Feline Friday Fun – Your Cat’s Favorite Toys

Are your cats as fickle about their toys as Olivia is? She love-love-loves a toy, then she doesn’t. She becomes so excited about a toy that she plays with it all the time and manages to lose it under furniture, in sofa cushions, etc. So you buy her more. Soon, however, her fascination for that toy is over and she never plays with it again.

She has no interest in what were Lily’s favorite toys—tiny stuffed animals. Lily even had a little toy veterinarian, which she wasn’t actually crazy about. Her favorites were her baby opossum, her stuffed moose from Alaska, and a snuggly little lambie.

Sophie likes small soft toys and fuzzy mouse toys with tails. She wrestles with the soft toys and she tosses the mice up in the air by the tails then pounces of them—yes, at 17 and a half years old.

Olivia loves toys she can carry in her mouth and those that skitter and scoot all over the wood floors. She skitters and scoots after them with great joy.

Neither cat will curl up in a warm cat bed, but they both like the cubbies in their cat condo and they can often be found inside their nylon tube sleeping or just hanging out.

Do your cats have special toys they just adore playing with? Do they covet something of yours—jewelry or your key chain or your pens or pencils, for example? Are they fickle when it comes to favorite toys? I guess that’s their way of keeping us on our toes.

 

 

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Paws Up for Wednesday – When Cats Hold Your UPS Delivery Hostage

Cats love boxes. Bring them a gift in a box and they’ll opt for the box as the gift. Most cats are eager to watch you open your deliveries. At our house Olivia and Sophie will practically sniff the tape off a package, then sit guard over it until we finally open it. No, they aren’t eager to see what’s inside, they’re eager to get inside and take command of the coveted empty box.

Olivia has actually put two and two together and came up with the fact that there’s a reason to like the UPS and Amazon delivery trucks. Instead of run to the back of the house when one pulls up, she runs to the window with excitement. But a group of cats in British Columbia have taken their adoration for deliveries even further. They have made claim to the item that was inside the box to the point that they’re keeping their people from using the new Vitamix that came inside.

The three household cats take turns holding the box (with the Vitamix in it, mind you) hostage. They’ve hijacked it, deemed it their own, and they don’t seem willing to give it up. It’s a cute story with pictures. Enjoy:

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2022/01/14/npr-cat-vitamix-blender-box-standoff

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Meowy Monday – The Life of an Indoor/Outdoor Cat

Litter boxes used to be for emergencies only and for a cat’s overnight needs. Few people kept their cats inside all the time. Cats were meant to frolic out of doors in the grass, among the tulips, taking in sunshine and communing with the birds. I must say I don’t recall many birds visiting our yard when we had indoor/outdoor cats.

We had small children, so it was practically impossible to keep cats that wanted to be outside inside. Kids open doors. That’s what kids do—and they leave doors open. With three children under four, how does anyone have time to make sure the cat’s inside along with the toddlers. Besides, keeping a cat indoors with three active toddlers would probably be considered cruelty to animals.

Fast forward many years and the loss of some lovely cats to the dangers lurking out of doors, we have totally indoor cats now. I do enjoy visits from the outdoor cats that still roam, but the dangers are still real—maybe even more perilous.

Here in our community last week a spunky black cat that was left outside over night, met up with a cougar around 2 am. It was recorded on one of those cameras everyone has to identify porch pirates and watch the goings ons with the wild life. The cat survived to tell the tale the next day and to request he be allowed to sleep at the foot of his human’s bed from now on at night.

The encounter was so close that when the cat went up a tree to avoid the cougar, the big cat went up after him. According to the video, the two of them sat in the tree together for a good while.

Folks, if you must let your cats out—if they demand that you do (yes, I’ve had a couple of cats like that)—please make sure they come in at night–a time when anything bad can happen under a shroud of darkness.

Posted in About Cats, Cat Safety | 2 Comments

Feline Friday Fun – New Calico Cat Mystery

Today we’d like to announce the first book of the year—a Calico Cat Mystery and it’s available in both print and Kindle at Amazon.com right now! Here’s the scoop:

Olivia Tames the Wild-Wild West.

In this story, Olivia and her friend, Rags, the klepto cat, vacation at a ranch in Colorado with their families. Together, they dig up important clues to a tragic mystery, and they unearth something that will change a life forever. While Olivia finds a friend for a lonely aging horse and leads a brood of helpless ducklings to safety, Rags puts himself in danger to save a cougar’s life. This is a fun read with interesting human and animal characters, a baffling mystery, and a lot of unexpected surprises.

Do Readers Like This Series? Here are a few comments:

“I love these books. I’m hooked on them like I was the ‘Cat Who…’ series”

“This series is turning out to be just as good as Patricia Fry’s other series with Rags.”

“As usual this author does not disappoint.”

“The author has a knack for coming up with very unusual stories.”

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Paws Up for Wednesday – Cats and Our Environment

Today I’d like to touch on a serious topic—how cats are affecting our environment. I don’t mean our home and our neighborhood, but our very environment—the ecology—the ecosystem—the natural balance of things.

Cats (especially feral cats) are being blamed for a serious decline in the wild bird population. There are groups wanting to poison and otherwise destroy the local feral cats—which could trickle down to our household pets—those that roam.

In Book 5 of the Calico Cat Mysteries, a character in the story offers this: “Some people blame cats for being hard on the environment, but it’s we humans that cause them to become destructive. We let them breed indiscriminately, and we encourage over breeding by buying purebred cats and by not having our cats spayed/neutered. We get tired of a cat and we turn it loose or dump it somewhere to fend for itself. All of this adds to a huge increase in the feral cat population, which greatly affects the balance of nature.”

If people buy cats instead of rescuing them, this encourages more breeding, and a lot of cats go without homes. Even some of the people who buy purebred cats will leave the cats behind when they move or they don’t keep their cats inside. They don’t have their cats neutered and those cats continue to breed. If there’s no one around to manage the cats, they take advantage of our livestock, they kill the birds we invite to our backyard feeders, and they have more kittens that no one wants. We humans have caused the overpopulation of unwanted cats, and we need to take responsibility for those cats and the damage they do by creating a better world for the cats themselves.

Posted in About Cats, Cat Care, Feral Cats | 2 Comments

Meowy Monday –Who Doesn’t Love the Main Coon Cat?

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything negative about the only natural cat breed created in the US—the Maine Coon cat. They’re sweet, friendly, beautiful, and they come in just about any color. Known as the gentle giant of cats, a Maine Coon can take up the space of two or three regular domestic cats—and some of them grow to be larger and heavier than a good-sized toddler.

I had Olivia’s DNA tested and she is one of many domestic cats to carry the Maine Coon gene. In fact the block of breeds the Maine Coon is included in—for DNA testing purposes—is the largest, so I imagine a great number of cats tested have a Maine Coon background.

If you’ve ever known a Maine Coon or a part Maine Coon with a lot of the typical features, you probably adored this cat for many reasons including their beautiful temperament and beautiful coat.

I find “throw-back” Maine Coon cats interesting—those that come from a litter comprised of all short-hair kittens with no Maine Coon features—like Molly and Annie—pictured.

My first encounter with a Maine Coon-type cat was when one approached my folks asking for a place to stay. Thankfully they took the cat in and he was a wonderful pet for the next ten years or so. In talking to people who had a Maine Coon or a Maine Coon-type, these cats are among the most unforgettable cats they’ve ever known. Who doesn’t adore a gentle giant?

If you’re a fan or are interested in the Maine Coon, here’s a site you might enjoy.

https://mainecoonhawaii.com/large-maine-coon/

Here are tons of pictures of the wide variety you’ll see in the Maine Coon. https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=pictures+maine+coon&qpvt=pictures+maine+coon&form=IGRE&first=1&tsc=ImageBasicHover You’re welcome.

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Feline Friday Fun – A Cat’s Place

Where does your cat like to hang out—in the middle of everything so she’s always underfoot or in the dark crevices under a bed or in a closet? Some cats like to curl up in baskets—CUTENESS, empty boxes, under the couch with the dust bunnies, on the highest perch in the house, in the linen closet, or in a cool bathtub on a hot day.

I had two cats who loved to snuggle under the covers of my bed, especially when children came to visit. They were sure no one knew where they were when they hid under the covers. Olivia sometimes naps in a particular closet, so I always leave that one open just enough for her to go in—and especially to find her way out.

On the internet we’ve seen cats in small bird cages, curled up with a potted plant, or sprawled out on a computer or a piano keyboard.

I’ve seen cats hiding out in suitcases, tote bags, grocery bags, filing cabinets, desktop storage trays, sleeping in the back of a lazy Susan cabinet, curled up in a pony’s tail on a cold day, and even, occasionally, in a cat bed. Where’s the most unusual place you’ve found a cat?

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Paws Up for Wednesday – CATastrophes and CATscapades

I woke up to a bathroom faucet running at full capacity one day last week. At first I thought I must have left it running after brushing my teeth the night before. I was so angry with myself. We’re in a drought here, you know.

Then I got to thinking. It was the cold water faucet that was running. I habitually use the hot water faucet and I turn it off after each rinse. It takes forever to get hot water to that bathroom, so I don’t end up brushing my teeth with hot water, but sometimes the hot water comes in time for me to wash my face. Sometimes. No, I could not have left that faucet running. So what happened?

On closer examination, I discovered a few strands of hair on the sink. CAT HAIR. Dum-de-dum-dum. Olivia!!!! Yes, I believe she got up on the sink to chase a bug or just to explore things in the middle of the night. She might have been interested in the nightlight, which changes color over and over and while checking it out, she brushed against the faucet handle. Mystery solved. Cats are certainly curious and adventuresome. But it could have been worse.

I read that in one town in Korea there have been 100 house fires in the last 3 years all caused by cats messing with ah electric stove. There’s a worldwide plea to cat owners who use an electric stove, to remove the knobs or cover the stove top to prevent what is evidently easy for a cat to do—turn the thing on.

What else can cause a curious cat or your belongings trouble—candles (use battery-operated candles around cats), electric cords (for cats that adore chewing on plastic), blind cords, open windows (screens can fail), table clothes dangling from a table top, chocolate left unattended, hot coffee or tea left unattended, the

wheels on your office chair, and more. You can probably add to this list.

By the way, if you have a cat that chews on electric cords and cables, take your cat to a veterinarian for a thorough check. It could be that she has a mineral deficiency or a dental problem. That would be an easy fix. Some people have been successful with wide tape. Tape the cords to the walls and the floors.

Cats can cause trouble and worry, but if you take the time and do the research, you’re bound to find the remedy to whatever potential danger is tempting the curious cat.

Posted in About Cats, Living With Cats | 2 Comments

Meowy Monday – When Are You Too Old to Adopt a Cat?

A fan of the Klepto Cat and Calico Cat Mysteries brought up a good point last week. She lost a precious cat and she’s concerned about adopting another one at her age. She thought maybe she’d adopt a needy senior cat, which could be a good solution—good for the cat and for the senior citizen. Regardless of whether you are young or older and adopt a senior cat or a kitten, I recommend also choose  a godparent for your kitties. We should all have a godparent or a team of godparents for our cats.

I became a godparent to four treasured cats once. I laughed when my friend and neighbor, Johanna, asked me to take on this position—just in case something were to happen to her. I laughed because she was younger than I was and in great health, but I agreed.

Johanna set up a bank account for the cats in my name—in case I couldn’t find homes for them and

needed to turn them over to a shelter. This would provide a generous donation to the organization. Or it could be used for veterinary care should one of the cats need it.

Well, it wasn’t long after I agreed to

become a cat-godparent that Johanna, at 56, had a stroke and passed away.

I took care of the cats at her home while contacting everyone who knew Johanna, following leads, and so forth to find the best homes for her beautiful cats.

As it turned out, a coworker at the hospital where she worked adopted Lilly. Her brother took home Charlie. A friend of mine embraced Goldie. And her fiancé cared for Nikki for the rest of her life.

Certainly our age should be a consideration when thinking about adopting another cat. But no matter what age your cat is or what age you are, it’s always good insurance for the innocent cat if you’d also find a relative or a friend who will take on the responsibility as god parent in case you are no longer able to care for the cat.

Posted in Cat Care, Living With Cats | 2 Comments

Feline Friday Fun – The Art of Naming Your Fictional Characters

Do you ever have issue with the names of characters in the books or series you read? Have you ever put yourself in the author’s seat and questioned why they choose the names they do? It bothers me when an author uses names for characters that are similar—Annie and Angie or Robin and Raven or Bill and Will. How about Averal and Arial? I sometimes get confused when this happens in a story I’m reading.

Since I began writing fiction I realize it isn’t always easy to name a character. I’ll fairly often change a name in midstream. After writing several scenes with the name I realize it isn’t working for me. If I stumble over the name, maybe others will too.

I try to fit the name to the age of the person—what names were being used in the era this person was born? And I try my best to keep names of people who are going to interact together different enough so as to not confuse readers. I miss sometimes, though. Pamela is Parker’s long lost cousin, who I thought would be a cameo character. Turns out Pamela keeps showing up in the stories and hangs out with Parker, so and I sometimes regret using that name. But, hey, I can change it anytime I want. How about if Pamela (who is a bit quirky) decides she wants to go by her middle name? Woo-la! I can make up a new name for her.

Sometimes I use names of my family members and I do that honorably. Adam, Michael’s son who comes into the story as a surprise even for Michael early in the Klepto Cat Mystery series, is named for my first great-grandson. We raised a foal from my mare years ago and trained her for show. She was a wonderful mare named Peaches, so of course that’s the name I gave Savannah’s horse. Where Savannah’s name came from, I haven’t a clue, which is the case for many of the character names.

I name pets according to the type of person in the story who is naming the cat or bird or whatever. A quirky character would name a pet differently than one who is a bit straight-laced. A child has different ideas for names than an adult. Sometimes the animal’s name is descriptive and sometimes sort of out there. Like Rhonda the chicken. I named the Iveys’ calico cat Glori after someone I met recently. I adored the name and used it for a precious cat. Glori was thrilled and I gave her a copy of the book where Glori is rescued. I’m careful not give a villain the name of someone I know or I’m related to—just in case they take it personal.

That’s also why I often invent place names where the stories take place. I thought if I used my city and the landmarks I’m familiar with it would be too easy for someone to take offense and accuse me of defaming their business (by having an employee robbed at gunpoint or something). I could envision someone deciding I was writing about them in an episode, and I felt I should invent a place where it would be safe to make up stories and avoid stepping on toes.

That’s a peek into my thought processes and reasoning when originally planning and now writing the two cozy mystery series. If you have curiosities and questions, I’d be glad to address them in this blog. You can contact me at PLFry620@yahoo.com

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