Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Purrfect 10: Warning Signs of Feline Diabetes

We love reading and researching anything and everything about cats, and wanted to find a fun and unique way to share the interesting facts we learn with you! Since top 10 lists are very popular in the blogosphere, we created The Purrfect 10 as a way to present 10 educational or fascinating tidbits about a wide variety of cat-related topics, everything from health issues to cat breeds to famous felines.

Diabetes has become an epidemic both in humans and our pets. I know from first-hand experience that a diagnosis of feline diabetes is life-changing, but it's also very manageable. As with any chronic disease, early diagnosis is key, but what are the warning signs you should be looking for in your cat? In honor of Pet Diabetes Month, here's what you need to know in the latest edition of The Purrfect 10...

1) Increased Urination & Inappropriate Elimination: High blood sugar is a build-up of glucose in the bloodstream as it is unable to enter the cells. The increased blood glucose gets to a point where it starts to spill into the urine causing the animal to urinate large amounts. When kitty starts urinating outside the litter box there's a very good chance he just couldn't get there in time! (Inappropriate elimination can also be the result of urinary tract infections and diabetic neuropathy, as discussed below.)

2) Increased Thirst: When the cat's body is getting rid of sugar, it takes water from the rest of the body to make the urine. The loss of water causes the cat to feel thirsty and drink more.

3) Increased Appetite: A diabetic cat doesn't get the energy he is consuming because he doesn’t have the insulin to help convert the glucose into energy. The body responds by feeling hungry and increasing the appetite. The problem is, when kitty eats he's just raising his blood sugar level even higher. It's a vicious cycle which leads to...

4) Weight Loss: To get the energy it needs, the body turns to alternate sources, breaking down fats and proteins to feed glucose-starved cells. This breakdown results in weight loss, despite increased appetite, and can cause the formation of ketones (acids made when your body begins using fat instead of carbohydrates for energy) in the blood.

5) Recurring Urinary Tract Infections: This is how my Tara was diagnosed. Excess sugar in the urine makes the bladder a breeding ground for bacteria. When antibiotics weren't clearing up Tara's recurring infections a urinalysis and blood work were done and we got our answer. Signs of urinary tract infections in cats include blood in the urine, difficult or painful urination, frequent passage of small amounts of urine, and urinating in inappropriate locations.

6) Sticky kitty litter: Due to excess sugar in the urine. 

7) Lethargy: Most cats sleep a lot but they shouldn't be sleeping all the time, and when a cat's normal routine changes significantly it needs to be investigated. A diabetic cat's body is being starved of energy because he can't use the calories he's consuming. How do you feel when you haven't eaten in a long time?

8) Unkempt Appearance: When anyone feels crummy on the inside it's going to show on the outside. An unkempt, flaky or oily coat due to poor grooming isn't uncommon.

9) Rear Leg Weakness: Diabetic neuropathy occurs when chronic high blood sugar causes nerve damage resulting in pain, numbness and tingling in the legs. It's usually a reversible condition and can be one of the first signs of diabetes, although it's most commonly seen in cats that aren't properly regulated. Walking on the hocks (ankles), limping or dragging a limb, loss of balance, a reluctance to jump, muscle wasting/atrophy are all signs of diabetic neuropathy.

10) Sweet Smelling Breath: Ketoacidosis is the buildup of ketone waste products in the blood that occurs when the body burns fat and protein for energy instead of glucose. In cats who develop ketoacidosis, a by-product of fat metabolism is acetone (think nail polish remover), which is responsible for the sweet, fruity smell on the breath.

Have you ever had a cat diagnosed with diabetes?
What were the first signs that you noticed?

flickr creative commons/Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue
flickr creative commons/CelloPics
flickr creative commons/nteee

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Short & Sweet Letter to Santa

Cover Reveal ~ Hummus and Homicide by Tina Kashian

Meows from Mudpie!

I think this is the first cover reveal we've ever done but when we saw it we just couldn't resist for two reasons. First, because Mommy's go-to snack when we're reading late at night is hummus with either tortilla chips or some sort of pita cracker. She's pawsitively obsessed with the stuff. Second, because don't you think the gorgeous cover kitty looks rather tortie-ish? 

We can't wait to read the book!

When Lucy Berberian quits her Philadelphia law firm and heads home to Ocean Crest, she knows what she’s getting—the scent of funnel cake, the sight of the wooden roller coaster, and the tastes of her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. But murder wasn’t on the menu . . .

Things are slow in the off-season in this Jersey Shore town, but Lucy doesn’t mind. She doesn’t even mind waitressing at the Kebab Kitchen. Her parents have put in a new hummus bar, with every flavor from lemon to roasted red pepper. It’s fun to see their calico cat again, and to catch up with her old BFF, who’s married to a cop now.

She could do without Heather Banks, though. The Gucci-toting ex-cheerleader is still as nasty as she was back in high school . . . and unfortunately, she’s just taken over as the local health inspector. Just minutes after eating at the Kebab Kitchen—where she’s tallied up a whole list of bogus violations—she falls down dead in the street. Word on the grapevine is it’s homicide, and Lucy’s the number one suspect . . .

Recipes included!




Coming February 27, 2018 from Kensington Books!!

You can pre-order your copy today!!

Amazon B&N kobo Google Play INDIEBOUND

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What Will Mudpie's DNA Reveal?

Earlier this fall our friends over at the Pets Overload blog introduced us to a company called Basepaws which has created a DNA testing kit for cats. The end of the post revealed that Basepaws was looking for cats with specific health issues, and when I saw that asthma was one of them I reached out to find out how we could get Mudpie's DNA tested. All I needed to provide was appropriate documentation confirming the diagnosis from my vet and a kit was sent our way.

How It Works

Your cat’s health is shaped by 3 main factors: nutrition, environment and genetics. While as cat owners we have some control over the first 2, a cat's ancestry determines their genetics, and just like with us humans there's not a thing we can do to change it.

Almost every cell in your cat’s body contains your cat’s unique genetic code. Testing these genetics can give you important information about their breed, ancestry, physical & personality traits, health, and potential hereditary diseases. Knowledge is power, so how amazing would it be to have the ability to plan ahead or even prevent health issues that may arise later in life?

In spite of this scientists haven't spent much time on feline genetics, which is where Basepaws comes in by building a feline DNA database. While more than 99% of your cat’s genetic sequence will be similar to every other cat, it’s the small differences that make your cat unique. Some sections of DNA contain genes that have already been studied and are linked to specific diseases or physical traits. Other sections contain genes that are unknown, and having the ability to study these genes will help to bring new discoveries in cat health.

What You'll Learn About Your Cat

The initial report you'll receive will tell you how related your cat is to select cat breeds and wildcats. They will also be able to identify if your cat has abnormalities in a few important genes. Within the next year, Basepaws will be able to tell you more comprehensively about their breed and genetic predispositions for diseases. Their personality and physical traits will also be covered in the reports. Predictive algorithms will help you identify the diets and products that are most appropriate for your cat's genetic make-up.

About the Basepaws CatKit

Each kit costs $95 and includes detailed instructions and hair-collection adhesive strips. Once your cat has been tested they will be added to the Basepaws database and receive a lifetime of benefits. Within a couple months you will receive a detailed report by email, and wiith ongoing research as more data comes in, you will continue to receive reports – and you only pay once!

Mudpie Gets Tested

I was a bit apprehensive about sticking the adhesives on Mudpie's back even though I was assured that it wouldn't hurt. I waited until one night when she was at her most relaxed on the bed to apply them, then pet her for a couple minutes over the strips before pulling the tape off. As promised it didn't appear to hurt at all, she just seemed a bit surprised by the noise, then proceeded to wash the spot thoroughly as she knew something had been there that didn't belong! 

Armed with Mudpie's hair sample I activated the kit online and mailed the adhesive strips back to Basepaws. Now comes the hard part - waiting for my little girl's first report! I can't wait to see what it reveals about her over the coming months and years (besides that fact that she's total purrfection, which I already know). We'll be sure to let you know what we find out every step of the way! 

If learning about your cat's genetics interests you as much as I does me I hope you'll consider purchasing a Basepaws CatKit. The more participants in the study, the more information Basepaws will be able to gather and the more breakthroughs in cat science they will be able to make, creating a better world for cats (and their humans).

To learn more about Basepaws visit them online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

What would you hope to learn about your cat through their genetic profile?

Disclaimer: We received a free Basepaws CatKit in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own and we never recommend a product we don’t fully believe in.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tortie Shorties Book Reviews...Christmas Reading Has Begun!

Welcome to this week's Tortie Shorties book reviews! We're doing things a little differently today, with a children's book, a cozy mystery, and a contemporary romance...all cat-related, of course!

We hope you enjoy our choices.

From the publisher: An orphaned kitten is rescued by Santa's Reindeer and his big-hearted wish saves ALL the kitties on Christmas!

This is a fresh twist on a Children's Christmas story that centers around belonging, hope, rescue, and how caring for others can change the world!

Tortie Shorties Review: Pure PURRfection. Christmas magic still exists and it can be found in the heart of a little kitten with a very special holiday wish. Regardless of your age this sweet book will touch your heart and become a part of your Christmas tradition for years to come. The illustrations are beyond adorable, the story is filled with the wonder of Christmas, and it's message is timeless.

From the publisher: Krissy Hancock is staying in her adopted hometown of Pine Hills, Ohio, for Christmas this year—and she even has a whole week off from her combination bookstore-café. But a killer is about to dampen her spirits . . . 

Unfortunately, Krissy’s been roped into filling in for a sick elf in the local holiday musical extravaganza. With a demanding director, backstage gossip, and two men in fierce competition for the starring role, it isn’t all sweetness and Christmas lights. Then a murder puts a stop to the production, and Krissy is faced with a pageant of suspects.

Could her ex-boyfriend, a fellow elf, really be the culprit as the police are claiming? Or will the actor playing Santa be trading his red suit for an orange jumpsuit? When her behind-the-scenes investigation starts getting dangerous, the only thing Krissy really wants is to make it to Christmas dinner alive. But first she’ll have to finish wrapping up this case . . .

Tortie Shorties Review: When Krissy's plans to spend Christmas in California with her dad fall apart, she looks forward to spending the time with her busy doctor boyfriend Will. Then she gets roped into filling in for a sick elf in the local theater's Christmas musical production. She's surprised to discover that her ex Robert and his new girlfriend Trisha are also performing in the play as an elf and Mrs. Claus. When the actor playing Santa is found murdered shortly after hitting on Trisha, Robert becomes the main suspect, and Krissy finds herself in the unlikely position of trying to clear his name. As she comes to know each member of the cast and crew better she finds no shortage of suspects, even though she would much rather be at home with her cat Misfit watching Christmas movies on TV. (Who wouldn't?) Nothing makes me happier than a holiday-themed story in one of my favorite cozy mystery series, and this one is no accompanied by a mug of Death by Coffee's eggnog flavored brew!

From the publisher: Advertising copywriter Rory Callahan is very picky. She thinks Mister Right should check off some important boxes.But if “love me, love my cat” isn’t one of them, that’s a dealbreaker. Unfortunately, the men she’s been dating lately want nothing to do with her playful six-toed tabby, Hemingway. Or any cat, for that matter. Can this classic girl-next-door find a real man who loves cats?

Romance moves to the back burner when a terrific business opportunity that seems perfect for her falls in her lap. The CEO of a national cat food company is looking for a new ad agency, and Rory is desperate for the huge account. The one guy standing in her way? A modern day advertising whiz named Will Prescott who seems to be right out of the Mad Men era as far as women are concerned. Or is she reading him wrong? After all, the guy does like cats. How bad could he be?

After a horrible first meeting and a series of bizarre misunderstandings she’s keeping him at arms’ length. But when Will and Hemingway cross paths, she begins to see him in a different light.Can her cat show her the way?

Tortie Shorties Review: I'm not a huge fan of contemporary romance, but when a cat features prominently in the "tail" it's a whole other story! This is the last book in a four book series that follows four young women (and their cats) on a quest for lasting love. I haven't read the first 3 (although I will be) and didn't feel that I was missing anything by jumping into the series on book 4. (The first one features a male tortie so you know that's at the top of my list!)

Real Men Love Cats stars a pair of advertising executives as they compete to create the new ad campaign for Fur Baby cat food. Though sparks instantly fly between them, a series of hysterical misunderstandings keeps them apart, but that all changes when Rory witnesses Will's soft spot for cats. More than once I found myself laughing out loud at how the most innocent comment gets twisted all out of proportion while rooting for these two to see just how purrfect they truly are for each other. This book would make such a fun romantic comedy on the big screen...Hollywood, take note!

Disclaimer: I received free copies of these books 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!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tortie Christmas Caturday Art

Meows from Mudpie!

Did you survive Thanksgiving and Black Friday? We sure hope so, because today is Small Business Saturday Caturday, and we love supporting small businesses that sell cat-related merchandise and in return give back to cats in need.

Mommy is planning to do some Christmas shopping for herself today at the Olive & Rye Cat Art Etsy shop. They're offering 20% off any purchase of $30 or more using coupon code BLACKCATURDAY2017 at checkout – all day today and tomorrow (Saturday, November 25th, 2017 through Sunday, November 26th, 2017 at 11:59pm EST)! FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING is also available on select merchandise during the sale, including totes, ceramic mugs, zip pouches, and leggings. A portion of their proceeds is donated to the animal shelter Philly PAWS.

Mommy loves Olive, Rye, Fig and humom Laura SO much and she pretty much wants one of everything in their shop! Not sure she plans to go that far but the ol' debit card will most likely be smokin' before she's through!

We also wanted to show you this beautiful oil pastel Christmas card titled Tortie at a Frosty Window that we found on Etsy, of course. We think it's simply exquisite and plan to frame it as part of our holiday decor. Us torties may be known as "ladies of autumn" but we're pretty darn gorgeous in winter scenes too!

We're entering our atypical art post in 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 start to decorate for Christmas/Hanukkah on Veterans Day!

2. I prefer an artificial Christmas tree because it can stay up longer and is much less work than a real one.

3. The best thing about the holidays is the magic of the season. It's simply the most beautiful time of the year and I only wish the feeling could last all year long. The music, the lights, the decorations, I just love to soak it all in.

4. The worst thing about the holidays is the number of people out shopping. Thankfully I don't have a lot of people to buy for and I try to get it done as early as possible, but I love going out and seeing all the Christmas items in the stores. Unfortunately, I easily get claustrophobic around a ton of people so much of the enjoyment is lost when the stores get super busy.

* This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, November 24, 2017

3 Ways To Celebrate Black Cat Friday

Meows from Mudpie, and Happy Black Friday morning!!!

You're not going shopping today, are you? We're sure not! As a matter of fact as you're reading this Mommy and I are most likely still lounging in our bed nursing a turkey hangover!

Don’t go out and brave the crowds; get cozy in your jammies and start a new tradition by celebrating Black Cat Friday! Here are some suggestions to get you started...

1) Shop online for black cat gear. One of our favorite places to indulge our love for feline style is Triple T Studios. Their line of handbags, jewelry, accessories and cat toys are certain to make any stylish cat lady drool.

Grab your human's credit cards because everything on their site is 40% off today using the code "VIPCat" at checkout! Here are just a few items that would make the purrfect gift for the cat lover on your shopping list...

2) Adopt a black cat. Lots of shelters are running reduced adoption fees this weekend on black cats. Some include cats with *any* black fur on them, which would include torties too! Why stand in line for the latest gadget or gizmo? It won't keep you warm during the long winter ahead, but a cat will!

We're rather partial to Jane, a black kitty who has become quite a favorite at our local shelter thanks to her quirky purrsonality and darling little snaggletooth. She's 10 years old and has been waiting for her forever home since June, but her adoption fee has been fully sponsored and she also comes with a $50 gift card and 6 months worth of food! (She has a secret admirer who recently sent her her very own Chewy Goody Box!) If you're anywhere near the northern Vermont area please consider visiting Jane and making her your one and only!

3) Avoid the crowds, stay home and read a book that celebrates black cats. We've selected a handful of our favorites, and of course a kitty or two on your lap and a mug of peppermint hot chocolate is required for optimum coziness.

How are you celebrating Black Cat Friday? 
Finding any good deals?

* This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Mudpie Gives Thanks

Meows from Mudpie!

In honor of this beautiful Thanksgiving day, I decided to jot down just a few things for which I am truly thankful...

* First and foremost, my wonderful forever home with a Mommy who loves me more with every passing day and all the toys, warm beds and blankies, and yummy food that any kitty could ever want or need. What a wonderful world it would be if every animal were as lucky as me.

* Speaking of Mommy love...she has a 4 day weekend to cuddle me! Paws crossed that she doesn't plan to go shopping...

* Our wonderful friends at the Four-Legged Furballs blog heard our cry for more tortie in the world and created the Ten Days of Tortie blog series! I was SO honored to be the very first featured tortie!

* I went through the entire spring and summer without one asthma attack! Now that the furnace has been on for a few weeks I've had a cough or two, so I'm increasing my homeopathic drops hoping to nip it in the bud before it gets worse.

* YOU! Blogging is a lot of work, but it's a labor of love. Knowing that our blog readers take time out of their busy days to visit this little tortie and see what we're up to means more to us than words can ever express.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Rescued Interviews: Maxine

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. November's spotlight is Maxine, a cat so determined to escape from her rescuers that she ended up losing a leg in the process!

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

Hello, Mudpie. I’m Maxine (or Max), resident Calico Manx of the Carson City Catmandu Adoption Center and Sanctuary and sometimes the volunteers refer to me as their favorite “tripod” due to my missing hind leg. Between living as a rescue at a rescue and recovering from the violent loss of my leg, I suppose my story hits both themes of Rescued 2 several times over.

You were so determined to escape your life at the shelter that you ended up experiencing something quite horrific. What made you so desperate to leave? 

Losing my leg was horrific, but so was being separated from my family and the only home I’d ever known. I suppose with age and distance I can admit the Topaz wilderness wasn’t the best place for us, but that doesn’t mitigate the terror I felt at the time or the fact I still don’t know where my mother and siblings ended up. I never want to feel that powerless again.

The title of your story in Rescued is "Feline Road to Recovery". What was your road to recovery like, and do you wish you had made a different decision on the day you made your great escape? 

It was long and pitted. I didn’t know at the time crawling inside cars when it’s cold isn’t a new idea for our kind or that many don’t survive injuries like mine, let alone enduring bungled medical procedures on top of it. If I had the chance to do it over part of me wants to say I would not crawl under the fan belt. I certainly would’ve saved myself a lot of physical torment that way, but realistically I probably wouldn’t have made it home. I also wouldn’t have come around to Linda and the other volunteers because I never would’ve agreed to go back in the trap. I’m pleased with how my life is going right now, so given the circumstances I think my choices played out the best way they could.

How have you adjusted to life minus one leg? Has it slowed you down in any way? 

I run sideways now, but that’s a minor change to my routine (and I’m still too fast for Camille to snap a photo of me scaling my cat tree, try as she might). The biggest obstacle to life without a back leg is scratching an itch on my neck or behind my head. Have you ever tried not scratching an itch? Awful! And when someone does scratch those places for me, the muscles vibrate in the area where my leg used to be.

What is life like for you today? 

I’m still at Catmandu, but unlike most other residents, it’s by choice. Linda tried to send me home with someone exactly once. I didn’t know the woman and she didn’t know me, so I unzipped her carrier on the way out the door and hid on the Catmandu property for over a week. Linda eventually came outside and literally promised if I agreed to go into the trap she would never send me home with anyone unless I chose the human myself. That’s all I wanted to hear, so I went into the trap the same night. I do have my eye on a man named Mark, but there’s already a cat living at his house, so for right now I’m perfectly content staying at Catmandu. I’ve even decided to begin writing a column for Catmandu’s newsletter, which should be out this month.

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

Catmandu is both my shelter and my home. Some might say that’s self serving, but between the physical property and Catmandu’s foster homes there are over a hundred of us here (and it’s not even Kitten Season). I think most would agree they’d rather be here in a free roam former daycare than locked up in tiny metal cells.

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

Number one: I hope humans remember to check their cars when it’s cold. Give the hood a couple thumps before you start the engine. For that matter, check the wheel wells too. I never climbed in wheel wells myself, but I’ve seen neighborhood felines who have and I’ve heard horrible stories.

Number two: not all of us can be extroverts—some of us need gradually built relationships. When you’re expanding your family, it isn’t wrong to take your time. I’m certainly taking mine.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tortie Shorties on Mystery Monday

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

We hope you enjoy our choices.

From the publisher: For the first time in sixteen years, Lara Caphart has returned to her hometown of Whisker Jog, New Hampshire. She wants to reconnect with her estranged Aunt Fran, who's having some difficulty looking after herself-and her eleven cats. Taking care of a clowder of kitties is easy, but keeping Fran from being harassed by local bully Theo Barnes is hard. The wealthy builder has his sights set on Fran's property, and is determined to make her an offer she doesn't dare refuse.

Then Lara spots a blue-eyed ragdoll cat that she swears is the reincarnation of her beloved Blue, her childhood pet. Pursuing the feline to the edge of Fran's yard, she stumbles upon the body of Theo Barnes, clearly a victim of foul play. To get her and Fran off the suspect list, Lara finds herself following the cat's clues in search of a killer. Is Blue's ghost really trying to help her solve a murder, or has Lara inhaled too much catnip?

Tortie Shorties Review: Lara's visit to her estranged Aunt Fran in New Hampshire starts out as just a short trip to check on her well-being amidst rumors she's accumulating too many cats. Little does she know how attached she's going to become to everyone involved, much less that she's going to find herself needing to catch a killer.

Fire up your Kindles right now, cat lovers! This is one you won't want to miss. So many of the cats involved in the story have unique purrsonalities of their own, especially the mysterious Blue (you have to love it when the character list in the beginning of a book is all the feline characters, not the human ones!) but I also enjoyed meeting all the residents of Whisker Jog and witnessing the cozy little world Lara and Fran inhabit. The killer ended up being one of my favorite characters (!) and I was completely shocked by how twisted this person actually was. The plans Lara and Fran have for finding their furry charges new homes is pure purrfection and I can hardly wait for subsequent books in the series!

From the publisher: Between dealing with her newly rural life, her grumpy, sports-obsessed father, and preparing to showcase her products in the local Sunnyside Power Mom’s trade show, Colbie has more on her plate than she bargained for. Luckily, she has her official taste-tester, Trouble, by her side to vet her Meow-io Batali Gourmet Cat Food line. Things look promising—until one of the Power Moms is found dead—with an engraved Meow-io specialty knife buried in her chest.

As the prime suspect, Colbie needs paws on the ground to smoke out who had means, motive, and opportunity among the networking mothers—including a husband-stealing Sofia Vergara lookalike. And the cat’s still not out of the bag when a second violent death rocks the bucolic community. Trouble may have nine lives, but Colbie’s only got one to clear her name and stop a killer from pulling off the purr-fect crime...

Tortie Shorties Review: Adorable Trouble the cat joins Colbie's family when he's left behind at a rental unit she managed. His tummy troubles lead to her cooking for him which resulted in her starting a gourmet cat food company. Now Colbie, her son Elliott and Trouble are staying with Colbie's dad while he recovers from a serious bout with pneumonia. Life is quite stressful for Colbie as she deals with single motherhood and an ailing parent, but it's about to get even worse when a member of the group of entrepreneurial moms she belongs to is found dead - murdered with one of Colbie's knives! Since it's obvious she's being framed she has no choice but to join in the hunt for the real killer.

I enjoyed this cast of characters and their relationships so much. Things are somewhat strained between Colbie and her father but that doesn't stop her from making his recovery a priority. The possibility of romance is in the air with the farmer next door and his wayward chicken Charlie provides lots of comic relief, and Elliott's passion for the theater is an interesting secondary story. What's next for Meow-io Batali is super exciting and I look forward to seeing it play out!

Disclaimer: I received free copies of these books 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!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Selfies on Championship Sunday

Meows from Mudpie!

In honor of this big day at our house I've allowed Mommy to plop a baseball cap on my head. (Digitally, anyways!) 

It's NASCAR's Championship Sunday and for the third time in the last four years our guy Kevin Harvick is one of only 4 drivers eligible to win the big trophy. In 2014 he won it and in 2015 he finished 2nd. In all honesty we'll be very surprised if he wins because two of the other guys have had better years, but at least he's got a shot. 

Mommy is super excited but so nervous she can hardly stand it. Me, I'll be hiding out until the race is over. Whichever way it goes I have a feeling things will get very, very loud. Send help. And cross all your fingers and paws that the 4 car wins the Cup!

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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Caturday Art

(LunaPic's Nouveau effect)

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 can’t wait to eat stuffing on Thanksgiving. I use Stove Top stuffing mix and add dried cranberries to favorite part of the meal!

2. My favorite kind of pie is pecan. (It's comes in a distant second to Mudpie, though!)

3. This year, I am particularly thankful for a period of personal peace and contentment. I hope it lasts.

4. A funny holiday tradition in my house is decorating for Christmas on Veterans Day. Not really "funny" but I know lots of people laugh at me over it and I don't care. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I want to enjoy my decorations for as long as possible.

Friday, November 17, 2017

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Tortie Lovers

Last year I created my very first gift guide for tortie lovers and it ended up being one of our most viewed posts ever! Seems there are lots of tortie fanatics out there like me upset by the lack of our favorite cats on wearables, jewelry and home decor. 

Since I'm always on the hunt for anything tortie-related I decided to make a holiday gift guide exclusively for tortie lovers an annual tradition to help make your shopping a little easier. I hope you find something that will make that special tortie-holic in your life purr (or to treat yourself with!)

(Click to enlarge)

(You're not imagining things...the one and only Mudpie was the model for this tree topper!!!)

Looking for more ideas? Check out last year's gift guide!

Do you have any tortie lovers on your shopping list this year?

This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Senior Pets Make Life Golden #HillsTransformingLives

This post is sponsored by Hill’s® Science Diet® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the Adopt A Senior Pet Month and ‘Mission Adoptable’ Campaign, but Mochas, Mysteries and Meows only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

I've lived the majority of my adult life with senior cats, and the years of love they gave me left memories that will last a lifetime.

It all started when I was 16 years old and my family rescued a neighbor's cat that had been abandoned. Sebastian was 12 and had lived the majority of his life outside, covered in snow during cruel Vermont winters. Finally my mother had enough and when it was obvious the new neighbors he'd been pawned off onto didn't care any more about him than his original owners did, he "disappeared" into our house. He was only with us for a few years before succumbing to kidney disease, but there's not a doubt in my mind that those were the 3 happiest years of his life.

The first cat I adopted as an adult was Sashi. I'll never forget the shelter telling me how many people had commented on what a beautiful cat she was, then saw that she was 9 years old and walked away. Their loss was my gain because we had 9 wonderful years together. Even at an advanced age she never lost her playfulness, with one of her favorite games being to catch my pen with her paws or teeth while I was writing. (These were the days before computers!)

Next came Tara. She was 7 and while she was plagued with more than her fair share of health issues, I can't help but think she was meant to be with me because far too many people would have given up on her.

I'll be 100% honest and admit that by the time Tara passed away I was emotionally exhausted. Her last two years were incredibly stressful, and I decided that for my peace of mind I needed to adopt a young cat for once, one that I wouldn't need to worry about every minute, one that I could look forward to spending the next 15 years of my life with.

I had Truffles for exactly 1 year, 10 months and 17 days.

Animals are just like people - age is just a number - and regardless of their age we have absolutely no control over how long we're going to have with them, so why do we allow so many amazing animals with so much love to give sit unloved and unwanted in shelters? Of course kittens are irresistible; there's no denying that. But I can tell you from experience that adopting a senior pet can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only do you know what you're getting as far as size and personality, they require less exercise and training, and since older cats are among the hardest to find homes for, when you adopt one you are truly saving a life. They know they've been rescued too, and they show their love and gratitude every single day resulting in a bond like no other.

As cats age their nutritional requirements change, and the right food along with veterinary care can play a key part in helping keep older cats active, healthy and happy, allowing them to live their life to the fullest. Hill's® Science Diet® Youthful Vitality has been scientifically developed for a seven and older pet's biology and incorporate ingredients that support:
  • Brain function, which is involved in supporting the desire for family interaction
  • Energy and vitality to help a pet get moving and have an interest in activity and playing
  • Healthy immune system
  • Healthy digestive system
  • Luxurious coat with increased shininess and softness

    Hill’s Pet Nutrition wanted to help increase older cat adoptions so they partnered with Animal Planet to launch a new exciting web series called “Mission Adoptable”.  Filmed in collaboration with the SPCA of Texas in Dallas, “Mission Adoptable” focuses on the plight of older shelter pets that face a difficult time getting adopted because of changes in their appearance or behavior due to the aging process. Viewers follow the journey of each senior pet, as their lives and prospects for adoption are transformed through the power of the right nutrition and loving shelter care. Each episode ends in high drama, as two families vie for the privilege of welcoming their new family member home.

    Are you ready to join us in celebrating senior cats? Here's what you can do!

    1. Visit a local shelter and consider adopting a senior pet during Adopt a Senior Pet Month.

    2. Help your new family member and/or your senior pet fight the effects of aging by trying Hill’s® Science Diet® Youthful Vitality, specifically designed for pets of age 7 and up.

    3. Watch the "Mission Adoptable" webisodes and get inspired to share with your family and friends.

    To learn more about Hill’s products and their nutritional philosophy visit or Hill’s Pet Nutrition on Facebook.

    Have you ever adopted a senior cat? 

    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hill's. The opinions and text are all mine.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    The Cat in the Cupboard

    Meows from Mudpie!

    Remember how we said the Christmas tree was going up on Monday? Well, the deed is done. (Although it's not lit or decorated yet. It's sitting in the living room nakey.)

    I had fun snoopervising the heavy lifting - literally. The tree going up requires moving furniture, and since Mommy has to do it herself she had to move everything out of this cabinet in order to lift it. I couldn't resist and had to hop in! Mommy didn't have the heart to make me move so she used it as a good excuse to take a break :)

    I think she should leave it empty for me, don't you?

    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Mudpie Interviews...Whisper: Senior Cat, Working Cat

    Meows from Mudpie!

    Did you know that November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month? Mommy had lots of experience with senior kitties before Angel Truffles and I and she'll have more on that Thursday. I'm nowhere close to being a senior myself, so as any good reporter should I sought out a source to help me tell a story!

    On one of our local news stations there's a segment each week called "Super Seniors" featuring people who are working well into their senior years. (I should submit my grandpa's name for consideration!) My interviewee today is a feline version of a "super senior", a cat who has some years on her and has been through a traumatic experience, but holds down a job and is as full of life as ever! I hope you enjoy meeting her as much as I did.

    Welcome, Whisper! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Can you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to arrive at the Dumb Friends League?

    Hi Mudpie! Thanks for having me!

    My name is Whisper and I’m 10 years young. I’m the official clinic cat to Parkside Animal Health Center. It’s an important job but I try not to let it go to my head.

    As far as how I got to the DFL, I don’t remember much about the early years but I remember the last several very clearly! I was living with a lot of other cats in a house that was too small for all of us. After a little while, some people nearby saw that we needed help and brought us into the shelter.

    There were 9 of us in total!

    I was really worried when we left but luckily the shelter really wasn’t a bad place. Don’t get me wrong- I wouldn’t want to live there forever but of all the places a cat could end up, it really wasn't bad. I had my own litter box, my own food bowl, and my own water bowl. Almost my own everything! But I didn’t have my own human. I had to share the humans with all the other animals and I didn’t like that much.

    You weren't in very good condition back then. What was your road to recovery like?

    Long! The first problem was I was pretty nervous at the shelter. Nowadays, I’m certainly not known for being shy. Quite the opposite. But I was so overwhelmed by how many cats, dogs, and people there were there that I guess I kind of shut down. The people at the shelter said I was afraid. Since I was labeled as shy that meant I got extra attention and extra treats. Which definitely helped.

    From there I had all kinds of medical tests done. People just kept looking in my mouth which was a little embarrassing since I didn’t have many teeth left. Not sure what they were looking for exactly.

    At one point I thought they were going to look in my mouth again but instead, someone poked me with something and I started getting very sleepy. I woke up without ANY teeth! Even though I only had a few left, it sure did feel funny to not have any at all.

    After that, I went home with Dr. Eisenhauer. That was a good day even though my mouth was feeling strange.

    Along the way, you came into contact with Dr. Brenda Eisenhauer of Parkside Animal Health Center in Colorado. Tell us how your relationship evolved and what made you realize you were meant to be together always?

    Dr. E, as I like to call her, seemed to take a liking to me. I took a liking to her too. I don’t know exactly what it is. You know how you see human after human and then suddenly you see one and think...I could get used to this one. Well, that’s how it was. I just kinda knew we would do great together.

    I found out later that Dr. E is also the one who took care of all my teeth. In fact, she always seemed to be around when I was having something done. I think she was really looking out for me. Like I said before after my teeth were “fixed up” Dr. E even took me home!

    Her house was awesome! Not like anything I’d ever seen! There were cats with no fur (they all seemed to be called “Rex”?) and some dogs. The best part was, everyone was my friend! Where I come from, there wasn’t enough food, room or litter boxes so everyone had to compete. But here with Dr. E, there was plenty of food, lots of soft beds and more than enough litter boxes. It was paradise. But just when I didn’t think things could get any better, Dr. E decided to give me a promotion! I went from being in charge of the house to being in charge of a vet clinic! That’s right! I now run a fully functional veterinary clinic in beautiful Colorado!

    But back to Dr. E, I wasn’t eating after my teeth were removed because my mouth felt so funny. Dr. E thought I would do better out of the shelter so that’s why she took me home. But after a few days, we really hit it off. Dr. E is the best and most caring human I’ve ever met! I also think she liked the way I managed the household and chased the dogs around. That’s part of why I think I got the promotion.

    A little birdie told me that you will only eat dry food in spite of being toothless! I have the exact same aversion to wet food! It drives my Mommy crazy.

    What is it with these humans and wet food! I mean, have they smelled the stuff? And the texture! Teeth or no teeth I simply refuse to lower myself to THAT!

    What’s strange is how excited they get! They pop that can and look at me like I should be excited too! Yuck!

    Now that you're the mascot of Parkside, what is a typical day like for you? What are your duties?

    Ahem. I’m sorry Mudpie, you may have misheard me. I’m not exactly a mascot, that’s really Dr. E’s job. I mean she does important doctor and business owner things like surgery, clinical work, hiring, managing the vet clinic, handling the books and saving the lives of the cats, dogs, and other pets but I’m really the brains of the operation. I make sure things are done the right way and at the right times.

    One of the most important jobs I have is greeting clients. It’s an important job and I follow a careful process. First I start at the window to and try to size up the new visitors. I pride myself on being able to tell exactly how they would like to be greeted. Whether that’s a quiet meow or a big strong MEOW I jump to the desk and proudly welcome them to Parkside.

    Then I usually let the receptionist take care of the rest. You know the boring stuff like collecting information and getting the client into the exam room.

    I also do consultations with some of the pets. They don’t always seem to understand what they’re doing at the clinic so I give them a quick update on what is going to happen. You know, just to make sure they aren’t too nervous.

    I also supervise cleaning. I find the vacuum particularly interesting and I want to make sure the humans are using it properly.

    One of the ways I like to manage the staff is to hide inside any cabinet that’s been left open. When someone goes to get something from it or close it I jump out! That usually startles the humans quite a bit but they just shouldn’t let things get cluttered up like that!

    I always make sure to get my exercise and I’m an avid soccer player. I also do a sort of jump rope exercise. You have to see it to really understand.

    I like my job because I get to meet a lot of new people and new creatures. I like being able to help them with their visit to the veterinarian. I think that when they see me living the good life at the clinic they realize the vet can’t be all bad, you know?

    I also get to see some strange creatures! Have you ever met a thing called a tortoise? I have and it is something else!

    November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month. As a mature ladycat of 10+ (with a job!), what do you hope people take away from your story with regards to adopting an older animal?

    Dr. E taught me that age is not a disease. Just because I’m older doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me! I’m still a happy cat!

    The other thing is that age doesn’t define personality. When clients see me jumping out of cabinets, playing soccer or doing my string exercises they always think I’m much younger than 10! They think only a young cat would do the things I do! Sure, some older cats like to sit around more but just like humans, cats come with all types of personalities!

    In short, don’t write us older cats off! We need homes too!

    Lastly, is there anything about yourself that your fans and friends might be surprised to learn?

    I think some of my fans might be surprised to learn that I think dogs are actually not so bad. I know, I know, dogs don’t always get the best reputation in the cat world but the important part is to lay the ground rules. Once you have some boundaries set things can go pretty well.

    I’ve met hundreds of dogs at the clinic and most of them have been pretty great. They just don’t know when to stop sniffing! That’s when a well-placed paw on their head helps straighten things out.

    Thanks for having me Mudpie!