Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

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

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Ballet

Dear Mom, 
Is Winston going to take ballet with us?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I’m sure he will, but of course he won’t be as experienced as you are. He’s never taken a zoom class before. You know just where to lie to be part of it. On your back with one foot up.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You sometimes kick me in the face.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Not on purpose! Sometimes you lie too close behind me, and I accidentally tap you with my foot.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
No worries! I love being part of the class! I like when the teacher’s dog comes wandering through her room. And sometimes her cat. Winston will like the cat.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I’m hoping he will hang out on the chair I’m using for a barre, just like Mia did.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I worry about you during the class.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy
Why do you worry?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Sometimes you mutter bad words.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s when my Zoom freezes, because our internet connection is terrible.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
And sometimes you whimper.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Oh, please don’t tell anyone I do that! It’s only when it’s a really challenging exercise. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You’d better explain that to Winston, because he’s going to worry about you too.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I’m sure he’ll understand. He’s wise beyond his years.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
He doesn’t have years yet!!! He’s wise beyond his weeks.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Thank you, I stand corrected!
Love, Carolyn

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The Newbie

Dear Lady Mom,
Is it time to play?
Winston

Dear Winston,
It’s always time to play! But why do you call me Lady Mom?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
I have lots of moms. First there was my cat mom, though I barely remember her. Then my foster mom who raised me. She is wonderful! You are my third mom. So, you need a different name. So I call you Lady Mom. 
Winston

Dear Winston,
You are very mature for a 14 week old kitten. I like the name. We used to have a dog named Molly who called me Alpha Mom. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
That’s exactly what you are! But as names go it’s not as pretty as Lady Mom.
Winston

Dear Winston,
I agree. But Molly was not interested in aesthetics. She was all about being absolutely, technically, literally and unambiguously correct. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
She sounds terrifying.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Oh, she was a dear. She was mostly funny. She was a terrier, and terriers are all about being competent. Meanwhile is everything working out ok for you here?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Poppy is still very very very enthusiastic. Sometimes I have to hide from her to calm her down. I think she forgets about our size difference.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Especially when you first arrived. You were barely over two pounds! To Poppy’s twenty. But you’ve doubled that. You’re holding your own!

Dear Lady Mom,
It doesn’t matter. Poppy and I are already having a good time together. I’ve been teaching her the Paper Bag Game. She didn’t know about it because she isn’t a cat.
Winston

Dear Winston,
That’s wonderful! How’s it going with Puffin?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
Puffin is still being rude and grumpy. Last night when he played the paper bag game, he was scary. He was serious. He attacked the bag. He said he was dominating it. But I was still inside!
Winston

Dear Winston,
That was alarming. I think he got a lot out of his system with that assault.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
And he’s very formal. He wants me to greet him each day with “Bonjour Monsieur!” I don’t understand why. He makes no sense.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Puffin is a piece of work, isn’t he?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
He also says you have a lot of rules. Especially about charger cords and shoe laces.
Winston

Dear Winston,
We don’t have a lot of rules. The charger cord and shoe laces were things that Puffin kept destroying, so we had to bring that up frequently with him. But other than chewing expensive cords, the big one is don’t go outside. Because between the cars and the coyotes, it is dangerous out there. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
But Poppy gets to go outside!
Winston

Dear Winston,
She does, but you’ll notice that’s only when I accompany her. Maybe we’ll get you a harness and leash and then you can go outside with us!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Lady Mom,
That sounds like a terrible idea. I think for now I’ll sit on the window sill and watch the outside. Out there the house finches are having a party on the feeder.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Good idea. Cat TV!
Love, Carolyn


A note of thanks… 
We’d like to take this opportunity for a shout out to All Animal Rescue & Friends of St. Martin, California! Thank you for all you do to save animals in trouble, and for raising such a healthy, happy kitten and choosing us to adopt him!

And 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!

Boxes

Cher Madame,
The boxes they are coming every day. From the loud truck. The loud doorbell. The strange delivery people appearing on the porch. It is all de trop. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Why are you so grumpy, sweetie? Is this kitten angst? 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
What does Madame imply? That another kitten will pop out of one of these boxes?????
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
No, sweetie, of course not. But I know that you have been unsettled about our new young family member.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This new creature, he ignores my protestations.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
He is very calm, isn’t he? He doesn’t let it bother him that you are muttering in French and giving him the stink eye. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
He is eating my food.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Yes, he’s a monster.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame
He tucks right into it while I, moi-même, am actually doing the eating! Right there! Beside me!
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
And you let him! Give him a little swat and tell him to eat his own food! That’s what Poppy does when he muscles in on her food.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
But the petit coquin he does insist.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
He is a rascal, isn’t he? But he’s a peanut! He weighs 2½ pounds. You have a 12 pound advantage on him, sweetie. You can stand up to him.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
He is also very bouncy. He bounces right into the empty box.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Ahhh, so that’s the problem with the boxes. Well, that’s what boxes are good for! How can a kitten resist? And he also likes the feather wand.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
That feather toy, she is mine.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You can both play with it. In fact, you are welcome to play with him any time.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This is not something a petit cat should rush. We have barely had the formal introduction. This kitten, he was here for days before he found a name. What kind of creature moves into a household without the name?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Well he has one now. And he seems quite satisfied with it.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Ouf, Winston. Winston? What kind of name is this Winston?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
A very nice name for a cat. 
Love, Carolyn

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Kitten!!!

Dear Mom,
This is the BEST SURPRISE EVER!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
The kitten? I’m so glad you are excited! But we don’t want to overwhelm the baby, do we?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I’m not going to overwhelm him! I just want to play with him!!!!!!! And snuggle him!!!!! And chase him!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Ok, let’s dial that down a bit, honey. He’s just a baby. He’s only 12 weeks old. He’s in a brand-new house. And he’s away from the kittens and cats and dogs that he’s used to. It’s a lot to deal with.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
He’s dealing with it! He likes it here! He said so!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Well I’m glad to hear that. He seems to be adjusting really well. He’s a very confident baby.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I asked him if he has written to you yet. He didn’t know what I was talking about.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
They probably didn’t do that in his foster care. His foster mom is raising a lot of kittens, and I can’t imagine how she would manage if they all started corresponding with her. She’s got her hands full as it is. She’s an angel.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
The kitten is puzzled by Puffin. He says he can’t understand half of what Puffin says. I tried to explain that Puffin thinks he’s French. Even though he’s from Los Angeles. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, so now the kitten is even more confused about Puffin.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Puffin’s delusions are a bit hard to explain. Thank you for trying. Puffin has been a little stand-offish, but I think he’s starting to get used to the idea of a new family member. We have to remember, he doesn’t do well with change.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Puffin says he doesn’t understand why we needed a kitten. And he says he can’t be friends without a formal introduction. Which is impossible until the kitten has a name.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Puffin can be so darn formal. But we’ll have a name soon. So maybe that will get the ball rolling between them.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Speaking of rolling balls, the kitten has rolled all the toy balls under the dresser in the bedroom, so now I can’t reach them.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s probably just as well. You’ve destroyed three of them already. 
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!