Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

Ballet

Dear Mom, 
Is Winston going to take ballet with us?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I’m sure he will, but of course he won’t be as experienced as you are. He’s never taken a zoom class before. You know just where to lie to be part of it. On your back with one foot up.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You sometimes kick me in the face.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Not on purpose! Sometimes you lie too close behind me, and I accidentally tap you with my foot.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
No worries! I love being part of the class! I like when the teacher’s dog comes wandering through her room. And sometimes her cat. Winston will like the cat.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I’m hoping he will hang out on the chair I’m using for a barre, just like Mia did.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I worry about you during the class.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy
Why do you worry?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Sometimes you mutter bad words.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s when my Zoom freezes, because our internet connection is terrible.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
And sometimes you whimper.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Oh, please don’t tell anyone I do that! It’s only when it’s a really challenging exercise. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You’d better explain that to Winston, because he’s going to worry about you too.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I’m sure he’ll understand. He’s wise beyond his years.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
He doesn’t have years yet!!! He’s wise beyond his weeks.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Thank you, I stand corrected!
Love, Carolyn

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The Newbie

Dear Lady Mom,
Is it time to play?
Winston

Dear Winston,
It’s always time to play! But why do you call me Lady Mom?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
I have lots of moms. First there was my cat mom, though I barely remember her. Then my foster mom who raised me. She is wonderful! You are my third mom. So, you need a different name. So I call you Lady Mom. 
Winston

Dear Winston,
You are very mature for a 14 week old kitten. I like the name. We used to have a dog named Molly who called me Alpha Mom. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
That’s exactly what you are! But as names go it’s not as pretty as Lady Mom.
Winston

Dear Winston,
I agree. But Molly was not interested in aesthetics. She was all about being absolutely, technically, literally and unambiguously correct. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
She sounds terrifying.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Oh, she was a dear. She was mostly funny. She was a terrier, and terriers are all about being competent. Meanwhile is everything working out ok for you here?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Poppy is still very very very enthusiastic. Sometimes I have to hide from her to calm her down. I think she forgets about our size difference.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Especially when you first arrived. You were barely over two pounds! To Poppy’s twenty. But you’ve doubled that. You’re holding your own!

Dear Lady Mom,
It doesn’t matter. Poppy and I are already having a good time together. I’ve been teaching her the Paper Bag Game. She didn’t know about it because she isn’t a cat.
Winston

Dear Winston,
That’s wonderful! How’s it going with Puffin?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Puffin is still being rude and grumpy. Last night when he played the paper bag game, he was scary. He was serious. He attacked the bag. He said he was dominating it. But I was still inside!
Winston

Dear Winston,
That was alarming. I think he got a lot out of his system with that assault.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
And he’s very formal. He wants me to greet him each day with “Bonjour Monsieur!” I don’t understand why. He makes no sense.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Puffin is a piece of work, isn’t he?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
He also says you have a lot of rules. Especially about charger cords and shoe laces.
Winston

Dear Winston,
We don’t have a lot of rules. The charger cord and shoe laces were things that Puffin kept destroying, so we had to bring that up frequently with him. But other than chewing expensive cords, the big one is don’t go outside. Because between the cars and the coyotes, it is dangerous out there. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
But Poppy gets to go outside!
Winston

Dear Winston,
She does, but you’ll notice that’s only when I accompany her. Maybe we’ll get you a harness and leash and then you can go outside with us!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
That sounds like a terrible idea. I think for now I’ll sit on the window sill and watch the outside. Out there the house finches are having a party on the feeder.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Good idea. Cat TV!
Love, Carolyn


A note of thanks… 
We’d like to take this opportunity for a shout out to All Animal Rescue & Friends of St. Martin, California! Thank you for all you do to save animals in trouble, and for raising such a healthy, happy kitten and choosing us to adopt him!

And a note to our readers…
Subscribe and get this every week in your email in-box! The subscription button is at the top of the page, on the right. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Boxes

Cher Madame,
The boxes they are coming every day. From the loud truck. The loud doorbell. The strange delivery people appearing on the porch. It is all de trop. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Why are you so grumpy, sweetie? Is this kitten angst? 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
What does Madame imply? That another kitten will pop out of one of these boxes?????
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
No, sweetie, of course not. But I know that you have been unsettled about our new young family member.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This new creature, he ignores my protestations.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
He is very calm, isn’t he? He doesn’t let it bother him that you are muttering in French and giving him the stink eye. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
He is eating my food.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Yes, he’s a monster.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame
He tucks right into it while I, moi-même, am actually doing the eating! Right there! Beside me!
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
And you let him! Give him a little swat and tell him to eat his own food! That’s what Poppy does when he muscles in on her food.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
But the petit coquin he does insist.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
He is a rascal, isn’t he? But he’s a peanut! He weighs 2½ pounds. You have a 12 pound advantage on him, sweetie. You can stand up to him.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
He is also very bouncy. He bounces right into the empty box.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Ahhh, so that’s the problem with the boxes. Well, that’s what boxes are good for! How can a kitten resist? And he also likes the feather wand.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
That feather toy, she is mine.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You can both play with it. In fact, you are welcome to play with him any time.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This is not something a petit cat should rush. We have barely had the formal introduction. This kitten, he was here for days before he found a name. What kind of creature moves into a household without the name?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Well he has one now. And he seems quite satisfied with it.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Ouf, Winston. Winston? What kind of name is this Winston?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
A very nice name for a cat. 
Love, Carolyn

A note to our readers…
Subscribe and get this every week in your email in-box! The subscription button is at the top of the page, on the right. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Kitten!!!

Dear Mom,
This is the BEST SURPRISE EVER!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
The kitten? I’m so glad you are excited! But we don’t want to overwhelm the baby, do we?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I’m not going to overwhelm him! I just want to play with him!!!!!!! And snuggle him!!!!! And chase him!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Ok, let’s dial that down a bit, honey. He’s just a baby. He’s only 12 weeks old. He’s in a brand-new house. And he’s away from the kittens and cats and dogs that he’s used to. It’s a lot to deal with.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
He’s dealing with it! He likes it here! He said so!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Well I’m glad to hear that. He seems to be adjusting really well. He’s a very confident baby.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I asked him if he has written to you yet. He didn’t know what I was talking about.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
They probably didn’t do that in his foster care. His foster mom is raising a lot of kittens, and I can’t imagine how she would manage if they all started corresponding with her. She’s got her hands full as it is. She’s an angel.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
The kitten is puzzled by Puffin. He says he can’t understand half of what Puffin says. I tried to explain that Puffin thinks he’s French. Even though he’s from Los Angeles. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, so now the kitten is even more confused about Puffin.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Puffin’s delusions are a bit hard to explain. Thank you for trying. Puffin has been a little stand-offish, but I think he’s starting to get used to the idea of a new family member. We have to remember, he doesn’t do well with change.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Puffin says he doesn’t understand why we needed a kitten. And he says he can’t be friends without a formal introduction. Which is impossible until the kitten has a name.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Puffin can be so darn formal. But we’ll have a name soon. So maybe that will get the ball rolling between them.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Speaking of rolling balls, the kitten has rolled all the toy balls under the dresser in the bedroom, so now I can’t reach them.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s probably just as well. You’ve destroyed three of them already. 
Love, Carolyn

A note to our readers…
Subscribe and get this every week in your email in-box! The subscription button is at the top of the page, on the right. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Marbles

Cher Madame,
This pauvre petit cat must admonish Madame. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Oh dear. Now what?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Madame has lost her marbles.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Okay, I’ll bite. What marbles would these be?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Les marbles in her head. Because, a kitten? Seriously? Madame is going to bring home a kitten?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Oh, the kitten marbles. Well, we’re working on it. Talking to the rescue groups. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
There is still time to back out of it.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
That’s not going to happen, sweetie. We are a two cat family. We have an opening for a second cat that must be filled. What can I say!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Have you consulted the moronic dog?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Poppy is completely on board. She would love to have a kitten to snuggle with. And chase around the house.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
C’est trop. All that disruption, all that scurrying about, jumping and ambushing us. Leaping out of paper bags. Back arched and tail bristling. Unrolling le toilet paper roll. That’s what kittens do.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
That’s what is so charming about them. Well not the toilet paper part, which is just annoying. That was what you did a lot of when you were a baby. But sweetie, you are going to enjoy having a youngster here! You’ll have someone to play with! You’ll have a blast!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This petit cat does not do the blast.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
For crying out loud, you like to play. Your specialty is The Ambush. You and Mia played ambush all the time.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Mia she was of the family.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
The kitten will be family too.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Quelle horreur.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Oh please. Well, at the very least a kitten will give you someone to complain about.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours le sarcasm.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

A note to our readers…
Subscribe and get this every week in your email in-box! The subscription button is at the top of the page, on the right. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Boom

Dear Poppy,
You don’t seem to be at all alarmed by the booming sounds every night.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Oh no!!!!!! Should I be alarmed? 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No, sweetie! I just wanted to check in with you on it. A lot of the dogs in the neighborhood have been freaking out. Seems like folks have been going completely crazy for the Fourth of July. Fireworks every night. Ouf.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Fourth of July! That’s what’s going on. I wondered. Are the fireworks Making America Great Again?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No sweetie, they are just for fun. People letting off steam. America has a lot of work to do, on many fronts, and it’s good to see people uniting to do that work. But the fireworks have nothing to do with it. Meanwhile I’m glad you aren’t worried about all the booming.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You keep saying that. Now I’m worried that I should be frightened. Am I doing it wrong?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Not at all sweetie! I’m glad you are not alarmed! When our old Molly was with us, she would come unglued when she heard fireworks.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
She shook all over. She said it was the sound of catastrophe. That we would all probably die.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
She did indeed. She had a heightened sense of security.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom
I just look at you, and if you aren’t upset, then I’m not either.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Very sensible. I wish Molly could have tried that approach. But when it came to security, she thought I was totally incompetent. And you know what she always said.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
She always said We’re doomed.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Molly’s philosophy of life, in a nutshell.
Love, Carolyn

A note to our readers…
Subscribe and get this every week in your email in-box! The subscription button is at the top of the page, on the right. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

The Promotion

Dear Puffin,
Now that Mia is gone, you’re the new Head Cat! How does that feel?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
C’est trop. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Too much? Too much of what, sweetie?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
La pressure. This pauvre petit cat is overwhelmed with la pressure.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Seriously? Pressure? Being the cat of the house involves pressure?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Oui! To be present, to show up on les laps, to purr when Monsieur scratches the chin, to be the cuddly house cat. So many duties. C’est trop. C’est la pressure. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Mia handled all that without complaining.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Mia was la party girl. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
She certainly was the life of the party. I know you like to sound grumpy, but I can tell you miss her. You’ve been a bit needy lately.  
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Et, la voilà, la pressure.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Now you are just trying to be a curmudgeon.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Trop de la pressure. Madame applies la pressure to this pauvre petit cat.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Okay, we’ll give you a different title: Monsieur Chief Grumpy Cat.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Encore, toujours le sarcasm.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

A note to our readers…
Subscribe and get this every week in your email in-box! The subscription button is at the top of the page, on the right. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Wild Life

Dear Mom,
The calico cat has been coming into our yard.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I suspect she is interested in the Meadow Mice.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We’re ALL interested in the Meadow Mice!!!!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I wish you’d dial that back a bit. I don’t want you to kill any more of them. I like the mice. I like how one of them sits in the entrance to their hole and watches me in the garden. I always say hi. She is cute like a Beatrix Potter illustration.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Killing mice is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I don’t want to think about that. It was a terrible bloody massacre. Let’s talk about something nicer, like the lady deer.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
She came right to the fence and looked at me while I barked! She wouldn’t go away!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
She has two fawns nearby. The neighbors have seen them by the creek.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
She wouldn’t go away! It was a standoff! I barked and barked until you brought me into the house.  
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
We have to work on this barking, honey. It doesn’t make anyone go away. It’s just annoying.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It DOES make them go away! When I bark at people walking their dogs past our house, they all go away.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That is such a doggish thing to believe. They were going away anyway. At least you know what I mean now when I tell you to be quiet. We’re making headway. Next maybe we can get you to stop barking when I yell QUIET.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I can’t stop. The sound rises up inside me and comes bursting out. 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
We’ll work on that. More treats might help.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We should definitely try that.
XOXO Poppy

A note to our readers…
Subscribe and get this every week in your email in-box! The subscription button is at the top of the page, on the right. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

The Loaf

Dear Puffin,
You have your disapproving look on you. Sitting there like a loaf of bread.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Pourquoi this name-calling? Madame calls this petit cat a loaf of bread? What next? The fat-shaming?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I was just referring to the sitting position, sweetie. When cats sit like that I always think they look like a loaf of bread.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This is most unusual reasoning. Madame she has a vivid imagination.
Regards, M. le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Don’t be offended, sweetie. It’s just one of several basic cat positions. There is also The Circle. When cats nap curled up into a perfect, tight circle. You do that very nicely.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It is with precision that I do this.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
There is also a position that is one of your specialties: The Reach. Where you nap with one or both front legs stretched out before you. And another one of your regulars, The Chin, where you rest your chin on something in front of you. Like when you sit on my lap in the dining room and rest your chin on the table.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Evidently there has been considerable research on this subject. Madame has apparently been studying this petit cat.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Oh, I have. There is also The Sprawl. Which is self-explanatory. And then there is The Roadkill. When The Sprawl includes a chin-up twist of the head.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This is rude. It is at the expense of the pauvre petit cat who cannot defend himself. It was Mia who slept like The Roadkill. Until I surprised her and she jumped up and ran off.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
And who is rude? It wasn’t nice of you to make her move. But it’s true, Mia did sometimes sleep with wild abandon. But she also did The Egyptian. Which is to draw up elegantly into a very upright seated position.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
She was not doing that so much at the end. She lost all dignity. She staggered around like une petite drunk.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
She was very sick, sweetie. And after her second stroke she was quite wobbly. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
She got les treats at all times of the day. Toujours les treats and fancy food. Madame does not give THIS pauvre petit cat les treats and fancy food.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I understand, you feel slighted. But you are over-weight again, sweetie, and Mia needed all the calories we could entice her to eat. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
C’est très très très très unfair.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I thought all animals understand that life is unfair. Well, all animals except for humans.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Cats are the exception. Life should not be unfair for a cat. This is why Madame saw this pauvre petit cat sitting here looking despondent like the loaf of the bread. From being cheated from les treats. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
When you are dying, we’ll give you treats.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours le sarcasm.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

A note to our readers…
Subscribe and get this every week in your email in-box! The subscription button is at the top of the page, on the right. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Farewell Mia

Originally this post was going to discuss Mia’s fifteenth birthday, which is sometime in June, but she passed yesterday morning after a rough month of illness. So, in addition to celebrating her fifteenth birthday, we’ll celebrate her life!

Mia was sweet, smart and sassy. She was a stunning beauty. She was the athlete of the family. And she was a tough cookie – she went out with a growth in her gut, two subsequent strokes, multiple seizures at the end, and her weight down to only 4.8 pounds, but after each rough patch that girl bounced back. Even when she couldn’t eat, she still insisted she wanted treats. And she always loved a snuggle.

To see her posts, where she shared her enthusiasm for everything from dancing to science, go to the top of the blog page where you’ll see a list of Characters. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com (and thank you for subscribing!)

Farewell Mia!

A note to our readers…
Subscribe and get this every week in your email in-box – The subscription button is at the top of the page, on the right. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!