Saturday, January 31, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} & Caturday Art: Winter

It's week four of the #PBSG #52Snapshots of Life photo challenge (hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull) and the theme is winter. I do love winter, and it's a good thing since I live in Vermont! Truffles...not so much. She would much rather be sunbathing in a warm, sunny window in the middle of summer.

Since she never goes outside, I picked this picture that I took earlier this winter after one of our very first snowfalls of the year. (I hadn't even removed the screen and put the storm window on yet.) She could tell that the seasons were definitely changing, and she looks quite wistful about it, don't you think?

For our entry in Athena's Caturday Art blog hop, we took the same picture and applied a few different effects in PicMonkey. I know we used HDR and Chill, but I can't remember the other one we used. Then we added a pretty Craft Scissors frame. I love how it looks so frosty and cold with the icy blue tint, and especially how Truffles "pops out" more than in the original photo.

Speaking of PicMonkey, have you heard about their new Valentine's Day "Pin Your Love" contest? From January 26th to February 14th, share your great loves (or strong likes) on a Pinterest board titled PicMonkey Pin Your Love for the chance to win a $300 Amazon giftcard and a year of PicMonkey Royale. Complete details can be found here.

Friday, January 30, 2015

3 Books That Benefit Shelter Animals

It's pretty obvious that here at Mochas, Mysteries and Meows life revolves around cats and books. What excites us more than anything is when portions of a book's proceeds go towards helping shelter animals, and today we're profiling 3 new books that do exactly that!

Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes is a project that we've been following for quite awhile now. When the call came out for submissions, I briefly entertained the idea of writing Tara's story, but ended up being a bit intimidated by the amazing writers in the cat community and decided I just wasn't ready yet.

This book of real life rescue cat stories was compiled by Janiss Garza, who writes the Sparkle Cat blog, now featuring the lovely Summer Samba. The special thing about this project is that each author featured in the book has nominated a cat rescue. Each author has been assigned a month to promote the book, with a third of the profits from that month going to the rescue.  (You can read more about the cats and their causes here and here.)

A Pubslush crowdfunding campaign was created to help fund the initial expenses in order to make sure the rescues receive the maximum benefit. Any little bit helps, and you can also receive some really cool rewards by supporting the project. We were very happy to join the funding ourselves, and also look forward to featuring many of these kitties and their amazing stories here on our blog!

In “Sammy Sparrow’s First Flight,” (Guardian Angel Publishing; Dec. 25, 2014; ages 2-8, $9.95) a young sparrow named Sammy quickly learns why parents set rules. He was told not to fly alone at night. His wings are weak and Sammy falls into a bush below. The world looks scary from the ground. A friendly owl flies Sammy back home to sleep under his parents’ wings. It's the 3rd children's book of author Tracy Aherns, and was inspired by her childhood years of rescuing baby sparrows that fell out of a neighbor's multi-room birdhouse high on a pole.

In conjunction with the release of the book, Tracy has created the "Sammy Shelter Project" to help nine Illinois humane organizations with the book sales. By ordering through the project website, $2 from each book purchase will be donated to the organization chosen and noted on the form. To donate to a participating rescue organization, you must use the form available for download from the Sammy Shelter Project website.

Current humane organizations set to benefit from this project are: It's a Pittie Rescue (Peotone, Il.), New Beginnings for Cats (Bourbonnais, Il.), River Valley Animal Rescue (Momence, Il.), Cache Creek Animal Rescue (Anna and Joliet, Il.), Grassroots Animal Rescue (Medinah, Il.), Illinois Horse Rescue of Will County (Beecher, Il.), Iroquois County Animal Rescue (Iroquois, Il.), Kankakee County Humane Foundation (St. Anne, Il.) and Because Animals Really Kount (Kankakee, Il.).

New Beginnings for Cats is a no-kill cageless shelter started by a husband and wife who put all of their money into the facility. Tracy adopted her beautiful cat Forest, on the right, from them when he was 4 months old.

You can also find information about the project on Facebook under Sammy Shelter Project.

The Silas Series: The Adventures of Silas and Opal is a Vermont project from start to finish. The writer, illustrator, graphic designer, editor, web designer, and printer reside in Vermont, my home state.

Author Grannie Snow has written two books that reflect her love for her pets. "Big Ole Striped Silas" takes the reader through the sadness of losing a beloved pet to the joys and comfort of bringing home a new housemate from the shelter. In "Silas Gets a Sister," the search is on for the perfect friend for Silas. "Silas and Opal Meet" should be out in April 2015.

A dollar from each book sold will go to Homeward Bound Animal Welfare Center in Middlebury, Vermont. The books can be purchased at and when you enter the code  HBAC in the “Instructions From Buyer” section you will be helping to feed and care for shelter animals waiting for their forever home. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Truffles Interviews...Rebel the Boxer from Dianne Harman's Kelly's Koffee Shop (w/Review & Giveaway)

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! I'm a little bit confused because Mommy told me that I would be interviewing a boxer today. I'm not sure how that's going to work because I don't know a thing about boxing (and I'm pretty sure that she doesn't either!)

What's that, Mommy? Oh, it's a boxer *dog* that I'm interviewing! Okay, I can handle that :)

I hope you enjoy my interview with Rebel, the canine star of  Dianne Harman's Cedar Bay cozy mystery series.

Welcome, Rebel! Thank you so much for answering a few questions for us today. 

Truffles I really appreciate you taking the time to interview me. 

Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Kelly?

I’m a boxer, pretty big, over 90 pounds. My owner was a drug enforcement officer, but he was killed while he was on duty. I got the guy that killed him, but my owner didn’t make it. His family was so sad about his death they decided to move away and one of my new owners’ customers at the coffee shop she owns, Kelly’s Koffee Shop, mentioned that the family was trying to find a home for me. Kelly took me in and I’m forever grateful considering what the alternatives could have been.

What's a typical day like for you?

We get up pretty early because she has to be at the coffee shop by 6:00 a.m. to open up and let Charlie, Amber, and Roxie in. I pretty much spend the day next to the cash register watching Kelly to make sure nothing happens to her. You know, I am a guard dog. After she closes up for the day about 3:00 we do all kinds of things. Lately she’s been getting involved in her boyfriend’s cases, like Amber’s murder, so we go lots of places. I always go along to protect her. I don’t think she’s very good at protecting herself and she definitely needs me.

Since Kelly owns a coffee shop, do you get to sample all sorts of yummy treats? Any favorites?

I get to sample a lot of the things, but her boyfriend, the county sheriff, has started keeping treats in his pocket for me. I like that a lot more than the stuff Kelly and Charlie make for the coffee shop customers. Kelly’s always worried that someone will tell the authorities that I sleep next to the cash register in the coffee shop and she’s not sure that’s allowed, so she keeps a yellow blanket behind the cash register with the words “Guide Dog” on it in case that happens. 

What is life like in Cedar Bay, Oregon?

Cedar Bay’s a sleepy little town on the Oregon coast and Kelly’s Koffee Shop is on the pier. When it’s sunny out, it’s really pretty, but it rains a lot. The people are nice and everyone pretty much knows everyone else. I know most of the people who come to the coffee shop. Some of them even take me for a walk if they’re waiting for a table. It’s pretty rare when any crime happens in Cedar Bay. About the only thing that’s ever happened until Amber was murdered, was people stealing pies off of window ledges. You can see what I mean, before Amber’s death, not much happened there.

What kind of trouble do you and Kelly get into in Kelly's Koffee Shop?

Kelly and I’ve been getting into a lot of trouble lately. For some reason, she thinks Sheriff Mike really needs her help. I hope I can keep her safe, but when you’re dealing with a murderer, you just never know.

Do you assist Kelly in any way in solving the mystery?

I sure do. I’m the one responsible for Mike and Kelly not getting killed. Goes back to all that training I had for drug sniffing and being a guard dog. Once you learn that stuff, you never forget it!

How do you feel about kitties?

I like them, but since Kelly doesn’t have one, I’m not around them very much, but I like you Truffles. I think we could be friends.

Can you tell us anything about your upcoming adventures?

Seems like Kelly keeps discovering bodies. In Murder at Jade Cove, she finds Jeff. Believe me, that guy will never be declared “Man of the Year” by the people in Cedar Bay. And then in White Cloud Retreat, she discovers Scott’s body, the head of the White Cloud Retreat Center who everybody loved. I don’t know what’s happening in our once sleepy little town, but I can tell you that in Murder at Jade Cove, Kelly brings home a little sister for me. Her name is Lady and she’s a yellow Labrador puppy. She’s pretty cool. I’ve started traveling with Sheriff Mike. He needs me to protect him and Lady’s getting pretty good at helping Kelly.

Truffles, I’ve really liked talking to you, but Mike just opened a new box of treats and I sure don’t want to miss out on them. Nice meeting you and hope to see you again!

About This Author: Dianne lives in Huntington Beach, California with her husband Tom, a former California State Senator, and is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.

Author Links

Facebook Author Page:!/AuthorDianneHarman

Contributor: Huffington Post



Web Site


Twitter: @DianneDHarman

Purchase Link Amazon


Blurb: Kelly pulled into the harbor parking lot next to the pier and noticed that Amber’s car wasn’t in its usual place and there was no sign of her. She was usually standing at the door of Kelly’s Koffee Shop, waiting for Kelly to open up. Wonder what that’s all about, she thought.

The local residents of Cedar Bay come to Kelly’s Koffee Shop for breakfast, lunch, and lots of gossip. Kelly serves it all up as she works to solve the murder of the high school Homecoming Queen. The townspeople can’t believe what has happened in their sleepy little Oregon seaside town. She identifies five prime suspects, but which one did it?

Follow Kelly, her boxer dog, Rebel, and her boyfriend, Mike, the county sheriff, as they try to determine who the killer is in a murder that’s shocked the town.

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

Set on the picturesque Oregon coast, Kelly's Koffee Shop introduces readers to the quirky residents of Cedar Bay. Kelly's little cafe, a town hotspot when it comes to gossip, is short one waitress when Homecoming Queen Amber goes missing and is later found dead. Kelly takes it upon herself to solve the mystery along with help from her boyfriend (the sheriff) and her beloved boxer Rebel, a former drug sniffing dog. She ends up discovering shocking information about Amber and other townsfolk that prove even the coziest locales are not immune from the seedier side of life. Five possible suspects are identified, but the real culprit ends up catching Kelly completely off-guard. Some might call the resolution "cheating" in a mystery, but I found it to be believable.

If you're looking for a quick and easy book to while away a few hours with, I would recommend Kelly's Koffee Shop. It won't tax your brain but it will introduce you to a cast of characters you would enjoy sharing a pot of coffee with.

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Wednesday, February 4th for your chance to win an e-book copy of Kelly's Koffee Shop. Open internationally!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Question for Our #BlogPaws Friends

Do you ever wonder who is *really* filling out the campaign applications???

An email just came in with a Blogger Opportunity from BlogPaws.
It's okay, Mommy. I'll take care of it.
(*grumbles* I have to do everything around here anyways.)

Maybe I'll save myself some time and just submit this picture of me looking adorable. What brand wouldn't want a precious little tortie working for them?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Tail of Two Treats

It was the best of treats, it was the worst of treats...

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! This month when I got my Blogger Outreach email from Mommy practically squealed with excitement to see that they were offering samples of The Honest Kitchen products. She's been wanting me to try these for awhile now, but her excitement went down a notch when she saw that the cat treats are only available in fish flavors. She knows I'm not a huge fish fan (and fish isn't always that fond of me, if you catch my drift.) Still, we figured we would try out the haddock because that is a pretty light and simple fish that should go easy on my delicate little tummy.

Smittens™ fish cat treats are made from pure, wild, line-caught Haddock from the pristine waters off the coast of Iceland. They’re high-protein, low-fat and low-carb with just 1.1 calorie per treat. They are small, crunchy, and very aromatic. There was just one problem. I wouldn't touch them. They are the purr-fect little cat treat for fish lovers, but they were just too "fishy" for me.

So, as I've been known to do, I sought out the opinion of our neighbor kitty Pumpkin who likes to stop by my house each day for a treat. He's crazy about fish, and he was crazy about Smittens.

So I'm going to let Pumpkin enjoy my Smittens while I wait for The Honest Kitchen to make me some chicken or turkey treats.


Another Chewy selection for this month was Pro Plan Savory Bites with Real Chicken Cat Treats, which we didn't choose because we already had a package here at home that we hadn't opened yet. (They also come in tuna and salmon for you fish-a-holics.)

Now this is more like it! These treats made me *extremely* happy...practically a party in my mouth! I ate 3 small piles of them before Mommy told me to slow down before they came right back up again. (Party pooper.)

Kitties. if you have an order in to Chewy make sure you add these to your shopping cart! They are currently HALF PRICE...only $1.85 for a bag of pure yumminess!!!

So there you have it...two different treats from made two kitties very, very happy. (Sorry Pumpkin, you won't be getting any of my Savory Bites...) We recommend Chewy for all of your pet's needs...they have something special for every kitty's palate.

We received a free package of treats in exchange for our fair and honest review as part of the Blogger Outreach Program. All opinions are our own.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review & Giveaway: Romeow & Juliet by Kathi Daley

Blurb: Romeow and Juliet is the first in a cozy mystery series set on Madrona Island, a fictional island within the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. As a fourth generation islander Caitlin Hart is struggling to make her way as the economy and culture of the island evolves toward a tourism based industry. Cait lives in a cabin on her aunt's oceanfront estate where she helps her aunt run Harthaven Cat Sanctuary. When she isn't working with the cats, she helps best friend Tara, operate the coffee bar/bookstore/cat lounge they own, named Coffee Cat Books.

In the first installment to the series Cait and her dog Max find the body of a member of the island council dead in the back room of the old fish cannery. As Cait delves into the murder she finds herself with an unlikely sleuthing partner that might just lead to a relationship of a more personal kind.

Meanwhile, Romeo, as stray cat that followed Cait home, is causing all sorts of problems for Cait as, in spite of dire warnings from the neighbor next door, he refuses to stay away from her very expensive show cat, Juliet. Could Romeo really be trying to tell Cait something about the neighbor that she initially refuses to see?

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

Coffee. Cats. Books. Need I say more? Kathi Daley's new Whales and Tails Mystery series simply could not be more perfect for me. When Kathi first discussed the premise of the series I almost couldn't believe what I was's like these books were written just for little ol' me!

Cait lives in a cabin on her Aunt Maggie's property and helps her to run a cat sanctuary. She is also making plans to open Coffee Cat Books with her best friend Tara, a place where people can go to socialize, read, and hopefully adopt one of the cats housed there. While visiting the old fish cannery they plan to convert into their shop, Cait and her her dog Max find the body of a member of the island council. An upcoming vote on the fate of a huge new condo project has everyone taking sides, and Cait begins to wonder if it has become a motive for murder. Is it pure coincidence that her Aunt Maggie has taken sick while running for the open seat, and that another council member is being bribed to vacate his seat early? As Cait fights her conflicting feelings for the banker she is relying on to fund Coffee Cat Books, she can't help but wonder if he could be the killer.

Another complication to Cait's life is the arrival of a trouble-making stray named Romeo, who cannot stay away from her neighbor's purebred white Persian, Juliet. The adorable cover of Romeow and Juliet is a scene straight from the book. Will these two star-crossed lovers get their happy ending?

Cait is such a wonderful new character. I really enjoyed her impulsive nature which makes her prone to some pretty hilarious situations. The characters all come off as extremely realistic, and the island setting is just dreamy. As someone whose dream is to run a cat sanctuary this book just took me to such a happy place. Book 2, The Mad Catter, can't come fast enough.

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, January 30th for your chance to win a copy of Romeow and Juliet. US - Choice of Print or Kindle copy; Canada - Kindle copy only.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Selfies: Tofu...Seriouslies?

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Things are slowly returning to normal in my little corner of the world. The Christmas decorations are gone. My grandpa was able to go back to work this week, 5 weeks after his stroke. (His birthday is on Thursday...I should probably hack up something special for him. Teehee.)

You'll never believe what Mommy is super excited about. She is obsessed with Mexican food, and tomorrow (Monday the 26th) at Chipotle if you purchase a tofu Sofrita, you can bring your receipt back in February for a free burrito. Tofu means no meat, right? I love her but she sure is weird sometimes.

Mommy and I are working on a fun contest and giveaway next month to coincide with the Daytona 500. (Don't don't need to know anything about racing to play along.) We'll have more details in a few weeks.

I guess that's all my news for the week. You're waiting for my Sunday Selfie, aren't you? I'm rather proud of this one myself :)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} & Caturday Art: Dream

It's week four of the #PBSG #52Snapshots of Life photo challenge (hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull) and the theme is dream. I  love watching Truffles sleep, and often wonder what she dreams about. (Look at those nails!!!)

For our entry in Athena's Caturday Art blog hop, we applied the Charcoal effect using PhotoCat, and then added the cute "sweet girl" frame because I call her "my sweet girl" all the time.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Are You #TeamCat or #TeamDog? #TheLucyBowl

Not surprisingly, we are:

The Lucy Pet Foundation, which aims to start up a fleet of spay-and-neuter vans to travel wherever dog or cat overpopulation is a problem, is giving away iPad Minis and other great prizes with a fun photo contest. Simply take a photo of your pet with a #TeamDog or #TeamCat sign and post your pictures on your favorite social media sites. 


* Follow LucyPetFoundation on Facebook. Post your pet's photo (with a #TeamDog or #TeamCat sign) to your Facebook Page, along with the following message: "The biggest Bowl commercial this year may be #TheLucyBowl on Kitten Bowl!"

* Add the hashtag #TeamDog or #TeamCat and @lucypetfoundation to the Facebook post.

* Example: The biggest Bowl commercial this year may be #TheLucyBowl on Kitten Bowl! #TeamDog @lucypetfoundation  

* EARN AN EXTRA ENTRY by making your #TeamDog or #TeamCat photo your profile pic! 


* Follow @LUCYPETFDN on Twitter or Instagram.

* Post your pet's photo (with a #TeamDog or #TeamCat sign) to your Twitter or Instagram account, along with the following message: "The biggest Bowl commercial this year may be #TheLucyBowl on Kitten Bowl!"

* Add the #TeamDog or #TeamCat and @lucypetffdn.

* Example: The biggest Bowl commercial this year may be #TheLucyBowl on Kitten Bowl! #TeamCat @LucyPetFdn 

* EARN AN EXTRA ENTRY by making your #TeamDog or #TeamCat photo your profile pic!

Contest ends February 1st , 2015 at 12:00pm PST. Digital manipulation of photos is permitted. You may enter once per day per social media platform.


In case you missed it, here's a sneak peak of the #DogsVsCats #TheLucyBowl football game commercial:

Lucy Bowl Teaser from Lucy Pet Foundation on Vimeo.

Make sure you watch for the Lucy Pet Foundation commercial on Sunday February 1, 2015, during The Kitten Bowl, on the Hallmark Channel at 12/1c.

Terms and Conditions: Contest ends February 1st, 2015 at 12:00pm PST. Winners will be announced at and on Lucy Pet Foundation's social media platforms on Feb. 1, 2015. We will attempt to notify winners in the manner in which they entered, however, winners are responsible for checking the website to see if they've won, and have 24 hours to respond to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with the subject #TheLucyBowl Winner, or the prize(s) will be awarded to other entries. Winners will be chosen by One entry per day per social media account. Entrants must be 18 or older. International entries are accepted. Avoid where prohibited by law. Prizes: 2 winners will receive an Apple iPad mini 16GB Wi-Fi2, SRV: $249 and a #TeamDog or #TeamCat pet jersey. 4 additional winners will receive #TeamDog or #TeamCat sports packs: Pet jerseys and misc #TeamDog or #TeamCat fan items.

This post was brought to you in an effort to raise awareness about Lucy Pet Foundation's upcoming ethical pet population campaign. Lucy Pet Foundation provided all images (other than ours of Truffles) and information about the commercial, and will be entering our site into a drawing for a chance to win $500 towards a 501c3 rescue of our choice! If you are a blogger interested in spreading the word about this campaign, while also enjoying the chance to earn a donation for your favorite rescue, contact and request more information.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Answer Your Cat's Questions Day

Do you ever wonder what your cat is thinking? Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day is a chance to find out, and to answer some of their big questions. 

Truffles is *really* sick of winter and wants her window whiffies back. She's actually become quite difficult. Here's a taste of what I think has been on her mind lately.


Mommy, I've been thinking. One of us should represent our blog at the BlogPaws Conference in Nashville. Can I go?

No sweetie, you're not going to Nashville by yourself.

You could come too!

I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to go.

Why not??? I want to meet my kitty blogger friends in the fur!

You know that both your grandma and grandpa have been sick. We can't travel that far away from home right now. They need us.

Do you think we might get nominated for a 2015 Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging & Social Media Award?

I don't feel comfortable asking for things like that.

Then I'll ask! Nobody can resist me :) (Psst: the nominating form can be found here!)

You're right, it's very hard to say "no" to you.

If we won we'd have to go! It's in *love* country music! We could load up on kitty swag and meet Waffles (I bet he'll be dressing up as a hunky know, for the ladies!)

It would be amazing, but not this year. Maybe someday the nice BlogPaws peeps will have their Convention in the Northeast.

I never get to go anywhere. How come our neighbor kitty Pumpkin gets to go out by himself?

Just because he roams the neighborhood doesn't mean he's safe. You know the disagreements his mom and I have had on that issue. Kitties belong in the house where their Mommy can protect them.

When can I at least get my screen windows back to catch some window whiffies?

Not until spring.

Will it be spring next week?


Next month?


*Truffles walks off pouting and sputtering*

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

We Purr for Squirrels!

Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! Just a couple weeks ago we were celebrating National Bird Day, and now it's already Squirrel Appreciation Day! Mommy and I love watching squirrels even more than birds and it really upsets us when we hear about people who don't want squirrels eating from their bird feeders. They need to eat too! Whenever she sees one out the window she calls out "chirp chirp" to get my attention. We have several maple trees in our back yard that the neighborhood squirrels just love to run around and play in. (I'm not sure I care for them invading my bed though!)

Did you know that when frightened, squirrels dart back and forth to confuse predators? Sadly, this doesn't work with cars, so most city squirrels don't live longer than a year. Mommy has been known to nearly put passengers through her windshield when braking for squirrels. (I hope that never happens during a trip to the V-E-T.)

Here are a handful of other cool facts that we "dug up" about our backyard friends:

1. Squirrels can eat their own body weight (approximately 1.5 pounds) every week.

2. They are found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.

3. Their sweat glands are on their feet.

4. They clean and sharpen their incisors every day with a twig, although they sometimes use power lines causing power outages. Their teeth never stop growing, either, so gnawing keeps squirrels' teeth from growing into their necks.

5. Squirrels can detect their scent left on acorns through a foot of snow. They aren't perfect at retrieval, though...squirrels are responsible for planting more trees than all mankind. Forgotten acorns become trees.

6. Baby squirrels are called kittens and kittens are born only twice a year, once in the spring and once at the end of the summer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

#DogsVsCats Football Commercial #TheLucyBowl

Confession time: I don't watch the Super Bowl. Not even for the commercials. Honestly, all the "Big Game" means to me is that the Daytona 500 is right around the corner! Last year everything changed when Hallmark Channel premiered the very first Kitten Bowl. Finally, a Bowl game that I could enjoy!

This year promises to be even more exciting because the best Bowl Commercial of the year may just be on Hallmark's Kitten Bowl! Lucy Pet Foundation's groundbreaking #DogsVsCats football game commercial airing on Super Bowl Sunday, will feature some of the most high-tech CGI ever done using animals, and is bound to be among the most discussed ads of the year, changing the way America looks at cats and dogs forever. The Director of the commercial is Sam Nicholson, one of Hollywood's most acclaimed visual effects wizards, known best for Heroes, 24, The Walking Dead and Star Trek I.

The #DogsVsCats #TheLucyBowl football game commercial will draw attention to the 80,000 pets euthanized each week in shelters across the US, due to overpopulation. The Lucy Pet Foundation has a multi-targeted solution to pet overpopulation:

* Free and Low Cost Mobile Spay & Neuter Clinics across the country (eventually all free!)
* Education
* Grooming and training of shelter pets to make them more adoptable
* Working to enact legislation benefitting pets, including banning gas chambers at shelter

Would you like to see a teaser of the coolest, most technologically advanced, and most societally important commercial ever? Check it out!

Lucy Bowl Teaser from Lucy Pet Foundation on Vimeo.

Make sure you watch for the Lucy Pet Foundation commercial on Sunday February 1, 2015, during The Kitten Bowl, on the Hallmark Channel at 12/1c.

This post was brought to you in an effort to raise awareness about Lucy Pet Foundation's upcoming ethical pet population campaign. Lucy Pet Foundation provided all images (other than ours of Gilligan) and information about the commercial, and will be entering our site into a drawing for a chance to win $500 towards a 501c3 rescue of our choice! If you are a blogger interested in spreading the word about this campaign, while also enjoying the chance to earn a donation for your favorite rescue, contact and request more information.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Truffles' Guide to Heated Cat Beds

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! I don't know about where you live, but here in northern Vermont it has been downright *frigid* the last few weeks. While I love snuggling with Mommy in the winter, I can't tell you how much I miss laying in the bathroom window and enjoying the whiffies coming through the screen. I am definitely suffering from cabin fever...and I'm a housecat!!! There's just nothing to do but take a long winter's nap and dream about the warm, sunny days to come.

I am a connoisseur of comfort, particularly when it comes to cat beds. I have a snuggler bed, a few different donut beds, a kitty lounger, plus I enjoy quality time in Mommy's big girl bed. But recently while browsing I discovered that Mommy has been hiding something from can buy HEATED cat beds!!!

Today we're participating in the Keeping Pets Warm event hosted by Davinia and Indiana from Two Little Cavaliers ( so I decided to highlight a few of my favorites here with the hope that Mommy will take a hint a buy me one! (And if she doesn't...I know where she keeps the credit cards.)

Obviously, I have a thing for leopard print. I think it goes just purr-fectly with my tortie colors.

Do you have a favorite? Or are you a lucky kitty who owns a heated cat bed???

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Selfies: Jingle

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Today for the Sunday Selfies blog hop I'm featuring another of my Franklin County Animal Rescue friends, Jingle. (I hope Jingle gets adopted soon...Mommy is really in love with her!

But first, I have some really exciting news...Paco, who we featured just last month, found his forever home this week!!! Concatulations Paco, we hope you have a purr-fect life!!!

Now I'm going to hand things over to Jingle...

"Hi Truffles! It's so nice of you to let us kitties still looking for their forever home introduce themselves to your readers. 13 lucky cats were adopted last week at FCAR! Hopefully I'll be next.

Christmas is over but you could still have a little "Jingle" in your life with me around! I lived in a foster home for awhile with my kittens, now I just need a home of my own. I'm a Siamese mix, quite lovely I think. I'm a young adult, probably around 3 like you, Truffles. The shelter says I'm a super sweet girl, and I seem to get along with everyone, other cats, people, kids...I'm not sure how much I've been exposed to dogs yet.

If you don't mind braving the frigid temps out there I sure would love to meet you! Valentine's Day is right around the corner...I just might be your purr-fect love match!"

Information on how to adopt or sponsor Jingle can be found here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} & Caturday Art: Joyful

The theme for week three of the #PBSG #52Snapshots of Life Photo Challenge hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull is joyful and I chose this picture because Truffles is at her most joyful when she is playing ball. They are without question her favorite toys, and even though in this picture you can't see her precious face, I love how she has her head tossed back in absolute glee.

She has a large ball collection but the latest one she gets is always the greatest. At Christmas in her wonderful Secret Paws gifts she received a package of three balls with sparkles on them. A few mornings later I woke up to find one of them outside my bedroom door, apparently a hint that I should have gotten up in the middle of the night to play. That same night at midnight while I was getting ready for bed she wanted to play, so I stayed up awhile longer with her. It totally over-stimulated her because I don't think she slept 5 minutes all night (I didn't do much better). She was up and down off the bed all night long.

The next night at midnight she started whacking it around again, so before she got too hyper I distracted her with some treats and tucked it under her kitty lounger with her other toys. (Like most women she stashes stuff under the bed.) She finished her treats and watched me finish getting ready for bed. All of a sudden she glanced under the lounger, spotted the ball, and the race was on again!!! After she played for awhile luckily she settled down for the night this time. It's still her "go to" ball each and every day.

I thought the picture would be really cute as a cartoon, so for our Caturday Art entry we applied the Cartoonizer effect in Be Funky.

Friday, January 16, 2015

FIP Myths and Mysteries/Cat Skills Book Review and Giveaway

As promised, today we're featuring Part 2 of our guest blog by author Leslie Goodwin. Following FIP Myths and Mysteries and a bibliography with links where you can find additional information, you will have a chance to win a copy of her book, CAT SKILLS: Loving Care for Cats.

FIP Myths and Mysteries 
by Leslie Goodwin

Feline Infectious Peritonitis has only been identified since 1967 and because of the two types and its relative rarity, FIP remains shrouded in mystery and myth. Here are some of the most common misconceptions:

Myth number # 1: Testing my cat for corona virus titers will diagnose FIP: WRONG. If your vet suspects your cat has FIP, don't waste your money on a corona virus antibodies titer test. Ask for bloodwork instead. About 80% of cats will test positive for antibodies to corona virus but may never become ill with FIP. FIP happens when the virus mutates. It is most likely to mutate when a cat is under extreme stress like being in a shelter, after surgery, in a new home, or when they stray. Testing for corona virus titers can support a diagnosis because a cat with no corona virus titers cannot have FIP.

Myth number #2: FIP is contagious. My other cats will catch it. Despite its name, FIP isn't contagious...exposure to the corona virus, however, can be spread, passing in feces dust when cats track it from litter boxes and then lick it off while grooming. You can test the feces for presence of corona virus if you want to know if a cat is shedding virus. Some cats shed virus constantly, others for a time period after being exposed and some never shed. There is no hard and fast rule on virus shedding. But after a cat dies of FIP, it is recommended to disinfect all boxes and discard used litter and vacuum the entire house and wait to bring in a new cat for at least 8 weeks, while the virus is still viable. Again, just because your cat lived with an FIP cat does not mean your cat will get sick.

Myth number #3: FIP is genetic and all related cats will also get FIP. Not necessarily. A genetic tie is not proven yet...though some researchers believe it does run in families and some believe it is passed by the father of the kittens. However, purebred cats coming from catteries or cats who live in multiple cat households or shelters and are exposed at a young age to many others are more likely to be exposed to the virus and more risk of developing FIP if the virus mutates.

Myth number #4: There is a vaccination against FIP. Wrong. No effective vaccine is available.

Myth number #5: FIP can be diagnosed from a fecal test. No way. A fecal test for corona virus will only show that a cat is shedding virus.

Some female kittens are diagnosed with FIP during spay surgeries when vets observe damage to organs or lymph nodes. In one case I know, the vet could remove the infected lymph nodes and with supportive therapy, save the kitten's life. She is the subject of a study soon to be published. She has survived for three years so far being treated with Polyprenyl Immunostimulant and shows no sign of disease. Her recent blood work is normal. She had the dry type. She may be the only case of her kind.

It's rare for any cat to survive FIP. There are some palliative treatments and a few drugs to experiment with but no cure. Cats are usually given prednisone which will improve their appetite and quality of life. Vets can extract the belly fluid and give the cat Lasix to make him more comfortable. The two drugs used are Polyprenyl Immunostimulant and Feline Omega Interferon. PI is also used effectively to boost the immune system to treat feline Herpes. FOI is not readily available in the US. Human grade interferon has also been used but is not considered as effective. PI treats the dry type only.

Since I have been researching the disease and communicating with dozens of victims on the support site, I personally know of only one cat with wet FIP who survived for more than seven months. He lived for three years on daily doses of FOI. Drugs might be more effective if we could get diagnose cats sooner...the challenge with FIP is the speed at which it kills...usually within two weeks of being diagnosed. Still, a new Facebook group of FIP survivors was just formed and some researchers believe that FIP may someday become a chronic condition that can be managed. ©2015 Leslie Goodwin, author of CAT SKILLS: Loving Care for Cats

Links to learn more about FIP:

Book: Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Coronavirus, everything a cat owners needs to know by Dr. Diane D. Addie

Yahoo Support Group:
FIP Fighters on Facebook

Info on PI:

To support research/ Bria Fund


Blurb: Whether you've just adopted your first kitten or you've loved cats forever, you'll savor this inspiring guide to living happily ever after with a cat. Veterinarians, humane society experts and cat lovers share wisdom to keep your cats happy and healthy for a good long time...there's even a road map to the confusing cat food jungle. Heartwarming, funny and sometimes poignant, even highly technical topics like feeding are thoughtfully and thoroughly examined. A wealth of information at hand: Troubleshooting, Toxins, Poisons and Dangers, FAQ's and a Catalog of web resources. You'll even find money-saving tips that will pay for this book twice over. Your purchase helps fund research for a deadly, incurable cat disease called F.I.P., Feline infectious Peritonitis.

SPECIAL BULK DISCOUNTS on the paperback for animal shelters. You can include it in your adoption packets or sell in your gift store!

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

Whether you are a lifelong cat owner like me or experiencing the joy of being owned by a feline for the very first time, I guarantee that you will find this book to be a wealth of information that will enable you to be the best pet parent you can be. It is incredibly well-researched but not at all dull like so many pet care books. (The section on nutrition and what to look for on cat food labels alone is invaluable.) It's written in a conversational style and infused with fun cat quotes and illustrations. Did you know that there are certain words ("passwords") that most cats will respond to? Have you ever considered how cats are like the French and dogs resemble Americans? Every cat deserves the best life possible and this book gives cat lovers tons of extra tips and tricks to help make that happen!

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, January 23rd for your chance to win a paperback copy of CAT SKILLS: Loving Care for Cats. (US entries only, please.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Maisie's Story: FIP Angel #BtC4A

About a month ago I received an email from author Leslie Goodwin, asking me if I would be interested in reviewing a copy of her new book, CAT SKILLS: Loving Care for Cats. Of course I accepted and after I read the book and learned more about Leslie and her cats, I asked her if she would like to share with my readers her heartbreaking experience with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), a disease that I admit to knowing very little about. When her beautiful cat Maisie died of the deadly disease, Leslie wanted to make a difference when publishing the book she was writing. She wanted to help shelter animals and raise a significant donation to the Bria fund for FIP research. She came up with a unique plan to do both. Here are the details in her own words:

“Introducing the CAT SKILLS Challenge. My dream is to have my book in adoption packets in shelters all over the country. The second part of my dream is to make a sizeable donation to the Bria fund at the same time. Here’s how: A corporate sponsor or private philanthropist would purchase a large quantity of books taking advantage of the publishers quantity price, adding only a slight profit to include a donation of 20% of the total to FIP research and then distribute the books for free to shelters. If shelters could include the book in their cat adoption packets, I believe more cats will keep their forever homes and fewer will be punished, abandoned or returned for behavioral or health problems. This is a new, exciting way for sponsors or patrons to make a tax deductible donation, help fund research into a deadly disease and help cats at the same time. With or without a donation to FIP research, if anyone wants a large quantity of books shipped to their shelter of choice, I will gladly provide them at a greatly reduced price.”

Now I am honored to present "Maisie's Story". Hopefully it will be useful to anyone trying to diagnose a cat or for anyone looking for support going through this illness and for everyone to know that many people are working to cure this disease.

Maisie's Story: FIP Angel

When I met Maisie, I had just lost one of my old cats, Lucy, and the other one was fading fast. I was numb and exhausted from running a cat hospice. I went to the humane society to sign up as a volunteer to deal with my grief. I had seen a young kitty on their website who looked a lot like Lucy.  Naturally I was curious!  She had strayed in during the 100 year flood... possibly made homeless because of it. 

When I picked up the little waif, she climbed my shoulder and clung on with a death grip. Her neck was wobbly, she had diarrhea and she felt feverish. She had been spayed a few days before. I wasn’t ready for a new one with my old fur buddy dying at home. But I told the volunteer, “This is my cat.”

When I came back to adopt her, little Maisie was deathly ill in the shelter clinic with a fever of 106. They gave her subQ fluids. When her fever subsided, they released her to me. 

Maisie was still clinging her first night home..she wouldn't even let go for a photo!

She seemed happy and healthy but two days later she started vomiting, ran a fever and we ended up in the ER. They sent us home with no diagnosis.

Fecal tests showed Giardia. The meds I gave her to cure Giardia made her anorexic. I started to force feed her just to keep her alive. Blood tests were inconclusive but pointed to liver disease. Maybe hepatitis.  Finally, with a new antibiotic, she started to eat on her own. Hope at last!  I gave her antibiotics for a full six weeks.

Mais started a slow recovery.  Still, something was missing. What she needed was a sister! When I adopted Millie, she was like a well- timed shot of adrenalin for both of us. With Millie to love, Maisie blossomed into perky, normal kitten. Living with them was pure happiness. Every morning, Mais scooted under the bed covers to snuggle and after breakfast, she climbed to my shoulder for a talk. For six months, she chased and wrestled and cuddled with Millie, ate heartily and gained three pounds. I was overjoyed at my new cat family. Meanwhile, Maisie's immune system was fighting a virus turned deadly...and losing.

Six months later, just weeks after writing the first draft of CAT SKILLS, Maisie stopped eating and languished again with a high fever. This time, blood tests revealed the tell-tale signs of an incurable disease--Feline Infectious Peritonitis. She was only 15 months old and she would be dead thirteen days later.

There are two kinds of F.I.P.: wet and dry. Dry F.I.P., with no abdominal effusion present, is one of the most misdiagnosed and mysterious of all cat diseases, often only being confirmed post-mortem.

Dry F.I.P. (Maisie's type) is hardest to diagnose and can be slower to develop. Wet FIP is more obvious; the cat develops a huge belly filled with fluid. Both types are caused by a mutation of the Feline Enteric Coronavirus. Victims are almost exclusively under two or over ten years old. They rarely live more than a few months after symptoms appear. There is no effective vaccine. There are no simple diagnostic tests. There is no effective treatment or cure. FIP kills one in 100 to one in 300 of all cats under five years old  (mostly kittens). And the incidence can be up to ten times greater among kittens from catteries(breeders) or shelters for reasons I explain in FIP Myths and Mysteries.

FIP is often misdiagnosed or un-diagnosed. Diagnosing FIP can be difficult as there are several other possible diagnoses -- especially for the wet type. But CBC blood tests can show the obvious markers of FIP: High total protein, a low a/g ratio, (high globulin), anemia, lymphopenia and sometimes elevated neutrophils. These are the red flags for FIP.

Symptoms are: Fever which doesn't respond to antibiotics, anorexia, diarrhea, lethargy and weight loss and/or abdominal swelling (in the case of the wet type.) Abdominal ultrasounds and cytology tests (analyzing cells) of the abdominal fluids are diagnostic as well. The abdominal fluid (wet type) will be a yellow straw color and appear fibrous. There is a simple test of the abdominal fluid called the Rivalta test which can be done in the vet's office in minutes and costs virtually nothing...but only for testing the abdominal fluids in wet FIP. A Youtube video explains how to do it. This is only a quick overview of the most common diagnostic tests. Please check the links in the bibliography to find out more.

In hindsight, I can only assume that Maisie was fighting the disease when I first brought her home. But she didn't show the classic signs in her blood work so how were we to know? Was the virus just starting to mutate then? This is one of the mysteries of FIP...the process by which the usually benign corona virus mutates into the deadly form.

During the dreadful, complicated diagnostic process, I sought help from the Yahoo F.I.P. support group. The moderators, who also lost kittens to FIP, continue to support others fighting the same losing battle. One of them founded a research fund named after her FIP angel kitten: The Bria Fund. They inspired me to join them.

I believe that Maisie came into my life--even for such a short time--for a good reason. I decided to donate some of the proceeds of my book sales to fund research to cure this killer of kittens. I hope that my book will be a part in finding a cure.

PS: Millie is alive and well and teaching her new fur sister the fine art of mutual grooming, recreational wrestling and spooning at nap time. ©2014 by Leslie Goodwin, author of CAT SKILLS: Loving Care for Cats.

Millie and Maisie...BFFs forever.

*** Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of Leslie's story, including FIP Myths and Mysteries and a bibliography with links where you can find additional information. I will also be posting my review of CAT SKILLS: Loving Care for Cats and we will be giving away a paperback copy of the book to one lucky winner. ***

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Truffles Interviews...Sidney & Balzac from Lesley Cookman's Steeple Martin Mystery Series (w/Giveaway)

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! For today's interview I'm chatting with a pair of kitties that live across the pond in England! (I'm very thankful for the Internet and email...I don't think I'd want to travel that far away from home.) 

Sidney and Balzac are the feline stars of the Libby Sarjeant series of British murder mysteries which features a retired actress as the female sleuth and are based in the picturesque village of Steeple Martin.

Would anyone care to join me for a spot of catnip tea?

Truffles: Welcome, Sidney and Balzac! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions today. Could you start out by telling us a little about yourselves and how you came to live with Libby and Fran, respectively?

Sidney: Hello, Truffles, and thank you on behalf of Balzac and myself for inviting us over to your place. I have to tell you, it’s the first time I have been across the Atlantic and it’s – er – quite interesting. About myself, my name is Sidney and I am what humans call a silver tabby. At least, they do over here in England. I’m not quite sure how old I am, but I’ve been living with this woman called Libby Sarjeant for several years now. We used to live in a big house near the sea with a lot of other humans, but they all went away, so we bought this little house in what I understand is called a village. I like it because at the back of the garden is a wood, and some open fields, which means I can go on all sorts of rambles.

Balzac: Now Sidney’s shut up, perhaps I can have a word? My name is Balzac, and I’ve had rather a chequered past. Not my fault, of course. I am a very handsome black and white long haired person, and I first lived in March Cottage, Pedlar’s Row with a very old lady called Maria. But she died, and for a long time I was fed – sometimes – by a rather unpleasant person who lived next door. Then another person called Bella came to March Cottage so I adopted her, but that didn’t last long. Libby and Fran were friends of Bella’s and when she went away, they took me home. I stayed with Libby and Sidney for a little while, and then moved in with Fran when she went to live in Coastguard Cottage in Nethergate. 

Truffles: What is a typical day like for you?

Sidney: A typical day for me starts with me greeting Libby in the kitchen when she comes down to make her tea. Sometimes, and more often these days, it’s her friend Ben who comes down. We have a chat and while the kettle’s boiling Ben or Libby feeds me. Then I’ll have a little wash and leave through my special door in the conservatory. Perhaps I’ll sit under the cherry tree in the garden, or I’ll go through the fence and into the woods at the back. Very interesting places, woods. Then I’ll come back home, see if there’s anything interesting in my food dish, and go and have a sleep in the sitting room. In front of the fire if it’s winter, or on the sofa. If there’s a human around, I might sleep on a lap. And if anyone comes to the front door, I have a great trick of dashing out between their legs and tripping them up.

Balzac: I don’t go out at night, so I sleep in the sitting room. If it’s summer, I sleep on the window seat, which is very deep and looks out over the sea. Sometimes, in the daytime, I chat to the seagulls on the sea wall, but they don’t take much notice. I don’t do a lot, but sometimes I go outside to our little sunny back yard. That’s it really. After going from pillar to post earlier in my life, I like to stick close to home.

Truffles: What kinds of trouble do your staff (owners) get into in Murder Out of Tune?

Sidney: Honestly, sometimes I despair of my staff. She stumbles into these things and gets herself into all sorts of trouble. This time she managed to get hit on the head right outside my door! Well, there was nothing I could do, was there? Although I could have told them who did it. I was looking out of the window. Saved them a lot of trouble, that would.

Balzac: I don’t know much about it, I’m afraid. Fran doesn’t talk to me about these things, possibly because I was mixed up in an adventure when she met me, and she thinks I might get upset. I maintain a dignified silence.

Truffles: Do you participate at all in their crime-solving adventures?

Sidney: I could help if I was asked, of course. As I’ve said, I saw who hit Libby on the head. And there was another time when there was a fire in the garden. I knew about that, too, and when her friend Harry was hit on the head in his garden, I just happened to have taken my nightly stroll over there, so I could be very useful. Balzac doesn’t do anything.

Balzac: I don’t choose to get involved, Sidney. I provide a restful homely ambience for my staff.

Truffles: This book is set at Christmas. What is Christmas like in Steeple Martin?

Sidney: Steeple Martin at Christmas is quite interesting for a cat. Libby and Ben and their friends are involved with what British humans call “theatre” and “pantomime”. Do you know what pantomime is, Truffles? No? Well, it all started – according to Libby, who knows a lot about it – back in the 1750s in England. It changed quite a bit from that time to the last century, but now it is a musical play (you know what that is, don’t you?) based on a fairy story, like Cinderella or Snow White. But it’s weird. There’s always a woman played by a man – the Dame – and often there’s a prince who’s played by a woman. Told you – weird. So anyway, that what my humans do at Christmas, so we’re really very busy.

Balzac: Nethergate at Christmas is really very pretty. All the lights we have along the Harbour Wall are switched on, and there’s a big thing they call a Christmas Tree opposite The Swan Hotel at the end of our street. Fran often goes off to Steeple Martin for that pantomime thing with Libby, so Guy and I stay at home by the fire. 

Truffles: Cat to cat, do you have favorite nap spots, toys and treats?

Sidney: I don’t play with toys. I like the sofa, the mat in front of the fire and pretty much anyone’s lap. I love ham, but I don’t get very much of it, and those special little cat treats. Libby is very mean with them.

Balzac: As I’ve said, I love the window seat in the sitting room, and outside I curl up in the big plant pot in the back yard. I just fit nicely. I like those cat treats, too, and sometimes, if I’m very lucky, a bit of chicken. And cheese. Oh, I love cheese! 

Truffles: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming adventures?

Sidney: Well, I can’t really. You see, they’ve all gone off on holiday to another country and I’m staying with a different human called Hetty. She’s Ben’s mother, and she lives in a very big house called The Manor. She spoils me, Libby says, but I consider that she really knows how to treat a cat. When they get back from this holiday in – where was it? Turkey? – I expect I shall hear all about it. And I’m sure there will have been a murder while they were there.

Balzac: Yes, I’ll be at home with Sophie. She’s a lovely human and belongs to Guy. Sometimes she lives almost next door to us, and sometimes she comes to stay, especially when Fran and Guy go away, just to keep me company. She talks to me a lot, so I shall hear all about what’s happening in Turkey. And after that, who knows? It would be nice if nothing very much happened, but I’m sure there will be more adventures. Very unsettling.


About Murder Out of Tune: A member of a local ukulele group is found dead in Steeple Martin’s churchyard. Libby’s first reaction is relief that the victim isn’t anyone she knows. She and the usual suspects have other things to occupy them as they are gearing up for a Christmas concert and pantomime in the Oast Theatre but when Libby’s cousin gets romantically involved with a man in whom the police are taking an interest, she can’t help asking a few questions – and getting into trouble…

About the author: A former actor, model and freelance journalist, Lesley Cookman lives on the Kent coast in the UK, has four musicians as children, two small grandchildren and two cats, Lady Godiva and Gloria. All 14 of her Libby Sarjeant books have reached number one in their genre charts on Amazon UK.

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N Book Depository


Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, January 19th for your chance to win an e-copy of Murder Out of Tune.