Makin’ Biscuits Book

A Happy Cat is a Healthy Cat for Happy Cat Month

September is Happy Cat Month, a month created by the CATalyst Council to assist in spreading the word about the health, welfare, and value of cats as companion pets, as well as to educate cat guardians what they can do to ensure their pet is happy.

Making sure a cat’s basic needs are met – food and water, safe shelter, clean litter, and regular veterinarian checkups are all important to that happiness, but it’s also important to provide a cat with fun and stimulating challenges that cater to their natural predator instincts to keep their minds sharp, their bodies fit, and their hearts happy and healthy.

It could be a cat condo that provides options for climbing, hiding, and scratching, or sometimes it’s an empty box, an unmade bed, or a puddle of sunshine to nap in. Or maybe it’s an unexpected treat, or a fun, catnip toy, or just the simple love and companionship from fellow catmates, or human caregivers.

Just some of the many things that make my cats happy!

A few more things…

Whatever it is, nothing gives me greater joy than knowing I’m making my cats happy, because the happiness they bring to my heart and home is returned a thousand times over. What are some of the little things you like to do for your cats to make them happy?

Why Cats Stare at Nothing and Other Twilight Zone Behaviors Explained

This beautiful stained glass window in our kitchen is the perfect filter when the sun is just right for what I call the “hairlight affect.”

Snowflakes softly twinkling, falling in a graceful dance, dusting all they touch with an exquisite blanket of untouched snow. I carry the memory of those moments from my days in Upstate New York where the quiet beauty of a freshly fallen snow could take your breath away. Living in Florida, we don’t have anything to quite compare, unless you consider what I term ‘hairlight” – those glorious moments in a household with cats in which the sun is either rising, or setting in a perfect wash of sunlight that exposes every delightful bit of dust and cat hair that abounds on the floor, on furniture, on computer screens, on appliances, on televisions and more. This, I am very familar with. Read more

10 Tips to Relieve Feline Boredom in the Same Old 24/7 Environment

While the worst of it is over and I’m grateful for the success of my recent vitrectomy eye surgery, the recovery period was intensely difficult and one that gave me an unexpected virtual perspective of the life of my cats. For nearly two weeks, I was confined to a 3’ x 4’ cushion on the couch. I had to remain in a seated position, with my head upright, including when I was sleeping. After day 10, I was in tears, exhausted from the monotony, and it hit me like a lightning bolt – this is what it must be like to be a cat, captive to the 24/7 same old, same old of whatever world we provide for them. Read more

10 Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Cat Happy, Healthy, and Fit with Exercise

Believe it or not, a cat spends the majority of her day napping in order to reserve energy for her hunting and survival skills.

Cats are notorious nappers, sleeping nearly 16 hours a day. We humans might consider it lazy or excessive, but the truth is, that’s how they’re wired. Cats are natural born predators and need to reserve their energy to keep their hunting skills sharp. That’s why they’re instinctively more active around dawn or dusk, a term known as crepuscular, as frequently exhibited by those random bursts of energy our cats can have. But because the majority of pet cats live in an environment in which their basic feeding needs are catered to, requiring little to no hunting skills, the need to expel energy is even more important for them to stay fit and healthy. Read more

Feline Good! A New Concept in Reading With Gwen Cooper’s “Curl Up With a Cat Tale” Series

I love cats. I love to read. A book about cats, I’m just about in Heaven. Unfortunately, finding time to read is challenging, so I rarely have the opportunity to enjoy a good cat story. That is until now. A dear friend of mine and New York Times bestselling author, Gwen Cooper of Homer’s Odyssey, has come up with an ingenious concept for those of us wanting a quick kitty fix of quality, entertaining, and compelling writing with her “Curl Up With a Cat Tale” series.

Featuring 10 short stories about her much-beloved fur family – from her early days when she was a novice cat lady in training to her current status in which she and her cats are household names – each story is independent of one another. They are available monthly for $3.99 apiece on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, or Kobo or you can pay a one-time subscription fee of $14.99 and receive all 10 stories in the series at 60% off. Subscribers will automatically receive their new story the first week of each month and stories are delivered in PDF, ePub, and Mobi formats so they may be read on any desktop or laptop computer, e-reader, mobile phone, tablet, and/or printed out on paper for a hard copy.

Short story cover photo courtesy of Gwen Cooper.

I was privy to an advanced sneak peek at the first story “I Choo-Choo-Choose You!” about Scarlett – a pint-sized white mitted and bibbed tabby rescue kitten with a strong mind of her own. For Gwen, it was love at first sight. For Scarlett, not so much. The story itself was only about 30 pages, but even though it was short, it was still written with Gwen’s trademark wit, honesty, and heart, and best of all, I was able to fit the time into my busy schedule to read it. Gwen has an easy-going nature to her writing and she is quick to make fun of the irony of it all. Scarlett was Gwen’s first official adopted cat and in her mind, she and Scarlett would become instant best friends. She rescued Scarlett. She would be a hero!

Gwen armed herself, as only a cat lover can, with every bit of cat paraphernalia she could find to amuse and impress her newly adopted furry roommate. Never mind Gwen lived in a tiny apartment, and never mind that a kitten can actually amuse themselves with little more than a wadded up piece of paper, but Gwen insisted in her heart she knew what her little Scarlett would want. Which in essence, amounted to a kitten-sized army of indifference to Gwen’s carefully chosen efforts.  

Scarlett back in 2008 – she was a pretty little kitty with a mega-sized personality! Photo courtesy of Gwen Cooper.

I loved this so much because so many of us as cat lovers can relate. We love cats, but there’s always that one cat you can’t pet, or the cat that hides from you, or the cat that completely ignores you. We pretend we don’t mind, but deep down it hurts. A cat that doesn’t like me? How can that be? As someone who has been studying cat behavior for the past several years, I now realize (as Gwen has also learned) that it’s not necessarily personal. All cats are wired differently and it’s how we respect their inner boundaries that make the difference to the feline-human relationship.

By the end of the story, that point is proven. All the unused toys. All the indifference. All the misdirected aggressive behavior (including a very odd hair-biting habit). Gwen’s relationship with Scarlett might not have been the one she first imagined, but that didn’t mean Scarlett didn’t love her or appreciate her companionship. Once that understanding is reached, the human-feline bond takes on a different perspective. Cats show affection in ways that aren’t always associated with physical attention and Scarlett taught Gwen that some relationships with our feline friends require patience and understanding.

I really enjoyed the story – my only complaint is a very simple one – I wanted more! Gwen is a fantastic writer. She’s colorful, humorous, self-deprecatingly honest, compelling, and more. It’s a brief read, but it’s still an engaging page-turner, each and every one of them! If you’d like to read about Gwen’s up and down adventures with Scarlett or to read all the sure-to-be-great upcoming stories in the series, please click here for purchasing details.

hearts

Full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. Gwen and I are both members of the Cat Writers’ Association and have become friends over the years. Gwen provided the foreword for my 3-time award-winning book, Makin’ Biscuits – Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them and my decision to do this review is because I love Gwen’s writing style. I also fell in love with the unique concept of the series and felt it relevant to my readers. 

Christine Michaels of Riverfront Cats and me hanging out with Gwen back in 2013 when she was in Miami for a book signing event.