’t plan happiness — or even know what will make us happy. But, if we’re open to surprises, joy will find us.

      And I’m glad your cat was such a good friend to you. Pets make the best listeners — and they’re cheaper than shrinks!

      Hope your next surprise is a truly happy one.

  4. […] She figured out it was in her best interests to give up the front seat of the car to Ivy and to let Doosis eat her Fancy Feast in peace. She arranged her rotating affection schedule so that she was on […]

  5. […] This year, Ivy opened her heart (and her home) to two new permanent KOTAW family members: she adopted a stray neighborhood cat (the sweetest kitten-cat girl in the whole wide world, who we call Doosis) and a 11-year-old […]

  6. […] into many-a-blog and social media post because she has fully wormed her way into our hearts. So has Ivy’s kitten-cat, Doosis, but she is not the prone-to-jealousy type that Lucy is and is fully-confident that her place in […]

  7. […] mix whose Adopt Me NOW! campaign included threatening to jump off the roof of her old home, and Doosis, a kitten-cat that waited for us to come home one night last summer, followed us into the house and […]

  8. […] that we could participate in her Pit Bull Flower Power project — and that Ivy’s sweet rescue kitten-cat Doosis and her loving Poodle Doodle Lucy could too! — we were […]

  9. […] Ivy and LuLu as permanent members of my family and my KOTAW Girl Gang (which also includes Doosis, the sweetest kitten-cat in the whole wide-world that we adopted at Ivy’s insistence!) I think I […]

  10. […] Nooby stole her treats and landed on her head during a poorly executed leap onto Bri’s bed, and Doosis quickly figured out that Nooby’s barking and running around in circles posed no threat to her. […]

  11. […] Girl Gang (daughters Bri and Kelsey, Brand Ambassador Pit Bull Ivy, Poodle Doodle LuLu, Kitten-Cat Doosis, and me!) has been invaded (in the most loving way possible) by (gasp!) a […]

  12. […] from The Smurfs. The girls positioned Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy Smurf etal around her. Lucky Doosis didn’t have to watch the show either. I couldn’t remember the show’s theme, so Kelsey […]

  13. […] post pictures of Ivy cuddling with our cat Doosis and write about how Ivy was the one who insisted we adopt […]

  14. […] keep track of all of Ivy’s pittie-pie adventures with her adopted Poodle Doodle LuLU and kitten-cat fairy, Doosis, follow these two Pinterest boards: 1) Pit Bulls and Personal Branding and 2) Pink Pit, inspired […]

  15. […] We genuinely love Pit Bulls, fiercely admire the work Rebecca does to stand up for pits and are determined to spend our lives standing up for pits too, as well as advocating for pet adoption. And we don’t do this to impress anyone or for any kind of recognition; we do it out of love for Ivy and her “type” and on behalf of our other rescues (and KOTAW Girl Gang members!) LuLU and Doosis. […]

  16. […] Gang — Ivy, KOTAW’s Pit Bull Brand Ambassador; LuLU, our Poodle Doodle-marsupial hybrid and Doosis, our magical kitten-cat fairy… mixed in, of course, with exciting writing and updates from the human members of the KOTAW Girl […]

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