Tag Archives: kitten rescue

Furbaby Friday with Author Vonda Sinclair!


I am delighted to have Vonda Sinclair here to share her lovely kitties and fabulous Scottish romance, Highlander Unbroken. I remember when her sweet rescue cat, Kaylee, had these wonderful kittens. I followed their adventures on Facebook. ***Vonda is generously giving away an eBook or audio book to one winner to be chosen from those who leave comments.

Vonda: 

I’ve always been more of a cat person, but I love dogs, too. In fact, my most painful pet loss was probably a dog almost ten years ago. I’ve lost a lot of furbabies over the years and it’s always so heartbreaking. After that last devastating one, a kitty, I decided I didn’t want another cat or dog for a while because I didn’t want to deal with the heartbreak of losing a precious animal family member again for a long while. But fate, or destiny or the angels had other ideas. 🙂

For some reason, stray cats show up at my mom’s house frequently. We don’t know if people are dropping them off during the night or if they somehow have an instinct that she loves animals and will feed them. Regardless, a small, stray female black cat, less than a year old, showed up there. Pretty soon her belly started looking round and it was obvious she was pregnant. It was a cold January. My mom already had a female indoor cat who hates all other cats. There was no way my mom could bring the newcomer into the house without a major upheaval. So, obviously I took the stray black cat to my house and named her Kaylee. I named her after a ceilidh, (pronounced the same) which is a Gaelic social gathering featuring Scottish folk music, singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling.

Kaylee grew rounder and rounder over the next two months. Pretty soon she looked like a little watermelon with legs and she could hardly waddle across the floor. The vet said she thought Kaylee would have maybe three or four kittens. Boy, was she wrong. Kaylee finally had six kittens! Four black ones and two gray ones. I’m thinking, oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into!? I went from having no cats to seven in a short time. But they were so adorable as kittens and I had to take pics of them almost daily. I hadn’t been around kittens in a long time. They were a joy and always made me laugh.

I contacted almost everyone I know, trying to find new homes for the kittens. I didn’t want to give them away, but there was no way I could keep that many. Finally, I found good forever homes for three of them. One special kitten I knew from the first that I couldn’t let go was a long-haired gray one named Bluebelle. She was the most adorable kitten ever, with a feisty personality. She’s also sweet and lovable.

(Bluebelle)

Jax is a brave, friendly boy who always climbed on my lap from the time he was tiny, so I knew it would be hard to let him go, too. No one chose him, so he got to stay with me. Now, I tell people he’s as big as a horse. Well, almost anyway. I bet he’s approaching twenty pounds. His favorite thing to do is crawl under my jacket and snuggle while almost crushing me. LOL

Pixie is like a wild forest creature, skittish, timid but very territorial. She’s so beautiful, I thought she would be the first chosen. And someone did take her, but returned her to me the same day. I’m glad she gets to live with her mama, brother and sister.

(Kaylee and Jax)

(Pixie)

They get along great most of the time, but sometimes Jax picks on his sisters and gets a hiss, growl or a slap. He’s so big and much heavier than his sisters, so I’m sure he just laughs it off. They remember that Kaylee is their mama, and they treat her with respect. Even though she’s now a lot smaller and shorter than her grown offspring, she can still put Jax in his place. He acts submissive toward her. It’s so adorable the way they groom each other. All the kittens grew into huge cats, very long and tall, much bigger than Kaylee. Their papa must have been a large cat.

They live indoors but go outside sometimes when the weather is nice for an hour or two. I have them trained, for the most part, to come back when I call them. I live in the country and they enjoy climbing the trees or running like insane cats through the yard to burn off energy. They’re all my babies, muses and companions. 🙂

I featured Kaylee and her babies in the book I was writing at the time, Highlander Unbroken.
How many furbabies do you have?

Beth: I love hearing about your kitties. I have three indoors and several  barn cats. Plus Puppy Cooper, our older rescue dog, Jilly, and farm dog Luca.

Blurb for Highlander Unbroken
Torture has driven Neacal MacDonald to the brink of madness.
As the new chief of the MacDonald clan, Neacal will do whatever it takes to honor his late father and to help his clan thrive. But whispers of his madness abound and many in his clan turn traitor, wanting MacDonald of Sleat to lead them instead. Conflict ignites between the bitter rivals when Sleat garners the help of the man who tortured Neacal in the past.

Can one woman’s song pull him back and begin to heal his soul?
Everything has been ripped from Anna Douglas except her angelic voice and the will to survive. When she meets Neacal, she recognizes something familiar in him—stark loneliness and pain. His past could be even more tragic and tarnished than hers. No one must learn her true identity or about the brutish man declaring she is his wife, for he will stop at nothing to reclaim her. Though Neacal vowed to never trust a woman again, he cannot resist the secrets in Anna’s eyes or her spellbinding song, which threatens to break down the icy walls surrounding his tormented heart.

Excerpt
Highlander Entangled is my latest release, but I want to share the excerpt from Highlander Unbroken, featuring Kaylee (Ceilidh) and her kittens.

The next evening, after Anna finished singing three songs, the other musicians took over. She needed a reprieve from the crush in the great hall during the cèilidh. Neacal had also disappeared again, as he did half the time. Was he telling the truth about enjoying her singing? She wasn’t so sure.
Still, anytime his eyes chanced to meet hers, her heartbeat sped along and she felt flushed.
Some wild and irrational part of her urged her to slip up to the ramparts again, for Neacal might be there, but…that would be madness. She’d best avoid him for many reasons. She must guard her secrets well if she wished to survive.
Aye, she would stay far from the ramparts and the tempting chief, she decided, savoring a small bowl of stew and a piece of bread in the kitchen. Most of the maids were in the great hall, carrying food or serving.
“Could I help you with anything?” she asked the cook after she’d finished eating.
Mistress Pottenger eyed her with a lifted graying auburn brow. “I thought you a singer rather than a kitchen maid.”
“Aye, indeed, but I like to keep busy.” Anything to keep her mind off the chief and how much she wanted to talk to him again.
Mistress Pottenger limped forward and handed her a small wooden bowl. “Aye, if you wouldn’t mind taking these scraps out to wee Cèilidh. I would take them myself but my bad knee is paining me something fierce this eve.”
“Of course. I would be glad to. Who is Cèilidh?”
“The black cat what catches all the mice. She has wee kittens hidden somewhere and I’m thinking she needs extra food.”
“Oh, aye.” Anna smiled. “I petted her earlier today in the garden, then I secretly followed her toward the back sheds. I did see a tiny black kitten.”
“Indeed.”
“Mayhap you should see Tavia about something to rub on your knee.”
“Aye, I will. I’ve been on my feet too much today.”
Anna headed out the door and across the bailey. The torches had been lit, but ’twas still light out. No one was about, although she was certain the guards on duty were in the gatehouse. Everyone else was inside the keep, dancing to the lively music. During supper, the great hall grew too warm and stuffy with all the people shoulder to shoulder. She much preferred some time alone in the fresh air. Besides, she liked being helpful to Mistress Pottenger. The woman had been kinder to her than most people. She also knew the woman likely had to keep working despite her knee pain in order to earn a living. She truly hoped the healer could help her.
Anna called the cat but didn’t see her anywhere. She strode around behind the stables toward the back sheds where the hay and grain were stored. This was where she’d seen a tiny black kitten that had escaped the nest.
Upon entering the shed, she saw naught but straw upon the ground. She soon heard mews in the back corner and found the wee critters. The mama cat meowed a warning and came out to greet her. No doubt to keep her away from her babies.
“Here you go.” Anna poured the meat scraps from the bowl onto the clean straw. The sleek black cat tore into the food as if famished. Anna crept closer to the squirming, wiggling pile of kittens, then knelt to better observe them. Four black ones and two gray. They all hissed at her. How adorable. She smiled and stroked their soft fur anyway, despite their hisses.
“Indeed, you have a large family to feed.”
Mama cat mewled but didn’t leave her food.
“I won’t hurt them, Cèilidh,” she whispered. Funny that Mistress Pottenger had named the cat after the song and dance the clan engaged in every night.
How Anna loved babies of any type, human or animal. If Blackburn hadn’t shoved her down the stairs and caused her to have a miscarriage, she might be holding her own sweet bairn. The lass would’ve been two years old by now. Tears pricked her eyes, blurring her vision as she watched the squirming kittens beneath her hands. How soft they were.
“What are you doing out here, my little songbird?” asked a rough male voice behind her.
Anna jerked around. ‘Twas the huge, burly guard who often stared at her, the one who’d spoken to her in the bailey a few days ago—Farquar.
“I was simply feeding the cat.” She rose to her feet.
“Ah.” Farquar watched her with focused interest, as a wolf watches a lamb.
Alarm prickled through her. “I was just leaving,” she said, picking up the wooden bowl. “The other musicians are awaiting me. I’m to sing two more songs.” ‘Twas a lie but her instincts warned her to get away from him. Now.

Bio: Vonda Sinclair is the USA Today bestselling author of award-winning Scottish historical romance (aka Highlander romance) novels and novellas. Her favorite pastime is exploring Scotland and taking photos along the way. She especially loves ancient castle ruins! She also enjoys writing about hot Highland heroes, unconventional ladies and the healing power of love. Her series are the Highland Adventure Series and the Scottish Treasure Series. Her books have won the National Readers’ Choice Award, the CRW Award of Excellence, the Winter Rose Award of Excellence in Published Romantic Fiction–1st Place Historical, and an EPIC Award. She lives in the mountains of North Carolina where she is crafting another adventurous, wildly romantic Scottish story. Please visit her website at www.vondasinclair.com

Book Links

Highlander Unbroken (Highland Adventure Book 8)
by Vonda Sinclair

Kindle
http://amzn.com/B01BLUSSK6

Amazon Print
http://amzn.com/1532792913

B&N
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/highlander-unbroken-vonda-sinclair/1123677677

Kobo
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/highlander-unbroken

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/highlander-unbroken/id1105598679?mt=11

Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/630792

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Highlander-Unbroken-Audiobook/B06Y3SW27Q?

Vonda Sinclair’s links

Website:
http://www.vondasinclair.com

Newsletter:
https://my.sendinblue.com/users/subscribe/js_id/2leqq/id/1

Amazon Author Page:
https://www.amazon.com/Vonda-Sinclair/e/B005GXBR1C/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/VondaSinclair

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/VondaSinclair

Bookbub:
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/vonda-sinclair

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5083448.Vonda_Sinclair

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Vonda a comment!

Furbaby Friday with Author Cathie Dunn!


I am delighted to have my friend Cathie Dunn here to share her deep love of animals and her Scottish historical romance, Highland Arms.

Cathie: Thank you so much, Beth, for hosting me today as part of your wonderful Furbaby Friday series. I’ve been enjoying reading posts by other authors about their furbabies – both present and past – and, like some, I found it a little tricky to choose one of mine.

Ellie dog–griffon beagle cross

We currently have three cats and one dog: Tiger, our 13 ½ year old eccentric patriarch who is of Welsh origin, then lived in Scotland for a decade, and survived the long drive to the south of France where we now live; Ellie Dog, a still timid female griffon beagle cross we adopted just over a year ago; Charlie Young Cat, a Siamese girl who suddenly showed up near us, still too young, last spring, and who we took in shortly after; and Shadow Kitten – the last one of four kittens we found abandoned (by a person, as they were scrambling around next to an empty plastic bag in thick shrubs by the riverside). No worries, the three other kittens found good homes, but nobody wanted a black male boy, so he’s staying… ~sigh~ 😉

So, after some thoughts, I’ve decided to write about Ellie Dog today. We don’t know her age, but the vet guessed she was around seven years old when we adopted her in December 2015 from a local rescue. That was mainly because her teeth were pretty bad, but we think she’s a couple of years younger. She can bounce like a puppy when she’s excited, but also tires quickly during walks.

Ellie was very scared when we visited her first. She’d not been at the center for long, just over a week after being found wandering the streets of a village, but she already showed herself as the gentlest creature, looking after her even more scared kennel mate. We knew, from past experiences, that adopted pets arrive with baggage, and Ellie was no exception. She was scared of everything.

Ellie is highly intelligent, tolerates the cats (Tiger took his time in accepting her, but Charlie and Shadow LOVE her and love cuddling up with her), and learned the ropes very quickly. Well, as long as there are no real ropes involved! We guess she must’ve been beaten, and she has several scars on her legs which may stem from trying to jump fences. Or something we’d rather not know.

Over the months, we tried to allow her to walk without a lead, but after she followed her nose (and, boy, does that nose work!), she shot off across vineyards and scrubs in search of the source. She was in heaven, ears flying, running back and forth. One afternoon, hubby walked her when she ran off along a path and he lost sight of her. Worried, he kept calling her, only to find her in a fenced in compound with another dog, in the middle of nowhere. The local hunters keep dogs out there, so there was nobody about. She must’ve jumped the fence at high speed, and now couldn’t find her way out again, so hubby had to climb over (yes, trespassing!), and pick her up. He wasn’t impressed – and she was grounded!

A year down the line, Ellie is still scared of many things, such as leaves flying in the high wind, us picking up a blanket from the sofa, or the lead dangling in front of her, but she has come a long way. No longer does she run away when you accidentally drop the lead, and if she’s unsure of something, she now looks to us for reassurance. When we both walk her, she often stays between us, as she does in the mornings on our bed, when she rolls on her back, at her happiest. It’s wonderful to see her come so far, but we know there’s still some way to go.

Perhaps it’s best we don’t know what happened to her. That way, we can channel our energies into making the rest of her life the best it can be.

Ellie has her own Facebook page, so if you’d like to know more about her life, feel free to follow. We share posts there in three languages… 😉 https://www.facebook.com/mrselliedog/

Blurb for Highland Arms:

Exciting blend of danger and romance

“The author has a wonderful way of describing the highlands.” ~ Booked Up Reviews

Escape to the Highlands

Betrayed by her brother’s lies, Catriona MacKenzie is banished from her home to her godmother’s manor in the remote Scottish Highlands. While her family ponders her fate, Catriona’s insatiable curiosity leads her straight into trouble–and into the arms of a notorious Highlander.

Five years after an ill-fated Jacobite rebellion, Rory Cameron works as a smuggler to raise money for the cause–until Catriona uncovers a plot against him and exposes his activities. Now, Rory is faced with a decision that could either save their lives or destroy both of them.

But he’s running out of time…

Excerpt:

One day, she had to return home—just not yet. Her father planned to find her a new suitor, someone willing to overlook her indiscretion. Pah!
Once he found such a paragon of society, he’d send for her. Most likely, the chosen suitor would be a rich man, but what else? Old, grizzled, and frail? Or young and arrogant, cast in the same mould as her brother? She liked neither option but then, it was not her decision to make. One thing was certain—love did not feature in her marriage contract.

What if her father let Angus have a say in it?
The notion froze her to the core, and she sat up. Despite her fondness of Edinburgh, and its array of entertainments, the longer she remained here in the Highlands the safer she was from such a fate. Perhaps she’d even be allowed to stay on as her godmother’s companion? Growing old without having to wed anyone. Remain a spinster for the rest of her days. It was not the most appealing option, but preferable to whomever Father or Angus might choose. Yes, she’d just have to convince Auntie Meg—and Rory Cameron—that she simply had to stay.

Her mind made up, she rose and wrapped a thick blanket around her shoulders. As her bare feet touched the wooden floor, she hissed at the chill. With no maid to call upon, she left her room and went downstairs in search of the kitchen. The thought of a warming cup of tea raised her spirits. Then she’d continue to set her plan into motion.

She pushed the kitchen door open and stopped short. Standing by the mullioned window, in front of a large bowl overflowing with water, was Rory Cameron. He turned as he heard the door. Catriona caught her breath and grabbed the handle, letting go of the blanket.

Water dripped over his head and down his torso, trickling in small rivulets over his kilt held by a broad belt with a round silver buckle in a Pagan design of interlacing swirls. The light curls of hair on his tanned chest glistened with moisture. His shoulder-length hair was unbound, falling softly over taut muscle. A dry smile told her she was staring at him. Again.

She swallowed hard. “I…” She stuttered. “I’m so sorry, Mr Cameron.” She averted her gaze to her feet. “I was just going to heat up water for my tea. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

The insufferable man laughed as he grabbed a piece of cloth and began to pat himself dry. “I don’t think you did.” He shook his head, sending strands flying before rubbing it vigorously. “And it’s Rory, remember?” He grinned. Catriona stood rooted to the spot. Words failed her. Her mouth went dry.

“But tell me,” he went on, “do you always venture into the kitchen so early? If so, you’d better get dressed next time.”

Transfixed by his mocking gaze, her cheeks heated as she became aware of her own state of undress. What an impression was she giving him, with her hair falling loosely over her shoulders, and the blanket only barely covering her modesty?

Oh, dear God, the blanket!

Highland Arms is in Kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/Highland-Arms-Danger-Scottish-Highlands-ebook/dp/B01MYLCKHK

About Cathie Dunn:

Cathie Dunn writes historical romantic suspense.

Cathie has been writing for over 20 years. In 2008, she gained a certificate in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her focus was on novel writing, which she teaches in the south of France. She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books and visiting castles and historic sites.

At the moment, Cathie is working on a medieval Scottish romance, and a time-slip paranormal romance set in the Languedoc area in southern France, in the present time and the days of Charlemagne’s reign just prior to AD800.

Cathie’s stories have garnered praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.

Follow her at www.cathiedunn.com!

Furbaby Friday with Author Mary Gillgannon!


Welcome fellow Wild Rose Press Author Mary Gillgannon, here to share her wonderful writing cats and upcoming historical romance, Lady of Steel.

A CAT ON THE LAP…OR AT LEAST NEARBY

Nikki was my first writing cat. She sat on my lap as I wrote and edited nearly ten books. Most of the time she was content, happy to be perched on her “warm-blooded furniture”. But every once in a while something would upset her and she’d suddenly hiss and leap off for no reason.

I’ve always said that Nikki has PTSD. My sister-in-law found her in her backyard when Nikki was tiny, and one of the cutest kittens I’ve ever seen. (insert kitten picture). Even though my two children nicknamed her “gray bear”, patiently fed her kitten formula and moistened food, slept with her and took her with them everywhere they could, she never quite recovered from the terror of being abandoned by her mother, left on the cold, wet grass in the dark.

Despite her trauma, she has made it eighteen and a half years. She’s thin and feeble now, and cataracts have clouded her enigmatic green eyes. But like many great beauties, she retains much of her elegant allure.

Sadly, Nikki is no longer my writing cat. Seven years ago I moved my desk from a corner of the family room to a beautiful office in our newly remodeled upstairs. Nikki was never able to adapt to the transition, and although she sits on my lap when I watch TV or read, she no longer keeps me company while I write.

My writing cat these days is Benjamin. He doesn’t sit on my lap or even hang out with me much of the time. But he comes and visits me, slipping in the open window of my office in summer (which serves as the upstairs pet door in good weather). He chirps and mews, coaxing me to pet him, to go downstairs and get him treats or just coo nonsense back at him as he sprawls on my very messy desk.

In the course of my writing career, we’ve had six other cats besides Nikki and Benjamin, as well as two dogs. Out of all of them, Benjamin has been the only animal who sees me as his very favorite human and loves me more than anyone in the world. Most of the time he’d rather have me pet and talk to him than give him treats. He comes when I call his name and gazes at me with kingly adoration. When I travel on solo trips, he misses me almost much as my husband does.

Along with his sweet nature, Benjamin has exceptional dignity and gravitas, even for a cat, something my sister sought to capture when she painted this picture of him. (insert painting of Benjamin).

Animals have always been a huge part of my life. I’ve been obsessed with cats ever since I can remember. When I was eight I harassed my father, who thought he hated cats, into getting me my first kitten. Since then I’ve shared my life with over a dozen animals. Not all my pets have loved me the way Benjamin does, but they have enriched my life, calmed and comforted me, made me laugh (and cry when they died) and helped spark my creativity in many ways.

Beth: I loved hearing about your furbabies, Mary. Beautiful kitties.

Mary: I often include animals in my books. My upcoming release, Lady of Steel, features two tomcats, one of whom actually plays a part in the story. Lady of Steel will be released in early 2018, and although I don’t have a cover yet, I chose this classic medieval image to illustrate the mood of the book.

I see Lady of Steel as a feminist romance. Nicola of Valmar is a strong, independent woman living in the medieval era, a time when women had little power and no rights. Her challenge is not only to overcome the oppression and limitations of her world, but to learn to trust, and accept that a man can be a partner and a helpmate, instead of an adversary. Fawkes de Cressy, famed knight and acclaimed Crusader, is the perfect hero for her. For beneath his exterior of ruthless ambition and forbidding dominance, he remains the idealistic young squire who took her maidenhead with exquisite tenderness.

Excerpt:

Fawkes’s eyes flared with violent emotion. “You forget. I knew Mortimer. He tried more than once to kill me. I have no sympathy for him. None at all.”

Nicola let out her breath. Perhaps now they could begin again, and he would stop playing this game of cat and mouse with her. She nodded. “I’m very grateful you understand. I’d worried you might have heard tales of me, stories meant to portray me as wicked and manipulative.”

He watched her intently. “Aye, I have heard tales. ’Tis good you saw fit to reassure me. Perhaps now, perhaps we can…”

He let his words trail off and the atmosphere between them shifted. His dark eyes no longer seemed stern and implacable, but smoldered with frank sexual desire. The tension between them altered, erupting with blazing arousal. Fire started in her loins and spread outward, making her skin ache for his touch. She tilted her head, awaiting his kiss.

He hesitated, as if even now he feared to take this final step and give into what his body obviously desired. Observing his forbearance, she thought for the dozenth time of how different he was from Mortimer. Mortimer had been a slave to his emotions. This man sought control at all times.

But at last he brought his lips to hers. The blaze took them both.

Beth: I am a fan of this time period and your story sounds fabulous.

Mary Gillgannon is the author of sixteen novels, primarily romances set in the dark age, medieval and Regency time periods. She’s married and has two children. Now that they’re grown, she indulges her nurturing tendencies on four very spoiled cats and a moderately spoiled dog. When not writing or working—she’s been employed at the local public library for twenty-seven years—she enjoys gardening, reading and travel.

Author Links:

Website:  http://marygillgannon.com

Blog: http://marygillgannon.blogspot.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MaryGillgannonAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MaryGillgannon

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment.

Cats and Springtime Go Together


Owl Cat in the garden

(Owl Cat in the garden)

Kitties love our garden(s). We have a lot of cats on our farm, both the outside kitties who found us, or their mama’s did, or were dumped, and the five rescues I’ve taken into the house. Thanks to our local cat rescue organization, Cat’s Cradle, in the Shenandoah Valley, all our outside barn cats and strays, except one or two that avoided the cage, were humane trapped, neutered or spayed, medicated if needed, given shots, and returned to us in late April. Big sigh of relief here. Nineteen cats and older kittens were fixed and tended to thanks to these fine folks. I couldn’t have afforded to do all of this on my own, and I don’t have the traps or their trapping skill. I made a donation and entourage everyone to support them and other no kill rescue organizations for cats and dogs. Note: Our local SPCA has the highest kill rate in Virginia.

What about yours? Check before you take animals to these places. Seek the humane no kill rescue centers and groups. We also have good ones for dogs.

_MG_8351

(Owl Cat in the catnip)

Back to the farm, a shy young adult kitty we call Owl Cat, because of her notable head tilt, is apparently fine, according to the vet. The tilt may stem from an earlier injury. We’ve noted she’s gotten better since early spring when she first gained our attention. The angle of her head and intensity of her gaze gives her a deeply contemplative look. She lives in the old red barn or my garden and is one of the regulars who collect outside my kitchen door for meals. She has a lovely climbing tree there and a small cat house she likes. All the kitties are enthralled by the catnip that grows in a nearby flower bed and have favorite nooks among the herbs, flowers, and shrubs. In the summer, they stalk the rows of sweet corn like jungle cats.

Little white kitty drinking his bottle

With spring comes the kitten rescues which get very tiring, and I was hoping to avoid with the many spays and neutering we’ve had done. So far, I’ve taken in three kittens. Cat’s Cradle kindly took the two tiny Siamese babies from me when they became sick and needed more care than I felt up to giving. I was sick myself. These babies will be adopted through them in late May. Their elusive mother is one of the two adults we were unable to catch, and haven’t ever seen. She left the pair squawking in the barn. My son later caught sight of two more Siamese babies and a tabby infant that she (or some other mama) was caring for, then she moved them. She and they are hidden here somewhere,, unless she relocated  to the neighbor’s farm. The humane trapping of the other cats may have upset her. A young adult Siamese male also shunned the traps. We suspect he’s deaf. He’s a frequent visitor outside my kitchen door, and I’d like to get him tamed enough to catch and neuter.

dilute calico kitten

A third calico kitten was dumped on our farm last week, and found by my ten-yr-old-niece Cailin. The poor thing was crying its head off and hiding in a piece of farm machinery in the upper meadow. I snagged a good home for that little cutie. There may have been siblings with it, as it’s unusual for a single kitten to be dumped alone, but we couldn’t find anymore. If there were more, they didn’t make it. People shouldn’t dump kittens on farms assuming someone will find them in time. Not everyone will go to the efforts I do to take care of them, and farmers have plenty of cats already.

Five kitties live strictly inside our house–all rescues–ranging from Minnie Mae, 14, Percy, 12, Pavel, 4, and the latest are the dastardly duo, Peaches and Cream, the itty bitty buddy brothers I rescued last fall. I had bronchitis by the time I got them through those first exhausting weeks. They were had a respiratory infection too, and had to be medicated and bottle fed, plus, plus. They are forever up to some sort of naughtiness, unless it’s nap time. It’s gotten so I don’t even bother to investigate all the crashes in the house unless I hear something shatter. Their antics are the reason I’m not keeping any more kitties inside for quite a while. When I hear them purr-talking and chirruping together, I know they’re up to no good. But I love them dearly. Peaches and Cream, plus Pavel, are especially enamored with the sun porch and love my geraniums. Not that’s it’s done the plants a lot of good. They’re blooming beautifully, though, despite the nibbling.

Percy likes to snooze in a sunbeam out there. Who wouldn’t?’

Apricot tabby in geraniums

(Peaches, an apricot or buff tabby, nosing in the geraniums)

“A dog will flatter you but you have to flatter the cat.”- George Mikes

“After scolding one’s cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for reference.”- Charlotte Gray

(A Peaches and  Cream are shameless and ignore everything I say. Pictured below in a deceptively innocent pose. Cream is a Siamese orange tabby mix.)

Peaches and Cream snoozing in the Sunspace

'Cream' Siamese orange tabby mix

(Cream a Siamese Orange Tabby Mix. Smart, Curious, and into everything)

“You can’t help that. We’re all mad here.” – The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland (Definitely)

“Actually, cats do this to protect you from gnomes who come and steal your breath while you sleep.” – John Dobbin (This quite was so random I had to include it. Of course.)

Below is the old red barn where the outside cats shelter. Images are by daughter Elise, except the ones of Owl Cat, DH took those.

barn cat and roosters

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


Peaches and Cream But a number of kitties own me. The latest in my crazy cat lady menagerie are the devious duo, Peaches and Cream. They remind me of the pair of Siamese in the movie Lady and the Tramp. And, in fact, are part Siamese, particularly evident in Cream. (Peaches and Cream looking down from the top of the couch).

Cream 1To make amends for his exasperating curiosity, Cream touches his nose to mine in greeting, then curls beside me on the armrest while I sit on the couch with my laptop. How does anyone write without cats?

If I lean back, Cream nuzzles my head and nibbles my hair, a sign of affection in cats. At least, it is if they nibble each other’s whiskers. I don’t have whiskers, so…hair. Cream purrs delightfully, and is a most soothing companion when he’s not rifling through my purse for peppermints–loves the crackly sound of the wrappers–or stealing my lip gloss, or anything else he can dislodge. He also raids cabinets. Drawers. Baskets.

Peaches-Apricot tabby Oriental mixPeaches is also curious, but less inexhaustible in his pursuit of naughtiness. He’s a particular friend to our tiny pom-poo Sadie, whether she likes it or not. He’s also a willing friend to most anyone. An exceedingly sweet kitty.

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

Peaches and Cream2

The two kittens together manage more mischief together than one could ever achieve alone. They shut our eldest cat Minnie Mae in the shower. I tracked down the piteous meows and freed her while they milled outside the door claiming to know nothing about it.

_MG_7552 (1)Their exploits with the Christmas tree are legendary. They shook it like a stiff wind blowing through the living room. Even chewed the branches and they’re artificial. Crunch. Crunch. I’d look up to see them perched in the tree gnawing on boughs. Stolen ornaments were batted gleefully about the house. We didn’t put breakables on it this year. And the Nativity scene remained safely stashed away, or wise men, camels, sheep and shepherds would’ve turned up in random places. Poor baby Jesus would have fallen victim to ‘the paws.’

Cream

The tree is down now. Peaches and Cream thoroughly enjoyed the undecorating process. Party time. They hid in the big bag we zipped the separate parts of the fake spruce in, but we found them before they got tucked away until next year. Nothing can replace the delights of the holidays, not even their stash of dingle balls, one of which they tore up. I didn’t know cats would rip the stuffing out of a ball like a dog, but they kept appearing with stuffing they were batting around. So I suspect they’re responsible for its demise, Only the dingle was left.

(The camera doesn’t do justice to Cream’s blue eyes)

Cream 3

Now, they’ve invented a new game that involves one kitten hiding under the braided rug before the kitchen door while the other pounces and they sail into the door. The slam sounds like someone entering, and I keep calling, ‘Hello? Dennis? Cory?” to my husband and son, or whomever I expect to discover within. Nope, it’s just two kittens going ‘Wheee!’ and leaping back and forth.

‘Everything’s a game to them,’ my granddaughter observed.

True, everything is, or should be.

tiny oriental and tabby mix kittensThere’s much to learn from kittens. Play more. Have fun. Enjoy life. ‘Wheee.’ And if you really want to have a blast, adopt a pair of these furbabies.

‘It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one or more kittens.’ ~Cynthia E. Varnado

(Image of Peaches and Cream when they were tiny)

Kitten Rescue and My New Book Release


Peaches and Cream with EliseWednesday, my new historical romance novel, Traitor’s Legacy, came out. Authors know, and readers can guess, the effort needed to spread the word. But two tiny kittens also need me. Monday, my feline loving granddaughter, soon to be 7-year-old, Emma, found a minute, very mad, abandoned kitten. About two weeks old, I guessed, which involves feedings every 3-4 hours round the clock (I use a small syringe from the vet because he hates the bottle) and bottom cleaning because kittens can’t ‘go’ themselves at this age. And very young kittens must be kept warm. I use a canning jar with a tight lid and refill the bottle every few hours with hot water, and keep him in a small cloth-lined box, covered with a towel.

Peaches and CreamThis seemed like enough of a challenge, then on Tuesday, Emma and her younger brother Owen found an even tinier kitten (the runt brother of the first little guy) soaking wet, muddy, hollering its head off and looking like a drowned mouse. Turns out, their farm cat mama had four in the litter and wasn’t interested in the two smaller kittens. And, I discovered they had a respiratory thing. So, first thing Wednesday morning of my release day, I’m at the vet’s office, so tired from being up worrying over the kittens I tried to answer my phone by just saying hello without hitting the on button. The brothers (the vet says they’re boys) are on an antibiotic (a little drop in a syringe) twice a day for two weeks and a vet approved supplement for their feedings. The formula from our dairy cows that I usually whip up using a cup of  whole milk, an egg yolk, and teaspoon of vegetable oil, recommended by an old country vet years ago, was deemed to be too iffy for these guys.

I’m calling the kittens Peaches and Cream, as the original brother is a pale apricot and fuzzy, and the runty kitten who was muddy brown has revealed himself to be a white kitten trying to be a Siamese with gold tipped ears, tail, and paws. There’s a wild Siamese Tom cat running around the farm I suspect to be the father. Or the mother’s father. Some connection. Cream is the hardest hit by the virus so requires extra care.

Traitor's Legacy resized pgYesterday was my big book blast blog tour day for Traitor’s Legacy. I faithfully tried to make the rounds, but was beat. Last night I slept on the couch to be near the kittens. If at all possible, they are NOT dying on my watch. Tiny Mite, the newborn kitten I rescued last fall and failed to save, still haunts me.

So hey, I have this new book out, and kittens to take care of. And I’m too tired to think straight or even know what day it is. But I’m told the eBook is half price off at The Wild Rose Press, available in pdf, ePub and Mobi (pocket) which means for Kindle. Traitor’s Legacy is also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from other online booksellers.  And I’ve maybe got another hour and a half until the next feeding and clean up session. Wish me luck! I try to tell myself not to get so attached to the kittens, not to care so much, because it’s awful when they don’t make it. But I do.

Proceeds from this novel will go toward vet bills. He’s seeing them again soon.

For The Love of Fur Babies–Beth Trissel


Excerpt from Shenandoah Watercolors, my nonfiction book about gardening, country life and herbal lore.

~Years ago, my youngest daughter, Elise, and I found a bedraggled black kitten in a murky corner of the old red 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.
niece Cailin with kitten PavelWe 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. Sometimes I use a tiny bottle, but 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.
KITTEN TEA PARTYAssorted 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 barn 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 rescue dog, Mia, also likes her bed in the dining room because she cannot 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.
***Photograph of the kitten and baby goose, Mia and our rescue kitty, Percy (Both bigger and older now) and rescue kitty Minnie Mae (tea party) by my mother, Pat Churchman. Niece Cailin and our latest rescue kitty Pavel by Elise.
Author/farm wife Beth Trissel shares the joys and challenges of rural life on her family’s small farm located in the scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Journey with her through the seasons on the farm, owned by her family since the 1930’s, and savor the richness of her cherished gardens and beloved valley. This journal is a poignant, often humorous, sometimes sad glimpse into a vanishing way of life for anyone who loves or yearns for the country and even those who don’t.
At Amazon in kindle and print. The paperback has lovely images taken by my talented family.