Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Rescued Interviews: Mr. Jazz

Meows from Mudpie!

Back in 2015 Angel Truffles started interviewing the cats featured in Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes, an anthology of rescue cat stories compiled by Janiss Garza, who writes the Sparkle Cat blog. She was unable to see it to completion but I was more than honored to continue the series once I settled into my forever home and took full reins of our blog. Now Rescued Volume 2 is on store shelves and it's my goal to interview as many of the kitties as possible once again! (If you missed our review, it can be found here.)

Each author featured in the book has nominated a cat rescue and was assigned a month to promote the book, with a third of the profits from that month going to their rescue. January's spotlight is Mr. Jazz who is telling the story of his sister Jazmine, a cat he led his humans to from his home at the Rainbow Bridge...

Welcome Mr. Jazz! Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. Could you start by introducing yourself to us and telling us what made your story such a good fit for the Rescued anthology? 

Sure thing! I’m a handsome and distinguished bi-color Ragdoll cat, or I should say, I was a handsome and distinguished bi-color Ragdoll cat. Right now I’m an angel cat with the prestigious distinction of narrating the meow memoir, Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond. After the heartbreaking decision from my humans to help me, I went to the Rainbow Bridge at 15-years of age on August 28, 2013. That’s why my story for the Rescued anthology was such a good fit… I knew I had a unique story to tell by sharing the journey of how I, as an angel, came to guide my heartbroken humans to finding Jazmine – a sweet and sassy rescue kitten (and my namesake) they weren’t looking for that ended up rescuing them instead by bringing love and joy back into their lives.

For a while after you left for the Rainbow Bridge you "visited" your mom. Do you think that helped you both cope with your physical separation?

I visited my mom several times and when it first happened it was really weird and awkward. Being a spirit was new to me and I wasn’t sure if I was helping her, or scaring her. But ultimately, yes, once she got over the shock of it, I think my visitations brought her comfort and she looked forward to them. I had already made peace with my journey to the Bridge. I was very tired and sick before that and I wanted to go. I had lived a wonderful life with my mom and my coming back to her, especially by bringing her to ultimately finding Jazmine, was my way of letting her know I would always be a part of her heart and never far from her memory.

The story you wrote for Rescued 2 is actually the story of how your sister Jazmine came into your humans' lives, with your help. How did you know Jazmine was the kitty meant to fill the empty space in their hearts that you left behind?

Just like my mom, I’m a firm believer in things like fate, destiny, and kismet. I can’t say I immediately knew Jazmine was the key to filling the empty space in my humans’ hearts, but once the clues started to fall in place, I knew she was the one. It all started with me communicating with my mom during one of my spirit visits that she had to go to the Global Pet Expo, a trip she was planning on cancelling because she was still so depressed after losing me. I didn’t understand why it seemed so imperative she go, but my intuition was telling me it was and I pulled out all the stops to convince her, even making direct eye contact with her for the first time and gently letting her feel my presence on her lap. She and I always shared a special bond and it was like she understood I was leading her on a journey she had to fulfil.

My Mommy is convinced that Angel Truffles sent me to her as well. Has Jazmine proven herself to be the perfect fit for your family as you knew she would? 

Oh my gosh! If there was ever a cat meant to be with my family, it’s her! Honestly, it’s like she was custom-created from the heavens above with the pure objective of being put on this earth to make my humans happy! There is not a single day that goes by that she doesn’t do something to cause them to laugh or smile and it gives me tremendous joy to see how much she has enriched their lives. As a matter of fact, just this past week, my mom had a procedure for a serious eye injury. Just like I used to do, Jazmine is sticking to her like glue to help her get better. She’s got so much of me in her that sometimes my mom swears it’s me she’s seeing or hearing, and not Jazmine. Jazmine carries toys in her mouth to bring to mom, and with nearly the exact same meow I had, she drops them at her feet. Plus, even though she can kinda be a spoiled brat (it’s nearly impossible for the humans not to spoil her) all of the other cats in my family love her, too and it’s like she’s been a part of the family her whole life.

What's life like for all of you now, both at the Bridge and here on earth?

Well, for me, I’m quite content at the Bridge. Yes, there have been some sad moments. Like when my sister cat Harley had to come to the Rainbow Bridge at far too young an age. Or so many cats from the blogosphere that are so beloved that have also joined me over the years. But we make the best of it – we watch over our humans and it makes us happy when our humans can open their hearts to other rescues that need a good home. On earth, well, there seems to be so much strife lately and I know it’s a stressful time. I see so many kitties working overtime, trying to bring some calm, peace, and happiness into their human’s life. And honestly, why not? We kitties are great at that and it’s all the more reason every household should adopt a rescue cat or two, because we’re awesome, we deserve a good home, and we make incredible companions! Purr therapy does wonders for the heart and soul!

What shelter have you chosen to receive your proceeds from the book this month and why?

I chose Riverfront Cats Miami because they are near and dear to my mom’s heart. Riverfront Cats is a small, grass roots organization from Miami, Florida and is always in need of donations to help take care of local outdoor neighborhood cats and fostering efforts. With temperatures warm nearly year-round, kitten season rarely lets up, so there are always cats in need of help. Gorgeous lady and Founder of Riverfront Cats, Christine Michaels, devotes her time, heart, and pocketbook to helping the community cats in her area, especially the black cats that are most often abused or overlooked for adoptions. Between TNR, food, veterinary costs, and more, it’s an expensive endeavor and they really, really could use some help!

What do you hope people learn from your story and what would you like your lasting legacy to be?

I hope that people learn that sometimes you have to look beyond what you think you’re supposed to do. After my death, my mom wasn’t looking for another cat. Quite the contrary, she was certain she didn’t want another cat, but meeting Jazmine changed all that. Opening your heart and home to a rescue not only changes the life of the cat, it changes the life of the human. As far as my lasting legacy, it’s the one I share in Purr Prints and it’s the purr-fect sentiment for the Rescued series – for those that have loved and lost a cat, we know we will always be special in your hearts and you are not looking to replace us if you chose to adopt again. Quite the opposite – we take great pleasure in knowing another cat in this world will have a life filled with love, comfort, and happiness the way we did. Rescued is all about that and I am so honored to be a part of a book that shares that special message.

BIO: Deborah Barnes is the author of the award-winning book, Makin’ Biscuits – Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them; as well as Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond; The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary; and contributor to Rescued Volume 2 – The Healing Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes. She is the publisher and editor of the award winning blog, Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles and is the Vice-President of the Cat Writers’ Association. She was awarded 2013 “Writer of the Year” by Friskies Purina and is the Secretary of the nonprofit, Pawsitively Humane, Inc. of Miami, Florida. Her freelance work has been featured in Cat Fancy magazine, Kittens 101, Catster.com, BlogPaws.com, and the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians newsletter.

This post contains affiliate links. Photos used with permission: Deborah Barnes

Monday, January 15, 2018

Tortie Shorties on Mystery Monday: Christmas in January

Welcome to this week's edition of Tortie Shorties on Mystery Monday!

We hope you enjoy our choices.

From the publisher: Sheriff Jeff McQuede finds pampered cat King Henry in the midst of a crime scene. The cat, who belongs to Sammy Ratone, is the only witness to a burglary. McQuede, unable to locate Sammy, takes King Henry home with him where the cat creates endless mischief.

Tortie Shorties Review: This is a series I wasn't familiar with and most likely not one I would gravitate towards if not for the cat on the cover and in the description. I found it to be a fun, short read and enjoyed the mystery as Sheriff McQuede attempts to solve a string of robberies at Christmastime, but the best part is when he takes home the big orange tabby belonging to one of the victims. King Henry is a hoot and the only witness to the crime...will he lead the sheriff to the culprit or just cause him more trouble?

From the publisher: When Holly White’s fiancĂ© cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime—exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly’s family tree farm.

When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly’s father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn’t help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him.The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn't watch out, she'll end up on Santa's naughty list in Twelve Slays of Christmas, Jacqueline Frost’s jolly series debut.

Tortie Shorties Review: For Christmas crazy people like me this series is a dream come true with a farm called Reindeer Games (with real reindeer) in the town of Mistletoe and a protagonist named Holly with her cat Cindy Lou Who. It's simply everything a Christmas cozy should be. As a matter of fact, I think you could read it on the 4th of July and instantly find yourself in the holiday spirit! The mystery of how the local historical society Scrooge is found dead, clobbered with a wooden stake from the tree farm and left in a sleigh on the grounds, is complex and suspenseful. The characters are well-developed and I especially enjoyed Holly's close knit family and the descriptions of the fun Christmas activities they've created for the tree farm. Could someone book me one-way ticket to Mistletoe, please?

I received a free copy of Twelve Slays of Christmas from the publisher for review. This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Stuffie Snuggling Sunday Selfie

Meows from Mudpie!

You may be wondering why I'm looking quite sad today and why I'm snuggling with stuffies instead of Mommy. That's because she plans to leave me to go to a silly cat show this afternoon and she'll probably come home reeking of other cats!!! Do you think it's too cold to ask her to change her clothes out in the garage when she gets home?

Okay, I guess I'm being kind of dramatic, but she had better buy me something! In the meantime, anyone wanna come over to paw-ty?

We're joining our friends at The Cat On My Head for the Sunday Selfies blog hop!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Vintage Rose #CaturdayArt

(Created with PhotoLab & PicMonkey)

Visit more artsy kitties in Athena's Caturday Art blog hop!

And now our weekly answers for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and McGuffy's Reader...

Mommy's answers:

1. My favorite fast food restaurant is Moe's Southwest Grill.

2. If I could go to any concert of someone still performing, it would be George Strait. He retired but is playing some dates again this year. In all his years of touring he never came that close to my area. Of course I would never balk at the opportunity to see Toby Keith for a 5th time either ;) 

Mudpie's answers:

3. I would like to ask Mother Nature why she is torturing us so?

4. My Winter pastime is usually lots of extra nap and cuddle time with Mommy, because I can!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fun Feline Finds: Cat Crimes Logic Game (w/Giveaway!)

As a cat fanatic and mystery lover, ThinkFun has just created the purrfect game for me in Cat Crimes. Not only are the game pieces ridiculously adorable (not to mention the kitty line up on the box), the game itself is clever, challenging, and suitable for all ages. What especially appeals to me is the fact that you can play alone, making it a great way to pass the time and charge your brain cells too!

The concept of the game is very simple. You're cat sitting your neighbor's 6 little angels expecting a relaxing weekend of fur and fun, only to continuously discover spilled coffee, broken flower pots, and a missing bird! Your task is to figure out which of these cute troublemakers committed the cat crime using clues given on the challenge card to position the cats on the game board and find out where they were at the time of the dastardly deed. You've caught the culprit when you can name the cat sitting in front of the crime token!

The game has 40 different challenges with four levels of play: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert. Kids will have fun with the lower levels while working up to the more difficult challenges, while adults who might think the game is too easy for them starting out are sure to have their work cut out for them once they get to the more advanced cards.

I *love* this game, and will certainly be going back and playing it a second and third time once I finish working through all the cards. In the evenings I've been playing a few rounds with Mudpie in my lap while we cuddle on the couch and she's even enjoyed batting around the cat tokens a time or two...although she never seems willing to help me out and offer any advice on the culprit! Maybe she's just trying to cover up for her friends by throwing me off the trail ;)

Giveaway: Thanks to our friends at ThinkFun, one lucky reader in the US is going to win their very own Cat Crimes Logic Game! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: We received a Cat Crimes Logic Game from ThinkFun in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own and we never recommend a product we don’t fully believe in. This post also contains affiliate links.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thankful Thursday: Tortie Kitten Saved From Busy NJ Highway

Meows from Mudpie!

Today I'm thankful for good people who go out of their way to help kitties.

Mommy often wonders how I ended up at the shelter. All she knows is that I started out in western New York and when I didn't get adopted there I was transported to Vermont. It was right about the time Angel Truffles ran off to the Bridge, so I ended up where I was desperately needed and always meant to be.

Whatever my story is, it probably isn't as dramatic as the one this tortie kitten has to tell. On Saturday afternoon Miracle was stranded on the median of a busy 6-lane road in Atlantic City, but lucky for her someone from Alley Cat Allies drove by and was able to help her with the assistance of a wonderful police officer who has worked with Alley Cat Allies' Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project. Miracle is now safe and being fostered by the veterinarian she was brought to.

Read Miracle's complete rescue story here!

Photo: Alley Cat Allies

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Appreciate the Moments Photo Challenge - Winter

Meows from Mudpie!

Today we're hopping into a brand new photo challenge for 2018 hosted by our friends at Dog Mom Days and The Everyday Dog Mom. On the first Friday of each month pet bloggers will be asked to post a photo that fits that month's theme.

January's challenge, appropriately enough, is winter. You may have noticed that a good section of the US has been faced with an arctic blast, and here in Vermont we've been right in the thick of it. Overnight lows on Saturday hit 20 below - that's the actual temperature, not the wind chill - beating the old record of 19 below set in 1923! Super cold temps don't really bother us that much because it just gives us more opportunities to cuddle, but our hearts hurt to think about all the animals forced to face the fury of mother nature all alone.

The pictures I chose for today were taken just a couple days before Christmas when we had a beautiful, fluffy snowfall. Mommy decided to be cute and bring winter inside to me in the form of a pile of fresh white stuff on a paper plate. I was not amused. I prefer to appreciate winter from the comfort of my beloved Santa blankie.

Get it off!!! Get it off!!!

Then things got even worse when she decided to sprinkle a little of the snow on me...and a flake landed near my bottom!!! Not funny, Mommy. Not funny at all.