Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

Hissy Fits

Dear Mia,
You two cats were not very nice to Dad last night. First Puffin hissed at him. And then you bit him. You two hurt his feelings.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It was his fault.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
His fault for stroking the two of you?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Of course. He did not observe the rules.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Did he break the No-Stomach-Rub rule?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
No, not this time. Dad wasn’t petting sincerely. He was stroking absent-mindedly. That infuriates me. It needs to be mindful. And he was stroking Puffin too forcefully. Neither of us likes rough petting. That makes Puffin hiss. He prefers gentle strokes, and a lot of under-the-chin scratches. But don’t try any of that under-the-chin stuff with me. Or full body strokes. And, of course you are not allowed to pick me up. And Puffin can’t be stroked unless he approaches you first.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You cats have a lot of rules.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Of course we do. Otherwise you would just be annoying.
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!

Sweet

Dear Mom,
These pretty heart boxes turn up every year!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It’s an annual tradition, sweetie. Candy for Valentines Day, from Dad. In a heart box. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Is the candy like the treats you give me?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It’s dark chocolate. Not exactly like your treats. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
That’s too bad.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Why too bad?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It’s a shame Dad doesn’t love you enough to give you dog treats.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Oh he does. But he knows that my favorite treat is dark chocolate. Otherwise I’m sure he’d give me dog treats.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You always have dog treats in your pocket. I thought you ate them for snacks.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Those treats are just for you. Each one of us has their own special treat.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Would I like your treats?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
They would make you very sick, sweetie. Each of us should just stick to our own treats.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I also like the cat treats.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
We won’t tell the cats about that. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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 Toy

Dear Mom,
You have some strange stuff.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That’s an old toy horse. I think it’s kind of cool.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I don’t see the point of it.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
There is no point. It’s just sweet and reminds me of childhood.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Did you ride this horse when you were little?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
No of course not! It’s for playing with, not for riding.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Does one bat it around? Grab it in your mouth? Chase it across the floor?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
No of course not. Humans don’t play with things that way.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
A pen is a lot more fun.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You really like playing with pens, don’t you? They keep disappearing and then I find them under the furniture.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
See. A lot more fun than a toy horse.
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 Gauntlet

Cher Madame,
Mia and I have noted that Madame has thrown down le gauntlet.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
The what?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Le black Terror. Le angry black gauntlet. Le Mitt.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You mean the grooming mitt. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
If you wish to call it that, it is for Madame to say.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Very clever to call it a gauntlet. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
C’est le harbinger of le terror.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
No it’s not. You two cats are going to be groomed today. No terror involved. Just grooming.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Je suis very handsome without the grooming.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
This isn’t about your appearance, sweetie. It’s to remove loose fur.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This petit cat knows perfectly well how to groom himself and lick up the lovely loose fur.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
And bring it up again as a slimy hairball. For me to clean up. Not to mention step on, barefoot. Like I did yesterday. That was a nice way to start the day.
Love, Carolyn

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

Dear Puffin,
I don’t know why you make such a big deal about the grooming.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It is against our wills.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
All I’m doing is petting you with a glove on! I don’t know why you both hiss at me when I do that. And yowl insanely. Your language is offensive.
Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Le Mitt of Terror is offensive. With it you bully these two petit cats.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m not bullying you. And I give you treats. Lots of treats. The entire time I groom you with the mitt I feed you treats.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
We reluctantly submit to the treats. Let the grooming begin.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

A bonus…
It was six years ago today that this inter-species correspondence began, so today as a bonus we’ll share the very short first post from Puffin. As you can see, the relationship was fraught from the beginning:

Memo to:  Madame
From:  M. Le Poufin
You’ll notice I’ve changed my name.  I have discovered I am French.  Je suis Français.  So please start calling me Monsieur Le Poufin.  And greet me in the morning with a polite “Bonjour Monsieur!”  And then feed me at once.  Avec toute vitesse.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

To: Puffin
From: Carolyn
You are not French, Sweetie.  You were picked up on the streets of South Central Los Angeles.  When you wake me at 5:30am I will continue to greet you with an angry snort, and I will feed you when I choose to rise for the day.  I might make a concession to your delusion by shouting “Merde!” when you wake me.
Sincerely, 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!

Side Hustle

Dear Mom,
Look what I found!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That’s a violin. Please don’t touch it. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I’m being gentle!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
It’s not a toy, sweetie. Please don’t play with it.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
When I pluck the string with my claw it makes a wonderful sound!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Not all that wonderful, sweetie. Please be gentle with it. A violin is very special.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
This is going to be my new side hustle. I’m thinking about becoming a busker. 
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Where were you planning to do this?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
On Solano Avenue! Right in front of one of the restaurants! I’ll pick a really busy one. People will love me. I’ll play musical favorites, like the guy with the accordion in front of Peet’s Coffee. Poppy told me all about him. You always give him something, so I figure people will give me treats.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
One problem. Actually, two problems. One, you don’t know any musical favorites. And two, you can’t play on the street in front of a restaurant because you are strictly an indoor cat. Not to mention problem three: you don’t know how to play the violin. And actually, there is also a problem four: most people don’t stroll around with cat treats in their pockets.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Human negativity has never stopped me before.
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!

Moving Parts

Dear Mom,
The best thing about babysitting Mika is going on walks together. So why are you taking us out separately?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I know you and Mika like to go out together, but it’s just too much hassle.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We’re a hassle?????
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Not you, just the experience. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We thought it went well! We weren’t hooligans this time!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No, you were both on your best behavior. It was just too many moving parts. The leashes crossing, me trying to pick up Mika’s poop while trying to keep you from eating grass, my earbuds falling out of my ears, me dropping the mail I was going to post. Like I said, too many moving parts.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It’s weird to see you go out the door with another dog.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I know it is. I’m sorry. I appreciate that you understand my hand signal that says you are to stay behind.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I thought it means that you are going to come back!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It means both of those things. You need to stay and I always come back. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Mika understands the signal too. 
XOXO Poppu

Dear Poppy,
I’m sure she finds it weird to see the two of us go out without her.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
On her walk, where do you go? Does she get a better walk than I do?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You both get to go on good walks. Mika and I make a big circle of the neighborhood, and then come back to the house. I switch dogs, and then go the opposite direction to make another circle of the neighborhood. Basically a big figure 8.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Mika said hers is the good walk. She said she’s your favorite.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
They are both good walks. No favorites. But between you and me, you are still my best girl.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I was pretty sure I was. We won’t tell Mika.
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!

Airborne

Dear Mom,
Your daughter’s dog Mika is SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It was nice to have her here while we babysat her. A bit chaotic, but fun.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
The cats were a little upset. 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
A little? More than a little. They were very upset about it. They didn’t realize that Mika was barking because she just wants to play with them.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
They don’t know how much fun she is!!!!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
They have different ideas of fun.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
They just wish they had her flying skills!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Mika is full of surprises.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Especially the jumping!!!!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Who knew that dog could jump like that! For an animal built so low to the ground, she really took off.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Mia says Mika is built like a barrel.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That sounds like something a cat would say.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
She really wanted the treat your friend was holding over her head.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Then VOOOM. Liftoff. Amazing.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Airborne!!!!!!!!! She really wanted that treat.
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!

CBD

Dear Mom,
I’m a little worried about the new treats.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Why are you worried? Have the cats said something about them? I’ve told you not to listen to the cats!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
No this time it’s Dad. He says I’m going to get stoned on the new treats.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Oh dear. He’s kidding, sweetie. They are just CBD chews. They won’t get you stoned. Exactly.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Exactly? What do you mean exactly?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Hopefully they will help you become less anxious. We’re just trying them out.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Why was Dad kidding about the treats?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s just something humans like to do. We forget that you take things so literally.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
So the CBD chews are because I’m anxious?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Yes, I’m hoping they will help you. Your PTSD has been happening a lot lately, every time we laugh loudly. I’d love to get my hands on the person who hurt you when you were young.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Wait. I’m getting the CBD chews because someone hurt me?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Oh honey, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought that up. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Now I’m confused. I thought you just gave me a chew because I sat so nicely when you said sit.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s exactly right! You are getting the chews because they are a nice treat for a very good dog!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I’m sitting very nicely now.
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!

Improvements

Cher Madame,
Il faut examine les resolutions of the New Year. I am ready to list them.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s not absolutely necessary sweetie. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Comment*???!!!!! Not the necessary thing?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
No, not really. I don’t make resolutions. I haven’t for years.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
That would explain a lot. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Wow. Are you suggesting I need to make some changes?
Carolyn

Cher Madame,
We have all made resolutions. Peut-être Madame should begin a self-examination. For improvements.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
And what are these resolutions you have all made?
Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Mia’s is for you to let her lick your face as long as she wishes. And Poppy’s is for you to let her bark at everyone who walks by the house. I think Dad’s should be for you to start eating Thai food. My resolution is for you to feed us three times a day instead of two.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Those are all resolutions for me! 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Oui. Those are the important things to change in the household. You are the goddess, so you must bear the change.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m honored to be regarded with such importance, but honey, that’s not how it works. You should make a resolution to improve yourself in some way.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Improve moi-même? Ouf. Madame is surely joking. Does Madame have a specific complaint about this petit cat?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
No, I don’t. Still, you could make a resolution to keep off the weight you have lost. You’ve done so well! You look so good now that you have lost two pounds!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours les insinuations about the weight. Pah. Mais, what about the resolutions from the rest of the household?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
For starters, when Mia licks my face it’s very sweet, but her tongue is like sandpaper so at some point I HAVE to stop her. And it’s rude for Poppy to bark at our neighbors as they walk past our house. And finally, I don’t think Dad would care for you to make his resolutions for him. And besides, I know Dad loves Thai food, but Thai food doesn’t love me. So, it’s not a matter of choice. Let’s just say Happy New Year to each other and forget the resolutions!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Always the excuses. Madame is la weasel, weaseling out of the family’s complaints.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
But, remember, I’m the goddess.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
La weasel goddess.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

*Loose Translation: WTF

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!

Merry Gifting!

Dear Mom,
It’s time for presents!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
It is indeed. Are you going to help me with the gifts?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I am! Puffin and I have been peeking in all the bags.
Love, Mia 

Dear Mia,
Have you found anything interesting?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Just people stuff. Why don’t you give cat treats to everyone in your family?Who wouldn’t want to get a bag of Temptations!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Who indeed! I’ll keep that in mind. Maybe for Dad.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Dad would LOVE cat treats.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’m sure he would. Maybe I’ll give him some. A little surprise in his stocking.
Love, Carolyn 

Dear Mom,
This gift bag has the famous Japanese Celebrity Cat on it!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I got that with you in mind. I know that you aspire to be a celebrity cat like Hello Kitty. Maybe we’ll call you Hi Kitty.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We can call Puffin Bonjour Kitty.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Very clever! But I’m not sure he wants to be a celebrity. Still we can keep that name handy in case he does.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Do you have presents for me? And for Puffin and Poppy?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Of course I do! And for my daughter’s dog Mika.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We’re going to have a house full of family here!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
We are indeed.
Love, Carolyn 

Dear Mom,
And there will be a lot of snacks.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Oh, of course. Always lots of snacks.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
And we’ll all get along.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’m counting on that.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It will be Merry Merriment for all!
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!