Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

Heritage

Dear Puffin,
When Poppy and I were in Los Angeles recently we saw your old neighborhood.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
My old neighborhood? En France?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Of course not France, Puff. Los Angeles. Where you were found as a teeny tiny kitten. A wide-eyed toddler, lost and wandering the streets of South Central LA. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Comme d’habitude Madame is mistaken. This petit cat has no recollection of this South Central. Surely Madame meant to say Paris. My heritage is French.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
We’ve been through this before, honey. Over and over. Unless you were brought to this country when you were still a nursing infant, you are from Los Angeles. That’s where you were found, barely old enough to be away from your mom. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This story of the finding. It may not be true.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Of course it’s true. And it’s a sweet story, Puffin! You were rescued from a rough life in the gutter!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Mais, this is a tale of the fairies. Does Madame have proof? Of course not. Alors, je ne suis pas of Los Angeles.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You were found in a LA gutter by a friend of my daughter’s. You were filthy and crawling with fleas, drinking gutter water, and sick with diarrhea. But sweetie, you were completely adorable. And just think – if they hadn’t rescued you, and if she hadn’t brought you here to us, you’d have grown up to be a tough LA street cat. Instead, look at you! Luscious, indolent, and completely delusional.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours sordid, these details of filth. Madame is unkind to insist on them. Je suis Français. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Well, okay Puff honey, you are French in your heart.
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 Rat

Dear Alpha Mom,
I miss the two back yard mice. They were fun. I don’t like the rat who replaced them. He’s intimidating. He sneers at me.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I miss the cute mice too. I liked their little white feet. I guess Rodney Rat saw their franchise and told them to get out so he could take over. Don’t worry about his attitude. I’ll bet he’s pretending that he’s not afraid. He is probably grateful that you haven’t been able to catch him.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
He runs right past me.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
He is bold, isn’t he? But you are doing a good job of keeping him on his toes.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
I do what I can! He is stealing our sunflower seeds.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Just the seeds that drop from the bird feeder. He can assume the same arrangement we had with the mice. As long as none of them come into our house, they are allowed to pick up the mess the birds make. I like that you are on it, though.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
He is too fast for me. If Molly were here she’d have caught him. She was the true Rat Dog. I’ll never measure up to her.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You’re doing fine, honey. Molly was one of a kind. When you get frustrated, just spend some time with your plush rat. That always makes you feel happy.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
But Mia wants to play with it too.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Don’t let the cats bully you, sweetie. It’s your plush rat.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Mia says that if I were a good dog, I would share.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Sharing can be an overrated activity. Especially when it involves the cats.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
I think I’ll go back outside and chase the rat.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Wise choice.
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!

Drama

Dear Mom,
Puffin is driving everyone crazy.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
He’s unhappy, sweetie. We just have to put up with it for a while.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
He keeps ambushing me. He’s a jerk.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
He is. But he’s our jerk. And he’s going through a rough time. Besides, you chase him too. So it sort of evens out.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Mia is fed up too. He keeps bullying her out of her comfy spots. He is very intimidating when he looms over her. Giving her The Look.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I know. Poor Mia. She doesn’t like confrontation so she usually just clears out. But I feel badly for him, too. He’s hungry. It’s made him cranky. Being on a strict diet is difficult for him.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Difficult for HIM! He’s nothing but a big baby. He’s ruining life for all of us.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
He is indeed a pain in the backside. He’s feeling very sorry for himself. But the diet is very important. He’s reached an unhealthy weight.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
He has disrupted everything. Mia doesn’t like it that she has to eat in the bathroom.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
She has to eat in there with the door closed so he won’t steal her food. I told her it’s her private dining room.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I hope he gets stuck in the cat door to the litterboxes.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No you don’t, sweetie. If he gets stuck in the cat door he’ll never go in there again, and you know what he’ll do next.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Pee in my bed?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Exactly. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Oh. 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Mom,
So, he’s on a diet because you’re worried that he’s getting so fat that soon he won’t fit through the cat door to the litterboxes.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I’m afraid you’ve hit the nail on the head.
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.comto find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Torture

Cher Madame,
Il faut bring up a serious problem. An epicurean crisis.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I suspect I know what this is all about.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Les standards of the kitchen, they are collapsed.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I understand that you are upset. But I can’t give you what you want.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It is a situation impossible for this petit cat.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
That is just it. In a nutshell. Sadly, you are NOT petit, honey.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
C’est extremely offensive. C’est what people are calling Fat Shaming.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m not fat shaming you. I’m just saying you are not petit. By any stretch of the word.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
But this petit cat must eat. And Madame is deliberately doing the starving. C’est torture.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m really sorry. I wish I didn’t have to put you on a diet again. But you are up to 15 pounds! You’ve put on a whole pound just in the last year. I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t paying enough attention, but I simply got accustomed to how you look. You should be more like 12 pounds. Maybe 12.5. You really are not at a healthy weight.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Mais this petit cat carries well the weight.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Well, not so well, honey. You are very awkward getting through the cat door into the closet with your litterboxes. Mia just jumps through! For you it is a two-step operation.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Je suis astonished. Has Madame been spying on this petit cat?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m not spying on you, honey. Monsieur has a desk that faces that closet, so he has a good view of the cat door. And of your difficulty getting through it.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Monsieur is a snitch. This will be remembered.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Monsieur is very sympathetic, Sweetie. He is on a diet himself, so he knows just how difficult that can be. And it’s not just about the cat door. We’ve also noticed some difficulty, a bit of a scramble, when you jump onto the sofa back. We really have to work on your weight. We aren’t enjoying this, honey. It’s a hassle because Mia needs to be fed separately, in the bathroom. And I have to listen to your complaints as soon as the sun is up in the morning. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
C’est vraiment an afront to mon spirit of joie de vivre.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I understand your distress, sweetie. You are deeply wounded. These are dark days. But I don’t think you will waste away.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours le sarcasm.
Regards, le petit 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.comto find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Performance Art

Dear Mom,
This last week was the WORST WEEK EVER!!!!!! We were SO upset.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
YOU were upset! Think about Poppy! Both of her beds getting filled with puddles of pee. Each time I cleaned it up, it happened again. I was at my wits end.
Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We couldn’t figure out why you didn’t get it right away.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You could have written me a note to tell me what was going on. I thought you had all lost your marbles.
Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We were too upset for notes. We felt like our lives had turned upside-down. So we used performance art to communicate. It’s a feline tradition.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Poor Poppy. I bundled her off to the vet because I thought she was acting out due to a UTI or diabetes or something. But she was all clear. The vet said peeing in the dog’s bed sounded more like something a cat would do. I assured him you two NEVER did anything like that. Ha.
Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Well of course we don’t! Normally. But we were freaking out.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Then I went to clean out the litter boxes and they were pristine. Totally untouched. I realized that I had two cats gone wacko out of control.
Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We were not wacko. We were communicating an urgent message with our performance art. But you failed to watch.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I wish you had been more explicit. Thank god I finally found that the cat door had locked closed so you couldn’t get to your litter boxes in the furnace room.
Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We were distraught!!!!!. We had to go somewhere, and the first thing we thought of was to pick on Poppy. Actually that was my idea. Puffin would have gone all over the place. It was a good idea, right? Very dramatic. I knew you couldn’t miss it. Also it was kind of funny, doing that to Poppy.
Love, Mia 

Dear Mia,
Funny! Think of how that poor dog felt! I had to trash both her beds. That wasn’t very nice of you. She is such an innocent!
Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Well, everything is fine now that you fixed our cat door. Looking back on it, it is still kind of funny.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You cats are out of control.
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.comto find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Turn of Phrase

Dear Mom,
Why do humans worry about Friday the 13th?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Humans are a very superstitious species. Some folks even think black cats are bad luck.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
That makes no sense. If a cat wants to be bad luck, it has nothing to do with her color.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You are absolutely right. Go figure. But cats certainly have a hold on human imagination. You are very much part of our literary tradition.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We are very important! And very literary. Cats show up in all kinds of expressions. Like “playing cat and mouse.” And “look what the cat dragged in.” And we share one with dogs: “it’s raining cats and dogs.”
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Then there is “letting the cat out of the bag.”
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Out of the bag?????!!!!!!! What was she doing in a bag?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Maybe it was an emergency. You know, if we had to suddenly get out of here really fast, like in a fire, my plan is to toss the two of you into a pillow case.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You would do that?????? That’s a shocking idea.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
No it’s not. Because in a disaster it would take too long to get the carriers out. It would save you. But anyway, that’s not the only strange cat phrase out there. Here’s one: “Cat got your tongue?”
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
That’s disgusting. I have no intention of taking anyone’s slimy old human tongue.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Who knows where that phrase came from. And there are more. For pure horror, there is “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” And then there is “a dead cat bounce.” That’s a financial term, for when numbers go up after a big drop. The idea is that even a dead cat will bounce if dropped from a big height. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
A DEAD CAT BOUNCE??????? What is wrong with your species?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I have nothing to say. I can’t defend us.
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.comto find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Jump!

Dear Puffin,
You have been very jumpy lately. Is it the noise across the street?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This petit cat appreciates that Madame understands! Oui, the noise she is excessive.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It has been noisy, hasn’t it? I’ll be glad when they are finished with that endless house remodel. The pounding, the sawing, the jackhammer, and god knows what else. But honey, you don’t have to run out of the room when it starts up.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
When a petit cat sleeps next to an open window, the noise is a blast to assault the nerve endings. Le petit cat cannot help but jump.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
But you jump at any unexpected noise. When there was a loud cat scream in the night, you clawed me in your scramble to get off my lap to hide. There was blood involved! Still, I can understand your horror. It was one of your people.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
By my people does Madame mean French?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
No doofus, I mean cats. I don’t think we’re likely to hear a French person screaming in the night.
Love, Carolyn

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

Dear Puffin,
You even jump when the garbage truck pulls up to empty our bins. You don’t have to jump, sweetie. That happens every week. And those men never come into our house.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
One does not know. Anything can happen. Et alors, one day the terrible man next door with the leaf blower may just get it in his head to invade us.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
No he won’t. Though I’m annoyed by that racket as well. And then there is also the doorbell. When it rings, you tear out of the room so fast, you leave your shadow behind. Where do you go?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Under la bed, bien sur. But Madame is making light of the terrors that a petit cat must face every day. Toujours she is cruel.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I think you are maybe too tightly wound. Last night Monsieur dropped a book and you almost went out the window. Sometimes it is perhaps understandable, but you overdo it. There was the time, on the Fourth of July, when someone set off a fire cracker nearby. Granted it was with a boom so loud it sounded like it was in our house. But you were amazing. I did not know you could jump that high.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It is not kind to take a mocking tone with a petit cat living in a world très dangereux.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Your world is not a very dangerous one, Puff. Maybe you take it all too personally. Maybe you could try to accept that life is full of loud noises that don’t necessarily threaten you. When that fire cracker went off, Poppy just looked at me to see if I was worried. I was startled, but she could see I wasn’t worried, so she decided it was fine. And Mia just rolled her eyes and said “Ouf, humans.”
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.comto find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

Howl!

Dear Poppy,
You were so well behaved on our car trip to Los Angeles!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
It was terrible. Such a long drive! I was relieved when we finally arrived..
XOXO Poppy 

Dear Poppy,
It is a long drive. That’s why I put you in your anxiety jacket, and I gave you a CBD chew. And that’s why we stopped at every rest stop to take a little walk.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
It was still terrible. But I loved visiting your daughter and her dog Mika!!!!!!! Although Mika was a bit rude about the dinner dishes.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
She’s not used to sharing a kitchen with another dog at dinner time. But she was glad to have you visit. You are her partner in crime.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Do you know what was the very best part of the visit?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I think I can guess. Did it involve coyotes?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
YES!!!!!!! THE COYOTES!!!! 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I was surprised how openly they hang out by the alley behind the house. Right in the middle of Los Angeles. Bad news for the rat population, though. But it was so cool to listen to them howl in response to fire engine sirens!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
And that wasn’t even the BEST PART!!!!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I think I know where we’re going with this.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
We ALL started howling!!! All of us! TOGETHER!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That was indeed an extraordinary shared experience. One siren, three humans, two dogs, and a pack of coyotes. A lot of yip-yip-yipping.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
We couldn’t believe you humans joined in the howling!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I can just imagine what the neighbors thought, but it certainly was exhilarating. I wonder what the coyotes thought.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Their dialect is a little different than ours, but I think I got the gist of it. They said it was exciting to have a human component in the song fest. And they thought you are probably crazy.
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.comto find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!

The Study

Dear Mia,
I heard that there is a recent Japanese study that concludes that cats know their own names!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
That’s insulting. Of course we do.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
It’s not all that obvious. Cats usually act like they don’t. In fact, the study pointed out that they generally prefer to ignore their humans.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Of course cats don’t respond when they don’t feel like it. That’s just being smart.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Still, the Japanese seem to have a special place in their hearts for cats. They brought us Hello Kitty. And this cat teapot.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
They are wonderful people. They understand that we are superior to other animals. Especially to dogs. There is probably a study that says that.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Let’s not get competitive. Cats and dogs are simply different.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Dogs are like children. Cats are adult.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That’s true. Living with a cat is like living with an adult. A difficult adult. But an adult with a lovely long tail and silky fur.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You envy me for my tail. Maybe you can get one. The Japanese have invented a robotic tail for humans!!!!!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That sounds weird and awkward. Not nearly as nice as a long silky cat tail. Once at a dinner party, you sidled up to me, and while everyone was admiring you, I stroked you and ran my hand along your tail. And I said “I think it would be wonderful to have a tail” and the table went completely silent. And I realized I had said it aloud. It was a bit embarrassing.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I remember that. You are quite right to want one. There is probably a study that looks into tail envy.
Love, 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!

The Lawyer

Dear Puffin,
This morning you lied to me. I have to say, I’m disappointed in you.
Carolyn

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

Dear Puffin,
You did this morning. As soon as I woke up you were all over me, crying that Monsieur hadn’t fed you.
Carolyn

Cher Madame,
One should ask Monsieur about this confusion. Except one cannot because he left the house very early while it was still dark.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
He had to catch an early plane. But I texted him and he replied that he had indeed fed you.
Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Moi, he did not feed. He put my bowl away.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
He plainly said you were up and lobbying him for breakfast, while Mia slept late with me. He put food in both bowls, as usual, but when he found you eating Mia’s food, he put your bowl away. The operative word here is eating. Sounds pretty conclusive that you were fed.
Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Must it be pointed out to Madame that this petit cat was not fed in the proper bowl?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
So TECHNICALLY you were not fed because you ate Mia’s food?
Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Oui, technically, quoi.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
If you were not a cat you would probably be a lawyer.
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.comto find the subscription box at the top right. See you every Friday!