working cats

Review: Cats on the Job by Lisa Rogak

cats-on-the-job

There’s no question that cats make everything better, and that includes businesses. I love visiting stores or offices who have a resident cat. I think having a cat on the premises completely changes the energy of an establishment. In Cats on the Job: 50 Fabulous Felines Who Purr, Mouse, and Even Sing for Their Supper, Lisa Rogak shares the stories of 50 hardworking felines in all sorts of purrfessions.Continue Reading

Desk Nest™ Keeps Your Cats Close While You Work

Desk-Nest

Does your cat like to “help” you work? Does this feline assistance often manifest as your cat lying on top of your keyboard, or rearranging vital papers you need for your current project? Now there’s a solution that will make cats and humans equally happy: your cat will have a comfortable place to rest while you work, and your productivity will increase!Continue Reading

Cats Are Part of the Family Business at Wood Violins

cats_violins

I recently received one of the most creative marketing emails involving cats I had seen in a long time. It came from Wood Violins, a company created by acclaimed musician Mark Wood. Wood Violins handcrafts absolutely amazing electric violins, and from the marketing email, it became clear to me that they have some feline assistance with their work.

I first met Mark Wood ten years ago when he was touring with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Until then, I had never heard anyone play an electric violin, and I was mesmerized. Fourteen years ago, Mark created Electrify Your Strings, a music educational phenomenon that inspires Continue Reading

A fine furry romance

cat romance

Guest post by Phoebe and Hawkeye Banks, as told to T.J. Banks

(Phoebe and Hawkeye have had their own little office romance going for a few years now.  And, despite a bumpy beginning, they’ve managed to make it work. One morning, they shared their story with me. –TJB)

Hawkeye:  For the longest time, the office here was all mine.  Well, I shared it with the Older Human, of course.  I went over her manuscripts, tended her plants for her (plants have to be cropped back periodically, you know), and studied the birds at the feeders outside the window.   She writes about the oddest stuff sometimes, and I figured she might need to know about birds.  I got a paw on her routine very quickly:  within a few weeks, I was able to set up shop in the mail basket on the table…right next to her desk so that I was available for consulting.  A lot of the papers had been there a long time, and I felt pretty sure that the Older Human had forgotten all about them.  The basket was just the right size for a cat of my inches.Continue Reading

Cats at Work

kitten_computer

Here in the United States, we’re celebrating Labor Day today, and this post is dedicated to all the working cats out there.

I’ve had a number of working cats in my life. Virginia was my first office cat at the animal hospital I managed, followed, of course, by Buckley, as those of you who read my book know. Amber wasn’t so much a working cat as she was the inspiration behind The Conscious Cat, although who’s to say being a writer’s mewse is not hard work. Allegra and Ruby not only write ther own columns, Allegra’s World and Ruby’s Reflections, they also work hard at testing new products for you and your kitties. The picture above was taken a week after I adopted Allegra: she was getting an early start on learning the computer!

Cats hold any number of jobs. There are store cats, office cats, Continue Reading

Musetta’s complaint: Life with a writer is for the birds

Musetta_Clea_Simon

Guest post by Musetta Simon

What is it with these creatures?

I don’t mean the birds. Those little twittering things are amusing, in their way: hopping about, oblivious to the fact that certain death – in the form of a sleek feline killer – lurks just inside this glass door. I mean my humans. My mother, in particular. Instead of writing, or whatever it is she calls it when she sits at her desk, she has taken to lingering here, by the porch doors, with me. And while I appreciate the strokes I get, especially when I begin my morning commentary on the yard activity, it’s her frankly pointless fascination that I simply do not understand.

When my person first began feeding the creatures in our yard, I thought her motivations were obvious. She was fattening them up, clearly, Continue Reading

Cats With Jobs

Bodge cats New York City

Here in the United States, we’re celebrating Labor Day today, so this post is dedicated to all the working cats out there.

I’ve had a number of working cats in my life. Virginia was my first office cat at the animal hospital I managed, followed, of course, by Buckley, as those of you who read my book know. Amber wasn’t so much a working cat as she was the inspiration behind The Conscious Cat, although who’s to say being a writer’s mewse is not hard work. Continue Reading

Cats in charge: Phoebe’s Story

 Phoebe in charge

Guest post by Phoebe Banks

My original people – I don’t like to talk about them much – dumped me on a farm when they discovered I was pregnant, and I had my kittens in the barn. As soon as I was able to, I went out foraging for food so that I’d have enough milk for them. There was an antiques shop right next to the shop, and they hired me on the spot as their official greeter, paying me in snacks. Still, there was the daycare issue: when my kittens were old enough, I brought them with me. They trotted around after me as I showed the customers around. I think we were very good for business.

I tried very hard to keep my kittens safe, but, one by one, they disappeared – cars, coyotes, distemper. That was a very sad time for me. The women at the shop were kind to me, but it wasn’t as though I belonged to them. Or to anyone.

Then the Older Human stopped by the shop and was very taken with me. (I was, I have to admit, looking very pretty and fluffy that day, even though I had a bad case of worms.) She brought me home with her, and suddenly, I did belong to someone. I was warm, well-fed, worm-less – and spayed. The Older and Younger Humans looked after me. And I had friends. There were cats here, too, same as at the barn; but they were all fixed and didn’t have the gaunt faces or bloated bellies that the barn cats had had.

Circe, the Blue Aby, became my first friend: she was very young and really needed someone to play with. I was only a year older – I’d had my kittens very young – so this suited me perfectly. I felt as though I was getting my kittenhood back. We climbed cat trees together and chased each other around the house. Once, I got so into one of our chases, I actually reared up on my hind legs and walked on them. Just like a human. And, speaking of which, you should’ve seen the Older Human’s face. It was, as they say, enough to make a cat laugh. Well, at least this one.

I settled in pretty quickly. The other cats more or less followed Circe’s suit, and Keisha, the Chief Cat, gave me her seal of approval. I eventually adopted three abandoned kittens — Derv Jr. (Keisha had told me about the first Derv, a fine upstanding cat who had lived to be almost 20-years-old), Cheshire, and Magwitch – and got the chance to really enjoy raising them that I had never really had with my own babies. And – this touched me to the quick – the Younger Human even ran a “Phoebe for President” campaign in 2008, complete with t-shirts. Of course, I didn’t win, but I did receive a lot of the popular vote.

Then Keisha died. It was very unexpected, and she hadn’t had time to groom a successor. I was worried. Strong leadership is, you know, very important in a multi-cat household. Then I thought, wait a sec – I could do it. Not only did I have a certain amount of political know-how (I had, after all, run a very perky campaign), but I also had had a lot of Life Experience that the others hadn’t. So I took up where Keisha had left off – keeping the Siamese in line and monitoring the rivalries between various cats. It hasn’t been easy, but I feel I’m doing a pretty good job on the whole.

And one morning, while I was eating breakfast, Keisha shimmered into the room. Her eyes were free from the pain of her brief illness, and she let me know how pleased she was with the job I’d done. She was only there for a moment…a gentle, fleeting moment…but I know that the Older Human saw her, too.

Phoebe’s human is T. J. Banks, the author of A Time for Shadows, Catsong, Souleiado, and Houdini, a novel for young adults which the late writer and activist Cleveland Amory enthusiastically branded “a winner.” Catsong, a collection of her best cat stories, was the winner of the 2007 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. A Contributing Editor to laJoie, she has received writing awards from the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA), ByLine, and The Writing Self. Her writing has been widely anthologized, and she has worked as a columnist, a stringer for the Associated Press, and an instructor for the Writer’s Digest School. She is currently writing a blog called “Sketch People,” a  series of interviews with people who have stories worth telling. You can learn more about T.J. Banks on her blog, and through this interview.

You may also enjoy reading:

Book review: Derv & Co.: A Life Among Felines by T.J. Banks

Book review: Catsong by T.J. Banks

Book review: Houdini by T.J. Banks

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A day in the life of an author’s cat

Fred, Lorna Barrett's cat

Guest post by Fred, owner of
New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett

Hello, my name is Fred. I’m a Tuxedo. That means I’m black and white. And very handsome. I know, because my author told me so.

Yes, I own an author. She wasn’t always an author, but when I came to live with her, her luck changed. Who says black cats are unlucky! She started selling lots of books. She has lots of author names: Lorna Barrett, Lorraine Bartlett, and L.L. Bartlett.

Why do people think black cats are unlucky? Okay, I do have some white fur, too, but I’m mostly a black cat. (Unless I lie on my back, and then my mapmaker—that’s the husband of my author—says I’m mostly white. Go figure!)

As an author-owner, I lead a pretty busy life. My day often starts at 3 or 4 in the morning. Sometimes I get restless and like to walk around the house talking to the cupboard. It holds lots of cans of cat food and kitty treats. I tell it to feed me, but it doesn’t listen well. So I walk around the house and talk to the furniture and the walls. Sometimes I talk (and scratch on) the bedroom closet door. For some reason when that happens, water comes squirting off of the mapmaker’s bedside table. Go figure!

I like to go back to bed about half an hour before everybody else gets up. Then I like to have a lie-in while my author and mapmaker play on their computers before breakfast.

I show up for breakfast every morning, but sometimes I don’t like what’s on the menu. I refuse to sit up and then I walk away. (But I sneak back when no one is looking. Hey, I gotta eat ya know.)

After breakfast, I like to jump on my author’s lap to take make sure she is correctly answering her email. Then I take a long nap on my mapmaker’s extra office chair. Sometimes I go sit under his 200 watt light bulb in my kitty bed. It’s too small for me, so sometimes I have to hang over the edges.

At lunchtime, I like to go see what my author is having. Sometimes she cuts up onions and celery and that means tuna will happen, and I get to drink the tuna water. I like that. (Doesn’t happen enough, though.)

After lunch, it’s nap time. I need to stay well rested because, like I said, I get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to talk to the walls and furniture. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

My favorite part of the day is Happy Hour. My author and mapmaker like to read (and my author often edits her work in progress at this time of day). Sometimes cheese happens. Yum! Chester (their other black cat) is good about telling them that WE NEED CAT TREATS NOW! Sometimes Betsy (one of the two sisters that live here—I like to chase or LOOK AT HER and make her SCREAM) leaves her treats. I’m fast. I clean up her leftovers.

During happy hour, I like to run around the house and pretend I’m a bullet train. (Only I can jump over chairs and knock over tables. It’s fun!) I have kitty OCD which makes my skin ripple and makes me run fast. The only thing that calms me down is my author petting me and telling me I’m a good and handsome boy. (I am!)

In the evening, I like to walk around the house and let everybody know that I’m in charge. (Chester doesn’t believe it.) I like to jump on the back of my author’s office chair and purr in her ear. She seems to like it.

If my author stays up too late, I have to remind her that it’s my bedtime. I start talking to the walls and furniture in her office until she says, “Alright already! Bedtime!” I sleep at the bottom of my author’s bed. I have an afghan my people-grandma made me and I have a little pillow, too. I like to rest my head on the pillow.

When I’m not doing all these things, I bring my author lots of luck to sell her books. That’s why she calls me her little prince (and her tiny son). She loves me a lot.

That’s my happy life. I hope your life is happy, too!

Lorraine Bartlett with Fred

Fred’s author is New York Times Bestselling author Lorna Barrett of the Booktown Mystery series. Sentenced To Death, #5 in the series, was relesed June 7th. Lorna also writes the Victoria Square Mysteries under the name Lorraine Bartlett and the Jeff Resnick Mysteries under the name L.L. Bartlett.

You may also enjoy reading:

An interview with Lorna Barrett

A mystery author and her cats