Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Halloween Prayer: A Short Story

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

Mews of excitement spread through the cat community room as Jinx started another of his scary ghost stories. It was the night before Halloween and ever since the animal shelter's doors had closed for the evening he'd had everyone's rapt attention with his spooky tales, each one more fur-chilling than the last.

"It was a dark and stormy night," he began again. "As the tiny black kitten crept through the graveyard there was dead silence except for the vicious growling sounds coming from behind the nearby bush..."

From the back of the room another tiny black kitten was curled up tightly in his bed, whimpering in fear. "Why don't we call it a night," beautiful tortoiseshell Fudge interrupted. "I think Pip has had enough."

"Cry baby," muttered one of the older cats. "Time to grow up," sputtered another, and a louder voice said, "Thanks for spoiling our evening, kid."

"Knock it off, guys," Fudge stepped up in defense of little Pip. "He's new here, and he's just a baby. Besides, tomorrow's the big Halloween party and adoption event here at the shelter. We all need to get some rest because lots of people are going to be coming through here to look at us. Not that any of you heathens deserve to be adopted with the way you're acting."

Properly chastised, all the cats shuffled off to their preferred sleeping spots in the various beds, cubbies and boxes spread throughout the room. Once everything was quiet except for the soft sounds of kitties snoring, Fudge trotted over to Pip and curled up around the tiny tot. "What's your story, kid?"

"My Mommy was hit by a car one afternoon when she went out to find some food for us. When she didn't come back I left my brothers and sisters to look for her and I found her broken body on the side of the road. I tried and tried to wake her up but it was no use. Finally a nice little girl saw us and brought me home, but her mom said I couldn't stay because the man in the house was allergic. That's how I ended up here."

A tear slipped from Fudge's eye. "That sure is a rough beginning for such a little guy. But you know what? Life is only going to get better from here on out. One day real soon a person is going to walk through those doors, take one look at you and know you're the kitty they've been searching for. You're going to make some lucky family so, so happy."

"Do you promise?"

"I promise," Fudge softly replied as she washed Pip's small head with her rough tongue.

"Miss Fudge? Can you stay here with me tonight? I'm chilly...and still kind of scared from Jinx's stories."

"Of course I will. Let's get some sleep. I have a feeling tomorrow's going to be a big day."

Fudge waited until Pip fell asleep before whispering a short prayer. Dear God, so many kitties around the world are waiting for their forever home tonight. Some are cold and hungry out on the streets, others of us are in shelters. We're all scared and alone, and for too many there might not be much time left. Please God, please help them all find a home, especially little Pip here. He's already been through so much and he needs someone to take care of him. Please watch over us all. Amen. 

And then she drifted off to sleep.


Bright and early the next morning a shelter worker arrived to start feeding everyone their breakfast and cleaning out litter boxes before opening the doors for the big party. "Are we all ready to find some forever homes today?"

Fudge was the first to wake up and gave Pip a gentle nudge. "Morning, kiddo. Did you have a good sleep?"

"Mm-hmm", Pip said with a yawn.

"Are you excited?"

"Kind of...but sorta nervous too. What if no one likes me?"

"I wouldn't worry about that," Fudge said with a smile. "Stick with me and everything will be just fine."

Before long the room was filled with the excitement of Halloween: kids in costume, tables full of cookies and candies, strains of Monster Mash echoing in the background. Family after family came through the doors, some forming an instant bond with a particular cat, others requiring more time to make such an important decision. 

Pip set his sights on one little girl of about 7 or 8 dressed as a witch, accompanied by what appeared to be her grandmother. As the girl slowly made her rounds of the room Pip couldn't help but overhear as the older woman stood nearby, quietly talking with a shelter volunteer. "Michaela lost her parents over the summer in a car accident and completely shut down. Before the accident she'd been begging for a cat so I thought bringing her here today might help to begin her healing process."

"There's no therapy like purr therapy, I always say," the volunteer replied. "Take all the time you need."

As Michaela started to come closer to Fudge and Pip, the tenderhearted tortie gave her young charge a nudge. "Go to her," she whispered. Pip slowly approached the little girl and waited for her to reach out to him before turning his purr engine on high. Michaela scooped him up in her arms, inhaling his kittenish scent as Pip nuzzled his small face into her neck.

"Grandma, look! He likes me!" Michaela called over to her grandmother as she gently laid Pip down in the nearest cat bed. "Can we take this one home?"

Fudge crept over to Pip and with a lick to his cheek said, "You did good, kid." Michaela started whirling around a wand toy, giggling excitedly as Pip and Fudge swatted at it.

The older lady could barely contain her emotion as she watched her granddaughter happy about something for the first time in way too long. "Looks like he has a friend in that beautiful tortie. I think she's been taking care of the little guy for you until you got here. How do you feel about taking both of them home?"

"Can we???" Michaela screeched. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! I love them both already!!!"

Pip looked slyly over at Fudge, "Looks like you're stuck with me."

"I think I can live with that, kiddo." And as Pip continued to soak in the love and adoration of their new family Fudge looked up to the sky and purred a quiet thank you.

~ The End ~

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tortie Shorties Reviews: Total Cat Mojo & Caticons

Cat Mojo is the confidence that cats exhibit when they are at ease in their environment and in touch with their natural instincts—to hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom, and sleep. Problems such as litter box avoidance and aggression arise when cats lack this confidence. Jackson Galaxy's number one piece of advice to his clients is to help their cats harness their mojo.

This book is his most comprehensive guide yet to cat behavior and basic cat care, rooted in understanding cats better. From getting kittens off to the right start socially, to taking care of cats in their senior years, and everything in between, this book addresses the head-to-toe physical and emotional needs of cats—whether related to grooming, nutrition, play, or stress-free trips to the vet.

How much can a cat mom learn reading a book like this when her fur baby is perfect? (Seriously, Mudpie is perfect in every way!) Turns out, quite a lot! Total Cat Mojo is the next best thing to having Jackson Galaxy in your home; a step by step guide to help your cat live their best life the way they were meant to live it, and to strengthen the relationship you have with your cat by providing them the tools to make them a happy and well-adjusted member of your family. One of my favorite themes this book drives home is that you are not a cat owner - you are in a relationship with your cat. The most important part of any relationship is taking time to nourish it...why should this be any different when it comes to your feline friend?

Just a few fascinating facts I learned in Total Cat Mojo include how a cat's physiology and anatomy support them as natural-born hunters primarily through touch, vision and hearing; that cats fall into 3 tiers on the "mojo spectrum," and I'm pleased to announce that Mudpie is a completely confident in her fur Mojito Cat;  and that playtime is just as important for our cats as daily walks are for dogs. And stalking doesn't mean they aren't playing - it's actually one of the most important parts of the "hunt"! I don't know how many times I've gotten frustrated with Mudpie when it feels like I'm doing all the "work" during playtime. Now I know exactly how to wave the ward toy to imitate the movements of a cat's natural prey!

Even if you think you live with the most perfect cat in the world (like I do) I guarantee you'll learn a multitude of things in this book to help you better understand your cat and make your home a more natural environment for them. It's an invaluable resource for any pet parent, one you'll refer to again and again throughout your relationship with your fur babies.

“What if you had an (almost) unlimited budget and unfettered desire to surround yourself with furniture, clothing, art, household objects, books, and pretty much everything else in various semblances of cattitude? You would have caticons,” opines Sandy Lerner on the book jacket of her latest literary endeavor. “Welcome to my thirty-year odyssey probing the corners of the art world, catalogues, foreign shores, and cyberspace, all in search of the one Cat Thing I did not have.”

For a person like me who searches for cat-related items everywhere I go, this massive volume is a feast for the senses. I found myself "oohing and aahing" with every turn of the page while looking around my home realizing that my collection pales in comparison! But in the end that's the thing about personal collections regardless of your budget - the things you choose to surround yourself with are pieces that should make you happy when you look at them.

Lerner's collection began during a time in her life when she was forced to be catless - her new husband was highly allergic to anything with fur (which would've instantly been a deal breaker for this cat lady, but I digress) - and additions to her collection are not based on value, but "(1) is it a cat, and (2) do I like it?”

Every time I pick up Caticons I discover something new to covet for my own collection, with the "Cats in Books and Entertainment" section being my favorite. I can't think of a better gift for the cat lover in your life this holiday season than Caticons. It's an art history book with feline flair!

To order Caticons please visit https://www.caticons.info/

Disclaimer: I received a free copies of these books from the publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween Prep #SundaySelfie

Meows from Mudpie!

Who's spending this weekend getting ready for Halloween? We're putting the finishing touches on our annual Halloween short story. Mommy told me earlier this month that she didn't think she'd write one this year because she didn't have the time. I was really disappointed and hoped she'd reconsider. Then an idea took hold in her head and she had to drop everything to write it. Now she says it's her favorite one yet (this will be year #4) and we're super excited for you all to read it on Tuesday.

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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Body Snatchers Have Struck! #CaturdayArt

Meows from Mudpie!

I wanted to do something for Halloween this week for my Caturday Art project and found this super cool effect on Photo Lab. Mommy tried inserting at least a couple dozen pictures and none of them turned out right, then she popped in this last one and my face aligned perfectly but my body disappeared!!! HELP!!! 

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

And now our weekly answers (answered by Mommy) for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and McGuffy's Reader!

1. I would like to interview Kitten Lady Hannah Shaw. That lady is a rock star of the cat world.

2. I would like to be interviewed by Mudpie. Who doesn't wish their cat could talk, and I'd love to know what she'd ask me!

3. Halloween night is pretty quiet. I don't get a lot of trick or treaters so Mudpie and I will probably just curl up on the couch with a spooky movie. Psycho, anyone?

4. Once Halloween is over, it's all about Christmas at my house!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fun Feline Finds: Freak MEOWt Cat Toys

As an Anglophile and lover of all things Dickensian, one of my favorite symbols of the holiday season is the Christmas pudding. Some of you may even remember that our Christmas card last year featured Mudpie alongside a pudding and one is prominently displayed in our holiday blog header each year.

One day during last year's holiday season I was browsing through either Etsy or Instagram and stumbled upon a shop selling ridiculously adorable cat toys called Freak MEOWt. Imagine my glee to find the cutest catnip Christmas pudding *ever*, and my horror at discovering they were already sold out!!! Needless to say I immediately put them on my calendar for this year so I wouldn't miss out again, and I ordered one the day they became available.

I have a dream to one day design and create my own line of cat toys. (Not exactly sure how that's going to work out since I have absolutely no crafty abilities whatsoever, but a girl can dream, right?) I can't think of anything more rewarding than building a business out of making something that will make cats happy. Until my inner Martha Stewart decides to kick in I live vicariously through others, so when I ordered my pudding I also reached out to Freak MEOWt's owner Jayne Rowlands and her kitty crew (led by British shorthair Major Tom) to see if they would have time to answer a few questions for us because I really wanted to feature their shop on our blog. Despite being crazy busy with holiday orders (which is a very good thing!) Jayne and Major Tom were happy to tell us more about themselves...

Jayne, could you tell us about the creation of Freak MEOWt and how you got into the business of making cat toys?

I have been making catnip toys for my own cats for a number of years as I was disappointed by the quality, range and aesthetic of with the cat toys available on the high street. We were also horrified when we discovered that the catnip found inside the ‘catnip’ toys in some high street pet stores was the colour of hay!. We use freshly dried Canadian catnip (which is green) and only make our toys in small batches so when they reach our customers they smell very catnippy!!

What goes into the creation of your adorable designs and how much work goes into each piece?

Our prime objective is to make cat toys that’s cats actually want to play with, so we always pay a lot of attention to the size and shape of our designs, We also appreciate that not all cats are the same some prefer a large kicker toy while others prefer tiny toys that they can easily bat around. Some of course are just greedy and like both. We also aim to make toys that will look good in the home.

Once we have a design in mind we make a mock up, on some occasions we get it right first time on others it may take several weeks or even months. When we are happy with the toy it is of course tested by our in house team as well as some of our furry friends. Only when we are completely happy with the design will it go to market.

Our catnip Christmas puddings for example take around an hour each to make so they are a real labour of love. We do not use any glue on any of our toys and they are stuffed with very generous amounts of catnip, some toys contain only catnip and nothing else. And if necessary we will also line the toys with calico for added strength.

We have also introduced a small range of Valerian root cat toys, which make the purrfect alternative to catnip, if your kitty isn’t keen on the nip or if your cat is going though a stressful time as it has a calming effect on cats (and humans!).

How you do give back to less fortunate kitties?

We have helped a number of cat charities in the UK in various of ways, we provide catnip toys for prizes, raffles, auction etc. Last year we were involved in The Not On The High Street Battersea campaign, where 5% of the cost of catnip bunnies and the mini sushi selection will be donated to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. We are currently involved with Cats Protection offering prizes in their annual Black Cat Competition. Freak MEOWt also donates £1 to a cat charity for every catnip bunny sold. In addition we send a box of catnip bunnies to a cat charity each time a Facebook milestone is reached (https://www.facebook.com/freakmeowtcatnip)

Please introduce us to your own fur babies.

We have a team of seven beautiful cats who are an integral part of Freak Meowt. Tav and Tzippy are brother and sister and are19 years old so they are in semi retirement and spend most of their time having cuddles and napping. Vienna is 13 and has been part of the family since he was three weeks old having been found in a carrier bag up a tree. Percy the ragdoll 11 years old and the kindest, gentlest cat you could ever wish to meet. Kevin is 5 he came to us from Cats protection, he does love to keep warm and can usually be found under the duvet. Tesco, 7 years old another rescue who has been with us since he was 4 week old after he was found hanging from a fence by his back leg. He does love his food!! And finally Major Tom (British shorthair) he is just over a year old and the naughtiest but most loveable cat I have ever known. He begrudgingly does most of the meowdeling for Freak Meowt.

Major Tom, please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Jayne.

Apparently I was supposed to be a working cat. I moved in just over a year ago to do a spot of meowdeling and product testing. I am not keen on the meowdeling and often turn my head away from the camera. Human thinks I am a diva. Product testing on the other hand is soooo much fun.

Is there a story behind your name?

I am a catnip junkie! And my human loves David Bowie so really there wasn’t any other option than Major Tom. Although I get called lots of other names too!

What's a typical day like for you as you "snoopervise" your human?

I get up around 4am chase some toys around the house preferably on the stairs or under the bed. Then I go and sit on the humans head until she gets up and serves us breakfast. Then I might pop into my catio for a little while before brunch. If there are any toys that are in production I might help with the sewing (I love thread and ribbon) Obviously after lunch its naptime. If I have to do any meowdeling that normally happens in the afternoon I do get treats if I pose well. I also love to help with shipping I am very partial to a box. After tea its playtime, time for more treats, cuddles and a little nap before I go back to my catio and refuse to come in for bedtime.

How do you refrain from absconding with all the nip toys???

Human keeps all the toys in airtight containers in a room we are forbidden from entering so I cant get to them. However we have lots and lots of toys to test and of course all the rejects. I have on occasion been known to run off with one or two when human is still making the toys.

Our package made it's long trip across the pond and Freak MEOWt generously tucked a couple extra goodies into our order as a thank you for this feature. We received a darling little gingerbread man and a catnip bunny (for each full priced bunny sold £1 is donated to a cat charity) in addition to the coveted Christmas pudding.

I knew Mudpie was going to love these toys because they're loaded with premium Canadian catnip. She received a toy last Christmas that had Canadian nip in it and nearly one year later it's still her "go to" catnip toy. (I guess she knows her adoptive family has French-Canadian heritage!) I was 100% right as she started enjoying her bunny the moment I took it out of the box (the pudding and gingerbread man have been tucked away for Christmas). These are high quality toys, handmade with love, and so darn adorable you'll be tempted to keep them for yourself! We can't recommend them highly enough.

Christmas is now officially less than 2 months away (EEK!!!) and we know for a fact that Freak MEOWt toys are on your cat's Christmas list. We follow Major Tom and the gang on Instagram and saw just this week that their supply of catnip penguins (packaged in a cute little Christmas cracker) sold out and had to go back into production, and the puddings sold out early during last year's holiday season. Ordering today guarantees you'll have happy kitties come Christmas morning...just make sure you tuck the toys away in a safe place until the big day arrives because there's some potent nip inside!

This post contains Etsy affiliate links.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Unboxing October's CatLadyBox

October's CatLadyBox was the annual Black Cats Box...here's what was inside!

Snap that picture fast, Mommy. I am not amused.

* Featured Cat Lady Artist Michelle Faber: This print is titled "Moonlit Fall Forest"

* Cat Camoflauge Hat: I must admit when I pulled this hat out of the box I could not figure out what a camo hat was doing in my CatLadyBox...until I spotted the black cats!!! Too cute and clever.

* Mysterious Black Cat Shirt: I could not get a picture to do this shirt justice as it's black on black, but it's beautiful and I adore longer sleeve tees! 

* Black Cat Zipper Pouch: I've got tons of zipper pouches but I'm crazy about the unique shape of this one. I don't know about you, but I've always got loose doodads that need to be contained in the bottom of my purse.

* Starry Night Black Cat Ears: Because every cat lady needs to wear cat ears on Halloween!

* Cat Camo Catnip Hat Toy: Matching hats for cats and cat moms!!! I think Mudpie looks adorbs in her hat but she begs to differ. She much prefers that it doubles as a toy. 

* Yin Yang Catnip Toy: Black and white kitties curled up together taking a nap, just waiting to be batted across the floor. Mudpie is more than happy to oblige!

Not a subscriber yet? Visit CatLadyBox today!

Interested in purchasing individual items from past boxes? You can do that too!

Disclosure: I receive a discount on my CatLadyBox subscription as a thank you for my monthly review. Regardless of compensation received, we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Decorating for Halloween 2017

Meows from Mudpie!

It's no secret how much we love decorating for the holidays, starting with Halloween. Mommy has found some really cool things this year and we thought you might like to take a look at some of our favorite cat-related pieces (because of course that's all she buys!)

The Truffles memorial table contains our Day of the Dead collection. Mommy has become quite obsessed with Dia de los Muertos and is constantly on the lookout for cat statues.

Cats and books...because what else is there? Many thanks to our good friend Jeanne at Random Felines for picking up a couple things for us at At Home!

This was Mommy's very first haul from AC Moore dating back to early August. She was a lean, mean shopping machine and scored 40% off on everything!

Our Yankee Candle Cat Lady Collection has been taking shape over the past 3 years.

Our "haunted cat village" table...some Lemax Spooky Town, Yankee Candle, Annalee, even Dollar Tree finds.

Do you like to decorate for Halloween? Do you have any favorite pieces?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Rescued Interviews: Little Pip

Meows from Mudpie!

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

Each author featured in the book has nominated a cat rescue and was assigned a month to promote the book, with a third of the profits from that month going to their rescue. October's spotlight is Pip, a rescue cat adopted into a family who needed her just as much as she needed them.

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

I am Pippa, Little Pip, Pipsy. I came from the cold place, but a mother and daughter took me home. Honestly, being called Pipsy is a bit embarrassing, but only the little girl calls me that. My story is good, hopeful for all cats who are stuck in the cold place. And people must know that the cold place is not where we belong. We all deserve a second chance.

Your story begins, not uncommonly, at an animal shelter praying for your forever home. What do you remember about that scary time and how you ended up there?

I ended up in the cold place because the others who had me first pushed me out of their home and would not let me back in. I roamed and learned to do things on my own until a stranger caught me and took me to the cold place. I no longer talk about my time there, it is all forgotten because I am in a warm place now with people who want me.

A mother and very special little girl finally bring you home. Tell us about the special bond you've formed with the humans in your family.

I have different energy, a different bond with each human. I know the mother is the leader, I call her Mom now. She watches over me the most. She always knows where I am, knows when I need some love, when I need some time alone. She let’s me sit on her lap often, she has a special way of petting the pads on my paws, her fingers move across them lightly. I love the little girl, but she miscalculates space. Her love bulges, like I’m in fluffy clouds and getting squished. So I let her know, patiently at first, that she must give me room. But sometimes it doesn’t work. I give her that rumbling warning, I tap my tail hard, but when she squeezes me too tight, I scratch her. Twice I've bitten her. Mom was not happy with either of us. She scolded the little girl for not leaving me alone when I wanted space, she scolded me for biting. So the little girl and I, we’re working on it, we’re getting better. The father likes me, and I like him. He’s very happy, he whistles a lot. But he also doesn’t know how to pet in a gentle way, he’s very strong, so I only stay for a moment, then I bolt.

You also share your home with two very large dogs. What has your family learned about how to help cats and dogs peacefully co-exist?

The canines and I, we have an understanding. They can smell me if they do it every so slightly. And when I’m on their dog beds, they go somewhere else. The male is afraid of me a bit, the female won’t let me push her around. It’s all very subtle, I don’t need to hiss, they don’t need to growl or bark. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even heard either dog growl, ever. They are both happy dogs, peaceful. They’re both ten but the female is still like a puppy whenever people come to the house. So when she’s celebrating in hysterics, I go find a quiet place. I like to tease a bit, whenever the dogs come in from outside, and I’m stretched out on the kitchen chair, I reach out and jab them slightly with my protruding claws. Once, the female yelped in surprise. I laughed. The three of us have never fought, I think because my mom kept us separated for two months and then slowly let us meet one another. She used a lot of treats, the turkey was our favorite.

What is life like for you today?

It is hearty and cozy, and I purr a lot. I roam around the house wherever I want, I sleep wherever I want. My mom didn’t like me drinking out of the faucet so she bought me my own fountain. Only a few things annoy me—Mom doesn’t like me on the kitchen counters or the kitchen table. She scoops me up and places me on the floor. But she always gives me a kiss when she does it, so that’s all right. The other thing I get mad about is they still won’t let me outside. They tell me they know I’m tough, but they say the coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, and bears are tougher. Ha, they really don’t know just how tough I am. I’ve bolted out the back door many times, but I only make it to the bottom of the deck stairs before someone grabs me and takes me back inside. Truthfully, I stop at the bottom and let them catch me. I don’t think they would ever let me go, ever push me out forever, but for those of us who were abandoned, well, it’s hard to develop full trust.

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

There are many amazing rescue organizations in Colorado, which made it difficult to choose, but I’ve decided to select the Larimer Humane Society because they are the ones who took care of me while I waited to be rescued. It was cold and sad there, but mainly because at the time, I was cold and sad inside my soul. They gave me what I needed while I was there, so I think it will be good to give back to them.

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

That there are too many amazing cats being discarded. That even though it may seem like we came from the gutter, we are remarkable little beings who have much love to give. Hopefully, my legacy will be that others understand that even though I needed a home, the family who adopted me also needed something. The little girl still has the masses in her brain, I still move my energy into her to help heal her, even if that healing is only warm, loving conductivity. It may not make the masses go away, but it will fill her with something useful. It’s the connectedness I want humans to remember, the larger meaning of taking care of small creatures. We cats and humans, we’re good for each other.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Review: Ghost Cats: Human Encounters with Feline Spirits by Dusty Rainbolt

"Some cats won't let a little thing like death separate them from their humans." ~ Dusty Rainbolt

Many cat lovers believe these amazing creatures possess mystical powers that reach beyond what we can see and touch. But can cats extend a paw from beyond the grave? Award-winning GHOST CATS is an original collection of heartwarming, and sometimes heart-stopping, accounts of cats who connected with their loved ones for a final time—ghost encounters of the feline kind.. From the chilling “Demon Cat of the Nation’s Capitol” to the comical “Phantom Litter Box” to the reassuring “Grungy’s Greeting”, there are feline phantasms for everyone.

And if you believe you have heard, seen or felt your very own departed kitty, author Dusty Rainbolt offers reasons why your best forever friend breeched that last, tenuous veil to reach you again.

This is a book I've been wanting to read for a long time so I was really excited to see a revised edition released just in time for Halloween. While reading it I couldn't help but feel a bit sad that despite the close bonds I form with them I've never had an afterlife encounter with one of my cats. Or maybe they've tried and I just haven't been open to it, who knows?

The book is broken into sections, from people who've had ghostly visits from cats they never knew, to others who are briefly reunited with their beloved companions one last time (which seems to occur most often when there's been a sudden, unexpected death where there was no chance to say good bye), to hotels and other locations known to have resident ghost cats.

My favorite story in the book is "Little Joe's Portrait" about a feral cat who lived at a refuge in Oregon. He forms a special bond with his caregiver and after being hit by a car and killed, she's devastated to come to the realization that she had never took a picture of him or any of the under cats in the colony. Just like so many of us, she assumed he would always be around. She immediately started taking pictures of all the cats, sent the film away to be processed, and was stunned to get them back and find Little Joe in one of the pictures next to the food bowls. The image is chilling. There's also the story of Tom Cat, Fort McAllister's mascot during the Civil War, killed on the battlefield; and a tiny tortie named Ms. P (short for Pitiful), who spent two decades as "security guard" in an antique shop.

If you love cats and believe that they always stay by your side even after we've been physically separated, this book will touch your heart and leave you looking for signs of their presence. Ghost Cats is comforting, historically fascinating, and at times simply heartbreaking, but in the end it's a book that needs to be in every cat lover's library.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Book Review: Cookies, Corpses & the Deadly Haunt by Rachael Stapleton

House flippers Jack & Juniper agree to lend and help prep their latest purchase—The Doctors House—an old Victorian mansion to act as the eerie setting for the town’s Halloween bash, they’re expecting to find missing floor boards, and pesky bats, not the ghostly specter of the murdered Doctors Wife. But when the head of the council is found stuffed in a trunk in the attic, it appears history is repeating.

As June and the team, carry on with party preparations, they unravel a century of family secrets, whispers of lunacy—and the number one suspect goes on the run. But the victim’s family insists that the ball must go on, even with a killer on the loose. With Halloween fast approaching, June sees the woman in white and wonders if keeping the killer out was ever really a possibility. Now she’s desperate to unmask the killer before the Annual Halloween Bash turns into even more of a deadly haunt…

If creepy old Victorian homes are your cup of tea when it comes to Halloween chills, look no further than Cookies, Corpses and the Deadly Haunt. The site of a grisly murder 100 years ago, The Doctors House is this year's location for the annual Halloween Ball, a huge fundraiser for the historical society. The ghostly house is now in the hands of house flippers Jack and Juniper, and it doesn't take long before a body is found stuffed in a trunk in the attic and Juniper's best friend Pike becomes the main suspect. To make things even stranger, the victim's family insists that the party go on! As Jupiter falls more and more in love with the house while sorting through her mixed feelings for Jack, she also attempts to clear Pike's name which leads her to uncover a sordid family history. A cute small town, fun lead characters, a mystery filled with twists and turns, and a Halloween backdrop makes this the perfect seasonal cozy.

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. As members of the Amazon Associates affiliate program, if you click on our links and buy something Mudpie gets a little money for her piggy bank!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Photobombed #SundaySelfie

You would think in a single pet home I would be free from photobombers, right? 

Except Mommy has lots of stuffies.

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Mudpie #CaturdayArt

Meows from Mudpie!

Last weekend I asked Mommy if she could carve my precious little face into a pumpkin and she said yes! I waited and waited for her to bring one of those strange orange balls home until I started to get worried she would run out of time for us to post the results as our Caturday Art project. Then last night she hopped onto LunaPic and announced she was done! Um, this isn't exactly what I was looking for, Mommy...

Do your humans have any hidden talents when it comes to pumpkin carving?

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

And now our weekly answers (answered by Mommy) for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and McGuffy's Reader!

1. If I was a ghost, I would haunt my loved ones so we could still be together.

2. I always fall asleep when Mudpie gets on my lap. Now that it's a little chillier she's wanting to cuddle more and I'm getting extra nap time in! There's no need for sleeping pills when she's around.

3. My favorite scary story is The Tell-Tale Heart.

4. I will be so glad when Target comes to Vermont. I've lamented so many times that we're the only state without a Target, but that's about to change! News broke on Thursday that one is opening in the mall just a couple miles from our house next fall!!!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Mudpie Reviews Tiki Cat After Dark #ChewyInfluencer

Meows from Mudpie!

Last year I got to try Tiki Cat's Aloha Friends pouches and I enjoyed them because they were loaded with so much gravy. This month in my Chewy Influencer email I was excited to see another new Tiki Cat line called After Dark, promised to be high in moisture, and as you all know by now the only way this tortie eats wet food is if it's overflowing with watery gravy!

I received the variety pack which comes with two cans each of six different flavors, all chicken based (which is great because I know lots of my friends have sensitivities to fish): Chicken, Chicken & Quail, Chicken & Duck, Chicken & Lamb, Chicken & Beef, and Chicken & Pork. Once you figure out which flavors are your favorites each one also comes in individual cases of 12.

Key Benefits of Tiki Cat After Dark:
  • High-protein, low-carb recipes help boost energy, support the immune system and support overall health.
  • Biologically-appropriate nutrient profile mimics the natural prey of cats.
  • Added minerals and vitamins support a complete and balanced diet.
  • High-moisture recipes help supplement cats that don't drink enough water and helps maintain good urinary and digestive health.

So what did I think? I liked it, but I think I would've liked it more if it had come in a pouch. Mommy seems to think I'm crazy, but packaging matters to this kitty! For some reason I eat my wet food much better when it comes in a tray or a pouch then when it comes in a can. Is there some strange taste lingering in canned food that only my discriminating palate can detect? Who knows. (Now watch Mommy think she can outsmart me by putting canned food into a pouch before showing it to me. I'm on to you, Mommy!!!)

For kitties that aren't as picky as me and love food that's loaded with broth, Tiki Cat After Dark is purrfect for you. The can is full of broth so don't let your human tip the can when opening it or you might lose some of the yumminess!!!

The 12 can variety pack is available at Chewy.com for $19.33. Chewy offers FREE 1-2 day shipping for orders over $49, and with over 500 brands in stock they have something sure to make every cat or dog happy. Tell them Mudpie sent you!

Disclaimer: This food was sent to us for free by Chewy.com as part of their Blogger Outreach Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own and we never recommend a product we don’t fully believe in.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mudpie Goes Psycho #TBT

Meows from Mudpie!

With Halloween right around the corner it won't be long before Mommy starts pulling out scary movies that are sure to make us hide under the covers. Her all-time favorite is Psycho (she's still in mourning that Bates Motel ended it's run) and she never fails to crack up whenever she looks at the recreation of the movie's famous shower scene that we did for Caturday Art a couple years ago. (And I can't believe what a scrawny kid I was back then!!!)

Don't worry, there were no crazy people with knives in the tub with me, 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...)

Speaking of Halloween movies, have you been following the fake movie posters our good friend Miss Cuddlywumps has been creating the past couple weeks? Cats of the Undead, Psycho Kitty, Zombie Cat, and they've all been turned into magnets and cards on Zazzle! We're purchasing each one as a 5x7 card and we're going to frame them as part of our Halloween decor!

This post contains Amazon and Zazzle affiliate links.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review/Interview/Giveaway: Death Overdue by Allison Brook

Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she's offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura's case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Our protagonist Carrie has been living with her aunt and uncle and working as a library assistant, but is just about ready to move on until she's offered the position of head of programs and events at the local library. A voice inside her tells her she should stay (and it's not what you think!) and she immediately gets to work lining up a detective to speak about the unsolved murder of a woman (who also worked at the library) in her home 15 years ago. He claims to have information that will solve the case once and for all, but he drops dead at the event before he's able to reveal the evidence contained on his iPad, which conveniently goes missing. Carrie blames herself for the man's death since she's the one who arranged the event, and she teams up with the son of the woman who died over a decade ago to solve both murders.

Carrie has additional help though, and that's where the fun comes in with the Haunted Library mystery series. The library’s resident ghost, Evelyn Havers, knew the original murder victim well and she's more than willing to lend her assistance from the afterlife since she has intimate knowledge of all the involved parties. Evelyn seems to have an interesting story herself, although it's not fully flushed out in Death Overdue. Her own death in the library parking lot seems rather suspicious to me. Carrie also has her hands full dealing with a jealous co-worker who wants her job (a fun character in spite of her vindictiveness!), a romantic triangle in the works, and a precious little kitten she has her heart set on turning into a library cat. The ongoing activities at the library during the Halloween setting is the icing on the cake in an already delightful debut.


Mudpie purred with excitement when I told her she could ask library cat Smokey Joe a pawful of questions. She hopes you enjoy the interview!

Welcome, Smoky Joe! Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourselves and how you came to meet Carrie? 

I was born on a farm on the other side of the woods from Carrie’s cottage. My three siblings, my mother and I lived in the barn with cows and goats and other cats. Some of the cats were pretty ferocious and would fight with us kittens when our mother was out hunting mice. I decided to set out on my own. Early one morning, before the sun rose, I wandered through the woods and came upon a cottage. I was hungry, but there were no mice to be seen. I meowed, hoping a human would hear me and give me food. Finally Carrie appeared. She opened the door to her car. She was leaving! I was so hungry, I dashed into her car. She gave me a piece of something I’d never tasted before. It was delicious! When we finally stopped and she opened the car door, I ran out into what I later knew was the library parking lot. Of course I had no idea where I was, so I didn’t struggle when she picked me up and carried me into the library. I sniffed around as we entered the building and liked what I smelled. I was home!

Being a library cat must be so much fun! What's a typical day like for you? 

I absolutely LOOOOVE being a library cat. Every morning Carrie and I drive to the library from our cottage. The library is my second home. I’m free to go wherever I like. My favorite places are visiting the little kids in the children’s section and greeting people while they’re reading newspapers and magazines in the large reading room. Carrie has put up signs telling people not to feed me, but sometimes they do anyway. Lucky me!

Do you think any kitty could be a library cat or does it take a unique purrsonality? I can imagine it must be quite upsetting if a patron doesn't want you around.  

Being a library cat isn’t as easy as you’d think. First of all, you have to really like people the way I do. I enjoy being petted, watching a patron smile as I approach. Of course not everyone wants my attention. I’m able to sense when someone doesn’t want to be bothered. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. I tell myself the person’s allergic to animals. Or he or she prefers dogs. Though once I heard one Carrie’s friends say that not everyone likes cats.

Tell us about Death Overdue, the first Haunted Library mystery you star in. 

My mistress Carrie got her job as Head of Programs and Events at the Clover Ridge Library about a month before we met. At her first program, a detective announced to his audience that he’d finally solved a cold case. He was asking questions about the victim, a local woman had been murdered in her home fifteen years ago, when he died. Turns out he was poisoned. Carrie felt awful. Since the police weren’t getting very far, she and the cold case victim’s younger son decided to solve the two murders. Carrie got some help from the library ghost, and she also had to spend time with the first victim’s family, which she didn’t always enjoy. But she discovered the murderer in the end.

Have you had any ghostly encounters yet? You're just a baby...was it scary? 

I have not had any ghostly encounters and hope I never will. Carrie and her little cousin are the only people who can see Evelyn, the library ghost. I can’t see Evelyn but I know when she’s close by. She gives off this creepy, icy feeling that makes me hiss and jump around. I wish Evelyn would keep far away from Carrie.

Can you give us any clues as to what's next for you and Carrie? 

In the next book, READ AND GONE, Carrie’s father comes to stay with us. Carrie’s not happy about this because he wants her to do something illegal—which of course she won’t. A bag of gems is missing, and everyone’s trying to find them as people are being murdered. I’m proud to say I play a big part in READ AND GONE.

About the author: Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. As members of the Amazon Associates affiliate program, if you click on our links and buy something Mudpie gets a little money for her piggy bank!