Fresh Air for Cats and Writers

Did you watch that Bowl game yesterday? I sure did. The important one–the Kitten Bowl. (Yes, I saw the other crazy game, too!)

After I bought a cat stroller last summer (see here) it was too hot (for them) for walks or just to get some air, then it was too rainy and cool (for me). This weekend it was just right.

Because I don’t have a catio (a screened-in porch for cats) I don’t like to frustrate the cats that would take most quickly to outdoor life. We are a strictly indoor cat household–for the safety of our cats, the safety of the neighborhood birds, and for my mental health. So I don’t want anybody to get any big ideas.

But Tiger has a very constricted life. She finds Kana and Sloopy Anne very annoying. They like to chase her, and Tiger likes to flee. So she needs little events that make her feel special. Therefore, she was the one who was chosen to go out in the stroller in this beautiful weather.  I put down a wee-wee pad (Chux underpad), just in case she got too excited. But she didn’t have an accident. She felt the breeze on her face and smelled the odors on that breeze. She watched for tiny movements I couldn’t even see. And she listened for her dad’s voice since he was close by.

When she came back in the house, she was thorough about checking out the stroller for the smells it brought back into the house. And she stood her ground afterward, giving Sloopy Anne a nice long smirk.

A writer friend asked me what writing project I’m working on now. I had to admit I feel a little at odds. I have a draft of my memoir completed, but am doing some thinking about it. I have a publisher interested in my poetry/prose chapbook that is based on the lives of women in my family history. I’m not jumping back into poetry or into creative nonfiction right now. Partly, I would like to focus on wrapping up these two projects. But maybe it’s also that I feel a little singed by these genres.  I’ve been working in them for a long time, and they take a lot of emotional strength.

My friend asked me if I was going to work on fiction now. It was her idea, not mine. She might do it herself. I think it’s an idea well worth thinkin’ on pondering. Maybe I could use some “fresh air.”

 

53 Comments

Filed under #AmWriting, Arizona, Cats and Other Animals, Creative Nonfiction, Family history, Fiction, Memoir, Nonfiction, Poetry, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Writing

53 responses to “Fresh Air for Cats and Writers

  1. If I came back as a cat, I’d want to be one of yours! Mr. Chapman read your post and was jealous!

  2. I’ve never seen a cat stroller! We bought a used dog kennel for our deck and the cats like to loll about it in and sniff the air on sunny days. I’m still trying to wrap up my novel for a pitch conference in April, but I am looking SO forward to starting on a new project!

    • I hadn’t either, and I loved my son’s so much that he told me he would buy me one. I waited until it went down in price because I figured it would be an “extra,” but this is the 3rd day in a row now for Tiger, and I don’t see it stopping any time soon! The dog kennel idea is a great one! Very sturdy and safe, even if “somebody” was to attack from outside! And yet vents for fresh air!
      Good luck with the pitch conference! I will be vibing for you!

  3. I’m not going to let our cat read this. 🙂

    • LOL! Better not unless you’re prepared to get one of these strollers. My son first got one, and then offered to get me one. I waited until it went on sale!

  4. Tiger is a very special cat! The new cat has not been out to the screened porch yet. Waiting for spring when we take the tarps off of the furniture. I’m sure she’ll enjoy it.

    • I read that. I wasn’t sure why you were waiting until spring, but that makes sense. She will love it, and by then she’ll be acclimated to staying in the house and will view the porch as a luxury and not an enticement to go wild outside ;).

      • With the tarps on the furniture, the cats can easily hide from me. I didn’t want to have any issues getting her inside as it’s pretty cold here. The other cats I can depend on coming in (they don’t like cold paws) but she is still an unknown. She sniffs the door but doesn’t seem to be bothered. Then again, she hasn’t been out so she doesn’t know what she’s missing.

  5. Your cats live a charmed life, Luanne. 🙂

    • They have it pretty good as far as cat lives go, although Tiger really deserves this because her life is a little crummy since the introduction of Kana and Sloopy Anne.

  6. How nice 🙂 Glad you had such a gorgeous day for you and Tiger to get out.
    I’d say it’s my Clara who needs to get away from the more playful boys.
    I long for a catio. One day… 🙂

  7. I didn’t watch either Bowl. 🙂
    I’m glad your little guy enjoyed his outing. Our cats are strictly indoors, as well. They do love it when it’s warm enough to have the windows open so they can be in the windowsills. Right now, one is napping in a basket in front of a window.
    Good luck with your projects, Luanne. I think you’ll know when you’re ready to start something new.

    • Unlike her name suggest, Tiger is a girl cat. She was my son’s cat originally, and the only one I didn’t pick out (well, the gardener picked out our male cat, I guess). My son named her. It sounds like a boy’s name, doesn’t it? Isn’t it lovely to have a cat napping in front of a window right near where you are?! I love that.
      I probably will know, and it’s not now because the other two projects are keeping me busy at this point.

  8. I’d love to read your fiction, Luanne. It might pave the way for unexpected good surprises. xo

  9. What a lovely outing for Tiger! As for your writing, maybe you – like Tiger – could use a refreshing “intermission” too! Nothing wrong with taking a break. (As long as it doesn’t last a couple of months, like mine! 😦 I’m stuck!)

  10. Luanne, I love this. The “catio” – have never heard of that! And your narrative of taking a stroller walk with your cat was so inviting; I felt like I was there. I also love that you talked about your projects. It reminds me of the projects I’m working on. It was good to hear you want to wait to go back to the memoir; I do that with my stories. And congrats on having a publisher interested in your poetry chapbook. I would love to see you do fiction! The poets I know who have turned that direction write AMAZING prose – they have such great experience with WORDS. (sorry for the caps, just felt like they needed to be there. Looking forward to hearing more!

    • Thanks so much, Theresa! I’ve published two fiction pieces so far, but don’t feel I’ve really started work in that genre. I need to plunge into it more, and that might come down the road. Right now the “business” of writing is taking up my writing time. Ick. I’d love to have a catio, but the gardener is so worried that the cats could get out–and we have predators right around us. They wouldn’t survive. No cats survive around here. The worst predators are coyotes (the size of German shepherds, I swear) and bobcats.

      • Yes, Luanne, we also have coyotes, and aggressive racoons! 🙂 About fiction, I wonder if you would be interested in looking at the book, “The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction,” edited by Tara L. Masih? For a poet like you, I think this book, with individual essays, each with its own writing prompt, could be a really interesting way to explore fiction, especially if you are short on time at the moment. Just a thought! 🙂

        • Thanks, Theresa, for the suggestion. I actually own a Rose Metal Press book. It’s the flash nonfiction one! Maybe I should get one for each genre! 🙂 There is a stray cat in my backyard this week, and I am stressed out because of our giant bobcat and the coyotes!!! Calling people and trying to figure out what to do . . . .

          • Oh! I did not realize there was a non-fiction book from Rose Metal Press. That’s interesting. Goodness, a giant bobcat and coyotes! Your back yard is very busy this week! 🙂 I hope it all worked out okay …

  11. tweeted this on @theresajbarker!

  12. Well, first of all, when I come back in my next life, can I be your cat?

    I will probably be a black one, as I’ve been a witch’s cat in so many other lives… and so no-one ever wants to adopt me… but I think you’d keep an open mind about me.

    Second of all, I’d llke you to write a poem about me when you do start writing poetry again or when you’ve had enough fresh air !
    A haiku would do – only seventeen words…

  13. Wonderful post! I love the photos and the stroller. I am eager to read more of your memoir piece (I read the first couple of chapters, but perhaps you have edited them since then). I love the place in which you find yourself: the pre-writing place when you are still making a decision about the next project. I am in that place too, but I have made a decision (90%). It’s nice to step back interiorally (is that a word?) and ponder.

  14. It’s good to have a change when it starts to feel too much like work! Tiger looks like she had a great time 🙂

  15. Loved this one, Luanne – I particularly liked the education I got on cat strollers…looked like a lot of fun for the entire party.
    We are on the same wave length as usual. I have been working on short stories and struggle to enjoy them. They keep creeping back into reality.
    Good luck with your projects!

  16. I wonder if they make strollers for multiple cats like they do for babies … lol … I’m trying to imagine you with a stroller big enough for all your cats. Sigh. I’m glad we have a screened-in back porch. Of course, it’s a necessity here with the mosquitoes and other annoying pests that frequent the area year-round, but our cats really enjoy it. They spend as much time on the porch as we do when the weather is nice. They are 100% indoor now. Nobody gets to go outside any more. It’s either the back porch or the garage (and I still don’t understand why they will beg to be let into the garage). I did try a harness on Junior once, but … well, let’s just say his nickname is Houdini 😉

    • Oh, that would be something. I’d be pushing a caravan down the street haha! I worry about a cat getting loose with a harness and I keep checking the stroller over for gaps. Right now there is a stray or feral cat in our neighborhood, which is terrible because they do not last. We have a pack of coyotes and a huge bobcat. We can’t find an owner, and it looks pretty skinny and scruffy. Can’t figure out if it’s feral or not. So we will have to try to trap it and if it’s feral do a neuter and find a colony.

  17. I loved this very much taking Tiger out to see the world. Luanne, cats would be so cute in a children’s book in a collection of “pound stories” or a new, creative fairy tale. Not Puss in Boots but you really “get” cats. xo

    • That would be so cute! You never know! I do think I have a little bit of cat whisperer in me ;). They are all asking me for dinner right now and I just intuit it hahaha. Not that they are staring at me with an intense focus!

      • No, thosecats have manners and know it isn’t polite to stare! 😉 Luanne, you can do whatever you set your mind to do. xo

        • Thank you for the vote of confidence! You’re right that my cats have manners. They are highly civilized. I talk to them a LOT. This morning the gardener said, “You talk to them too much.” I said, “Cats need socializing.” He said, “Our cats are VERY socialized.” hahahaha

          • Of course! Cats are very smart and need this kind of attention. ❤ Your gardener has a good sense of humor which is well matched with yours. 🙂

            • LOL, he definitely does. That was funny about the shower for my future DIL. One of the questions in a game was which one of them is funnier. Her mom and I got into fighting mode over that one ;). They both have great senses of humor, but my son was always known for his incredible funniness. In 6th grade his teacher ran to the faculty room in hysterics to call me about an improv he did for a Siskel and Ebert type book report. She was dying of laughter and she was a very serious woman. That is my son. He is quieter and less apt to be as silly now that he’s 32, but he is still very funny.

              • Oh, definitely your son has a great sense of humor, Luanne! I used to love kids in my first year of teaching sixth grade, when they came up with creative methods of book reports! 😀
                I tend to defend my kids original thoughts, while realizing in a movie, they might be the “quirky neighbor” character (as well I may be! 🙂 )

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