Frivolous Friday–Cats You’ve Never Met

There are a lot more breeds of cats these days? I mean whoever heard of the Munchkin (except after watching the Wizard of Oz), or the Ragdoll, which came into existence in the late 1960s. Now there’s the Cheetoh Cat, LaPerm, Highlander. I haven’t heard of any of these yet. But we will catch up with these breeds here at this site at some point.

I’ll bet there are wild cats you’ve never heard of either and most of them have been around for eons. Are you familiar with the black-footed cat? He originates from South Africa and is, they say, the most deadly of all wild cats. The smallest wild cat in Africa, he looks like a cute little house cat, but doesn’t get as big as some of our cats as most are under five pounds. They don’t climb well and hole up for safety and privacy mainly in caves and burrows. You probably wouldn’t want this pretty cat in your house as he has the reputation for being extremely ferocious.

If you’ve been following this blog for a long time, you may have heard of Pallas’s cat or theManoel.jpg Pallas Cat (depending on your source). These unusual cats live mainly in the steppe region of Central Asia, thus their design, with ears on the sides of their head and eyes high on their foreheads. I had the thrill of entering a cage at the Denver Zoo with a pair of Pallas cats years ago to photograph them for an article I wrote for Cats Magazine. At that time my research indicated that these cats, although they look cuddly and soft, cannot be tamed. It’s possible that someone has managed to tame one by now.

The Rusty Spotted Cat is the smallest wild cat in the world at only two to three pounds. These cats live in India and Sri Lanka and they also hang out in caves. Unlike the Black-Footed Cat, they’re excellent climbers, so they climb trees as well.

One of the things about cats is that a cat is no longer a cat. I mean the variety of domestic cats is mind boggling and so, it seems is the variety of wild cats.

 

 

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Thoughts for Thursday – The Self-Contained Cat

While our foo-foo house cats don’t have much need or opportunity to hunt, it’s not uncommon to see Fluffy or Princess demonstrate hunting instincts during play, for example. A kitten will hide in the jungle (under a chair or behind a door) and attack you as you walk by. A grown cat will walk into the room with pure grace and elegance, then pounce on her prey (one of her toys) with the same violent intent of an African lion in the wild.

Yes, you see hunting instincts and behavior even in you purebred Persian, Ragdoll, or Chartreux. You might expect it of a Bengal or Savannah or Ocicat, but don’t be surprised or disturbed when your sweet baby kitty brings you a dead mouse, dissects a grasshopper before your eyes, or terrorizes a lizard that found its way into your house or the catio.

Even though cats have been domesticated for more than 4,000 years (by some estimates), it appears that you can take the cat out of the jungle, but we still haven’t been able to take the jungle out of the cat. And that can be a good thing since so many cats are abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

Some cats show greater hunting instincts than others. They’ll set up situations for themselves where they’ll hide one of their toys, then practice sneaking up on it, trying to dig it out of its hiding place, finally pouncing on it and going in for the kill.

Our Sophie loves a toy mouse with a tail. She’ll pick it up by the tail and toss it and pounce, toss it way in the air and pounce. That keeps her delightfully entertained for the longest time.

Lily carries her trophies (her stuffed toys) to me and drops them at my feet. She’ll also spread them around at my bedroom door overnight. And she always announces loud and clear when she’s approaching with one of her toys (presumably her kill for the family). As far as I know, Sophie lived on the streets for her first 10 weeks of life, so she probably did catch a real mouse or two. Lily, however, came to us at about 6 weeks (they told us she was 8 weeks) and I’m fairly certain she never had any hunting experience, except perhaps what she observed the adults in her attic home doing. But I believe the instinct goes much deeper than what they’ve experienced and observed. It seems to have been preserved in the DNA of cats for thousands of years. Amazing.

 

 

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday — THE WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON OF THE CAT CAFÉ with Mollie Hunt

Cat Café Fact: Traditionally popular in North Asia, cat cafés can now be found in South Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. In Japan, where there are more than two hundred cat cafés, one in particular features black cats only.  —Cat Café, Chapter 26

It wasn’t that so long ago that the words cat and café were only linked in an ailurophile’s dream. Now there are cat cafés all over the world with more than 100 in the United States, and counting.

Cat Cafés originated in Asia where only in recent years have cats come to be considered household pets. In Japan, for instance, cats were necessary to ward off mice but little more, relegated to the outdoors to take their chances. Then suddenly people’s attitudes began to change. There was an awakening appreciation of cats. Now their cat culture has grown exponentially. It’s not just Hello Kitty anymore!

So far I have only been to two cat cafés, El Gato Coffeehouse in Houston Texas and our local cat café Purrington’s Cat Lounge here in Portland Oregon. Though their layouts are very different, one occupying a refurbished older house and the other located in a modern, inner city building, the bottom line is the same- a pairing of the café and a local cat shelter with the purpose of giving visitors exposure to cats and finding those cats their forever homes at the same time.

http://www.elgatocoffeehouse.com/

http://purringtonscatlounge.com/

Cat Café Fact: A cat café is a good place to begin to overcome ailurophobia (irrational fear of cats) because café cats are often chosen for their sociability.  —Cat Café, Chapter 11

The cat café plays an important role in my new Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery, not-so-coincidentally titled Cat Café. The café, the Blue Cat, is entirely fictional, bearing no resemblance to either El Gato or Purrington’s. In the story, the owner, elderly Bea Landrew, is found murdered among her cats!

“A body is discovered on the floor of the cat café, and all the black cats are missing!”

I chose the location of the cat café for my latest book because the subject fascinates me. Online you can find post after post extolling cat cafés in various parts of the world— little cat universes, boasting cat art, cat décor, and even on occasion, cat books.

 

And we mustn’t forget cat-themed goodies! (For people, not for cats.)

 

The more I followed those  posts, the more I knew one of these cat-centric meeting places should play a part in a Crazy Cat Lady mystery. My hero, sixty-something cat shelter volunteer Lynley cannon would love a cat café, and the story grew from there.

Cat Café Fact: Cat therapy has been proven to reduce stress and improve your mood. Next time instead of a cocktail, consider a visit to a cat café!  Cat Café, Chapter 16

Designing my own fictional café was great fun, and since the Blue Cat gets a remodel halfway through the book, I got to do it twice. The first version is Bea’s cozy Victorian style of decor. Originally established as a teahouse, Bea had jumped on the cat café bandwagon as soon as she discovered the popular phenomenon. Here’s a quote from Cat Café:

“Behind a short strip of garden, the old house rose like a combination fairy castle and Gothic fortress. The three-story building had originally been built as a single-family dwelling for one of Portland’s founding fathers. The design was one hundred percent Victorian, down to the diamond-shaped shingles and the hand-tooled porch trim. When Bea Landrew bought it with an English teahouse in mind, she had restored its original gingerbread facade, choosing three authentic colors—burgundy, chartreuse, and a color I could only describe as baby-poo brown.

The Victorians believed in living high, and in this case, the builder had designated the second story to be the main part of the house, leaving the street level as a sort of basement area. Though the elaborate staircase that wound up to the grand front porch was quite passable, Bea had installed an elevator to transport teahouse customers who couldn’t, or didn’t, prefer to climb steps.

The rambling rooms, each decorated in old-fashioned style, made the teahouse a unique experience. One could sip a cup of fresh-steeped Darjeeling surrounded by flowing Art Nouveau opulence or share a pot of imported Earl Grey in the homey atmosphere of the old fashioned kitchen. It hadn’t taken long for Portland’s au courant to discover this one-of-a-kind rendezvous, and Bea had a success on her hands.

Then one day, Bea learned of a brave new twist on the tea-slash-coffee gathering spot. Generally known as cat cafés, there were places where people could come to hang out with cats. Most served food and drinks, but some just featured the promise of feline companionship. Like cats, each café had a distinct style of its own. Bea, a cat person through and through, thought it was the best idea she’d ever heard and quickly moved to renovating her teahouse to include the feline element. Tea For Me closed its doors, and a week later, the Blue Cat opened.”

The second incarnation of the Blue Cat is something very different. I won’t go into that now, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

Cat Café Fact: Though originating in Asia, cat-themed cafés have become popular all over the world, giving people a place to relax and interact with cats. A cat café will often partner with a cat shelter to provide adoption services for those who want to take their new furry friend home with them.  —Cat Café, Chapter 1

The Cats of Cat Café:

As with most real cat cafés, The Blue Cat is partnered with a shelter, in this case Friends of Felines where Lynley is a long-time volunteer. The clowder fluctuates as cats get adopted by café clientele who come in and bond, but one cat in particular plays more than a passing roll in the story.  Romeo, a robust gray with the distinctive rounded features of a Russian Blue, makes special friends with Lynley when she visits the café. Then later on, she finds Romeo in the most unexpected place:

 “Suddenly out of the quiet came a sound that made my blood run cold. I knew that sound. I’d heard it many times, provoked by many causes, none of them good. The sound came again: the low, guttural growl from deep within the chest of a frightened cat.

I turned to the big Russian Blue. Romeo was at the far end of the counter half-hunched, half crouched as if ready to spring. His ears were flat to his head and his lips curled viciously, exposing considerable fangs. He was staring at a door at the back of the kitchen as if he’d seen a ghost. The door was slightly ajar. I listened, trying to determine what had alarmed him, but the only sound was his low, bone-chilling snarl.

Then there was another sound, loud and jarring, something falling, breaking, the shattering of glass. In a flash of gray, Romeo shot through the open door. I heard the gallop of big cat paws descending a flight of stairs, then a long, high-pitched yowl, the kind cats only give in mortal fear.

Without thinking, I ran to the door. “Romeo!” I called, but now it was quiet again, the silence unbroken by even the faintest mew.

“Romeo, kitty kitty…” I could see nothing past the first stair tread but assumed the flight led down to the café. I pawed the wall for a switch but this time came up empty. Again I cursed that I hadn’t brought my phone with its handy flashlight app, but light or no light, I knew what I had to do. I could no more ignore Romeo’s cry of terror than that of a lost child.

I started down the carpeted steps, gripping the handrail and blinking into the dark. The cry came again, shooting through me like a shockwave. There was a timbre to that hollow, mournful wail that made my skin crawl. Without thought, I plunged toward it.

That was my mistake…”

I promise that isn’t the last we see of Romeo.

 Have you had an adventure at a cat café? I’d love to hear about it.

Continue the Cat Café Book Launch Blog Hop tomorrow with:

Nov. 1: Fun Questions with Amy Shojai, CABC

Amy Shojai, CABC

www.SHOJAI.com

Nov. 2: Kathleen S. Mueller reviews Cat Café, and we chat about 1950’s trivia.

Traveling Dog Lady

www.travelingdoglady.blogspot.com

Catch up of previous hop stops:

Oct. 29th– National Cat Day.

The 1st day of the hop starts with Jeffy Jeffy Bad Boy (and Dusty Rainbolt). I can’t wait to see what JJBB asks me!

Dusty Rainbolt’s Universe

http://dustycatwriter.com/nv_dusty/

Oct. 30th: Melissa Lapierre’s cat Mudpie interviews Lynley’s kitties, all 8 of them!

Blogger, Mochas, Mysteries and Meows

www.mochasmysteriesmeows.com

And if that’s not enough, I started a special Pinterest board for Cat Café. https://www.pinterest.com/lecatts/cat-cafe/

Are you excited yet? I am.

Launch date for Cat Café, the 5th Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery is October 29th, National Cat Day. Pre-order your copy now!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HKQ4TKT

Find out more about Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer:

Website: www.lecatts.wordpress.com

Amazon Page: www.amazon.com/author/molliehunt

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/MollieHuntCatWriter/

@MollieHuntCats

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Newsday Tuesday – A New Way to Monitor Your Cat’s Health

Have you heard of Pretty Litter? They call it that because it changes colors when your cat uses it. But it’s not designed to add to your décor or become a centerpiece in your home. The color aspect of this litter is a health aid. It’s the first (that I’ve heard of) color-changing health monitoring litter. Learn more about it here: https://prettylittercats.com/pages/health-monitoring-cat-litter

Here’s a site offering a chart showing how to read the colors to determine whether your cat is having issues with her bladder, pancreas, or liver, for example, and it includes frequently asked questions about this product. https://glenmarcinc.com/myprettylitter.html

This product also detects kidney disease, bile duct obstructions, and even cancer. One of the questions I’d have is, when you know your cat has kidney disease, will the litter show improvement or when the disease is getting worse—you know, levels of the disease?

Want to have Pretty Litter delivered to your home regularly? Here’s the site to visit https://prettylittercats.com/ Let me know how this litter works for you.

Tomorrow, author Mollie Hunt joins us with her post on cat cafés. I visited a cat café with Mollie last year in Houston. She lives where there’s an interesting cat café, but the one she depicts in her story is quite interesting, as you’ll read tomorrow. Yes, Mollie actually shares excerpts from her book to give us the flavor of her cozy mystery. Be sure to stop by and meet Mollie and some of her fictitious cats. That October 31—a Halloween treat.

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Mindful Monday – Something Special Coming Up for National Cat Day

Yes, this is National Cat Day and we’re going to celebrate all week. Well, most of us celebrate cats every day of the year. I remember, on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day asking my parents, “Why isn’t there a kid’s day?”

I was told, “Because every day is kid’s day.” In most households with beloved cats, everyday is cat day, too. But still, we set aside special days, weeks, and months for cats—Saturday it was Black Cat Day. We also celebrate Tabby Day, Answer Your Cat’s Question Day, National Cat Health Month, Respect Your Cat Day, Hug Your Cat Day, and others, along with many pet-related observances—all about pet sitters, holistic pet day, adopt a pet day and so forth.

So in honor of National Cat Day and the concept that every day is cat day, here’s this week’s schedule:

Tomorrow, we’re all about a new HEALTH twist on a product that cats use every single day in your home. Imagine having an easy and effective way to detect a possible illness in your cat—a diagnosis in a tray, if you will. If you have a cat who tends to have bladder problems, a cranky liver or pancreas, or if she seems under the weather for no apparent reason, you might be her first responder because of this new product.

Wednesday I’ll be sharing a very special guest post from a fellow Cat Writer Association member and cozy mystery author, Mollie Hunt. She will charm, entertain, and inform us about a growing phenomenon: the Cat Café. In fact, the next book in her Crazy Cat Lady Mystery series is called, Cat Café. Can’t wait to share this delightful post about a delightful book with you. That’s Wednesday.

Thursday, I’ll come up with something else about cats that’s on my mind. I don’t always plan my Thoughts for Thursday post ahead of time. I just go with whatever my cats suggest—you know, by their antics, actions, or mood. Or I might share a hint about what secrets the next Klepto Cat Mystery holds.

Friday is also up for grabs. As you know, I like to create an entertaining post for Frivolous Friday and sometimes I do it last minute. And sometimes I go with what you’ve asked for. So keep those comments coming.

Posted in About Cats, Announcement | 1 Comment

Frivolous Friday – Cats of No Color

You might have clicked on this link simply to discover what in the heck the title implies. It’s about black cats. Tomorrow (October 27) is National Black Cat Day. This is different from Black Cat Appreciation Day which is August 17. Why do black cats get these special days of honor? Why not white cats, tabbies, chocolate-colored cats. Well, there is a special day of honor for tabbies in April. But I digress.

Black cats, they say, are the last to be adopted and the first to be abused, so National Black Cat Day was established to help promote the beautiful, amazing black cat.

Have you ever had a black cat? I’ve had litters with black cats and found them wonderful homes. Yeah, I was more inclined to keep the colorful calicos. I found a gorgeous black cat once when I was full-up with cats at my house and I found her another home. I haven’t known a lot of black cats, actually—but there are a few in the neighborhood that run free. One is a love-bug and the other one is a terrorist. One of my grand cats lives across the street—he’s an inside kitty and I LOVE being kitty care-taker to this beautiful and affectionate pure black boy. He’s a munchkin—such a sweetie.

If you have a black cat, give them a hug tomorrow (well, two hugs—it’s a special day). If you don’t have a black cat and you have room in your heart for another cat—consider adopting that black one hiding in the corner of the pen or poking his paw out trying to get your attention–the one who may have been waiting for a FURever home for a very long time. Open your heart to a black cat and open your world to a bundle of joy.

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Thoughts for Thursday – When Cats Have Something to Say

Some cats are more vocal than others—but then you’ve noticed that. Purrsonally, I prefer the fluffy quiet type. I had a talkative cat once. Drove me crazy. Maybe that’s because I like to do the talking.

Lily vocalizes for only two reasons. She sort of yowls when she has captured one of her stuffed toys and is on her way to drop it at my feet. If she decides to play-hunt in the middle of the night, she’ll announce her arrive with her play-prey even then. And she mews sweetly when she wants food or a drink out of the spigot.

Sophie has been a very quiet tortie for most of her 14 years. Lately, however, she has a lot to say. She has developed quite an opinion. She doesn’t like it when Dennis goes outside. She’ll sit at the screen door and call to him to come back in. And she has become demanding. Every evening she demands grass. In fact she threatens us. She’ll look at my philodendron hungrily and cries until someone brings her a few strands of grass from outside or we put her container of grass on the floor where she can reach it. She also meows politely when I place her food bowl on the floor. I consider that a thank you and always respond with, “You’re welcome, Sophie.”

When I visit a neighbor, her cat Joy welcomes me with her meows and chirps. She tells me what she’s been doing that day, describes how she’s fe-line, shares secrets from the neighborhood, and probably asks for treats. She’s part Siamese and very vocal. Her counterpart, George, has never said a catty word to me.

My mother’s cat Smokey (AKA Rags in the Klepto Cat Mysteries) vocalizes, but not excessively. He will respond with a soft “me-aaa” when you speak to him. And when he wants a treat (he lives for treats), he won’t stop chattering until you’ve done your job as a visitor—give him a treat. His voice is soft. But if he’s outside and wants inside and his kitty door is blocked, he’s been known to MEOW!!! so loudly that everyone in the house at the time fears for his very life. When we rush toward the sound, we discover Smokey sitting quietly at the door patiently waiting for someone to open it.

Cats sure know how to get our attention whether it’s through meow-words or actions. Have you noticed your cat mewing at you when you’re on the phone? Does she think you’re talking to her?

I’ve read that cats don’t communicate the same way with each other as they do with people—that they’re imitating people when they “verbalize.” I’m not quite sure that’s true. Cats snarl at one another, yowl, hiss, growl and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a mother cat make chirping sounds to calm or warn her kittens.

 

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – How Does Your Cat Miss You? Let Me Count the Ways

Do cats suffer from separation anxiety like some dogs do? Symptoms of separation anxiety can vary from animal to animal. A dog or cat or hamster (perhaps), who finds himself alone and bored and especially unhappily alone for long hours or even one hour, might respond in some destructive way. Dogs are known to chew shoes, dig the carpet up, yank things out of the closet, pull things off the counters, eat a platter of cupcakes, and bring things in from outside that do not belong inside. Cats with separation anxiety are sometimes known to urinate and defecate outside the litter box—often on her owners’ clothing and bed. Some will over-groom to the point where they leave bald spots.

If you have such a cat, know that there is help. There are things you can do to ease the problem. Here’s a site with ideas for managing your cat’s separation anxiety: http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/10-ways-to-manage-cat-separation-anxiety

In our household, we don’t have a problem with symptoms of separation anxiety, but we sure do get the sad face when we’re preparing to leave. Or is that our imagination (feelings of guilt because we’re leaving)? Here’s Lily as I was packing for our recent weekend trip to Half Moon Bay to attend a wedding. Hard to leave that little face.

Sometimes when we return home, we get the cold shoulder. This time, however, both girls came running when they heard us walk through the back door. Sweet. Or was it because it was supper time.

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Newsday Tuesday – Homeless People Helping Homeless Pets

We sometimes wonder how a homeless person can adequately care for an animal. You’ve seen it—a person who seems homeless sitting on a curb next to a shopping cart filled with his belongings and a dog lying close by. Some people in homeless encampments live with cats. There was one man living on the streets of Santa Barbara some years ago with a dog, a cat, and a bird. He created a sort of side-show with the trio and would entertain passersby.

Some homeless people take care of homeless animals—cats in particular. There’s the story of one formerly homeless woman in Baltimore who continued her commitment to a small cat colony even after she found housing. Here’s her story: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-east-baltimore-20181021-story.html

Here’s a good article featuring the homeless and their reason for living (in some cases, their reason for giving up drugs), their pets. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/animal-emotions/201301/my-dog-always-eats-first-homeless-people-and-their-animals As you will read, some of these dogs and cats were on their own before a street person scooped them up and began caring for them. I think that after reading these articles, you’ll look at the homeless with pets in a slightly different light.

 

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Mindful Monday—Latest Klepto Cat Mystery on Kindle

I know that some of you are reading the print version of my latest Klepto Cat Mystery—FURever Bound because I see that fans have been ordering copies. But for readers who prefer reading your books on Kindle, now you can. Order your Kindle copy here: https://www.amazon.com/FURever-Bound-Klepto-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07JKJN6ML/ref=sr_1_36?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1540207176&sr=1-36&keywords=klepto+cat+mysteries

Here’s a description of Book 31, FURever Bound: Rags brings his big purrsonality to help solve this puzzling mystery. Things aren’t what they seem when Savannah expresses an interest in an old abandoned house, Iris believes there’s a spirit being living in her new home, and the two of them become involved in a forty-five-year-old missing person case. This haunting story will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Prepare for thrills, hilarity, suspense, and stirring moments. Of course Rags is the catalyst that pulls the pieces to a difficult puzzle together when he leaves his mark on the villain and helps to reconcile a painful past for two lovers. (Note Amazon has posted the wrong description for the Kindle book #31. We’ll have it straightened out soon. The description above is accurate.)

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