Frivolous Friday – Writing About Lily

I’ve been invited to write about Lily. Well, I’ve done that a lot. In fact, some of you may not know that Lily was part of my inspiration for the Klepto Cat Mystery theme. While I patterned Rags after Smokey, my mother’s cat, because of his size, level of confidence, personality and all, my tabby, Lily, is the true klepto. She’s the one who would drag socks and toys around. She’d bring them to me and drop them at my feet, or simply scatter them around the house. Sometimes she’d drop a toy in her water bowl or fountain or into one of my shoes. For the 11 years we were privileged to love that sweet cat, she delighted us with her “klepto” antics.

So while it is hard for me to share stories of her—to tap into her essence—I’d like to try giving her a cameo role in my next Klepto Cat Mystery—Book 45. That, I think I can do and I believe it will be fun and healing for me and a treat for fans.

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Thoughts for Thursday – What’s Happening in the Klepto Cat Mystery Factory

Book 43, “Whiskerful Thinking” is selling quite well. People are loving it, as I’d hoped. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, this is the story:

Rags claws his way out of some sticky situations: A family-bonding camping trip soon turns frightful when Rags is accused of wrongdoing, then he’s taken under unusual circumstances. Was this to punish him or Savannah? In this story, the wily klepto cat also rescues a cat friend from certain death, helps recover a missing pooch, and happens across a very special cat who has lost her way. Amid the flurry of action and activity, little did Rags know that his cushy lifestyle was in serious jeopardy when an eccentric character comes forward to claim ownership of him. Even Savannah’s good friend Rochelle, the psychic, believes the perpetrator is pure of heart.

Here’s what readers are saying:

“You’ll love this story. It keeps you turning the pages.”

“This is a great adventure with Rags.”

“It kept me on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait for the next book.”

Side note: the Maine coon cat in the basket lives next door to me. I couldn’t resist using her in one of my stories.

Speaking of the next book, I’m happy to announce that. “Paws for Trouble” (Book 44)  is finished and the editor is with it now—crossing all of my t’s and dotting my i’s. Artist, Bernadette Kazmarski, is working her magic on the cover.

This story will take you into the extended family dynamics as they celebrate a wedding and a small reunion together at the Iveys’ home. But the discord—oh my—and the coincidental mishaps—or are they?  And Rags is in the middle of it all.

So how am I filling my days between books? I’m busily working on Book 45 and this one has a surprise cameo appearance that I think will delight you, tickle your funny bone, and most definitely tug at your heart strings.

Look for Book 44 around early to mid June.

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – When Cats Take Over Whole Cities

When is it too many cats? I guess everyone has their limit, but some cities seem unable to say no to stray cats. There’s a small town in Turkey, for example, that has been virtually vacated of humans and is now run by homeless cats. Samsun Metropolitan Municipality is considered a Kitty Paradise. It was established by a local veterinarian who wanted to create a safe place for the local homeless and stray cats. Currently 50 cats live in lovely handmade single-cat homes as well as cat apartment buildings, and they’re cared for by many willing volunteers. This would be interesting for us cat lovers to see. Here’s a site with some great photos.

There are cat colonies throughout the world, but none would be as fascinating as the one housed in the famous ruins Largo de Torre Argentina. This colony, it seems, was created by the cats themselves—they simply moved in. For years, the cats were fed by self-proclaimed “cat ladies” on, they say, an irregular basis. Now a more organized band of volunteers care for the cats.

According to statistics, the US has the largest population of cats in the world. It probably follows that we also have the largest stray/homeless population. There are cat colonies in every state and many communities. None are probably as prominent as the one that has taken over the entire town of Taylorsville, KY. They claim around 400 cats living there among the 1800 human residents. Here’s that story:


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Newsday Tuesday – Folks Who Foster Felines

Our local humane society has put out a call for foster families for cats. I did some research and discovered that this is happening all over the US. Some people, who are staying home during the pandemic, are also enjoying the companionship of the cats and dogs that need care right now. Thankfully, some of those pets are adopted by their foster parents, but many of these valiant people already care for many cats and dogs in their household. Their fostering efforts, however, help socialize the cats and kittens so they are more likely to find a forever home.

Many shelters are being overwhelmed by unwanted or homeless pets and are soliciting foster families to help. But it takes a special kind of person to do this work. I wonder if these people have a love valve they can turn on and off. They are able to give a cat or dog or a litter their complete attention and unconditional love for the duration of their stay and then they can release the animals back to adoptive families or the shelter without looking back, only to take in the next pet or litter that needs their affection and care. How do they do it? I become attached to some cats and kittens I see on facebook.

If you’d like to foster a cat or a litter of cats while you’re sequestered in your home, contact your local shelters for information. It might just be the lift you need to help you through the remainder of the shelter-in-place order we’re all under. And it would immensely help a cat or a litter of kittens get a good start in life and become more adoptable, thus live a better life while they’re here on this planet.


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Mindful Monday – Missing Lily

She left us not because she wanted to, but because she had to. At least that’s my interpretation. The connection between Lily and me was something I’d never experienced before. Oh, I’ve had very special cats and incredible relationships with cats, but with Lily, it’s as if she chose us and me in particular. She wanted to be a part of everything I did (except, perhaps, vacuuming the carpets). As a kitten she was always underfoot whether I was busy doing something or just sitting at my desk or on the sofa. Not often in my lap, but at my feet like a puppy, or next to me on the sofa or my desk.

She was my helper. She helped me fold clothes, make the bed (oh, the excitement when the clean sheets came out). She watched me cook and was always eager to clean up any morsel of chicken or cheese or just about anything else I happened to drop. Sewing was particularly interesting to Lily, especially if I was cutting out a pattern. She liked needlework, beadwork, wrapping gifts, unwrapping gifts…whatever I was doing, she was there helping me, especially in my office.

Lily was my office cat. She rearranged papers, held down the very papers I was trying to work with—keeping them warm (or from getting my attention). And if I went outside, she watched from the windows. I swear she knew what it meant when we got the suitcases out. She had these beautiful big, expressive eyes and she knew how to use them. It would tear at my heart to leave her. But our reunions—even after a brief trip to the grocery store—were delightful.

She slept with me every night, she followed me through my morning and evening routines, and sometimes she’d curl up in my lap.

Lily didn’t learn to purr until she was around five or six years old. I think the sound startled her as much as it did me the first time it happened. That was just one of many fascinating and fun days of discovery we shared.

While I miss her terribly, I feel fortunate to have had such a deep and touching connection with this sweet being for eleven years. Because of her lifelong kidney disease diagnosis, I feared that we wouldn’t get that much time together. But we did and it was not nearly enough, but my memories of her are priceless.

Since I’m in my office most of the day writing, so was Lily. I discovered that I was missing her most throughout the day in my office, so I put up some of the hundreds of pictures I’ve taken of her over the years right next to my computer so any time I want to, I can glance up and look into her eyes and feel that she is still with me, if only in spirit. This has brought me a level of comfort. Looking at her sweet face makes me smile.

Posted in Living With Cats | 7 Comments

Frivolous Friday – Cats Sheltering in Place

Cats have a lot to teach us about sheltering in place. They’ve been doing it all their lives. What kitten doesn’t love to dive under a sheet of newspaper, a blanket or even your skirt when you least expect it? Lily learned from big brother, Max, that you’re safer under the blankets on Mommy’s bed when there’s thunder or a big truck rolling down the street or noisy work being done in the house.

Many cats hide under the bed or the couch when frightened, when it’s time for a dose of medicine or nail clipping, or they simply want some quiet space. And some crawl into boxes large and small just for fun. This sometimes gets a cat into trouble when the box is ultimately sealed and shipped off someplace. It happens.

Cats are expert at finding great hiding places. Where a dog might hide his head in a pillow or behind a door, leaving his body in view, a cat will crawl into a tissue box or behind a TV or into a pocket or drawer and disappear completely. Yes, cats know how to shelter in place—anyplace that suits them.

Where is the most unusual place you’ve found your cat?

I’ve spent many many minutes looking for a missing cat at night only to eventually find her on a windowsill behind the drapes or blinds. I had a kitten disappear into a lazy Susan shelf once. I finally found her sleeping on the shelf when I rolled it open to look for a can of peas. Another time I found the cat I was looking for up inside the under-lining of a mattress. Unbeknownst to me, he had made a small tear in the lining, then crawled up inside there so he couldn’t be seen. Good one, Max.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite pictures of cats sheltering in place. Enjoy!


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Thoughts for Thursday – Visiting Your Veterinarian During Pandemic

I did not expect to visit the veterinarian this year. Our cats have remained healthy and I’d decided to postpone any annual checkups until things settled down. As it turns out, I’ve visited our veterinarian five times in the last few months. Twice to pick up Lily’s prescription food, then Lily’s health began to fail. As some of you know our dear Lily passed away Sunday from kidney failure. I’ll write more about that when my raw pain subsides a little.

What’s it like to see a veterinarian now? You must wait outside with your pet, wearing your face cover until someone comes out and acknowledges you. A tech or the veterinarian will question you, then swish your pet away into the clinic where he or she is examined. The veterinarian will return your pet and, at that time, discuss their findings and any recommended treatment. Yes, out in the parking lot. The receptionist/tech will bring you any meds, you hand over your credit card, and she will bring you a receipt.

We were invited into the clinic at one point during one visit with Lily to refresh our memory on how to give subcutaneous fluids—everyone wearing masks, of course.

Before you take your pet to your veterinarian, consider how important it is to move forward with regular visits. Postpone them if at all possible. If your pet becomes ill and absolutely needs treatment, you might find out how careful your veterinarian is being in handling animals and their owners. If you don’t feel comfortable that they’re doing enough, consider seeing a different veterinarian.

Some clinics and organizations offer live chats and video and phone consultations. This might be a good alternative for some people. Also, consider wiping your pet down after she’s been seen and handled by someone else. There are wipes made especially for pets. If you don’t have any, it might be worth your while and your peace of mind to simply run a washcloth over her fur. A full bath could even be more beneficial, but you won’t want to do that if your pet is quite ill.

You may be doing what we’re doing and sheltering in place with your pets—oblivious to what’s going on outside except for what you see on TV. So going out to an office or other business that you haven’t been to in many months can be a shock. Be prepared. Stay safe. Keep your pets safe.

If you walk with your dog, for example, keep him away from other dogs and discourage anyone else from petting him. I don’t think it has been discussed much if at all, but it’s quite possible that the virus could be transferred to your pet’s fur by someone who has been infected and I’m not sure anyone knows how long it can live there. It’s good practice to keep your pets from being petted except by immediate family during these unprecedented times.


Posted in About Cats, Cat Health | 6 Comments

Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – New Cat Products You Might Not Expect

Cats are big news and it follows that there are big and small companies and even individuals coming up with innovative, unusual, fun, and useful products for cats.

I found an ad for a cat tree with an IQ box. Ever hear of that? It’s kind of clever, actually. The IQ box is a box at the base of the cat tree with holes and you can put balls in there for the cat to reach in and play with.

There are scads of cat bed designs, but never ever any guarantee that your cat will use the beds. I don’t know how many cat beds I’ve bought and how many have been given to me, yet Lily and Sophie are the only cats I’ve had that actually use their beds—and that’s only sometimes.

There are many new types of kitty litter. I bought an off brand online recently and was not happy with it. It is so full of clay that, especially when you have a cat with kidney disease, who pees HUGE amounts, the bucket I fill with the clumps can get HEAVY! I think the litter that diagnosis or hints at a medical problem based on the color the litter turns when the cat urinates is quite innovative.

And what about food bowls. Some cats need to eat up off the floor—I had with an enlarged heart. The veterinarian said he might find it uncomfortable to eat at floor level. A cat in late stages of kidney disease can get indigestion when they lean over to eat. So there are bowls on pedestals. And bowls that are sensitive to “whisker stress.” That is, they are shaped or wide enough so that the cat’s whiskers don’t rub on the sides of the bowl.

Maybe you’ve come across some new cat products during your Internet shopping sprees. Have you found any you’d recommend?

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Newsday Tuesday – Curbside Pet Adoption

 I’m reading that some shelters are virtually empty because there are so many people wanting to give a pet a home even in these uncertain times—or maybe because of them. Other shelters have emptied out—the animals being taken in by foster parents. If you’ve ever thought of fostering one or a litter of animals, this might be a good time to start because there certainly is a need.

But don’t expect to take the family to visit and socialize kittens and puppies this year because shelters aren’t doing business quite as usual.

Some shelters are offering curbside adoption. How does this work? You visit the shelter’s website and view pictures of the cats, dogs, horses, and so forth, that are available for adoption, call for an appointment, and get to know the animal at curbside. It’s not ideal, but necessary and it’s working.

Some shelters continue to invite the public inside, but in limited numbers and with time limits and most shelters are either discounting or waiving adoption fees.

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Mindful Monday – NEW Book for Your Reading Pleasure

It’s true, Book 43 is published now in print and Kindle form. Whiskerful Thinking is the third book we’ve published this year. Here’s my description:

In this story, Rags claws his way out of some sticky situations.

A family-bonding camping trip soon turns frightful when Rags is accused of wrongdoing, then he’s taken under unusual circumstances. Was this to punish him or Savannah? In this story, the wily klepto cat also rescues a cat friend from certain death, helps recover a missing pooch, and happens across a very special cat who has lost her way. Amid the flurry of action and activity, little did Rags know that his cushy lifestyle was in serious jeopardy when an eccentric character comes forward to claim ownership of him. Even Savannah’s good friend Rochelle, the psychic, believes the perpetrator is of pure heart.

As you may know, book sales are up—last I heard/read, they were up 777%. People want to learn new ways to survive in these crazy times and they want to be led away from the worries and realities of what’s going on.

For those of you who enjoy my Klepto Cat Mysteries, I thank you and I’m doing my level best to keep you entertained as you remain safe inside.

Posted in Announcement, Cat Books, New Klepto Cat Mystery | Leave a comment