Season Shifts; Kittens’ 1st Birthday

Wistful Franklin

That’s Franklin in January of 2020, looking towards the light. It’s different now of course. The outdoor photos will be in August, when we really begin to notice changing light. That’s our first sign of oncoming fall.

Kudzu begins to bloom

Last year I had a conversation with Frankie about kudzu. He thought he could go hide in the vines and catch deer, who feed on it. Nothing came of that.

Strangely floral

I enjoy the flowers although I know kudzu is widely disliked.

More than meets the eye

Haze, anyone?

After checking out the kudzu, we drove to the nearest post box in a slight fog.

Twilit curve

It was good to get out!

E-vening things out

We brought the first kittens inside at about 5 weeks of age in mid October last year. So they would have been born in early or mid-September and are now 1 year old! I still call them “The Kittens” and I always will, but they’re essentially grown cats. Although cats do still grow and develop somewhat after the 1st year rolls by.


These are older pics of The Kittens, in no particular time sequence.



Spooky balances like a wild thing on a lofty point where she can supervise all kittens below her!



Our feral pals

Uncle Jack and Mom Groucho.

So, Happy First Birthday, Kittens!

Late summer evening glow

Forest Sunset


Radiant Shelley

Shelley: Um, what’s that about kittens?

A note about getting my book:

UPDATE: September 25, As of today the books are back and the buy button is back on Amazon. Click “1 at 23.95” which leads to Borgo Publishing. Or, you can go directly to Borgo Publishing at the link under “Order the Catwoods Book . . .” Get yours fast before they run out again and have to order more with another delay.

UPDATE: Sept. 22, the publisher tells me the books have been shipped and that when they arrive the “buy” button will go back up on Amazon. There will now be possible (but not always) shipping delays of 25 days when ordering books. I personally prefer printed books and would be willing to wait that long for a printed book I wanted.

Sept. 17, 20202. There is a slow-down in the book industry that apparently affects indie books like mine which are print-on-demand. Yesterday the Catwoods listing at Amazon which reads “1 at 23.95” and leads to the publisher of the book, Borgo Publishing, vanished. I am told that the printers are all three weeks behind, so if you have ordered the book recently and it hasn’t arrived yet, it appears there will be a delay. I don’t know whether you can still order directly from the Borgo Publishing page, or their other pages. I am trying to find out. The used booksellers are charging higher prices than the retail cost. The cost is supposed to be 23.95 before tax and shipping. That may seen like a lot, but the book is 364 pages.

So if you can’t get through on Amazon please try the Borgo Publishing link, and if it doesn’t work, let me know. And please try again.

I prefer printed books myself. But I am working on making an electronic version of Catwoods. That would be great for readers outside the US, readers who need to be able to enlarge the print, and those who are down-sizing by using Kindle instead of printed books. But, this won’t happen fast. So please stay tuned.

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 58 Comments

Cats React to MUSE Award for Catwoods

Spooky wonders what this actually is

Spooky: Human catmom, did you just try to mew?

Me: No sweetheart, I said MUSE, it’s a MUSE Medallion. It’s for my book Catwoods, Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions, and it’s from the wonderful Cat Writers’ Association!

Aside to readers: This is my first year at CWA, my first book, and my first contest! So I’m thrilled and grateful to receive a Certificate of Excellence and the even harder to get MUSE Award! Because all cats are my inspiration, and every kitty we’ve ever lived with has been a Muse of sorts, I thought our present cats should see the medallion.

Moonpie mystified

Moonpie: Well I thought you said “mews” too!

Lynx inspection

Lynx: I’ll have a look and a sniff.

Lynx reporting

Lynx: Fascinating.

Me: You remind me of someone I used to see on TV, Lynx!

Boss is paws-on!

Boss: Hmm, it has a pleasant feel to my paw-pads.

Stripey the diplomat

Stripey: I’m sitting this one out! I’m not getting into a disagreement with those feisty sisters of mine! And I find this all a-muse-ing … could I have some popcorn while I watch?

Me: Um sorry Stripey, it’s “no” on the popcorn.

Franklin the playful cat guy!

Franklin: This is to play with, RAWR!

Spooky checks it out

Spooky: I’ll look again, but … hey I see a cat on there; I still say I heard you say “Mews”, or was that the metal cat trying to mew?

Catwoods with the MUSE Medallion sticker!

Me: Uh, here’s the book with the MUSE Medallion sticker, Spooky.

Spooky’s fuming a bit

Spooky: Well, Phssssst and Hmmmpft then. You sure do crow about that book a lot! When you’re not trying to mew like us, that is …

Aside to readers: In real life, I hear mews all the time, so I think the cats are actually happy about the MUSE Award. (LOL I may be as mixed up about the sounds as Spooky is, not to mention, reality.) If you’d like, consider getting the book, it does help us care for the kitties. Just click the picture at the upper right of the page or go to the “Order the Catwoods book online” page.

A rare photo of all five kittens together. Many thanks to the hubs for contributing this and another picture to this post:

Lynx, Boss, Moonpie, Stripey, and Spooky


Our friend’s cat, Shelley:

Shelley in springtime

Posted in black cats, Book topics, Cat Topics | Tagged , , , , , | 81 Comments

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Ultraviolet confers with me on a point of editing

August 28th is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. My heart is heavy with so many kitties who have left us and I won’t be able to mention them all here. Their stories are detailed in my book Catwoods. Ultraviolet, our most recent loss, isn’t in Volume 1, which only goes to early 2005.

She showed up amidst a friend’s ferals. She was friendly but we couldn’t find anyone who claimed her, so in August of 2017, we brought her inside. She helped me edit the book in 2018 when it was finally coming together. She made the cutest little “oop, eep” sounds whenever she approached one of us to jump up for pats, scritches, and purrs.

She left us on September 3, 2018. All cat loss is difficult but her loss was, and still is, especially heartbreaking for me. She had just had a good report at her annual vet checkup. She was estimated to be only about 11 years old, and many of our cats have lived well into their teens. She was with us for only a little over a year. She was an exceptionally sweet cat.

On her whiskers you can see a bit of rainbow from the sunlight in the first picture. In the one below, I was using the color enhancer in the camera and the strong sunlight bounced around, sending rainbow color everywhere.

Afternoon with Ultraviolet

Now she’s at the Rainbow Bridge, invisible to me. She does stay in my heart.

I want to thank Deb Barnes of Zee and Zoey’s Cat Chronicles, author of Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond,  and founder of Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, for creating this day of remembrance.

I may be slow to answer comments. On Friday we have the potential for severe weather due to being on the eastern side of Hurricane Laura; I’m posting early because of that. And, I’m just draggin’ these days. NOTE: The bad weather did stay north of us so we’re okay, we dodged another bullet.

We are entering The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey‘s Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day 2020 – Purr Prints of the Heart Blog Hop. (This is the first blog hop we have ever entered.)

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Cats | Tagged , , , | 70 Comments

Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Boss is celebrating today!

Here’s a quick post with Boss, who is helping us celebrate Black Cat Appreciation Day today! He’s also here to present a link to my black cat essay, which is based around an excerpt from my MUSE Medallion Award winning book, Catwoods.

Black Cats in Sun and Shade, A Painter’s Eye View

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Catwoods the Book Won a MUSE Medallion from the Cat Writers’ Association!

It was announced on Saturday night during the Cat Writers’ Association Virtual Awards Gala! I was stunned! Catwoods, Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions, got a MUSE Medallion! These are awarded to the books that are Certificate of Excellence winners. Within each category, the highest score gets a MUSE. When two or more highest scores tie, each book gets a MUSE. So my book and another in the category both got a MUSE, and I congratulate the co-winner! Although the MUSE is considered an even bigger deal than the Certificate of Excellence, those awards all go to fine work, and from my decades-long reading of books and websites about cats and other animals, many by members of the Cat Writers’ Association, I can say that the field of animal writing, visual arts, and etc., is just bursting with excellence these days.

I want to thank the Cat Writers’ Association, my husband who also loves our cats, the community I live in and our friends – the book has a little about that history and is a tribute to the area too – and all those who have encouraged me to write, responded to my website posts, purchased my book, read the book, told me they enjoyed the book, etc. And especially, the cats! Those wonderful canny little felines that mysteriously, chose humans to be their companions and caregivers. If I neglected to thank someone, please bear with me as I’m a little overwhelmed and still sort of exhausted from the experience.

Here’s a list of the MUSE winners. There are also a list of Certificate of Excellence winners at this CWA link:

Here’s a link to the Award Event, during which some presenters’ household cats took strolls in front of the cameras, to the delight of all! One cat even turned its butt to the screen, hahaha. It’s three hours long and I don’t recall exactly when the cats began to come in.

Our Spooky Little Girl

I did have a wonderful afternoon with “the kittens” the day before, which helped to calm the jitters I had before the event. Boss chose to spend some quality time snuggling and resting with me, and Moonpie also jumped aboard me later to sit for a spell. Lynx and Stripey got some good pats and scritches.

I also had a real breakthrough with Spooky! She’s the kittygirl who always avoids being touched although she’s not afraid of us. She not only allowed me to scritch her head, she tilted her head up and pushed against my hand, leaning into the scritching with a big grin on her face! She’s never done that before. I think she was really on her way to attach herself to my shoes, (she and Boss both have a thing for my shoes) and may have just gotten caught up in the euphoria of imminent shoe frenzy. Whatever it was, it felt like real progress!

I’m still dragged out so I’ll be slow to respond to comments. I was trying to post this quickly so, only the one cat photo; more will be upcoming. All the links to get the book are here, at the top right of the page, and on the “Order Catwoods the Book Online” page. It’s a long book, about 363 pages, so you’ll be reading for awhile if you get it.

Cheers and Meows!

Posted in black cats, Book topics, Cats, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 67 Comments

Summer Photon Blasts, with Cats, and Music

Frank soaks in the rays

So now that it’s August the light is changing and has a sad feel to it. It reminds us that fall is coming, even though it can be as late as November getting here. So I’ll hang onto summer, with pictures.

Franklin helping me work

Sometimes I’m a Frankin lounger.

Boss blissed out

Other times, I’m a Boss lounger.

Mimosa aloft

Meanwhile, outside in the forest, there’s mimosa.

Rainy day mimosa

This is something I post every year on facebook. I’m a Motown fan. We can’t be doing street dances in summer 2020. So I’ll try posting this video here, Dancing in the Streets by Martha and the Vandellas. I’m never confident about posting videos.

We can be in the forest:

New flower on the forest floor!

We didn’t see this in prior years and I didn’t know what it was. A friend told me it’s Ruellia simplex, AKA Mexican Petunia.

A desirable green haze


Room for sky

Scant room for sky

Leaves galore

And, we can be at the house of The Lovely Kittens and their feral elders.

Moonpie sweetie

Myrtle in the Sky

Sunny Spooky

Crepe Myrtle!

The Lynx

Most skies were partly cloudy this summer so far

Stripey Rocks!

Boss profile

Uncle Jack and Mom Groucho

Mom Groucho has a long muzzle too, so it’s possible Boss got that from her . . .



Shelley, the tortie diva.

The kittens are growing fast and will soon be a year old. They are a joy but they are costly. So if you would like to get my book, Catwoods, it will help us keep all kitties taken care of and we would greatly appreciate it. There’s a link at the upper right hand side of the page, and also a page of online links to get it. All’s cool if you can’t, I appreciate everyone who reads and likes and comments, so much!

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Here’s That Purr-ty Certificate of Excellence from CWA!

For me this was so thrilling! Catwoods is my first book!

Actually seeing the certificate gave it an added dimension for me! When writing I try to think of the ways spoken language sounds . . . and we might say something is “purty” here, with emphasis on the first syllable, and drawing it out. So when I said it, of course “purr” came to mind so I made it “purr-ty”.

I’d been writing and doing artwork all my years when chronic illness with no known cure really set me back in mid-life. Then one day I decided to write a book about my cats . . . it took forever, four times as long as it would have if I’d been able to work at full speed. It’s my first book. So this is a big deal for me!

I am so grateful to the Cat Writers’ Association and all those who worked so hard on the contest!

That’s Franklin’s blankie sans Franklin. He wouldn’t pose with the book because that’s The late Minx on the cover, not him. This is Volume 1 and it goes way back and ends in late 2004 – early 2005, before Frankie joined us.

“What the . . . ” says Franklin.

That’s Franklin on the day he realized he wasn’t on the cover!

Sale of the book does help us care for Franklin, as well as those cats known as “the kittens” (though they are about 10 months now, and growing large) and also some ferals. So do check out the link to the upper right hand side of this page, or the “Order the Catwoods book online” page, if you would like to have a copy! We appreciate it!


Shelley’s watching

Here’s Shelley watching us, on a dazzling sunny evening!


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Looking Through Windows, with Old Rainbows, and Cats


Franklin glows in spring sun

Franklin is our curator and guide for this household window excursion. The following pictures were taken in May and June of 2016. I meant to post them in those months of this year, but hey, I’m always late.

May Sparkles

There was a window . . . We let non-venomous spiders alone, living in this buggy forest. The afternoon sun made rainbows in the web. It was hard to get to that window, anyway.


Afternoon ruminates

Out there, somewhere

Refraction song


Slice of Rainbow


Bent rays

June scenery

Profusion confusion

Toss me some light

Just before evening


Flash of day




Sunny Shelley

I hope to be back soon with more summer pictures and kitten pictures but I have some new health issues, sigh. I may be slow to answer comments.

I so miss Bud, the Editing Cat we had when I took the spider web pictures. My book that he helped edit, Catwoods, is now out and available if you’d like to have one. It got a Certificate of Excellence from the Cat Writers Association and I hope to post a picture of that soon. As time has moved on, we now have Franklin and five kittens, and book sales do help us care for them.

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Afternoons of Lovely Kittens

Comfortable Spooky

A quick all-kitten post while Franklin and Shelley are sleeping! Don’t tell them they aren’t “escorting” this photo series!

Above you see our little Spookums. She looks a little untrusting, but she’s coming along.

Portrait of a Stripey guy

Our Stripey has fantastically long whiskers! We weighed the kittens a week ago and he is definitely the biggest. He weighs twice as much as his petite sisters Spooky and Moonpie, and he’s a pound more than Boss and two pounds more than Lynx.

Boss intensity

I had a “sweeter” looking picture of Boss but I thought it was time to show his more serious side. He’s growing into a knowledgeable young cat who “studies”. In my opinion that’s why he’s so affectionate, because he is capable of looking deeply, reading the reactions on our faces, and therefore knowing us.

Lynx, son of Sasquatch

Lynx shows off his classic “marbled” tabby markings!

Moonpie rocks window

All the kittens love the spring and early summer sunshine. Moonpie is slowly becoming friendlier!


Boss and Lynx fluff

Often when Boss is parked on my lap, Lynx will jump up between me and his brother, to be closer to my face. Here you see Lynx fluff framing Boss. I also got floofed a little in the face that day! Lynx is turning into an ace photo-bomber!

The parent cats and Uncle Jack know how to social distance. Photo (C) William Alford.

If you’d like, please get a copy of my award winning Catwoods book!

If you are outside the US, you will need to email to arrange to get your book.

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Feral Cats, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 60 Comments

Reviews of Cat Books by Ellen Pilch

Books by Ellen J. Pilch

Ellen J. Pilch wrote the two books you see above, Prancie’s Prayer and I Am Not A Skunk. I was unable to get photos of Franklin with the books so I used Franklin’s blankie as a background sans Frankie. Ellen has also contributed to the anthology, Black Cats Tell All. Ellen’s charming blog about cats, “15 and Meowing” can be found here.

My reviews:

PRANCIE’S PRAYER by Ellen J. Pilch

A cat gets a new home at Christmas time!

It’s a cold winter and a cat has been left in a forest to fend for herself. The sad kitty roams until she finds a house where the people are outside, decorating for Christmas. She’s hesitant to approach them and curls up to sleep in the manger scene, but the next day she’s still cold, hungry, and homeless, so she begins to meow at the door.

As the story unfolds we see that the people are kind, the spirit of the Christmas season will prevail, and the cat will get a forever home. Based on the author’s experiences of adopting stray cats, the book ends on a note of sweetness. It’s an excellent story for children, showing them that even in a world that can be cold and harsh, kindness does exist. Nicolas Peruzzo’s illustrations work well with the text. This book would be good for any time of year, but of course it’s perfect for the Christmas season. Here’s the link to Amazon to get Prancie’s Prayer

I AM NOT A SKUNK by Ellen J. Pilch

Who’s out there? A skunk? Or a cat?

This story opens when a housecat is abandoned and left outside. She walks around hungry and sees some nice new people working in their yard, but . . . due to being black-and-white, she’s declared a “skunk” by one of the adults. There’s a happy ending when the child finds a way to prove that the “skunk” is really a cat.

I like this book as a story for children for several reasons. Based on the author’s own adoption of stray cats, it shows children that animals they see outside may sometimes be in need of food and homes. There are life lessons in the book, for instance, never jump to conclusions based on quick first impressions and appearances, and never doubt the intuition and ingenuity of children. The illustrations by Nicolas Peruzzo are vibrant, and I like the way he depicts cats.

I think this book would be great for households with young children, but also for adults. As an adult I thought it was both touching and funny. Here’s the link to Amazon to get I Am Not A Skunk

Franklin in dreamland

Franklin did supervise this post while lounging on me. It looks like he’s sleeping on the job, but he’s actually working hard . . .

I’d like to do more book reviews . . . there are several I have promised but I am very late, a year or two in some cases. That’s because my staying power has gone way down, I now don’t have the kind of energy I need to either read or compose writing in the evenings. That was the time when I used to get a lot done. So please bear with me if I should have done a review of anyone’s book(s) and I haven’t. I’ll try to get to everyone eventually. This also impacts my ability to get around and comment. I enjoy all the marvelous blogs I’m following and I wish I could comment on them all every day. As it stands, it’s getting harder for me to comment even once in awhile. But even if I don’t comment often or ever, if I “like” your posts it means I really do like them! I’m trying to both re-arrange my schedule and hope for the better!

Weird abstract pictures, and kittens, are coming soon, I hope!

Posted in Book topics, Cats | Tagged , , | 43 Comments