Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

Boundaries

Cher Madame,
The Winston is very annoying at mealtimes.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I thought the new set-up was working quite well!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Le set-up, as Madame likes to call it, is très strange. Mais we have un autre problème. Le problem de Winston is this: le coquin does not follow the rules.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
As I’m sure you will explain for me.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Oui. Le Winston he does not follow the rules. He pushes his head into my dinner.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
But your dinner will not open for him! It only opens for you because it is your chip that is opening it.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It is possible that Madame is being obtuse. What is happening is that this ruffian kitten crowds his head into my dinner while I dine. C’est rude.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I don’t know why you are making a big deal about that. All you have to do is hiss at him and give him a whack and he’s out of your dinner. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Mais this rude Winston, he is crowding me. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It sounds like this is more about boundaries than about dinner.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Oui, the boundary she is crossed.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’ve seen you stick your head in on his side from time to time.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Not during the eating! And it won’t open for me anyway.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I think we can solve this the old-fashioned way. Just give Winston one of your persuasive whacks when he crosses that boundary. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It is possible that for once Madame is wise.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

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Best Toy Ever

Dear Mom,
Thank you for the new toy!!!!!!!!!
Winston

Dear Winston,
Wait, you aren’t calling me Lady Mom anymore? 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You are my only mom now. The others are my birth mom and my foster mom, but you are my true mom.
Winston

Dear Winston,
That’s so sweet to hear! Thank you! 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
But seriously, the new toy is awesome.
Winston

Dear Winston, 
Which new toy is this?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom!
The Yellow Toy!!!!!!!!!
Winston

Dear Winston,
The strip I tore off a bag of frozen potstickers? Who knew that would be so popular. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It’s the best toy ever.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Even better than the feather toy?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
The feather toy is a magical bird that plays with me and Puffin. This Yellow Toy is an awesome toy that I can wrestle with!!!!! Any time I want!!!!! They are totally different!!!!
Winston

Dear Winston,
I guess I should know that. So, what about the little balls with bells inside that I gave you?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Poppy chewed up three of them and the rest are under the bedroom dresser.
Winston

Dear Winston,
So, there we are. The plastic strip is the best. Good to know. 
Love, Carolyn 

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Cat Games

Dear Mom,
Winston keeps trying to get into my basket with me.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s so sweet! He wants to sleep with you!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I don’t do that!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I’ve noticed. You jump right out of your bed when Winston jumps in. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Yes! Because a bed should be for one of us at a time.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You could try it. Sleeping with him. Having a nice snuggle together. Maybe you’d like it.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I know what I like.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You do indeed. Well, at least you two play together.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
He stops playing when I take his toy.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I think that’s because you bark loudly and grab his toy from him.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
That’s how I play!!!!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Yes, but it’s not how cats play. Maybe you could learn some cat games.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
There are cat games?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Of course there are. There’s the game where you gallop from room to room with the toy in your mouth. And then stop and bat it around. That’s a game you can join in. You could race around with him. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We do! I play that game already! But sometimes he won’t play it with me.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
So, maybe cut out the barking. Winston finds that alarming, and it drives us nuts. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
There are so many rules.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s just something you have to live with when you live with cats. Cats have a lot of rules.
Love, Carolyn

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The Bird

Cher Madame,
The evening visits with the magical bird are much appreciated.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Ah, the feather wand. I like to wear Winston out before bedtime. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This bird game is for the Winston?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Oh, it’s for you too. Definitely for you.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Sometimes when Monsieur plays the bird with us, he laughs very very loudly. C’est vraiment rude to laugh so loudly because a pauvre petit cat has fallen off the sofa. During a highly skilled leap at the magical bird.
Regards, M. le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Monsieur thinks falling off the sofa is hilarious. It’s a guy thing.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
I maintain mon dignity. Even when a leap does not land in the way it was planned. But il faut dire, the bird she is not very intelligent.
Regards, M. le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Not intelligent? In what way?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
She flies around and around and lands right in front of me. Mais, je suis predator. She should know how dangerous it is to land right before a predator.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You know it’s not a real bird, right?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
I knew that.
Regards, M. le Poufin

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Nitzels

Hey Lady Mom,
Where are my nitzels?
Winston

Dear Winston,
Your nitzels? 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Puffin says my nitzels were nipped. He says I was noodled.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Now I understand. Not noodled, by the way. You were neutered. But I like the word noodled. I know where Puffin got that. It came from a Brazilian friend of ours who was offended that we “noodled the dog”. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Poppy was noodled too?!!!!
Winston

Dear Winston,
No, it was a previous dog. But Poppy was spayed. That’s what is done for lady dogs.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
So, what happens to nitzels?
Winston

Dear Winston,
They are something you don’t need any more. They go to the same place as baby teeth. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Are you making that up?
Winston

Dear Winston,
Possibly.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Puffin also says I’m not very manly. 
Winston

Dear Winston,
Of course you’re not. You are a kitten. You should stop listening to Puffin.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
He can be a grumpy guy. 
Winston

Dear Winston,
He can be, but I notice that you completely disarm him by running right up and nuzzling him.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Yes! And now he plays with me!
Winston

Dear Winston,
He does. A bit rough at times, but he is indeed playing. You are making progress!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
He is probably just jealous because my nitzels got noodled.
Winston

Credit where credit is due: “Noodling” came from a Brazilian friend’s “English as a second language” version of “neutering”, but “nitzels” is from the very funny Ze Frank of True Facts.

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Freedom!

Dear Mom,
The cone is coming OFF???????? 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I think so. I checked you, and you look okay. I have a call in to the vet to get the go-ahead to remove it.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It has been driving me crazy.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It’s been driving me crazy too. Going for a walk has not been the same.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Is that why our walks have been so short?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Yes! You walk so slowly with that thing on. I hate to walk slowly. And you stop a lot.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
have to stop sometimes!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I know you do. But with this thing on, you stop and simply stare.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
When there is a good smell I need to stop.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I understand. But for some reason, with that stupid cone on, the smell process seems to take a lot longer. You stand with the cone pointed at your smell. And stand. And stand. And I finally get impatient. You know, you have one job. One job. And that’s to take me for a walk every day. But with this cone, you are at a dead stop so much of the time that the walks haven’t been any fun at all.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Sometimes I stop because burrs have gotten between my toes. With this thing on my head I can’t pull them out!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Fair enough, sweetie. I’m sorry for venting, I’m a bad mom to complain. I’m glad to pull the burrs out for you. I just wish it didn’t take so much time. Because I don’t know which foot, each time I have to carefully check all four of them. I miss the days when you sat right down, chewed the burr out from between your toes, spit it out, and we were on our way.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You miss those days? How do you think I feel?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I know, sweetie! But good news! That wretched cone can come off now. I got the call from the vet. We’ll take that cursed thing off and celebrate with a nice long walk.
Love, Carolyn

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Hierarchy

Cher Madame,
This ruffian Winston, he wants my job. This cannot be allowed.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Which job is this?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Which job?! Ouf. Must this pauvre cat explain everything to Madame? I am le Chat de Bureau.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Office cat? You mean where you sit next to my laptop with your back to me? No one else can do that as well as you do.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It is sad to say that Madame she is never satisfied.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I appreciate your attendance while I’m writing. I really do, sweetie. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
But that coquin Winston he weasels in.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
There’s room for both of you.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
But the hierarchy. C’est inviolable.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m sure Winston respects that you are the senior cat.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
And the magical flying feather toy. He weasels in on that as well. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’ve been very impressed at how nicely you both play with that. You actually take turns!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
And the weasely coquin, he eats his dinner right next to me. Like an equal.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
He is an equal when it comes to dinner, sweetie. And he’s simply next to you. It’s not like he’s going to steal your food. I think you need to calm down and accept that he’s part of the family now.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This morning he ran right up and nuzzled me. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Well, I can certainly see how that would be highly provocative on his part. An aggressive assault on your dignity. Not to mention a complete breakdown of the household hierarchy.
Love, Carolyn

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

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A Very Bad Day

Dear Poppy,
I’m sorry. I really am. But you’ll need to keep that thing on for a while.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Poppy,
I know you are unhappy, baby. Can you try to walk now? 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Poppy,
Maybe start with standing up. 
Love, Carolyn

Dere Mm,
I camf do arythng with ths hingon mh hd
Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I know it’s hard, sweetie. Let’s give it another try. First stand up. There is nothing wrong with your legs. Then we’ll walk you over to your dinner. 
Love, Carolyn

Der Momf,
No.
Pppy

Dear Poppy,
Once you get used to the cone, you’ll get around just fine. But we have to leave it on for a couple of weeks. The vet doesn’t want you to lick yourself while the abscess is healing. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Poppy,
Okay. I got you on your feet! How’s that?
Love, Carolyn

Derrr Momf, 
KMmfSf.
Ppppy

Dear Poppy,
Lets try walking! But lift your head. When your head droops you are more likely to bang into things. Okay?
Love, Carolyn

Der Mom, 
No.
Poppy

Dear Poppy,
In a few days you’ll be so used to the cone you’ll forget you are wearing it!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Momf
Wrst day evr.
Ppppppy

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Beds

Dear Lady Mom,
This house has beds everywhere
Winston

Dear Winston,
I don’t know about everywhere. We have a couple of beds. I don’t think that’s unusual.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
There is Puffin’s favorite by the desk, the two cat beds on your bed, and the three cat beds in the living room. There’s Poppy’s bed in the living room, and she has one in the bedroom, and one more by the desk. 
Winston

Dear Winston,
I guess you don’t mean people beds! Well, you are right. That’s a lot of beds.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
The odd thing is there are beds for a cat who isn’t here to sleep in her beds.
Winston

Dear Winston,
You must mean Mia. Our sweet Mia is gone. I’m sorry you never met her. But in fact, you are here because she is gone. We needed another cat! But I didn’t know you knew about her.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Seriously? Of course I know about her. She’s EVERYWHERE. I sleep in her bed. Her bed is my bed now. 
Winston

Dear Winston,
Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you! Of course you are aware of the missing cat. I don’t know what I was thinking,
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Why do you call Puffin’s bedroom bed his Biscuit Bed?
Winston

Dear Winston,
Because he used to get into it and “make biscuits”. He would knead the edge, his head tilted up, eyes closed, purring loudly. Such bliss. But when Mia got sick and died, Puffin stopped using his biscuit bed. Stopped even getting into it. He won’t admit it, but he was grieving for her. Then he was just starting to show interest in that bed again when you arrived. That did it. Your arrival put him off again and he hasn’t been in that bed since. What a drama queen. I’m hoping that when he gets over all this he’ll rediscover it again. 
Love, Carolyn 

Dear Lady Mom,
Puffin and Poppy share a bed in the living room. But not at the same time.
Winston

Dear Winston, 
It’s really Poppy’s bed, but you’re right, Puffin sleeps in it all day long. But Poppy gets it in the evening. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Puffin sits in Poppy’s bed with a sly look. Like he knows it’s someone else’s bed.
Winston

Dear Winston,
That’s our Puffin. He’s making a statement when he sleeps there.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Poppy has rugs that she counts as beds. She likes to stretch out on the living room rug where the morning sun streams in. And she dreams. Twitching and barking strange little barks. 
Winston

Dear Winston,
Poppy certainly has a rich dream life.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Poppy is much easier to live with than Puffin is.
Winston

Dear Winston,
She is. But Puffin is coming around.
Love, Carolyn

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Technology

Cher Madame,
The situation of the food is impossible.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Are you referring to the new feeding system?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
But of course. Mon dieu, a system? Why does Madame need a new system? Why does Madame need a system at all? The old dishes they worked very well.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I know sweetie, but you and Winston have different nutritional needs. You are overweight and on a diet, and he’s a growing youngster. We need to keep your dinners separate.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
C’est très simple. You put my food in my bowl and you put that scamp’s food in his bowl. Le voilà. Separate food.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
But Winston keeps eating your food, and I’m sure you would eat his if it weren’t in a box that you can’t enter.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This box, this is another strange change.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I think it’s brilliant. I can put Winston’s food bowl in there, close it up, and he is the only creature in this house who is small enough to enter through the hole I cut in the side.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Too many changes. And now the strange new feeder.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It looks futuristic, doesn’t it? It only opens for the right microchip. I’ve programmed a feeder for each of you.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This chip you discuss, what is it?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You are both chipped. On your shoulders. Under the skin. With a microchip that can be scanned to let people know all your home information. In case you get lost!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
The word for this, Madame, is creepy. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s technology at its best!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Ouf. And how does this creepy technology enter the food bowl?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You each have your own feeder, programmed with your own chip. When you approach a feeder, it only opens if it is your feeder. It stays closed if it isn’t. You won’t be able to open Winston’s, and he won’t be able to open yours.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
How does it know????????????
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It scans your chip! To see if it’s the right one.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Ouf, then the lid, she moves back and forth. C’est très alarming.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m sorry about the moving parts. I know this is something you are having trouble getting used to.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Too much change. First Mia gets sick, then she is gone, then just as this petit cat gets used to her disappearance, this coquin arrives, then these abominable feeders arrive with their whirring moving parts, then the old dishes are gone, and enfin this pauvre petit cat finds out he has a chip lodged in his anatomy. C’est too much change.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It sounds like now would be a good time for a nap in the sunny spot by my desk.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Thank god the basket on the desk, she has no technology. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Well, there you are.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Il faut dire, Madame, the old dishes, they worked perfectly.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

A note to our readers…
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