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Fair Lawn Native Teaches Life Lessons Through Cats

Debra Rothenberg Photo Credit: Courtesy of Debra Rothenberg
Rotherberg's latest creation. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Debra Rothenberg

FAIR LAWN, N.J. — A Fair Lawn native is using her pets to help teach life lessons.

In her book, "You Don't Have to be Purrrrfect," Debra L. Rothenberg uses a series of pictures and accompanying text to cover a variety of topics -- dealing with change, bullying, the importance of exercise and adapting to getting glasses, among them.

Rothenberg said the idea came to her after she continuously took photos of her two cats while at home. Frankie and Fredo, her pets, served as her muses. Both are rescues and quickly became part of her family, she said.

Frankie, the older of the two, serves as the cover model.

"When at home I just took pictures of my cats and posted them on Facebook and [people] loved it," Rothenberg told Daily Voice. "I would write things from the cat's point of view. If i didn't put something up somebody would ask, 'Where's Frankie, where's Fredo?'

"It was just some of the things they were doing that lent themselves to captions that could not only help children but anybody, really."

Her love of cats began when she was a child in Fair Lawn and a feline named Rusty followed her home from school. She later rescued another cat, Fluffy, and ran a lemonade stand fundraiser to try to collect enough money to bring the cat to the veterinarian.

Her cat project serves as a follow-up to her previous book: "Bruce Springsteen in Focus Photographs 1980-2012."

The best praise Rothenberg said she received about "You Don't Have to be Purrrrfect" is that it changed opinions on cats. Some people who previously disliked felines started to see them differently, she said.

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