Thursday, September 28, 2017

Winter Feral Cat Shelters--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith


It's that time of year to think about shelters for outside stray cats.  We've been feeding a feral stray sibling pair since fall of 2015.  They came running into our yard with their ears clipped so I knew they had been neutered and spayed.  When they began coming regularly, I decided to attempt to socialize them.  Hubby dubbed them Bonnie and Clyde because they ran together.  

The socialization process has been exceedingly slow.  After a year, they came regularly for wet food twice a day.  Clyde stayed around our property most of the time.  But Bonnie was flighty and went off on her own to be reunited with him at times during the day.  I don't know where she went.  We tried confining them in the basement one night when Clyde's paw seemed to be hurting, but they ran out like the devil was chasing them the next day and didn't return for a few more days.  They were even wary about eating.  The thing about ferals is that they want to retain their independence.  

Now, two years later, Clyde especially will rub against my legs at mealtime. He also enjoys a daily massage, but still streaks away at the slightest quick movement.  Bonnie still resists even the slightest attempt to pet her. They have been coming into our basement each evening and spending the night. But they are usually ready to leave in the morning and explore their outside world. We've taken care of strays before.  It's not easy to "let go" and give them freedom but that's how they are happiest.  

Another frequent visitor that we dubbed Scruffy has used our outside shelters for several winters. Out trail cameras have also captured images of other wintertime visitors. 

My husband and I are try to give our outside visitors options.  Hopefully they'll choose one or two. 


We have a patio sunroom that we keep open throughout the year. For winter, we put a shelter and a heated bed inside in one area, a heated pad in another. 

ExtremeWeatherHeatPad 

I lay thermal heat pads on the furniture in the sunroom.  





Outside over the years we've added different types of shelters. Those closest to the house have low wattage heat pads inside. Among them are an igloo and cedar shelters.  If you'd like to consider making a shelter yourself from a cooler, here is a link.  

Ally Cat Allies has pages of prebuilt and DIY shelters to examine, many with instructions. 

AlleyCatAlliesShelters








One caution about multi cat shelters. Feral and stray cats don't usually like to share.  Our sibling pair might be an exception.  But roaming loners like their own spot to stay safe, rather than sharing a shelter.  And sometimes a stray would prefer to have the whole property to himself or herself.


We use straw bales as buffers and protection for the shelters against the elements.  Since the flowers are gone and plants don't provide much cover, the bales are also useful on the patio to break the wind. 


Straw is the preferred bedding if the shelter doesn't have a heat pad. Hay, used as animal feed, gets soggy. Straw is sturdier than hay, usually a golden color. Moisture rolls off of it rather than sinking in. Towels and carpet become damp and mildew.  Cats can nest in straw and it keeps them warm with their body heat. 

Also important in winter are heated water bowls. We notice the strays drink more water in winter than summer because it's harder to find a water supply.  Here is one option we use but many kinds and brands are available.












Keeping these stray fur babies safe is a challenge. Hopefully they'll take advantage of our hospitality.


******************

Coming in November 2017

Available October 17

Now Available for Pre-Order




Ah, wintertime in Rust Creek Falls! It's the perfect time of year to snuggle up by the fireplace and indulge in some juicy gossip. Speaking of snuggling, did you hear that Eli Dalton and Hadley Strickland were forced to spend the night together in an abandoned barn during our recent snowstorm?  

While it may have been a horse in distress that brought the lovely veterinarian out to the Circle D, we're betting handsome, steady Eli will draw her back. We believe the rancher could melt fair Hadley's frozen heart—if she can find the courage to reveal her past. So hang the holly, dear readers, and remember that this is the season for miracles. Could a holiday proposal soon be in the works?





***************


Click on the link below to read an additional blog entry by Karen
every Thursday on the Cozy Chicks blog




****************

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. This award-winning and bestselling author will have her 100th novel released in 2018.  At present she is working on two mystery series for Kensington Books--Caprice De Luca Home Staging cozies and Daisy's Tea Garden mysteries. From time to time, she also writes romance for Harlequin Special Edition.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks and does watercolor paintings rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2017 Karen Rose Smith

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cleaning With #Felines--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith



Cleaning isn't my--or anyone's else's--favorite thing to do. Throw two kittens into the mix and cleaning becomes even more of a chore...or just plain fun and games.

This week, I chose to just make a situation that could have been frustrating and irritating into a fun and game session. It took a bit longer to finish my chores and eventually Freya and Zander had to be moved to a different room...but the kittens provided some laughs and I actually had fun sweeping the kitchen floor!

Below are photos of our cleaning adventures.

Freya likes to jump onto the open lid of the dishwasher
and supervise while I am emptying the clean dishes.

Freya and Zander chase the broom while hubby
sweeps the kitchen floor. The fun and games came
to a halt when they sent the pile of dirt flying
across the floor. 
 
Zander seems to prefer chasing the broom through the air.
That way he doesn't have to worry about the pile of dirt!

Freya was enchanted with the Swiffer sweeper and
chased it across the floor as I mopped. But then she
figured out how to pull the cloth off of the mop
and she was evicted to another room.
 

Zander soon grew tired of  the broom and sweeper
and retreated to the bed for an afternoon nap.
He seems to be thinking, "Cleaning is hard work...
I don't know why these humans bother doing it!"
You know, he may have a point there.

****************

Coming in November 2017

Available October 17

Now Available for Pre-Order




Ah, wintertime in Rust Creek Falls! It's the perfect time of year to snuggle up by the fireplace and indulge in some juicy gossip. Speaking of snuggling, did you hear that Eli Dalton and Hadley Strickland were forced to spend the night together in an abandoned barn during our recent snowstorm?  

While it may have been a horse in distress that brought the lovely veterinarian out to the Circle D, we're betting handsome, steady Eli will draw her back. We believe the rancher could melt fair Hadley's frozen heart—if she can find the courage to reveal her past. So hang the holly, dear readers, and remember that this is the season for miracles. Could a holiday proposal soon be in the works?





***************


Click on the link below to read an additional blog entry by Karen
every Thursday on the Cozy Chicks blog




****************

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. This award-winning and bestselling author will have her 100th novel released in 2018.  At present she is working on two mystery series for Kensington Books--Caprice De Luca Home Staging cozies and Daisy's Tea Garden mysteries. From time to time, she also writes romance for Harlequin Special Edition.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks and does watercolor paintings rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2017 Karen Rose Smith

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Building a #Feline Family--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith



Adding a new cat or kittens is only the beginning of building a happy feline family. Cats are creatures of habit and anything new can easily disrupt their world. Physical things, like the noise created by the garbage trucks or thunderstorms, pass and normal returns relatively quickly. However, more permanent things--like two new kittens!--can upset the daily routine of an entire household.

We have cats ranging in age from three to sixteen years old. We thought we had carefully thought out the logistics of adding Freya and Zander, our two rescued kittens, to our feline family. Because of the great age differences between the cats, we knew we would have to keep the kittens separated and introduce them slowly, using screens at doorways and closing bedroom doors so our senior cat, who is blind, would have respite from kitten antics.

The screens worked for about a week, then Zander discovered that he could easily climb over the barrier and explore the world beyond. That week did provide a little protection for Paddy, Halo and Zoie Joy. However they were not as ready to have their world invaded as the kittens were to explore it...and them.


But we decided to let them handle the situation on their own...with careful surveillance, of course. There were hisses and growls and swats. But slowly the kittens learned their boundaries around the older cats. They soon realized that their older sisters were not quite as accepting of them as they were willing to be of their elders. Slowly over the course of the last two weeks, with boundaries learned, the felines are all navigating the downstairs. The kittens sometimes take a circuitous route around the older cats and there are occasionally still hisses and growls if they overstep their bounds.



But we have had times with four cats napping together on the bed and feeding times with adults eating next to kittens. We don't have a close-knit feline family yet, but hopefully with time and patience (both people and feline patience) we will once again find that balance that makes us one big happy feline family. My felines have taught me that with patience and tolerance can come acceptance, camaraderie and comfort.  



****************

Coming in November 2017

Available October 17

Now Available for Pre-Order




Ah, wintertime in Rust Creek Falls! It's the perfect time of year to snuggle up by the fireplace and indulge in some juicy gossip. Speaking of snuggling, did you hear that Eli Dalton and Hadley Strickland were forced to spend the night together in an abandoned barn during our recent snowstorm?  

While it may have been a horse in distress that brought the lovely veterinarian out to the Circle D, we're betting handsome, steady Eli will draw her back. We believe the rancher could melt fair Hadley's frozen heart—if she can find the courage to reveal her past. So hang the holly, dear readers, and remember that this is the season for miracles. Could a holiday proposal soon be in the works?





***************


Click on the link below to read an additional blog entry by Karen
every Thursday on the Cozy Chicks blog




****************

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. This award-winning and bestselling author will have her 100th novel released in 2018.  At present she is working on two mystery series for Kensington Books--Caprice De Luca Home Staging cozies and Daisy's Tea Garden mysteries. From time to time, she also writes romance for Harlequin Special Edition.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks and does watercolor paintings rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2017 Karen Rose Smith

Thursday, August 31, 2017

#Feline Condo Living--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith



Although our cats have an entire house to roam and comfy furniture to nap on, they still seem to prefer their carpeted cat condos. In previous blogs, I have shared photos of the older cats snoozing or playing on the condos. Although she prefers to nap snuggled next to me on the bed or on my lounge chair, Halo still enjoys a few private moments on the top shelf of the floor to ceiling condo. Paddy often tries to join her but since she is now full grown, Halo is not always willing to share the small space. Paddy enjoys her square-topped condo and Zoie often naps in the morning sunshine that beams across her kitchen condo.


Often, much to the chagrin of the older cats, the new kittens have invaded the condo spaces. Zander seems to like the Paddy's square-topped condo and Freya prefers the kitchen condo. They both like to sit on and in the carpeted circles in the bedroom.

Of course, the carpeted structures also provide surfaces for the cats to scratch on, sparing the upholstered furniture.


Below are a few snaps that I captured this week of Zander and Freya enjoying condo living.  


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Coming November 2017

Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery #7


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially now that Caprice De Luca has wrapped up her holiday-themed staging gig at a stunning historic home in downtown Kismet, Pennsylvania. Behind all the red ribbon and glowing string lights, homeowners Chris and Sara Merriweather have it all. But Chris, a Vietnam vet who plays Santa every year at the community park, has been displaying strange behavior after a recent trip to Washington, D.C.

The joy of the season vanishes entirely when Chris is found murdered on Santa Lane, leaving behind his loyal malamute and lots of unfinished business. As Caprice uncovers hidden secrets in Santa's workshop, the pressure is on to catch the candy cane-wielding culprit--before she's next on a killer's deadly wish list . . .


*****************
Click on the link below to read an additional blog entry by Karen  
every Thursday on the Cozy Chicks blog




****************

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. This award-winning and bestselling author will have her 100th novel released in 2018.  At present she is working on two mystery series for Kensington Books--Caprice De Luca Home Staging cozies and Daisy's Tea Garden mysteries. From time to time, she also writes romance for Harlequin Special Edition.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks and does watercolor paintings rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2017 Karen Rose Smith