Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pets and Their Authors - The Lady and The Tramp.

I tried to fit both my cats into one post - but it just didn't work. They are BIG cats. And cats with big
characters.   So one post wouldn't contain them both.   In the end, I had to ask Michelle if I could have one post per cat - and being an understanding sort of person (perhaps I should say a cat understanding sort of person)  she recognised the problem and  allocated two posts  - one for each feline.

So - labelling both  posts The Lady and The Tramp -  the first one, of course, needs to go to The Lady.

And The Lady is Flora

I have always had cats. Well, when I say ‘always’, there were a few years when because of living away from home  at University in Wales, or renting our first married home in a flat where no pets were allowed,  so there were no cats actually living with me then.   But when the Babe Magnet and I set up home in a house with a garden, then the thing I needed to turn that house into a home was a Cat. The capital letter is important – it wasn’t going to be just any cat but The Cat – the one who would do the homemaking. And so the first in series of wonderful creatures came into my life. (More on  this Cat later)

The  Cat that most of my blog readers will remember was Sid – the wandering tom cat who walked into my life on day as if declaring ‘I live here’.  He did live here -  for the  next twelve years. And he performed a  great service by  becoming the  purrson who picked the winners of my contests.  All the names went on pieces of paper, every piece of paper had a cat treat on top  then Sid was lit at them.  And the first one he picked was the winner . (He also picked lottery numbers that way and actually won us £30 as a result!)   

All of my cats were  plain ‘moggies’. Rescued from the RSPCA or, like Sid, who decided that living with us was a good idea. But the dream cat, the one  pedigree cat I always  longed to have  was a Maine Coon. If you don’t know these cats, they are big cats – with big personalities, They have long coats and their tails – well, their tails are  described as a cat with a  tail attached.  They are beautiful and fun.  But there were always so many cats who needed to be rescued.  But  one  Christmas, five years ago,  when we’d lost almost all of our moggies in very quick succession, the Babe Magnet  found the perfect Christmas gift.   There was a Maine Coon breeder who lived not very far away – and she had one kitten from a litter left. A kitten who needed a home.
Her official name was Frazercoonz Holly – but as soon as I saw her, I knew her real name was Flora.  Princess Flora Flooziebelle if you want her full title (and she does!). And she had me picked out as hers from the moment I walked into the room. She had half a dozen brothers and sisters, but when she saw me she went and sat in  the bed, posing so that I could take her photograph.  Officially she is a tricolour

– a tortoiseshell.  But she only just managed that ‘three colour’ definition. She is mostly grey and silvery white, smoky and beautiful as a mist. But on her head she has what the Babe Magnet calls a ‘baked bean stain’  as if someone has dropped a  tin of orange sauce on her.  The breeder warned us that she was ‘a terror’ and she has all of that tortoiseshell attitude  - or ‘tortitude’ that goes with her colouring. She is quite frankly  a Diva.   From the day I bought her home she made sure  that I realised she did NOT want to be in the cat basket and she yelled and screeched – complaining about kitten abuse at the top of her voice. And she has a very loud voice!  In the end,  I had to open the box and she jumped out, sat on my knee and was  perfectly content to watch the countryside go by as we travelled home.  

Once home, she set to to run the show.  Sid was sorted out – he was her devoted slave and always let her get to the food bowl first. The TV  is for her to practise her hunting skills – horse racing and football are her favourite shows but snooker is quite a lot of fun too.  She seems to know instinctively that our next door neighbour doesn’t like cats and she sits on the top of the fence on our side and stares in the window at him just to rile him. She loves a box-

- and box – or a basket and will sit in any one that happens to be on the floor. And she still has the loudest voice of any cat I’ve ever known. When  she first arrived, my desk was Sid’s territory – but when sadly  we lost him to cancer, she seemed  to understand what there was a space in my working life that needed filling. I needed inspiration – and she was just the person to provide it.  She always arrives in the same way – coming in the door behind me, jumping up on to the back of my chair, then walking across  my shoulders,  over my head,  and onto my desk. She even did this once when I was being interviewed for a TV appearance. I was talking articulately and interestingly (I hope) about writing when there was suddenly a leap, a ascrabble and a large fluffy tail appeared  in front ot my face, with a fluffy body right on top of my head.   The viewers wanted to see her, not
me, she knew - and she was probably right., She is very beautiful and she knows it.
The cursor on the screen has to be chased – something Sid never bothered with,  
much of the time I spend peering round her head so that I can see the words I’m trying to create.  At other times she’ll settle down and sleep – but, as I said  Coons are big cats  - and  often I end up  to the very edge of the desk while she fills the rest of the space.

 She also loves to be out in the garden where she plays around the hedgehogs - and is generous enough to share a bowl of meat with them every now and then. And she loves boxes. Any box. And size, and shape.

Perhaps you're starting to see just whay Maine Coons have a reputation for being character cats. In fact, I did a  craft blog over on Revising and Editing earlier this  week and one of the commenters  said how much she envied me my two Maine Coons - the coolest cats on the planet.

Flora would agree with her. And so would I  - in fact we loved  our  first Maine Coon so much that we  just had to get another one.
Which is where Charlie came in  - and if Flora  is The Lady then he is very definitely The Tramp. (Or - as Michelle calls them - The Princess and the Scamp)

So look out  for Part 2  - Charlie   - coming soon.

Kate's latest heroine is in a royal romance but she's a Grand Duchess, not a Princess like Florsa (though Flora  could well be a Grand Duchess! she has the Diva Personality for it.) Kate’s royal hero is Alexei Sarova, that black sheep prince who has to face up to a new and unexpected destiny with his heroine Honoria Escalona (Ria) as the woman he wants as his queen.

A kingdom's safety...
Betrayed by those she loves, Honoria Escalona must now face the only man capable of bringing stability to the Mediterranean kingdom of Mecjoria. A cold, hard man who once called her his friend... Alexei Sarova-the true King of Mecjoria.
In exchange for her happiness

Butt Alexei's tortuous past has changed him into someone she hardly knows. He blames Ria's family
A Throne For the Taking will be published in the Royal and Ruthless miniseries in both Harlequin Presents and Mills & Boon Modern in June.

Other up to date news and details of all Kate’s books can be found on her web site and in her blog.


  1. Lovely to hear about Flora, but you know I lost my heart to Dylan. Must come and visit Flora (and you) soon x

    1. Ah yes, Dylan was a lovely chap - still much missed. Flora will be glad to see you - and so would Charlie

  2. Love your beautiful kitties, Kate! I have a Norwegian Forest cat and she's a lot like a Maine Coon. Fluffy and a very pretty girl, although I could be a bit biased ;)

    Looking forward to reading A Throne for the Taking!

    1. Hi Lee - Flora thinks that you have excellent taste saying that she is beautiful - which she is. I'm sure you'll enjoy meeting her brother Charlie too. We thought about Norwegian Forest cats - they are gorgeous animals too but Maine Coons have a special character. What is your cat called?

      I do hope you enjoy A Throne For The Taking if you read it.

  3. Kate ~ Loved hearing about Lady Flora.

    Lady Saxon has spent almost 14 years with us and she's still going strong despite having medication put onto her ear twice a day for hyperthyroid problems. Dash, our youngest cat, is the first one who loves to chase the cursor. He weights in at 22 pounds so when he decides to block the monitor he really does block it. He loves sitting on a lap while either one of us are on the computor.

    Looking forward to reading your 61st book.

  4. Hi Kaelee - Lovely to hear from you and Saxon and Dash - good luck with the thyroid problems - at least putting things on her ear is easier than getting a tablet down her throat! Flora sends purrs - and our younger cat Charlie is coming up with his own post soon

  5. I love when you post pictures of your cats. Flora is gorgeous. Can't wait to see Charlie. Our Maine Coon, Justin, passed away a couple of years ago. We really missed him, so in March we adopted another Maine Coon from the same breeder. She is a jet black girl named Ambri.


  6. Hello Linda - Flora is gorgeous and she knows it! Charlie is a very different sort of cat - a real boy! I'm sorry about Justin - but so glad that you have a new Maine Coon to love. The breeder who sold us Charlie had a big black boy cat as one of her favourites - he was called Raven.

  7. That Flora is a hoot with the hedgehog! How kind of her to share her food with it. And spend part of her day playing with it. you really have to wonder what cats think of strange things like that, don't you? So far I've only seen the one hedgehog in our garden and that was in the dark. Do they come out to eat worms or something and therefore like cat food?

  8. Hi CC - I thought you would like the Flora meets the Hedgehog photo. Yes, hedgehogs like worms, snails, even slugs - which is why they're useful in the garden. So some nice cat food - even the older stuff Flora and Charlie have discarded - is welcome too. They are mostly nocturnal so they are rarely about in the day - this photo of Flora+ 'hog is rare. Mostly, they just get along together - all part of their night time garden fun!