Frivolous Friday – The Cat’s Meow

Cats come in all colors, styles, temperaments, and personalities. Some are absolute purring machines while others seem to have no purr mechanism at all. Our sweet tabby, Lily, didn’t learn to purr until she was around six years old.

Cats can also come with different sounds. Some cats are very vocal, others hardly make a peep. Most cats speak when they have something to say—“I’m hungry.” “Pet me.” “Treat time.” “Let’s play.” And the tone of a cat can vary. If you have more than one cat, you may have quite a variety of sounds around your house.

How many sounds can one cat make? I remember marveling at the voice of my mother’s cat, Smokey. He’s half Ragdoll and his meow is very quiet and on the high-pitched side. One day I was visiting with my mother and we heard an excruciating sound coming from the area of the dining room. I ran in there to find Smokey at the screen door wanting in. He’d probably used his little voice for a while to no avail and finally screamed at us. What a sound. Until that day we didn’t know he was capable of such a large voice. He sure knew how to get our attention.

Our calico, Olivia, is a combination of many cats, including the Maine coon, who typically has a small high-pitched voice and she sure does. She squeaks rather than meows or even mews. And she has her tones and ways of using them. She might meow loudly when she seems to be looking for someone…”Where are you?” “Where is everyone?” She has what seems to be a scolding tone or she’s expressing her excitement at having found a lap. She can also be chatty, using tiny mini-mews—more like chirps as she converses with us. I heard the Maine coon cat from next door mew the other day—she also has the chirpy quality to her high-pitched tone.

Our Himalayan, Katie, had a deep and lingering meooowww. I called it her southern drawl.

I thought this was an interesting article on the variety of sounds a cat makes and what they might mean. Enjoy:


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Thoughts for Thursday – Dress Your Pet Day

It comes around every year—Dress Your Pet Day. Do you comply? Does your cat or dog or horse or ferret appreciate you squeezing them into silly dresses and shirts and plopping hats on their head or glasses on their nose? Probably not, however many pets will tolerate it and some are thought to even like dressing up.

I’ve never tried to dress my cats. Oh, I did make a cape for Lily one time when she was a kitten to delight a granddaughter who was also wearing one that day. And I tried to put a kitty-cat party hat on Max for his first birthday. That didn’t go well. And I made my mom’s cat, Smokey, a frock in honor of his most important job as support cat for Mama.

So how did National Dress Your Pet Day come about? Colleen Paige is an animal behaviorist and celebrity pet lifestyle expert. In 2009, she launched this idea in order to help support the pet fashion community, and, perhaps, the industry.

We’re seeing more fashion-harnesses for pets and matching leashes, and pets wearing cute collars with holiday themes and for special occasions. We use raincoats or warm sweaters to protect our dogs in wet or chilly weather and those with hairless or near hairless cats often cover them in a frock of some sort to keep them from getting a chill. But did you know that some people dress their pets every day—some spending as much as $20 a month on clothing. I know people who have large wardrobes for their two dogs. Some say that their pets actually love wearing clothes and will even drag a skirt or beanie out each morning—choose their outfit for the day.

Will you dress your cat today? If you do, please send pictures. And enjoy this array of photos of cats wearing clothes. It’ll make you smile.

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – It’s All About the Cat

Think about it, when do you get the most attention from your cat? When she wants it, right? I finish my day’s work, maybe take care of a few household chores, and prep for our dinner in the late afternoon and I’m ready for a little kitty-love. Olivia, however, is bouncing around the living room playing with her toys or she’s sound asleep ignoring me completely.

She’s all too eager to curl up on my lap when I’m at the computer wearing my cozy robe in the morning—making it impossible for me to refill my coffee cup or visit the fridge for a snack without disturbing her. Or she is knocking my pens off the desk, scrunching up my written notes, crawling around on the shelves of books, dislodging one now and then.

Do you notice that with your own cats? They want what they want when they want it—heck with your desire to be left alone of to have a cuddly nap-buddy. But isn’t that one of the allures of the cat? Because they show or withhold their affection on a whim—often in direct opposition to your own wishes and desires, this makes it all the most special when she plops down next to you on the sofa or climbs up to pat or rub against your face.

While a cat might seem aloof at times, she makes awfully sure that you appreciate her tidbits of affection by withholding them just enough. Is that their sneaky plan? Well, it works.


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Newsday Tuesday – The Cats of Russia

Russia is said to have the highest cat ownership in the world—57 percent of the population there have cats. The ownership of cats in the US is at around 43 percent—depending on where you locate your statistics. I thought Japan was a world leader in cat ownership. They have so many cats there and so many innovative ways to honor the cat and to help find them homes. That’s where the cat café originated. They also have a cat train, where you can play with cats while traveling to your destination.

Sadly, along with a large interest in cat ownership comes a higher instance of cat neglect and irresponsibility, thus Russia has a huge stray cat population. They are starting to remedy the problem, however, at the parliament level. In 2020 they ordered all apartment buildings in some cities to provide access to the basement for small animals, including cats during the harsh winter months. There are areas where this law, which comes with penalties if broken, does not apply, so a group of mostly women have taken it upon themselves to act on behalf of the stray cats in those areas.

In Moscow, there’s at least one group of women taking responsibility for stray cats and, evidently, making a difference for many of them. Here’s that story:

As an aside, some of the most interesting and beautiful cats in the world come from Russia, the Pallas cat, the endangered Amur or Siberian tiger, the snow leopard, and the Eurasian lynx, for example. As for domesticated cats, there’s the Russian blue, the Siberian and the Donskoy Sphynx and others.


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Mindful Monday — Cats in the Work Force

I’ve been reading Paul Koudounaris’s (and his cat, Baba’s) book, A Cat’s Tale, a Journey Through Feline History. Very interesting—a beautiful book full of a fascinating history of the cat as told by Baba, who has an incredible mastery of the language. All joking aside, it’s obvious and documented, that Baba’s owner/coauthor did an enormous amount of research. He did say that, during the research and writing process, Baba sat with him a lot and stared at the manuscripts. One day, Paul turned a page upside-down and Baba actually pawed at it until he righted it. Interesting tidbit!

Among the feline history they share, they write about the first real working cats to make a salary and to make history as working cats. Now, I’ve written about working cats—those cats that grace small and large businesses throughout the world—sentries at the threshold of important buildings, greeters at museums and other such institutions, classroom cats, library cats, bookstore and pet store cats, cats that work in nurseries and so many more. Cats were used aboard ships, they were enlisted into the armed forces and Baba tells stories in her book about some of the earliest jobs of the first cats in America. For example, ever hear of postal cats?

At one point, thousand dollars a year was appropriated for food for postal cats throughout the US. They protected the mail, of course, from rodent damage. Cats also worked in military storehouses. Each of these cats got $18.25/year toward their keep.

According to Baba, people knew that cats had greater value than as mousers and they began to think of other “jobs” cats could do. Deep-thinking professors got in on the contemplation—one suggesting that cats could be used to protect property from lightning strikes. One brilliant thinker evidently considered using cats to protect people caught in burning buildings (I have to wonder if Baba was on something when he dictated this book). How, you ask? This is beyond my comprehension, but here it is—cats would gather below the burning building to cushion the fall of people escaping the blaze.

There were even those who wanted to teach cats to sing—using their variety of mews and yowls to create music.

Baba wrote that during the migration by covered wagon to the west, cats were often taken along to protect the food they carried and the pioneers had to pay as much as $10 per cat as cats were scarce at the time.

Once everyone was pretty much settled in the towns that were springing up, people began following their passion in art and writing and needlework. Artists and writers took a new interest in cats and used them in their writings and their art and as their inspiration. Cats had found a warmer, more cozy place in America, having earned it, wouldn’t you say?



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Frivolous Friday – Olivia’s Evil Paper Scare

Olivia had a scare last week. She found herself being followed by an evil post-it note. It had somehow attached itself to her bushy tail and everywhere she went it went no matter how fast her little legs scurried up and down the hall, through the living room, across the furniture and into the kitchen, then into and out of bedrooms lickety-split. We thought she was just playing, until she stopped and hid under the sofa. That’s where I found her and the frightening square pink post-it.

Poor thing was edgy for the rest of the day and she has avoided those nasty pink things ever since.

Our beautiful white odd-eye cat, Winfield, ran into a problem once when he was still a kitten. It was Christmastime and he became too snoopy for his own good. Yup, he managed to get his head through the handles of a gift bag and it tried to strangle him. He ran to get away from the monster, but it ran along with him, slapping him and making a lot of noise—scaring him into running even faster. We found him under the bed, under attack of the bag and were able to relieve him of it. He was not a fan of the holidays after that, as you can imagine.

The message here is we must keep our eye on our cats and especially our kittens at all times. They’re curious—that’s their job—and their curiosity can land them in trouble. Bring a kitten into your home and he’ll show you the many dangers there that you might take for granted—electric cords, dangling blind pulls, heavy bric-a-brac on pretty eyelet runners on tall dressers and tabletops, chocolate in a bowl to name a few—and, of course evil pink, yellow, and blue post-it notes. Oh my!!!


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Thoughts for Thursday – What’s Happening in the Klepto Cat Mystery Factory—2021

Rags’s fans will be pleased to know that there’s another Klepto Cat Mystery in the works. I can’t wait to share this one with you—it has some wild-cat action in it. Yeah, I thought you’d like that.

We had a glitch on the first day of 2021. Not a good way to start a promising new year. We managed to publish Book 49 a few days before the end of the unprecedented year of isolation–the year of the end of the hug as we knew it.  There was a problem with the readability of the Kindle version of Book 49, In PURRsuit of the Unknown. That was disappointing and embarrassing. I notified customers saying that we were working on a fix. Well, I thought it was fixed and I sent notices out inviting folks to order a clean copy—I replaced copies for those who asked, but still it was not right.

Thankfully people were coming forward and letting me know there was a problem. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. Sometimes we go about our business here trusting that all is okay—when it isn’t. The only way we know there’s a problem is when someone tells us.

I learned something with this problem and isn’t that what life is all about—having fun and learning? From here on out, I will check the book myself at the Amazon site to make sure it is right before promoting it. I sure don’t want to go through another few days like those.

So for now, all is well at the Klepto Cat Mystery Factory. I have made a decision though. Once Book 50 is published, I will return to my task and my obligation to revise and reformat earlier books that don’t quite, in my opinion, meet our standards. We’ve learned a lot over the years of producing these books and I want to put what I’ve learned to practice.


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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Just for Laughs

If you’re still trying to get your bearing in this new year—wondering how it’s going to pan out for you and your beloved family and friends and cats…If you’re feeling a little shell-shocked by what happened last year and are hesitant or flat out unable to relax into 2021… If you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop and wonder if you’ll ever feel safe around people again…you’re not alone. Not that that helps. You feel how you feel. It’s been difficult for us all in one way or a thousand.

They say laughter is the best medicine and I think most of you can recall times when laughter really did change your life—if even just for a moment. Well, today I’m offering you some of our favorite medicine—cats that will make you smile and, if you’re like me, laugh out loud. Enjoy!

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Newsday Tuesday – Cats in Snow

You might shudder upon seeing a cat out in the snow. I do. Well, in pictures. I don’t actually live in the snow—never have. But it just doesn’t seem right to leave a cat out in the snow. However, some cats, it seems, love the snow and choose to go out and play in it. In fact there are certain breeds thought to adore a winter wonderland.

My cats like winter because it means they can cozy up next to the heaters and crawl under the blankets in my bed and curl up for long afternoon naps. But the Siberian, the Norwegian Forest Cat, and the Maine Coon actually enjoy rolling around and frolicking in the snow. But did you know that some Ragdolls and Persians and Himalayans do, as well? The Russian Blue is another cat that can tolerate the frozen winter. Well, they are from Russia, after all and they have that thick undercoat. Here’s a site showing the breeds that actually enjoy the out of doors on a snowy day.

And for your entertainment this morning, here are imagines of cats thoroughly enjoying themselves in the snow. This will bring a smile to your face for sure.


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Mindful Monday — The Philosophical Cat

I’m excited about my new Cat-a-Day calendar. It’s always fun to turn a page on a calendar. Once a month is nice. It’s especially becoming quite a production to tell one month good bye and welcome a new one with anticipation. But to change the page every day with the sense that it’s a new beginning—priceless. And when each page presents a new and different cat—way cool.

I want to share with you some of the great cat quotes I found while going through the 2021 calendar. This one by Joyce Carol Oates was actually on my December 30, 2020 page. “The wildcat is the ‘real’ cat, the soul of the domestic cat; unknowable to human beings, he yet exists inside our household pets, who have long ago seduced us with their seemingly civilized ways.”

Here are a few more you might enjoy: “The mathematical probability of a common cat doing exactly as it pleases is the one scientific absolute in this world.” Lynn M. Osband

“The household cat is really a tiger that has undergone three counseling programs.” Valeriu Butulescu

“A cat has a reputation to protect. If it had a halo, it would be worn cocked to one side.” Will Durant

“Are cats strange animals or do they so resemble us that we find them curious as we do monkeys?” John Steinbeck.

You’re welcome.

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