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Monday Mentions: Dogs vs Cats & Write Schtuff

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“You smell funny!” Image Copr. Tonya Jensen

I can’t count the times folks have asked me which is my favorite, cats or dogs. And as an equal opportunity pet lover, I’ve steadfastly refused to choose. However, there have been times when, just for fun, I’ve championed one or the other pet in a tongue-in-cheek debate.

Last time, I championed cats. It was YEARS ago (as you can see in this video) during the GREAT PET DEBATE on the Today Show over whether Socks Clinton or Leader Dole would make the better White House Pet. FWIW, the cat side won the phone-in poll. Even Katie Couric voted for the cats! :)

My friend Franny the Cats Guide posed the challenge this time. Here’s her 10 reasons cats are better than dogs.  So, I had to respond with Dogs vs Cats: 10 Reasons Puppies Are Better. What do you think? We’ve even set up a poll where you can vote.

THIS JUST IN! Puppies.About.com has WON the Dog Writers Association of America Maxwell Award (for the 2nd year in a row) for Best Website, arrrooooooo! So that’s even more incentive to check out the fun puppy-licious site.

I also wanted to share this fun interview with Kourtney Heinz about my writer-icity journey from Big 6 to small press. She’s a writer to watch!

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. There are some fun videos at the bottom, too!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

If This Was Your Last Day On Earth…something everyone (not just writers) should consider, lovely post from Colin Falconer

Tor UK Accepts Direct Sub’s from Writers

Mailing Lists & Authors

Selling “Used” Ebooks, huh???

Genre Writers–Show Me the $$  reality bites, don’t it?

Christian Writers Guild Pay to Play a hard look by Writer Beware

NetGalley Boasts 100,000+ Members . . . and they’re all reviewing books!

What About Orphan Works? more from Writer Beware

Small Publishers, the Future Of the Industry

Audible Announces 10-Fold Increase  and yes, I’m one of the authors turning my titles into audio-books, including Complete Kitten Care & Lost and Found

Tips for Show (Not Tell) from Marcy Kennedy

Don’t Sell Yourself Short a discussion of freelancer rates…are you working for peanuts? (Cheetos are another matter…)

Bookish Finally Launched

Ebooks Now Multi-BILLION Amazon Category

Securing Permissions to use SCHTUFF in Books

Stay Legal With Posts, Photos and More a great article my friend Carol Bryant pointed out

7 Free Photo Libraries in answer to the permissions and legalities schtuff

Google+ Overtakes Twitter  oh d*mn, now I gotta learn a new one?

APPLE to Highlight Self-Pub’d Books

PET SCHTUFF

Lost Kitty Treks 200 Miles to Return Home

Cat Bounce! it’s hypnotizing…

Brilliance of the Dog Mind

PenVet Cat Behavior Survey

Wildlife Forensic Science vs Poachers

Thanks to Kathy Bowen for pointing out this fun “writer-ly” video!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Furry Inspiration & Writing Help

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Debbie sent me this picture of her reading LOST AND FOUND on her iPad with Xiotchl (top) and Kaya. Do your fur-kids “help” you read?

This morning I take the Magical-Dawg for his annual vet check up (shhhh, it’s a surprise!). He actually enjoys the whole deal (CAR RIDE? YESSSS!) and loves snort-snuffling the outside postage-stamp grassy patch where he reads the latest Pee-Mail for the best doggy gossip. Of course, he has to add his liquid comment to the mix. At least he doesn’t baptize the interior of the clinic, but does his best to announce, “Big dawg is here…y’all!” with explosive barks as he enters the door. I’m always a wee bit concerned some poor little Grandma will pass out from the shock, and then Magical-Dawg will smooch her back to consciousness.

Seren-kitty got a virtual birthday card this week from the vet. She’s sixteen. Wow, the time has sped by but despite some hearing issues that increase the volume of her meow, and some arthritic claws, Seren looks and acts much younger. To celebrate, she helped me un-make and then make the bed (a favorite cat game) and then she got thoroughly wasted on some high quality ‘nip.

How do you celebrate your pets’ birthdays? Actually we don’t know Seren’s real day, so picked one, and I know many folks who instead celebrate the pet’s “gotcha day.” At my house, every day’s a celebration. I couldn’t do what I do without my furry muses (those present and those still in my heart…) I just got delivery dates for the sequel to my thriller YAY! but that means I’ll be head-down (and head-banging) fictioning for the foreseeable future. My furry muses are primed and ready to inspire!

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. I’ve been head-down recording the narration on my ComPETability/Cats book…yes, doing it myself! But when you’re not equipped to voice a project yourself, this article has great tips for choosing a VO professional. 

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

What Facebook Interactions Say About You from the awesome Jenny Hansen

Inkling to Turn Google into Storefront (is this a run at amazon?)

Metaphor Mistakes from Marcy Kennedy

How to Find Readers on Twitter

Free Photos for Bloggers

Author Marketing Club helps with “free” day site submissions

Attack Reviews?

Plagiarism 101 (you WILL be caught!) from the awesome Kristen Lamb

Discussion of KDP Select with more discussion here and also here.

Getting Sued for Making Schtuff Up?

Vantage Press Closes one of the oldest “vanity” publishers, founded in 1949.

PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

HARTZ Dog Treats Recall

PSA Video on CATNIP DANGERS! (LOL!)

Grants Available AKC Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support and Relief Fund

New AKC Breeds Appear At Westminster!  See the show Feb 11 & 12 on tv…or win tickets and free passes!

AKC Eukanuba Dog Show on ABC Feb 2nd

Fighting Pet Obesity great article

OFF-THE-WALL SCHTUFF

Seeing Holy Images? from the seriously funny files of Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

And just to close on the same pet-tastic theme, I have to share this wonderful video of the great Ian Dunbar–on training, of course.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Cool Cons, Paws-some Promos & Viral Videos

Monday Mentions: Cool Cons, Paws-some Promos & Viral Videos
"And then he said...and then I said...and are you LISTENING?!"

“And then he said…and then I said…and are you LISTENING?!”

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Today’s blog has lots of great conference links you’ll want to check out. And for your furry fix, be sure to check out the videos at the end, too. You won’t be sorry!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Paradigm Shift a must read for all writers from the awesome CJ Lyons

6 Ways to Promote Books on a Budget

To Acknowledge or Not a somewhat cranky opinion (IMO!) and yes, I include ‘em. Folks can always skip reading, if they want. Do you include them in your books? (Thanks to Kathy Owen for the link)

7 Steps of Sales a good refresher for writers these days. Thanks to Diane Capri for the link.

Pinterest Promotions thanks for the link from Maria Polson Veres

StoryCartel.com offers a way for reviewers and readers to find books via an electronic file. LOST AND FOUND is one of four free titles featured this month for review.

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I’m still trying to figure out how to get the audio version of the thriller book and audio of the kitten care title to reviewers–any tips/ideas?

ISBN 101 everything you need to know

It’s mid-January and the calendar for 2013 is FULL of wonderful conferences and events. Have you made your choices and reservations yet?

The Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) annual Awards Banquet is the night before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Sunday, February 10, 2013. This year my work has been nominated in three categories, for best newspaper column, best website, and best radio podcast. The DWAA is a great organization for those who write about dogs to network and support each other.

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WANA stands for WE ARE NOT ALONE and is the brainchild of the energetic social media maven Kristen Lamb. I took one of her email courses on blogging some time ago and it’s changed the way I work and expanded my reach! Kristen and her team have a “virtual” conference planned WANA CON, so if traveling for you is outside your budget, this may fit the bill. More information here.

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Yes, there are conferences for pet-centric folk, too. If you’re a blogger who includes any sort of CRITTER in your content (or maybe your pets take over the keyboard now and then), you’ll want to check out BlogPaws. I’m saving my pennies and hoping to finally attend this next one. This is a year-round organization that supports and offers education to pet bloggers on all the must-knows, so even if you have a conference conflict, check out BlogPaws.com to connect with other pet lovers. Click the banner to learn more about the conference.

OWFI

I’m an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. and was president for its 40th anniversary event five years ago. It’s one of the most economical conferences around, and where I found my awesome agent many years ago. This year as a speaker I discuss THE REINVENTED WRITER, covering all the new ways to publish, promote and SUCCEED as a modern writer. I hope you’ll join me. (And yes, I’ll wear sparkles :))

Thrillerfest

ThrillerFest VIII promises to be one of the best conferences of the year. Maybe I’m a weeee bit prejudice, because I met my editor and publisher at my first ITW event–and this year, I’ll be in the Debut Author Breakfast Panel celebrating publication of LOST AND FOUND! Yes, dreams can come true. Check out this wonderful guest blog by another ITW and awesome thriller author Alma Katsu to learn more about the event.

PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

Awesome video about orphan bat baby, thanks to Serena Dracis for the link

Fascinating look at wild dog interactions with baboons. Is this how it started with humans and dogs?

From the dog’s point of view…this is AWESOME!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: First Aid for Pets & Writers

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Zeki, the miracle cat, now saves pet lives! She attended the CWA conference last November and I got to meet her (those ears tell me she’d had enough of schmoozing, though…)

I’d planned to blog about my friend Arden Moore’s visit to Dallas on this week’s Feline Friday blog because she’s presenting a pet tech first aid on Jan. 25 and a behavior seminar on Jan. 26  in Dallas. And the “star” of the class is Zeki, a rescue cat that had a rocky start in Dallas when evil people tried to skin her alive (urk! I know!). But she’s now saving kitty and doggy lives as a spokescat and demo feline for Arden’s classes.

However, the Friday class filled up so she’s added another class on Thursday Jan. 24 at the Dallas SPCA. Call 214-324-6999 or email courtney@pcpsi.com for more info and check out this link. If you can’t attend one of Arden’s awesome sessions, I’d strongly urge you to invest in a pet first aid book. Here’s a sneak peak of Arden’s class.

During a recent pet first aid class taught by Pet Tech master instructor Arden Moore, her feline teaching assistant, Zeki, began kneading the demo dog at the exact same time Moore was explaining the proper techniques to give CPR to a dog. Now that’s one smart cat! Learn more about Arden Moore by visiting www.fourleggedlife.com and www.petfirstaid4u.com and check out this amazing cat who survived a brutal knife attach as a stray to become a true feline ambassa-cat to help people, cats and yes, even dogs!

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Feel free to comment and “sing” about similar paw-some links that should be included. And you really MUST watch the video at the end–for some writerly inspiration and creative first aid.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Twitter Info–Sweet Tweet Timing

Global Talk Radio not worth your time or money, from Author Beware. And yes, I’ve gotten “invitations” from them.

UK Speaker Scam another one.

Your Brain on Metaphors

Ebooks “Rented” not Owned?

What Should Freelancers Charge, some suggestions

Women In Film–Or Not

The Secret of Writing from Fitzgerald

Free Books via FreeBookSifter

Oklahoma Playwright Association Lots of great links here, too.

Oklahoma Writers Federation Annual Contest

80 Sites to Promote Your Book

Responding (or Not?) to Negative Reviews here’s an interesting discussion

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PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

Doggy Floral Arrangements courtesy of Fidose of Reality’s fun post on canine nuptials

Guide Cat for Blind Dog

Feb. 6, 8:00 pm Free Webinar–Low Stress Handling of Difficult Cats this will be great info for cat owners, rescuers and vet techs

No Kill Conference

Animal Rescue Site–Click to Give Free Food! click the button up at the top for the Shelter+ Challenge to vote. My colleague requests votes for CATS in Oregon for a chance for grants

I Discovered A Lump on My Pet, Part 1 from Dr. Rayya’s great blog

Neil Gaiman’s inspirational graduation talk “Make Good Art” is well worth the listen!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Review Ops, Writerly Linkage & Pet-astic Shares!

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Happy Monday! Lots of new subscribers (~~~waving paws) and so glad to have you. After all the holiday bounty, I’m feeling a bit piggy and over-stuffed, and yes–red eyes from trying to get everything done. Finally getting back into the swing of things, and have actually made some headway already on my 2013 writing goals.

Just so’s ya know, I typically I post here three days a week, mostly about puppy-licious or cat-astic info, and Monday combines lots of schtuff. Fair warning. I make up words, because sometimes there just aren’t dictionary-listed appropriate ones, and because I’m a writer and it’s what I do. :) Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week.

A couple of news-worthy items on my fictioning life. I am blessed with the most PAW-some readers of the LOST AND FOUND book who have loved the story and asked for more. I’ve even been interviewed on the radio about the book. I’m very pleased to tell you that there WILL be more! My editor has given me the go-ahead, and I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the sequel–oh, and if you have specific ideas about what you’d like to see in the next installment (more Shadow? more Macy? Details about September or Teddy or Combs?) please share!

FREE REVIEW COPIES OF LOST AND FOUND!

Lost and Found CoverWhile I’ve quite a few (cough-cough-26-cough-cough) nonfiction titles published, fiction is new for me and it’s all about building readership. To a great extent, that happens through reviews. I also know it’s pricy to buy all the books that we’d want to read if’n the wallet overflowed with funds. You can get free books through Audible.com by signing up for a trial membership.

For print books I’ve stumbled upon a neato new site. Authors, pay attention, you’ll want to check this out–and so will all the voracious readers out there. StoryCartel allows readers/reviewers to connect with authors and my LOST AND FOUND is a featured title this month so you can get a review copy for free!

Enough about my books–here’s what you really came to read.

WRITER-ICITY SCTHUFF

Writing Foundation Series check out this blog from authors of The Weekend Novelist, thanks to Rachel Funk Heller for the link

Write Here, Write Now Book Retreat from my colleague Sheila Bonham. She says this retreat/workshop in March on Pawley’s Island, S. Carolina is, “- open to all levels with time for quiet reflection and writing, gatherings for feedback, optional readings in the evenings. The emphasis will be on prose (fiction, nonfiction) but poets are also welcome.”

Writer Beware Year-End Wrap If you don’t subscribe to this great blog, DO IT NOW! Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss keep the writing world informed about nasty predators

Write for Medium.com the founders of Blogger have a new venture that may be up your writing alley

The Reinvented Writer on The Thrill Begins blog (a bit of how I turned failure into success)

How to Combat Book Piracy

Best Times to Tweet and soooo much more…

Submit to Random House’s Digital Imprint

Amazon “Gutting” B&N pretty strong language, that…earnings analysis of holiday shop-athon

WordPress Giveaway Plugin helps you choose winners for your give-aways

Jane Dystel Literary Agent on “new” publishing–adapt or die.

Goodreads Has 13 Million Users & 20 Million Book Reviews I’m just getting started over at GoodReads and wonder why I waited so long.

Improve Book Ranking with Proper Categories thanks to Leona DeRosa Bodie for the link

BookTrakr for tracking sales, reviews and more

For Script Writers/Movie Producers, one of my colleagues shared links to the following that may be helpful:

YouTube Creator Playbook It offers advice for programming, optimizing, and engaging with your online community.

Advertisers Playbook

How to Make A Web Series Ebook

PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

Survey: Counting Ferrets from the American Ferret Association (and no, your ex-husband doesn’t count…)

Let Feral Cats Run Free some good news for a change!

Blessings for Animals these are lovely!

Humans & Animals: The Inevitable Bond an awesome Chicago conference coming up in July

Pam Denison Online Dog Training Schedule, on sale in January! check out her great books, too!

PUPPY CARE FACEBOOK CHAT 1/13/13 at 9:00 pm (EST) Judy Weiss on “The Dos and Don’ts to prevent unwanted behavior

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Cat Show, Cat Adoption & 13 Cat Videos!

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I was supposed to be at the Houston Cat Show this weekend, but unfortunately the book store vendor had to cancel. So I’m getting my cat show fix vicariously with past year videos.

Cat lovers who have never attended a cat show should really make the effort. There’s something for everyone! It’s not just a beauty contest these days, although that is part of the attraction. Truly stunning cats of all shapes, sizes and fur-styles can be seen. The judges very carefully examine each pedigreed feline for structure, take into consideration the coat and color, AND the kitty temperament, to see how they stack up against the “breed standard.” The cats win lots of bright ribbons, and throughout the day as some cats are eliminated and others move forward, the competition becomes more exciting.

It’s not like a dog show where the canines run around a ring. Nope, the kitties are placed on a table in front of the judge and care is taken to disinfect in between judging to prevent any transmission of disease. That’s also why you’ll see signs on the show cages, “Don’t touch–I don’t bite but my human does!” Simply petting one cat and then the next can carry illness and spread problems, and even though these felines are in tip-top health, these cat lovers take no chances.

There are “championship” competitions for intact (able to breed) pedigree cats. But there also are “premiership” competitions–a championship category for cats that have been spayed or neutered! And there also are the “household pet” categories for kitties that have no registration papers but are gorgeous, healthy cat-next-door companions–maybe like your cat! These felines also can earn ribbons and become champions in their category.

I love it because you can talk to the cat show exhibitors about their cats, ask about the breeds and learn so much about the gorgeous felines. Cat names are to die for and the creativity involved in naming a particular cat–or decorating a show cage (so the kitties can’t see each other and get upset) is a true art.

Did you know that cats also do agility? It’s a bit different than the dog sport, but has become more and more popular. Kitties of course enjoy running tunnels and leaping vaults or otherwise showing their athleticism.

Many shows like the Houston Cat Club event also welcome shelters and rescue groups to come and offer on the spot adoptions. What a win-win for the cats and the people!

There also are fun dress up events, kitty fashion shows, and more at cat shows. Oh, and the vendors–I have found THE BEST BLING EVER at cat shows. Just saying…

Enjoy some of these videos from cat shows I’ve attended. And paws crossed, I’ll get back to another one soon.

Have you ever attended a cat show? What did you like best? How about your furry wonder, how would s/he do in the competition? Although I believe Seren-kitty is a show-stopper, she’s not a good candidate for being in public and handled by strangers, but many cats thrive on this fun family outing.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

New Year’s Pet Resolutions

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It’s 2013, wow. A new year is a time for reflection on the past, and resolutions for the future. My furry crew tells me it’s a good time to take stock of the past year from a pets’-eye-view, and the year to come.

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The Magical-Dawg romped through the year and once again mystified the vet, this time with a “sterile abscess” and swollen face. He’s now six—and still keeps me on my toes.
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Seren-kitty has reached the grand age of 15 and has become MORE active compared to last year. While she does sleep more, she now demands lap time (a first for her!) and wants more attention especially when it irks the dog. She’s now eating a therapeutic diet to help slow the progression of kidney insufficiency, and I see sprinkles of white in her black mask, her claws click when she walks (arthritis makes it hard to keep them hidden). Siamese tend to be one of the longest-lived cat breeds so I’m counting on having another decade with the wee beastie!

So here are New Year’s Resolutions from Magic and Seren, with commentary by Amy.

Magic:  “I will teach my humans to read my mind when I stare into their eyes.”

Amy: He knows many words but hasn’t figured out how to articulate. So I resolve to better guess what he’s telling me.

Seren:  “I will train my humans to make laps available ALL THE TIME.”

Amy: She insists on lap time each evening, but doesn’t quite understand why she can’t sit on the laptop computer. So I resolve to schedule quitting time earlier to provide for kitty lap-sitting requirements.

Magic: “I will kill all squeakers and chew sticky-out wrong parts on toys.”

Amy: He amputates teddy-bear ears, steals cat toys, and ends up with sparkly poop. I resolve to find a Magic-proof squeaky stuffed toy—been looking for years now. Same resolution as last year. *sigh*

Seren: “I will guard Amy’s lap and chase the (spit) dawg away from MY human.”

Amy: She particularly enjoys late night harassing, and especially teasing the dog to sniff by rolling on the floor—and then punishing him for the nose poke. I resolve to keep Magic corralled so that Seren can enjoy her rock-around-the-clock antics for as long as she continues to want to race.

Magic: “I will grab and stack every Frisbee in the house and play keep-away from Amy. Unless we go for a car ride.”

Amy: Magic adores playing Frisbee fetch. So far he’s managed to stack 8 at once and carry them, and insists that HE carry them all—but sometimes decides to play keep away and will only return if tempted by the car horn signaling a ride.

Seren: “I will meow and cry REALLY REALLY LOUD until Amy stops hiding.”

Amy: Seren’s age means her hearing isn’t so good and has trouble hearing and finding us. She’ll call loudly (especially late at night) as she searches for us. I resolve to ensure she can ALWAYS find us easily, by answering her cries no matter how busy I might be.

Seren: “I will train Amy the right way to play with the feather toys!”

Amy: Seren used to enjoy fishing pole lures but Magic gets frustrated he can’t play, too, and barks—which takes the joy out of her game. This past year, she’s stopped wanting to chase so much (arthritis strikes again!) but still loves her collection of feather wands. I resolve to keep a feather wand available at hand, for Seren’s face-rubbing, body-petting pleasure.

Magic: “I will chase any $%^&! coyote that dares stomp on my property.”

Amy: Magic has 13-acres he patrols each day, and carefully baptizes any coyote evidence to ensure critters know he’s the biggest dawg around. I resolve to keep him safe from marauding critters—no matter how much he wants to chase and sniff.

Seren: “I will sleep more, hiss less. Even around the dog—he’s not worth the energy.”

Amy: Over the past year Seren has become much more tolerant of rude dog noses, and stands her ground. I resolve to make sure she’s always the “top cat” in our home—after all, she was here first.

Magic: “I will go for a ride forever!”

Amy: Magic continues his love affair with the Magic-Mobile. Thank goodness the car keys are out of reach. I resolve to give Magic a car ride at least every other day, pending good weather.

Seren: “I will train Amy there’s more to nine lives than paw-tapping and staring at a boxy computer-thing. Like lap time snuggles. And whisker-kisses.”

Magic: “I will train Amy that sharing treats is a very-good-thing. So are tummy rubs.”

Amy: I resolve to listen to my furry wonders. What about you?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Why Tabby Wears An M–A Christmas Cat Story

Happy Christmas! I just returned from a visit to Indiana to visit my family and I know many of y’all may also be traveling this week. Whether you’re traveling by car with your cats or traveling with your dogs and decide to stay in a hotel, I hope you and your pets will be helped by the behavior tips. Maybe you’ve decided to leave Kitty with a pet sitter or your dog at a boarding facility while you visit Grandma—I’ve even provided an explanation of, and tips for solving that worrisome cat snubbing behavior when you get home.

Don’t forget to give pets gifts for the holidays! Your cats and dogs will return the favor—here’s the kind of doggy gifts as well as gifts cats give, and why. I’m taking the rest of the week off from blogging, but will be back New Year’s Eve with more bling-icity and pet-astic posts. Before I go, as has become the tradition on the blog (and in my PETiQuette newspaper column), I’ve shared a favorite Christmas story.

This touching legend, included in Complete Kitten Care, tells the story of a simple Tabby cat, and her gift on the very first Christmas day to a special mother and child. Enjoy!

Please be safe traveling back home. May your holidays be blessed.

Why Tabby Wears An M

There was no snow that night in Bethlehem. Instead, the small cat watched a star-spangled sky from her perch in the window of a stable. She liked the stable, for it was a warm safe place to raise her furry babies, and the innkeeper sometimes left scraps out for her to nibble. Tabby wasn’t particularly distinctive, and most humans didn’t look at her twice. After all, her short gray/black fur was quite common. But Tabby’s striped coat hid a heart bigger than cats twice her size.

This night, though, Tabby was out of sorts, for she’d not been able to hunt and catch dinner. Travelers had poured into town for days, so noisy they disturbed decent cat-folks’ rest. Why, they’d even invaded Tabby‟s quiet stable, a place she had before shared only with other furry creatures. Tabby hadn’t minded the human couple—they were calmer than most. She’d left that morning for her usual rounds, but when she returned, the stable was packed with people.

From her perch on the window, Tabby watched the last of the strangers leave. She slipped from the window, and padded silently inside—and froze!

“Meewwww, meewww, meewww,” cried a tiny voice.

A kitten? Tabby’s ears turn this way and that to find the sound of the kitten’s voice. It came from the manger, the very place Tabby often made her own bed. A woman knelt beside the manger, intent on the small mewling that arose from within. Tabby was drawn by the kittenish sound, though she knew her own furry babies were grown to cat-hood. She tiptoed forward very slowly, and passed by a wooly burro, a warm cow, and all the other animals.

The woman looked up, and saw the striped cat. “Oh, little cat,” she murmured, “my baby cannot sleep, and nothing calms him this night.” She sighed, and turned back to the manger. “How grateful would I be to anyone able to bring him sweet dreams.”

And, as Tabby watched, each stable animal stepped forward in turn and tried to soothe the woman’s baby. But the kittenish sounds continued, and finally Tabby could contain herself no longer.

Quickly, she washed herself—paws, face, behind the ears, to the very tip of her tail (so as not to offend the child’s mother)—and then shyly stepped forward. She leaped gracefully to the manger, and stared into the face of the most beautiful baby (human or kitten!) she’d ever seen. He cooed and smiled, waving his tiny hands at Tabby, and she very carefully drew in her claws and settled beside him. Forgotten was her empty tummy; she could only hear her heart calling out to this sweet human-kitten.

And Tabby began to purr.

The wondrous cat-song filled the stable with overwhelming emotion. The animals listened with awe, and the child’s mother smiled as her baby quietly went to sleep.

The child’s mother placed her hand gently on the purring Tabby’s forehead. “Blessings upon you, Tabby-cat, for this sweet gift given to me and my child,” she said. And where she’d touched Tabby’s brow, there appeared an M—the sign of the Madonna’s benediction.

From that day forward, all proper tabby cats are honored with an M on their brow for the great service they performed that first Christmas night. And Christmas nights often find Tabby cats staring into the night, purring as they recall a very special child their ancestor once sang to sleep.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

ComPETability Books FREE!

Danny & Mercy by Gail Parker

My Christmas gift to you–and your furry wonders!

I’m on vacation visiting with family and may not be able to respond to emails/comments as timely as usual. Maybe it’s the eggnog, or the carols, or the sheer joy of the challenges and blessings of this past year–a lot of my smiles have to do with YOUSE GUYS.

May your holidays bring you all good things, furry and otherwise. And to help with the pet-astic family members, and THANK YOU for all your blog luv this past year, I’ve made these three Kindle books free today December 21 through Christmas Day.

If you get a new Kindle, be sure to get a copy. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a free Kindle-For-PC and still get the books you want. Pick one, two, or all three–give them as a gift to your pet loving friends.

HOLIDAY BONUS!

FREE copies of ComPETability Kindle books DEC. 21-25 ONLY

COVER NEW-DOGCompetCatCOMPET-cover-new

If that’s not enough, I will give away 10 free pawtographed copies of LOST AND FOUND too, through GOOD READS. Now through Christmas, Sign up here!

PLEASE SHARE!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

How To Give Pets As Gifts

Lilly 6.5 weeks

Lilly is 6 1/2 weeks old–what a perfect stocking-size gift, right? Uh…maybe not! Image Copr. Saphire Dream Photography

This season of joy and celebration sometimes prompts pet lovers to spread furry love around and “gift” a loved one with a barking or meowing friend.

Don’t. Well, don’t do it without thinking things through. Thoroughly.

You have all the best intentions, I know, and maybe—MAYBE—the recipient will appreciate your thoughtfulness. But don’t gamble with a pet’s life.

Cupid’s fickle arrow works best when the individual person and potential pet meet face to face. What strikes your fancy may leave Uncle Felix cold. Even if he’s begged for an Akita pup for decades, let HIM choose. The time, the place, the person, and the pet must be right for love to bloom into a lifetime commitment.

And just because you think that your grandma needs the company, she may have other plans, such as traveling to visit all the grandkids. A new kitten that wreaks havoc amongst all her fine china will not endear you. And a busy new parent may wish to have a pet for their child, but have other demands that take priority.

Before you put a bow around that furry neck, as yourself these questions. Will the gift recipient have the time, ability, and funds to care for the cat or dog over the next 10 to 20 years? Even folks who adore pets and long for one of their own may recognize their tiny apartment or crowded neighborhood won’t accommodate a Great Dane—or that a grandchild’s allergies make Siamese love impossible. Please—think. Don’t give a pet, only to create heartbreak later when that gift ends up at the shelter.

Children delight in fluffy pups or kittens on Christmas morning, but such gifts can’t be shoved under the bed and forgotten when the latest video game has more appeal. Remember—even if Fluffy is for the kids, the ADULT ultimately holds responsibility for the well-being of the pet. Will the child’s parents have the time to spend on one-on-one attention a new pet needs, and deserves?

Lady Tornado goes undercover...

Kitties like Lady Tornado find entertainment if you don’t have time–that can be good! Or not… Image Copr. Arlene Castro

How To Properly Gift With A Pet

What if the kids, your spouse, Aunt Ethel, or a best friend have made it clear they want a pet, are prepared for the responsibility, and feel ready RIGHT NOW for a furry loved one in their life? You’re sure, and so are they. What can you do?

The professionals used to say that the holidays were a TERRIBLE time to get a new pet–that impulse adoptions could leave the cat or dog without a home after the cute-holiday-thrills wore off. More recently, though, the ASPCA conducted some surveys and discovered that when done properly, these adoptions can be lasting, loving adoptions. So I had to re-think my advice.

Holidays tend to be hectic times when normal routines go out the window. Whether a baby, adult or senior rescue cat or dog, new animals need the stability of knowing what to expect. In fact, some holiday schedules may allow you to be home more during this time to help the new kitty or pooch adjust.

I put together these important 4 STEPS FOR GIVING A PUPPY and they apply to kitty-gifting, too. Holiday pets take more work, true. But just think: you’re not only giving the pet to a person—you’re giving a special human to a waiting cat or dog, a fur-kid hungry for a loving, permanent home. Happy holidays, indeed!

Have you ever given–or received–a pet as a gift? How did you prepare? What was the result? Please share! I’m on the road this weekend but will check in and answer as much as I can, I’d love to hear your experiences.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

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