Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mudpie Manor

Meows from Mudpie!

Back in May Angel Truffles reviewed the pawsome ScratchKabin she received.

When I moved in during the heat of the summer I didn't pay too much attention to it, but over the past couple weeks it's gotten a little chillier. Mommy loaded it up with blankies and some of my toys, and now it's my favorite living room napping spot!

I just know I'm going to spend loads of time in it this winter. Don't I look cozy???

I've named my ScratchKabin...

Mudpie Manor!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Review/Giveaway: Dead with the Wind by Miranda James

From the publisher: The New York Times bestselling author of Bless Her Dead Little Heart and the Cats in the Stacks mysteries brings back the Ducote sisters, two spry Southern sleuths.

An’gel and Dickce Ducote tend to stay put in Athena, Mississippi, but a wedding is a good reason to say a temporary farewell to Charlie Harris’s cat Diesel and go visit relatives. But while their stay in Louisiana is scorching hot, the atmosphere at the wedding is downright cold, with bride-to-be Sondra Delevan putting her trust fund above little things like love and loyalty.

When a violent storm supposedly sweeps Sondra off a balcony to her death, the sisters discover that many of the guests attending the wedding had major reasons to object to Sondra’s marriage. Now, it’s up to An’gel and Dickce to use their down-home instincts to expose dubious alibis, silver-plated secrets, and one relentless murderer who lives for “till death do us part.”

I have an admission to make - I typically pass on cozies that revolve around a wedding. They inevitably star an annoying bridezilla who ends up making me want to gag and I'm happy to see her either bumped off or arrested. That being said, since I've been so looking forward to the second Southern Ladies mystery, I put my prejudices aside, and I'm so glad that I did.

An'gel, Dickce, Benjy and their pets leave their beloved antebellum behind to attend the wedding of their cousin's daughter Sondra in St. Ignatiusville, Louisiana. Sondra is over-the-top crazy and more interested in getting her hands on her trust fund than anything, least of all her dimwitted husband-to-be. A bitter argument between Sondra and her grandmother over an antique wedding dress and a creepy housekeeper turns tragic when the older woman suffers an apparent heart attack. Then a violent storm arrives and while everyone is hunkered down, a killer strikes - when the storm passes Sondra is found dead on the ground beneath the balcony. Who used the storm as a cover for their dastardly deads - and what other secrets lurk behind the walls of the family's gentile southern mansion?

I loved this book and the cast of eccentric characters that An'gel and Dickce find themselves holed up with. I was completely and utterly stumped until the end, and loved how the ladies revealed the killer just like a pair of modern day Miss Marples.

This series is loaded with Southern style and I hope the Ducote sisters are solving murders until they're 100!

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, October 2nd for your chance to win a copy of Dead with the Wind. (US entries only, please.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

#TruLoveIs Living Nutrition from Wellness TruFood

This post is sponsored by PetSmart & Wellness Natural Pet Food and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Wellness TruFood, but Mochas, Mysteries and Meows only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Wellness Natural Pet Food is not responsible for the content of this article.

For a number of days after I adopted Mudpie she had pretty bad diarrhea. Since the shelter told me what she had been eating, I hadn't made any drastic changes to her diet yet, so I chalked it up to the stress and upheaval in her life over the previous weeks and months. I decided to try adding probiotics to her food and voila...diarrhea gone! Now she gets probiotics in her wet food each day and her digestive system is as healthy as can be.

Another supplement I swear by for myself and my pets is coconut oil. I absolutely adore cooking with it and even eating it by the spoonful straight from the jar! Angel Truffles loved it too, but the only trouble is, it's so darn messy! I would put it on my finger or a plate for her to lick off, and it ended up everywhere. I mixed it in with her food and it would just glob up in the corner.

Wouldn't life be easier if these healthy ingredients we already in our pets' food? Well now they are, thanks to Wellness® TruFood®, and the great news is it's as close as your nearest PetSmart®!!!

TruFood is made with whole foods from farm, field and sea, such as whole prey protein, raw produce and antioxidant-loaded superfoods. It's blended by hand and baked in small batches, just like homemade meals. Made with colorful ingredients you can see like chicken, beets, coconut oil, kale, pumpkin and live active yogurt cultures, TruFood recipes are living proof that real nutrition is the most fundamental source of health and happiness for your pets.

TruFood features three categories of food options: Baked Blends Dry Food, Tasty Pairings Wet Food, and CocoChia Bakes Treats:

Wellness® TruFood® Baked Blends Dry Food: Wholesome baked nuggets prepared in small batches to deliver optimal nutrition. Made with 70% more raw protein ingredients than other pet foods, all baked blends recipes are grain, potato and wheat-free, and feature a unique mix of individual, baked components including whole-prey protein bites and living superfood nuggets.

Wellness® TruFood® Tasty Pairings Wet Food: Grain-free recipes with two delicious layers – shredded protein and fruits and vegetables in a convenient, easy-open cup. 

Wellness® TruFood® CocoChia Bakes Treats: Treats that provide the dietary benefits of coconut oil and chia seeds in a grain-free, slow-baked snack. Paired with superfood ingredients like beets, these healthy treats are the perfect nutritional reward for pets.

Wellness TruFood wants to know what #TruLoveIs for your cat(s)! For Mudpie, it's toys and treats. For me, true love is every single moment that we get to spend together, and knowing that I'm doing everything possible to give her a long, healthy and happy life. Wellness TruFood knows it all starts with quality nutrition, and PetSmart is always where I go to fulfill Mudpie's shopping list!

Post a picture of your cat using the hashtag #TruLoveIs and share it on social media. 

Follow Wellness TruFood on Facebook, PinterestInstagram, and Twitter. PetSmart is on Facebook, Twitter, PinterestInstagram, and YouTube

Show the vibrant life you and your pet share by visiting the Wellness TruFood Pet Parent Community to create a watercolor-inspired piece of art.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lonely #SundaySelfie

Meows from Mudpie!

When Mommy helped me take my selfie the other night in bed she thought I looked sad.

The truth is, I'm kind of lonely. Since I moved into my forever home last month Mommy's life has just been crazy. Three of her cousins have gotten married over the past 6 weeks, so that's three weekend days when we could have spent together that I've been left alone.

Then another cousin passed away very suddenly and his wake and funeral was last weekend.

Mommy says her "family obligations" are done now and we can spend more time concentrating on "us". I hope she's right or I might have to agree with her the next time she jokes that maybe she should adopt a "furry friend" for me!

Check out more of my friends' Sunday Selfies at The Cat on My Head.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Caturday Art Goes Psycho

Meows from Mudpie!

I'm a bit perturbed with Mommy this week. Do you wanna know what she did after work on Wednesday? She went to the theater to see a special event screening of one of her all-time favorite movies, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

Never mind that we have the DVD here at home, as well as a digital copy that she can watch on any device. You know, so we could watch it curled up *together* on the couch.

But no, she needed to see it on the "big screen" with a room full of strangers while I sat home alone. Just look at me...which would you choose???

Then after she got home she started thinking about how much I love to play in the bathtub (usually just as she's about to use it.) She started chuckling about how we could re-create Psycho's famous shower scene for our Caturday Art project this week using a picture she took of me in the tub.

I think the idea is kind of creepy myself, but she had fun with it. I can guarantee there were no crazy people with knives in the bathroom with us, but do you notice that I appear to be freaked out by something I'm looking at?

I think Mommy may have been nakey at the time. (Tee hee...)

Check out more artsy kitties at Athena's Caturday Art blog hop.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review/Giveaway: Unleashed by Eileen Brady

From the publisher: Dr. Kate Turner is happy with her new life in Oak Falls, upstate New York. Working as a relief veterinarian at a small house-call practice, she truly enjoys helping her patients.

All that changes when client Claire Birnham is found dead, an apparent suicide. A talented artist, Claire had everything to live for: new job, Manhattan apartment, her Cairn terrier Toto. As feisty as the Wizard of Oz Toto, he and Claire were devoted. Kate can’t imagine Claire simply abandoning her pet. Was her death murder?

Questions end in the police arresting young kennel helper Eugene. The fragile friendship between Kate and police officer Luke Gianetti frays as she ignores his advice and keeps asking questions. House calls provide gossip and clues, some helpful, some not so much, as she treats her animal patients. Did Claire’s recent insurance windfall prove too tempting for her hard working and hard drinking mother? What does trouble in the art gallery where Claire worked signal? How huge a grudge did heavy metal rocker A.J. hold against high-school sweetheart Claire after she dumped him? Was Claire a threat to AJ’s rich new girl?

Dr. Kate mixes real medicine with murder as she risks her life over Claire’s death, aided by insights from a former fire investigator, aka her Gramps. Unleashed is as irresistible as Muzzled.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: August 4th 2015

Number of Pages: 272

Series: Kate Turner, DVM #2

ISBN: 9781464203947

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

As a little girl I always wanted to be a vet. I ended up coming to the conclusion that I would become too emotionally attached to my patients and unable to handle ill and injured animals on a daily basis. I'm a stronger person now and really wish that I had chosen to follow my dream, but I'm still able to live vicariously as a vet through the books I read. Memoirs and fictional stories by and about vets are among my favorites, especially the James Herriot stories. So the Kate Turner DVM Mysteries are just purr-fect for me...a cozy mystery series about a vet!!!

In Unleashed, Kate is settling into life in Oak Falls, NY, while the small town's regular vet is on a yearlong sabbatical. She's stunned when one of her clients, Claire Birnham, is found dead of an apparent suicide. Claire's beloved Cairn terrier Toto is currently under observation at the vet clinic, and Kate just can't believe Claire would abandon him. As she chats with her day-to-day clients, more information comes to light about Claire's life. From the owner of the art gallery where she worked to past boyfriends to her very own alcoholic mother, there is no shortage of people who may have wanted her dead. But it's clinic worker Eugene Spragg, who was brain damaged in a horse riding accident, that is arrested for the crime. With the help of her Gramps, who is somewhat incapacitated with COPD, Kate is determined to clear Eugene's name.

I enjoyed every moment of this page-turning mystery, and especially the glimpse into the life of a small house-call practice with the various pets she treats and their quirky owners. This is the second book in the series, but it can definitely be read as a stand-alone, although I will definitely be adding the debut Muzzled to my TBR pile while looking forward to meeting more of Kate's patients in the future!

Read an excerpt:
After kicking my cheating boyfriend to the curb I needed to find a job far far away from him.
Quickly. With $150,000 worth of student loans left to pay for my veterinary education, I couldn't afford to be without an income. That's how I ended up in the tiny town of Oak Falls, about two hours from New York City if you put the pedal to the metal, but light years away from the crowds. Hired as a relief vet while the practice owner, Doc Anderson, took an around-the-world cruise, I lived in an apartment attached to the office. At least it was a short commute.
Now, seven months of house calls later, I thought I had seen just about everything.
I was wrong.
Friday morning, my veterinary technician, Mari, and I piled into the office F-150 truck and drove to our first appointment of the day. Seventy-two Chestnut Lane turned out to be an older farmhouse-style home on an acre of land that bordered the state park. Mature elms created a canopy over the front walkway, lined by low-lying junipers and daylilies. A pretty setting, but we were there to take care of a sick pug whose owner had called for an early morning appointment.
An attractive young woman in her twenties with light brown hair and a gentle face opened the door. "Are you the vet?"
Nodding, I introduced myself. "Yes, I'm Dr. Kate Turner and this is my assistant, Mari."
"Nancy Wagner. Come in." She stepped aside. "Don't let anyone out."
Both Mari and I are masters at not letting dogs, cats, or any other type of pet escape through exits of any kind. Watching carefully, we snuck through the door, using our legs like goalies at a soccer game to block anyone trying to flee.
Nancy watched us close the door. Satisfied none of her pets had gotten out, she led us down a fairly narrow hallway.
Unfortunately our progress abruptly stopped when a large gray and white pot-bellied pig with a pink nose turned the corner, effectively throwing a block.
Could the sick pug we were supposed to be seeing actually be a sick pig? Had our receptionist Cindy made an interesting typing mistake?
"Is this the patient?" I asked.
"Yes. This is my Angel. He's almost a year old and he's got a terrible rash on his belly."
Just because veterinarians treat all kinds of animals doesn't mean we have every species' medical problems right at our fingertips. Luckily, I knew quite a bit about pot-bellied pigs. During vet school several had come into the university's small animal clinic with various problems. I'd also gone on farm calls to a pot-bellied pig breeder, and babysat one named Daisy for a friend for a month. Most of the pigs I'd handled were gentle and surprisingly smart.
"All right. Where can I examine him?"
"I guess we could use the living room." Nancy made a kissing sound and the pig turned and trotted off behind her. My guess was he had the run of this part of the house.
Without much trouble Angel rolled over on his back and presented us his belly to scratch. A diffuse red rash spread across the pale, almost hairless skin on his abdomen and halfway up both sides. The lack of any raised diamond shaped lesions or pustules quickly ruled out some of the bad pig diseases — which left anything from fungal to contact dermatitis to a million other things. To be certain I took several skin scrapings which Angel seemed to enjoy.
"Is he healthy otherwise? How is his appetite?"
"Perfectly normal."
Maybe this was a husbandry problem, having to do with diet or his environment.
Mari, Nancy, and I sat on the wooden floor. Angel loved having his belly rubbed and grunted with pleasure. I listened to his heart and lungs and continued my exam. "What are you feeding him?"
Nancy pointed over to the kitchen counter. "He gets his pig chow plus vegetables and fruits, and some of what I eat every day. Then I let him root around in the yard outside."
Since pigs are omnivores, which means they eat everything, it sounded like a fairly balanced diet. Except for the rash he looked like a healthy piggy. Digging a little deeper I questioned her further. "Did you spread any chemicals or fertilizers outside recently, or add any new plants or trees?"
"Absolutely not. I'm very careful because of all my pets." Nancy sounded indignant.
"What about his sleeping pen?" Since our animal patients can't talk to us, I found taking a detailed history is of huge importance. "Do you change the hay frequently? Is there any evidence of mouse or rat infiltration in his stall?" Skin lesions could be a result of moldy hay or damp unsanitary conditions.
His concerned owner continued to stroke Angel's belly. "I'm sure everything is fine. I don't have any skin problems."
Not sure if she understood I tried to reassured her. "From a preliminary look, I don't think this is contagious to people, but I'm curious if it has something to do with where he sleeps.
Again she looked up at me, eyes wide. "He sleeps with me."
For a moment I thought she sometimes camped in the backyard.
Mari subtly nudged me with her elbow.
I persisted. "Where exactly does Angel sleep at night?"
"In bed. With me," Nancy said in a matter-of-fact voice, as though everyone sleeps with their pig.
That's when a rooster walked into the room. Brightly feathered, brown and black with a red comb, he strutted past us, barely glancing at the pig on the floor. "Hi, Tommy," Nancy said to the chicken.
Mari poked me again and whispered, "That's odd."
I was there to figure out what was wrong with Angel, not the owner, so continued. "Does he sleep on top of the bed?"
"No. Under the sheets. He gets cold at night." she explained, "Besides, he likes to cuddle."
Picturing her spooning with her pig seemed all wrong. I kept going.
"Have you changed your detergent or fabric softener?" Since pigs have sensitive skin I went with one of the most common causes of rashes — contact dermatitis.
Nancy frowned and pursed her lips. "Oh my gosh. I changed my fabric softener to Lavender Fields right around the time I noticed the rash. Do you think that might be it?"
"It certainly could be a cause. Would you be able to wash him with a hypoallergenic shampoo?"
"Sure, Angel likes taking showers with me."
Of course he did. Another place I didn't want to go.
"Great. Mari will get the pet shampoo for you. Follow the directions and wash all the linen and whatever else he comes in contact with in hot water. Use your regular detergent but skip the fabric softener. If that's the cause of his skin condition you should see a difference in about ten days. Meanwhile, we'll call you with the results of our tests. There may be some other type of diagnostics to run, depending on how he responds."
Angel rolled over, then pulled himself up onto his relatively slender feet. I noticed a large doggy door leading out into the backyard. As we watched, the pig aimed his snout into the door flap, pushed it open, then squeezed through.
"Thanks so much, doctor," Nancy said, relief in her voice. "I was worried it might be something serious." She hesitated for a moment. "Do I have to wash Tommy, too?"
For a moment I was confused. "Who is Tommy?"
"My rooster." She smiled a sweet smile. "He sleeps with me too."
* * *
After saying goodbye and getting into the truck, Mari couldn't hold it in. She laughed her butt off. What exactly was going on in that house? I wasn't sure. Nancy appeared to be a normal person, but lonely. Maybe her surrogate animal family filled the gaps in her life. The animals were healthy and well looked after, so who was I to judge her? After all, I talked to my dog Buddy, and he often slept at the bottom of the bed. During thunderstorms I let him crawl under the blankets. Whatever gets you through the day. Still, I couldn't imagine sleeping with sharp piggy hooves in the bed with me.
"Is there a Mr. Nancy in the picture?" I wondered, turning the corner onto Scenic Drive.
"No such luck." Mari entered something into the laptop. "She confided in me that she doesn't get that many second dates."
I tried not to crack a smile. "Gee, I wonder why?"
An hour later we arrived back at the animal hospital and I immediately looked at the skin samples. Everything checked out fine, no nasty scabies or demodex mites, no yeast or any of the other common skin problems that might cause a rash. Knowing Nancy would be worried I called her back while writing up my records.
"Thanks, Dr. Kate. I'll give you an update in two weeks. She took a moment, then continued, "Why don't you check out my Facebook page and follow the link to our website and my blog?"
Six o'clock rolled around before I had an opportunity to go into Doc's office to check my email. For curiosity's sake I looked up Nancy on Facebook.
To my surprise there were lots of postings on her page and a professional looking link to her website. When I clicked on it I got another surprise. Nancy wrote a blog about her pets and her life, a pretty popular blog, and now I was part of it.
Obviously taken from an overhead cam, the posted picture caught me rubbing Angel's tummy. It was a toss-up who sported the bigger grin, me or the pig.

About the author: Eileen Brady is a veterinarian living in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a wife and mother of two daughters and often has to chase her six cats and two dogs away from her laptop keyboard. The Kate Turner, DVM Mysteries is her first series.

Catch Up:
author's website author's facebook

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Eileen Brady & Poisoned Pen Press. There will be one US winner of 1 Box of Poisoned Pen Press books including Unleashed by Eileen Brady. The giveaway begins on September 1st, 2015 and runs through September 31st, 2015. For US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wear Your Passion for Pets Proudly with #MountainArtwear

This post is sponsored by The Mountain® and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping promote the Russo Rescue Collection, but Mochas, Mysteries and Meows only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. The Mountain is not responsible for the content of this article. 

My favorite pictures of myself as a little girl show me in my playpen with a stack of books in one corner and my childhood cat Patch in the other. Those treasured photos are proof that throughout my entire life, cats and books have been my greatest passions. This blog was born from those passions.

Since I pretty much live in jeans and a t-shirt everyday, I wear my heart on my sleeve...literally. A large percentage of my ridiculously large t-shirt collection features cats. Just when I start thinking I need another one like I need a hole in the head, something truly special comes along.

For over two decades, The Mountain® has been a bold player in the t-shirt game, appealing to anyone who wants to make a statement or simply just have fun with fashion. They love pets just as much as we do and it shows in their new line of Russo Rescue Collection pet t-shirts.

What makes these shirts so special (in addition to the fact that the colorful artwork and quality of the shirt itself is exceptional) is that a portion of every purchase goes to Best Friends Animal Society, the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Every one of my beloved cats that I've shared my life with have been rescues, from the 3 month old kitten my parents brought home that had been dumped at my father's family farm to the elderly mancat abandoned by one of our neighbors to my last four little girls that were all adopted from shelters.

A company and an artist that loves animals and gives back by supporting animal welfare organizations will *always* have this girl's undying support and admiration.

The Mountain uses only environmentally friendly water-based inks and dyes to create their vibrant colors. Their unique printing process actually pulls the dye color out of the shirt and leaves the ink color behind, essentially dyeing the cotton with the ink. (Look at the detail close up...just incredible!) The American made shirts are uber-comfortable, super soft and a total attention grabber!

The entire Dean Russo Collection can be viewed here and while browsing the large selection I can already see that my t-shirt collection is going to be growing larger still. While my focus is on the cat shirts, The Mountain also carries dog, horse, even wildlife designs. There's something for every animal lover to proudly wear their passion for pets!

Grab your credit card and join me because The Mountain is offering a site-wide 25% discount through September 30th when you use the promo code MTNPETS at checkout.

The Mountain is sponsoring one of the most amazing giveaways I've ever seen. One lucky winner is going to win 12 months of The Mountain Artwear T-shirts for up to 5 members of their family. Do the math...that's 60 t-shirts!!! It couldn't be easier to enter - simply use the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open to US residents only, ages 18 and up.

Follow The Mountain on social media: FacebookTwitterInstagramBlogOnline Store

Make sure you sign up for their email newsletter too!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mudpie Interviews: Inspector Dewey (w/Review & Giveaway)

Meows from Mudpie!

My advice for you today, dear friends, is to go grab a pumpkin spice latte, get the kitties a niptini, and sit back and enjoy my interview with Inspector Dewey, the coolest feline investigator you will ever meet!

Following our little chat you'll find our Tortie Shorties review of his very first children's book and a pawsome giveaway!

Truffles: Welcome, Inspector Dewey! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to be the lead character in a children's book?

Inspector Dewey: What a pleasure it is to finally meet you, Mudpie. And a personal interview even? Snickering Sunfish! What a treat! I don’t like talking about myself much but, if you insist . . .

As the Big Cat in the house, I have the important responsibility of securing everyone’s safety. I know—you’d think I’d be a massive hunk of a muscle man, right? It’s cleverness, all cleverness—oh, and inquisitiveness—that enables me to keep the calm.

When the bad guy came to our block, it was only natural for me to spring into action. It’s what I do—quite well, if I do say so myself. I’m not going divulge any succulent secrets or anything, but there’s a reason I’m called Inspector Dewey!

What's life like as a crime-solving kitty? 

Ummm, yes. Good question. It is difficult—very difficult. For example, I have to build strength and agility while maintaining my superior sleuthing physique. This requires hours and hours of training in the trenches—there’s Fuzzy Mouse Madness, Feline Glitter Ball Fetch, and the “Extreme” Pet Pentathlon, which includes a bear crawl, frog jumps, and donkey kicks, just to name a few. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Do you want to see my abs?

Introduce us to your housemates Lily and Thumper.

Yo, Big T, you going to join us? . . . Thumper’s doing his own deal right now, but Lily would be delighted to say hello. She’s been purposefully practicing her parade wave for weeks in anticipation of the book launch. Oh my Opah! Lily—stop it. Stop dishing out the diva and get serious here! Hang on, I’m handing the mic to Lily.

What? Oh, yes . . . hello, Mudpie, hello! My name is Lily and I love, love, love making new friends! Do you want to play with me? We could play Mom-Cat May I? Or Kitty Knot? Or even Kick the Crinkle Ball. We will have sooo much fun! Giggle. Wriggle. Squeal!

Hey, I’m back. See the types of challenges I face, Mudpie? My family tests my patience at times—it’s a wonder I can secure our homestead at all!

What can you tell us about your breed, the Norwegian Forest Cat?

Anna calls us her “big, hairy bears,” but we’re known as the skogkatt in our native Norway. Although we’re a relatively new breed in the United States, we’re a very old breed in Norway, featured in folk tales and mythology for centuries. The term skogkatt literally means “forest cat.” It is believed that Viking explorers took us with them on their ships to keep them clear of critters and creepy-crawlies, much like we would do in the forest. So you can see why I would be such an exceptional inspector—I’m hardwired for sleuthing and slaying!

Cat to cat, do you have any favorite treats, toys, or napping spots?

Can you keep a secret? Pinky promise? I’m crazy about Q-tips! They’re amusing lightweight levers that soar through the sky. There’s power in those mighty little puff wands! I also am fond of a finely crafted boing-boing—or so Anna calls them. They’re a peculiar appliance of amusement—tightly bound plastic coils that bounce and, yes, boing! I particularly love these dainty delights after my morning meal and, ahem, after taking care of box business, if you know what I mean.

As for treats, I’m not much of a treat man—it’s hard to keep to my lean, mean body and at-the-ready responsiveness if I’m constantly snacking on savories and sweets. Although I do enjoy the occasional snippet of freeze-dried salmon. A palate pleasure for sure!

What do you hope children will learn from your wonderful book?

There’s no doubt they will appreciate the severity of the situation we were in and, if I may be so bold, appreciate the bravery that went into the bust by a certain, well, dutiful Dewster—not that I would want to steal the spotlight or anything!

My—our—book is a story of mystery and adventure, daring and determination, and the comfort of home and family. Mostly I hope that readers will just enjoy it. But it’s okay if they walk away inspired to be crime fighters, too! In fact, I created a top-secret Inspector Dewey Day Detective Kit for sharing my best spy stuff and tricks of the trade for budding super-sleuths. It can be downloaded for free through my website,

Is Inspector Dewey a stand-alone story or do you have further adventures planned?

Merciful minnow! Crime-stopping is a full-time job in our parts—I’m sure I’ll have another sizzler up my sleeve soon. Meantime, Lily picked up the pen and has been writing short little ditties about her delicious days at home. There’s no doubt that she is the master of merriment—Thumper and I don’t have a prayer for peace when she’s full-on frisky. I admit though, we do have a LOT of fun together!

Lastly, what advice would you give to cats (and kids) who would like to be an Inspector just like you?

I mentioned my downloadable Inspector Dewey Day Detective Kit—that’s the best starting point for the serious sleuth and serious fun-seeker. In fact, our Inspector Dewey Days at home are so much fun, that we’re taking them on the road this fall! Kids can easily create their own Inspector Dewey Day at home or in the classroom with the kit. There’s a mood-making music list, top-secret snack recipes, agent identification cards, and tons of games, teasers, and activities. My favorite is the Make Your Own Fishy Phrases activity—I mean, puckering pigfish! Who wouldn’t want to come up with their own fishy phrases to say?!

Book Description for Inspector Dewey:

My name is Dewey--Inspector Dewey.

I live in the big green house on Hampshire Avenue with my family: Thumper, Lily, and Anna. I am the Big Cat—responsible for keeping everyone safe and in order. I do this quite well, in spite of the fact that managing my family is like, well, herding cats!

Mostly our life is peaceful. But one night it wasn’t. That was the night the bad guy showed up on our block. Of course, I knew exactly how to outsmart the outlaw, but—miserable mullet!—would Anna and the police understand my instructions?

To find out how the adventure ended, you’ll have to read my book. But I’ll give you a hint: there’s a reason I’m called Inspector Dewey.

Fifty percent of the profits from the sale of this book will fund veterinary care for pets whose families are in financial need, so that the animals can remain in their homes and out of the shelter system.


To learn more, visit

Buy the book:   Amazon  ~  Barnes and Noble

Author's Bio:

Kristen Heimerl

Marketing Officer, Strategy Expert, Innovator and Brand Builder, Kristen’s business career spans 20+ years serving the biggest brands in industry and the biggest hearts of start-ups and entrepreneurs. Kristen revels in bringing compelling products and services to life and helping leaders and individuals with big dreams realize their big goals.

Kristen’s life joys include her 2+ year obsession creating the most beautiful self-published picture book possible, the breathtaking forests and lakes of her Minnesota birthplace, the family that really does love her no matter what, and her three magnificent Norwegian Forest Cats who together, with Kristen, helped catch the bad guy on their block that inspired her upcoming book (stake out and high speed chase included!)

She holds a master of science in eCommerce from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and a BA from the University of St. Thomas. As the great transformer in her life, Kristen supports others’ education and literacy as an adjunct professor of business and strategy and, more recently, through her children’s book, Inspector Dewey (Available September 2015).

Kristen’s site for her work “Inspector Dewey” will be premiering on May 31st, 2015. In addition, you can read more about Kristen’s work at, also live on May 31st.

Connect with Kristen:   Website  ~   Facebook Author  ~   Facebook Inspector Dewey  

I can't remember the last time a children's book has captured my imagination the way Inspector Dewey has. He's a kitty with catitude who runs his home with an iron paw, saving the day when a bad guy in a pickup truck appears late one night.

The illustrations in this book are absolutely incredible and instantly made me feel a part of the story. Dewey's cute and catchy phrases will be a delight for children and also a wonderful introduction to the delightful world of mystery and suspense.

Inspector Dewey arrived in my mailbox just days after I lost Truffles. It came packaged with an illustration of the characters on the envelope, and the book inside was wrapped in yellow tissue and tied with a bow. Also included was a precious doorknob hanger/bookmark. The entire presentation was so thoughtfully done and it put a well-needed smile on my face. This is what I posted on Facebook that day:

As a cat and book blogger, particularly mysteries, is it any wonder why receiving this in the mail today temporarily relieved the sadness?
Posted by Mochas, Mysteries and More on Thursday, July 16, 2015

The holidays are coming soon and I can't think of a better gift to introduce a child to the magic of books. Cat-loving adults will fall in love with Inspector Dewey too!!!

Enter the Giveaway!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 Review: Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost Mixers

Meows from Mudpie!

One of the great benefits of being a part of the Blogger Outreach Program is getting to try out different foods that your Mommy might not buy if she saw it at the store. I know that's the case at my house because she figures why spend money on something I'm probably not going to like anyways MOL!!!

This month we chose the Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost Mixers more or less as an experiment because she wanted to see how I felt about freeze-dried raw, knowing that if I liked it she would have a healthy addition to the kibble I love so much.

Before I tell you my thoughts, here's a little more about the food:

Formulated to mirror your cat’s ideal ancestral diet, Instinct Raw Boost Mixers make it easy to add protein-packed raw to your pet’s kibble for health and vitality. Enhancing your cat's meal with all natural, grain-free, freeze dried Instinct Raw Boost provides pure animal protein for lean muscles and strong bones, natural ingredients for optimal nutrient absorption, and nutritious oils for healthy skin and coat – all in a convenient, safe and delicious form your cat will love.

Key Benefits
  • Great topper for kibble
  • High quality, raw nutrition in a convenient and easy-to-serve form
  • Pure protein for lean muscles and strong bones
  • Natural ingredients for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Nutritious oils for healthy skin and coat
  • Freeze dried and all-natural for an irresistible taste
  • Grain-free and gluten-free
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
So when the package arrived Mommy immediately added it to my bowl of kibble and I dug right in.

When I finished eating, this is what Mommy found:

You guessed it...I ate around the raw pieces. Mommy was pretty disappointed because she was really hoping that I'd like it. Then yesterday she read two great blog posts by our friends at Glogirly and Sparkle Cat about how amazing Nature's Variety Instinct Raw is and she's decided to keep trying to introduce it into my diet.

Maybe I'll change my mind...maybe I won't! We'll let you know :)

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

Monday, September 21, 2015

August CatLadyBox Review

Check out what I received in my August CatLadyBox!

1) Featured Cat Lady Artist Card: Ablaze in Color. I'm going to have to get a photo album to display all of these beautiful art cards!

2) Refined Feline Wallet by Triple T Studios: I've used the same cat wallet for over 10 years but I happily put it away in a drawer when this arrived. I'd planned on purchasing one for quite some time now but am so happy that I waited! Between the ridiculously adorable pink, brown and cream silhouettes, compartments galore, and detachable wrist strap for when I want to use it as a wristlet...I love this wallet SO much!!!

3) Cat Print Scarf by Triple T Studios: I actually bought one of these awhile back in a different color combination, so my first thought was to save this one for a gift. I changed by mind though...I'm going to keep both of them! I love the lightweight feel of the chiffon and how the classic colors make it the purr-fect accessory to any outfit.

4) CatLadyBox Car Magnet: This is going on my fridge with my large collection of cat magnets!

Are you a CatLadyBox subscriber yet? Subscriptions cost $34.99 a month, but you can get an even better deal if you prepay for 3 or 6 months. Also available is the Crazy CatLadyBox, which includes a couple surprises for your kitty!

I just renewed my subscription and upgraded to a Crazy box so starting next month Mudpie will be a very happy kitty!

Disclosure: I'm not being compensated in any way for this review. I am a proud CatLadyBox subscriber!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

#SundaySelfies at the Vet

Meows from Mudpie!!!

Earlier this month Mommy took me to the vet for my Wellness visit. Since I've traveled from western New York to central Vermont to northwestern Vermont in the past few months, she thought I wouldn't have any trouble with the short drive to the vet. She was wrong...I screamed the whole way. I've been tossed around so much lately she wonders if I was afraid that she had decided not to keep me anymore :(

Luckily the vet's office was quiet that afternoon and I only encountered one dog before being whisked into a room. I had a stool sample checked since I was adopted before finishing with the de-worming process (it was negative) and I had another distemper shot since there was conflicting information in my adoption paperwork as to how many I had at the shelter.

Dr. John said I was purr-fect and couldn't be any healthier! I could've told him that without his having to stick a thermometer in unspeakable places!!!

While we were alone in the exam room Mommy tried to distract me by helping me take some selfies. I don't look very happy, do I?

Visit the Sunday Selfies blog hop hosted by The Cat on My Head!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Talk Like a Pirate Day Caturday Art

Ahoy! It is Mudpie, pillager of cat treats!

Shiver me timbers, fill up my pink treasure chest or I will slay you with cuteness!

Are you scared???

We created our artwork using the Pirate Effects in Ribbet
Check out more artsy kitties at Athena's Caturday Art blog hop.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Book Review: They Call Me Destiny by Destiny Kalser with Fern Field Brooks

A cat's memoir called a "meowmoir" purr-fect is that???

This first book in Destiny's story (it's going to be a series) begins as the kitten writes about her first days with her mom and siblings. The little family isn't together for long though, as her siblings disappear and her mother is killed by a hit-and-run driver. Two young cousins find the little orphan in the gutter and hide her in a chicken coop, but thankfully their secret is discovered and the newly named Destiny finds her forever home with one of the girls' relatives, Fern.

Over the next year in Destiny's life she experiences one exciting adventure after another. She goes from a hopeless situation to living in a Manhattan townhouse, but much of the book takes place when her family vacations in the Hamptons. She spends nights roaming outside searching for other cats, and even gets to ride back and forth in a!!! Interspersed throughout the book are many black and white photos of Destiny...the cover photo alone gives you a preview of what a cutie pie she was!

They Call Me Destiny is a beautiful love story between a lady and a cat, and who among us can't identify with that? I read it during the days I was going through Mudpie's adoption process, so that makes it even more special to me. One of the greatest experiences in life is rescuing a precious animal and receiving their devotion and adoration in return.

The next book in the series, Destiny's Children, is previewed at the end and focuses on her litter of seven kittens. I can't wait to read it!


They Call Me Destiny can be purchased here and is currently 20% off until 9/25.

And during the month of October a percentage of all sales will be donated to the Silicon Valley Pet Project to help defray the medicals costs of a special needs kitty, Martin. Fern Field Brooks will also be doing several book signings in the Silicon Valley area. More information on Martin can be found here as well as in this video:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

September Rescued Spotlight: Michael

Meows from Mudpie!

Over the last several months we've been telling you about 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. 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.

September's spotlight is Michael, a kitty who logged a lot of miles in his 19 years here on earth. Sadly, he's gone to the Rainbow Bridge, so Mommy decided to interview his human, mystery author Mary Lu Warstler.

Melissa: Could you start by introducing us to Michael and telling us what made your story such a good fit for the Rescued anthology?

Mary Lu: Michael was about seven when he came to live with us. He was all gray except for a white star on his chest. He had mismatched eyes – one green and one yellow. My son had rescued him from a shelter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida about five years earlier. Michael was a survivor. Even if things were uncomfortable for him, he seemed to take it in stride. Only in his eyes could you see the pain and uncertainty. He never vocally complained.

Michael logged a lot of miles in his 19 years. What are some of your favorite memories of your life with him?

Although my two Siamese gave him a hard time at first, he took it all in stride and was “cool and laid back.” He made sure he got his turn on my lap. When I retired and moved to our “farm,” the three of them divided my time among them. Sugar Plum had me when I was in the living room; Nicholas chose my basement office; Michael took the bedroom. At bedtime, he would plop down beside me, lay his head in the crook under my arm, and wrap his paws around my hand. He slept that way most of the night. He liked to play with the other cats even when they didn’t want to play. He would swat playfully at them, then run on his tippy-toes, backed arched, tail bushy like at raccoon down the hallway. If they didn’t chase him, he came running back to try again. He liked to hide. It would be time to take him somewhere – usually the vets – and we couldn’t find Michael. When we found him, he was usually sitting in plain sight, just waiting for us to notice him. My husband would leave the closet door open a crack and come back later to close it. Hours later, when I couldn’t find Michael, I would open the closet and there he was curled up asleep on a stack of clothes.

In the months before Michael died, he wanted outside so much that he slipped out every chance he had. Once he was gone 24 hours and I was frantic. When I found him, I crocheted an orange yarn chain with a choker-collar for him. It wasn’t much and if he had tried hard, he could have broken, or chewed it in two. But he would get the leash and wait by the door for someone to take him out. He loved walking down the street with his orange collar and leash.

The rescue you’ve chosen to receive your proceeds from the book this month is Stark County Humane Society. What can you tell us about the important work that they do for homeless animals?

In their mission statement, the Humane Society says, “We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” They are not a county agency and do not receive funding from agencies such as United Way. They depend of volunteers and donations to carry out their mission. Their education programs are a top priority. They present programs to the schools and other groups. The pet therapy program provides the opportunity to enjoy friendly visits on a regular basis with a shelter volunteer or staff member with puppies and kittens. They respond to complaints regarding cruelty, abuse and abandonment of animals. They pick up stray sick and/or injured animals and care for them.

Do you share your life with any animals today?

About a year and a half after Michael died, my husband and I went to the Humane Society to look at cats. We saw many that we like – one Maine Coon mix. We went home to think about it and of course, when we went back the Maine Coon was gone. But there was a beautiful three-year-old part Siamese, who acted indifferent. Then there was the gray kitten in a cage at the other end of the row. She was yelling, so I went to see her. She stuck a tiny gray paw out to touch me and I was hooked. She was only two months old. We also wanted the Siamese. I decided she would help me raise the kitten.

Although the kitten was a female, she looked like a Charlie, so I named her Charlene and call her Charlie. The part Siamese, we named Katy. Katy did help raise Charlie, but both being females they fight for the top status. At their first visit with the Vet, we learned that Katy is FIV- positive. Although Charlie was a street kitty, she is healthy. She is just a scaredy cat. She hides when anyone comes to visit – including family. They are now three and six years old.

I was so excited to hear that you write a series of mystery novels starring cats. Please tell us about them.

Actually I have several Mystery Novels in which cats play a prominent part. There are four Laura Kenzel with Rascal and Mischief Mysteries. In the first book, Cats in the Belfry, Laura Kenzel is a minister who finds a dead man in her garage the first day on the job. She then finds two Maine Coon cats chained in the church belfry. They become her constant companions throughout the series, helping solve mysteries, saving her life and that of her loved ones.

Another series is the Kendra Donavon mysteries. In the first book, Hide and Seek, she takes her sister’s cat Angel with her to search for her family, whom the FBI said have been killed in a car accident. She doesn’t believe it and with Angel’s help, proves them wrong. The second book doesn’t have much about the cat, but the third, which I’m just beginning a stray Maine Coon finds Kendra and claims her as his own.

Grandpa’s Diary includes a Bengal cat who helps his owners find out who is trying to kill them all and why.

Sing Me To Sleep features a gray cat similar to Michael. His name is Saucer. When his person’s mother comes to live with them and they learn she has Alzheimer’s, Saucer takes it upon himself to protect her and care for her. In the meantime, someone is trying to kill Jennifer, his person. 

Two other books features dogs. Escape from Richmond is a civil war novel about a family who takes a wagon train from Richmond, Va. to what is now the Charleston, West Virginia area. The little dog helps protect them along the way. Michael’s Angel is a story about a guardian who is assigned to ten-year-old Michael, but Michael can see and hear Gus, the angel and gives him a hard time. God sends a little dog to help Gus with the boy.

What do you hope people take away from Michael’s story?

I would hope that they understand that animals are all special and whether we know it or not, they have their own story to tell. As with people we meet in life, we don’t know what that person has been through to make them who they are. Unless we have a cat from the time it is born, we don’t know what they’ve been through. Rescued cats are all different. Some of survivors, some are quitters, some are insecure, some are overbearing. I would hope that folks will realize that we have to let them be who they are. They will change, or not, in response to our love. Most of all, I guess I would hope they would see this story as a tribute to Michael and all the other Michaels who enhance the lives of their people.

Photos: Mary Lu Warstler

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Purr-fect Shot

As pet bloggers we are constantly taking pictures of our beloved fur babies, always striving for the perfect shot. Eventually you come to the conclusion that it's not something you can create, it just has to happen.

Each night Mudpie and I head into our bedroom to do some reading. One night I looked over at her in her cat bed and she looked so precious. All I had on me for a camera was my iPad, the room was lit with only a single bedside table lamp...and this happened:

I'm clueless when it comes to the nuances of great photography, all I know is this is my favorite (and I think the most beautiful) picture I've ever taken. Of course I do have a pretty amazing subject to work with!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kellie Needs a Forever Home!

Meows from Mudpie!

My greatest wish is for every homeless kitty out there to find a forever home as wonderful as mine is, and as a cat blogger I intend to use my voice to help them as much as I can.

Today I would like to introduce you to Kellie, a very special little lady who has been fostered by our friend Deb at Franklin County Animal Rescue in St. Albans, VT. She delivered a litter of kittens this summer in a campground with an audience of 25 campers!!!

She's been a wonderful, protective mom, but her babies have been weaned, she's been spayed and vaccinated, and is now looking for a forever home all her own! She's a social gal who loves people, although she's not a lap cat (yet...maybe she'll change her mind once it's wintertime in Vermont!!!) She's friendly, gentle, gets along with other cats and likes spending time inside and out.

Everybody who meets Kellie says what an amazing cat she is, so please help me spread the word that she's available for adoption today at Franklin County Animal Rescue!

Photos courtesy of Deb Navari

Monday, September 14, 2015

Why Adding More Play In Your Day (With Cats) Is All You Need

This post is sponsored by 9Lives® brand cat food. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the 9Lives® Live Well & Prospurr campaign, but Mochas, Mysteries and Meows only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. 9Lives® brand cat food is not responsible for the content of this article. This post is 100% my own content.

Blogging, writing, and working all the time can get stressful quick. Plus when summertime is so short here in Vermont, I really need to learn how to make the most of every single minute!

Despite everything going on, I have learned to take on the phrase: “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.”

Along with relaxing and hanging out, another really important way to get rid of my – well – case of Uptightis is to stop and play! From family cookouts to beach time, this can be done pretty easily. But sometimes I need a little help loosening up. And that is when it really helps to have a feline friend around.

Now you may be wondering… how can cats be so playful if all they ever “seemingly” do is this?

I’m telling you right now, it must be something about those long sleeping hours that make cats the most playful, excited, rambunctious animals I’ve ever seen!

Morris the Cat, spokescat for 9Lives® brand cat food, has been an expert in living well for over 50 years. I’ve loved Morris since I was a little girl and could not be happier that he’s back and better than ever, showing us the importance of play in our lives. His Charmingly Choosy perspective really shows us (and our cats) the importance of taking time to play without distractions.

What helps our cats play more is the same delicious food Morris chows down on. See how ready this cute kitty is to eat?

“Open these now!” those eyes say.

OK, here we go. Dinner is served.

For more tips from Morris on how to “Live Well & Prospurr” visit him at and check him out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Share your cat’s playfulness with the hashtags #prospurr and #promoentry, and you can even donate a bowl of food to the ASPCA when you tweet with the hashtag #Morrisfeeds. See Official Rules for complete details.

Photos provided by 9Lives®