Tag Archives: cats

Coming Soon-My Very First Newsletter!

With much appreciated help, I’m putting together my first ever newsletter, a mix of gardening, geese, the farm, my furbabies, books…new release…If you’d like to be among the happy recipients please message me your email at bctrissel@yahoo.com or fill out the form on the left side of my blog. A $20.00 Amazon gift card will be awarded to one of the recipients for coming on board. I’m too busy herding cats, geese, Puppy Cooper, gardening, and that writing thing…to get a newsletter out more than quarterly so don’t worry about being bombarded.

This announcement is brought to you by my publicists, Peaches and Cream..

My Cats Are Super Helpful with Christmas Preparations


The holidays can be hectic. Thanks heavens, I’ve got the cats to help me: Peaches, Cream, Pavel, and Percy. Kitty Pavel likes to assist with decorations and gift wrapping. Little escapes his notice. He gets excited when the tree goes up and the wrapping paper, boxes, tissue paper, and bags come out. He likes the crinkly sound paper makes and exploring inside bags and boxes. Also hiding. He’s all about Christmas, unless you have catnip and then he’s easily distracted.

Peaches and Cream are Christmas lovers supreme. They are, however, disappointed that we switched to an artificial Christmas tree (because of my allergies). They will still crunch on the fake branches, though. I hear them ‘crunch, crunch, crunch.’ And ascending the artificial tree is not impossible. Heck no. I’ve greatly reduced the number of ornaments I put on it, and anywhere else in the house within their reach, or I would have camels and wise men carried all over the place. And have. I was constantly retrieving Creche figures and ornaments. Peaches and Cream are what some might consider ‘naughty’. Because of them, far less goes up so they’ve saved me work. Less decorating.
Peaches and Cream

Our older curmudgeonly tabby Percy ignores most of the festivities and keeps my spot warm on the couch. The only problem is that he complains when I want to sit in it, however, he will compromise by sitting on me. Preferably my chest, when I’m trying to write on my laptop. All very helpful. Peaches adores Percy and hangs out with him as much as Percy will tolerate. Even more.

(Percy and Peaches curled together in a sunbeam)

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” ~Robertson Davies

“People who love cats have some of the biggest hearts around.” ~Susan Easterly

“Cats can be cooperative when something feels good, which, to a cat, is the way everything is supposed to feel as much of the time as possible.” ~Roger Caras

“There has never been a cat
Who couldn’t calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair.”
~Rod McKuen

Christmas cat--Siamese Tabby Mix.jpg 2

(Pavel exploring Christmas packages)

“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.” ~Bill Dana

“If there is one spot of sun spilling onto the floor, a cat will find it and soak it up.” ~J.A. McIntosh

Peaches and Cream opening gifts.JPG1
(Note this tree only has lights on it….)


(Peaches and Cream into everything)

“Kittens believe that all nature is occupied with their diversion.” ~F.A. Paradis de Moncrif

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?” ~Charles Dickens


(The look on Cream’s face when I caught him in the act.)

“It is in the nature of cats to do a certain amount of unescorted roaming”. ~Adlai Stevenson

“Every life should have nine cats.” And several dogs.

Cream peering down from couch

The dastardly duo, my Siamese/tabby mixes Peaches and Cream, patrol the house seeking for anything to get into. They thoroughly enjoyed ransacking Christmas presents and the glorious tree. Big fans.

When in a calm mode, Peaches is a lap cat, as is our curmudgeonly older tabby, Percy. Between them, they manage to share me, though I’m hard-pressed at times to find space for my laptop.

Insatiably curious Cream sits by my head, purrs in my ear, and nibbles my hair. He’s also box mad. Loves Amazon box day (pictured below).

Cream loves him an amazon box

My tiny pom-poo Sadie Sue resides at my feet, and rescue dog, Jilly, on the love seat by the couch.

Two more kitties, Siamese mix, Pavel, and our elderly Minnie Mae prefer to perch overhead on the couch like vultures.

Sadie saves my seat for me when I get up. All of these furry friends aid in my writing. Some not as helpful as others, but each are faithful supporters. On those occasions when Peaches and Cream go coo-coo kitty, Sadie and I attempt to regain order, with little success. Cat herding is a thankless job, as Sadie will attest. Except for the odd scolding, Jilly mostly ignores the pair.

Sadie waiting for me

(Sadie Sue saving my seat)

jilly lou 2

(Jilly Lou being shy)

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. ~Robertson Davies

“Cats choose us; we don’t own them.”—Author Kristin Cast

“If you want to write, keep cats.”
—Author Aldous Huxley

Sleepy kitty

“If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work … the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp … The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding.” ~ Muriel Spark, A Far Cry from Kensington

“You cannot look at a sleeping cat and feel tense.”
Jane Pauley (journalist, The Today Show)

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
Edgar Allan Poe (author, “The Raven”)

Cream insdie tree“Books, Cats, Life is Good.” ~ Edward Gorey

“I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

“It is very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that, whatever you say to them they always purr.”
Lewis Carroll (author, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

(Cream loves him a good Christmas tree)

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.”

Hippolyte Taine (critic)

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” ~Mark Twain

“Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.” ~Joseph Wood Krutch

My beautiful Cream“As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat.” ~Ellen Perry Berkeley

“The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.” ~Paula Poundstone

“Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.” ~Pam Brown

“There has never been a cat
Who couldn’t calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair.”
~Rod McKuen

“There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat.” ~Tay Hohoff

Sleeping kitty Cream“I like cats a lot. I’ve always liked cats. They’re great company. When they eat, they always leave a little bit at the bottom of the bowl. A dog will polish the bowl, but a cat always leaves a little bit. It’s like an offering.” ~Christopher Walken

“A happy arrangement: many people prefer cats to other people, and many cats prefer people to other cats.” ~Mason Cooley

“Every life should have nine cats.”

***Fortunately, Peaches and Cream take a lot of naps, or this house would be in worse shape than it is. Images by daughter Elise Trissel

Our Summer Garden in the Shenandoah Valley

pink bee balmFlowers bloom and veges grow in a riot of beauty, despite the heat, humidity, and rampant weeds I make efforts to contain. Feeble efforts compared to the power of Mother Nature. My goal is to have more veges and flowers than weeds, but the pretty weeds stay. Even the marginally pretty ones. Beds stretch like islands in our yard, filled with reseeding heirloom flowers, wildflowers, and perennials that return from bulbs and roots. Herbs are interspersed throughout. We also grow heirloom vegetables.

Salad garden.

Being an organic gardener means we have a lot of bugs, good and bad. Occasionally, I spray organic brews around to discourage rampant bugs and leaf fungus’s, but the cats were licking seaweed/fish emulsion fertilizer off the leaves. Not a good idea when it’s mixed with the brew. So I’ve quit using fish based fertilizer.. We also have our own farm compost to put around plants to mulch and nourish them. Worms are a gardener’s friend and they thrive in it.

flowers near garden

Our goal is to have a wildlife sanctuary. Butterflies flutter from blossom to blossom and we have bees. Not as many bees as we used to have, but some murmur on a summer’s day. Bumble bees buzz happily and hummers dart. Our resident fairy expert, my niece, Cailin, says the flowers fairies love our garden(s). So do the kitties, both the inside cats gazing out windows and the outside felines stalking around like miniature jungle cats.  Gold finches sing and eat seeds from the sunflowers that reseed each year. Most birds survive, despite the cats. Maybe because I feed the kitties, and they’re on the lazy side.

Siamese tabby mix cat in the window

This spring the local cat rescue people humane trapped and spayed our barn kitties, many of whom were dumped on us, and then reproduced. They fixed and returned 19 cats of various ages, and found homes for the kittens. Some cats claim the old red barn as their domain. Others love the garden and eat from the bowel outside the back door. I mix lysine with their food to boost their immune systems. They’re much healthier now. I’m also buying little cat houses to provide extra shelter in bad weather. Cats hide among the garden plants and shrubs, but when winter comes, they will need more cover. They love the kitty houses.

I think the secret to enjoying the garden, is to not let the failures outweigh the many joys found in the beauty amid the imperfections. ~

Siamese barn kitty in herb bed

“Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.” ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897 (Thanks, Jessica)

“No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.” ~Hugh Johnson

“I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a critic of them. I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master. I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit.” ~Reginald Farrer, In a Yorkshire Garden, 1909

Barn with wild flowers

“Let nature be in your yard.” ~Greg Peterson, www.urbanfarm.org

“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.” ~May Sarton

“I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day.” ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

Cone flower

“Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.” ~Thomas Fuller,Gnomologia, 1732

“Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise.” ~Michael P. Garofalo

***This is true. Nature improvises all over the place here.

Sunfower in back garden

Images taken by my daughter Elise. Pink Bee balm, Queen Anne’s Lace, Purple cone flower, heirloom lettuce, marigolds, zinnias, daylilies, coreopsis tinctoria, parsley, sunflowers, Siamese tabby mix cats.

Consider Catnip–Cats Do

catnipCatnip is native to Eurasia, but is naturalized over much of North America and the world, including my garden(s). During the Middle Ages, catnip was used in the treatment of nervous complaints, for colds, to sooth upset stomachs, and as a sleep aid. Catnip was rubbed on meats before cooking (possibly to disguise the flavor if it had gone off) and the leaves were added to salad. Early colonists took catnip to the New World, and it spread from there. (Image of catnip in our garden)

Colonial Tea TimeIn The Family Herbal,  English botanist John Hill says, “Catmint (another name for catnip) is common about our hedges, but of very great virtues.” He recommends it, “Be gathered just when the flowers are opening, and dried. It is an excellent woman’s medicine; an infusion of it is good against hysteric complaints, vapours, and fits, and it moderately promotes the menses.”
In Colonial America: A tea brewed from the leaves was used to treat stomach ache and head colds. Catnip was also steeped in wine and imbibed that way. If a woman wanted to increase her fertility she might soak in a catnip sitz bath. Catnip will take over the garden if you let it, but I like the scent, and the plant, though kind of weedy, is appealing in full flower. Very cheery.
Pavel: Siamese tabby mixOur cats, particularly our Siamese Tabby Mix, Pavel, love catnip. He rolls in it and chews on the leaves when I sprinkle some on the climbing perch. Even if Pavel is upstairs, he appears in seconds when I get out the catnip. I’m not sure why cats are so besotted by it, just that many are. Though not all. Percy doesn’t care one way or the other. Our kittens, Peaches and Cream, are fans. This summer, daughter Elise and I gathered seeds of various plants to save, including catnip. We put them in an envelope and left it on the counter, only to discover the contents scattered and Pavel’s mouth suspiciously covered with the leaves of catnip that had accompanied the seed gathering. He claimed to know nothing about it, with that innocence felines can conjure. 
 worried kitten

When the going gets tough, the tough get kittens

kittens in the basketSo, this sweet tortoiseshell kitty was dropped off on us, as often happens when living on a farm, and last month she had six kittens. Then, she adopted the two tiny orphans brought to us by my daughter-in-law. That makes eight.  I have what we call ‘kitten corner’ on the sun space where people love to gather and watch the kittens play and play with them in turn. It’s a happy spot. Our tiny pom-poo, Sadie, is kitten mad. Our rescue dog, Jilly, doesn’t care about them either way. She was told firmly on her introduction here not to chase cats, and she doesn’t see what else of interest is to be done with them.

mama cat and happy kittenSadie will really miss these little guys when they’re gone. So will I. Meanwhile, I’m doing my best to take care of the brood, along with the help of the very able mama kitty. I’ve decided to call her Miss Kitty. Don’t tell my DH, but she’s staying. Miss Kitty is such a quiet little cat he may not notice. She’s also quite pretty. It is my wild and crazy hope that maybe on down the road I can breed her to the gorgeous Siamese male who has taken up residence on our farm, and she will have amazing kittens. But I haven’t worked out the details yet, given that he’s on the wild side. I’m also thinking it’s possible I may create a new breed, or she may birth my long awaited orange and blue kitten. It’s possible I’m also kitten mad.
“You can’t help that. We’re all mad here.” – The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland

Sadie with the kittensI can dream, right?

“You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals.”-George Mikes

As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat. – Ellen Perry Berkeley

But we can try.

**Sadie with the kittens. Images by daughter Elise.

Cats and Writers Go Together like PB and J

Little shop cat with kittens resizedHappiness is a box full of kittens.

With rare exceptions (no one comes to mind) authors love cats. Dogs, too, many of us, but invariably cats. I’m besotted by them, always have been. I’m wondering when a reader will notice the orange tabby I’ve included in many of my stories (Somewhere My Love, Somewhere My Lass, Somewhere in the Highlands, Enemy of the King, my upcoming release, Traitor’s Legacy….I would have included ‘the cat’ in my Native American sagas but we were too much on the go.

Beth Trissel and friends resizedAll of our cats are rescues. And now, housed in my sun room, are a mama cat and her six newborn kittens. We came by this kitty, as we have so many felines, after we discovered her dropped off on our farm. That happens a lot to dairy farmers. Something about milk and cats. This lovely tortoiseshell is very sweet and at home in her new abode. She’s also an excellent mama. Thank heavens. I don’t want to raise all her offspring myself. That last go at caring for a newborn kitten didn’t end well. Tiny kittens really need a mama in these first vital first days. We’ve been calling her ‘The Little Shop Cat’ because she took up residence in the farm shop, with increasingly frequent trips to the garage and kitchen steps after she found I’m a softie and would feed her. I’m thinking of naming her Serenity, because she’s so serene. But then no one will know who I’m talking about. (Image of Sadie and Pavel as a kitten)

PercyIt’s gonna get pretty lively around here in a few weeks when these little guys wake up and start exploring. Our senior lap cat, Percy, will take offense at their frolicking. Pavel, our two-yr-old Siamese tabby mix, will be intrigued, and likely join in the fun. Shy Minnie Mae, will watch from the corners and hide. My, and I do mean MY, tiny pom-poo Sadie Sue is fascinated by kittens, as long as they don’t occupy her spot by me on the couch. And our recent rescue dog, Jilly, is learning that kitties are not for chasing, but may need a reminder. She and the mama are already pals. Yes, we shall be seeking homes for (most) of this adorable litter when they are old enough. (Image of Percy)

sleeping tabby kitten“A catless writer is almost inconceivable.  It’s a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.”  ~Barbara Holland

kitten Cedric look alike.jpg1

“The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.”  ~Doug Larson

“There has never been a cat
Who couldn’t calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair.”
~Rod McKuen

Sleeping newborn kittens.jpg resized“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not.  Mine had me trained in two days.” ~Bill Dana

(Sleeping newborn kittens)

“If there is one spot of sun spilling onto the floor, a cat will find it and soak it up.”  ~J.A. McIntosh

“No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch.”  ~Leo Dworken

“Kittens believe that all nature is occupied with their diversion.”  ~F.A. Paradis de Moncrif

Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want. ~Joseph Wood Krutch

Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. ~Robertson Davies 

kitty pavelWhat greater gift than the love of a cat? ~Charles Dickens

People who love cats have some of the biggest hearts around. ~Susan Easterly

That would be authors.

(Kitty Pavel)

*Images by daughter Elise

If Cats Ran the World There Would Be More Naps–Beth Trissel

A good thing, too, less cranky people starting fights and going to war.  Think how much kinder and gentler society would be if we all took naps. I’ve been sick this week with my third winter/spring cycle of a tummy bug.  It wipes me out, so I’ve had a lot of snoozes–often with my kitties. Thus my subject.

kitty pavel

“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.”  ~Carrie Snow

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”  ~Irish Proverb

catnip and cat“May sleep envelop you as a bed sheet floating gently down, tickling your skin and removing every worry.  Reminding you to consider only this moment.”  ~Jeb Dickerson, www.howtomatter.com

“People who snore always fall asleep first.”  ~Author Unknown (Very true as I can attest)

“I count it as a certainty that in paradise, everyone naps.”  ~Tom Hodgkinson

“I’m not asleep… but that doesn’t mean I’m awake.”  ~Author Unknown

“You can’t help that. We’re all mad here.”- The Cheshire Cat and Our Latest Cat Tale

This past week we had a kitty scare (well, I did) after my hubby went down into the cellar–quite old, as this house was built in the 1870’s, as is clear from the earth and stonewalled dugout in the bowels of the house–and forgot to shut the door.  Light shows through some chinks in the stone walls, worsened by last year’s earthquake.  We (at least, daughter Elise and I) always take care to shut the door so our curious cats do not venture down there, and, as it turned out, two of them did.

I was at work on my laptop when I heard a funny cry. At first I thought it might be a baby, then decided it was coming from a cat, probably our Siamese tabby mix as the Siamese make those peculiar cries, although Pavel (pronounced Pabel) rarely has.  I couldn’t determine where the sounds were emanating from, though.  The search began in earnest and Pavel was no where to be found.  And our noble, deeply affectionate, gray tabby Percy (P. Cuthbert Wiggins) was also missing.  Being the more adventurous of the two, Percy had ventured outside through the larger chink in the cellar where, after frantic searching, I found him hiding under a bush beside the house. He hadn’t gone far and our two farm dogs were watching over him.

After a great deal more searching and following those strange cries, Elise finally located Pavel in the cellar beneath the old wooden bin used to store potatoes back in its day. But I rarely venture down there to store anything, far too creepy.  I suspect the monster from Star Wars resides in the cellar, along with all sorts of other creatures and the bones of their victims. Some might ask why not close up the chink?  I’m not entirely certain what we might be closing in.  I’d rather guard the door.

*Images of Pavel taken by Elise

Our Beloved Pets

Contributed by Pamela Roller

Last month, I wrote about animal cruelty and included some disturbing photos, information and statistics. This month, I’d like to turn about and give you several heartwarming stories from people who simply adore their pets. Be sure to leave a comment with your own loving pet story. I’d love to read them!

The photo above is of our beagle and his boy.

Our family went to the SPCA one afternoon. Amidst the howling, barking, pacing, and pawing, there, crouched trembling in his cage, was a beagle. The card read, “Elvis. Male. Brought by owner.”

He stared at us with soulful brown eyes. “Let’s look at him,” I said impulsively.

As soon as Elvis was brought into the inspection room, he made a beeline to me, then to our son. He steered clear of my husband. A jagged black scar ran up his back leg, and he had tiny black circular scars on his nose–the size of the end of a cigarette. He sniffed us, wagged his tail, and when we rose to look at a couple of other dogs, he must have decided to take us home because he ran straight to the door and looked back, eyes shining.

Four years later, Elvis is comfortable around men again. He doesn’t crouch as often when we reach down to pet him or hug him, and he no longer hides when I flick the lighter to light the dinner candles. He’s brought joy into our lives, loving us the way dogs do: just right.

Dan’s story:
The hardest part of having dogs is saying goodbye. You know when you bring home a bouncing puppy that the dog will almost certainly pass away before you do, but you know that the years of joy are worth the inevitable sorrow. Kayla was our first purebred Belgian Tervuren and came into our home when she was almost three years old. She was bartered by the breeder to an Oregon cattle-rancher. She was destined to be a stock dog, but the rancher went bankrupt and Kayla went back to the breeder.

Kayla’s next stop was a large show-dog kennel in Homestead, Florida. The owner had spaniels and Rottweilers and wanted a new breed. Not long after settling in to her second home, Hurricane Andrew blew most of Homestead into the Gulf of Mexico. Kayla was evacuated in time, along with the other dogs, but the kennel was destroyed and she was given up to a foster home.

Kayla was passed among a handful of Belgian Tervuren fanciers, each showing her a little bit, but none taking such a liking to her that they wanted to keep her. Her travels took her from Florida to Texas and back, and then eventually to Virginia. She was never abused or neglected, and nobody ever considered dumping her in a shelter, but nobody wanted to make her their own, either.

I was looking for my next dog for competition training when I met the owner of Kayla’s sister. She casually mentioned that she knew of a Terv that needed a home. When I met Kayla something immediately clicked for both of us and I made the decision in an instant. Of course, a dog that has been passed around so much doesn’t make close friends so quickly. It took many months for the two of us to truly bond. But when we did, great things started happening.

After finishing her breed championship we launched into a ten-year career of training competition. Obedience, tracking, agility, rally, lure coursing…we did it all. We traveled up and down the east coast together, celebrated success often and cried together occasionally. Kayla accumulated over thirty training titles in our decade of showing.

All of those titles were unimportant as I slumped against the wall of the examination room. I held Kayla in my lap, murmuring into her ear while the veterinarian prepared the syringe. I didn’t think about the blue ribbons and the disqualifications, of the hotel bills and fast food breakfasts. What I thought about was our the bond we shared, the same bond that our two species have shared since the dawn of history. Two beings, working harmoniously together in a relationship like no other. As the vet kneeled on the floor, I told Kayla “Thank you” and said goodbye.

Alisa’s story:
The farm around the corner from us had a sign that said, ‘Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale’. The girls and Tim begged to go see them, just to ‘look.’ I gave in but said there was no way we were getting a puppy since Carly was still only 2.

Well, of course, they were the most adorable things I had ever seen. The one in the back with the green collar got my attention. He (or she, I wasn’t sure) was very quiet and didn’t jump and bark like the others did. The puppy looked right into my eyes and I just fell in love. We left and talked about it constantly. Finally, I agreed and said, ‘OK, if we get that puppy, I get to name it since I will be doing all the work. If it’s a boy, let’s name him Cody and if it’s a girl, Molly.’

The next morning, Tim went running. When he came home from his run, he had a very strange look on his face. He told me that he didn’t really go running. He went back to the farm to look at that puppy in the green collar. He said, ‘Alisa, we have got to get that puppy. It’s meant for us.’ He told me that the breeder had already named all the puppies and guess what, they named him Cody. Then the mother dog came over and Tim found out that her name was Molly. That afternoon, we brought Cody home.He is the most sweetest and calmest dog that we could have ever asked for. We love him!

Alleyne’s story:
Years ago I had four Belgian Tervuren in my home. One neutered male was dominant aggressive. We’d been working for more than two years to get Deacon to accept that we were the alphas and that he could not discipline us with his teeth. Our other young male, Paladin, was easy going and good natured, never challenged anyone.

One night I was home alone, lying on the sofa. Paladin was across the room, on his back playing with our new puppy. Deacon was lying next to me on the floor. I reached down to pet him and he growled. He had a toy and I knew I couldn’t let him get away with growling or all our work would have been undone, so I reached down to pick it up. Deacon bit down on my hand and sat up, carrying my hand with him.

I frantically tried to decide how to stop him from hurting me more seriously, but before I could do more than take a deep breath, Paladin leapt from his place across the room, cleared the coffee table, knocked Deacon off me and pinned him to the wall. Clasping my injured hand in my good one, I cheerfully called the dogs to go outside, which they did before I collapsed in shock. My husband arrived a few minutes later from work and rushed me to the hospital. The bites were deep but not my hand was not torn up.

We realized that night that I was pregnant with our daughter. I will always believe that Paladin saved me from being mauled. He watched over Tierney every day from the day she was born until he died two years ago at almost 16. He was a champion in dog shows, but more importantly he was my champion, which of course is what “paladin” means. Alleyne Dickens http://www.alleynedickens.com/ http://www.bonheurbelgians.com/

From my mom:
Our five-pound, two-year-old papillon, Corwin, gave us a surprise a few days ago. We were noticing the fur by a leg that had a knot in it. Joe was trying to straighten it out when Corwin used his tongue to water the area and then proceeded with his teeth to pull back and forth until the knot was straightened out. It amazed us both, but happily so.

From fellow ace blog writer Beth Trissel:
I’ve always had cats. Cats are an integral part of my world and our farm. Three reside indoors; Gabby, a lavender Oriental Shorthair, closely related to the Siamese and just as vocal, and her chestnut-colored son, Pookah, so named for the invisible creatures that steal things, and he does. We used to call him “the paw” because of the way he opens drawers or cabinets and pilfers whatever he likes, usually hair thingies. He and Gabby are mad over scrunchies, and colorful bands that hold hair in pony tails.

Pookah is a gorgeous cat and an excellent thief, but he sucks his tail. Not very manly. A kind woman living in Florida sent us Gabby years ago to comfort the children after the tragic death of their young cousin Matthew. Gabby came to us on a plane, an odd infant highly unlike the barn cats we were accustomed to.

At first we didn’t know what to think of this little gray monkey forever disappearing into the highest cabinets or crouching on the tops of doors and wardrobes. Nor did we understand her peculiar cry, but once we learned to know her, we were hooked. That’s how we came by Pookah, the big-eared kitten we kept from a litter of three after we had Gabby bred to a fancy Siamese, Cappuccino. He wasn’t manly either.

Then there’s Minnie Mae, the tabby kitten-cat my daughter Elise and I raised from early infancy after her stray, airhead mother inadvertently left Minnie Mae and her brother Cedric in our care. Minnie Mae was so tiny she barely spanned my palm and is still small for a grown cat. Cedric is a big boy and resides with son Cory on the other farm, but he’s a sissy too, and has a favorite blanket which he kneads obsessively, probably due to the trauma of being abandoned shortly after birth. He also sucks on it. His father is a tough old barn cat named Chester. Nothing sissy about Chester.

All three of our cats must content themselves with gazing out the window, tails twitching whenever they spy a bird. It’s touching how devoted they are to birds, and have often asked for a bird of their very own, “To hug it and squeeze it and call it George,” but I am not so gullible. I don’t know how common it is to have arguments with cats but Gabby and I argue all the time–Pookah, only when he is particularly put out with the accommodations here, and then he really howls.

Minnie Mae is a whimsical creature, with a funny series of purrs. Elise calls the chirrupy purr when she scampers across the room, her bouncing purr. Then there’s her inquiring purr, when she has a question, which is fairly often being a thoughtful, observant cat. Her excited purr hums forth when she greets us after a long absence, say overnight. She sleeps outside Dennis’ and my bedroom door and eagerly awaits the dawn.

When I was a child I listened repeatedly to a favorite record that I still have about the adventures of Dick Whittington and his cat. Dick would exclaim: “Here comes Ripple Dee Dee! Oh, cat, I love you very much.” And I do. All of them.

I went down to the dairy this morning and played with Zippy, the bouncy black kitten that has come into our lives. He’s about five or six weeks old and scampers around fearlessly like a streaking bullet. But also tolerates snuggling and is very sweet. His mother, Kate, a small calico barn cat, is affectionate though not overly. Until two days ago, Zippy and his shy as yet unnamed orange brother lived up in the loafing shed. That’s the building where dairy cows hang out and shoot pool, play cards or snack in the dining hall until they feel like ambling out to the meadow to soak up some rays and chew the cud.

The loafing shed is also like a hotel or all girl dorm with sleeping accommodations, wooden stalls filled with shavings, which they haggle over. The stalls all look pretty much the same to me, but apparently cows can discern the difference in quality. Maybe some command a better view of the barn or have plusher shavings. Only they know. It’s a great place for kittens as long as they don’t get stepped on.

The milking parlor is where the real action is, and the milk. Cats and kittens get free samples and snitch dog food and whatever else is tossed their way, in addition to the very important work of mousing. And now Zippy has graduated to the big league. What’s next? The old red barn.

Elise and I found a bedraggled black kitten in a shadowed corner of the old barn huddled beside an ancient water trough. Hay was stuck to its fur and its head slick in places from a calf’s sympathetic tongue. We carried the mewing puff ball down to the house and gave it a bath. Being mostly fur, it shrank considerably in the water and nearly disappeared.

After drying this soggy specimen of catdom, we bundled it up in an old towel and fed it the formula concocted by a local vet for orphan kittens: one cup whole milk, one teaspoon of vegetable oil, one egg yolk, whisk well and warm. This baby is old enough to lap and downed the lot I had poured into a shallow lid. We filled a canning jar with hot water, screwed the lid on tightly and tucked our swaddled charge beside the improvised water bottle back in the small closet in the laundry room. Assorted farm coats, jeans and shirts hang on hooks up above and brush our heads as we kneel to peer into this den-like place. There’s nothing dogs like better for a bed than a worn coat with that farm smell still clinging to it, cozily tucked back into this closet.

Cats prefer sunbeams but will make do. I’ve spent many hours on my knees helping to birth puppies, fuss over their care and tend kittens. Countless kittens and puppies, tiny terriers that could fit in a shoe box, medium size dogs and dogs that have grown too big but are still attached, have called this comforting space home. The narrow walls are gnawed and deeply grooved from the many inhabitants over the years. Every household should have such a place.

Fortunately, our dog, Mia (an animal shelter rescue) also likes her bed in the dining room because she can’t be trusted to kitten-sit. The formula rapidly dwindles. Not only that, she’s afraid of kittens. Silly, silly Mia. The kitten does not yet have a name because if you name a creature that implies that it’s staying, which this one very well may be. Sometimes you just need a kitten.

Oddly, it would seem that Mia always wanted a kitten of her own after all. She follows the minute puff ball around the kitchen and hovers over it with a worried look. Actually, Mia generally looks worried. I suppose from earlier traumas before we took her in. She has never had a small furry friend though and even tries to play with the kitten as it bounds around the kitchen in great excitement over everything and anything.
My mother made the observation that kittens and other babies can utterly give themselves to play in a way that the rest of us can’t because we’ve had the “play” smacked out of us by life. Now and then, I think we should all play as unreservedly as possible.
Beth Trissel

So there you have it. Wonderful stories from people who love their pets. How about you? Have stories to share? Write back with your wonderful pet story in the comments section.

Thanks for reading!

Pamela Roller is the author of On Silent Wings, a sexy gothic historical romance set in Restoration England. Visit her website at http://www.pamelaroller.com/.©Pamela Roller