Books

Review: Outsmarting Cats by Wendy Christensen

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When it comes to understanding felines, few people know these lovable, but sometimes frustrating, creatures as well as Wendy Christensen. Wendy spent her entire life with cats, and has gained a deep appreciation of the many sides of feline behavior. She shares her wealth of knowledge in Outsmarting Cats: How to Persuade the Felines in Your Life to Do What You Want.

This book was first published in 2004. This second, revised edition was published in March of this year, and contains updated information as well as a comprehensive resource listing for everything from cat safe cleaners to cat furniture. Just like the original, this book addresses behavioral challenges ranging from aggression to litter box problems to scratching. The new, expanded edition also includes the latest scientific information on cats, high-tech solutions to feline behavior problems, a new section on TNR (trap, neuter, release) and fostering cats, and lots of new photos and illustrations.

Wendy’s focus is on nurturing the best possible relationshipContinue Reading

Meet Leann Sweeney, Author of the Cats in Trouble Series

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I’ve been enjoying the Cats in Trouble series, featuring cat quilter Jillian Hart, who settled in the small town of Grace, South Carolina with her three cats, since the very first book. The latest in the series, The Cat, The Mill and the Murder, was just released yesterday.

In this installment in the delightful series, Jillian volunteers to help a local animal shelter relocate a colony of feral cats living in an abandoned textile mill. She never expects to find a woman living there, too. The woman, who went missing from Mercy, South Carolina, a decade ago, refuses to leave the mill or abandon Boots, her cat who died years ago. After the woman is hurt in an accident and is taken away, those who’ve come to town to help repurpose the mill make a terrible discovery, and Jillian tries to unearth a long-kept and dark secret with the help of a mysterious new feline friend.

Look for a review of The Cat, The Mill and The Murder on The Conscious Cat soon.Continue Reading

Pre-order Cat Daddy, the Paperback, and Help Homeless Cats

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If you watch My Cat From Hell, currently in its fourth season on Animal Planet, you’ve seen Jackson Galaxy demonstrate his almost uncanny ability to connect with troubled cats and their often equally, if not more, troubled humans, again and again. I love watching the transformation his work brings not just to the cats, but also to the humans. And isn’t it almost always the humans who need to change? The cats are just being cats.

Preorder the Paperback or Ebook before May 1oth

If you haven’t already read Jackson’s book, Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Cleannow is the time to order it! The book is coming out in paperback, and Jackson’s publisher, Tarcher Penguin, will donate $1 for every copy of the paperback or ebook ordered before May 10th. Proceeds will go to  Neighborhood Cats, Best Friends Animal Society and Stray Cat Alliance. Continue Reading

Review: The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider

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It is heartening to me that we’re seeing more and more books on feline behavior that provide solid, actionable information for cat guardians. Far too many cats are surrendered to shelters, or worse, released into the wild to fend for themselves, because of behavior problems that often aren’t all that hard to fix. In The Cat Whisperer: Why Cats Do What They Do – and How to Get Them To Do What You Want, Mieshelle Nagelschneider explains cat behavior and provides easy-to-follow solutions to common behavior problems.Continue Reading

Review: Skinny the Cat and the Magic of Kindness by Donna Rawlins

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Cats can teach us a lot of things, including how to make the world a better place. In Skinny the Cat and the Magic of Kindness, Donna Rawlins shares the story of a neighborhood cat who wins her heart.

From the publisher:

When Skinny, a neighbor’s scrawny rescue cat, sets out to win the affection of the author’s own cantankerous kitty, at first the fur flies-but Skinny knows a secret that can change the world: how to love with unwavering persistence. For weeks, Skinny faithfully showed up at the author’s door hoping to get a glimpse of her feline princess-sometimes getting a triple right paw punch for his pains. But her unlovable behavior never stopped him from loving her. Skinny will open your heart, too: he’s the cat who not only refused to give up, but who showed an entire community the miracles that can happen when you practice loving kindness. Skinny reminds us that those who appear to be the least deserving of our compassion and gentleness often need it the most, and that loving those who seem unlovable offers healing for ourselves and for the planet.Continue Reading

Review and giveaway: Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos by Simon Tofield

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You know Simon’s Cat from his YouTube videos. It all started with Cat Man Do, which I believe was the original Simon’s Cat video. The hand drawn animated video featuring black and white pencil drawings of a cat trying to wake his guardian has garnered more than 40 million views since it was posted five years ago.

Since then, Simon’s Cat has become an empire, featuring more videos, books, and merchandise ranging from t-shirts to cat beds to fine art prints.

Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos is the third installment in Simon Tofield’s book series based on his YouTube cartoon character. In this book, Simon’s Cat meets his match: a new kitten who is half the size of Simon’s Cat, with twice the attitude.

I hadn’t seen any of the previous books before, and I wasn’t sure how the cartoons would translate to print. Turns out they translate well – I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It’s impossible to look through the book without winding up with a big smile on your face.Continue Reading

Interview with Helen Brown, Author of Cats and Daughters

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Helen Brown is the author of Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family and the brand new Cats and Daughters: They Don’t Always Come When Called.  She was born and brought up in New Zealand, where she first worked as a journalist, TV presenter and scriptwriter. Now living in Melbourne, Australia with her family, Helen continues to write columns for the New Zealand media, and she’s been voted Columnist of the Year several times.  Cleo rose to the top of the bestseller lists in its first week in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia and has been translated into more than 16 languages.

I previously interviewed Helen after the release of Cleo, and I’m delighted to welcome her back to The Conscious Cat today.

How was writing Cats and Daughters different for you from writing your first book?Continue Reading

Review: Cats and Daughters by Helen Brown

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I love cat memoirs, and I love that we’re seeing more and more of these wonderful stories being published. I absolutely adored Helen Brown’s first book, Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family, about the little black kitten who came into the author’s life after the death of her young son. This sweeping memoir of heartbreak, changes, new beginnings, and ultimately, happiness, touched my heart in a big way.

I was excited when Helen Brown’s publisher sent me the just published sequel, Cats and Daughters: They Don’t Always Come When They’re Called. But you never know with sequels: will they be as good as the first book, or will they disappoint? I should have known that Brown wouldn’t disappoint.

After Cleo died, the author swore she’d never get another cat, but the universe had different plans when a small Siamese kitten with an intense blue gaze wraps his paws around her hand Continue Reading

The Birth of a Fictional Feline

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Guest post by Clea Simon

“Dogs,” said Wallis, her voice dripping scorn. “Dogs have fleas. Dogs lie.”  And with that, a character was born.

Now, some people may question the veracity of the above, and perhaps these people have reason. Wallis is, after all, a cat – the irascible tabby companion of Pru Marlowe, the human protagonist of my “pet noir” mysteries, the most recent of which, Parrots Prove Deadly, was published this week by Poisoned Pen Press. And while Pru has the dubious gift of being able to hear, in her way, what animals are thinking, most of us, myself included, do not. And yet, I swear to you, this is what Wallis said. And this is how Wallis came into the world.

It is a truism of fiction that sometimes characters determine their own stories. We’ve all heard authors say that, and I suspect we have all rolled our eyes. After all, writing – especially the 80,000 words or so that are necessary for a book – takes effort, planning, and discipline. But that doesn’t make the statement any less true, and the more realistic, less glamorous way of putting it is that a good character, the kind who makes a series, has a voice, or a style, or some ineffable characteristic, that sets her or himself apart. Continue Reading

Review: Parrots Prove Deadly by Clea Simon

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Clea Simon’s cat-centric murder mysteries. I knew I would enjoy Parrots Prove Deadly, the third in Simon’s Pet Noir series featuring pet behaviorist and psychic Pru Marlowe – I just didn’t realize just how much I would love it.

Pru is hired to retrain the parrot of a woman who has died in a retirement home. The parrot needs a new home, but isn’t likely to find one with the vocabulary of swear words he seems to have acquired, and the dead woman’s family is hoping that Pru can help. As Pru starts working with the bird, she is wondering whether some of the parrot’s words are a replay of the woman’s death, and whether that death could have possibly been a murder. The only other possible witnesses are a blind neighbor, her seeing-eye dog, and a non-commital health care aide. Pru can’t help herself: she begins to look into the woman’s death, and she gets drawn into a tangled web of family dynamics, possible land fraud, and a potential rabies outbreak.

With the help of her cantankerous tabby Wallis, Continue Reading

Review: Crazy Critter Lady by Kelly Meister

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I love stories by writers whose life has been saved by the love of an animal, or two or three. In Crazy Critter Lady, Kelly Meister shares her stories of the animals who share her life: cats, horses, ducks, even birds, chipmunks and helpless mice.

From the publisher:

In a world where animals are often seen as impediments to progress or expendable pests, Crazy Critter Lady is the story of one woman’s determination to do the right thing for the animals around her. Kelly Meister goes out on a limb – and sometimes a half-frozen pond – to help injured birds, mice and chipmunks, homeless “Aflac” ducks, cranky horses, lost frogs and a host of others. When she’s not chasing squirrels out of the road, the author waits on her five demanding cats hand and foot. Crazy Critter Lady, a memoir, is the story of a love affair with animals. Continue Reading