Monkeyface, the Story of a Cat or a King

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Monkeyface

As you may be aware, my first cat was a Maine Coon named Monkeyface. He was my muse, confidant and closest friend. About ten years ago, I wrote this story of his life as he might have told it.

It wasn’t until years later that I decided to write a book called Harry the Wonder Cat. Of course, nothing would do but to have the main feline character based on my wonderful Monkeyface. Now, the book has become a series and Monkeyface still has the starring role.

 

I’ve heard people say that cats have nine lives. I’m here to tell you about the two of mine. While totally different, they were both equally filled with love and excitement. Of course, both of my moms quickly learned who was the boss.

Let me start from the beginning. It was on a warm spring day in May that I took my first breath in this world. My three siblings and I found ourselves in front of my first mom’s house. We all met Momma Kym, who took us into her big house. Mom then put us in a small portable room, which she called a cooler. It had a soft pad on the floor, which was warm and kept us nice and cozy. The room was a little cramped for the four of us but it would do. Soon Momma Kym moved two of my siblings out of the cooler My sister and I had a lot more room to stretch out comfortably .

Because the room was portable, Momma Kym took us everywhere she went. She fed us every three hours and took care of our every need. This went on for days. We came to think of the cooler as our own little paradise. Mom never tired of fulfilling our demands. She was my first servant and as such, Momma Kym was excellent. She served with such tenderness, love and loyalty; I knew I had chosen well.

One day Mom took us from our sanctuary. Our world now enlarged a hundred-fold and was quite scary at first. We were put in with other kittens and they were huge and some were even bullies. I quickly acquired an attitude of self-importance. This was easy to do. Why, I already had Momma Kym and the rest of the humans around wrapped around my little paw. Soon the others came to fear, respect, and yes, even idolize me. Life was indeed good!

This adoration went on for two years, growing stronger everyday. No one could resist my charm. Everybody who came into my life loved me, especially Momma Kym. She often showed her devotion by picking me up and kissing me all over while telling me that I was her baby. Imagine me a baby! Humph!! This degraded me beyond belief, especially in front of the others, so I would turn my head and push her away. But, I’ll tell you a secret…I really did love it.

My favorite sport was hunting. I especially liked to hunt gophers. I don’t know, there was something about the chase. It was thrilling beyond compare. My comrades said that I was the best hunter, with the exception of one time, when the gopher actually had the audacity to bite me before I had the chance to hunt him down. Talk about embarrassing. I came home to Momma Kym with my tail between my legs. Off to the vet we went. They fixed me up, good as new. Soon, I was out searching for more excitement.

One day, while I was out chasing gophers, I wandered off too far. When I realized that my prey had escaped my grasp, I noticed that I was in a field across the street from home. I sauntered back toward the road and heard a car coming. Well, I wasn’t afraid of a car. After all, I could run faster than any of the other cats. I can surely outrun a car. I took a running start. Faster and faster I went. Catching a glimpse of the car speeding toward me, I picked up the pace, almost making it to the other side in time. Almost. I felt the pain in my hind leg and I realized the huge mechanical monster had hit me. I could not make it home, so I limped to safety under a tree where Momma Kym found me. We made another trip to the vet.

Then one day, a lady came into the office. She called my name and I cuddled up on her lap, purring happily. I heard Mom call her Denise. Mom then asked me if I would like to go home with her. Well, this lady seemed nice enough and knew how to scratch behind my ears. I liked that. Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.

So began my second life. Now this life was different than my first. Momma Denise didn’t let me out to hunt. There were too many cars around my new home. Instead, she bought me toy mice to pounce on and balls to chase. This was almost as fun as the real thing. I learned to love my new life as much as I did my old. I was the only cat in the house, which made me king with no competition. Momma Denise gave me as much love and attention as Momma Kym. In my first life, I was the “Big Cheese”, idolized and adored by all of the other cats, mascot of the office and the love of Momma Kym’s life.

Whereas with Momma Denise, I wormed my way into her heart with my silly antics the very first day. She also picked me up and made over me just like Momma Kym used to do, but the boys weren’t around to make fun of me, so it was okay.

Every morning I woke Momma Denise up by softly trilling (a Maine Coon’s way of meowing) as I jumped on the bed. I would lay on her head and knead her hair. If that didn’t wake her, I would add a nibble on her earlobe. If she wasn’t awake by then, I would go to Plan B, pouncing on her feet usually did the trick. I would act as if they were gophers and get some hunting practice. By the time I was through, Momma Denise was awake and laughing. Then I could expect breakfast.

I loved it when Mom went away for a long time because she would always bring some new toy home to me. Once, after being away for one whole day, she brought three balls and a new mouse to play with. These were all very nice, but my favorite toy was the paper bag that she dropped on the floor especially for me. I loved to explore it, climbing into it and hiding from Mom. Then I would spring out at her feet as she walked by the bag. She laughed and I would rub up against her, showing her that I really loved her.

Momma Denise often called me her muse. I don’t know what that means, but I do know that I inspire her. You see, she is a writer. Mom works all hours on her stories. While she sits pounding away at the keyboard, I would sit in the windowsill, watching her. Every time she hits a hard spot, Mom would stop, lean back and stare at me. Then came the time to do my job. I would jump from my throne and into her lap so that she could pet me. Then she would get going again, telling me that I had inspired her, once again.

In both of my lives, I was lucky. While other cats had people who owned them, I had moms whom served me, and served me well. It’s a cat’s world after all.

How to Handle Your Cat’s Holiday Stresses

This is the time of year when people are hustling and bustling, and celebrating the holidays with friends and family. There’s all the shopping for presents, going to parties and unexpected guests dropping by that keeps us busy. Sometimes, too busy to take notice of how all of these changes are affecting your cats. 

Most people celebrate by putting up a Christmas tree and decorating their house. All of these shiny decorations and ornaments on a tree full of lights are beautiful to look at, but they can pose a danger to your cat.

Most cats are drawn to things that sparkle, strings or ribbons and let’s not forget the wires from the lights on the tree. You need to make the holidays safe for your cat by thinking about what tempts them. If it is harmful to them, leave it out when decorating.  If you take these precautions when decking out your tree, and keep in mind what you cats like to get into and keep them out of his reach, your cat will remain safe and you won’t have the stress of watching them every minute. 

Which brings me around to feline stress. Did you know that cats can feel your stress? Of course, if you think about it, they sense when you’re upset, sick or in a happy mood, so why wouldn’t they feel your stress? So when your life is scattered all topsy turvy, chances are theirs is, too. Like us, they have ways of showing that they are stressed out. The two most obvious ways are eating or urinating irregularly. Feline stress can lead to illnesses, so beware of strange behaviors and contact your vet as soon as you notice them.

When guests come around, let them know that the cat needs to set the rules. If he wants attention, he will come to them. When he has had enough, let him go his own way. This should be how you handle any visitation anytime of the year, but the cat will be even more sensitive to over-attentive guests due to the changes that the holidays bring. 

Just the other day, a friend came over to visit and began to pet my cat. Mimi, who is the sweetest cat in the world, was loving it but all of the sudden she turned and hissed at my friend. This is not the norm for her, but she may have been a bit stressed from having someone that she doesn’t see everyday make over her. My friend wasn’t holding her against her will. Mimi was free to walk away at any point, but she didn’t know what to do with the attention, so she did what cats do … she hissed.

Provide a safe place away from all of the noise. This gives the cat a place to retreat to. Trust me … he’ll be better off in his own little space away from the attention that he doesn’t want. He’ll come out if and when he feels comfortable with all the goings-on.

Holidays are all about love, so spread it over your cat. I almost never give my cats treats, but around this time of the year, I put a few healthy ones in with their food. They don’t know that they’re the boring, healthy ones; they just know that they have been given something different. I also give them lots of new cat toys. This takes care of two issues: it makes them feel special (which we all know they are), and it draws their attention to the right toys instead of playing with that ornament the Aunt Mable gave you.  Take the time to cuddle with them. It will not only be good for the cat, but it will sooth your holiday stress as well. 

Finally, keep the normal routine. When it’s time to eat, feed them, regardless of your friends in the other room. Take a few minutes each day to play with them.

Make this holiday safe and stress free for both you and your cat.

Our thanks to:

Catster

Conscious Cat

The World’s Best Cat Litter

 

The Counterfeiter-Catching Cat #1

 

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The Counterfeirter Catching Cat by Alannah Rogers is the first book of the Beatrice Young Cozy Mystery Series. It takes place in the small town of Ashbrook, population 2000, where everybody knows everyone’s business, even their deepest, darkest secrets.

Beatrice is a divorced 40+ year-old with two cats, Hamish, a Maine Coon who has the nose of a detective, and Lucky, a sweet, black shorthair. Bee loves a good mystery and is reported to be married to her cats.

Bee is the owner of The Cozy Cat Cafe where she first learns of the counterfeiting ring. She, along with Hamish and Lucky, jumps into the action. The threesome start their slouthing and help the sheriff uncover, not only a counterfeiting ring, but a disappearance which turns into a murder. The town’s grapevine lights up like wildfire. Who is behind the counterfeiting? Who killed Jordan White?

Alannah Rogers kept my attention with her amatuer detecting and Hamish’s antics. The reason I only gave her 4 out of 5 stars is that I didn’t get to know Lucky as well as Hamish. I hope to learn more about Lucky in the next book.

Why Not a Kitten for a Present

I wrote this article a few years ago,  but I feel so strongly about the subject that I post it every holiday season.

It’s that time of year again. The time for decorations, Christmas trees, Santa Claus and presents. It’s the time for parents to make their child’s’ fantasies come true. It is so tempting for ‘Santa’ to give their darling a little kitten. They are so cute and cuddly and, it is thought that, as the child grows, so can the kitten.

However, we must remember that a kitten is not a toy. They are living beings, with needs that can only be met by a true knowledge of what it takes to be a good guardian. The excitement of waking up Christmas morning to a brand new furry kitten, will soon wear off when the child is charged with caring for Fifi. Chances are, it will take no time at all before he will grow tired of feeding her and cleaning the litter box. Then it falls to the parent to take care of the needs.

A cat (as with any pet) is a full-time responsibility that can last for 20 years or more. In that time, Johnny or Janey will probably go their separate ways, leaving the cat behind. That’s all well and good for the humans, but for the cats, who have grown to depend on their people for love and attention, it can be traumatic and certainly is unfair.

In my opinion, one of the main reasons not to get a kitten as a present is that, in order to meet the demand, some pet stores, etc. receive their supply from disreputable breeders and kitten mills.

A kitten mill is a place where cats are bred in tight quarters with no medical attention, until they are no longer able to breed. When that day comes, they either are tragically killed or  sold, spreading diseases. When they are kept alive to be given away, the kitten has a higher chance of being unhealthy, costing more money and possible heartache in the long run.

So, the next time you take your child into the pet store to gaze at the cute little furry things in the window, remember, they are not toys , so look, but don’t give in to the temptation of taking one home.

Meet Dewey

Dewey

Hi there! This is Harry coming to you from the top of The Fence.  The final cat character from the first book of the Harry the Wonder Cat series is the fastest cat in town…Dewey!  Come on out here, Dewey.

Dewey:  *skids to a stop in front of Harry*  Hey, Harry!  How’s tricks?

Harry:  *smiles* Just fine, Dewey, and I see your still living in the fast lane.

Dewey:  It’s the only way to live!

Harry:  Speaking of living, thanks again for your help in the last mission.

Dewey:  Sure, anytime Harry, you know that!

Harry:  Just a couple of questions.

Dewey:  Okay…shoot!

Harry:  You being the fastest cat, it was only right that I used you as the runner in the case.  How do you keep in shape?

Dewey:  Well, that’s easy…a lot of calisthenics and walks on the docks.

Harry:  I can see the calisthenics, but what do walks on the docks do for you?

Dewey:  *licks his chops* Why, all the fish I can eat, of course!

Harry:  *lets out a deep laugh*  Of course!       *clears his throats and waits for Dewey to stop laughing at his own joke*       Do you have another mission planned?

Dewey:  *shrugs his shoulders*  Well, right now I have a date with a salmon.  Excuse me.  *dashes towards the docks*

*Harry stares after Dewey*

Well okay then.  There you have it.  My three pals who co-star in Harry the Wonder Cat: The Legend of the Pink Diamond, which you can preorder  on Amazon now.

Next week, it’s an exciting day at home with yours truly.