Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

Bitey-Whacky

Dear Mom,
The cats have been making me crazy.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I know. You get very excited when they play. They race around, you follow them barking, and this place becomes a madhouse.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You call the cats The Loud Boys. 
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
They are loud indeed. I don’t know how a pair of animals that small can have such thundering feet on the hardwood floor. Though I have to say, Winston’s feet are enormous. He’s going to be a big cat one day. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
When Winston goes at manic speed it’s very exciting.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
Yes, that’s his top speed. His four speeds seem to be Zonked Out, Sweetly Cuddly, Attack Mode, and Manic Blowout. Manic Blowout usually involves thundering feet. And things getting knocked over. Like the Cat Tree in the kitchen. And one of the dining chairs yesterday. I don’t know how a slender eight-pound cat can do that. Who knows what he’ll do today. It’s Friday the 13th. Anything could happen.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
The cats are noisier than I am.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No honey, you make up for it with your incessant excited barking.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I don’t bark when I play Bitey-Whacky with Winston.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
No you don’t. I love it when you two play that game. You do the dog version,  Bitey-face, and Winston does the cat version, Whack-a-face, and you both keep at each other’s faces for a nice long quiet play-time. I especially like the quiet part.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
It’s not as exciting as barking and racing around the house with the Loud Boys.
XOXO Poppy

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Vigilant

Cher Madame, 
Le strange cat who visits us is quite alarming.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
You were clearly gobsmacked the first time he showed up.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This petit cat does not do the gobsmack. That is a rude word.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I’m sorry. It’s just an expression. It means you were surprised.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
We were all surprised, Madame.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I think the rest of us were mostly surprised by your yowling and hissing. When you ran up to the patio door and stared out into the night at something the rest of us couldn’t see.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Yowling is not a dignified word. This petit cat was warning. Warning the intruder to leave. Immediately. Which he did.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Eventually. But he comes back every evening. You did notice, didn’t you, that the intruder is only there when you and Winston are playing with the feather wand in front of the glass doors?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
This intruder must know that we will be there and comes to mock us. Every evening he comes back. Again and again.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
And have you noticed that the intruder cat looks exactly like Winston?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Winston is a generic style of cat. Madame should know there are many like him. Siamese cats are everywhere. They are as common as kibble. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
Have you considered the possibility that the intruder might be Winston reflected in the glass?
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Always the mocking. Every evening Madame has been snickering at this pauvre petit cat. But she is wrong to laugh. For it was bad enough that the Siamese intruder kept showing up, but then there was a new cat last night. A big ginger cat staring into our house through the patio door windows. 
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
I have to say that the ginger cat was the cherry on top.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
As usual, Madame makes no sense whatsoever.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
The whole situation was already hilarious. But to have an actual cat show up was incredible. Dear god, that makes it perfect. What an extraordinary
twist, after we’d been entertained by listening to you yowling at a reflection for four nights in a row. His appearance was truly a case of life imitating art.
Love, Carolyn

Cher Madame,
Madame is beside herself laughing again. But the ginger cat’s appearance was proof that this petit cat has been right all along.
Regards, M. Le Poufin

Dear Puffin,
We’ll give you that. We are all grateful for your vigilance.
Love, Carolyn

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Masking Up

Hey Mom,
What is all the talk about masks? I already have one!
Winston

Dear Winston,
You do! You have a Meezer Mask.  
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
What’s a Meezer Mask?
Winston

Dear Winston,
Meezer is a nickname for Siamese cats. Siamese cat markings include a face mask. So, you are all set for these times. This does seem to be the year of the mask. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You look funny when you put your spotted mask on to go out. 
Winston

Dear Winston,
I probably do. But I thought you all would like that mask. It’s an animal print.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I don’t know why they call that animal print. I don’t have spots like that. And Poppy is a blonde. And Puffin is a Tuxedo. Nobody here has spots like that. They shouldn’t call it animal print.
Winston

Dear Winston,
You are very literal.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
There is another mask you only wear when the air is terribly smokey.
Winston

Dear Winston,
Ugh. The wildfires here in California sometimes made the serious mask necessary. The smoke was awful for a few weeks. I hope it doesn’t get bad again. You should be glad you are strictly an indoor cat.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Why doesn’t Poppy wear a smoke mask when she goes out with you?
Winston

Dear Winston,
As far as I know, they haven’t come up with an N-95 mask for dogs. So, we cut our walks short on smokey days. Or skipped them altogether.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
You have another mask. A cat mask. We don’t know what to think about that.
Winston

Dear Winston,
It’s my Halloween mask. I thought it would be funny. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
We think it’s weird. Do I need another mask for Halloween?
Winston

Dear Winston,
You are totally prepared for Halloween. Though your Meezer Mask isn’t what I would call funny. You have a very serious looking mask. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Puffin says I will hate Halloween. The doorbell rings all evening, and strange children scream “Trick or Treat!”. 
Winston

Dear Winston,
You’ll probably have to wait for next year to experience that alarming situation. With the pandemic rules, this year won’t be a big Trick or Treat year. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Puffin will be totally relieved to hear that.
Winston

Meanwhile, Winston reminds our readers to VOTE! There is so much at stake.

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Workout

Dear Mom,
I’m so glad we’ve been going for walks again!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
I am too. Thank goodness the smoke from the wildfires has cleared up. Mostly, anyway.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
The smoke had a terrible smell.                     
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It did. And the ash got all over everything. It was all very bad for our health. So, I had to let you out to the garden briefly to do your business instead of going for a nice walk every day.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
I missed the walks.
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
So did I. I missed getting outside. I missed walking around our neighborhood. And I really missed the exercise. 
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Is that why you started going up and down the stairs, over and over, each day?
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It was indeed. That can be a good workout, especially when you take it at a brisk pace.
Love, Carolyn

Dear Mom,
Puffin said you had lost your marbles. But Winston and I didn’t care. We loved running up and down the stairs with you!!!!!!
XOXO Poppy

Dear Poppy,
It was a thrilling group event for the three of us, wasn’t it? But I’m glad to be going outside to walk again. Let’s hope the rainy season starts soon, to put an end to this season’s wildfires.
Love, Carolyn

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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.

A note to our readers…
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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

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!