Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

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

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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…
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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…
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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…
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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!

The Ruse

Dear Mia,
You are looking good this morning! But what are you doing with my pillow case?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I was trying to explain your new morning routine to Puffin. He is confused. Because you haven’t been the one to get up and feed us breakfast.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I don’t have to. Dad has been doing that.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I know. But it’s really your job. That’s why you were the one we always woke. But you fooled us with the sheet over your head. 
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You caught me there. I had finally figured out that if I put the sheet over my head in the morning, you two didn’t try to wake me. And for some reason it works. When I put the sheet over my head, you leave me alone and start bugging Dad. It’s great.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I had it all figured out. But I don’t wake you any more anyway.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
True, since you’ve been sick you’re not eating so much. You curl up and wait. But Puffin is totally obnoxious in the morning. So, I put the sheet over my head and Puffin wakes Dad.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Does Dad know you are doing this?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Possibly. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Should I tell Puffin?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Maybe not? Let sleeping dogs lie. As it were.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Sleeping dogs?????
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
It’s just an expression. For leaving things as they are.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I won’t tell Puffin.
Love, Mia

A note to our readers…
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ZigZag

Dear Poppy,
It’s time for our walk!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Our walks have become so weird. What’s going on?????????
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Maybe you could be more specific?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
All the humans with covers on their faces. I thought that was a passing thing. Like Halloween. But you are all still doing it. I don’t like it.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Nobody likes it. But we have no choice, sweetie. We have to wear masks when we go out.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Everyone looks scary. You and Dad don’t look the same when you wear your covers. Thank heavens you smell the same.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s the important thing.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
And waving at everyone. That’s something new. Waving is so scary!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It’s scary for you because you remember being beaten when you were young. Waving arms led to being hit. But people are doing it on our walks because no one can see a smile under a mask. We used to smile and nod when we passed each other on the sidewalk. Now we wave from across the street. A kind of acknowledgement for keeping distance and wishing we didn’t have to. There is nothing to be frightened about, sweetie!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Why are we constantly crossing, back and forth, zig and zag, zig and zag, and sometimes just walking down the middle of the street?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s to keep distance between us and other walkers. It’s a good thing there aren’t many cars these days!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
So many changes. Changes on our walks. Changes at home because Mia is sick. Changes are unsettling. At least it isn’t raining.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It is indeed a nice day. No rain.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I don’t poop in the rain.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I know that.
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 Guest Room

Dear Mia,
Your illness has saddened everyone. It came on so fast. From one week to the next you went from your normal spunky self to unsteady and feeble. It’s heartbreaking.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It’s final. I understand that.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You must have had this tumor for a while.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It was too much for me to ignore any more.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
We were mystified when you moved into the guest room. Your hangout was always on my bed or with us in the living room or kitchen. You never spent time in the guest room. None of us hang out there. It’s for guests. That’s why it’s called a guest room. Now it’s become your central place. It’s a bit odd, sweetie.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I needed to be in a different place. Because everything has changed. Everything feels different.  It’s no longer my old life.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
No, sadly it is not. But I don’t understand why you withdrew so completely for a few days.  You didn’t sleep with me. Or sit on my chest and lick my face while I was reading. Or join us at dinner. You didn’t wake me for breakfast.  It was very upsetting. I’m so glad you are not withdrawing quite so much now, though you still spend most of the day in the guest room. At least you come out now and then to look for me, and last night I woke to find you sleeping cuddled against me. What a relief to have you back!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I thought I was about to die, so I went to a quiet place. Then when I didn’t die right away, I figured I can still be with you sometimes.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
But not like it used to be. I’ve missed you so!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It’s not about you.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
My god you’re right. I’m so sorry. But I do miss you.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We have to let go of each other.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That’s easier said than done. It’s hard to accept. I want to have as much time with you as possible in the time we have left.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We have each other. I like it when you come to the guest room to sit and read next to me. It’s nice to nap knowing you are right there. But some of the time I need to be apart from the household.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
We’re trying to respect that.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Puffin and Poppy are too much.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Puffin is very upset. He doesn’t understand. Or he does, and he doesn’t like it. But he has not been himself. Especially at first. He was restless and meowing. He still doesn’t understand what you are doing in the guest room.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
He keeps coming in to look at me.  And Poppy won’t stop sniffing me.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Poppy is consumed with curiosity.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
They are both too much.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I guess that’s why you keep moving to a spot under the bed.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Yes.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
We miss you when you do that. When you are on top of the bed at least we can see you, and you raise your head when we pass by and check in on you. It’s weird to have to peer under the bed.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I like it when you do! I like seeing you. And I do like the sun patch on the bed. But sometimes I need to withdraw.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
At least there are some things you come out for now. To say hi to me and Dad. To let me cuddle you now and again. To drink some water. Use the litter box. You still like to lick your catnip toy. And you really seem to be enjoying your meals.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
The meals have been lovely!!!!!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’m so glad we finally found something you want to eat. You had me so worried when you went days without eating.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I love the new food! I just can’t eat very much at a time. It’s too much effort.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You are so very tired and fragile.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Weary. I’m so very weary.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I still can’t understand how you went downhill so fast. I even wonder if you had a small stroke at some point the day we went to the vet. You’ve been so wobbly ever since. It all changed so fast.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I knew something was wrong, and I couldn’t bring myself to eat, and then we went to the vet, and I found out about the big growth in my gut, and that changed everything. So, when we got home, I moved to the guest room.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You make it sound like we shouldn’t have gone to the vet. If we hadn’t, maybe you’d still be ok.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
That’s magical thinking.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You’re right. I’m having trouble processing this.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It’s simple, really.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
It is. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I’ll always be in your heart.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You will.
Love, Carolyn

A note to our readers…
You can subscribe to this weekly blog and get it every Friday 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.) 

FaceTime

Cher Madame,
Things have been very strange here.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You’re telling me.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
I’m telling you?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s an expression. It means I’m emphatically agreeing with you. That things have become very strange everywhere.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This pauvre petit cat was hoping that peut-être Madame would explain le strangeness.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Where to start! The masks, the isolation, the worry, the numbers, the people behind the numbers, the sadness for the suffering, the masks, the ordering everything on line…
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
The masks were mentioned twice by Madame.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Well, there you are. That’s how strange it is.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
But you are not mentioning another strangeness. Madame is talking to people on her laptop these days. That does not seem like a normal thing to do.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You are right. That is part of the strangeness. Having to rely upon FaceTime and Skype and Zoom to visit with friends and with our daughter. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It is better than when your daughter comes to visit in person. With her dog. That rude cur. Who was on the FaceTime and barking on your screen. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Mika was probably barking at you. They could see you sitting there. Looking bored. Until the barking started. Then you looked like you had been goosed.
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!

The Deal

Dear Mom,
Puffin and Poppy want me to ask you to stop vacuuming the house.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That’s not going to happen, sweetie. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I don’t worry too much about it, but it terrifies Puffin, and it makes Poppy nervous.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’ve noticed that it puts Puffin in a panic. You’d think I was going after him with a knife.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
A knife would be quiet. He’s terrified of the noise. And Poppy is also worried about the noise.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Why are you the spokesperson? Or spokescat. Whatever it is.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
They both think that I’m the one who is closest to you.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You are indeed, you’re my spirit animal.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
So, will you stop the vacuuming?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
How about we make a deal. If the three of you stop shedding, I’ll stop the vacuuming.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I don’t know how to do that!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Probably it would mean twice-daily rubdowns with The Grooming Glove.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We HATE the Grooming Glove!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Well, there you are. We’re at an impasse.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We’ll have to get back to you on this.
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!