Frivolous Friday – NEW Klepto Cat Mystery

Book 42—the print version—is ready for you to order at Amazon.com. And who doesn’t need a good read now that we’re all cozied down at home.

The Secret in the Whiskers follows Rags through some harrowing and fascinating scenarios. In fact, in this story, Rags never seems to tire of offering a helping paw.

He’s summoned to find a victim, who’s also a witness to a serious crime; he’s asked to locate a trio of missing cyclists; he stumbles across a lost child; and he still manages to keep an inheritance from landing in the wrong hands. This crafty cat has never been so bold and creative while righting the wrongs he encounters.

If you love the cover art as much as I do, thank Bernadette Kazmarski.

The Kindle version will be ready soon.

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Thoughts for Thursday – Cocooning With Cats

For those of you who love or admire or enjoy tabby cats, CELEBRATE, because today is Tabby Cat Day. We’re honoring tabby cats of all colors, styles, and purr-sonalities.

I’ve had cats most of my life and I’ve enjoyed some absolutely wonderful moments and years with virtually all of them. A relationship with a cat is interesting in many ways. It’s unique, wouldn’t you say? You would never have the same sort of relationship with a dog, guinea pig, chicken, horse, or reptile. And that’s because cats are very different creatures. I don’t know about you, but I feel privileged and honored when one of our cats graces me with their undivided attention, when they choose to snuggle close, or bring me a toy or a slipper gift.

I guess that’s why one aspect I’m definitely enjoying in this time of isolation is the opportunity to develop an even closer relationship with Lily and Sophie. Even though I’m typically home a lot and I thought I spent a lot of quality time with the cats, it’s different now.

It’s true, once you relax and decide to go with the flow and stop fighting the inevitable (that we are safer at home) and once you turn your attention to your home and your pets, you will experience some revelations. You’ll learn things about your animals that you may have never noticed. You’ll maybe fuss over them more because you crave interaction with someone—even if it is a cat or a dog. Most likely your pets are ecstatic to have you more present and they’re demonstrating more—what appears to be—attention—adoration—dare I say love?

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it rather comforting to cocoon with my cats and I’ve decided to make the most of it while I can. Because one day we will jump back on the fast-track and leave our beloved pets behind again while opting to lunch with friends, travel, shop (oh how I miss shopping)… We’ll have people over, volunteer, continue with or take up a hobby and maybe just drive somewhere because you can!

And when you return and expect your cat to welcome you with affection, all you may get is the raise of an eyebrow as she barely acknowledges your arrival. Sigh!!!!

 

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – When the Indoor Cat Meets the Outdoor Cat

I find it amusing that an indoor cat can live her cushy life with her humans believing that she’s the only cat around. She may see birds outside and children playing and maybe an occasional dog walking past on a leash. But in her world, she is the one and only cat until…

It’s the same for the outdoor cats in the neighborhood. There are three indoor-outdoor cats next door. They wander over to visit me in the garden sometimes. They join us when neighbors congregate at the mailboxes or catch up with news over the fence. But they seem to be oblivious to the fact that there are other cats inside some of the houses until…

Almost always the indoor and the outdoor cats in a neighborhood finally meet and it’s not usually a pretty picture. Annie must have caught the scent of Lily’s supper the other evening and she found her way onto our porch and peered in through our screen door. She looked as cute and sweet as ever until she caught Lily’s scent and actually saw her chowing down on her meal. You should have seen the sudden shift of gears. Annie’s ears went back, she cowered. She obviously did not expect her human garden friend to be harboring cats inside her  house.

It wasn’t long before Lily sensed something. She looked up from her meal and saw Annie. Shocked at the reality of a strange cat so close to her (and her food), she reacted rather rudely—slightly curious, but mostly ready to attack, should it become necessary.

Nothing happened. There was a screen between them, after all. But I have to say it was Annie (the outdoor cat) who retreated and Lily went back to eating her supper.

Like you, I’ve seen many encounters between the inside and outside cats and most of them do start out badly. Some such cats ultimately make friends. This was the case with Smokey and Gibbs. Gibbs showed up at my mother’s house one day wearing a collar with his name and phone number printed on it. He came so often, Mama started feeding him. Soon he and Smokey became familiar. I can’t say they were friends, but there was a familiarity and a definite connection. When the day came, six or eight years later, that Gibbs stopped showing up, Smokey showed very definite signs of missing him.

I imagine each of you have stories you can tell of interactions between your inside and outside cats. I always enjoy sharing your comments.

 

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Newsday Tuesday – Changes At Your Veterinary Clinic

Let’s hope you won’t have to make a trip to the veterinarian anytime soon. As it turns out, I’ve been to ours twice in the last two weeks. Last week I picked up Lily’s prescription food. I was allowed to walk into the lobby, but I had to stand behind a line, putting me six feet away from the person at the counter. Those bringing pets to be seen had to walk in, announce their arrival, then wait in the car with their pet. That day, I was required to sign my credit card receipt, which I did with my own pen.

Yesterday I called the veterinarian to see if I could get some medication for Lily’s ears without actually taking her in to be seen. Lily has seen the vet before with the same ear condition and was prescribed medication at that time. The veterinarian called me later in the day and said, to come on by and pick up the ear drops. I did not need to bring Lily in. Whew! Doing my best to avoid all kinds of human contact, like everyone else. (Sad, isn’t it?)

So we drove to the veterinary clinic to find people—most of them wearing masks—waiting out in the parking lot. I joined them and read the message posted on the door—“Wait there, we will serve you in a moment…” (or something like that.)

Now, they are not allowing anyone inside the lobby. The receptionists, techs, and veterinarians step outside to take care of dispensing meds, taking payment, and even consulting with clients. The pets are whisked away and examined and treated while the owner waits outside. Interesting changes. And they did not require a signature when I used my credit card.

By the way, Lily did not appreciate the fact that I avoided taking her to the vet. She still doesn’t like having drops squirted into her ears. Well, she doesn’t like oral medication, having her nails trimmed, grooming, or anything else anyone does to her, unless it’s her idea, then she’ll allow you to love on her and pet her. She may look sweet, but she is a diva who rules the roost around here.

Note, the last picture is of Lily after I gave her the ear drop treatment.

 

 

 

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Mindful Monday – Creative and FUN Isolation Activities For You and Your Pets

How many days have we been under house arrest now—I mean, safe at home? I guess it’s different for each state and community. Some states still don’t have the mandate (or even the suggestion) to stay at home when at all possible. For me, it’s day 45 because I was sick for 3 weeks before the virus interrupted our life.

If you’re like me and those I’ve talked to, you have probably gone through several emotions with regard to this—eager to get back to your life, antsy or angry, wondering when this sequestering will end, and then perhaps reluctant or calm acceptance. As I wrote in a post last week, the only ones who are truly enjoying this new (temporary) way of life are our pets. We could take a lesson from them, don’t you think so?

You may have already established some new rituals and activities with your cats and dogs. Many dogs are getting walked more often than usual. Those pets who love, love, love to eat, may be getting more food treats because we’re home and cooking and eating more, so they’re in the kitchen, begging, and probably eating more.

Our cats are cuddling more. And Lily is dragging out more of my socks, slippers, and other items of clothing. (Probably because I’m not putting things away as promptly—I mean those days of drop-in visitors is over, right?)

If you and your pet are starting to get a little cranky or bored, maybe it’s time to get creative. Get off the couch and have a little fun with your pet. This might be a good time to catch up with your cat’s or dog’s grooming tasks. It’s spring, after all. Comb out her shedding winter coat before it tangles with new fur and creates mats. While you’re at it, if appropriate, trim her nails.

Maybe you’ve thought for years about building your cat a catio. Now might be a good time to do it—that is if you or someone else in the household has at least some skill with a hammer and nails.

Create a cardboard jungle for your cat using all of those boxes Amazon delivers to your house, lately. Tip: Let the boxes sit outside in the sun for 24 hours or so before bringing them into your house. Cut windows and doors in the boxes and stack them to create the fort or castle of your cat’s dreams.

Fill a box with shredded paper and hide treats in there.

Teach your cat a trick. Don’t know how? The Internet is full of interesting ways to do this.

Pull toys from the bottom of her toybox so she thinks she’s getting something new to play with. Make her a new toy. There are several sites showing how to make interesting dog toys. Here’s one with ideas for making cat toys. https://www.onecrazyhouse.com/easy-diy-cat-toys/

Order toys over the Internet.

Here are a couple of sites with additional ideas for providing enrichment and creating bonding activities for you and your cat during these unusual times. Now go have some fun with your cat (or dog). https://petwelfare.org.au/2017/07/05/enrichment-activities-cats/

https://lifeandcats.com/enrichment-for-cats/

 

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Frivolous Friday – Where to Find Much Needed Smiles

It’s not easy, when you’re an adult, to be told what to do. We’re getting cabin fever and we miss our friends and family. This world event is upsetting everyone’s apple cart. Small businesses are suffering, we can’t see our dentist or our hair dresser. It’s reported that some stars are even letting the grey show through. What’s their alternative?

We’re not getting the usual workouts we’reused to—at the gym, pool, tennis courts, for example. It’s a time of new thought—we have to think before we touch, shake hands, greet a dear friend or even pet someone else’s dog or cat.

It seems that there’s a lot of loss, that’s why I suggest seeking out the positive. For me that means relishing in the creativity I insert into each day. Coming up with an interesting and tasty meal using what happens to be in the cupboards and freezer, sharing a bit of cheer and hope with a family member or friend via text, email, or a phone call.

I’m a card-sender. I love to stock up on greeting cards and send them out for birthdays and other occasions. Since I’m unable to shop for cards at this time in person, I’m considering creating cards and coming up with interesting quotes of my own or from online sources to send. Cards of pure cheer would be highly appreciated in these otherwise dismal times.

But another thing I do to raise my spirits is to stop off at a webcam for a visit with kittens or another animal I adore. I’ve stopped watching the eagle nests on webcam—it seems some of them are having rough times lately—unrelated to the virus, of course. I won’t go into what I know and have observed recently with my favorite eagle nests. No, I found a kitten rescue site with 3 of the most adorable kittens who often frolic across the screen and tumble and—oh my gosh, they’re so cute. They make me smile and I thought maybe you’d like to experience a smile that will take you away from the worries of the day. Here’s the link: https://explore.org/livecams/cats/kitten-rescue-cam This is one of many explore.org web cams. From this site you’ll see dozens more webcams offering a peek into the life of a variety of other animals and birds. Want a smile? You owe it to yourself.

 

 

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

Despite the unusual world circumstances and my own recent temporary health setback, we continue to operate here in the Klepto Cat Mystery factory. I’m still writing, my editor is still editing, my cover designer is still creating, and my two formatters are still….well, you know. Thankfully, I and my team have been working from our homes for years. What has become an inconvenience for the majority in recent weeks is a way of life for many of us. Now whether Amazon is able to keep their presses rolling remains to be seen.

If so, you should have a new Klepto Cat Mystery to read while you’re still being held hostage by the virus. The professional editing for Book 42 is completed. I will fine-tune the story within the next few days, then turn the manuscript over to the formatting experts. The cover is in the works. I hope to see a preview also within the next few days.

And you might be pleased to know that, while this book was with the editor, I’ve been working diligently on Book 43.

Some of you have taken my advice and are reading the series again from Book One during your time of isolation. Rags and his animals and human family and friends are keeping many readers company, giving them something to look forward to, and generating a smile and maybe occasional laughter.

Visit www.KleptoCatMysteries.com and review our list of books in the series. Choose one or two you’d like to revisit. Let Rags entertain you. And watch for the latest in the series. If Amazon is continuing to print on time, you should have the latest Klepto Cat Mystery in your hands by Easter. Now that’s a bright spot in these uncertain times.

Meanwhile stay safe!

 

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Why Are Our Pets Thriving?

Some believe the pandemic is the best thing to happen to our pets since catnip and rope toys. I hear from family and friends—as well as those on FaceBook—how happy their cats and dogs are since everyone is staying home. For cats it’s like the most comforting thing that could happen. For dogs, they are so happy they can’t decide which family member to engage with at any given moment.

Even those of us who write or otherwise work at home or who are retired, are seeing a difference in our pets because we’re reacting differently to what’s going on. We are taking better care of ourselves—staying home more, maybe resting in front of the TV while watching breaking news coverage of world and local events, and we’re not complicating our pets’ life by inviting people in. That means we’re more available to our pets, and cats and dogs will totally take advantage of that availability—that lap, that free hand… Lily and Sophie have even had a few quarrels over me. They don’t particularly want to be close to each other, but they both want to be close to me. Niiiiiice.

Let’s hear it for this nation’s pets. They’re certainly cheeringly happy these days. When it’s time for America to go back to work and play and school, can you just imagine the letdown for Scruffy and Fluffy? Maybe we should start now enriching their lives in ways that will serve them and sooth them when we are able to leave the house again.

For cats that might be extra water fountains, stairs to a runway along the walls of your living room, a new, more elaborate cat tree and more of their favorite toys (Amazon remains open, you know). Oh, and the cats will love the boxes that everything comes in. Safety alert! If you give your cat a delivery box, set it outside or in the garage for 24-48 hours before allowing them to play in it. Just to be on the safe side. I’d also wash the box down as thoroughly as possible with soap and water.

For Dogs, more rope toys, chew toys, a new bed, perhaps, and how about installing a doggie door so he can go in or out when he wants?

 

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Newsday Tuesday – Corona Virus Found in a Cat

This is a post I hoped I would not have to write. But we should all be informed. Yes, it appears that a cat in Belgium has been found to have Corona Virus. Here’s the article, in case you’d like to read it.  https://www.stevedalepetworld.com/blog/cat-identified-with-covid-19/

So what does this mean to us? How should we react? Is it a fluke or something to be concerned about? No one knows. However, professionals are suggesting that if you or someone in your home becomes infected, keep them separated from the household pets—just in case.

Not an easy task, I know. My cats are all over me when I’m sick, probably wondering why their meals are sometimes delayed—wanting to make sure I’m still breathing. They sure don’t relish the idea of missing a meal. Oh yes, and they do love the blanket I use when I’m vegetating on the couch. Cats aren’t stupid, they probably aren’t very sympathetic either, even though we like to think they love us unconditionally. Turn the cat-feeding duties over to someone else and you’ll find out just how much they love you.

Actually, I wrote the foregoing rather tongue-in-cheek. I saw Smokey’s reaction to my mother’s death. (Smokey is the pattern for Rags in my Klepto Cat Mysteries.) He visibly mourned in his own way. Although he was receptive to those who continued caring for him. He’s a social and friendly and forgiving cat. You’ve read the story of the transition of guardianship for Smokey. It went relatively smoothly, but Smokey’s reaction when a table from Mama’s house was delivered to his new residence was telling. He’d been with my niece and her family for several weeks by then. But when he caught scent or maybe when he saw the table, he began to rub against the table legs. He jumped on top of it and rolled around as if in ecstasy. And that became his favorite place to be—on the tabletop. I believe he remembered that table and Mama and his former life with joy.

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Mindful Monday – Should Seniors Adopt a Pet?

Since I’m now a senior…who am I kidding? I’ve been considered a senior for quite a while now. Well, because I am, this question has serious meaning for me. I dread the idea of someday being without a cat. It could happen. I wonder when I’m at the age of eighty-something and without a cat, should I adopt or would it be kinder to forego the pleasure of a cat companion to protect the cat from being eventually orphaned? It’s a legitimate question, don’t you think so?

A friend asked me just the other day if shelters are refusing to allow seniors to adopt young pets. I told her I haven’t heard of such a mandate. She relayed the story of a woman near where she lives in Arizona, who visited a pet shelter and was told that she could not adopt because of her age. However, if she had someone lined up to take responsibility for the pet should she become unable to care for it, they would be happy to send her home with a cat or a dog of her choice. The document, by the way, had to be signed by the person taking responsibility for the pet and notarized.

I can certainly see the logic in that, which is why I’ve written blog posts and magazine articles on the importance of choosing a godparent for your pet—no matter your age. The truth is a pet can be such a pleasure and a life-saver for a senior. Pets can give a lonely senior companionship and purpose. A dog encourages us to get out of the house and exercise in the fresh air. Cats give us a reason to get up each morning. They provide us fodder for conversation. AND, there are an awful lot of seniors who can care for otherwise homeless and abandoned cats and dogs. Here’s a site giving six benefits of having a pet as you age. https://www.aginginplace.org/seniors-and-pets/

Here’s an article that appeared in Psychology Today in 2011 and still has merit today as a positive response to those who would deny adopting a pet to a senior. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/201101/animal-shelters-say-no-puppies-or-kittens-the-elderly

Yes, some shelters are carefully screening (as they should). We all want to know that an animal will be properly cared for. When you’re responsible for that cat or dog, even more so. But I believe that to deny a needy homeless cat or dog a beautiful life for however long it might be, is something to be reconsidered.

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