Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

Flash Mob

Dear Mommy,
I’ve been trying all evening to get all five of us in the living room. All at the same time.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Why is this so important?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
It’s a secret.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Well now you’ve brought it up so you’ve got me wondering.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
If I tell you then you won’t be surprised.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Oh I’m sure I’ll be surprised anyway.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Okay. It’s because I’m organizing a flash mob!!!!!!!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
A flash mob! I’m totally without words to respond to that.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
We’ve done it before, but you didn’t notice. It’s a great idea, right?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
It sounds lovely! I’m surprised I didn’t notice when you did it before. Just how does this plan unfold?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
You and Dad are sitting there reading, everything quiet, and the three of us saunter in like we’re not planning anything and all of a sudden we start dancing!!!! To completely surprise and enchant you.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That does sound surprising. How do we know that what you are doing is dancing?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
It will be obvious! We’ll be jumping around! I’ll wave my paws and Poppy will chase us around the sofa!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That sounds like quite a lively dance.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
But it’s really difficult to get everyone organized. And keep them focused. When I try to get it all set up Poppy gets carried away and chases one of us right out of the room. Barking like crazy.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
But you rather enjoy that chase, don’t you?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
I do but Puffin doesn’t. So he gets grumpy.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I think he wants to be the chaser. Puffin chases you all the time.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
He does. Down the hall, and up and down the stairs.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Maybe that’s your dance?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Running in and out of the room?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That would work. This time I promise we’ll notice. And I like to dance so maybe I’ll join in. 
Love, Carolyn

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Snack!

Cher Madame,
There is a cat café in Berkeley. I don’t understand why a cat would want to go to a café.
Regards, M. Le Poufin 

Dear Puffin,
That’s a kind of café where people can have coffee and pet cats.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
That sounds like a terrible idea. This café is evidently French, but they spelled “cat” incorrectly.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
They did?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
As you yourself know, in French, cat is chat. But they spelled it “chaat.”
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Chaat is an entirely different word, sweetie. They aren’t trying to say cat. They are talking about food. Chaat is an Indian snack. The Chaat Café is an Indian café. I don’t think you are a chaat. I hope not anyway.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
One does hope I am not a small food item.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You wouldn’t be a small one. More likely a hefty snack. Monsieur and I have had our eyes on those delicious-looking plump thighs of yours for a while now.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours les insults. Always about the weight.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m just kidding, sweetie. Don’t take it seriously.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It’s still not a very nice thing to say.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You’re right. I was out of line. No more snack jokes.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
And it’s not just you and Monsieur. There was your friend, the lady who exclaimed “Ooooo, he’s lookin’ like a snack!”
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
That was a little different. It was because she thought you were adorable. That pink nose. Those pink paw pads. The cute white spots on your heels. Your killer green eyes.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
So adorable she wanted to eat me?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
She didn’t want to eat you. She was being funny. Hilarious in fact. The slang use of the word snack doesn’t usually apply to an overweight cat.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
To what does it apply?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
To a very attractive person.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Et moi, I am not attractive?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You are not a person, honey. You are a cat. And a gorgeous, luscious big armload of one at that.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours les insults. Madame keeps bringing up the fat.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s a big part of your mystique.
Love, Carolyn

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Bad-Ass Dog Pack

Dear Poppy,
When my daughter came for a visit with her dog Mika, we were having such a lovely time, until we all went out for a walk. What the heck was that all about?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
That walk was EPIC!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
And by epic, you mean insane and obnoxious? Because it was a horrible walk. You two behaved very, very badly.
Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
We were having an exciting time!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You were wild and unruly. Both of you.
Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
What does unruly mean?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It’s when you two behaved like you were about to attack another dog. You both looked ferocious, like you wanted to rip them apart. And not just once. There were five different encounters.
Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
We weren’t unruly – we were ruly!!! We wouldn’t have ripped anyone apart!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No one could have guessed that, based on your behavior. Sweetie, you were transformed. Normally the two of you look sane. But on that walk you were lunging and yelling and screaming like crazy animals.
Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
It was pretty exciting.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It was embarrassing. You two were going berserk. And dear god, those were our neighbors.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
Together we are a dog pack!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That pretty much describes it. Neither one of you is like that on her own. But together you became a batshit-crazy dog pack.
Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
When Mika is here we are totally bad-ass!!!! A bad-ass wild dog pack!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Somehow next time she visits we’re going to have to stuff that genie back in the bottle.
Carolyn

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Tongues

Dear Mommy,
I can speak in tongues.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I don’t think you know what that means.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
It means I speak many languages.
Love Mia

Dear Mia,
Well, no it doesn’t. And I don’t think you do.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
I speak Feline and English, for starters.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That is pretty much the default around here.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
But I also speak Armenian.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I seriously doubt that.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
I’ve learned it from listening to Dad speak Armenian. I know “Eench gah chi gah.” There. See?
Love, Mia 

Dear Mia,
Do you even know what that means?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Not really. It’s what Dad says when Puffin saunters into the room.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
It’s kind of slangy. Basically, it means “’Sup?”
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
That’s good to know.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Okay, you know one sentence of Armenian. Do you know more?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
No, but I also know Arabic. I know “Bezoon.” That’s what Dad likes to call me. It means cat.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Ok, you know one word of Arabic.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
I know Italian. “Ciao.” You say that all the time to your friends.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
So you know one word of Italian.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
And French. I know “bon appétit.” That’s two words. And “Pah!.” Puffin says that. And he says “toujours le sarcasm.” So that makes six French words that I know.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Pah isn’t really a word. And technically speaking, you are spelling sarcasm the English way.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Ok, four words in French. That’s still a lot. And I know Japanese.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Come on, you don’t know Japanese.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Sushi.” I know sushi. I LOVE sushi. The fish part of it, anyway. I don’t care for the rice part of it.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Fair enough. Are there any more languages you think you know?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
That’s seven languages. That’s probably a record.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Usually when people master a language, they know more than one word.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Now you are just being technical.
Love, Mia

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The MouseNip

Cher Madame,
This prey is confusing.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s a mouse, sweetie.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This prey is not a mouse. She is vaguely of the mouse appearance. But mouse she is not.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s a catnip mouse.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Catnip is a different classification. From le mouse classification.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
This toy is a classification of its own. A pretend mouse stuffed with catnip. We’ll call it a MouseNip.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
That is not correct in La Nature.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s a toy, Puff. Just play with it, sweetie.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
And this mouse, it wears an unnatural print coat. And she wears a bell on her tail.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You are over thinking this. It’s just a cute mouse toy with catnip.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
The mouse aspect is foolish. Mais, la catnip she is irresistible. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
That’s the important part. I notice it is soaking wet from your drool.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This petit cat does not do the drool.
Regards, M. Le Poufin 

Dear Puffin,
That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Catnip is a stimulating drug. You couldn’t help drooling all over it. No judgment!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours les insults. I leave Madame now so I can wrestle this MouseNip into submission.
Regards, M. Le Poufin 

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Shoes

Dear Alpha Mom,
I don’t understand shoes.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It’s a human thing. We humans sure do love our shoes.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
You have so many!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Me? Not as many as some people.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
But much more than you need! And what are these teeny tiny shoes?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
They were a cute joke gift for my sister. She had a serious shoe habit, so I thought it would be funny to give these to her.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Was it funny?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
She didn’t seem to think so.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Did she throw them at you?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No, but she didn’t take them home with her. I think she thought I was making fun of her. I wasn’t though. I like her shoes.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Why do you humans even cover your feet with shoes? I don’t want anything on my feet!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Of course you don’t. You have nice tough pads on your feet.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Human feet are pathetic.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Yes they are. We’re useless out in the wild.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
You wear socks too.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Not always. Only when it’s cold.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
I don’t need socks.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No, not with all your fur.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
But I get stickers in my feet when I walk in dry grasses.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You do a good job of pulling them out. I’m proud of you. Though I wish you wouldn’t stop to pull them out when we’re crossing a street. It’s awkward to keep a car waiting while you sit down in the crosswalk to chew your foot.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Maybe I need shoes.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I doubt it. But we can keep that option open.
Love, Carolyn

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The Summer Solstice

Dear Mommy,
Happy Summer Solstice!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Thank you! But how do you even know about that?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
I listen to the radio. To NPR. Just like you do. And I’m so excited!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Excited about the Solstice? Or the radio?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
About the presents!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
What presents?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
The Summer Solstice Celebration presents!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I don’t think that’s a thing, sweetie.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Yes it is! The Summer Solstice is HUGE!!!!!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Well, okay, cosmically speaking it certainly is important.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
On the radio they said it’s the longest day of the year!!!!! 
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
It is indeed.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
They said it’s the first day of summer.
Love Mia

Dear Mia,
Okay I have a problem with that. Everyone calls it that, even NPR, but it’s actually the midpoint of summer. That’s why for thousands of years, when people have celebrated on the night before the Summer Solstice, they have called it Midsummer’s Eve. Midsummer. Not Beginning of Summer’s Eve.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
No one cares about that. You say that every year and everyone rolls their eyes at you. We just want the presents!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
There are no presents, honey.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
There are for the Winter Solstice.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That’s Winter. This is Summer. We could make a bonfire though, and everyone could jump over it. That’s an ancient Summer Solstice tradition.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
I’m going to go see if Dad has any presents for me.
Love, Mia

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Catfish

Cher Madame,
Je suis confused. This toy she is a fish, non?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Apparently. I think it’s supposed to be a catfish.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This is what is a confusion pour moi. Seriously, the fish that is the cat?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s not a cat, sweetie, it’s a kind of fish that simply has “cat” in the name.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Un fish that is the cat, c’est all wrong.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s just a name.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Pourquois?????? Why???????  Why does she call herself this terrible name?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s not a terrible name. It’s just because these fish have whiskers.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Because of the whiskers, they slander cats? We are not an ugly animal like this creature.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It’s just a name, sweetie. You can call it anything you like.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
I shall call it Uglyfish. Mais il y a un autre problem. Another problem for this pauvre petit cat to ponder over.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Okay, bring it on.
Love, Carolyn

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

Dear Puffin,
Ok, sorry. So what is the other problem with this toy?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
A fish that is the cat that flies through the air? Madame does not see the problem?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I think you are a very literal minded cat.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
All cats we have a quite reasonable literal mind.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
No, Mia doesn’t. She is capable of wild flights of fancy. She loves it that this catfish flies through the air.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Moi, I enjoy the jumping after the Uglyfish who is the flying fish cat. As prey goes she is very exciting. Alors, I just bring up la question philosophique. La question existential. The cat who is the fish who flies. C’est trop, it is too much.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
One might say that a cat who questions all this, instead of playing with it, is himself too much.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
As usual, toujours le sarcasm.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

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Notifications

Dear Alpha Mom,
It’s a lot of work to keep us all safe. I have to be alert at all times!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Yes, well I’m glad you brought that up. We really need to talk about the alert level.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Did I miss something??????? I try to bark at everything!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Yes you do. That’s the problem.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
There’s a problem?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
There’s been a LOT of barking lately. Especially on warm spring days when the windows are open.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
I love when the windows are open!!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
We all do, but it makes you jumpy.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
I can hear everything in the neighborhood!!!!! It’s wonderful.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No, actually it’s not. Not when you can hear a kid on a bicycle a block away. Honey, you don’t need to notify us about that.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
But it’s nearby!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No it’s not nearby. It’s a block away. You shouldn’t be barking at things going on a block away. That’s just WAY too many notifications.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
What about people passing on the sidewalk in front of the house?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Let them go by, sweetie. You don’t have to challenge people who walk by. For one thing, there are a LOT of walkers in our neighborhood. And many of them are our neighbors. It’s not very polite to holler at them every time they walk by our house.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
I’m not hollering! I’m celebrating that people are walking by!!!! I’m letting YOU know!!!!! I’m letting them know!!!!! So that they know I know and that I’m letting you know!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It’s even worse when they have a dog with them. Then you really go crazy.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
That’s as it should be. I don’t know why you don’t understand how this works.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
And kids on skateboards. You go nuts.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
But listen to them! That’s such a provocative sound!!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Okay, I’ll give you that. We’ll make an exception for the skateboards. But when a couple of ladies go by with their pooches on a walk, I would appreciate it if you would calmly and quietly let them pass. I really don’t need a notification.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
What about the mail guy?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Okay, another exception. Skateboarders and the mail carrier.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mom,
Skateboarders, the mail guy and people with dogs who aren’t nice to me!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No, honey. That’s enough. Go chew on your rawhide and see if you can relax. And I think I’ll close the windows for a bit.
Love, Carolyn

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Toys

Dear Mommy,
We need some new toys!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You have plenty of toys, sweetie.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Poppy destroyed our catnip mouse.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’m sorry, that was my fault. I let her into the bedroom while you were playing there.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
She also shredded the magical flying bird toy.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That’s why I usually hang it in the closet when we’re not playing with it. I’m sorry she got her mitts on it. Well, her teeth actually.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
When we play she gets all excited and comes running. Like a crazy animal.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
She does. She just wants to play with you.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
She wants to join us, and then she shreds our toys!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
She does indeed.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
And when Puffin and I run around the house, she runs with us.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That’s a good thing. All of you playing together!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
When we run around the house, it’s not always play. Most of the time it’s Puffin being annoying and chasing me.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
But it sure looks like you enjoy it.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
A little. Sometimes.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
And you give as good as you take – I’ve seen you walk up to Puffin and swat him.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
That’s because he needs to be put in his place. He is a bully.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
He does throw his weight around. So to speak.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
When I’m asleep on a comfy cushion he suddenly appears and looms over me. Giving me The Look. To make me vacate the comfy spot. And I have to give it up to him.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
That’s usually when he’s irritable because he’s hungry.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
And THAT’s why every once in a while I need to sneak up on him, sniff his ear like I’m being friendly, and then whack him.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’m glad you do that. And I’m glad you don’t do that to Poppy.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Poppy’s not being a bully. She just gets a little carried away. That’s a dog for you.
Love, Mia

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