Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ghost of Resolutions Past

I shouldn’t be dwelling on the resolutions that came and went in 2013, but, as I prepare my to-do list for 2014, I want to ensure that my goals are achievable. I’m not talking about those lofty career goals that always sound doable, in theory. I want to make time to pursue the simple pleasures that often elude our busy schedules. So I see no reason why I can’t travel to New York next December during the holiday season and watch George Balanchine’s legendary production of The Nutcracker at The New York City Ballet. I was reminded recently that Mr. Balanchine was a passionate cat lover, and that stage designer Rouben Ter-Arutunian playfully acknowledged this love in his scenery for the Nutcracker ballet. He strategically placed an image of a cat sitting by a window, visible to the audience's left. This tip of the hat paid tribute to Mourka, Balanchine's cat, and here they are.

I am spending a quiet New Year’s Eve at home with our cats and, of course, Cat Man, tonight. No "paw de deux" (you knew that one was coming...) or special activities are in store, although we have an excellent view from our second-floor windows of the spectacular fireworks display that lights up downtown Houston close to midnight.

I wonder if the kitties have their own resolutions. Stop waking up Cat Lady at 5:15 a.m. Nah. Stop begging for Fancy Feast’s appetizers at 12 noon when Cat Lady works from home. Nope. Stop scratching at the bedroom door where Pye is still “self-sequestered.” Not in a million years, or at least in the opening weeks of 2014.

I hope that your next twelve months are filled with laughter and with a continued love for all things feline. The new year will bring a new book on cats, and their ladies, that I developed toward the tail end of 2013—details to come!–, and I am honored to have another opportunity to spread the word about why cats rule the world.

Most important, it is time for me to banish the ghost of resolutions past. Forward we march, Cat Ladies! Cheers to you!

The champagne is on ice at Catland!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Happy holidays, Cat Ladies!

My Christmas morning began bright and early when I greeted Panther and gave him a special breakfast, which consisted of Fancy Feast's tuna appetizer and a can of grilled chicken. I wonder if Panther suspected that this morning might offer a departure from the norm. Or does a stray cat always feel the same-old, same-old, even if the outdoor lights shine more colorfully for several weeks each year?

After feeding Panther, I decided to treat myself to a leisurely morning and afternoon, combining cooking and baking with reading. My friend, colleague, and fellow Cat Lady Heather surprised me with the holiday gift of The Big New Yorker Book of Cats. Big it is, and required reading from cover to cover. I love it!

Another fellow Cat Lady sent word of a UK bookstore's most-popular books about cats. Heading the holiday list at Stanfords is, not surprisingly, the New Yorker's book, and look who is keeping Grumpy Cat company: http://travel.stanfords.co.uk/maps/cat. I feel fortunate to be part of an international community of cat lovers.

I am about to serve dinner, which means it's time to rally the fur kids and to count our enormous blessings.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all good catnip!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Decorating for Cat Ladies, Second Verse

I can hear you clearly now: “You did what?!”

Yes, Cat Man and I have officially adopted an eight-month-old kitty who unexpectedly arrived in our backyard four months ago. We were not planning to begin anew after Lucius passed away, but life intervened. Enter the darling and persuasive Pye, and who could say no to six cats in our house again?

We haven’t been around kittens for so long that we forgot how truly tiny they are. Pye is about as petite as they come, and dainty, too. But I think she’s got a 'tude, which makes her a worthy successor to Lucius.

Pye’s holiday stocking is tangible proof that she is living among us at Catland, because we can’t take a photo of her hiding in between Catman’s dress shirts, which are hanging from the bottom rack of a dark closet in the guest bedroom. That image would not be terribly merry or bright.

Leo, Linus, L.B., and Alvar are almost panting like rubes in anticipation of meeting Pye. Lydia is fuming and plotting when to let the fur fly. I am betting on the first day that the guest-bedroom door opens.

Not a creature is stirring—not the case at Catland!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Decorating for Cat Ladies

Even though the weather outside is hardly frightful, just humid and yucky, the calendar indicates that it is time once again to decorate Catland for the holidays. Cat Man and I are listening to our favorite tunes, and I'm pretending that I live in New England, which means I get to drink a mug of peppermint hot chocolate.

This holiday season marks our first, in thirteen years, without Lucius. To honor the memory of our precious first cat, I commissioned a "mixed-media" wreath from Houston-based artist Marisa Avelar, who is also my colleague at the Museum of Fine Arts. Don't you think Marisa did an outstanding job?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

She's a Cat Lady!

Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

I must admit that I don't care what people say about Miley Cyrus being a bad influence on their kids. So what if she isn't a proper lady? From the looks of this photo, captured at the American Music Awards this past Sunday night, she is a full-bore Cat Lady.

Whoever created Miley's look-at-meow outfit for the AMAs must have sold carbon copies by now to every Cat Lady who is seeking a competitive edge in the "feline fan" fashion department. And Miley even has a lip-synching kitty as her backup (as if she needs any reinforcement).

Am I the only Cat Lady who thinks that Miley may bring new meaning to "cat got my tongue"?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Power Outage

One of my worst nightmares occurred about an hour ago. Have you ever been in the midst of changing a litter box when your home loses its electricity?

I couldn't remember where I had stored our flashlights. Our disaster preparedness protocol is null and void. But I was bound and determined to have clean litter for our cats, come hell or high water or no power.  There needs to be a "Cat Lady Action Plan" for those of us who like to keep busy during our darkest hours. I made my way to the Lysol spray, all the while feeling annoyed.

L.B. was also extremely annoyed. I couldn't see him in the dark, yet I could hear him loud and clear. He was eating everything he could smell. I guess he reverted to his doomsday scenario, meaning
"tank up fast."

Now that power has been restored, L.B. is sleeping peacefully, and I can write to you once again from a well-lit Catland!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wherefore Art Thou, Cat Lady?

Oh, I am here in Houston, Texas, and feeling extremely guilty about not being in touch with you for two months now. But the "art" part of my life took over, as the Museum published fast and furiously on subjects that range from bitter artistic rivals (catfights in the colonial art world!) to assemblages by Antonio Berni.

Back on the feline front, I remain confused by Panther. Or does he have an alter ego? Something is amiss in the backyard at Catland. Cat Man and I also recently greeted an adorable, probably six-month-old kitty, whom I have named Pye (after Pyewacket, of course). She has the sweetest tabby face and a tiny tortoiseshell body, and trapping her so as to proceed with shots and spaying is my Number 1 priority.

I am honored to be joining the opening celebrations tomorrow night at Save A Cat, a new, no-kill rescue shelter for felines. I was invited to sign copies of Cat Lady Chronicles, and I hope you will stop by to support the shelter's cause. The shelter is housed in a bungalow that is conveniently located across the street from a Petsmart store on Alabama at Shepherd. Please come and adopt your new best feline friend for life! And let's you and I be catty in the best sense of the word.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Panther Trap

No, I haven't yet trapped Panther, the stray black cat
who visits our backyard almost every morning, usually at 5:45 a.m. and never later than 6:30 a.m., to tank up for the day.

I have made considerable progress trying to tame Panther during the past eight months. But trapping him eludes my grasp. He is far too feral and wily.

What concerns me even more is whether Panther has a body double. Cat Man has a theory that there are in fact two Panthers, sort of like the identical twins that Hayley Mills played in The Parent Trap. Who knows, maybe Panther, in a previous life, saw the 1961 film and was inspired. As usual, I am dating myself, although I like to think Panther purposely chose a Cat Lady of a certain age to initiate him into the ways of the domestic world.

So, why does Panther let me pet his head on some mornings, whereas he rebuffs me on other mornings? He loves me, he loves me not. And he hisses when he plays the Evil Twin. Lots of fireworks at the crack of dawn!

Still, I want to help get Panther off the streets of Houston and to find him a safe home. I came across a photo from Vogue, c. 1962, that might also inspire Panther to think seriously about committing to a future life of indoor bliss.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Cat Lady Recap

Is there ever a slow news day when it comes to our own cats or those felines who make headlines? I can’t keep up! I apologize for being so slow on the blogger’s draw this month. Here is a quick recap of the weeks that were.

Does your cat like to play with “feline-appropriate” apps on your iPad or other mobile device? I was not surprised to learn from a Wall Street Journal article that app developers are selling “Game for Cats” on iTunes, with great success. At our house, L.B. prefers laptops—traditionalist that he is—and insists that closing the deal for treats, treats, and more treats works best when he sits on top of the keyboard rather than on a flat screen whose width is much smaller than that of his waistline(sorry to be so blunt, L.B., because I do appreciate your efforts to diet). Put simply, L.B. does not need an app to be challenged mentally or to get his point across to his caregivers.

I have suspected for a long time that Lillie was a hair stylist before she was reincarnated as one of the most sensual feline creatures imaginable. Because the heat and humidity in Houston are reaching their most uncomfortable levels right now, I am experimenting with some new hair-care products. Lillie recognizes the scent of newly washed hair, and she always wants me to lower my head close to her nose so that she can inhale the perfumes that invigorate styling gels and “frizz-busting cremes.” Of course, Lillie also likes that I bow in deference to her authority as the reigning beauty of Catland.

That’s not to say that Lydia has lost her looks. In fact, she found a new method this month of keeping her little fanny from a fate worse than death, otherwise known as the middle-age-woman’s “spread.” Just say the word “massager,” and Miss Lydia comes running to my feet or to Cat Man’s. She is ready for some serious massaging, courtesy of an electric back-rubbing wand. Note to self: Never underestimate Lydia’s insatiable need for undivided attention.

When it comes to highly profitable attention, how about the street cat named Bob, who is nothing short of a babe magnet? I saw a brief video of author James Bowen and his beloved Bob working the crowds at a bookstore signing to launch the U.S. distribution of A Street Cat Named Bob. There were a lot of women waiting on line to snap pictures of the once-lonely and injured stray cat who has achieved his deserved fame and fortune.

Mr. Bowen’s literary agent revealed in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review that much of the success of the book can be attributed not only to its heartfelt tale of redemption, but to this golden rule: “Also, a lot of people just. Love. Cats.” You. Think?

I was delighted to find an active forum for cat lovers on Squidoo: http://www.squidoo/com/-crazy-cat-lady-reasons. I was even more delighted to discover that Cat Lady Chronicles had made the cut as recommended reading for “crazy cat ladies.” I am taking this designation to mean “crazy-passionate for cats,” and I am indeed proud to be in such “demented” company.

There is no better validation of a Cat Lady’s cause than the paws-up praise offered by a cat. Meet Walter, an exceedingly handsome feline who was rescued about 18 months ago after being abandoned on a street in Houston’s Heights neighborhood.
Walter has been living very comfortably at The Cat Doctor’s clinic ever since, but he would still like to find a home with a full-time Cat Lady or a Cat Man at his beck and call. Apparently, when Walter makes his daily rounds at the clinic to stretch his legs, he likes to pause and read a chapter or two from my book. Thank you, Walter, for the not-so-subtle endorsement. If you know of a kind soul who could give Walter a new home, please contact me. I would be honored to make the introduction.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sexy Cat Ladies

Way back when, circa the 1970s, I used to save my pennies from summer internships at the Chicago Sun-Times and treat myself to a signature dress or two by Diane von Furstenberg. I loved her then-new wrap dress, and the Lord & Taylor store on Bolyston Street in Boston used to hold twice-yearly sales that even a college student could afford to shop. I always felt like a grown-up when I wore one of “the other Diane’s” dresses.

Time marched on, and here we are, in 2013, still admiring the fashion designer’s now-iconic wrap dress. A recent New York Times magazine profile of “DVF,” as she is known to her legions of fans worldwide, gave me another reason to want to return to the stores and purchase her label.

I do not remember Vogue, maybe ten years ago, calling Diane von Furstenberg “an exotic catwoman seductress”! But I enthusiastically second that motion. This Diane has the “catwoman” part nailed down, and I can relate to empire-building, à la colonies of adopted felines. “Exotic” and “seductress” will require baby steps.

Designers Diane von Furstenberg and Yvan Mispelaere on the catwalk at the Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Query of the Day: Are you a sexy Cat Lady?

Friday, July 19, 2013

In Mourning

Since Lucius passed away little more than a month ago, I have refrained from blogging. This was not a deliberate choice. Every time I sat down to write, I thought about how Lucius was always on my mind whenever I blogged, and about how much my home environment has changed immeasurably. But I miss communicating with fellow Cat Ladies, and I could have sworn I heard Lucius encouraging me just last night—when insomnia kicked in—to recharge my batteries. Here, in brief, is what I have learned during the past five weeks.

I was aware that cats experience grieving, that they mourn the loss of their human parents and/or their feline companions. I can add firsthand experience to my book-learned knowledge, having observed Lydia, Leo, Linus, L.B., and Alvar attempt to get their bearings without an alpha cat in the house. Each of our five cats (the four cats in the garage apartment never had the distinct pleasure of meeting Lucius) has reacted differently to Lucius’s death, and I have been surprised, and saddened, most by Alvar’s displays of grief.

Lydia appears to be lost without her attentive soul mate. She and Lucius were virtually joined at the hip for thirteen years, and the male cats in the house do not dare infringe officially on Lucius’s territory. Lydia is not inconsolable, but she keeps her distance from the other cats and is sleeping even more than her usual 18 hours per day. I praise and coddle her—she is beautiful, after all—,and she resists my sincere flattery.

Leo, ever the gentle cat, is mourning silently. He likes to sleep in all of the spots where Lucius enjoyed resting, particularly on what became his last days. Linus, who is still the size of a kitten, is asserting himself after a respectable period of mourning. He loved Lucius, even worshipped him at times. Lucius had that Svengali-like effect on younger cats. If I were a betting Cat Lady, I would wager that Linus will become the new alpha cat (trapped in his runt-of-the-litter body).

L.B. was the prince of all princes to Lucius in his final hours on June 12. L.B. apparently understood what was happening to Lucius, and L.B. could not bear to say goodbye. He seems to have recovered from his sadness, though I suspect his renewed zest for overeating is motivated by anxiety and a fear of the unknown.

Alvar was the object of Lucius’s scorn and ridicule ever since we rescued him from the street, nine years ago. Alvar and Lucius—once bitter enemies—reconciled several years ago; before he died, Lucius was especially solicitous toward Alvar, as if he wanted to apologize for his misbehavior and taunting. I had always assumed that Alvar’s happiest day would come when he realized that Lucius was no longer alive. The opposite is true.

Alvar stared at the peeling paint on an all-white wall in the upstairs bathroom. For a change of scenery, he sat inside of a spare litter box that I store in a cabinet underneath the bathroom sink. For three weeks, Alvar maintained this routine, and he rarely ate. Who would have guessed that Alvar would miss his feuding partner? Alvar finally emerged from hiding on July 4, acknowledging his newfound independence.

All I can say, as of this writing, is that I have seen the future of losing all of my cats, and the future is very sad, indeed. The moral of today’s story is hardly original, so forgive me for stating the obvious: We Cat Ladies must live every day to the fullest with our beloved furry friends.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And Then There Were Nine

I always dreaded the day that I would need to write this blog post, in which I would announce that Lucius Lyndon Lovejoy had died. Until now, I wasn’t ready to write about Lucius’s passing. Lucius drew his last breath on the afternoon of June 12, only one week ago. He was 16, yet once the time came for Michael and me to say our final good-bye to Lucius, our beloved cat looked young again, and at peace with the world.

Because Lucius, in his late senior years, continued to defy the medical odds, I foolishly hoped he would live longer. Still, I had come to understand in the past few months that measuring his life in years was no longer realistic.

Lucius had willed his diabetes into remission. He had stared down pancreatitus. He had survived having a number of his teeth pulled and had overcome periodontal issues related to gum disease. He could not win his hard-fought battle with chronic renal failure.

Lucius also suffered deeply and routinely from anxiety. I can’t help but conclude that the stress he brought on himself contributed to his physical deterioration. Nonetheless, it is difficult to imagine Lucius liberated from his “issues.” His fragile mental state defined him. He had more empathy than some people I know (sad, but true). Michael and I gladly would take back all the “bad days”—of Lucius literally destroying furniture and bedding in our house—just to have one additional moment with him.

A number of my closest friends and colleagues have written to me about Lucius’s legacy. I had the privilege of writing about Lucius regularly in blog posts during the past few years, and at more length recently in Cat Lady Chronicles. Thanks to the media’s coverage of my book, Lucius saw his name in print in Cat Fancy, no less. I am boasting as his Cat Lady, but it is safe to say that journalists were intrigued by Lucius, a cat who inspired unconditional love.

I take some comfort knowing that, in my own way, I helped to spread the word about a truly remarkable creature. I am not in the habit of disagreeing with my mother, who said that Michael and I were remarkable also, “showing compassion and understanding.” How could anyone not appreciate and admire Lucius’s gifts?

Rest in peace, Little Man. You changed my life, and it is not the same without you.

Lucius Lyndon Lovejoy, in his youth

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Ultimate Brooks Man

Inspired by the buzz accompanying Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, and also curious about the Brooks Brothers promotional tie-in, I was prompted to look again at one of my favorite photos of Lucius, my ultimate Brooks man.

If there ever was an American gentleman of distinction, then F. Scott Fitzgerald must have met Lucius in one of this cat’s former lives. Yes, I’ve seen the Facebook pages for “The Great Catsby,” and I have friends who named their cats Gatsby, but I’m talking about the real deal: a sartorially splendid feline.

Lucius, in his impeccably groomed orange-fur coat, could compete with Jay Gatsby or any 1920s-era guy who enjoyed strutting his stuff in a two-button plaid suit jacket with a matching vest.

Above is my Exhibit B (for Brooks Brothers): Lucius, in his prime, sitting inside a Brooks Brothers gift box. I have fond memories of Lucius playing with the gift-box ribbon. Perhaps he was trying to convey that he would gladly wear a striped bowtie to please me.

Query of the Day: Are your cats “into” Gatsby fashion?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Show Me...the Butt

Please excuse the crude title of today's post, but, "show me the butt," is what I found myself saying to Miss Tommie today, on Mother's Day.

At my house, which extends to the garage apartment, we celebrate "Mama Kitty's Day," in our own way. Miss Tommie, who lives in the apartment with her feline mother, Lillie, chose the occasion to demonstrate her love for her Cat Lady plainly, and simply.

I could not have been more pleased when Miss Tommie raised her tiny rear end and glanced at me approvingly. I know, it's a far cry from being the center of attention at a fancy Mother's Day brunch. Still, I was touched, and Miss Tommie's form of love cannot be bought.

"Show Me the Butt" may just be the perfect jingle for all Cat Ladies having Mommy Time with their fur kids, right now!

Query of the Day: Can you feel the love?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Age-bypass Identification

In Cat Lady Chronicles, I wrote about my humorous experience of waiting at a Walgreens drive-thru to retrieve a refill of an insulin prescription in Lucius’s name. History has repeated itself, though with a slightly different twist.

Lucius—amazing cat that he is–went into remission for diabetes about a year ago. L.B. was diagnosed with diabetes shortly thereafter. The insulin prescription has remained in Lucius’s name, which is what prompted the following conversation.

The drive-thru lane was several cars deep, so I went inside Walgreens to pick up the refill for L.B. The pharmacist asked me to confirm the date of birth on the savings card for the prescription, because she was confused. The date in the database indicated 1998, but I looked considerably older than 15.

Gee, thanks.

I tried to explain calmly that the date of birth referred to Lucius, not to me. Then came the question about how could I know exactly a cat’s birthday? Call it Cat Lady’s intuition, I said, and paid for the refill promptly.

When I arrived home, I advised L. B. that he must go into remission, for more reasons than one. Cat Ladies like to be needed (and kneaded), not insulted.

Query of the Day: Do you know your cats’ dates of birth?

Friday, April 26, 2013

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

I’m not one to proselytize on the need to spay and neuter cats, though I cannot imagine not taking full responsibility for doing so with our pets. But I was reminded this week that there are people who simply are not familiar with the birds and the bees when it comes to feline mating and reproductive cycles.

A friend told me the following true story about a married couple who are her friends: About seven or eight months ago, five black kittens were dumped—there is no elegant word here—in Hermann Park in Houston. The husband found and rescued the kittens and took them home to meet his wife. The couple had never lived with cats before.

My friend caught up with the newfound couple-with-cats a few months ago and wondered why the four female cats looked so “heavy.” She asked if the females subscribed to a different diet than the male cat; otherwise, why were they considerably overweight?

“Oh, not at all,” said the Cat Lady. “They all eat the same food.” The next question from my friend was, “Well, then, are the females pregnant?”

“Oh, no,” said the Cat Lady. “Are you kidding? He’s their brother.”

Fast-forward to the present tense. I learned that there are now thirteen black cats living together under the same roof with their human parents and their own four children. The male cat—aka Stud Brother—was adopted shortly after impregnating his sisters and before the four female cats gave birth to nine kittens. What are the odds of having thirteen black cats and conquering people’s superstitions about the number 13?

I suppose it goes without saying that the couple is planning to take their kitties to be spayed and neutered as soon as possible. Meanwhile, if you know of anyone who is looking to adopt a black kitten, please contact this Cat Lady.

Query of the Day: Why do some Good Samaritans' deeds go punished?

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Lil Bub Bandwagon

All Aboard! And, I’m on it!

I finally caught up with Lil Bub in real-time via the “Today” show yesterday morning. True to form, the “perma-kitty” was unbelievably adorable, and I found myself wondering if she and my very own “Mr. Peanut” would enjoy comparing notes on the many plus signs of being so small.

Unlike Lil Bub, Mr. Peanut, whose given name is Linus, has teeth and has been known to bite (playfully) if he is not getting his way. But this kind of naughty behavior occurs rarely, because when you are as cute as Mr. Peanut, life tends to go your way.

Mr. Peanut's petite “Lil Cat Lady” would not have it any other way.

Mr. Peanut turned 10 recently, yet every time I look at him, I still see the darling face of a 7-month-old stray kitten—a kitten who was desperate to get off the street and move into our home. He has never stepped outdoors since, though I am tempted to facilitate a meeting with Lil Bub. Have you, too, noticed that the most-wonderful creatures often arrive in the tiniest forms imaginable?

Query of the Day: Should Lil Bub and Mr. Peanut check out each other at GoToMeeting?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Puppy Love

Has the Cat Lady switched allegiances after all these years? Not exactly, but I am barking up a different tree today. Please don’t tell Lucius et al.!

As I’ve commented before, I also love dogs, and I can’t resist recommending a wonderful new book, Newborn Puppies: Dogs in Their First Three Weeks, by Traer Scott. This book is a chart-buster already and guaranteed to be a perennial best-seller: http://www.amazon.com/Newborn-Puppies-Their-First-Three/dp/1452114315/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365102740&sr=8-1&keywords=newborn+puppies+dogs+in+their+first+three+weeks

Who doesn’t adore puppies? Who doesn’t appreciate soulful images of animals in their infancy? Ms. Scott has hit on a winning combination, which is not to imply that her photographs are formulaic. On the contrary. She has the artist’s unique eye and an unwavering sympathy for her subject.

I was very privileged to be the recipient of Ms. Scott’s kind words about Cat Lady Chronicles. When I embarked on my journey to write about my cats, I was like a newborn puppy, eager for validation. Ms. Scott offered encouragement when she read some early chapters of the book, and ultimately she provided a blurb that was published on the book's back cover. I remain grateful for her endorsement. 
You heard it from the Cat Lady: Paws up for puppy love!

Query of the Day: Will you ask your cat's permission to bring Newborn Puppies into your home?

Monday, April 1, 2013

I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy

You already have been introduced many times to Cat Man, otherwise known as my husband, Michael. Now, let me introduce you to my newest Main Man, Rocky Balboa, who is making lots of headway (and he has the big head to prove it) as the hilarious, tweeting “catvocate” at the Friends for Life no-kill animal shelter, right here in Houston.

Rocky has bedroom eyes and a body that was born to do more than hand jive. He no doubt beat up every other stray cat he met on the streets, but he is reformed. Rocky is a true pussycat, only with less-than-perfect ears. There is something simply irresistible about his face.

I was flattered when, after meeting Rocky this past Friday, he sent out a tweet very promptly:https://twitter.com/FFL_Rocky
He's obviously into proper "netiquette," and see what I mean about his face? The photo of Rocky gives new meaning to the "mug shot."

Nothing is sweeter than seeing a rehabilitated feral cat living the good, protected life. If you have ever wondered what cat heaven must look like, drop by Friends for Life and see the amazing number of cats living together in peaceful harmony. And, be sure to ask for Rocky, who is deservedly enjoying far more than the standard 15 minutes of fame.

Query of the Day: Who is your favorite tomcat?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Excuses, excuses…,I know. At least I do not appear to be suffering from blogger’s block, although I concede that I have a bad case of deferred development of blog posts.

To be fair (to myself), I have been “processing” a film I saw several weeks ago. How can it be that I waited all of these years to see the cinematic gem that is Bell, Book, and Candle?

This movie, which debuted in 1958, has everything that fascinates me about the past or that, in some way, relates to my present life: New York during the late 1950s, with spectacular shots of some of my favorite landmarks, such as the Flatiron Building; Kim Novak as “Gil” Holroyd, a Wellesley graduate who runs a Primitive art gallery; James Stewart as “Shep” Henderson, a suave publisher; French midcentury-modern nightclub music; hocus-pocus, “make him love me” witchcraft; and last, but far from least, a beguiling Siamese cat named Pyewacket, who is attuned to Gil’s every move and knows the score with Shep.
                 Photo by Ralph Crane

I will watch Bell, Book, and Candle again and again for all of these attractions, and I recommend it especially to Cat Ladies because of the essential role played by Pyewacket. What a gifted cat!

Query of the Day: What are your most-watched films that feature cats?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Out of Practice

I don’t know what happened to the month of February. It arrived according to schedule, and I lost track of time. I was out of pocket each week because of publication deadlines and commitments, and I worry that I got out of practice writing to you, my fellow Cat Ladies. Yet I wasn’t oblivious to numerous bright spots that appeared on the Cat Lady calendar, so here goes:

The play “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was in rehearsals on Broadway last month, and many a cat auditioned at an open casting call for the part of the unofficially named ginger tabby “Cat,” who lives with the free-spirited Holly Golightly. And the winner is…?

A SpeedBump cartoon titled “Zen Kitties” described the special “art in the sand” that our cats “make” every day. “And then it is wiped clean to reflect the impermanence of life.” This eloquent prose belongs on a museum wall label!

Photo by Filippo Monteforte/Getty Images

Pope Benedictus XVI resigned, and no sooner was he transported via government helicopter from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo than the world was introduced to his beloved cat, Contessina, pictured above. She is a beauty, and I can’t imagine a luckier cat. I had forgotten that the Pope Emeritus has written about his boundless love for cats, going so far as to get into the mind of a cat in Joseph and Chico.

Speaking of books, here comes the self-promotion: Copies from the second printing of Cat Lady Chronicles began shipping to feline-friendly booksellers nationwide and across the pond. As always, thank you for your warm support.

My next post will bring me up to date, to this month. I watched a great film classic on TV a few nights ago, and I can’t wait to tell you about my new favorite cinematic cat. Does the name “Pyewacket” mean anything to you?

Query of the Day: Was it just me, or did February come and go more quickly than usual?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Token of Our Love

Let’s hear it for Hasbro, Cat Ladies!

Introducing the new Monopoly cat! Photo by Associated Press
Did we ever doubt that a cat would prevail as the newest token on the Monopoly game board?

When I saw the breaking news announced on websites this morning, I smiled and thought to myself, “Tell me something I don’t already know.” But I didn’t know the percentage of votes, and I wasn’t aware that, of the old tokens, the Scottie Dog was a fan favorite, earning 29 percent of the vote. I had to throw a dog a bone….

I haven’t played Monopoly in a very long time, and now there is a built-in, meow-y incentive.

Query of the Day: Did you and every Cat Lady you know cast your vote for the cat token?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Call Me Maybe

I have not been looking outright to adopt another cat, but I always welcome the opportunity to help a cat in need. So call me maybe?

I have found myself humming “Call Me Maybe” all too frequently these days. Without fail, during my five-minute commute to the office, the song comes on the radio. When I’m pushing a grocery cart (stacked with cat litters, naturally) at my neighborhood Kroger, I hear Carly Rae Jepsen whispering in my ear. If I’m volunteering at my favorite resale shop on a Saturday morning, the Sirius station broadcast via the PA system plays and replays the song during my three-hour tour of duty.

During the past few weeks, an adorable stray tom kitty has scampered across our front yard. One morning, when he stopped in his tracks, I sensed that he was reaching out to me. OK, he was starving, period, and maybe he had heard about my book? I couldn’t resist feeding him, and after I did so, I felt certain he would return that evening for more. I was very surprised, and worried, when I did not see him again.

Then just last night, as I was driving home from work during prime time, I heard Carly Rae’s song again. I realized that this peppy song could become a sort of Cat Lady anthem. Think about these lyrics the next time you open your front or back door to a cat you have never seen before:

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy

But here’s my number, so call me maybe

Guess what: Tom Kitty was waiting for me last night. He’s got my number, and there is no maybe!

Query of the Day: Who will adopt Tom Kitty?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ring 3 Needs the Tonkinese

That phrase keeps ringing in my ears after having worked this past Saturday and Sunday at the 60th Houston Charity Cat Show. I use the term “worked” loosely because, obviously, a Cat Lady enjoys being near A LOT of cats—both household domestic and breeders’ exotic pets—and surrounded by empathetic Cat Ladies.

My colleagues at The MFAH Shop rented a booth to showcase the many artful books that the store carries for feline fanciers. Yes, very selfishly, I attended the show to hawk my Cat Lady Chronicles.

Some women who approached the museum shop's booth may have thought I was rude initially, because one of the first questions I was asked was, “Are you the Cat Lady”? I responded, “No, but I am one of thousands of Cat Ladies here today.” All joking aside, I was very pleased to meet others who wear their hearts on their sleeves, literally. I have never seen so many leopard-print-clad ladies in one room, and Exhibit Hall A at the George R. Brown Convention Center is huge. You get the picture.

The show’s announcer, whose booming twang might do well at an even bigger gig (the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo), made both of my days whenever he let all show attendees know that cats were leaving the building for their forever homes. Many of Houston’s prominent animal-rescue and shelter groups had set up on-site adoptions. I remember distinctly that there was tremendous applause for Mabel and Desirée when they bid goodbye to the devoted volunteers who had cared for them.

I wanted to bring home a female orange kitten for our three geriatric orange boys, but the voice of reason prevailed.

Query of the Day: Do you like to attend cat shows?