Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cool Cats

Bideawee is an animal adoption center in New York City that has a web cam and remote-controlled toys set up in one of their kitty rooms. Visitors to the web site can have a 2-minute play date with the cats that are up for adoption by entering a special chat room and controlling the toys from there while watching via the web cam. While you only get two minutes at a time to play with the cats, you can join the queue of cyber visitors as many times as you like and have virtually as many play dates as you want. I love the internet.

I also love cats, so I have to mention how much I enjoyed reading Sleight of Paw, Sofie Kelly's second novel, which continues the story of small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson. Kathleen is trying very hard not to become Mayville Minnesota's crazy cat lady. Only Kathleen has two furry feline friends at home, Owen and Hercules, who aren't what anyone would consider normal (unless your cats can turn invisible or walk through walls and doors.)

Right now Kathleen is trying to decide if she wants to return to the life she left behind in Boston, or stick with the new one she's made for herself in Mayville. She loves her friends, her job and her cats, and there might even be something brewing between her and fellow cat lover, police Detective Marcus Gordon (Kathleen is in denial, but I'm pretty sure there is.) But Mayville doesn't seem quite as cozy or friendly when Kathleen discovers the body of an elderly woman, one who devoted her entire life to helping others in the town -- one of whom may have murdered her.

I love cat stories where felines are portrayed like their real-life counterparts but come with a little something extra. It's that lagniappe that we cat lovers suspect they possess but can never actually prove. That probably only makes sense if you're owned by a cat. The two-legged characters in this series are also becoming like old friends, and the puzzle in this one was totally absorbing -- and not that easy to solve, either; at some point I think I suspected almost everybody in the story except Kathleen. I think Sofie Kelly (aka our blogpal Darlene Ryan) really delivers with this one.

Together Bideawee and Sofie have given me an idea of something different to do with the extra Nightshine ARCs I have on hand. In comments to this post, tell us something about a pet you've loved (or, if you've never had a pet, toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Friday, October 21, 2011. I will draw three names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners a signed ARC of Nightshine by yours truly, an unsigned copy of Sleight of Paw by Sofie Kelly (and if you haven't read the first book, Curiosity Thrilled the Cat, I'll throw in an unsigned copy of that one, too.) By entering this giveaway you'll be helping animals as well, as I will donate one dollar for every comment left for this giveaway, up to a maximum of $100.00, to Bideawee. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.


  1. Thats very generous of you.

    The timing is so perfect because I blogged about my dogs this week. Our pets are the most wonderful gifts on earth. My dogs teach me everyday, how to live life.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Anonymous2:55 AM

    Hobbes is seventeen; she has arthritis and asthma and only one good tooth, but she's still got enough cattitude to terrify a dog about eight times her size.

  3. Anonymous3:00 AM

    I never used to be a pet person as I was never allowed to have any when I was growing up, but all that has changed now and I adore animals of all sorts. I am currently owned by a spoiled Mastiff mix named Murphy, she's about to turn 2 years old on Halloween and she has stolen my heart.

    My mother in law bought her from the back of a van in a Walmart parking lot when we were visiting for Christmas, and I know you aren't supposed to do things like that, but as soon as I saw her I knew she needed to be with me and my family. My kids knew it too and that's why Grandma was so easily convinced! She was the teeniest runt and too cute for words. We nursed her to good health and took her back to our then home in VA. She thinks she is like a person (sitting upright on the couch, sleeping with her head on a pillow, cuddling stuffed animals) and she loves my children beyond comprehension, actually pining for them when they have to leave for school each day. Murphy is a wonderful friend and has enriched our lives in so many ways. I never used to understand how people could become so attached to an animal but I sure know now!

  4. I'm a vet student, so have had lots of pets. In honor of the season- one of our current cats, Joey, loves people. At halloween he runs to the door to meet trick-or-treaters. Last year we dressed him up as a pumpkin... a slightly annoyed pumpkin. It didn't stop him from greeting people though, and all of the kids loved him!

  5. Now this is a toughie. I have always been a big-time animal lover and I could bore you for hours on end with kitty and doggy stories. In lieu of that I'll just tell you about our latest addition to the family. Mr. Ruggles, our Norwick Terrier. Even though he is a boy, he hasn't had any examples of how boy doggies relieve themselves. This morning we took him on a walk and he had to mark our route. he started off stretching to do his business (his normal method), after several stops this way, he tried lifting his front right leg, next he lifted his front left leg and finally by the time we were almost home, he actual lifted his back leg. He got a treat for that and much encouragement. He has been a joy, cracking us up every day.

  6. Anonymous5:25 AM


  7. Anonymous5:27 AM

    Oops - that went shouldn't have happened. What I meant to say was Sleight of Paw sounds very intriguing so would love to enter a draw for it. Also, is there an address where I could put a few dollars Bidawee's way in memory of my own two cats? (Both of them, well, died very recently).

  8. I had a gentle kitten who died tragically when a dog broke his back (it was an accident). I wanted to rush him to the vet, but my dad knew he wouldn't make it, so I held him and talked to him until he died in my arms.

    I was a child then, but I could swear that night I saw his ghost walk right up to me, sniff my foot, and disappear.

    Sorry for the sad story to start out...

  9. dadwhowrites wrote: is there an address where I could put a few dollars Bidawee's way in memory of my own two cats?

    They have an online donation page (click here to go directly to it) but you can also send a check or money order made out to Bideawee to:

    410 East 38th Street
    New York, NY 10016

    For further info, you can also call them at: (212) 532-4455

  10. What a great post. I have two dogs who barely tolerate each other but are so loveable and special. Guido, the Maltese thinks that he is royalty and is not a dog at all but a king. Bogie, the sweetest, smartest, mini looking mix, german shepherd, chihuaha is a philosopher and extremely sensitive and wise.

  11. Fran Kane7:51 AM

    We had a wonderful Yorkshire Terrier when I was a kid. His Kennel Club name was MacDominic .... III, can't remember the whole thing as we used to call him Dommy, or when he was chewing my socks, Dominic! He was bigger than your average Yorkie and his ears wouldn't stick up for love nor money, but we adored him. He used to terrify visitors to the house, until they saw him - small dog, big noise. Wow, just thinking about has brought back a whole slew of memories. I haven't thought about him or my childhood in years. Thank you for that!

  12. bluebamboo8:07 AM

    Oh gosh, where do I start? Like another poster said, I could talk for hours about all my pets. But I think I'll go with a funny story:

    When I was 10, we had a black Lab. One afternoon he and I were alone in the living room. I was reading -- and he was gnawing contentedly on the corner of my mother's wooden coffee table.

    She walked in, stopped in her tracks, and said in shock, "What are you DOING?" We both stopped dead and stared at her. It honestly hadn't occurred to me to tell our dog to stop!

    To this day I don't know which of us my mother was talking to, but it remains a funny memory. Then again, maybe I find it funny because it wasn't my coffee table. :)

  13. Anonymous8:40 AM

    As we moved constantly as a child and in those days it was difficult enough to find landlords willing to rent to military but military and kids was an even tougher challenged but military, kids & pets almost impossible so we survived by loving our neighbors animals. Our next door neighbor has a true animal lover and true softie. A mother dog brought her the runt of the little and barked and barked until she came out of her house to get him. He fit in the palm of her hand. We managed to stay there for 6 years and our houses were only divided by a fence with large space so we were able to pet and play with Herman. He was always in trouble so we decided he needed a middle name just like us so that when he got in trouble his "mom" could give him the full treatment so he became Herman Matthew Fox. We were shattered when my dad got orders and we had to move but Herman continued to send us Christmas and birthday cards while is "mom" was alive. Just typing this brought a large smile to my face and a tear to my eye. Thanks for letting me remember so many, many fun times.


  14. If I started telling you about all the pets I've loved, we'd be here all day. Right now, I've got the two cats - Kira the inside princess and Max the outdoor scrapper. We picked up Kira from a rescue organization in Utah. Her and her litter mates had been left outside the dog pound at 3wks old without their mother. Max was an abused stray who picked us, so we got his broken jaw fixed and got some groceries in him. Now he's ours. =o)

  15. I love my cats Argie and Gus so much, I created a website for them (, but my first true pet love was a scruffy little mutt named CoCo. Her favorite game was to chase bubbles. I would buy the giant bottle of bubbles and keep it by the front door. She'd go ballistic if I asked her if she wanted to chase bubbles. She'd leap in the air after them and get so excited she'd start running in circles. If I stopped for too long, teasing her by holding the bubble wand but not blowing bubbles, she'd come up and bark and me, scratching her back paws in the grass. She had a lot of attitude. I was blessed with CoCo for almost 17 years and lost her to kidney failure in 2006. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her still.

  16. I lost a loveable live fur rug in Alfie this year. He was crazy and energetic and loved to be fussed for hours. He was an old dog when we got him but he learnt new tricks and would high five and shake paws.
    You're really awesome for donating money to help animals.

  17. The sweetest cat I'd ever had, Sapphire, died suddenly last fall. On Tuesday I took her to the vet because she seemed a little out of sorts and on Saturday we had to put her down due to massive liver tumours. She was a gorgeous tortoiseshell with hardly any meow but the loudest purr anyone had ever heard.

    I still miss her. We did get another cat and I love her too but Sapphire was one in a million

  18. I've had a few 'babies' over the years but the most recent one to leave is the most on my mind. Scout, also known as Dozer for several reasons, knew he was the king of all dogs as a greyhound but had been treated badly by people. I met him in a crowd of rescues where he was hiding in a corner while his buddies crowded around me once I got down on their level. As the seven other pups jostled for my attention, I felt a nudge at the back of my arm. Then this adorable long black & white nose worked it's way under my arm and proceeded to continue on into my heart. Thus my scaredy baby chose me. He left a year ago but keeps coming back to check on me daily.

  19. clairecherven9:36 AM

    I kind of adopted my brother's dog, Shenna, after my brother died.
    Everytime I let her out, she ran to my brother's house waiting for him to return. I joked that his house was for sale for $1 but the dog sitting near the back porch cost $200,000. because she came with the house! After the sale she stayed at my house (with a pile of his clothes for a bed) but came alert whenever she heard a motorcycle drive up the road. People should be so dedicated to each other.

  20. I've got two great, literary cats, Gatsby and Mina. Gatsby sits on the books I read and Mina tries to chew on them. (Sorry library for those teeth marks!) Gat the Cat has been a huge trooper with me through a bunch of life changes and Mina is a newer addition but I couldn't imagine life without either of them.

  21. Pinky is an all white male cat with a pink nose,ears and paw pads. A vet tech saved him from the freeway and my daughter was working there at the time and we took Pinky in. He would not allow you to pet him if he was sitting in your lap (he would bite). But we loved him anyway. One day when we came back from shopping we walked in the living room and I looked at Pinky. I turned to my daughter and asked "Isn't our cat white." She gives me a strange look like "Mom is going crazy." I point at the black cat sitting in the floor. Come to find out Pinky likes to roll in the ashes left in the fireplace. If he can get dirty, he finds a way and he loves it. We have our hands full keeping him white.

  22. Anne V.10:25 AM

    My Wash (Hoban Washburn II for any Firefly fans) grabbed me in the pet store and demanded to be taken home. Now I have a 20 pound tom who is scared of everything from water to socks on the floor. He adopted his own kitty when a stray kitten got into our house. He grabbed her, squashed her in place and proceeded to give her a bath; she has loved him madly ever since.

  23. I have two Bengal cats named Max and Harley. They won't drink water from a bowl. It has to be running water. Harley likes to fetch when you throw a bottle cap. Max loves to play with paper.

  24. I grew up with a dog named Coco, he was just a year older than I was. We always with us and he died old age when I was in high school.

  25. I'm getting a lump in my throat reading everyone's wonderful stories. As Lynn told you all, Sofie Kelly is my alter ego. I'm so inspired by Lynn's generosity, that I'm adding an extra bonus. For every comment left for this giveaway I'll donate a dollar to Feline Rescue in Minnesota, the state where the Magical Cat Mysteries are set, up to a maximum of $100.00. Feline Rescue saves and cares for abandoned cats. They are a no kill organization that relies on donations for all their funding.

  26. Susanne11:10 AM

    Never had a pet of my own but I loved my son´s speech therapists dog.
    She is a big white and black mix and my son and her were at the time of about the same hight. Usually they were both on the floor and Luna was a very patient, soft and warm "pillow" for my son and helped him relax.
    I am sure that Luna helped my son immensely - just by being there.

  27. I've had quite a few pets over the years, but right now we just have two cats (and a dog and a rabbit). My kitty died last year after a sudden illness, and I still want him back!

    Lucky was a black cat with a little patch of white on his chest, who appeared at our house one cold, rainy October night as a kitten. He was soaking wet, and I brought him in, dried him off, and he moved in like he owned the place.

    He used to climb up on my desk or chair, stand up on his hind paws, and put his front paws up for a hug. Still miss him, and though my guy has said I could get another one, it isn't the right time house-wise, and I'm not ready for it yet anyway.

    Word verification: mortedoo
    Morte is doo-doo all right, that's for sure!

  28. My children want a dog now, but they have allergies. so the doctor said NO pets.

    My family had a cat growing up and all I remember is that Cats are so independent and single minded about stuff. Very intelligent animals.

    My dog Sierra had been lazy and liked to chill. I miss her!

  29. I am a dog lover....the proud owner of two wonderful labs. My boys never cease to amaze me with their love and intelligence

  30. Right now I live in an apt complex that houses a bunch of college students. There's a cat that walks around from door to door all the time, begging for attention. I've noticed that sometimes he has a collar with his name and info and sometimes he doesn't, and it cracks me up to think about a poor exasperated student trying to keep tabs on this cat, and he just walks around saying hi to everyone, getting rid of his collar at the first opportunity, living life as free as he can :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

  31. As kids we didn't have pets despite recurring and passionate pleading. One morning my Mum went into my brother's room to wake him up for school and reeled with the stench - he'd bought himself a desert mouse in secret the day before and kept it hidden and apparently it was a particularly potent male mouse and .... well, you can imagine the rest. The mouse was returned to the zoo shop and half a year later we had a dog. Our parents' argument was that it was better to have one big pet for the whole animal than for all five of us to have small ones that cannot travel during vacations and require much more care.

    Our first dog, Wotan, passed away eight years ago and my parents almost immediately got a new one - they couldn't bear the thought of not having a dog.

  32. I have had many fur babies in my lifetime, currently between dogs as my husband is allergic and my daughter is afraid of dogs. I have two dog angel tattoos on my back, one is Leetah, my first dog (German Shorthair). The other one is Sophie, a lab mix. When I have the time and money I will add Tazi and Orson, newfie mixes. They are beautiful tributes to the ones I love. I hate to pick a favorite, but Tazi was special. He was my constant companion through a divorce, and once I caught him playing by himself out in the yard with a toy cowboy hat...this from the dog who would let balls bounce right off of his head, being totally uninterested in playing 'dog games' He also stole the Easter ham right off the table as a puppy, without even breaking stride. I miss that dog every day!

  33. My Sheltie, Missy, loved to play frisbee. We would have to stop playing long before she wanted, because she would run until should couldn't walk the next day. (One trip to the vet and some cortizone shots convinced us we had to protect her from herself.)

    When we got Regan, our Border Collie, the game changed a little. Regan was a little bigger and faster than Missy, so she always managed to get to the frisbee first and to catch it. But then, she didn't know what to do with it. She would catch the frisbee, then drop it and try to herd it back to us. After a minute or two of that, she would give up and let Missy pick the thing up and bring it back to me. Missy always seemed so exasperated with Regan, for not "playing right".

    They are both long gone now, but this memory always makes me smile.

  34. I've never been owned by a cat, but my sister has. Tiger acts like a dog in that she gives you kisses and has even let my sister take her out on the leash for walks. She is also very vocal and she and I have had long conversations. I fear I'm like the protagonist in the book- if I get one cat, the next thing I know, I'll own many.

  35. $1 to Bideawee! And now I need to go have a virtual playdate. Also, how did I not know about these cat mysteries? Thank you for adding to my Must Reads.

    Right now our cat is a constant companion to the baby and it's fairly hilarious. He tries to stretch out behind her on the Boppy. He snuggles in the lap of whoever is holding her. He nuzzles her head and purrs at her while she flails at him. It's adorable.

  36. That's a fabulous idea to get people "face" time with potential kitties. Must be extra good for people with species specific allergies like me so they can meet the cat without getting the other allergens.

    Talking about one cat is always difficult, but because of the context, I'll tell you how we added Fawkes to our family.

    We had just lost my first cat as an adult (a friend needed to find a home for him when her boyfriend wouldn't let him stay :p), and I knew I was not allergic to Siamese, of which we had none, and I wanted a kitten who I could raise to my preferences. We were just looking at the local shelters, early stage thinking, but my hubby and two young boys fell in love with a medium hair half Maincoon who was listed as somewhere between 2 and 3 years old. Unlike the other cats, this one wanted to play. He was friendly, interested, and fun. He was as far from a short-haired, Siamese kitten as you could get, but he was too old for easy adoption, and too loveable to leave to the lifetime shelter group. Turns out he was more like ten than 3 as he died recently from old age, but I never regretted giving in that day.

  37. Cathy G6:44 PM

    I have always had pets and all have been rescues. My elderly cat passed away last year and she is dearly missed. Sassy was a lap cat and always seemed to know when I was upset; she would place her paws gently on either side of my mouth and rub her face against mine, purring madly.

  38. Anonymous8:01 PM

    Thanks for this giveaway Lynn. :)

    Star was my baby girl. She picked me at a cat rescue in Clarksville, TN. I had been through every room they had...until the very last I turned to leave... Star jumped from the top edge of the door...onto my right shoulder and said...'meow'...which translated meant...'my name is Star and you are mine, take me home now...' (At least that is what I heard :)

    Star left our world a year ago July. She was 12 years old. And i miss her every day and night.

    Star did many things and ot list them all would be a book..:)

    I have not read any of Sofie Kelly's books and would love the chance...and an ARC from you!? Bring it! :)

    thanks for being you.


  39. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Franklin adopted us from a rescue group here in Michigan. He likes to pretend he's an LOLcat and walks across computer keyboards.

    Sari from Michigan

  40. All my kitties have been "rescues." My Bandit just turned 17, and he's an amazing boy. He's a Siamese, and he's really smart, funny, talkative, and quirky.

    I'm from L.I., so I know all about Bideawee, and it's wonderul that you'll be donating to them!

  41. Anonymous11:38 PM

    Such great stories!My boxer puppy died earlier this year but my best memory of her is walking in the living room, and seeing Bailey standing completely on my 11 yr old brother's back (he had fallen asleep on the floor). It still makes me laugh when I remember how long she balanced herself. Thank you for the great contest.

  42. I have four cats, and a husband. We call ourselves the crazy cat couple. All our cats have different personalities. Haley is a Persian cat Princess who loves brushing the legs of new people to claim them as her own, but she hates other cats and growls at her "siblings" if they get near her. Vader is the opposite of his name-sake; we call him our best cat because he friendly to all, cuddly, and he doesn't act out. Our two other cats are from the same litter: Jayne (as in Jayne Cobb) and Oliver. Jayne is a fat cat who acts like he's stoned all the time. He is cuddly, but he also acts out in the night by playing with the closet or bathroom doors. His brother, Oliver, is an attention hog who has dominance issues. He has to get right up on your chest and force you to pay attention to I'm alone. He also acts out by playing with the bedroom window blind in the night, or literally walking all over us when we are trying to sleep.

    Our cats are like our children.

  43. Anonymous7:49 AM

    We found Nugget when he was a kitten small enough to fit in one hand - he grew to the size of a large rump roast.
    And then the socks began to disappear from their drawers. We'd find them under the couch, behind a plant, in the kitchen (!). As we had several pets, this was a mystery.
    And then we caught Nugget, walking down the stairs with a rolled-up pair of white knee socks in his mouth. YIKES! caught!
    My sock thief waited to die until I came home from graduate school - to say goodbye.

  44. M. Powell12:54 PM

    We adopted our cat, Bandit, from a local shelter a few months ago, and we enjoy her so much! My daughters endlessly spoil her! These books by Sofie Kelly have peaked my interest, now I'll have to read them!!!! Thanks for the intro to these books!

  45. Just by commenting you donate? Cool. I'm not a cat person but somehow I ended up inheriting one. His name is Zeke. Even declawed he is still a tyrant and runs the dogs off.

  46. When my husband and I were dating I bought him a German Shepherd that he named Daisy. We had lots of adventures with Daisy as a puppy. She hated the yard and ate a number of things that she shouldn't have in that first year or so.

    We had our first child when she was three and made a formal introduction between baby and pet when the baby was several weeks old. Daisy seemed terrified of the new addition to our family but eventually they became good friends. One of my favorite pictures is of our second son at about the age of two curled around Daisy as the they took a nap together. She was always great with the boys and if they were outside she was right with them. Since we lived in the country this was very comforting to me. Daisy has been gone for many years now as our oldest son is 27 but she will also hold a special place in my heart.

  47. Our gray cat Gandalf sat expectantly with us at the dinner table one night. It would be rude to slight so dignified and patient a guest, so I set a plate at his place and cut small bits of steak onto it. Gandalf waited for us to begin eating, then he extended one claw from a paw and snagged one bit of steak, bringing it to his mouth. He ate the rest of his dinner with us in the same fashion. That was 43 years ago and we miss him still.

  48. There are so many, but I'll share something from my first pet -- a spaniel mixed breed my parents (mostly my dad) got as a puppy while I was still a pup myself. Dad named him Scamper, and we grew up together.

    When I was five, my parents bought a house, and we moved from the trailer court to the house. It had two bedrooms. My sister and I shared the second bedroom. Two years later when my brother was born, to make room for him in the bedroom, and because I was so much older than both of them, my parents cleaned out a tiny room behind the dining room, and I got my own room. I was thrilled, but it was pretty scary being almost 8 years old and all alone downstairs in an old house. At night. I wanted to be a brave big girl, but I was pretty creeped out. More often that not, though, Scamper was in the house at night, and he would patrol the downstairs. Sometimes he would walk into my room and stand beside my bed. I could pet him and be comforted by his presence, because I knew that Scamper was only friendly to family. Nobody outside of family could get anywhere near Scamper. And that helped me continue to enjoy having my own room.

  49. Heather R7:16 PM

    My first cat living on my own was with me only a few short years.

    I loved Kaylee dearly, and was awake and in the same room with her when she suddenly passed away.

    She was the cat who turned my "not-a-cat-person" boyfriend into a gooey lump in her paws...

  50. I miss my big, red Dobe. Buster was the closest thing to a human with four legs I've ever known and I've had too many wonderful pets to list (dogs, cats, rabbits, rats...) Buster weighed 130 pounds and had the most intimidating look to his face, but was a baby all the time and though he's been three years gone, I still cry if I think about his too long.

    You're doing an awesome thing here, Lynn. :o)

  51. Anonymous9:29 PM

    I had a cat, Dagda, who went out on a leash. He would sit surrounded by bees and they never stung him.

  52. Anonymous12:05 AM

    I don't want in the contest but I just wanted to say how much I have really enjoyed everyone's stories of their pets. Thank you all for sharing. :)

    We are a cat family now, but when I was a kid we were the equal opportunity rescue family. Dogs, chickens, goats, cats, bunnies. Phew!

    (Don't tell anyone, but the pygmy goats were my favorite!) :) One of the goats and I would play a game where he'd stand on his hind legs and then come down like he was going to butt me with his horns and I'd meet him with my hand. We'd wrestle back and forth a little bit and then start all over again. (Pygmy goats = not as tough as they thought they were.)