Mindful Cat Blog
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
All of us need time to chill. And I’ve found that if I consciously take the time I need to chill out, relax, and totally let go of life’s demands, even for a short time — I’m a better person for it.
For me, that means time in the woods and in nature.
It might be a strenuous hike or a slow meditative walk down a hill at twilight. It might be sitting by a rushing stream, and admiring the colors of the rocks.
When I get back from such a jaunt, I find myself mindfully taking time to be with my cats! My cats benefit from my calmness.
Of course, sometimes chill time is simply being with my cats (indoors, since my cats don’t go out) — and that is fine, too!
Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes Featured at Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows
My kitty Rama is interviewed today at Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows. Rama talks about his story in the new anthology Rescued, his people, his life after rescue, and why he loves Vermont! Here’s the back story about Rama:
In January 2015, a great new anthology, Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes, became available in print and as an e-book. Twelve cats tell their stories of rescue in this book, and the tales are pretty amazing! Rescued cats have a chance at a new life; a good life. These cats have come through some pretty incredible circumstances. We CAN make a difference when it comes to rescue and adoption, for many cats in need.
One of my cats, Rama, tells his story in Rescued! With the help of patient humans, and a special cat from the past, Rama was able to transform from an anxious cat with trust issues, to a loving and well-adjusted boy.
The very cool thing about Rescued is that a portion of the profits from sales of the book always benefit cat rescue organizations. Each cat and their person chose a rescue to benefit from sales.
Blogpaws holds an annual conference for pet bloggers, pet industry companies, animal welfare/rescues, and anyone interested in communicating the great things about our pets. I had wanted to go for years, because I’d heard how good it was from some of my cat writing/blogging friends.
It was a big financial outlay for me to go this year, but my voice of intuition LOUDLY urged me to go. For once, I listened. (Wisdom does come with age.)
I had a great time and here’s why:
- I networked: I’m good at picking up the vibe in a place. Somehow, the Blogpaws organizers managed to instill an atmosphere of comfort. There was none of the cutthroat angst or urgency that could have prevailed. People seemed genuinely interested in learning about each other and potentially collaborating, or at least exploring the possibility. Our passion for pets unites us.
- I got new ideas: There’s something about the sum total of such an experience. My mind simmered and processed for a few days. The time must have been ripe for me to attend Blogpaws, because I came back home and began implementing new ideas. I feel as if a vision that I have struggled to crystalize (for quite some time) is coming together.
- I learned: The keynotes and the panels were terrific. I learned about SEO, customer service, how to portray cats so that people appreciate them better. I learned more and more about social media, which I already use, but learned how to keep striving to use it better. I spent a lot of time talking to people. I began to feel my vision come together for what I want to do with this blog.
I also got lucky and won this beautiful Sleepypod (r) Mobile Pet Bed, thanks to #Sleepypod and the #CatStyleLounge, compliments of #Hauspanther. My cats loved it. Within seconds of unpacking it, once I got home, all the cats came to check it out, and climb into it. These pics were taken shortly after.
Sure, there were times when I simply had to go into an empty hotel room and shut the door, walk hard and mindlessly, or swim laps. I needed to chill after all the stimulation. Then, 30 or 60 0r 90 minutes later, I’d re-emerge, ready to face new experiences and let my intuition lead me. I dared myself to sit at tables with strangers, and the results were pretty cool. I met people that I might be able to help. I got ideas. I felt support. I chatted up folks, expecting nothing in return (practicing non-attachment). I made some great connections.
I am already planning to attend the 2016 Blogpaws conference in AZ. Can’t wait.
And in the meantime, this blogspace will be evolving, thanks to the hints, nuances, and ideas that came together for me at Blogpaws, and the input of some trusted and wonderful friends (Namaste, and gratitude to you). This is the home of Mindful Cat, a blog that will celebrate how cats make our lives better. The human/cat bond is a huge passion of mine, and for me, passion has to exist to make an endeavor work.
Watch this place as Mindful Cat evolves.
As many of you know, I have several cats. Staying organized in this busy world requires skill of its own. Staying organized with six cats to care for really requires organization! But it’s not all that hard, with a little forethought and planning. My article 5 Ways to Streamline Life When You Have Multiple Cats talks about some strategies I’ve used to give these guys a good home, enjoy them, and synchronize it with the rest of life.
Read the article here: 5 Ways to Streamline Life When You Have Multiple Cats
Ever watch your cats and wonder what it would look like if humans acted like cats do? It could get pretty interesting. I ponder this at Catster.com today — read it here:
Zorro demonstrates sleeping. We’d all sleep a lot more if we acted like cats.
The Great Purr, my feline fantasy novel, got a nice review by Melisa Lapierre of www.MochasMysteriesMeows.com. You can read it here at the Cat Writers’ Association website blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
“With fantasy not being my typical genre of preference (that would be mysteries), I was unsure of what to expect when I started reading The Great Purr. I never imagined that I would be so completely drawn into the magical world created by this talented author…The entire time I was reading this book I kept thinking what a wonderful movie it would make, and in the end I was left with one burning question: is there going to be a sequel??? I would love to have the opportunity to infiltrate these cats’ lives again.”
Truly, I had fun writing this book. “Go where the fun is!” is probably a good motto for writers and creative people to follow. There’s nothing more fun than creating characters from the cats you love, and a few new ones as well.
Will there be a sequel? Yes! I am working on it now. It will either be a sequel, or a series (same magical world). I am nailing that down, now.
A cool new book has come into print (and is also available electronically). Check out Rescued, the Stories of 12 Cats, from Their Eyes.
Rescued features the stories of 12 rescued cats, told from their point of view. My own cat Rama has a story in this book! Rama tells the story of how he had to get over some major fear and trust issues to learn to love humans again. Eleven other cats tell their amazing stories of rescue, too.
And that’s not all...One third of the profits from Rescued always benefit cat rescue. Rama hand-selected a special local organization (Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Society, Orleans, VT) for his month of June!
So, check out this book! Here’s a pic of the cover. And here’s a pic, too, of the handsome Rama.
Voices Lessons: Tales of Breaking Free is my second short story collection, and it is nominated for a NEMBA (Northeastern MN Book Award) this year. The stories in this collection generally have to do with people going through transformation, and in some cases, finding their voice. Here’s a sense of the book:
Linked by the theme of finding our voices, breaking free of constraints, and transformation, the stories in Voice Lessons look at what it means to move into a new way of being, or to reexamine our beliefs and internal stories. A woman who can’t resolve her relationship with her mother takes solace in the wilderness. A man leaves his corporate job impulsively, finding that the noise of ferry boats tugs open his heart. North Dakota hills call to a woman on a passenger train. A deaf woman wants to learn to sing. A moneyed couple’s life falls apart when their acquisitions disappear. These and other stories explore what it means to listen to one’s true voice, and act on it.
Author Q and A — Rama talks about his story in the new anthology RESCUED: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes
Hi! I’m Rama, 10 year old beautiful black cat, and I allow Cat Holm to share a life with me! I was asked to author a story about my rescue. I have quite a story! My story appears in this wonderful book, Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes. I share this book with twelve other cat authors, and we have some stories to tell! I was quite a crabby, mistrusting cat at one time! I still act crabby, but it’s mostly a show. Rescued‘s editor interviewed ME and my person (Cat). You can read my interview here!! Go read it now!
The other day I had Minnesota Envy; today it’s Vermont LUST.
I can feel Vermont, churning gently beneath the snow, getting ready for SPRING.
Spring in VT is out of this world. Locals don’t care for mud season, but I don’t mind it. Sure, it is not as pretty as the real spring, but it is still pretty! Water runs at angles on the hilly roads as snow melts. Streams grow and churn. We can hear a river miles away. The apple trees on the sides of the roads stand ready, waiting to make buds. The maple syrup is running.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a place so pretty.
Vermont is a huge seductress. When spring comes and everything erupts into green, I’ll fall in love again and again.
One favorite view.
Norton is one of the smartest cats I’ve ever lived with. You can almost see the wheels turning in his eyes.
I love this guy.
I think about the strangest things. But I do want to be sure I am aware of my biases when it comes to making important medical decisions for my loved ones. In my case, some of those loved ones include cats.
The two human deaths I’ve witnessed were relatively peaceful. I have wondered whether these experiences bias me in some way when I have to help a pet at the end of life. I wrote about this for Catster. You can read it here:
Cats and yoga go together in more ways than you might think. I bring out the yoga mat, and the cats are instantly on it. But there’s more to yoga and cats than meets the eye. Read about it here:
This morning, I have Minnesota envy.
And I miss my Minnesota friends.
MN is having temps in the 60s and 70s, I’m told. Here, we had 10 degrees this morning. There is still lots of snow on the ground.
I cannot complain. My first winter in Vermont has been the easiest and warmest winter I’ve ever experienced. If you can get through a northern MN winter, you can get through just about anything. Forty five Minnesota winters have trained me well. Seriously, my biggest freakout here in Vermont (which I’ve since gotten over) was learning to drive the icy mountain roads. I discovered that they are not as bad as they look. Snow tires are a must. So is common sense. All wheel drive is very nice. (I drove rear wheel drive for many years in Mn. Dicey, to say the least!)
I’ll just take a drive in the Vermont mountains later today (it is impossible to go anywhere without driving in the mountains) and the Minnesota envy will disappear, even if it is 20-30 degrees cooler here in VT. I’ll just look at the mountains, go crazy with happiness, and deal with the temps. I can do it.
I may take a XC ski, too, right on the hill/mountain out my back door, if I can summon the energy after recovering from the kick -ass flu.
Creative people with projects underway need to be firm, and constantly discerning, about saying no. I have learned this the hard way over the years, and I keep re-learning. Seems I also have a little helper gene that tends to want to help with this and with that. But…I can’t do it all. If I try to do any of it, I won’t have any time to write. That is why successful writers guard their time fiercely. I will admit that I have not always been as fierce as I should be. When I am, it feels right and true.
There is some kind of a fine balance to be worked out with this — obviously I can’t say no to making a living. I don’t want to say no to my family. I need some time with friends, or enjoying my beloved “outside.” But over the past few months, I’ve found myself repeatedly turning away “other opportunities” that would take me from my writing.
Here is a succinct article on this very topic, that popped up this morning. It’s a good reminder.
I am so very excited to be included in this unique anthology, coming out this January.
I will have books in hand by mid February.
A portion of proceeds from all sales always benefit local (to the authors) animal rescue organizations.
Here is a press release and a graphic of the cool cover. My Rama is the black cat on the bottom of the front cover!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
An Anthology of Rescue Cat Stories—With a Difference—to Be Published January 27
LOS ANGELES —January 15, 2015—Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes is not your average anthology. It contains a dozen compelling, funny, moving, true cat rescue stories, each one told through the cat’s own perspective. In addition to its unique point of view, Rescued’s marketing campaign is geared specifically to help 12 pet rescues that were pawpicked by the book’s authors.
Cats are saved in many different ways, and the stories in Rescued reflect that variety. There’s the castoff who wanted a home, but on his own terms; a victim of cruelty who only had love for his saviors; a purebred but special needs Tonkinese whose breeder almost put him down; an emotionally traumatized cat who had to learn to love—and live—again…and more. The human writers behind the cats are just as interesting: a leader in cat rescue, a musician and filmmaker, a producer/director, and a cozy mystery author, just to name a few. Many of these cats already have a strong presence as bloggers or on Facebook; some of these writers have won awards. Rescued features an impressive group of authors, both new and experienced.
The editor of Rescued, Janiss Garza, wanted to do something a little different from the usual indie publishing campaign, and because of its theme, she wanted to promote cat rescue along with the book. So she had each author choose a rescue that was near and dear to them, and a full third of the book’s profits will be going to these rescues. Many of the authors will be setting up events locally to promote their rescue and the book together. This way, everybody wins. “I’ve designed Rescued’s promotion and marketing campaign so both the authors and cats in need will benefit,” says Janiss.
Rescued is available worldwide on January 27, 2015. Many of the authors (in cat or human form) are available for interviews, as is the editor.
Contact: Janiss Garza firstname.lastname@example.org FitCat Publishing P.O. Box 411461 Los Angeles, CA 90041 323-258-2660
We recently had the fun good fortune to bring our friend’s dog into our household for the weekend. Here is how it worked. Keep in mind that this is an exceptional dog that probably wouldn’t hurt a fly. Still…we learned a few things about how to do it, if we do it again.
Read it here:
Photo courtesy of J.S.
“Norton Author Wins National Award” — Press coverage of the Great Purr and Muse Medallion award at Newport Daily Express, 11-14-2014
A local paper did a story on me and THE GREAT PURR, and the Muse Medallion that the GREAT PURR just received from the Cat Writers’ Association.
Here’s the link, and also, the entire text of the article below (the link will only show a header).
Gratitude, friends in Newport, who helped make this interview possible!
Norton Author Wins National Award
By LAURA CARPENTER
Newport Daily Express Staff Writer
November 14, 2014
Local author Catherine (Cat) Holm has won an award for one of her latest published books, The Great Purr, a fictional cat fantasy. Holm, who now lives in Norton, traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, recently to attend the Cat Writers’ Association Awards Banquet not knowing she was going to win the Muse Medallion. She actually tied for first place with another author.
Holm moved to Vermont less than a year ago from Northern Minnesota. The story that won the award is set in a Northern Minnesota mining town.
In the fictional story the cats had always maintained that the Great Purr is a force that holds the Real World, the Under Earth, and the Spirit World together. But when the Great Purr becomes corrupted and threatens to destroy the world, the magical cats of Ironton must work together to prevent disaster, Holm said. The different cat character traits are revealed, including temptation and evil, which threaten to unravel the Great Purr.
Holm’s books are available for purchase at the Memphremagog Arts Collaborative, Creative Natives in Colebrook, NH, Miller’s Thumb Gallery in Greensboro, at Green Mountain Books in Lyndonville, and Amazon. Most books are available on Kindle.
Cats and dogs have always been important to Holm, but she didn’t realize, until living is rural Minnesota, how important and how much cats meant to her. Holm has been a writer and editor for a long time, and enjoys fiction.
She has short stories and other books published, including memoirs, like one called Driving with Cats, which has received rave reviews on Amazon.
Holm doesn’t always write about cats. Another favorite topic is exploring the impact of land and place on people.
Holm is pleased with her and her husband’s relocation to Vermont. He is a native New Englander, and the couple visited Vermont for years before deciding to make it their home. Holm said she is expecting to love living in Vermont, finds the landscape beautiful, and anticipates that the winters will be milder than what she is used to.
Asked about how she came up with the idea for the book, Holm said that ideas tend to gestate and form in her mind for a long time before writing.
“I have always been fascinated by the possibility that magic or the unusual may be a lot closer to us than we realize. There was a particular town near where I used to live in Minnesota, a mining town. The town had steam heat and you could always see the steam rising up from the grates (manholes) in the sidewalks. My imagination probably just went to work somehow and eventually tied it all together.”
She added that the character development of each cat helped to shape the story. She had a black cat named Target who had the best single pointed focus she had ever seen.
“So naturally, in the story, his focused personality will contribute to certain actions that only he could take.”
My Handsome Zorro! It’s hard to believe that last year, he was a scared “feral” in our unheated garage. I couldn’t get near him.
I got lucky. We were able to trap and neuter him. It became apparent that he wasn’t really wild, just very very scared. He enjoys a nice indoor life now and seems completely uninterested in going outside.
TNR stands for Trap-neuter-release/return. Obviously, we did not return Zorro to the outdoors.
Cats are opportunists! And when the temps start dropping, cats start seeking heat. Much of this involves cuddling.
Read more here:
Two kitties snuggled tightly in a cat bed.