Mindful Cat Blog

up at Catster.com — Have Cat Health Issues Pushed You to an Anxiety Attack?

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Author, blogging, cat behavior, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, catster.com | 0 comments

I’m not a person prone to anxiety attacks, but I have had experiences that brought me through some surprising stress. These involved cat care and cat health. No big surprise, as I care greatly about my cats. Here are some thoughts and tips on managing such stress — up at catster.com today.



Wicked Good Wednesday: Catherine gets a logo; Norton wants one, too.

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Author, blogging, Catherine Holm Author, Cats Cats Cats!, Life with cats | Comments Off

Norton: Mama just got a “logo”!




Norton: What’s a logo?


“Why can’t I have a logo? I need this!”











Chester: I dunno. Something humans use to tell the world about themselves.


Norton: I want a logo!


Chester: Well, maybe you don’t need one. Maybe the world knows enough about you! Geez. You get written about on this blog, and at Catster, and…you even have a town named after you!


Chester, the manager cat, has a firm grip on reality.











Norton: I want a logo. Logo logo logo!



Truly, Norton is cute enough on his own that he probably doesn’t need a logo. But I do. Thanks to the incredibly talented, savvy, and very nice for her work on the logo, and some incredible headers that will be revealed when my website is updated, soon. She put up with my endless questions about all things graphic and created Beauty and Class all at once. Fun Fun!


Mindful Cat Monday — Writing about Place

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Catherine Holm Author, creative writing, Place | 4 comments

Those of you who know me know that I LOVE to write about place. I am fascinated with the way that different landscapes “feel,” and how they impact our daily living. For instances, the Green Mountains are a big part of daily life here in northern Vermont. We drive them, we climb them daily. Even walking my own land requires climbing. The mountains affect weather patterns. I am in love with their visual qualities. Anyone who lives here knows what I mean. I will never get tired of seeing a ridgeline, or the way the sun plays over the mountains, or the different look that the landscape takes in the fog.

It takes my breath away.

Fall is a thrilling time, all the more stunning because of the topography. And, even though we’re three hours from the ocean, my husband can sometimes smell the ocean here, just for a moment, if the wind is moving in the right way.

These are, to me, fascinating things about place.

Place figures into my short stories, and it was a big part of my memoir, too. I don’t try to insert it — it comes very naturally. in fact, I would say that on some level, I require it in my writing.

I had an interesting experience yesterday in a Unitarian Universalist church setting, proving to me once again that our experience of Place is all relative. A discussion got going about how this area of Vermont is remote, and at the edge of civilization. And a huge part of me wanted to jump up and say, “No, actually, this is very civilized!” I have lived in a wilder and quieter place (northern MN). Hearing this part of Vermont called the “edge of civilization” seemed strange, to me.

But of course, to the people speaking, this IS the edge of civilization, the middle of nowhere.

Not to me. When you can get (excellent) Thai food 40 minutes from your home, it’s not the middle of nowhere. But this is my experience.

I thought of speaking about my former Place (northern MN) with this group of people, but I’m not sure that it would have mattered. I didn’t want to rob anyone of the joy of their story, because people love this area (and I do, too), and if it gives them joy to discuss the remoteness of the area, so be it. I didn’t want to diminish that. And it seemed that any addition of mine to the conversation would not necessarily add any benefit. Many people I meet here are well traveled, and have been all over the world. But not too many people have been to flyover country. And northern MN is not easy to get to, airline-wise or otherwise.

I kept my mouth shut.

I’ve done the same thing when it comes to discussion of winter around here. People take pride in stories of the harsh Vermont winters. They dread winter. I’ve been through one Vermont winter. It was much nicer than a MN winter. I’ve been experiencing MN winters for a good 45 years of my life. This VT winter was a relief. Even if it hit 21 below at night, it bounced back up and didn’t stick for days. It never got too cold to cross country ski. But again, it’s all relative.

The one thing here that is worse about the winter is that the snow is more moist. You have to be strong to move it, or have the right equipment. Roads freaked me out at first, too, until I realized that I had a good car now, I had snow tires, and if I used common sense, all would be well. (I wasn’t driving the old rear wheel drive Toyota tiny truck anymore!)

I am a slowwwww processor and that’s why many of my thoughts about Place will be in my next book. That’s how I do it.  Now, I’m going to take a walk up the hill, and look at the special way that the sunlight filters through the leaves in a Vermont forest.

The summit of a favorite hike.

Wicked Good Wednesday: Rama Teaches Mama

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Author, cat behavior, cat care, cat welfare, Life with cats, Rescued The Stories of 12 Cats Through Their Eyes | 1 comment

Rama here! I’m doing just great! I’m pretty much back to normal now, running up and down stairs, even jumping! Still, Mama sometimes needs to be reminded of the nuances of healing. It doesn’t happen all at once, you know! Just a few days ago, I thought Mama was going to have a sad-attack, just because I wasn’t purring nonstop. What cat purrs non-stop!? But Mama took it personally and thought I didn’t love her.

Humans — they think it’s all about them!

I’m purring back to normal now. Normal for me means sleeping all day, and getting a little more lovey at night. I thought Mama was going to go through the roof with happiness when I purred and jumped on the bed and snuggled the other night.I repeated this last night and I thought she would faint in bliss.

Humans — sometimes they’re easily pleased!

I’ve never been like Zorro (flopping and purring all the time — my god! my cat!) but I certainly am feeling better and all’s well in the household today.

Rama slightly awake after a daytime nap on the bed with others.

Wicked Good Wednesday — Rama Goes Back to the Vet

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in Author, blogging, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, Life with cats | 2 comments


Rama: Mama, are we going to take a long car ride?

Cat: Yes, my handsome boy!

Rama: Well, that’s okay, because I will get YOU all to MYSELF for the whole day! I don’t even mind riding in a car!

Cat: I feel the same way! It will be a love fest!

Rama: Love fest, Yea!

Rama will go back to the vet to get his incision checked, and hopefully, be given the all clear to run about the house again.











Rama: You know, that one vet tech wanted to kidnap me! But I would never leave you, Mama.

Cat: Don’t you ever leave me, Rama!

Rama: She was a pretty smart vet tech. She knew you were from Vermont!


And she did! Somehow, that vet tech knew we were from Vermont. Hmmm. Maybe Vermont black cats have a certain cool demeanor, or…?


Mindful Cat Monday — Gratitude; Rama; Life Stuff

Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 in blogging, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, Life, Writing | Comments Off

I am feeling immensely grateful today. Not sure why, but I’ll take it. It probably helps that the weather has been amazing. I love love love fall. Even though it’s very warm, and I would actually call this pre-fall, I love this time of year.

All things are coming up that I love: garden harvest, picking apples, splitting wood, being outside as much as possible.

Rama is doing very very well. I’m erring on the conservative side and limiting his movement for a few more days beyond 14 days. He’s still in a small room, and gets a lot of attention from me. He moves around, which is good for healing. He is eating and drinking well (he loves to eat!). We’ll recheck the incision with the vet on Wednesday, and then he will be good to go and out with the rest of the kitties. It’s been a great opportunity to shower him with love — something I love!

Many close people in my world are going through life transformation right now. I am, too. Not sure where it’s headed yet, but it’s good. It’s an exciting time — a little like wandering onto a dark forest path, not being able to entirely see or sense everything around you, yet being able to sense it in a new way, and trusting that your intention and your movement and intuition will lead you in the best way.

View from a covered bridge in New Hampshire — pre fall.













Two boys soaking in the sun.



Mindful Cat Monday — Rama Update

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in blogging, cat behavior, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time | 2 comments

I taught yoga this morning and I stumped myself trying to explain Rama to someone who was asking about him and his recovery. Rama is kind of a complicated cat, and yet he’s not.

Sometimes he swaggers around like a sexy sultan, and sometimes he acts like an insecure little boy.

Sometimes he loves me with all his heart, and sometimes he makes crabby noises.

Sometimes (often) he’s quite serious, but he has the funniest, subtle sense of humor.

He makes crabby noises when I dance with him (I do dance with cats and I love it), but if I put him down, he looks at me like, “What? It’s over? Pick me up!”

Rama recovering from surgery and tolerating the cone well — he’s worn it many times.











I wrote about Rama in Driving with Cats. Rama is very special to me because I had to work quite a bit with him after we adopted him from the shelter. He had trust issues. For a long time, I was the only person who could touch him. For years, he never played with any of the other cats. Very recently, he has begun play wrestling with Norton. I am so happy to see this! I’m easily pleased when it comes to cat progress.

It gave my cat-loving heart great joy when Rama finally (after years) relaxed enough to began playing with Norton. It probably helps that Norton likes to get physical (like Rama) and has an easygoing personality as well.












Rama is doing quite well after his surgery. Keeping him in a small room has really done the trick, and the cone keeps him from wanting to jump. I put him in the larger dog crate if I have to be gone for several hours. But basically, I’ve been spending a lot of time with Rama in my office — his room for the next week and two days until he has his incision rechecked. The incision looks very good and he seems very comfortable and happy.



Mindful Cat Monday — Rama is Home!!

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in cat behavior, cat care, cat welfare, Catherine Holm Author | 3 comments

In a whirlwind couple of days last week, my cat Rama (who has had recurring low grade (Stage 1) neurofibrosarcomas for years) was referred to a veterinary oncologist. We made a three hour trip through Maine and ended up minutes from the ocean, though we never got to see it. At the specialty veterinary clinic, I learned that a CT scan for Rama would pinpoint exactly where the affected tissue was and what needed to be removed. Rama had a CT scan and major abdominal surgery. He has a lot going for him: the tumor was in one of the best places possible for removal,the CT scan showed no metastasis anywhere in the body, Rama is sturdy, his blood work is perfect, and the sarcomas have been biopsied and determined to be local and low grade.

We are home now and I am doing the most intensive cat sitting I’ve ever done. Rama needs to have very controlled movement for the next 14 days. No jumping or running or stairs for him. He is sequestered in my office and I’ve piled boxes high on the desk so he will not be tempted to jump. The chair is gone and the floor is covered with yoga mats. It’s crammed and a mess! He also has a large dog crate with litter box and a blanket, and that’s where he goes when I can’t be in the room monitoring his movement. So far, he’s doing quite well. His (really really long) incision is healing nicely. I just can’t slack off for the next 14 days and get too comfortable. Fortunately, the painkiller makes him drowsy for part of the day. But he has been up and walking, too. And the best part….he’s loving the loving. Many many headbutts and purrs have been received. This makes it all better.

I’m pretty wiped out, but so happy that this could possibly be a cure, for good.


Rama’s glamour pic from Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes.












Rama is one of the feline authors in Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes.


Life Coach and writer Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page


Wicked Good Wednesday: I’m the Manager!

Posted by on Aug 19, 2015 in cat behavior, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, creative writing, Life with cats | 1 comment

Chester: What is it about me?

I do mean business — don’t let my quiet way deceive you!











Cat: I don’t know, Chester. What is it?


Chester: Is it my cool demeanor?


Cat: Probably.


Chester: Is it the fact that I quietly backed a German Shepherd into a corner with nary a sound, and just the glint in my eye?

Chester gave Ruby the dog his quiet glare, and Ruby jumped on the futon to hide behind her person.











Cat: She is an exceptionally sweet dog…


Chester: Still.


Little Norton would like to be manager, or second in command — he watches Chester carefully.











Manager cats like Chester are always a surprise. We silly humans often miss the obvious. I never thought Chester was the manager in my household of cats, until a smarter human pointed it out. Chester keeps stuff running in order. And yes, he has a subtle glare that a dog ten times his size respected.

Nothing like the “quietly powerful.” I saw the same kind of demeanor once, coolly delivered by a writing instructor. I never forgot it. Management doesn’t have to be bombastic and blustery!



Life Coach and writer Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.

Mindful Cat Monday — Honoring the Slow Processor within Ourselves

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Author, blogging, creative writing coaching, Life, life coaching | Comments Off

Some of us are slow processors. I am one of these people.

I did an intense life coaching session the other day with a coach I completely respect. At one point during the coaching call, he asked me to imagine standing on a cliff and picture a meandering river below. I was to look at the river, imagining that the river represented the last three years of my life. He asked me what I had done in the last three years of my life.

My mind froze.

I didn’t remember a thing, except for a big cross country move. More on that in a moment. The move filled my brain.

I am not one to think about the past (usually) — I tend to keep trying to push ahead and I tend to forget what I’ve done. I forget my accomplishments. I blurted out some kind of an answer about moving, publishing my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th book, and spending a lot of time on book promotion.

Image result for river

A few days after the coaching call, I find myself wanting and needing to honor and capture what I have done over the last three years, both big and mundane. We humans are capable of so much. We power through the days — with or without direction. The bigger question might be: What can I learn from what I’d done? What does this tell me about myself?

In the last three years, I:

  • Moved from a state where I’d spent 45 years of my life, to a completely different state.
  • Learned, and am still learning, where things are, how to make things happen in a new place, and how to interpret different social nuances.
  • Gave hospice to and helped two beloved cats and a beloved dog pass on.
  • Rescued/trapped, tamed, and adopted a formerly feral (alleged) Ragdoll cat, who is now a happy part of the family. Brought him across the country from MN to VT during our move, even though we weren’t completely sure he would tame. (I couldn’t leave him behind and acted solely on intuition.)
  • Experience my first Vermont winter, which was nicer than a MN winter, but brings new challenges of heavy wet snow, and ice.
  • Learned to drive icy mountain roads, and to breathe away the fear.
  • Gasped happily at mountain views everywhere.
  • Attended my first Blogpaws Conference and seriously began a cat blog.
  • Had three more books published (short story collection, memoir, and cat fantasy fiction novel).
  • Promoted my books at readings and signings that I set up myself, in many locations in MN, Iowa, California, and New York, and at professional conferences.
  • Won an award for the cat fantasy fiction novel (The Great Purr).
  • Missed old friends terribly.
  • Began to make a lot of new acquaintances, and came to a new knowledge that new true friends will take time to make. (I’m the type of person that has a few trusted close friends.)
  • Spent a lot of time finding new hiking and skiing trails in the mountains.
  • Discovered that I am Crazy about mountains. I think they are my religion.
  • Bumped up against a lot of edgy edges — the kind that great change brings.
  • Finished a literary novel set in North Dakota.
  • Began memoir #2 — inspired by much of the change of the past three years.
  • Did a daily yoga and meditation practice — and on the occasional day when I don’t do this, I feel it.
  • Continued to meet COOL and impressive people in the pet blogging world.
  • Watched doors close, and doors open. This is a good thing.
  • Began reshaping my business.
  • Helped make an informal family reunion happen — first time we’d all been together in many years.
  • Volunteered at a humane organization in Vermont, and loved the kitties.
  • Became a member of an artist collaborative in my new state, and performed and read in a great space with great people.
  • Attended theater at a cool opera house that straddles the border of Quebec and Vermont.
  • Tried poutine for the first time (not my favorite).
  • Had my first maple creamie (YUM).
  • Had raw littleneck clams (pretty good) on the RI coast.
  • Felt like a stranger in a strange land. AND felt as if I was born to be here.
  • Taught yoga to a brand new bunch of people. Gave yoga workshops to more new people.
  • Loved my cats, and wrote about them. Continued to be fascinated by the amazing bond we have with out companion animals.

There’s likely more. A lot more.

This is why some people journal. It’s a process I’ve never adopted, but I’m beginning to wonder if it has merit. Not to hang onto the past, necessarily, but to honor and acknowledge one’s life path, and to learn from it.

Some of us are slow processors. It’s important to recognize, and honor that, within ourselves. If you’re one who needs to take time to figure out where you are, then give yourself that time. You do not need to move in the same way that everyone else does — you have your own way of “moving” that works best for you.



Life Coach and writer Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.

Wicked Good Wednesday: The Perfect Pillow

Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in blogging, cat behavior, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, Cats Cats Cats!, Jamie Bluebell Blogs!, Life with cats | Comments Off



Jamie Bluebell: Do you know why I love you, Kieran?


Kieran: Why?


Jamie Bluebell: Because you’re such an amazing pillow! You’re soft and squishy and…


I love me a big white Turkish Van pillow, and he doesn’t seem to mind, either.











Kieran: I’m not squishy!


Jamie Bluebell: You’re not fat! But you have the most soft and silky fur, and I love to snuggle with you — when I’m not busy rolling around and saying, “Woo! Woo!” You’re my favorite to snuggle with! Forget about Zorro — he’s mean to me. Norton is too distracted. And Rama makes crabby noises! And Chester, he’s nice but he’s just not the same. There’s just something about you, Kieran…


Let me see how small of a space I can cram into with you.











Kieran: You can always snuggle into my space, Jamie.



Two peas in a Sleepypod ™.











Kitty love.


Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.



Mindful Monday: Blueberry Heaven

Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 in Catherine Holm Author, Living close to the land, Place | Comments Off

Yesterday we picked blueberries at a place called Blueberry Heaven. It lived up to its name.

This is what you see after you park and head toward the blue-colored stand.









The berry bushes are within a large fenced enclosure (1′d guess at least an acre or two), but there’s so much room that you never feel crowded. The bushes were overflowing with berries — all organically grown. There are several different varieties.


We picked a lot. I want to go back for more. I might, just for that incredible view.


Up at Catster today: 6 Tips for Your Home After Your Cat Returns from Surgery

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in Author, blogging, cat behavior, cat care, cat welfare, Catherine Holm Author, catster.com, Life with cats | Comments Off

Once in a while, our pets have to go through surgery. Surgery, even same-day surgery,  can be stressful for us as well as our cats. Here are some things I have refined over the years, to try and smooth out the process after surgery and make things run as smoothly as possible at home. Read about it here at Catster.com: 6 Tips for Your Home After Your Cat Returns from Surgery.


Rama,  my boy who has had a lot of surgeries.

Wicked Good Wednesday: Dancing with Ragdolls

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in blogging, cat behavior, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, Life with cats | Comments Off


Zorro: Mama, I love to Dance!!

Zorro demonstrates happy flopping.











Cat: I know, I know!


Zorro: That’s why the Great Cat gave me these big feet. And a floppy body, too.

Look at my adorable paws. Who could resist me??!











Cat: I love it when you flop, Zorro!


Zorro: I am the master of FLOP. I’d like to meet a Ragdoll that flops as well as me. Bring It!


Just in case you needed to see my paw again, here it is.











I cannot say for sure that Zorro is a Ragdoll (he’s a rescued “former feral” with no papers), but he sure looks like one to me! He also has the most expressive paws I’ve ever seen. If a cat could talk with his paws, it would be Zorro. Zorro is a born dancer, and I get that.


Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.



Mindful Cat Monday — What is Magic?

Posted by on Aug 3, 2015 in blogging, Catherine Holm Author, creative writing, Life, Life with cats, Living close to the land, Place | Comments Off

What is Magic? I use the term loosely, to define anything that seems to delightfully and naturally fall into place, or that simply brings me joy.

Image result for full moon

Is it…


…The indescribable quality of the blue sky light that is beginning to subtly change, and apparent when there are clouds in the blue sky? I’ve seen this in Vermont, Minnesota, and points in between.


…Finding out that a cat sitter, who is also a vet tech, is willing to watch your cats?


…Coming home after a trip and greeting your happy cats? Finding out that cat who has been serious for years is finally playing and having fun?


…The recent blue moon over a clear and perfect sky, lighting the way for me to come home?


…A smile from a good friend? Wonderful and rich conversations?


Magic is everywhere, every moment, always.


Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.

Wicked Good Wednesday: Norton’s Name

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in blogging, cat behavior, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, Life, Life with cats | 2 comments

Norton: Mama, why am I called “Norton”?

Cat: Well, we named you after a very special place! We were so excited about you, and so excited about this place, that it just seemed a natural fit! You’re such a cutie, and we were so excited about YOU!

Norton: But…it doesn’t sound cute! Everyone around here says “NOR-un.” They don’t even pronounce the T! It doesn’t sound cute at all. Mama, you’re even doing it!!








Cat: Oh, my…

Norton: I like the French pronunciation! After all, we are so close to Quebec!

Cat: Do I have to learn to speak French to you?!

Norton: See? Try this: “nor-TOH!” Isn’t that much more glamorous sounding? And cute, too!









Cat: Yes, but…

Norton: nor-TOH! nor-TOH! nor-TOH! Merci, nor-TOH! Au revoir, nor-TOH! Oui, Oui!

Cat: Oh, boy…

Norton; Get your Duo Lingo app out, Mama, or your French books, or whatever! No more boring “NOR-un” for me!


















Norton responds better to the French pronunciation of his name. I guess it’s time to learn French. Seriously, Norton is right. It’s a beautiful language. Since I love the sound of beauty…why not?



Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.




Mindful Cat Monday: Talking Too Much, Being Quiet, and Retreat

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in blogging, Catherine Holm Author, creative writing, Life, Living close to the land, Place, Writing | Comments Off

When I went through yoga teacher training, I had FIERCE yoga teachers who weren’t afraid to help us (force us) to really look at ourselves. At one point, our small group got called on the carpet. Some of us were talking too much, our teachers said. Some of us weren’t talking enough. Some of us were talking just to hear our own voices. Some of us had things to say and didn’t have the courage to speak them. At that time, I was one of the silent ones.

Recently, I caught myself talking too much.

I hate when I do that. And it usually indicates that I want to talk to someone, that I’m reaching out for some kind of connection. Social media just doesn’t completely do it for me, though I love knowing what my friends are doing and how they are.

Retreat gave me time to stop and see the flowers!










Still. There are circumstances that are appropriate for connecting in certain ways, and there are other circumstances that are less so. I had the awareness to realize what I was doing, and I did my best to make the situation right.

Then I went home and talked to my cats.  :)

That’s not as pathetic as it sounds. I’ve been on a self-imposed retreat, deep in the world of a novel I created, getting revisions done so that it can be sent out into the world. That does require silence, focus, concentration, and the circumstances to allow yourself to completely submerge into that created world. Once in a while, I need to emerge from such a retreat, and connect. But I will try to connect in a way where that’s the clearly understood reason for the connection/conversation, etc. The recent incident is a good reminder/learning for me about that.









The novel revisions are finished (YES!), but this retreat has taught me a lot about myself – my stuff, my behaviors, my insecurities, my courage. I needed to get quiet to go there. It has been a long time since I allowed myself a retreat. I think it’s a highly healthy thing to do, and it doesn’t have to involve a lot of complication or expense. I did my retreat right in my own living space.

Don’t be afraid of the quiet. You may find some of your greatest insights there.



Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.

Wicked Good Wednesday: Conversations with Chester — The Feeding Games

Posted by on Jul 15, 2015 in Author, blogging, cat behavior, cat care, cat welfare, Life with cats | 2 comments

Cat: I really wish you would eat your Fancy Feast, Chester. Just finish what’s in the bowl.


Chester: But it’s so beautiful outside. I would rather look out the window! The smells! The flowers! The birds!





















Cat: Come on, Buff Puff. Just a little more. Finish it up.


Chester: I am not “Buff Puff!” And I don’t want the rest of the Fatty Feast now.


Cat: Sure; you’d rather bother me later, when I’m knee deep in work, or my mind is in the depths of this piece of writing, right?


Chester: Yeah, and you love it. I’m so cute.


Cat: Yes (sigh), you are, Chestie. I love you.


Chester: Chester to you, Mom.


Cat: Okay, okay. I’m going for a walk.


Chester: Now, could I PLU-eeeeze have my Fatty Feast? On a dish, preferably!

Could I plu-eezze have my food now!










Finally! Food on a dish.











Mr. Chester is a manager cat, and I have to admit he manages me well…which is probably saying a lot.


Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.


Mindful Cat Monday: Let Your Cats Teach You To Stay in the Moment

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in blogging, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, Life, Life with cats | Comments Off

There’s nothing here that hasn’t been said or thought of before, but I recently had a reminder of how precious, and short, life can be. A friend and fellow cat blogger lost her young and seemingly healthy cat quite suddenly. I’ve been through this myself and it’s mind blowing. The grief and chaos I went through when I had no time to say goodbye to my loved cat — I’ll never forget it. (I’ve not been through this with a human, though I have witnessed and taken part in the passing of loved human friends and family.)

These things make me stand up and take notice.

In my daily life, how much do I take for granted?

When I’m stroking my cat, am I really “there” or is my mind racing on to twenty other things? (Is the mind even capable of that, or do we just drive ourselves crazy trying?)

Do I look into my cats’ eyes, tell them I love them, and mean it? (Do I take the time to do this with any l0ved one in my life?) Am I completely there, in that moment, when I do this?

If I’m in conversation with someone, am I really listening, without agenda or attachment, or is my mind racing about, thinking about what I’m going to say next? (It’s all about me!)

If I’m drinking water, or lemon water, or whatever, am I IN THAT MOMENT, enjoying the taste of the water, the feel of it on my tongue and the sensation of it sliding down my throat — or am I racing through the never-ending-to-do-list in my brain?











Even if I only have a moment (or only think I have a moment — I probably have more than I realize), can I stroke Zorro and be completely, mindfully there? Can I admire his fat and fluffy paws, tell him how beautiful his eyes are, laugh with him as he flops on his back? Can I be there, in that moment?

Can I tell Rama I love him, and mean it, and be there with those words, as I speak them aloud? Words are power, with the correct and good intention behind them. Can I stroke Rama’s beautiful shiny black fur with a hint of red in it, and remember what a miracle it is that he is still around? (He’s had recurring sarcomas forever.)

Hey, I think life is some kind of practice session for being good. That’s about the extent of my spirituality, if you want to call it that. It’s a gift and we really only have NOW. So I am going to try and keep being present in NOW. Believe me, it’s an ongoing practice, just like meditation.

There’s much that Zorro can remind me of — his beautiful fur, amazing eyes, soft paws, and Ragdoll love of flopping and rolling.











I remember, at one point, writing an article for Dogster.com about my senior dog Corona. Believe me, she had MUCH to teach me about living in the moment. We were providing hospice for her during the last two months of her life. There were some amazing moments during that time; one in particular when she bounded out the door with joy on her face, to greet me. It was a complete surprise, given her failing mobility. A wise commenter from the Catster/Dogster community pointed out that we only have now. I could worry about Corona and what tomorrow might bring; I could think about how she used to be; or I could treasure that amazing moment in the now.

So, I do my best to keep reminding myself of that, and practicing staying in the now. Meditation helps. Yoga helps. Walking in nature helps. And my cats help, too.

Manager Chester keeps an eye on things.










p.s. — Chester just bounded up onto the desk, almost landing on the keyboard. Rather than thoughtlessly trying to push him aside, I mindfully petted him and admired the silky texture of his orange fur. He’s my manager boy, after all, and he loves to know what is going on.



Catherine Holm is the author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, transformation, and mindful living. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.



Up today at Catster.com — Do You Think That Cats Reincarnate?

Posted by on Jul 8, 2015 in Author, blogging, cat care, cat welfare, Catherine Holm Author, Cats Cats Cats!, catster.com, Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, Life with cats | Comments Off

Do you think that your pet can “come back” after he or she has passed on? Have you had an experience where a pet came along that reminded you of a previous pet, or signs seemed to direct you to a new pet? I don’t rule it out; here are my thoughts and a few stories about this. Read it at Catster.com — Do You Think That Cats Reincarnate?












Mindful Cat Monday: Time to Relax

Posted by on Jul 6, 2015 in Catherine Holm Author, Life, Living close to the land, Place | Comments Off

This past holiday weekend, I let myself really relax. I let myself wander and do whatever I wanted, with no planning. It seemed to be just what I needed.

I’ve gotten into a habit of taking a slow meditative walk at dusk and emptying my mind (nature is very helpful in that respect). Here are some pics after tonight’s (early) walk.


Lilies and shed door.














Lupines and wild roses.





Ground cover naturalizes easily in the woods here.


Lots of wild roses!

Up at Catster.com today: Do Cats’ Shorter Life Spans Teach Us about Our Own Mortality?

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Author, blogging, cat care, Catherine Holm Author, catster.com | Comments Off

Have cats taught me a lot about mortality? You bet. But they have also taught me about the beauty of life, and how to appreciate it. I write on these topics, at Catster.com today: Do Cats’ Shorter Life Spans Teach Us about Our Own Mortality?



Zorro in a bag. Cats’ shorter lifespans have helped me appreciate my life, and theirs.

Mindful Cat Monday — What Tiger Tim Can Teach Us

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in Author, cat care, cat welfare, Catherine Holm Author, Life with cats | 6 comments

In the everyday world of cat rescue, untold numbers of cats are abandoned, rescued, fostered. Cats suffer illness. Cats suffer otherwise. Once in a while, a story shoots to the top of all this information, and becomes viral. Such is the case of the story of Tiger Tim, a seven year old orange tiger cat who was apparently surrendered because his owner was getting a new couch.

According to reports, the person surrendering Tiger Tim had been his guardian for most of this cat’s life, and described him as a devoted, loving cat. When he was surrendered to a kill shelter in NYC, Tiger Tim was said to cry piteously as his guardian left him. As this story began to go viral, Magnificat Cat Rescue and Rehoming was able to pull Tiger Tim from the kill shelter, and attend to some suddenly obvious medical issues. You can follow the progression of the story at the Magnificat Facebook page above, but essentially, Tiger Tim was discovered to have inoperable cancer, and not long to live. As I am writing this, it is unclear whether he has passed on. Magnificat made the decision that Tiger Tim would live out his last days (however many or few) in the best way possible, and he went into foster-hospice with an experienced medical professional. He’d not be made to suffer, and would be helped to pass on if needed, but he’d be given every love and comfort possible until that moment had to come. Thousands of people followed the story and poured their support and emotions behind it.

A link to a picture of Tiger Tim on the Magnificat Facebook Page:


The wonderful thing about this sad story is that this cat will know ultimate and unconditional love in his last days, even after being so carelessly surrendered. This story is touching me, and many others, deeply. (I admit that part of my bias is that Tiger Tim looks very much like my own cat, Norton.)

I think there are huge lessons we can all take from this story. Why do so many stories go untold, and certain stories take off into the stratosphere? Personally, I think the human mind can only cope with so much information, so much emotion, and so much apparent cruelty. There are So many cats in need. Yet this story rose to the top. How can it help us? How can it help us act, if we are moved?

  • We can adopt: if we are able or have the resources and the room, so many cats are in need of a good home. In return, you will get a lifetime of fascination and love. If it helps you to get motivated, adopt a cat in memory of Tiger Tim. Adoption is a lifetime commitment to the care, well being, and love of the pet.
  • We can spay and neuter our pets as early as possible: Overpopulation is a reason why so many cats and dogs suffer, have to be put down, or die painfully in the streets or the wild.
  • We can love: Life is short. Tiger Tim only had a few weeks (likely) from his surrender to the time that he may need help passing on. But during that short time, he had the love of Magnificat, his medical team, his foster family, and much of the social media cat welfare world behind him. What a lesson and a gift! What if we could love like that, all the time?!
  • We can help cats in other ways: If we cannot adopt, there are lots of other efforts that will help cats in need. Support or donate to your local shelter, cat rescue group, or local Trap Neuter Release (TNR) organization. Volunteer. Spread the word about spay/neuter and pet overpopulation.

If cat rescue or animal rescue are not the issues that move you, find the issue that is, and do good in the world.

This story of Tiger Tim will stick with me — a sweet cat who asked for nothing but love, was abandoned, but saved and loved and cared for through his last days. Fly Free, Tiger Tim, and thank you for your teachings.

Tiger Tim passed on Saturday, June 27, with the compassionate help of his foster mom, care team, and vet.

This is my Norton, who looks quite a bit like Tiger Tim. When I found out (on Monday) about Tiger Tim’s passing, I held and hugged Norton a bit longer than usual.







Mindful Cat Monday — Ode to a Private Cat (and Dog) Dad

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in cat behavior, cat care, cat welfare, Catherine Holm Author | 2 comments

My partner/husband is a private guy. But he has been instrumental in providing for the care and love of the many cats and dogs who have entered and exited the doors of our household. As one blogger friend put it recently, her partner did “the heavy lifting” as they cared for an ill cat. I can say the same for my partner when it comes to our furry family members. And the situation doesn’t necessarily have to involve end of life care. C. has totally been committed to and involved in providing the best home possible for our cats and dogs.

Norton and C. enjoy a special bond.










C. has always been better in a crisis than I am. Many years ago, a dog was going to be shot. C. couldn’t let that happen, and he happened to be at the scene. He rescued the dog without hesitating and bought her home. A sweet yellow Lab mix, Corona had been abused, and cringed and cowered  at the slightest thing that might unnerve her. But she was always kind. After years of love and work, Corona relaxed and became secure. She had excellent Mutt genes and lived to be almost eighteen! She had stellar blood work up until the end of life, and cancer appeared just two months before we had to put her to sleep. C. was heavily involved in Corona’s hospice care, researching remedies and staying up with Corona at night to give her pain meds. Do you want to see love in action? It occurs when a pet’s human is entirely devoted to that pet.

A blurry pic of a good looking, 18-year-old Corona.











Our cats are CRAZY about C. I think they know what a good “cat dad” he is. C. has helped me and done the heavy lifting during many a cat illness. He gives them special treats (and an abundance of food, lol) when I am gone. Our cats are always happiest when the whole family is together, and I think it’s because they enjoy the presence of both of us — people who love and respect animals and want to give them the best life we can, with the means possible.

Chester looks forward to lap time with C, every night.










Some of us care for cats by ourselves; some of us have the help of a loving and supportive partner. I could and would do it alone if I had to, but I am so grateful for the care and love that my husband gives to the cats and dogs that have graced our lives.

Cat dads are the Best.
Happy Father’s Day, C.



Mindful Cat Monday — 3 Cat-Related Reasons for Gratitude

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Author, cat behavior, cat care, Catherine Holm Author | Comments Off

Gratitude is a great practice when life gets wild and wooly. And CATS give me lots of reasons for gratefulness!


1. Gratitude for an awesome vet and staff:

Rama went through surgery this morning for a lumpectomy. He’s had recurring sarcomas in the same spot (not a vaccine site) for years. I love my vet and her staff and I know that my kitty is in good hands. I pick him up today, and you can bet he’ll be spoiled all week.









2. Gratitude for one dilute calico’s sense of humor:

Jamie Bluebell is my nutty dilute Calico. I, and other writers, have often wondered if Calicos share some of the same nuttiness (or tortitude) as tortie cats. Jamie doesn’t have an attitude, but she loves to go into fits of blissful happiness.

Jamie Bluebell gets ready to roll around gleefully.











3. Gratitude for Norton’s sweet smarts:

Norton can open any door. I knew he’d be the first cat in the Sleepypod, once I put the cover back on. Sure enough, he wedged his body through the opening. He’s got a mind like an engineer. In fact, we’ve begun calling him The Engineer.
















What cat-inspired things are you grateful for?