A Special #Feline Mother/Daughter Bond--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith



Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words...and a slide show of pictures can leave you speechless. This week as I was working on my next mystery release, Halo and Paddy climbed the floor to ceiling condo and settled together on the middle shelf. As Paddy has grown older, her mother has been less accepting of her kitten behaviors and desires to play or cuddle together. Her attempts often end in a skirmish and one of them moves to another chair to nap. But when the two of them settled together on the condo shelf, it brought back memories of Halo caring for her kittens and bathing them...as well as nap times with her babies snuggling against her warm belly. I have always been inspired by the special bond that these two felines share.

Enjoy these photos which depict a mother/daughter bond that will always be special.    












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NOW AVAILABLE



Wendy Newcomb, director of the Kismet women's shelter Sunrise Tomorrow, is thrilled when the shelter receives a legacy.  She hires Caprice to decorate the mansion to serve women who need more than an overnight port in a storm. But in her drive against domestic violence, Wendy has made enemies and is murdered. Caprice finds herself in danger once more as she asks questions and even calls on St. Anthony for inspiration to solve this murder mystery.


SHADES OF WRATH on Barnes and Noble


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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. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
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 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










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A #Feline March Retreat from Snow--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith




All winter I worried about what would happen with our outside feral cats in the event of a big snow storm. As we proceeded through a warm February with daffodils blooming and trees showing their new growth, I thought we had dodged the weather bullet this winter. Bonnie and Clyde spent most days in January and February roaming the yard and finding sunny spots to settle for an afternoon snooze. They came into the basement after their evening meal and spent their nights in the warmth of our basement. But each morning, they were ready to return to the big outdoor world that was their adventureland.

Then came the March snow storm. Weather forecasters were predicting twelve to twenty inches of drifting snow and frigid temperatures. It was time to place into action our winter contingency plans to keep Bonnie and Clyde safe and warm.

The first hurdle was to hope that the pair would show up for their evening meal on Monday so we could close the basement door. That part of the plan went well. But the question remained--how would they accept being closed in for the next two days?

Then overnight on Monday, the snow and wind began. We awoke on Tuesday morning to an outside world covered in white. Luckily the storm had tracked a bit closer to the coast than originally anticipated and because sleet had mixed in overnight, total accumulations were only about seven inches. But with the howling wind and continuing snow showers throughout the day, we knew it was not safe to open the door to let the cats out.


So Bonnie and Clyde remained in the basement. My husband and I took turns throughout the day spending time there with them. Sometimes, I worked on re-potting some of my newly sprouted petunia and tomato plants that are thriving on heat pads under grow lights.  Other times I sat with our feline guests (or captives, depending how we looked at it) with music playing on my i-phone. We played with laser lights and wands. They seemed engaged and entertained, tossing the area rugs to chase their "prey" or climbing the condo to follow the light. Each play session always ended in treats.





When we weren't in the basement, we left a radio playing softly on a country station on an old battery powered radio.  Clyde settled on his heat pad. To my surprise, Bonnie found an empty spot on the heat pad that warms my seedlings and took her nap there on the table.


Bonnie and Clyde spent two days in the basement.  This morning, after their morning feeding, we opened the door and offered the opportunity for them to explore their outside world that was now a frozen sheet of snow, iced on top.  The next question was--will they come back after being cooped up for so long? But a mid-morning check showed Bonnie sitting inside, looking through the cat door at Clyde who was exploring the snow-covered patio. Obviously they appreciate the warmth the basement has to offer...and hopefully the warm feelings we extended to them to keep them safe through a nasty late-winter storm. But through all the play times and other times we spent together the last few days, they still run at the slightest unexpected human movement and Bonnie still refuses to be touched or petted. Maybe we have made baby steps in building their trust and having them know that we are on their side. Hopefully the cold winter blast has fostered some warmth in their journey to once again accept at least two humans who care about their well-being and safety.  

Just a little safety reminder: When choosing a salt to sprinkle on your walks and and driveways, always choose a "pet safer" variety. I found this product at my local pet store.


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FOREVER IN HER EYES
Search For Love series, Book 9





The Search for Love romance series includes:



SEARCH FOR LOVE series website 



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


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. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
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 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











Continue >>>

A #Feline's Tail Tells the Tale--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith



This week as I sat on my easy chair sipping my morning coffee, Halo jumped on my lap for a few moments of cuddling and petting.  After a bit, I felt a furry nudge at my feet followed by an annoyed Halo squirming in my lap. Paddy had found Halo's dangling tail and was playing with it as she does with one of her wand toys. Needless to say, my quiet time with my coffee and Halo was short-lived as the session turned into a feline squirmish and a mad dash throughout the house. The "event" got me to thinking about the stimulus for the disruption...Halo's tail. The feline tail reveals a lot of information about what is going on in the feline head. I gathered some photos this week which depict how the tail tells the tale.    



When one of the cats is sleeping on their condo, a tail often dangles over the side of the shelf. Sometimes this is simply because of their position on the shelf as they sleep, and other times it seems that the tail balances them and secures them from falling off. In a peaceful sleep, the tail is usually still, but in an awake pose, the tail is more active, perhaps revealing what the next move will be. A fluffed tail indicates agitation and I know in a few minutes there will be a cat chase through the house or the pursuit of a fly or ladybug. When Bonnie comes in from outside, her tail is often fluffed, indicating she has just been in pursuit of a mouse or a bird.

On the other hand, when I see more of a cat's tail than of her face, I can be pretty certain that she is up to some sort of mischief. In the pictures below, Paddy is about to jump up on the shelf in my closet and Zoie has found a long lost toy under the corner hutch in the kitchen. In both cases, the photo did not capture the rapid swish of the tail that accompanied the next move.     



When the cats play together, their tails are usually relaxed, but at the slightest irritation (which Paddy is good at providing) her playmate's tail will quickly rise. At times the playmates tail becomes a plaything.  Below, as Paddy rescues a wayward toy that has rolled under brown packaging paper that I often put down for the cats to play on, Halo eyes her tail, perhaps waiting for a signal that Paddy has successfully retrieved the object of her search...or perhaps contemplating a tail attack. Kittens love to chase their own tail and adult cats are still curious about an inviting swish of fluff.      



And, of course, the tail often aides in finding a missing feline who has fallen asleep at some unexpected spot that is not usually a part of their daily routine.


Of course, a cat's tail has a biological function to provide balance and stability as they walk, play, hunt and run.  But when we learn to interpret our pets' mood through their tail movements, we can also predict their next behavioral move. When London's tail is thumping and swishing, I know she is agitated and needs space free from human intervention. When one of my furry family's tail is fluffed and raised, I know she was startled and is on the defensive. When Clyde sits outside in the breadloaf position with his tail wrapped around him, I know he feels safe. When Halo comes to me with her tail raised after eating, I know she wants her back scratched near the base of the tail. When one of my cats is sleeping on the bed and they let me play with their tail, I know they totally trust me. The tail really does tell the tale!    


Happy "TAILS" to you!!

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

NOW AVAILABLE



Wendy Newcomb, director of the Kismet women's shelter Sunrise Tomorrow, is thrilled when the shelter receives a legacy.  She hires Caprice to decorate the mansion to serve women who need more than an overnight port in a storm. But in her drive against domestic violence, Wendy has made enemies and is murdered. Caprice finds herself in danger once more as she asks questions and even calls on St. Anthony for inspiration to solve this murder mystery.


SHADES OF WRATH on Barnes and Noble


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


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. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
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 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









Continue >>>

Coaxing #Felines To Trust--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith





This week I feel we took another step forward in our relationship with our outside duo, Bonnie and Clyde. They have been visiting us for over a year, and last February after we lost Sunnybud, our other daily visitor with whom I had developed a special relationship, their visits became more regular and we began the long journey of developing a trust relationship with the sibling duo. They had clipped ears, which meant they had been captured, neutered and released. But that experience had apparently deepened their mistrust of humans. 

Through last summer, Bonnie and Clyde came daily to our outside feeding stations and eventually to a feeding spot inside the basement door. We slowly acclimated them to enter through a cat door (with the flap taped open) and through early winter, they came twice daily for their meals. But they were extremely skittish and ran at the slightest movement. Slowly I managed to pet Clyde and now he likes a daily rub while he is eating, but Bonnie still will not tolerate human contact. Ironically, other than that, she is the more social of the two. 

As the cold winter months arrived, we began closing the basement door behind them during the evening feeding and they spent the cold nights in our heated basement. At first they were slightly wary of the new arrangement but they returned each night for their safe shelter. I spent time with them in the morning before opening the door to give them the option of staying or exploring their outside world. They often remained inside and sometimes even returned for an afternoon nap. However, they still displayed a fear of human contact.



A week or so ago, I began leaving catnip toys on the basement floor to occupy them during the long night. Our trail camera caught photos of them playing with the toys and, in the morning, the area rugs were often crumbled from their playtime antics. This week, I decided to try a wand with a colorful streamer to encourage more direct interaction. Clyde was somewhat hesitant to engage, but Bonnie immediately took to chasing and playing tug of war with the streamer. Clyde watched from a distance, then joined in as well.

I also tried a pet light, which is a small flashlight-like toy that projects an image on the floor. Both cats immediately chased the mouse and the paw around the basement. This engagement seems to have marked another step in building trust. Now they hop through the door each evening not just to eat...but to play. Often they play before they eat. And in the morning, they often return to the basement when my husband cleans out their liter box, wanting to play again. 

But...

Regardless of how engaged they are in our new interactions and how close they will scurry to capture the mouse light, they (especially Bonnie) still shy away from our hands and our touch. Sometimes we feel we are so close and yet so far from that relationship of total trust. But then we look into Bonnie's big green eyes and we realize how far she has come and believe, with patience, she will eventually accept our offer of protection...and safety...and love.   
      

 *******************

FOREVER IN HER EYES
Search For Love series, Book 9





The Search for Love romance series includes:



SEARCH FOR LOVE series website 



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

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. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
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 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











Continue >>>