Edith’s Feline Friends

By Edith Maxwell
North of Boston

To celebrate Liz’s launch week for Kneading to Die, we’re focusing on our pets.kneading

I’m a cat person. There’s no getting around it. I have met a few dogs in my past who I liked – ones who didn’t jump up on me, didn’t stick their noses in my crotch, didn’t rush me, and weren’t overly needy. But I prefer felines.

Preston helping me unpack my box of ARCs of TINE.
Preston helping me unpack my box of ARCs of TINE.
athena
Athena toward the end of her life.

In our house currently we have senior boy Preston, who is featured in my Local Foods Mysteries series, his little “sister” Christobel, and junior boy  Birdie. Our dear Athena, who was senior girl cat, passed away a year ago, after a disease that greatly diminished her formerly queenly self.

All of our cats are always rescue cats. Preston, a Norwegian Forest cat, had been mauled by a dog and was about to be put down when a vet surgeon said he could stitch him up. Hugh saw him at a foster home and was drawn in by his sweet nature. Christobel, who was a kitten when Hugh got her from a shelter about a year later, thinks

Christobel behind Preston at Christmas. They often array themselves in matching poses.
Christobel behind Preston at Christmas. They often array themselves in matching poses.

Preston is her big brother and adores him. He tolerates her and they often sleep curled up together. A construction worker found Birdie and his littermates without their mother when he nearly ran them over with a bulldozer. The worker scooped them and raced them to the shelter and only Birdie survived. He was bottle fed until I got him and named him Birdie because his purring turns into a chirp when he’s really happy.

When Hugh and I combined households six years ago, we thought the boys might have trouble getting along. They’re fine. It’s the girls who cause the problems! Athena and Christobel used to get in big fights. Christobel still doesn’t like Birdie invading her home and hisses at him when he gets too close.

Birdie helping me write.
Birdie helping me write.

I’m actually a bit allergic to the cats and when winter comes and all the closed windows and doors keep the allergens from escaping, I have to resort to my inhaler and an air purifier. And I have to wash my hands after I pet any of them so dander doesn’t get in my eyes accidentally. All three are long-haired breeds and Preston even has two layers of fur, which is why he likes to sit outside in the rain and snow. But I can’t imagine living without our little friends.

Cozy mysteries almost always feature a cat – check out Liz’s cover, for example! I hoped Preston would make it onto the cover of  A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die but the publisher had other thoughts.

Which do you prefer, dogs or cats? (I know Liz has both!) Or neither? And do you think cozy mysteries are obliged to feature a cat?

27 Thoughts

  1. I adore all animals but am 100% a cat person. I think cozies and cats just belong together 🙂 Nice meeting your darling fur babies, Edith!

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  2. I’m on the other end, a dog person all the way! I’m so allergic to the pretty cats we used to have–Guinevere, our Maine Coon, pushed me over the edge–that we stick to pups. We’ve had multiple breeds, mostly rescued mixes, Angus, a German Shepherd dog we adored, and our current resident is a goofy Italian Spinone named Radar, a real clown and sweet boy. I think a cozy can get by with any kind of pet but cats seem to hold the floor!

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  3. A lovely fur-family you have there. I’m a total dog person, although our latest arrival (a rescue, of course) came with so much emotional baggage she’s making me a little crazy..

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  4. Cats, definitely cats. Definitely rescues, too. We’re currently down to 2, a boy and a girl, littermates. I can’t imagine life w/out my babies. Seems like there’s almost always a kitty in every cozy – is that a cliche by now?

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  5. I’ve always had cats, and did add a dog to the mixture once. However, I’m back to two cats who rule the home, dictate my writing schedule, and always make me feel wanted (for my lap, feeding skills, petting, etc.) Of course, they made it into my series. Cats and copies — great!

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  6. This was just dear! I had to put my beloved Miss Priss to sleep two years ago August 9 – and often weep for her. She and I were soul mates. Thelma straw

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  7. Great topic! I love my two doxies – one of whom is a rescue and my brother and sister rescue kitties. Animals are in my world and in my natural remedies mysteries too!

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  8. I’m a crazy cat lady. First I had Snuggles, a 24-pound black cat. Now I have Felix (all black) and Boots (black/white tuxedo and mittens). I have a wicker basket on the computer table where I used to keep papers until Boots decided she wanted to curl up in it. Now it’s her spot when she’s not standing in front of the monitor. Every cozy needs a cat.

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  9. Edith, would it surprise you to know I’m allergic to cats too?? It hasn’t stopped me though! Couldn’t live without all the four-legged friends. Thanks for introducing everyone to your kids! xo

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  10. Your cats are so adorable. I like both dogs and cats but my cats always seem to have so much personality. My current orange cat is called Zoey from the Bronx and she could probably take any of the guys in the neighborhood. She thinks she’s a dog and follows me everywhere. Especially when I’m in plotting and plodding mode. She loves to share her input!

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  11. Fun to meet your adorable felines this way. They could grace a cat calendar.
    (our daughter always submitted our orange tabby to the shelter calendar, but he never was judged wall-worthy!)
    Since the time when I was a little girl in the country, living next to a dairy farm, when we couldn’t corral our 13 cats & kittens, I’ve been owned by cats.
    As for them sneaking their way into my cozy- in- progress I expect that to happen, especially since it’s set in a seaport, but oddly so far, there’s a dog in it!
    And I feel that a non-cat affinity writer can create a cozy without a cat, it just has to work much harder to be purrfect. Right?
    What a fun question you pose.

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  12. Hi Edith ~ Yes, we’re cat people too! So many over the years, and we adopted Basil (pron. Bazel) after his owner died. He runs the household and howls like a wolf when he doesn’t get his way!

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  13. Loved looking at your cozy fur babies! We have had six rescue cats, all from MRFRS in Salisbury. The first four were girls, all gone to Rainbow Bridge now. My little girl soulmate, Tnsing left me a year ago February and I miss her everyday. Now we have two boys, Pip and Harrison. They are lovely and VERY energetic. We had a rescue dog, Bernese Mountain Rottweiler cross. He was a great dog and didn’t bother the cats at all. He left us in 2010… don’t think we will ever find another dog that wonderful! I am a member of the Whittier Home in Amesbury and am really looking forward to meeting you and hearing you speak on June 6th!

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