Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

The Schedule

Dear Poppy,
I don’t know how you do it. You always know what time it is.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
I DO??????
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Well, not exactly clock time, but you know when it’s time for something on the schedule. You are right on top of it!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
The SCHEDULE?????
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Like when it’s breakfast time! Well, that’s not a good example. We all know when it’s breakfast time. It’s when we wake up hungry, right?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
I LOVE breakfast!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
We all do. But you also know when it’s five o’clock and time for all of you to get meds and dinner. Is it because the cats are lobbying so loudly for their meal? 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
I know it without the cats. And we all start thinking about it at least an hour before. Just in case you’ll get mixed up and feed us early.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
But you always have some kibble in your dish so you can graze all day. So it doesn’t matter when I refill it.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
But you CHECK it. Before she died Molly told me it was very important to make you check it. So the bowl won’t go empty and we’ll starve. I also need my daily Prozac.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Fair enough. That five o’clock event is very important. But that’s not the only part of the schedule that you are on top of. You also know just when it’s time to go out for our walk. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
It’s my business to know. Sometimes you get busy and it looks like you are going to forget, so I remind you.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
And you do it very nicely. I appreciate the reminder when I’m late. But I wish I knew how all of you know what time it is. It’s like you are wearing a watch!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
Am I supposed to know how we do it???????? 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Don’t worry about it. You have a watch somewhere and it’s working.
Love, Carolyn

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Titles

Dear Mia,
You are such a sweet girl! I love our snuggle when I stretch out on the sofa to read.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
I like it too.  And I like the bedtime cuddle.  But last night you were thrashing around.  I wish you would lie quietly.  When you push me off, Puffin comes to steal the good spot.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’m sorry I disrupted your sleep.  But you know, there are two good spots. You each get one.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
But mine is the best one. And Puffin steals it when you thrash around and bump me off.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia
It was cold and I had to move you to wrestle the second blanket on.  If you didn’t jump off the bed in a huff you’d probably get the good spot again as soon as I settled.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Puffin is too fast. It would be better if you didn’t move at all. You should try to be more like Molly.  She never moved all night.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Molly didn’t move because she was tied to the bed.  She lost her privilege of wandering loose around the house at night because late in life she sometimes peed where she shouldn’t.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
But she stayed in her basket all night even when you forgot to attach the leash.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
You’re right, she did.  Because she was a very good girl.  Well, with the exception of the occasional peeing lapse.  But mostly she was the Best Dog Ever. I miss her!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
What about Poppy?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Oh I’m sure she misses Molly too.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
No! I mean, is she a Best Dog Ever?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Oh yes, she inherited the title.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
And I am the Best CAT Ever?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Well, no honey, that title doesn’t exist for cats. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
But there is a “Best DOG Ever”?????
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Yes, it’s a Thing.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
That’s outrageous!!!!!!!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’m just messing with you, sweetie. Of course there’s a Best Cat Ever title.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
And that’s me, right?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Time will tell.
Love, Carolyn

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Angst

Dear Puffin,
I wish I knew what you are trying to tell us when you walk around the house yowling.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
The cats, we do not yowl.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Okay, then. That very loud sound. While you walk around. What does that mean?
Love, Carolyn

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

Dear Puffin,
The moaning. The hollering. The caterwauling.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This noise that Madame insists upon describing sounds très vulgar. It must be that of Mia.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
No, I know it’s you. You were doing it downstairs yesterday. While Mia was sitting right here on my lap.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Peut-être c’était la Poppy?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Oh please. It wasn’t Poppy. She barks, she doesn’t moan and yowl.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours les insults.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m not trying to insult you. Your cry sounds profoundly sad. This is why I call out to you when I hear it. So I can comfort you. You wail like a lost soul! What is it about?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Eh bien. Since Madame she insists. C’est angst. Existential angst. L’angst of a petit cat who is far from his homeland.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Oh sweetie! You are homesick! I’m so sorry!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Oui, for France. Madame is kind to care.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Not France, honey. You were rescued from South Central Los Angeles. A tiny baby plucked from the gutter by a sweet USC student. My daughter took you home and cleaned you up and got you treated for fleas and diarrhea and various parasites. You were a very lucky kitten to end up with her!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Toujours Madame brings up les disgusting unmentionables. There is no respect. No dignity.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m sorry! I just wanted to understand this strange cri de coeur.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This angst, c’est because toujours, toujours,Madame refuses to acknowledge that this petit cat is French.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Poor boy! I’m sorry. In your depth of being I’m sure you are truly French.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
So now peut-être Madame could serve some French fromages.
Regards, M. le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Cheese! Just the thing to sooth the angst of a French cat.
Love, Carolyn

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Barky

Dear Poppy,
I love your enthusiasm, but maybe we should work on your barking.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
I don’t need to work on it! I’m a terrific barker!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Like I said, I love your enthusiasm. But you are way too barky. I’m thinking we might dial it down.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
What does that even mean?????
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Well, okay, sometimes your barking is completely appropriate. I’ll give you that. Like when someone rings the doorbell.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
Or when the postman comes and stuffs trash into our postal box!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
That’s right! I mean, it’s not all trash. But yes, that’s a good time to bark. But honey, you don’t need to bark when someone simply walks past the house.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
But I don’t do that!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You just did!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
Oh, you mean the ladies who were laughing and talking loudly. They weren’t just walking past our house. They were making exciting noises.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Well, they were on the sidewalk. Maybe we can allow that without barking? Also people walking by with dogs.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
I only bark at the dogs I know. Like Cody, or Spencer, or Rosie.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You just barked at a Bichon I’ve never seen before.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
He’s left his scent on every car tire parked on the street. So he’s a dog I know.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You also bark at bicycles, even when they are half a block away!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
Of course I do! Bicycles are very provocative!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
And when people come to visit. The doorbell bark is a good thing, but once they come in and I introduce you, I wish you wouldn’t keep barking. You drive us nuts, and sweetie, you sound crazy.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
But I’m crazy with excitement!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It’s exhausting trying to teach you not to bark so much, sweetie.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Alpha Mommy,
I like it that you try! I love the little treats you offer to distract me!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I think I might need to rethink our training program.
Love, Carolyn

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Heart Box

Dear Mia,
Thank heavens I found you and Poppy with the Valentine box before it was too late!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
You were very abrupt. That was rude.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
It wasn’t rude. There are chocolates in that box. I took it away from the two of you to save you from eating some. That would have made you a very sick cat.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
You can’t fool me. Humans eat chocolate all the time.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Well not all the time. Though we do like to indulge. But it’s not for cats.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
What about Poppy?
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Oh definitely not for dogs either.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Humans make such a big deal about chocolate. And hearts. And heart boxes.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Heart boxes are one of the ways we say “you’re the best human ever” to someone we love. They are nice little gifts.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
All boxes are nice little gifts. Cats know all there is to know about boxes. The very best are the ones we can crawl into. This one is too small for that, but I have to say it was particularly exciting to pry it open and rustle through the candy papers. Pretending there is prey inside.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’ll have to give that a try.
Love, Carolyn

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The Introvert

Cher Madame,
Il faut dire, this petit cat is not much loved. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
How can you say such a thing? 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
I throw my head back to signal that I want a chin scratch, and nobody notices.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
We can’t see everything! Why don’t you just speak up when you want your chin scratched? Come to us the way Mia does!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
It’s always Mia who gets the love. Mia with her little parlor trick. The waving of the paws.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
We love it when she waves her paws. It’s not a parlor trick. Well, okay, it sort of is. But mainly it’s her way of being engaging.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Mia is shameless in her constant hunger for attention. Like a dog. Like Poppy rolling over with her paws up. And Madame and Monsieur reward Mia and Poppy by showering them with love all day long. And ignore this petit cat who sits alone while everyone has the party.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Oh sweetie, I wish you could learn from Poppy and Mia! They are interested in everything we’re doing. They follow us around and show they love us. Mia talks with us and even sits with us during meals. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Je suis un introvert. I do not jump through the hoops to make attention for myself. Cats don’t do such a thing. Except Mia, who does those things because she gets special treatment.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
She does those things because she’s social. I realize you are a bit of an introvert, but you could try to be a bit more social.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
I sit on the sofa and wait patiently for the social moments.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Half the time you sit with your back to us, looking grumpy and preoccupied. And the other day you even hissed at Monsieur when he tried to pet you! 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
We are family. A petit cat should not have to change his personality to impress his family. Unlike Mia who is constantly seducing you with her antics.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Your family more than anyone deserves an effort at warmth! And I know you feel it inside. You may act like a jerk, but underneath you just want your chin rubbed. And when you actually make an effort to be friendly, you are charming. We love it when you suddenly show up with a head bump and sweet little chirps to get your soft luscious chin scratched. Maybe you should do that more often. Talk to us!
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Moi, I talk to you. Every morning.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Yes, you are very vocal in the morning when you want us to wake up to feed you.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
And you get annoyed.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Well, that’s true, sweetie. We do. It’s about your timing. And your persistence. And your tone of voice. It would be nice if you chatted with us now and then in a friendly sort of way when you are not asking to be fed.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Ouf. Parlor tricks.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

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The Worry List

Dear Mommy,
My worry list is different than Molly’s was.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I would imagine it is. Molly had a very long list of concerns. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Her list included some things that I’m not worried about. Like thunder and fireworks. 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I’m so glad they don’t frighten you. Your biggest worries seem to be people who wave their arms and people who shout. I’m so sorry you were abused when you were young.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
And then there’s the car.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Yes, riding in the car makes you anxious. That’s why we got you a Thunder Jacket. It seems to help on long drives!
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Molly also told me to be very careful about children, strange dogs, unauthorized visitors, bicycles, strollers, hair dryers, hammers, skunks, raccoons, and skateboards. She forgot to mention the vacuum cleaner.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I think she had declared a truce with the vacuum by the time you came along.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
She was fine with Puffin, but he makes me anxious. He ambushes me.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
You chase him out of the room sometimes. It evens out.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy, 
I think Molly was wrong when she told me to worry about strange dogs. I like meeting dogs! Except for the small rude ones.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Maybe you can solve a mystery for me. Some dogs set you off when you are half a block away from them. How can they signal rudeness from that far away?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Oh, that’s easy. I know them all from the messages along our walking route. I know the rude dogs from the nice ones.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Dogs have amazing noses.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
Molly told me we are all doomed. 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Don’t take everything Molly told you to heart. She was whip-smart and wise, but she was a glass-half-empty girl.
Love, Carolyn

If you want to get this weekly blog delivered every Friday to your In Box, it’s easy to subscribe: scroll up to the top of the blog page, enter your email address in the subscription box on the right, and click the subscribe button. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.comto find the subscription box. (And if you’ve already subscribed, multiple paws are raised to salute you!)

Animal Art

Dear Mommy,
I love this thingy! It’s Cat Art!
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I’m glad you like it. And I’m glad I was able to catch it when you nearly knocked it off my desk.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
That was an accident. I was examining it. The cat is very realistic. It is much better Animal Art than all those chickens on your kitchen windowsill. Why would you want to have chickens there????
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I like chickens. They are part of my Origin Story. I grew up in a small Northern California town that was famous for it’s chicken and egg production. At that time they called Petaluma The Chicken Capital of the World. I even had a chicken costume for Halloween when I was five.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
A chicken costume???? That just sounds weird.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
I was five years old. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
I guess you couldn’t help it.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
We had backyard chickens for years, until we moved last year. Don’t you remember them?
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
I remember visiting their garden estate. They were intimidating.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
They didn’t seem too worried about you. Most of those girls were hefty hens. But I worried a bit about Tiny Tina. She was just a little Bantam hen, half the size of the others. I took you out of the enclosure when I saw you eying Tiny Tina with predatory interest.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mommy,
She did look pounce-able. But overall I have to say the chickens weren’t very smart. Not as smart as cats. Probably the only thing they are good for is to be Chicken Art on your windowsill.
Love, Mia

Dear Mia,
Chickens, like cats, are as smart as they need to be.
Love, Carolyn

If you want to get this weekly blog delivered every Friday to your In Box, it’s easy to subscribe: scroll up to the top of the blog page, enter your email address in the subscription box on the right, and click the subscribe button. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.comto find the subscription box. (And if you’ve already subscribed, multiple paws are raised to salute you!)

Substitution

Cher Madame,
Il faut dire, the dinner last night was excellent! Madame she has surpassed herself.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m so glad you liked it! I wasn’t sure you would.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Moi, I can’t imagine why Madame would not be sure. C’était delicious.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
We had a little problem last night. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Un problem? What kind of problem???????
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
It was necessary to make a substitution. Due to an inventory oversight.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Et this oversight was what, exactement?
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
We ran out of cat food, and I thought I had more in the supply cupboard but it turned out to be, well, dog food there.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
You gave us DOG FOOD????????
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Sorry. I had no choice. 
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
But, vraiment, dog food? C’est un insult to cats everywhere.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
But you two really tucked into it.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Ouf. We were hungry an hour later.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Nothing’s perfect.
Love, Carolyn

If you want to get this weekly blog delivered every Friday to your In Box, it’s easy to subscribe: scroll up to the top of the blog page, enter your email address in the subscription box on the right, and click the subscribe button. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.comto find the subscription box. (And if you’ve already subscribed, multiple paws are raised to salute you!)

Stoner

Dear Mommy,


Am I a stoner?


XOXO Poppy



Dear Poppy,


Where do you get your ideas? No, you’re not a stoner honey.


Love, Carolyn



Dear Mommy,


Mia said I am.


XOXO Poppy



Dear Poppy,


Mia said! How many times have I told you not to listen to the cats?


Love, Carolyn


Dear Mommy,


She said I do weed. Now I’m worried that I’m doing weed.


XOXO Poppy



Dear Poppy,


No you’re not. You have a hemp seed chew now and then.


Love, Carolyn



Dear Mommy,


She says that’s weed!!!!!


XOXO Poppy



Dear Poppy,


No, she’s wrong. Hemp is not the same as cannibis. You are not getting stoned on weed.


Love, Carolyn



Dear Mommy,


The chews don’t make me stoned?


XOXO Poppy



Dear Poppy,


No, of course not. I don’t want to get you stoned! Please stop worrying about it. We’re just trying it to see if it makes you less anxious.


Love, Carolyn



Dear Mommy,


That sounds like stoned to me.


XOXO Poppy



Dear Poppy,


It’s relaxed. Stoned is when you go to a park and take off all your clothes. Eat all the cat food. Kiss strangers. No, wait. That’s just being a dog.


Love, Carolyn



Dear Mommy,


Now I’m confused.


XOXO Poppy



Dear Poppy,


I’m sorry, I was messing with you. No, the hemp chews are just a way to help relieve anxiety.


Love, Carolyn



Dear Mommy,


I have anxiety?


XOXO Poppy



Dear Poppy,


Yes you do. And that’s why I got the hemp chews.


Love, Carolyn



Dear Mommy,


Do they work?


XOXO Poppy



Dear Poppy,


Clearly not if this conversation is any indication.


Love, Carolyn


If you want to get this weekly blog delivered every Friday to your In Box, it’s easy to subscribe: scroll up to the top of the blog page, enter your email address in the subscription box on the right, and click the subscribe button. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.comto find the subscription box. (And if you’ve already subscribed, multiple paws are raised to salute you!)