|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 sentence.
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
The MerryMaines Go Country!
The MerryMaines Down Home
Something Wicked This Way Comes
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 on Kindle!
Now meet the cast of characters...
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