Sunday, December 31, 2023

Good Riddance 2023! #SundaySelfie

Meows from Mudpie!

I lost my beloved grandma, came thisclose to losing grandpa too, and had painful, yucky tushie troubles which led to being horribly violated at the vet.

2023 was most definitely a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.

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

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Mudpie On Ice #CaturdayArt

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

And now our weekly answers (all answered by Mommy this week) for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and Four-Legged Furballs!

1. The best part of 2023 was bringing dad home after 3 months in the hospital/rehab. And every moment I spent cuddling with Mudpie.

2. My focus word for 2024 is read and write. With everything going on with my parents I haven't done much reading or writing over the past few years and I miss it. It's time to get back to it.

3. A new year is a great time to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

4. You don't have to wait for a new year to make changes in your life.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Secret Paws Bloopers #PetPhotoFails

Meows from Mudpie!

Can you believe it's time for the final Pet Photo Fails blog hop of the year?

This month's edition is a handful of bloopers from Christmas day when we opened our Secret Paws package. They feature a hodge podge of my usual embarrassingly short attention span to "Mommy, why did you shoot that?" to dark and blurry photos of me having fun with my new toys.

Those are my bloopers...let's see yours!

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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Secret Paws 2023 Revealed

Meows from Mudpie!

I'm super excited to tell you about my Secret Paws package from Kimberley, Travis, and Kinley from Lone Star Cats and Kinley Westie

Mommy loves taking pictures of prezzies before the chaos begins.
She was very happy to see pink inside the box and went bonkers over the kitty wrapping paper.

I took time to admire it myself, but I was also getting impatient to dig in.

They got me SQUEEZIES!!! 

Tucked inside one gift bag were jingle bell balls, sparkly balls, a cute little reindeer toy (that Mommy threatened to steal for her reindeer collection), and a snowman ponytail holder (that I threatened to steal to take the place of my reindeer!)

We started playing a game where she tossed toys into the box (which also had packing peanuts in it), 
and I dove in after them.

It was fun! As you can see, I got a little blurry.
I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that we have some bloopers for Friday's Pet Photo Fails.

Taking a break on Mommy's legs.

How cute are the socks she got? 
I would never think of doing something so naughty though.

She also got a bag full of Reese's peanut butter cups, which created yet another toy for me.
Ever since I was a little kid I've loved chasing after wadded up candy wrappers.
Now I have a bunch of new ones!

Very funny, Mommy...

I'm a lucky kitty to have such pawsome friends! 

Mommy and I both want to thank Kimberley, Travis, and Kinley so very much for their thoughtful, generous, and purr-fectly wonderful gifts. We couldn't have asked for a better Secret Paws!

Many thanks as well to BJ Bangs for organizing this wonderful event that makes many blogging kitties very, very happy.

Now I have a very important many days until Secret Paws 2024???

Monday, December 25, 2023

Meowy Christmas from Melissa & Mudpie!


We'd like to wish each and every one of our dear friends the happiest of holidays. You make our days so much brighter with your kind comments and support. Thank you for being a part of our online family...we cherish your friendship more than we could ever express.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Santa Paws Is Coming To Town #CaturdayArt #SundaySelfie

And now our weekly answers for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and Four-Legged Furballs!

1. I’ll be depressed for Christmas. It's the happiest time of year for me but I'm always sad on the day itself because it's all over.

2. I am eager to see Mudpie open her gift.

3. ‘Twas the night before Christmas and I'm curled up on the couch with Mudpie watching a festive movie.

4. I will do some clearance shopping the day after Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

The Best Cats for Allergy Sufferers

When I was a little girl I went to an allergist where a scratch test was performed. For anyone who has never been through it, the doctor puts a tiny drop of a suspected allergen on your skin, then makes a small scratch to allow the allergen to get underneath it. If the area swells up and gets red, you’re allergic to that particular thing.

In my case I was allergic to pretty much everything they tested for – dust, mold, pollen, grass...and cats. Even though I was quite young at the time I still remember the follow-up appointment when the doctor asked my mother if we still had our family cat Patch. My mother replied with a very logical answer, “She’s allergic to things like pollen and grass. Is she supposed to never step outside and expose herself to them? That would be impossible, so why should she be deprived of living with something she loves as much as cats?” The doctor never asked about Patch’s living arrangements again.

Patch was a beloved member of our family and finding a new home for him was never an option. It was never even up for discussion. Thankfully my cat allergy was mild and 40 plus years later I’ve more or less outgrown it. (I can’t say the same thing for dust and pollen though!)

Maybe it’s the cat lover in me and I’m being unfair, but I’ve always felt that a lot of people use an allergy as a good excuse to not take on the responsibility of a pet. I understand that for many allergies can be very serious, even a life or death situation, but in milder cases there are many ways to deal with a pet allergy.

There's a lot of confusion and misinformation about what exactly causes an allergic reaction to cats. Many people believe it's cat fur they are allergic to, but the real culprit is a protein (Fel-d1) in the animal’s saliva, dander, and urine. Fur collects these allergens in addition to others like dust and pollen. During the grooming process this protein is spread throughout their fur, and when a cat sheds or dander falls off them, the allergen is deposited into the environment.

Unfortunately there is no such thing as a 100% “hypoallergenic” cat (or dog, for that matter), but some breeds are widely accepted as causing fewer allergy symptoms than others, possibly because these breeds naturally have less Fel-d1.

  • The Sphynx is considered less allergenic because it’s hairless and allergens can’t get trapped in their fur, but these cats still require regular grooming to remove oil on the skin and wax in the ears.
  • How can the Siberian with its long, beautiful coat be an option for allergy sufferers? Surprisingly, they shed very little and their skin produces less Fel-d1 than most other breeds, as do Russian Blue and Balinese cats.
  • The Cornish Rex possesses only the soft down hair that makes up most cat’s undercoats, meaning they have a lot less hair than other cats and therefore shed less. The Devon Rex has a similar coat, also consisting of soft, fine down hair, and little to no top coat.
  • Like the Cornish and Devon Rex, Javanese cats have only one of the three layers of coat that most cats have. The difference is that Javanese cats have a fine top coat instead of an undercoat.
  • Oriental Shorthairs have a very short, fine coat that sheds infrequently.
  • The beautiful Bengal has a short pelt-like coat that requires considerably less maintenance than other breeds with zero to minimum shedding. Since the Bengal is a hybrid (part domestic cat and part Asian Leopard Cat), it’s believed their allergen-causing proteins may be different enough to not cause a reaction.
  • The LaPerm has a unique, curly coat which helps keep their dander from spreading around.

Regardless of breed, male cats tend to produce more Fel-d1 than females, especially intact males. Light-colored cats may produce less of the allergy-inducing protein than dark-colored cats. It’s also believed that long-haired cats release fewer allergens into their environment than short-haired cats because their long fur holds the protein against the skin better.

These are all generalizations of course, and individual cats may produce more allergens than average members of their breed, so a person with cat allergies may still suffer from symptoms when exposed to a member of a so-called “hypoallergenic” breed. No one wants to adopt a cat only to have to return them because of an allergy, so you should always spend extra time with any cat you plan to bring home to gauge your reaction to them.

Don’t let allergies stand in the way of the joy of living with a cat. There’s a purrfect match out there for most anyone, and kitty cuddles are worth the time and effort to find yours!

Do you know anyone with a cat allergy?
Have they still managed to cohabitate with a feline friend?

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Book Review: Murder on the Santa Claus Express by Mandy Morton

Hettie and Tilly are invited to host a Christmas Eve murder mystery aboard the Santa Claws Express. No sooner has the train left the station at Mogbury-on-the-Tilt than our two feline detectives are caught up in a murderous family feud between the Shuttles and the Stokers.

Is the ghost of Hornby Stoker haunting the line? Are there enough sausage rolls in the Biscuit Jar Buffet? Who will hit the buffers at Hissingford Holt? And will Hettie and Tilly’s Christmas be derailed?

Join our tabby heroes as they plough their way through red herrings, hot chestnuts and snowbound platforms in a hunt for a festive fiend who will stop at nothing.

While it goes without saying that my favorite mysteries are cat cozies, this series goes a step beyond that with the entire cast of characters comprised solely of cats. That's this little world there are no people, just cats. Book me a one way flight, please!!!

This Christmas novella makes a purrfect respite from the chaos of the holiday season as readers are invited to join Hettie and Tilly on a holiday train ride for a charity murder mystery event. It doesn't take long before the real murders begin and it's up to the proprietors of The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency to catch a killer. The mystery is a delightful tribute to "Agatha Crispy," but it's the first chapter that depicts how the cats first met on a cold, snowy Christmas Eve, and the last chapter with a surprising twist, that really brought a lump to my throat.

While reading these brilliant little stories I find myself completely absorbed in Hettie and Tilly's cozy world; I only wish I could grab a mug of cocoa and join them in purrson. Each kitty has their own unique cat-like personality, resulting in books are unlike any cat cozy you've ever read, guaranteed!

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Not Ready for My Close-Up #SundaySelfie

Meows from Mudpie!

My selfie this week cracks Mommy up. Just as she helped me snap it I decided to do a little shakey-shake, and my loose furs went flying in all directions. The camera didn't do a very good job capturing them, but you can see some in the lower right! 

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

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Feline Frosty #CaturdayArt

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

And now our weekly answers (all answered by Mommy this week) for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and Four-Legged Furballs!

1. A Christmas pet peeve I have is people complaining about Christmas merchandise on store shelves too early (in their opinion). If you don't like it, no one is forcing you to look at it. Some of us can't wait to see it.

2. I don't like spending money on anything I can do myself. I go to the landfill/recycle center so I don't have to pay to have it picked up, I mow the lawn and shovel/plow the driveway myself so I don't have to pay someone to do it, I trim my own hair, I cook my own meals unless I have a really, really good coupon. 

3. I eat my fair share of anything peppermint this time of the year.

4. I hope for the best when wrapping Christmas gifts. Not something I'm especially good at!

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Unboxing November's CatLadyBox

The theme of November's CatLadyBox was Cats in the's what was inside!

Featured Cat Lady Artist:

Cat Person Tee:
The purrfect recipe!

Cat Paper Towel Holder:
This could be used in the bathroom for toilet paper too!

Black Cat Wall Hooks:
These little cuties are non-removable so I haven't decided yet where to hang them.

Kitty Strainer:
The purrfect size for straining single servings.

Colossal Choco Chip Cookie & Boopin' Broccoli Catnip Toys:
The broccoli is just the right size for bopping around the room, which Mudpie loves to do, and the cookie is so big and flat she uses it as a pillow in her cat bed!

Cats for Everyone Holiday Tee 2023:
I chose this t-shirt as an add-on to my November box. I had to have it! 

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.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Mudpie Interviews...Bailey from Kallie E. Benjamin's Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery Series


When a murder unleashes a widespread investigation through Crosbyville, children’s book author Pris and her trusty bloodhound, Bailey, must sniff out the truth before the whole town goes to the dogs.

After deciding that life as a teacher wasn’t right for her, Priscilla found inspiration for her first children’s book in her three-year-old bloodhound’s nose for truth, and so The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound was born. After the book’s massively pawsitive response led Pris to move back to her hometown of Crosbyville, Indiana, to continue the series, she’s surprised by how things have changed in the town, but even more so how they haven’t.

Pris is frustrated to discover that newly elected school board trustee Whitney Kelley—a former high school mean girl—is intent on making Crosbyville more competitive by eliminating “frivolous spending” on the arts and social programs, including Pris and Bailey’s beloved pet-assisted reading program. A minor altercation between them isn’t anything unusual, but after Bailey sniffs out Whitney’s body in a bed of begonias, locals start hounding Pris and Bailey as suspects for the crime.

With Bailey’s sharp senses and Pris’s hometown know-how, can they prove to the community that they’re all barking up the wrong tree?

Mudpie was very excited to have the opportunity to interview Bailey, the canine star of this series. We hope you enjoy learning more about him!

Welcome, Bailey! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Pris?

Hello, Mudpie. Thank you for the invitation. As you know, my name is Bailey, and I’m a bloodhound. Bloodhounds are scent hounds. Humans believe that bloodhounds descended from hounds that were bred by monks in Belgium at the Abbey of Saint Hubert. But, that was such a long time ago, that no one can really be sure, and I don’t speak French. They say we were originally bred to hunt deer, wild boar, and rabbits. However, our superior tracking ability demonstrated that we were far more valuable in tracking people. Since the Middle Ages, bloodhounds have been used to track lost or missing people and escaped prisoners.

Anyway, I’ve been with my human, Priscilla Cummings, for three years. She was an elementary school teacher, and I could tell immediately that she was lonely. Teaching little humans is a lot of work and I don’t think everyone appreciates everything that teachers do. Well, it didn’t take long for Pris to see that I’m really good at finding things. When it comes to finding lost items, I’m at the top of the pack. Pris was inspired to write a children’s book featuring me. It’s called The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound, Pet Detective. Of course, it has been highly successful. The kids love me. 

What's a typical day like for you? 

Pris and I went through a lot of training (mostly for her benefit. I caught on quickly). Afterward, I got a special vest. Pris says it’s my working vest. When she puts it on me, I have to focus on finding whatever human has wandered off. She calls that Search and Rescue. Sometimes, I go to school and listen while the young humans read to me. Pris said that’s called Pet Assisted Therapy. Other times, we go to hospitals or libraries and put on demonstrations. When we’re done, I get a special treat. It’s a good job and I enjoy it, especially because I get to spend more time with Pris. 

It must be exciting to be the star of a series of children's books! How did that come about? 

The life of a bloodhound is quite interesting. There are so many amazing scents out there, but humans can’t smell them. They’ll just walk right by unless you stop them. I’ve found lots of great stuff that people have misplaced. Sometimes, I have to dig it up to get to it, but uncovering buried treasure is no problem at all for me (I’m a great digger). One day, Pris noticed that I had uncovered a lot of lost items. That’s when she started writing it down. She made it into a story and sent it to a woman she calls a literary agent. The next thing you know, kids were coming up to me and calling me, Bailey the Bloodhound, Pet Detective. Some kids want pictures. Most of them just like pulling on my ears. It’s tough, but thanks to me, Pris is going to be able to quit her job and write about me full-time. So, that’s cool. Plus, whenever she gets something called a royalty check, she buys me expensive liver treats. 

And now you're also the star of a mystery series too! Tell us about Sniffing Out Murder

One day, Pris and I were having our morning constitutional through the park, when I got hold of a scent. It was the scent of a woman I’d met the previous day. She wasn’t a very nice lady. She yelled at Pris and said some unkind things about me, too. If I weren’t such a good boy, I would have loved to have taken a bite out of her, but I didn’t. Not even when she deliberately stepped on my tail. Although, I did turn and give her a piece of my mind. I’ve discovered that humans don’t speak canine, so I growled and showed my teeth so she would know that I wasn’t happy. Anyway, we were walking through the park and I picked up her scent. I followed it to a begonia bed. She wasn’t a nice lady, but I don’t hold grudges. I let bygones be bygones and I dug and dug until I was able to pull out her shoe and show it to Pris. If it hadn’t been for me, no one might ever have found the lady. I haven’t heard anyone mention anything about a medal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave me one for finding her. 

Do you use your talents as a bloodhound to help Pris solve the murder? 

Absolutely. In fact, because of my exceptional ability to distinguish scents, I was able to find several important clues that helped Pris figure out Whodunit. 

What are some of your favorite things to do when you're not sleuthing? (Toys, treats, nap spots...) 

When I’m not solving mysteries, I love to eat, take naps, and lay on the floor while my human rubs my tummy. I like to listen to stories, too. I enjoy it when the little humans read to me. But my most favorite thing to do is to follow scents. We moved into a new house and there are some new critters that like to roam across the yard. There’s one impudent little squirrel that I’ve been trying to meet, but he just tosses nuts on my head and climbs higher up in the tree, but one day. . .

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

The human who writes about Pris and me, Kallie E. Benjamin, is working on another adventure of ours. There was a festival in the town where we live, Crosbyville, Indiana. The festival is on the estate of a wealthy man. Well, I can’t tell you everything that happens, yet. However, I can tell you that I play a very important role in figuring out this mystery, too.


About the Author:

Kallie E. Benjamin (Valerie Burns) is the author of the Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery series. The first book, Sniffing Out Murder releases on December 5, 2023. Valerie is an Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, and Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist. Writing as V. M. Burns she is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery, Dog Club Mystery, and RJ Franklin Mystery series. Writing as Valerie Burns, she is the author of the Baker Street Mystery series. Valerie is also an adjunct professor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie now lives in Northern Georgia with her two poodles.

Author Links:







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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Caturday Art

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

And now our weekly answers (all answered by Mommy this week) for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and Four-Legged Furballs!

1. Some of my favorite Christmas songs are White Christmas and Elvis' If Every Day Was Like Christmas.

2. I like to watch Rudolph and Muppet Christmas Carol every year at Christmastime.

3. I would call this the most wonderful time of the year.

4. If I were on Santa's naughty list, it would probably be because I have a very short fuse on the road. Are people getting their driver's licenses from Cracker Jack boxes nowadays???

Thursday, December 7, 2023

2023 Holiday Gift Guide for Tortie Lovers

For the past several years I've created gift guides for tortie lovers which have ended up being some 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!)

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

2023 Holiday Gift Guide for Cats & Cat Ladies from Etsy

Meows from Mudpie!

Can you believe Christmas is less than 3 weeks away??? While browsing Etsy for the purrfect gift for Mommy, I found several things that any cat mom (and the cats that love them) would love to find under the tree on Christmas morning...or to treat yourself with and make sure you get exactly what you want! I also included a little cute kitty Christmas decor to my list because they make pawsome gift ideas too!


Looking for more ideas? Check out a few of our collections!

We hope you enjoy our picks, and don't forget, if you find something here you like and make a purchase using our affiliate links, I get a little money for my piggy bank so I can buy something special for Mommy for Christmas!