Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

Tigger

Dear Alpha Mommy,

You’ve hidden my Tigger!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You were destroying it, Sweetie.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I was loving it!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You chewed the face off. It was looking grotesque.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

One eye was still there.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Not for long. And the head would have been the next to go. I’m not going to watch a beheading. Even if it is a toy.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

But you let me chew my Nylabones.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Your bones don’t have a face.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Molly said we should chew up our toys.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Molly has a long reach, hasn’t she. She has been gone for ages and she still runs this household. But sweetie, not all of her advice was good. She had no use for toys because she was a serious working dog. And she was very comfortable with violence. Remember how much she relished killing rats?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

The rat killing was horrifying! But really exciting!!!!!!!!!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Well, it may have been, from a dog’s point of view. And it was one of her jobs.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

What were her other jobs?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

In addition to killing rats she protected our house, and maintained the household agenda. It was a lot to handle, but she was a Terrier, and as she liked to point out, Terriers are Competent.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

That’s a hard act to follow.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You have your own jobs, sweetie – to keep the crows out of the birdbath and to take me for a daily walk. You’re proving quite competent yourself.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

So I think I deserve to get my Tigger back.

XOXO Poppy

 

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Half-Full

Dear Mommy,

We like the lady who came to feed us, but we didn’t like that she sent you away.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

She didn’t send us away, sweetie. We went away on our own. You saw the suitcases. We went traveling.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Why would you do that??????

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

To visit friends and see new sights!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

But we all miss you so much when you go away! Besides, we’re your friends!!!! You should stay with us! You don’t need to go visit other friends.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

That’s sweet. I miss you too when we go away. But we ALWAYS come back.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Molly used to tell us that predators got you when you went away and didn’t seem to be coming back.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Please don’t tell Poppy the predators story. She has enough anxieties as it is.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

It’s wrong for you to leave.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

No it’s not, sweetie. And we always arrange to have someone care for you. Cathie is a wonderful pet-sitter!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

She is nice. She plays with us and she’s more generous with treats than you are.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I’m glad you have a positive outlook. You’re a cup-half-full kind of girl.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

What do you mean when you say my cup is half-full?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Depending on how a person sees life, their cup looks half-full or half-empty. I like that you pretty much see your cup half-full. You have a positive outlook.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

What kind of cup does Puffin have?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I’m afraid his seems to be generally half-empty.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I think Molly’s cup was entirely empty.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

She was a doom and gloom girl, wasn’t she!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I don’t think Poppy thinks about it much.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

She probably doesn’t.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

What about your cup?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

My cup is completely full.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Travel

Cher Madame,

Je veux dire there has been a terrible offense to this petit cat.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Now what, honey?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

It is that Madame and Monsieur went to Paris without me!

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

We did indeed. We would have loved to have you as a travel companion, but Puffin honey, I don’t think you would have been very happy on an airplane.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Madame assumes a lot. This little cat would have loved to sit in a comfortable carrier under le seat. And dans l’hotel, lounging in a beautiful hotel room, c’est perfect.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I’m not sure it would be all that perfect. For one thing, the hotel did not appear to provide litter boxes.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Ouf! C’est terrible! What do les French cats do?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Well I’m sure they aren’t living in hotels.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

And Madame et Monsieur visited Monsieur’s cousin and her French cats. C’est simply wrong to go without moi.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

That was lovely, but you would have hated the train ride to get there.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Et puis, la French cousin she lives with more than cats. Bien sûr, her dog is of no interest to a cat, but there was also a Miss Violette. Who is this creature that you and Monsieur became so besotted with?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Do I hear a hint of jealousy here?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

You et Monsieur keep talking about cette animal. What is a small cat to think?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Miss Violette is a lovely white Percheron horse who is really quite stunning. She is enormous, the biggest horse I have ever stood next to! But Puff honey, Miss Violette is no threat to a fine cat like yourself.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Pah. Je repeat, pah. A horse, c’est like a dog, beneath a cat’s interest. But il faut dire, Madame truly should have brought this petit cat to visit the cousins. Quelle disappointment.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I’m sorry sweetie. Maybe next time.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

C’est what you said last time. Madame she is forgetful. Peut-être senile?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Speaking of forgetful, don’t you forget to be nice to me – I’m the one who feeds you.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Stickers

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I hate it when my feet pick up stickers!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

It’s that time of year, isn’t it? When the weeds start producing stickers.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

They go straight to my feet when we go for our walks!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

That’s because your feet are like four fluffy slippers. They sweep those stickers right up.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

But then I have to sit down and pull them out with my teeth.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I think it’s wonderful that you sort out your own foot problems. It is awkward sometimes, though. When you stop us right in the middle of a street crossing.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

But I have to remove the stickers!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I understand. But the street crossing is sort of an inappropriate place to do that. Inevitably cars pull up and have to wait while you suck on your feet.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

If you had stickers in your feet I’m sure you would sit right down in the middle of the street and chew them out, cars or no cars.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Now I’m going to have that image in my head for the rest of the day.

Love, Carolyn

 

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Wildlife

Dear Mommy,

I overheard you tell your friend that you lived with a cat once who brought baby snakes into the house!!!!! That’s so exciting!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Yes indeed! That was Alice. She brought several baby garter snakes into the house one year. They were beautiful!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Did you let her keep them to play with?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Of course not! I released them in our garden.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I want to go outside and find some baby snakes!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I’m sorry sweetie. The outdoors is a very dangerous place for little cats. You’ll just have to play with your rubber snake.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

But you let Alice out!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

And we lost our Alice. It broke our hearts! She suddenly disappeared and we never knew what happened to her. She may have been hit by a car or caught by a coyote. Coyotes and cars are the main reasons I changed to a Strictly Indoor cat policy.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

But Poppy says coyotes are just dogs! I’m not afraid of a dog. Look at how nicely Poppy and I get along!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Honey, coyotes are not just dogs. And especially not a dog like our sweet Poppy. A coyote would pick you up for lunch in no time.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Are you telling me that Alice was EATEN???!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I’m sad to say that is entirely possible.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

THAT IS HORRIFYING!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

It is horrifying. And that’s why I don’t want you and Puffin to roam outside.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I could outrun a coyote. I’m really fast.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I’m sorry honey, but you are no match for a coyote. You would be an easy lunch.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I’ve been sitting in the window looking at the garden for hours now, and I haven’t seen a single coyote. Just two deer, three squirrels, and the chickadees at the bird feeder. I think you are making up this coyote story.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

There’s a lot of wildlife out there that we rarely see. Not only coyotes (though once I saw one loping down the street in broad daylight!) There are raccoons, foxes, skunks, possums, and who knows, probably a bobcat now and then. There are even mountain lions from time to time, though they rarely come down to our neighborhood. But just because we don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Last night we smelled a skunk!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

And yet you’ve never seen one. I rest my case.

Love, Carolyn

 

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Destruction

Cher Madame,

This petit cat overhead Madame slander moi.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Slander? Puffin honey, what are you talking about?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

The tiny ears they heard this. When Madame was talking to a neighbor.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin

Is your tiny head thinking about the comment I made about how destructive you were as a kitten?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Oui! When you said M. Le Poufin was the most destructive youngster you’d ever known.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I should think you’d be proud of the distinction!

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

May I remind Madame that this petit cat is a cat of great dignity, culture and refinement.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

You certainly are more dignified than you were as a kitten. You once brought down a five-foot-tall potted palm. There was dirt scattered everywhere. On the carpet I might add.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

C’est un ACCIDENT. The tree she took a great leap and toppled over.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

And you kept pulling out the water plants from the aquarium. Several times I came home to find dried out aquarium plants all over the kitchen floor. And that poor goldfish cowering in the corner of the tank.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Le goldfish was extremely difficult to catch.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Well, not for lack of trying. I’ve never seen a cat reach into a tank of water, all the way up to the shoulder. And then jump down soaking wet to track water around the house.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

The tank was deep, Madame, so it required the full reach to catch the fish.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

And catch it you finally did. But that wasn’t all. There were all the shoestrings you chewed through. Monsieur was exasperated with you.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Les shoe strings, they were replaced, n’est pas?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

But it’s annoying! Then you destroyed my laptop charger cord. That was an expensive chew.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Monsieur and Madame made too much of all this.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Then there were all the houseplants you frayed with your chewing. There was the paper towel roll that you hugged and kicked with your hind claws until it completely shredded into tiny bits, all over the living room. And the countless times you unrolled toilet paper rolls around the house. But probably the most astonishing thing was your fascination with toilets.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Always, always, Madame brings up les subjects sordid.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I’ve never known another cat to come running at the sound of the toilet flushing, to jump on the seat and actually reach in to the swirling water.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Le swirling water was exciting, and a cat will always want to chase the things that move!

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Fortunately we always managed to intervene before you scooped anything out. It’s amazing what we put up with when you were young. But you were always entertaining.

Love, Carolyn

 

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Wily Coyote

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I’ve been looking everywhere!!!!! What did you do with our visitor??????

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Our visitor? Do you mean when our neighbor stopped by?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

No, last night’s exciting visitor.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Last night? What visitor?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

The exciting coyote!!!!!!!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Oh, the coyote. You all need to calm down about that coyote. It wasn’t a visitor. It was just a recording.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Mia said he was real! Where is he? How can he be so good at hiding????

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I was thumbing through Facebook and I found a post with some recordings of local wild animal sounds. None of you even looked up when I played the fox sounds. And I have to say those foxes made some hair-raising cries.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

We were asleep.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You were indeed. And you slept through the bobcat. And the raccoon. And you even slept through the coyote howl. But when we got to the coyote barky sounds, all three of your heads snapped up! It was quite a reaction.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

He was in your phone? We were wondering where he was!!!!! Mia was really worried.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I could see she was. When I saw how alarmed she was, I stopped it. I don’t want any of you to worry.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

But what did you do with him? We want to know where he is hiding now! I want to see him! His barks sounded so attractive!!!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I sent him on his way. But I’ll bring him back for you now and then. Just for some excitement.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

You can do that?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

With the tap of my thumb.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

That’s magic!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I know.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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WooWoo

 

Dear Mommy,

I can get you and Dad to do anything I want.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I love your confidence. How do you accomplish this?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I do my WooWoo dance. It works every time.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I have to say, we do love it when you sit up and wave your paws.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Love it is just the start of it. My WooWoo dance makes you both melt and gush.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I think we have a little more dignity than that.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Not much more.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

So what is it you make us do with your WooWoo dance?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Feed me.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

But we do that anyway.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Give me treats.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I have to admit your dance does work for that.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

You can’t resist the WooWoo dance.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You make it sound like hypnotism.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

It kind of is.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

What are you doing the dance for now?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I’m going to make you let me sit on the dining table.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Sorry. We love the WooWoo dance, but it doesn’t work every time. Rules are rules. We love it that you sit on the dining chair to join us while we dine, but sitting on the table is out of the question.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

We’ll see.

Love, Mia

 

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Frenchly

Cher Madame,

Mia again she hurls les insults at moi.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Oh dear. Now what?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

She says I’ve been insufferably Frenchly.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I don’t think Frenchly is really a word.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Vraiment, right? Make her stop.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

She has a point.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

I must insist, je suis français.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Then how did you get to Los Angeles?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Madame always brings up Los Angeles.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Because you were found there as a teeny tiny kitten.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Peut-être je suis an immigrant. From France.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I don’t think so, honey. You were a tiny little guy. Wandering around in a rather rough neighborhood. In the gutter.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Toujours Madame brings up le gutter.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

And diarrhea. You had parasites. You are so lucky you were rescued.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

It is unfortunate that Madame she dwells on les details sordid.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

It is what it is, sweetie. We love you anyway.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Time

Dear Poppy,

I’m so impressed with your sense of time!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

My what????? What am I doing?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You are right on time when you remind me to give you your anxiety meds. Every day at 5:00!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

My what? My meds? I thought I was getting a treat every day at 5:00!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Of course it’s a treat. A Prozac pill wrapped in a delicious tidbit.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Mia gets a treat every day too.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

True. Mia gets a pill for her heart, wrapped in a treat. And then you all get fed. You are also good at knowing when it is time for the afternoon walk.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I am?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Though it might also be that you notice when I put on my jacket and pick up the leash. Dead giveaways. Still, I’m impressed with your sense of time. You also know when it is time to go out one last time before bed.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Molly taught me all about clocks before she died.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I should have known. Of course she did. She had all that covered.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

She also told me that when you are away time passes faster if we spend it on your bed.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Even though you’re not supposed to be there without an invitation?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

She said the rule is lifted when you are away.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

It figures. Well, I’ll just keep pretending I don’t notice the warm spot on the bed when I get home.

Love, Carolyn

 

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