Independent Cats and Worried Owners
By: Victoria Hamilton
When I gave my Vintage Kitchen Mysteries protagonist Jaymie Leighton an intensely independent and standoffish cat, the crabby tabby Denver, I had no experience with the breed. Independent cats, I mean. I’ve always had loving, clingy lap cats, the kind who adore you and follow you around from room to room and stay inside most of the time. The day the first Vintage Kitchen Mystery, A Deadly Grind, came out, I lost my beloved pet. He was a big orange love bug; he needed cuddles every morning to get his day started right. I still miss him, fiercely.
I waited a bit, then started looking for another cat to adopt. First I went to rescue agencies. I believe in them, but I had a bad experience with one. Gunshy, I turned to Kijiji. I know, I know… Kijiji?? However, I saw a cat there who appeared perfect. In the photo he was on a little boy’s lap, and he was adorable, an orange and white cutie. He had been found wandering in the local Walmart parking lot, scared and cold and wet. The sweet young woman who found him took him home but couldn’t keep him since she had a huge dog, bunnies, rats and a seven year old. Child, that is. It was American Thanksgiving 2012. I went, picked him up, took him home and he was easy going: no stress, no worries, no attitude. He honestly doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. Eventually I settled on Poodle as a name.
But good lord is he restless! He whines and paces and whines and paces and whines and paces…. argh! You get the picture. No amount of play time is enough. No number of toys, or cat trees or whatever is enough. It’s truly distracting, since I work at home and as a writer I need to focus.
Long story short… he goes outside and wanders the neighborhood. He climbs trees and has friends and visits the neighbor, who thinks he is the bomb. He hunts. Yes, he’s that cat, the one who hunts mice and chipmunks and mourning doves. He defends our yard from strays.
He has all his shots, including the yearly rabies, and since he won’t keep a collar on – he lost three with personalized tags and more without - he is chipped. But I know that some day, he just might not come home. I’ve agonized over it. I was on the point of giving him to someone who I know would have taken good care of him, but he’d be inside. (Not really, though, because he is lightning fast and would have gotten out their door in two seconds.) When it came down to it, I just couldn’t do it to him. He’s completely happy. He won’t sit on my lap (unless I have yogurt) but he comes and goes as he pleases. I make sure he’s in every night, and he is HAPPY! He’s not the cat I wanted, but he has a good home, everything he wants and we’re in a safe, not busy neighborhood where my neighbors let their cats out all day too. By the way, my neighbor three doors down had a cat who went every day outside and he just died at age twenty. It’s not ideal. I’d love it if he would calm down and stay inside, but it’s either let him out, or get rid of him, and I just can’t do that to the little dude.
I think about it like this; I couldn’t live in a prison. I couldn’t be confined all day when I longed to be outside. If his life is shorter, it will be, honestly, the life he chose and what made him happy. He’s a different kind of cat than I’ve ever met but he’s a good boy, and he deserves that much. He’s no cuddle bug, but he’s a decent fellow. I want what’s best for him. I believe I’m doing that.
I honestly understand that many cat lovers won’t agree.
Victoria Hamilton is the author of three nationally bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.
Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!
Vintage Kitchen Mysteries on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VintageKitchenMysteries
Vintage Kitchen Mysteries on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/vintagekitchenm/vintage-kitchen-mysteries-by-victoria-hamilton/
Blurb: The Queensville Heritage Society is restoring the once-grand Dumpe Manor. While Dumpe relatives and society members use the occasion to dust off old grudges, Jaymie Leighton prefers to adorn the kitchen with authentic Depression Era furnishings. A collection of vintage wooden mallets found in the house is a perfect addition to her display, but one also offers a late-night intruder the perfect weapon to knock Jaymie unconscious before escaping.
Though the attack has everyone on edge, nothing is missing from the house. Perhaps it was merely a vagrant who thought the place was still abandoned. But when Dumpe Manor’s resident historian is murdered with a mallet from the same collection, it’s time for Jaymie to turn up the heat on the investigation before someone else becomes history.
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!
The Vintage Kitchen Mystery series has been a favorite of mine from the beginning particularly for the fact that I see so much of myself in Jaymie Leighton. She's an old-fashioned girl living in a modern world, content to live her own life in spite of judgments from others, and dotes on her beloved rescue pets. In this fourth book in the series Queensville is getting ready to celebrate the holiday season's Dickens Days, and the restoration of Dumpe Manor is interrupted by the "murder by mallet" death of the historian hired to write a pamphlet documenting the Manor's history.
This is a book with a plethora of suspicious characters, and one of those mysteries that required me to read the final pages a few times in order to piece together everything that happened. At one point while trying to explain what went down Jaymie even says, "it's all kind of a jumbled mess."
A good deal of this book is also spent chronicling Jaymie's complicated love life, which I've been looking forward to ever since ending book 3, Freezer I'll Shoot. She's been in a love triangle of sorts with multi-millionaire software computer mogul Daniel and Detective Zach. I've had strong feelings about this, sensing much greater chemistry with Zach and disliking Daniel. Her relationships with each man takes a surprising turn, and the addition of a new character is about to make things very interesting!
This is a really good mystery, just make sure when you read it that you put your thinking cap on because it will require the use of every one of your "little grey cells".