|Cats are magical creatures. An artist and a writer’s
dream. I have rendered them in stained and etched
glass, quilt designs, embroidery, line drawings and
paintings. Mostly though, I have written of them. In this
last endeavor, however, I have some mystifying doubts.
I’m not really sure what came off my keyboard was what
I thought up—or what they thought up. The cats, that is.
And if you have cats--of whatever stripe--you know what
For instance, the initial concept for The Merry Maines
was a story about a big Maine Coon, my own beloved
Hawkeye, and a Siamese, that was originally titled The
Princess With the Talking Tail. However, when it made
its way into typescript, it had become a tale about a
gaggle of Maine Coons in and about a cattery in the
state of Maine and a very royal little Korat. Now where
the Korat came from I have no idea. I simply looked at
my clipboard where everything gets written in longhand
for a first draft and there she was. I knew what a Korat
was, mind, but it had never occurred to me to
incorporate one into my story of life in a Maine Coon
cattery. Siamese I had owned—well: lived with—but
about a Korat, I knew next to nothing. I have to confess
that it wasn't until after The Merry Maines was
published that I managed to acquire one. Yet, having
done so, I did get it right. Which makes me very
suspicious. About who was writing these stories, I mean.
So I thought you all might like to see the cast of
characters who inspired these three books. All of
them have lived with me at one time or another, all
very beloved and well remembered. Some of them
are still here, some have gone to live with friends
and one or two, alas, have gone to the Rainbow
Bridge and so this is in remembrance of them. “So
many cats?” you may be asking. Well, yes. I used to
raise them. My cattery is now closed but a "Hard
Core" of resident felines remains, my subjects for
painting, drawing, sewing, rendering in stained
glass and writing. And life would not be the same
without them. I hope I never have to live without
cats--and maybe a few kittens passing through.
However, I need to add two caveats here. Do
please remember these books are FICTION. No
responsible breeder ever lets his or her cats run
loose outside unless constrained in an enclosure of
some kind. And no breeder will sell a kitten to
anyone who doesn't swear on one's first born child
that he/she will always keep their new feline inside.
For the purposes of plot and the way cats used to
be kept in Maine, some of my character cats do get
But not in reality. Life is just too dangerous outside.
No matter how careful an owner might be, if a
beloved pet simply touches noses with a stray who
has FIV or Feline Leukemia, that's a death
I won't even mention dogs, raccoons, opossum,
foxes and the like--nor automobiles. I think you get
the picture. You will have paid a lot of money(or not;
getting a rescue instead) for a kitten or cat a
breeder has worked very hard to love and raise for
you so do not treat it carelessly. Take care of your
cat, whatever the breed! Do not let it outside.
One other plea from this writer. DO NOT DECLAW
YOUR CAT OR KITTEN! That is mutilation. Vets
don't take just the claw; they take the poor
creature's whole first knuckle. You wouldn't slice off
a dog's toenails if he dug up the garden or
scratched the couch so accord your cat the same
courtesy. There are an awful lot of nerve endings in
those big paws and there's no way any vet can
keep from cutting some of them- -which can
condemn a cat to a life of pain. Just keep them in
scratching posts. Cats really are bright. They can be
taught. And nail clippers are not expensive. If your
furniture is your first love--get an aquarium. Or a
gerbil. Don't get a cat.
The Merry Maines- A Shaggy Cat Story
Sing A Song Of Sixpence
and The MerryMaines Go Country!
However, most writers will confess, if a bit reluctantly,
to being used in this manner. One plays “what if,”
does a rough draft with pen on paper and behold, the
Gods of Felinity (or their muse) take over. The story
and the characters just seem to invent themselves
and while the writer might have some idea about
where the plot is going, it’s the cats themselves who
define the tale. If I didn’t know better, I’d believe that it
is I who was being programmed by this very wizardly
species. To wit: “who’s in charge here?” Well, any
and every cat ‘owner’ can come up with the answer to
that question. It’s a given.
As I said, cats are magical creatures. THey're also
pushy, imperial, goat-headed and very sure of
themselves-- and would we have it any other way?
A cheeky Hawkeye says...
|The Merry Maines, The Moosery, Sing A Song
Of Sixpence and The MerryMaines Go
Country are not only available on Amazon,
they are also on the data base of most
bookstores and online book sellers so that
while they might not be on shelves, they can
be ordered locally. And the books are now all
Now meet the cast of characters...