Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat

MY_LIFE_OF_A_JEWISH_CAT

Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish CWA members. Our guest book reviewer is Melissa LaPierre, blogger at Mochas Mysteries and Meows

I was raised in a Catholic family and spent my elementary and high school years attending Catholic schools. I readily admit that I am woefully uneducated about the Jewish faith. As an adult I have found my greatest teachers to be cats, and that it is why I was excited to have the chance to read a copy of Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat by Greta Beigel. I found Ketzel’s “mewsings” to be both whimsical and educational!

MY_LIFE_OF_A_JEWISH_CAT

From the publisher: In the playful/educational “Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat,” the much-loved Ketzel pontificates in rhyme on what it takes to be a good Jew in these modern times. Clearly the author’s alter ego, cat Ketzel celebrates the High Holidays, relishing the rituals and ethnic foods of her rich cultural heritage. Each fall, the feline remains in awe of Rosh Hashanah, expressing hope for peace on this Earth. But soon becomes anxious with the rapidly-approaching Day of Atonement–and mandated food fast. Comes Nov/December, Ketzel recalls those “Hanukkah Nights/Lights” dreaming of dreidels and latkes, and recounting how over eight nights we kindle candles as sacred rite.

With the advent of spring and Passover, she listens attentively to tales of the Hebrews’ escape from Egypt & slavery–all the while salivating over the gefilte fish she knows will be served during Seder celebrations. Above all, whether on travels to Iceland, New Zealand, and lovely Hawaii, or merely at home reclining and idle, Ketzel in her musings accords her own Yiddishe Mamma a five-meow rating.
Greta tells the story of how at a cat writers’ conference she was asked by a publisher why she wrote a book about a Jewish cat? Her response: “I love having Ketzel purr away in the kitchen as we prepare for Passover, then sit alongside at the Seder table, watching power plays amongst our Orthodox relatives. So good to have her accompany me on a visit to Iceland and express surprise at the lack of Jewry in this land of lava and mist. And what fun to watch her chasing after dreidels (spinning tops) and plates of latkes during Hanukkah.”
Our cats are an integral part of our lives and homes, so why shouldn’t they share in our religious customs and celebrations? Do you have plans to make your cat(s) a part of this year’s holiday season?

Visit the author at her Facebook page for her latest news.
Find out more or to purchase click on the Amazon Link

Editor's note: We're seeking Christmas-themed short stories (fiction or non-fiction), poems or photos. Please send to Layla Morgan Wilde at Layla@laylamorganwilde.com before Dec.18, 2015. If selected, you'll be notified in advance of posting.

 

How Ketzel, The Composer Cat Inspired A Writer

Ketzel, the cat who composed

Writers often asked where they their ideas. Many find inspiration in serendipity. Our guest post by CWA member Lesléa Newman shares what inspired her latest book Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed (Candlewick, 2015).

Ketzel, the cat who composed

As all cat lovers know, we don’t choose our cats; they choose us. Somehow just the right cat has a way of working its way into our hearts at just the right time. And so it was with Ketzel.

One day I was sitting in my study, writing. Rather I was pretending to write. Truthfully, I was staring at the wall. I was between writing projects, always a frightening time for me. As soon as I put the last period at the end of a poem or story, I am filled with dread. Now what? The fear that I will never have another writing idea clutches me in its grip and won’t let go.

So I do anything and everything to avoid writing. I wash mountains of laundry. Cook vats of soup. Shred pounds of junk mail. Call friends I haven’t spoken to in years. Go to the gym. Eventually I run out of distractions, take myself by the hand and sit myself down to write.

On this particular day, I glanced down at the coffee table where my synagogue’s newsletter happened to be lying. I picked it up and flipped to the Rabbi’s monthly column. In it, he spoke about living with intention and being open to the magical moments that are all around us. As an example, he told the story of Ketzel, a cat who had just passed away, as he’d learned from Ketzel’s New York Times obituary.

Ketzel cat
Ketzel, the cat 1993-2011

And while I am of the firm opinion that every cat is worthy of a New York Times obituary, I was amazed that this cat had actually gotten one. I immediately turned on my computer to read it. This wasn’t a distraction, I told myself. This was research. And maybe it would lead me to a story.

And what a story it turned out to be! As I discovered, Ketzel lived with a composer named Moshe Cotel in New York City. One day Mr. Cotel learned of a piano solo competition being held by the Paris New Music Review. Each solo had to be shorter than 60 seconds. Mr. Cotel tried but did not succeed in writing a short solo and put the contest rules aside.

Enter Ketzel. One day, for no apparent reason, she made her way down Mr. Cotel’s piano keyboard. The composer liked what he heard and wrote it down. The “solo” was 21 seconds long. Mr. Cotel sent it to the Paris New Music Review, telling them that this was Ketzel Cotel’s first composition and he hoped the judges enjoyed it. Ketzel received a certificate of merit, her piece was performed in concert and she even received a royalty check! Mr. Cotel was amused by his cat’s newfound fame, and often said she was his best student.

This was clearly a children’s book waiting to happen. And thus Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed was born. I am forever grateful that Ketzel found her way into my heart and chose me to write her story.

Lesléa Newman (pronounced "Lez-LEE-uh")is the author of 65 books including A Letter to Harvey Milk, Nobody's Mother, Hachiko Waits, Write from the Heart,The Boy Who Cried Fabulous, The Best Cat in the World, and Heather Has Two Mommies. Her most recenpublished books include the poetry collection, I Carry My Mother (Headmistress Press, 2015), the picture book, Here Is the World: A Year of Jewish Holidays (Abrams, 2014) and a new edition of Heather Has Two Mommies with brand new illustrations by Laura Cornell and two picture books two picture books: My Name Is Aviva (Kar-Ben, 2015) and Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed (Candlewick, 2015).

Visit the author at her website LesleaNewman.com
Visit the illustrator at Amy June Bates

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Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much

women who still love cats too much

Happy autumn CWA members. The cooler weather is perfect for snuggling up with a cat and a good book. If you’re a member with a book coming out or other career news, email me, Layla Morgan Wilde at info@catwisdom101.com. We’re always looking for guest bloggers to shine the light on fellow members.

Our guest book reviewer is professional blogger and free-lance writer Caren Gittelman at Cat Chat With Caren and Cody.

Women Who STILL Love Cats Too Much by Allia Zobel Nolan with Cartoons by Nicole Hollander.

women who still love cats too much

For those of us “of a certain age” the first thing that came to mind when I was sent a proof copy of by Allia Zobel Nolan with cartoons was the classic self-help book for women that was popular in the mid 80s, (Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood). It’s premise was that “women who get mired in obsessive relationships” need to find help for themselves.

Are YOU a “woman (or in my opinion, a MAN), Who STILL Loves Cats Too Much?

Do YOU need to help yourself from your obsessive relationship with cats?

Are you covered in cat hair? Do you reek of Feliway? Is your kitty’s happiness your one desire? Millions of women struggle with the same challenge. They feel inadequate when it comes to satisfying their kitties. So they wind up on a never-ending quest to do more, be more, give more.

Some say being addicted to cats plays havoc with self esteem, makes you the brunt of jokes, and interferes with quality of life, relationships and careers. Most women feel that’s a small price to pay.

I brought this hilariously funny and brilliantly illustrated little book (80 pages of fun), to the hair salon today to occupy me while I waited for my color to set, and found myself laughing out loud and nodding in recognition throughout the entire book! I give it FOUR PAWS UP and I am certain that you will too!

If you’re on the fence about your cat codependency, Women Who STILL Love Cats Too Much can help! It showcases warning signs for those hoping to get their lives back with examples such as:

  • You throw away fifteen or more catnip toys until you find the one your cat prefers
  • She complains because she can’t find “Kitty Boo-Boo on TV, so you switch to another, more expensive cable provider. 
  • She brings you a dead mouse in the middle of the night and you feel compelled to get up, say “What a good kitty,” then take a photo for her Facebook page.
  • He sighs and you immediately run to the cabinet for treats.
  • You won’t turn over during the night no matter how uncomfortable you are because you might disturb the cat.
  • You go ballistic when your date sits in your cat’s favorite chair (I particularly related to this one from my single days because I did the same thing!)

And oh so many more! Can you relate? If you answered yes, what do you think you should do if you love your cat(s) too much?

Read what Allia Zobel Nolan had to say when asked a similar question!

Q. Can you give us three things women who love cats too much can do to course-correct their lives?

A. Well, first, many of us (and I include myself in the quotient), don’t want to course correct.  Our lives may not be as smooth as they would be if we didn’t love cats too much. But then, surely our lives would not be as fulfilled as they are now. But for those who may consider (however briefly) changing, I would suggest: Be firm when it comes to opening and closing the door for your cat.  Do it fifty times, and then leave the door ajar.  Kitty may learn the mechanics of door-opening, and you’ll have ten, maybe twenty, extra minutes in your day.  Here’s another thing: Try (and I say try, because you may have to give in) not to feed puddy every time she stands at her feeding bowl starring at you with soulful saucer eyes. Walk away, engage yourself  in busy work, build a catio…anything to get your mind off that face. If you can’t stand the silence though, wait a while before you fill her bowl. This way, she’ll know you are NOT at her beck and call.  The third thing is to try (I know it’s difficult) to do more outside the house: volunteer, go shopping, get the mail.  If it becomes simply too unbearable, you can always get a video monitor app for your phone to check on them. Course-correcting will not be easy, so take baby steps.

Taking the questions a step further Allia was asked:What is the most bizarre thing you’ve ever done for your cats?

A. Well, I don’t consider anything I’ve ever done for my cats “bizarre.” The book notwithstanding, others whose involvement with their puddies may not run as deeply as my own, may think I spoil them—what with insisting on fresh, wild caught (never farmed) salmon for their meals, or hiring a vet technician to come in to the house six times a day to make sure they are okay when I’m away for more than two hours.  Also, when I’m cuddling my newly-rescued baby, Nolan Nolan, I also run my face up and down his fur, imitating the licking gestures a mommy cat makes when she cleans her puddy. I do that because he is under a year old and may be missing being groomed by his birth mom.  But I don’t consider any of that “bizarre.”  However, I read on the web of some woman who actually “married” her cat. Now, to me, that’s bizarre. That’s like marrying your child.

 

THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, HCI and B&N!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Allia Zobel Nolan is a published, award-winning author of over 200 children’s and adult trade titles. Her books reflect her two main passions, God and cats, and include such varied titles as Purr More, Hiss Less:Heavenly Lessons I Learned from My Cat, Cat Confessions:A Kitty-Come-Clean Tell-All Book, The Ten Commandments for Little Ones, The Worrywart’s Prayer Book and Whatever: Livin’ the True, Noble, Totally Excellent Life

Zobel Nolan lives and loves her puddies way too much in Connecticut with her husband, Desmond Finbarr Nolan, and their feline children, Sineady Cat, the Fraidy Cat, and Nolan Nolan.Visit the author at AlliaWrites.com

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Nicole Hollander created and produced the syndicated cartoon strip,Sylvia for a gazillion years. She blogs six days a week at www.Badgirlchats.com and offers a Sylvia archival strip every day-as well as links to politics, a cultural commentary, and, of course, more cat videos than you can shake a stick at!

Home With Henry: Cat Memoir Book Review

Home with Henry- anne kaier

Have you read any good cat books this summer? Let our blog editor, Layla Morgan Wilde know at Layla@LaylaMorganWilde.com

Summer is rife with distractions but CWA book reviewer Melissa Lapierre found a cat memoir Home With Henry by Anne Kaier well worth the read.

Home with Henry- anne kaier

When I first saw the cover of Home with Henry I knew it was going to be a very special book, and I was right.
From the publisher: When copywriter Anne Kaier stops traffic to rescue a stray cat, neither she nor the cat knows what lies in store … You’ll lose yourself in this witty, true-life story of how Anne hopes a beguiling cat called Henry can help her as a single woman in the amped-up city. But first, how will she lure Henry out from under the bed-when not even her ten-year-old nephew can get him to stir?

This book is written in journal form as the author chronicles the first year of her life with Henry, as well as starting a new life herself in her very first home. Rejecting the old-fashioned notion that a woman should wait until she’s married to buy a house and create a traditional life, they live on their own terms and build a rich and meaningful life together. It’s a scary time for both human and cat, but with great patience and love they prove that home and family is what you make it.

Another star of the book is an aging calico, Lucille. In a couple difference passages Anne writes how she can’t help but view Henry as a “spare”. She knows she won’t have Lucille forever and fears being alone when the dreaded time comes. As someone who has always had just one cat at a time, I’ve often wondered if the heartbreak of losing a pet is any duller when you have another there for comfort.

Watching Anne and Henry’s bond deepen with each turn of the page was such a heartwarming experience, especially since many people don’t believe a feral cat can be domesticated. It became obvious that Henry had found his forever home when the opportunity arose for him to escape over the walled garden in Anne’s yard, and he chose to stay. What a beautiful moment.

If you’re anything like me and believe that cats are synonymous with home, this little book will touch your heart and warm your soul.

Anne Kaier

Anne Kaier holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University,teaches creative writing and literature at Arcadia University and Rosemont College. She serves on the Fulbright Creative Writing Student Screening Committee. Anne lives in Center City, Philadelphia.

Visit the author at her website AnneKaier.com or her publisher PS Books

 

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Will A CWA Member Win The Golden Kitty?

#catvidfest Internet Cat Video Festival

#catvidfest Internet Cat Video Festival

One of our CWA multi-award winning members, Alana Grelyak co-creator of the web series CATastrophes is a #CatVidFest finalist for the prestigious Golden Kitty Award. Previous winners include Grumpy Cat and Henri Le Chat Noir. The CATastrophes entry is a funny and insightful video “Cat Behavior Finally Explained” and one every cat lover can relate to. Alana and her film director/writer/editor husband have amassed an incredible body of funny, intelligent and thought-provoking cat videos on their YouTube channel. Their goal is not only to entertain but advocate for cat adoption and a no-kill nation for shelter cats.

Take a peek at the video and tell us in a comment what you think.

There are five Cat Video Festival award finalists and the winner is chosen by voting. It’s easy but hurry, voting ends on July 31st! You can vote multiple times per day. The lucky winner will be announced at the festival in Minneapolis on August 12, 2015. Tickets are still available. To learn more visit the Walker Arts Center

There are two ways to vote for your choice for the Golden Kitty—online or Twitter. Tweet: hashtag #votegoldenkitty and the title of the video “Cat Behavior Finally Explained”. May the best kitty win!

Alana Grelyak -Lil Bub
Alana Grelyak with Lil Bub from the video “Petting Lil Bub Takes You Back in Time”.

Like to guest blog for us? Send inquiries to the CWA blog editor Layla Morgan Wilde at info@catwisdom101.com.

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Clawing & Scratching My Way Through CatCon

Denise Fleck (left) and Mayim Bialik

Clawing & Scratching My Way Through CatCon L.A. (Well, Not Exactly…It Was PURRfectly Awesome!)

Guest post by Denise Fleck

Clowders and clowders and clowders of cat people pounced on The Reef Hotel on the weekend of June 6, 2015 in sunny Los Angeles. There were humans in cat dresses, cat glasses and cat ears getting CATicures and having a feline fun time! 

Male humans were spied sporting “Real Men Love Cats Too” t-shirts while looking at cat art, cat toys and even the latest in feline hygiene products. There was truly something for everyone who has furry purring creatures on their brains and in their hearts.

Caticure bar Aveda catcon

Cat-loving celebrity, Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler of CBS-TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”), took time out from her busy schedule to do a meet-and-greet. As spokesperson for Petsmart Charities she autographed her way through the line of eager fans hoping they’ll change the bad rap some cat owners wrongly get by submitting a selfie with their adopted cat and declaring their cat pride! Submission are open until July 3rd, so Instagram or Twitter your and your fur buddy saying why being a cat parent is a point of pride using #meowOUT or petsartcharities.org.

Denise Fleck (left) and Mayim Bialik
Denise Fleck (left) and Mayim Bialik

I was lucky enough to have a brief chat with Ms. Bialik to whom I posed the question, “Do you know Kitty CPR,” since that is my specialty and I never turn down an opportunity to raise awareness as to how people can help their pets. An extremely talented actress who not only IS a Neuroscientist but also plays one on TV, raised an eyebrow in surprise by my question and honestly answered, “No, I do not. I’ll have to look that up!” I of course left her with my Cat First Aid & CPR pocket guide 😉 I do think “The Big Bang Theory” could use a Pet Safety Crusader, and I’m just the person to fill that cape! LOL

Veterinarians, members of the press and people of all shapes and sizes coping cattitudes and NOT were at Cat Con battling the crowd for the love of their feline friends. I even caught a glimpse of one real-life cat sporting catty sunglasses (hey, it is Hollywood after all).

Lili Chin
Lili Chin


I was delighted to happen upon other than Lili Chin. Lili illustrated my children’s book, “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover,” that shouts the message, “Pets ARE part of the family,” teaching kids from 0-99 to not judge a book, person, animal or anything but to look under “the fur coat” for the treasure that lies inside. Lili has created many amazing pieces of art for me over the years including this Pet First-Aid one showing both my canine and feline best friends…

I was thrilled to see Lili overwhelmed by the number of people perusing her feline drawings. They are truly the cat’s meow and you should definitely check them out at doggiedrawing (yes, the kitty ones are here too!).

I moved on to paw at the wares offered at the Adopt & Shop Store, perused wide-eyed at Chaos in Color, scampered by Lil Bub’s booth (my, what big cat eyes Lil Bub has) and lunged in excitement over the amazing climbing adventure to behold at CatastrophiCreations! It is a feline fantasy of items to circumnavigate an entire house without ever placing a single paw on the floor!

cATASTROPHICREATIONS

Speaking of paws, or more accurately…claws, meeting Veterinarian Jennifer Conrad was a true honor and a privilege. As founder and director of THE PAW PROJECT, a seriously important documentary explaining the dirty truth about de-clawing, she is a woman who has made a difference for cats of all shapes and sizes, domestic and wild.

THE pAW pROJECT

PAW PROJECT denise fleck
Jennifer Conrad (left) and Denise Fleck

Declawing first begame illgal in 2003, in West Hollywood, CA, not far from where Cat Con stands, and since then 7 more California cities have passed laws against this form of medieval torture. There is much work yet to be done, but Dr. Conrad’s film is opening eyes and hearts to the attrocity. Four paws up to the efforts going on right now in the State of New York, so lend a hand if you live there to help cats in your state! I myself show THE PAW PROJECT each semester in the high school Animal Care Class I teach as a joint project between the Burbank Animal Shelter and Unified School District. Students think it’s just a “nail trim,” until they watch and they are forever changed. Four paws up Dr. Conrad! Keep educating the public and fighting for our feline family members!


My schedule of doing Cat & Dog CPR Demos at Emergency Preparedness events didn’t allow me enough time to partake in all that Cat Con had to offer. There were seminars with the Creator of Simon’s Cat, A Letter to my Cat’s Lisa Erspamer, the authors of Cat Lady Chic, Keith Bowers of Catster, the CEO of Cheezburger and even Lil Bub, live and in PAWson! Four claws up for ALL the organizers, sponsors, host, vendors and attendees for making this a MEOWtastic event! I can’t wait for next year…

Catcon press pass

Guest blogger Denise Fleck founded Sunny-dog Ink in 1999 to help people help their pets. An award winning author and Pet First-Aid & CPR instructor, Denise developed the curriculum for & teaches high school Animal Care in addition to pet first aid and senior pet care classes. She has demonstrated animal life-saving skills on CBS –TV’s“The Doctors,” Animal Planet’s “Pit Boss,” “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life,” and CNN, andto complement her teachings, created a line of Pet First-Aid Kits, instructional posters and books for children teaching animal respect and care!
Learn more at www.sunnydogink.com.

Are you a CWA member with a cat-related story you’d like to share? Email CWA blog editor Layla Morgan Wilde with your submission ideas to Layla@laylamorganwilde.com

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A Second Chance For Rhette The Cat

Rhette cat
A note from Layla Morgan Wilde, CWA Blog editor. Since returning from Blogpaws, a trifecta of illness, death and 24/7 critical cat care has taken all my time. In order for this blog to continue, I will either need help maintaining it or I'll have to step down. If you're a CWA member and would like to help or have a suggestion email me Layla@laylamorganwilde.com

While I was at Blogpaws a month ago, I sorely felt the absence of the late CWA president Lorie Huston. At Blogpaws last year we’d laughed and enjoyed a quiet lunch of burgers on the patio. I had no clue it would be the last time I’d see her alive. At Blogpaws this year I was keen to chat with Sandra Townsend who had adopted Rhette, one of Lorie’s cats. When Lorie died, she left six cats in need of new homes and second chances. Sandra kindly submitted on update on Rhette.

A Second Chance For Rhette

Rhette cat

When I returned from BlogPaws, after the dogs finally settled down, I went to look for Rhette. There he was, as usual, sound asleep at the foot of my side of the bed.  I petted him, he woke up realizing right away that I was home, and began to purr and bump me with his head, obviously glad to see me.

I didn’t know Lori Huston, I knew of her from Twitter and #blogpawschat, but never got to meet her.  It didn’t take long for me to learn of her illness, sudden passing and the cats she left behind. When her grieving friends stepped up to help rehome her “babies” I thought I could help.

Most of Rhette’s journey since is documented in my blog Dolly the Doxie (http://www.dollythedoxie.com). It’s been almost nine months since we picked him up at O’Hare Airport’s cargo terminal. So much has happened since then I honestly don’t think I would have adopted Rhette knowing that a month after he came to live with us that I would lose my mother. That’s because I was the only one to bring home her beloved Cocker Spaniel Taffy to live with my husband and I, Dolly and Rhette in a two-bedroom flat in the city. But I did, and it’s working, mostly.

Rhette had no problem with Dolly, other than her wanting to play. Rhette isn’t interested. A month later, when I brought Taffy home, Rhette was not amused at all. Taffy grew up with a cat and she loves Rhette, always sticking her nose right in his face and wiggling her butt. Rhette isn’t impressed. Once in awhile the dogs give him a chase through the house, which he enjoys, and that’s it. He also thinks its treat time for him too when they get one.

Rhette is a pretty smart cat, and learns things quickly. He’s a chronic counter-surfer, but he has his food and water there, to keep away from the dogs, so what are you going to do? I put my foot down about him getting on island where we eat, but I always end up eating my breakfast, looking at my iPad, with him laying a foot away. What are you going to do?

Rhette cat

At first Rhette spent most of his days in a bed by the computer. As soon I sit down he’s on top of the keyboard making it impossible to work. I always wonder if he did that to Lori too. He head butts everything knocking your mouse, keyboard, papers, which he licks, on the floor. Makes a real nuisance of himself. Ignoring him doesn’t work. Getting him to lie in your lap with the keyboard out of the way is about the only way to get anything done. For some reason now Dolly sleeps in that bed but Rhette has several favorite places to spend his time sleeping. He has a bed on the back porch he enjoys and its right by a window. If he’s not sleeping on my side of the bed during the day you’ll find him on a bench in my TV room.

Still recuperating from back surgery, I spent most of winter afternoons napping on the couch with two dogs and a cat. Rhette never lets the dogs stop him from sitting with us. He’s not technically a lap cat, but more of a lying on you cat. He’ll lie on your shoulder, arm, neck or your chest, kneading and purring away. I am also now a lady with a cat on my head. If he’s not lying on my head, across my neck or on my pillow in bed he’s perched right on my chest kneading my neck, purring loudly

I had a chance to meet Lori’s friends and colleagues Barkworld in Atlanta last year to thank them in person for finding homes for Lori’s cats. I also met Lori’s brother, telling him it was fate that I adopt one of Lori’s cats. She’s a Nebraska girl, and both my parents were born and raised there. He loved seeing pictures of one of Lori’s “babies” happy and settled in. And yes, I feel that Rhette is very happy and content with us.

The first night back from BlogPaws I fell asleep with Rhette lying next to me, kneading the inside of my arm, really, and I didn’t mind at all. Also, my husband finally stopped saying, “I don’t want a cat” to “He’s a really nice cat.” And he is.

sandra townsend

Bio: Sandra Townsend started her blog Dolly the Doxie two and a half years ago to keep herself busy as a result of long-term unemployment. She is an experienced business professional who has combined her love of animals and writing into an engaging and growing pet blog. Dolly is a Dachshund mix rescue whom she shares her adventures with to keep healthy and fit in Chicago.
Visit and follow Sandra Townsend at:
Blog: http://www.dollythedoxie.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dollythedoxie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DollytheDoxie
Instagram: https://instagram.com/dollythedoxie/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/dollythedoxie/
Layla Morgan Wilde blogs at CatWisdom101.com and can be reach via email info@catwisdom101.com

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A Blind Cat Writer’s Cat

Toby cat

Many cat writers have blind cats but what about a blind writer’s cat? I was curious to know and asked, CWA member Lauren Merryfield, who is blind about her her cat Toby. “He is aware I am blind so he knows that looking at me will not work. He has adapted well, as all of my previous and other current cats have. This is his story of how he came to live with me.”

Toby cat

Toby, Be Quiet!

By Lauren Merryfield

I had suddenly lost my part-Maine coon kitty, Meriwether Lewis (Lewie) Merryfield, due to renal failure. Because his death came with no warning, I felt devastated. However, it was way too quiet in our home for me and my elder cat, Maryah (Mariah with a Y). I had heard that Cat Tales Rescue held cat adoptions every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at Petco, so I rather automatically took myself there.

I heard mews and meows and could not decide if I wanted a kitten or a grown cat. I was leaning toward a grown cat when a volunteer placed an almost-tuxedo kitten in my lap. I say “almost” because he does have a white bib and feet, with a black suit, as a tuxedo cat would have, but with some black spots on his mostly-white paws and a white “smile” on one cheek, according to a friend of mine. He was tiny and wiry. He was mewing loudly, climbing up to my shoulder. When he mewed in my ear, I  knew that he was mine.

His foster family had named him Reebok but the name Toby jumped out from him. Tobias Reebok (Toby) Merryfield was adopted on Earth Day three years ago.This cat has huge eyes, always on the alert. He is what I would consider overly anxious, however, I think he believes he needs to be  the cat police around here. He is the spokeskitty for himself and Maryah, and, a year later, Lelaynya (Laynie), a tortoise shell kitty.

Toby generally has one prominent meow. It goes “wah-hew!” I’ve been owned by cats who have more of a vocabulary than Toby has, however, his inflection of that one main word is amazing. He can sound friendly, concerned, frantic and downright whiny. I’ve never had a whiny cat before, but now I have one. I love the sound of meow except when he whines. At those times I am likely to say “Toby, be quiet!”

Does he obey me?  Do cats obey us?

On several occasions I realized that Toby knew I could not see. When I dropped a small object onto the floor, Toby would walk over to it,placing his front feet on either side of the object. When he did this the first time, I considered it a fluke. But now I know it is his deliberate means of helping me.Toby also anxiously sits in the wooden tray where his cans of food are stacked, meowing in a concerned tone because he knows there are only several cans left. I mean, it is almost like that cat can count!  I’ve also caught him looking down into the open container of dry food, with his paws placed on the top edge, as he meows with concern.

Toby has a favorite toy-a laser toy. He jumps all over the place trying to catch that ever-elusive darting light. I hear him clamoring against the wall, up against a bookshelf and jumping back down onto the floor.

One day Toby was in frantic alert mode. I could not figure out why he was meowing so insistently. The next day, a friend of mine visited us, informing me that there were ants in the kitties’ food bowl. Evidently they were stinging Toby’s face as he tried to eat. Such is the life of a cat living on the ground level. He gives me similar alert tones when fleas are present in our apartment.

Though they always have dry food, so they are not going to starve, Toby goes into instant alert/starvation mode for canned food. All three of them eat it, but he is always the one who begs for it.

When I am tired, and Toby’s high-pitched “wah-hew!” grates on my nerves and ears, I rather sternly tell him:”Toby! Be quiet!”  However,it occurred to me the other day that I will not always have my beloved Toby. There will come a day, I am sure, when I will long for each one of those rather strident meows. When he breathes his last, he will, indeed, be quiet.So, okay. Go ahead, Toby. Let your opinions and concerns be known.

Toby, be quiet!-only in your sleep.

Lauren Merryfield lives in Fairfield, California with her three cats: Maryah, Toby and Laynie. She is the author of There’s More Than One Way to Love a Cat and There’s More Than One Way To Be Okay:A blind Woman’s PURRspective On Life.

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Editor’s note: Many of our members are attending and/or presenting at Blogpaws, the premier pet blogging conference this week. If you are attending, please send your favorite pic or two from the conference for inclusion in a photo montage for a blog post.

Happy Meow Memorial Day

Memorial Day cats

Memorial Day cats

 

Happy Memorial Day to our readers who celebrate the day Americans honor their military. Pets are also honored for their military service.

Retired military service dogs are available for adoption at Save-A-Vet.org

Deployed military unable to find foster care for their pets can seek help at Pets For Patriots

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Black Cat And The Accidental Angel

Black cat and the accidental angel

Black cat and the accidental angel

Black Cat And The Accidental Angel by Elaine Farber.

Book review by Melissa Lapierre

Even though I’ve been a cat lady since the day I was born, as a little girl one of my favorite television shows was The Littlest Hobo. Do you remember the stray German Shepherd who roamed from town to town befriending and helping people in need?

Each family would attempt to adopt him, but at the end of every episode he hit the road again for his next adventure. My mother has often reminded me how I was left in tears every single week when he ended up on his own once again (apparently I didn’t quite understand the concept of the show). Then there was Lassie…something was always happening that would separate her from Timmy, and oh the adventures she would find with the people she met on her way home to him.

 

 

 

 

 
I recently read a wonderful mystery that reminded me of these special shows from my childhood: Black Cat and the Accidental Angel by Elaine Faber, the third book in her delightful Black Cat mystery series.
From the publisher: When the family SUV flips and Kimberlee is rushed to the hospital, Black Cat (Thumper) and his soul-mate are left behind. Black Cat loses all memory of his former life and the identity of the lovely feline companion by his side. “Call me Angel. I’m here to take care of you.” Her words set them on a long journey toward home, and life brings them face to face with episodes of joy and sorrow.

The two cats are taken in by John and his young daughter, Cindy, facing foreclosure of the family vineyard and emu farm. In addition, someone is playing increasingly dangerous pranks that threaten Cindy’s safety. Angel makes it her mission to help their new family. John’s prayers are answered in unexpected ways, but not until Angel puts her life at risk to protect the child, and Black Cat finds there are more important things in life than knowing your real name.
Told mainly from the cats’ point of view, I found myself caring deeply about the humans in the story too, and my heart was touched by the bond that Black Cat, Angel, John and Cindy formed in such a short period of time. More than once I teared up at the thought that by the end of the book they would have to say good-bye, but it was done in a way that left me with happy tears at the turn of the last page.

Even if you haven’t read the first two books in the series, this one stands on its own as a very special story with important life lessons, a beautiful feline romance, and a cast of characters that you will find hard to forget.

 

Amazon purchase link: Black Cat and The Accidental Angel

Visit Elaine Faber at her website MindCandyMysteries

Visit Melissa Lapierre at her blog MochasMysteriesMeows

Read any exceptional cat books lately you’d like reviewed at the CWA blog? Email the editor, Layla Morgan Wilde Layla@laylamorganwilde.com

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Haiku By Cat is Going To Blogpaws. Are You?

Caturday Haiku cat

Caturday Haiku cat

Happy Caturday! What kind of gifts have your cats given you lately? Sometimes we need to give ourselves a gift. The Haiku is by Susan Willett of Life With Dogs and Cats She’s one of many talented CWA members off to Nashville at the end of the month to attend the Blogpaws Conference. There will be two CWA writer panels and plenty of opportunity to network and catch up with old and new friends. Imagine 500 pet lovers, top pet experts, a cat product lounge, awards, swag and pets! Attending conferences like Blogpaws and CWA is the gift that keeps on giving.

This year Blogpaws has gone totally digital. With one click you can see the entire program and then select to view the schedule, who is attending, buy tickets and more.

I’ll be presenting one of the panels and hope to meet more CWA members in person. If you have ideas for the CWA blog, let’s talk. This blog is our members’ place to shine. In the meantime, if you’d like to guest blog, have a question or submission, email me, Layla@laylamorganwilde.com 

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The Art of a Cat Lover’s Mother’s Day

Mother's Day- cat mom

Happy Mother’s Day! Teresa Harrison-Best, one of our members from the U.K. kindly send one of her witty poems and illustrations about mothers from a cat’s perspective. Be sure to see her other Mother’s Day poem and illustrations at her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter

Did you know in the U.K. Mother’s Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in the month of Lent? Since the Lent days are not fixed, the date for Mothers Day changes every year. This year mothers were honored on March 15.

Mother's Day cats cartoon

Our Mother

She’s not bad for a human
in fact she’s rather cool.
A diamond in a million,
a really special jewel.

She loves us absolutely,
despite what we may do.
A woman that’s forgiving,
a trooper through and through.

At four o’clock this morning,
she screamed with such delight.
The mouse we brought her from outside,
we think she found alright.

She even joined us in our game
to find the mouse once more.
A generous gesture shown by her
she’d opened the front door.

The food we get is pretty good,
quite often it is hers.
We always show our gratitude
with stacks and stacks of purrs!

Her folded laundry is superb,
luxuriant and soft.
We always clamber to the top
to slumber there aloft.

If the folded laundry pile subsides,
she doesn’t get too mad.
A little grumble here and there,
but nothing really bad!

We know she really loves us,
she tells us all the time.
She not bad for a human,
as our mother she’s sublime!

~Teresa Harrison-Best

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Mother's Day- cat mom
Happy Cat Mom Day from the editor’s assistant, Merlin.