By Liz, writing away on Claws for Alarm, the fifth Cat Cafe Mystery
I got a preview of a review last week from Kirkus.
As writers, I think it’s safe to say we all have a love/hate relationship with reviews. We simultaneously look forward to them and dread them. Many of us avoid reading the majority of them altogether. But when a Kirkus review lands in your inbox, you kind of have to pay attention, especially when the accompanying publisher commentary sounds promising.
The review was for A Whisker of a Doubt, my forthcoming Cat Cafe Mystery (#4). This book was a lot of fun for me to write – a Christmas-themed mystery centered on feral cats and their caretakers, a subject which is near and dear. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the review (one never is with Kirkus, after all), but I was optimistic.
It was an interesting review that basically summarized the book, but the one obvious takeaway was the line “Filled with crazy cat lady energy…”
I honestly wasn’t sure how I felt about it in the moments that followed. Of course it’s true that I’d been a crazy cat lady for a long time, and it’s not a title that I’m super fond of. Mostly because it tends to have negative connotations for us ladies who love/rescue cats. So of course, I brought it to my fellow Wickeds for their reaction. And being the wise ladies they are, they advised me to embrace it.
So I thought about it this weekend as I was changing litter boxes and cleaning cat vomit off my couch – you know, the things crazy cat ladies do pretty much every day. And I went back a couple decades to my first experiences having cats, from my very first two when I knew nothing about cats (Rico and Freddie, twin sisters who both lived to age 17) to my very first rescues (Pumpkin and Gypsy, my brother and sister team who also both lived to 16 and 17 respectively), which led me to my time in rescue.
Over the years, I worked at shelters and with various animal rescue agencies, served on boards and executive committees for a couple of those agencies, fostered more cats than I can even remember their names at this point, donated, transported, traipsed around various woods trapping feral cats, worked at feral cat clinics doing everything from giving vaccines to sterilizing instruments, and staged unconventional rescue missions.
I’ve also adopted my fair share of the cats I came into contact with over the years – from Tweetie, the triple-pawed chronically runny-nosed cat, to Ferris, who bit me on a regular basis, to Jack, the cat who showed up at the shelter in a bird box, to Junkyard Johnny, the impetus for the cat in the Cat Cafe books, to Tuffy, the cat who strolled into the backyard of my new house back in 2008 and who became the star of my Pawsitively Organic Mystery series.
There are also the fosters who never left, who ultimately became adoptees – like Snowy, who I rescued at age 12 and is now 25.
I’ve had cats who peed in my purse, cats who really weren’t nice to anyone (but I loved them anyway), cats who lived only a couple of years to cats who will probably outlive me. I’ve said goodbye to more of them than I can count, and I still miss them.
So I guess when you do the math, this all does add up to a crazy cat lady. It also adds up to a lot of lives saved, a lot of gratifying work, and a sense of having done good in the world.
These days, I only have four cats left (which is crazy considering how many cats used to share my house), but I have no doubt that even if the numbers stay small, the soundtrack of my life will always be full of purrs.
Being a crazy cat lady isn’t so bad after all.
Readers, what’s something you’re passionate about that will always be part of your life? Leave a comment below.