WHITE CHRISTMAS




WHITE CHRISTMAS

Just what do those words mean to you?

For me they invoke feelings...so many feelings.

When I was in kindergarten, more eons ago than you probably remember, there was an evening social for parents and kids and teachers.  What stands out in my memory is one of the parents--a man as smooth a singer as Bing Crosby or Michael Buble--singing White Christmas. That was my first memory of the song, one that became a ballad to listen to every Christmas.

White Christmas also calls up childhood memories when I wished for snow on Christmas Eve.  Why?  Because that pristine white conveyed the message that something awesome was about to happen.  Family lived close and snow simply meant putting chains on the tires to get where we wanted to go.  Snow meant that maybe on Christmas Day after dinner me and my cousins could build a snowman.

Moving forward a bit, I wished for a little snow on Christmas Eve but not much because my parents wouldn't be able to drive to our house to watch our son open his presents or listen to him chatter about Santa eating the cookies he left out for St. Nick the night before.  White Christmas evokes recollections of Christmas concerts, carol sings and midnight Mass.

Now...  White Christmas means watching the movie at least once in the days leading up to the holiday, tearing up at those last scenes when the generals' men stand to acknowledge him, when the romances end the way they were meant to.  It means baking cookies and breads like my mom and grandma used to.  But the words 'white Christmas" also mean family having problems flying, delays, a possible postponement of holiday celebrations with friends who drive farther than the next neighborhood.  Nevertheless, every year we adjust.  This year we might have to use Skype.  Even so--

White Christmas will always mean something special, something magical, something inspiring that nothing else can match.

Share your "White Christmas" memories.

Have a wonderful holiday.

©2012 Karen Rose Smith

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ALWAYS HER COWBOY (Holiday Edition) on Amazon 

 
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AUDIOBOOK NARRATORS, Male or Female? Treating Writing Like A Business




I'm treating writing like a business again but this time need a little help.  So I'm hoping you will give me your opinion about the use of male or female narrators for audiobooks.

Over the past few weeks, I've listened to hundreds of narration samples for my indie-published romances.  I can usually tell right away whether or not someone is suited for the tone of my books.  So far I have chosen a female narrator for NATHAN'S VOW and a male narrator for TOYS AND BABY WISHES.  I've heard the first 15 minutes of TOYS besides two auditions, and I think this actor/narrator is perfect for the book.

So here is my dilemma and I need feedback from readers who listen to audiobooks.  I listen to tons of audiobooks to give my eyes a rest or when I have insomnia. I know who I like and who I don't. A narrator can make or break a story.  Many of my favorite authors use the same narrators for all their books.  But that's another discussion.  I'm guessing each of these books will take about a month to produce and I don't want to wait for the same narrator to do them all, though I hope I can use the ones I like best for multiple books.

Do you listen to audiobooks?  If you are listening to a romance which can have male and female points of view, do you like a women's voice or a man's?  Or is that unique to each story?  Does it matter whose point of view the novel begins in?

I'm thinking about looking for a narrator for ALWAYS HER COWBOY next.  I've heard a couple of male voices I really like.  But the book opens in my heroine's point of view but has the hero's also.  Would it be a marketing mistake to have a male narrator perform it?  How do you feel about listening to the heroine's point of view in a male voice?

I'd appreciate feedback from both readers and other writers on this one!

©2012 Karen Rose Smith

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 Search For Love Boxed Set 1 on Amazon
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RESCUING A KITTEN, Part 11 -- EBBIE


Ebbie Having a Peaceful Moment

I have to tell you Ebbie's story so you know how close she and I are.  Twelve years ago, the week before Christmas and a few days before my birthday, I picked up an advance reading copy of one of my novels from a friend whose family had a farm and I saw Ebbie.  My husband picked her up and I looked into her eyes and I felt...something deep.  I'd lost my mom a few years before and was still having a hard time.  We had a cat at home who was suffering with hypothyroidism and required a lot of care.  Ebbie--though she didn't have that name yet--was about 8-10 weeks old...and sick.  I found it hard to leave the farm that day.  It snowed that night and all I could think about was that little black cat.

There are times when your heart won't take "no" for an answer.  This was one of those times.  I decided I'd keep Ebbie in an upstairs bedroom for as long as I had to.  Two days later, I picked her up at the farm and took her to the veterinarian.  I spent most of my days and nights with her, holding her, massaging her sinuses so she could breathe and generally visualizing her well again.  She had a cough along with the rest and no meow to speak of.  Right away she came when I called, even to take her medicine.  After two courses of antibiotics, she still wasn't "well," so I took her to a holistic vet and put her on a special diet.  The cough and cold went away and her coat became thick and shiny.  She was my constant companion.  After we had to have our other cat put to sleep, Ebbie never left my side.  I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.  On the days when the pain was the worst, she was right there in tune with what was going on, giving comfort when she could.  A few months later, we adopted Ebbie's half sister--London--so she'd have a playmate.

London -- Ebbie's Half Sister
 
All those years ago, Ebbie was a special birthday and Christmas present who I'm grateful for every day.  She's affectionate, loving and sweet.  When we adopted Zoie this summer, I was worried about Ebbie most of all because the virus she had when we brought her home was recessive and could reappear with stress.  Zoie has been a definite stress for her.  But...

A Stressful Moment For Ebbie--Compliments of Zoie!

Who says older cats can't accept change?

More next week about how far Zoie and Ebbie have come and the joy Zoie, Ebbie and London bring us.


©2012 Karen Rose Smith

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 Finding Mr. Right Boxed Set 1 on Amazon 
                                                                              Finding Mr. Right Boxed Set 2 on Amazon
                                                                                         
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RESCUING A KITTEN, Part 10 -- THANKFUL FOR ZOIE



Most of my blogs about Zoie, the kitten we rescued this summer, have been the story of what's happened since we adopted her and she adopted us.  And I'll continue with that in upcoming weeks.  But this week,  for Thanksgiving, I just have to blog how thankful we are that we found her and she found us.

So here are some of the reasons we are thankful for Zoie Joy:

My husband retired this year and it's been an adjustment!  As a writer I've been used to being alone all day and just talking to our cats London and Ebbie.  But Zoie has made this transition easier.  Taking care of her has bonded us in a way we'd forgotten about when our son was small.  Nuturing and sharing love has brought about renewal.  We have a common goal, a being to care for togetehr, a reason to enjoy each day more fully.

We have to thank Zoie for the many belly laughs--downright tear-rolling, can you believe she's doing that? kind of comedic entertainment.  Maybe you have to love animals to appreciate kitty antics, but smiling and laughing is great for the heart and soul.  From Zoie playing like a little imp with London to her new pastime of  watching TV, we're amused too many times to count!


Ebbie and London want to thank Zoie for their new lease on life.  They are more active again and seem in better health.  Maybe they're laughing under those whiskers, too.

I'm thankful that spending time petting and nurturing Zoie seems to relax me in a way nothing else can.  I heard somewhere that petting an animal lowers blood pressure.  I know I'm more calm and peaceful after she falls asleep in my lap or when she looks up at me with those big golden eyes.  And whether my husband will admit it or not, I think the same is true for him.


I've got to thank Zoie for making me feel like a mom again.  Our son is grown and more than half a country away.  Caring for a baby kitten definitely brought out my motherly instincts again.  Nurturing Zoie has brought back happy memories of the times when our son was two and we adopted a kitten who became his playmate, when we brought home Ebbie and London, when we watched all of their personalities develop as they became integral members of the family.



I have so much to be thankful and grateful for this year, not the least of which is a black kitten with tuxedo markings who has a hold on my heart.

Happy Thanksgiving!



©2012 Karen Rose Smith

Karen Rose Smith's romance website 
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ALWAYS HER COWBOY (Holiday Edition) on Amazon 

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Romance Giveaway by Karen Rose Smith


Family and friends joined us this weekend for an early Thanksgiving celebration. I like sharing the season with my readers. I'm so grateful for a home and heat and family, friends and pets that bring us love and joy. So in honor of the holiday season TOYS AND BABY WISHES is my giveaway to you on Amazon for a limited time--Sunday until Thursday. It's a contemporary romance with a Christmas theme. For Josh and Lexa, love is just a jingle bell away!

I hope you enjoy it and that this romance puts you in the mood to enjoy every precious moment of the holidays.

Best,
Karen

                                                     TOYS AND BABY WISHES Giveaway on Amazon
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RESCUING A KITTEN, Part 9, Zoie and London's friendship


 ONE OF ZOIE JOY'S PLAYFUL MOMENTS

In the last blog, I wrote about training a kitten.  We've been loving and training Zoie Joy since we rescued her last summer.  She's a smart kitty, maybe because of her hunter instincts.  Although her mommy took good care of her, taught her the basics and weaned her, we believe Zoie was living in the wild and got separated from her family in the wild.

Training Zoie not to bite and scratch went well with constant reinforcement and a resolute "no."  Some cats recoil and stop unwanted behaviors when their owner uses a water spray bottle as negative reinforcement.  That didn't faze Zoie in the least!  Maybe she was used to rain.  If you remember, when we bathed her, she didn't struggle at all and the bath went smoothly.  But other training didn't happen as we'd hoped concerning integrating her with London, our big gray female tabby and Ebbie, another kitty rescued eleven years ago who owns my heart.  Ebbie and I have a special bond.

Once we went through a few weeks of partial integration, we began letting the three of them relate during the day.  Zoie went back to my office and her safe places there to spend the night.  We created a routine with her.  As my husband finished some nighttime chores, I'd toss colorful mice with her and play with her at the wheel.  When my husband finished in the rest of the house, he'd come in, feed Zoie and then we would cuddle her and say goodnight.  When she heard the ping of dry food in her dish, she ran to it.  That's when we would leave.  She never cried when we did it this way.  Cats like ritual and knowing what comes next as much as their human parents.  In the morning, my hubby would feed Zoie in the office while I fed Ebbie and London in the kitchen.  (Zoie would go after their food).  But after they were all fed, we'd open the office door into the kitchen, call "Zoie's coming" to warn Ebbie and london, and off she'd go.

 ZOIE PLAYING WITH HER WHEEL

Today I'll talk about her interaction with London.  From the outset, London let her know who was boss.  London's best napping place is upstairs in my husband's office.  Ebbie doesn't venture in there unless I do.  She stays mostly downstairs, especially in the first floor bedroom.  But Zoie considers the whole house as hers and tries to be everywhere all at once.  For eating and napping, she finds me and my husband.  But the rest of the time, she wants to play.  London is also eleven, in her sixties in human years.  Zoie is a playful child who wouldn't and won't let London alone.  From the beginning, however, she soon learned from London what her boundaries were.  When London would growl and hiss and swat, Zoie would back off.  At first, London would just watch Zoie and maybe shake her head in annoyed tolerance.  But after about three months,  they actually began to play together.


LONDON REFLECTING ON LIFE BEFORE ZOIE

 Sometimes the thunder in the house sounds like a giant storm.  But it's just Zoie chasing London or London chasing Zoie up and down the stairs, around the upstairs hall, sliding on the throw rugs or playing in and out of the banister rungs.  At times, while London sits on the printer looking out the window, Zoie will dance around her, paw at her or just sit with her.  This week we had real progress--London and Zoie napping on the bed together.  It's a mommy-moment only true animal lovers can appreciate.  They are becoming friends.

ZOIE AND LONDON'S "MOMMY-MOMENT" 
 
Last time I mentioned I'd discuss flower essences.  But those came into play with Zoie's interaction with Ebbie.  More the next time. 



©2012 Karen Rose Smith

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WHY ROMANCE?




I'm often asked why I write romance.  That answer for me is simple.  I believe in love, commitment and marriage that lasts.  What I love most about writing in the romance genre is that I can take the ideal of happily-ever-after, salt it with honesty, some realism and what a reader believes romance should be.  I believe the romance genre is uplifting, emotional and gives readers hope about what a relationship can strive for.

Maybe because I was an only child and searching for the kindred spirit described in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, I sought out close friendships, not here-today-gone-tomorrow ones.  I dreamed about dating and read teenage romances along with THE BLACK STALLION and NANCY DREW.  The relationships in Emilie Loring's books fascinated me and I think that's when I first started noticing story structure and exactly what happened in a romance.  I sought out other books that would give me that intense hero/heroine relationship and ended happily-ever-after.

I didn't date much in high school but I did a lot of dreaming.  I wanted a career, but I also wanted to meet that one person whom I could love for a lifetime.  I remember my first boyfriend, my first dance, my longing for a connection with someone that superseded all others.  At college, I found my husband and we've been married for forty-one years.

I believe in romance and what that means.  Essentially, the definition of romance is thinking about what the other person in the relationship wants and needs and giving that to him or her--whether it's a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, a massage or a break from watching the kids!  Caring, tenderness, kindness and closeness are integral aspects of romance whether true to life or the ideal.

My October Samhain release, ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE, embodies the true meaning of romance.  Attraction and chemistry is only the beginning.  Honesty and unconditional love are the end.  Abigail is a trauma makeup artist who arrives at Brady's Colorado lodge over the holidays to help a friend of his father's.  When Abigail and Brady meet, their sizzle unnerves them both.  Abigail realizes Brady will never really know her until she tells him about and shows him her secret.  Past experience makes her fear his rejection.  But what kind of relationship can they really have without honesty?

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE is about caring and tenderness and acceptance...it's about romance leading to unconditional love.  I think the romance genre is so popular for just that reason.  At the end of the day, isn't unconditional love what we all seek?  Why wouldn't I want to write about romance.  Of all genres, I believe it's the one that is most universal, most heart-satisfying and most emotionally powerful.


©2012 Karen Rose Smith

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Unique Blogs At Each Stop




I appreciate blog tours because I have the chance to chat with readers.  On this blog tour for ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE I have written unique posts for each stop from thanking my loyal readers to how I started writing to the pleasure of creating holiday romances to developing a heroine. 

Developing a Heroine blog on Bookworm2Bookworm

Loyal Readers Blog on RomCon

Writing Holiday Romances blog on SOSAloha

When Writing Began blog at Fresh Fiction

I hope you enjoy each one and share your thoughts at the blogs.


©2012 Karen Rose Smith

Book Trailer For ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE 

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE available at Amazon 

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE available at Samhain Publishing 

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IN TOUCH WITH KAREN ROSE SMITH e-zine






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RESCUING A KITTEN CONTINUED, Part 8 -- TRAINING A KITTEN?




TRAINING A KITTEN

Some people claim cats are not trainable.  They claim that cats are independent with wills of their own and humans can't understand them.  Cat owners who love and know their cats say "hogwash" to that!  Training cats requires patience, just like training other animals.  Learning their behaviors takes time, observation and a willingness to listen to their unspoken signals as well as their vocal ones.

The first kitty behavior we wanted to change with Zoie was biting and scratching, even in play.  One of the most common actions a human does with a kitten is to offer their hand in play.  Not a good idea if you don't want your kitten to scratch and bite.  Kittens are teething and want to chew.  They like grabbing their litter mates and scratching and tumbling with them.  When you adopt a young kitten, you'll either be a momma substitute or a sibling substitute...or both.

I could tell Zoie had been weaned from her mom because she easily ate solid food.  She also did not do a lot of suckling on blankets or towels...or even a lot of kneading.  But she did like to grab on, gnaw and scratch.  So the first thing we did was immediately give her a toy to do that with whenever she started.  The main element of good training is consistency.  This means every time she does it, I had to substitute a toy.  Not just sometimes.  Not just when I felt like it.  So I kept a couple of small stuffed toys handy in the places she liked to hang out most.

ZOIE AND HER FAVORITE CAT TOY

 Sometimes when her stuffed bear or cat weren't handy, I had to separate from her with a firm "no" or give her a time out.  I would put her on a chair and leave the room.  The important fact to remember is to not engage when the behavior is one you don't want to continue.  

By observing the times Zoie most often hung on to scratch and bite, I realized those times occurred more often when she was getting sleepy.  She still wrestles and chews on her bear and cat before she goes to sleep.  At over five months, she's doing it less.  But she hasn't given up those two toys yet.  (Make sure the toys don't have plastic noses or eyes that will crack or break because kitties can really bite!)

Now when we play with Zoie, she doesn't bite us and her claws are in.  Most of the time.  Once in a while she forgets and then I give her her toy.  But time outs for that are rare now.

"No is a word a kitten can learn, but use it effectively and in a certain tone of voice.  Moms know what I mean.  It doesn't have to be loud or scary but it does have to be resolute and firm.  Zoie started to jump up my jeans to get my attention.  London did that when she was a kitten and she wouldn't take "no" for an answer.  So I got some of those sticky strips that you're supposed to put on furniture so cats don't scratch.  (London used to peel those right off the sofa!)  On my slacks' legs, however, they stopped her and we broke the habit.  With Zoie, all it took was a sharp "no."  Now she might playfully jump up at me if she's hungry or just wanting to be playful.. But it's not a "claw up my legs" jump...more like a teasing "remember I'm here" jump.

ZOIE AND LONDON COMPETE FOR RIGHTS TO THE SCRATCHING POST
Next week--Zoie's relationship with Ebbie, flower essences, water spray bottles and what we're still trying to teach a kitten with hunter instincts who's growing up fast!


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ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE: The Book With Several Lives




ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE, a book originally bought by Meteor/Kismet, was meant to be published.  It was one of those books that turned me inside out when I was writing it.  But Meteor never had the chance to publish it.  The company folded.  When I learned what was happening, I bought the rights back.  I believed in this book that much.  A few months later, Silhouette bought it to publish as a Special Edition.  Years after it was published, readers would comment on or remember that book.  So when I had the opportunity to get my rights back from Harlequin, I jumped on it.  I indie-published all the other books with rights that reverted to me.  But Abigail was special so I decided to do something different with it.  I sent it to Samhain to see if it would be accepted for their Retro Romance program.  They liked the book and contracted for it.

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE, originally published in 1994, has been released today (October 16, 2012) in e-book form by Samhain.  I am as excited to see it published again as I was the first time.  I wanted to share its story with you because many of my readers might remember it.  I wanted to share its story with you because this is one of those books that just keeps on giving...to me and to my readers.
 

©2012 Karen Rose Smith

Book Trailer For ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE 

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE available at Amazon 

ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE available at Samhain Publishing 

Karen Rose Smith's romance website


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Rescuing a Kitten, Part 8




TRAINING A KITTEN

Some people claim cats are not trainable.  They claim that cats are independent with wills of their own and humans can't understand them.  Cat owners who love and know their cats say "hogwash" to that!  Training cats requires patience, just like training other animals.  Learning their behaviors takes time, observation and a willingness to listen to their unspoken signals as well as their vocal ones.

The first kitty behavior we wanted to change with Zoie was biting and scratching, even in play.  One of the most common actions a human does with a kitten is to offer their hand in play.  Not a good idea if you don't want your kitten to scratch and bite.  Kittens are teething and want to chew.  They like grabbing their litter mates and scratching and tumbling with them.  When you adopt a young kitten, you'll either be a momma substitute or a sibling substitute...or both.

I could tell Zoie had been weaned from her mom because she easily ate solid food.  She also did not do a lot of suckling on blankets or towels...or even a lot of kneading.  But she did like to grab on, gnaw and scratch.  So the first thing we did was immediately give her a toy to do that with whenever she started.  The main element of good training is consistency.  This means every time she does it, I had to substitute a toy.  Not just sometimes.  Not just when I felt like it.  So I kept a couple of small stuffed toys handy in the places she liked to hang out most.

ZOIE AND HER FAVORITE CAT TOY

 Sometimes when her stuffed bear or cat weren't handy, I had to separate from her with a firm "no" or give her a time out.  I would put her on a chair and leave the room.  The important fact to remember is to not engage when the behavior is one you don't want to continue.  

By observing the times Zoie most often hung on to scratch and bite, I realized those times occurred more often when she was getting sleepy.  She still wrestles and chews on her bear and cat before she goes to sleep.  At over five months, she's doing it less.  But she hasn't given up those two toys yet.  (Make sure the toys don't have plastic noses or eyes that will crack or break because kitties can really bite!)

Now when we play with Zoie, she doesn't bite us and her claws are in.  Most of the time.  Once in a while she forgets and then I give her her toy.  But time outs for that are rare now.

"No is a word a kitten can learn, but use it effectively and in a certain tone of voice.  Moms know what I mean.  It doesn't have to be loud or scary but it does have to be resolute and firm.  Zoie started to jump up my jeans to get my attention.  London did that when she was a kitten and she wouldn't take "no" for an answer.  So I got some of those sticky strips that you're supposed to put on furniture so cats don't scratch.  (London used to peel those right off the sofa!)  On my slacks' legs, however, they stopped her and we broke the habit.  With Zoie, all it took was a sharp "no."  Now she might playfully jump up at me if she's hungry or just wanting to be playful.. But it's not a "claw up my legs" jump...more like a teasing "remember I'm here" jump.

ZOIE AND LONDON COMPETE FOR RIGHTS TO THE SCRATCHING POST
 
Next week--Zoie's relationship with Ebbie, flower essences, water spray bottles and what we're still trying to teach a kitten with hunter instincts who's growing up fast!
 


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RESCUING A KITTEN, Part 7



So...I changed the name of the blog back to the original name because I wanted to keep readers recognizing the posts.  Ebbie, London and Zoie getting along is part of the whole process of rescue. 

To sum up for new readers, we rescued a kitten from our backyard.  We live in a semi-rural area and she was crying, curled up in a small twisted redbud bush.  We took her in but, since we have two cats who are eleven, we had to keep them separate.  Finally Zoie Joy's digestive condition had cleared, round worms were gone and the L-lysine was helping her eyes and Ebbie's.  So it was time for some safe interaction.  After the first experience with Zoie in her carrier in the kitchen, London taking a look and often hissing, Ebbie not coming out of her room, we did something different.  We put a wide screen between rooms and an old peg board from long-ago Home Interiors demonstrations in the foyer to block the circle leading to the foyer and living room.

We began to have hope when London started approaching the screen.  Zoie would do the same and, at times, they'd even touch noses!  Zoie seemed more eager for the contact than London.  Eventually London would hiss again and scamper off with Zoie wondering where she went.  Ebbie still wouldn't come join the the fun giving more for her mamma (me) to worry about.

I realized Ebbie was totally fearful of what she couldn't see and understand.  After about a week of the above, we decided to make a new change.  We took the screen from the kitchen and put it between the living room and the first floor bedroom where Ebbie spent all of her time now.  Our reasoning was that we had to bring Zoie to her in a non-threatening way.  So I would go into the bedroom with Ebbie and my husband would stay in the other part of the house with Zoioe and London.  Zoie could see me through the screen and didn't like that.  But she was extremely interested in Ebbie.  After all, they looked like each other.


We did this every day for a few hours.  But Ebbie didn't want to come down from her steps at the window and would often turn her back to the screen.  I understood that nothing was going to make her face reality except letting her see Zoie up close and personal.  Keep in mind, we were still worried about Ebbie's hip and back which she'd injured a few months ago.  But she wasn't happy the way she was now.


After more consideration, we took the screen and pegboard away altogether.  For a while each morning and afternoon, we let everyone interact.  Almost immediately London and Zoie found a fascinating connection.  Zoie danced around London and London reacted.  London would lay on one step watching warily while Zoie ran to the top and played along the rungs of the bannister.  She'd run down.  They'd engage each other in running play.  If Zoie got too close, London would hiss or swat.  But Zoie seemed to accept that as part of the play and her respect for London grew.  They began to learn boundaries.



Then Zoie decided she wanted to connect with Ebbie.

What can an older scared cat do when a kitten won't be ignored?  She can protect herself as best as she can by running, but she has to stand her ground somehow and decide how to handle it in her cat way.  Ebbie would not come down off of the top step of her carpeted steps.  If she was wandering and Zoie caught her unawares, Zoie would chase her and she would run back up the steps.  That was where she would stand her ground.  She would not let Zoie chase her from that top step.



The problem soon became that even though Ebbie would growl, she wouldn't swat Zoie.  Zoie wanted to play with Ebbie's tail and Ebbie would growl more.  This soon developed into the fact that Zoie would not let Ebbie settle anywhere but on those steps.  If Ebbie climbed on the bed when Zoie was elsewhere with London, when Zoie returned she would chase Ebbie from the bed or anywhere else she had settled.

Soon Zoie was out and about all day.  And although Ebbie slept on her steps, washed on her steps and ate on her steps, she actually seemed much happier.  She was more alert and playful, and at night when we put Zoie in my office for bedtime, Ebbie would play with toys we'd brought out from her and London's kitten days.  She was moving around more.  I watched when Zoie chased her to see if she was hurting, but the exercise seemed good for her.  The main problem I was concerned about was Zoie jumping on Ebbie.  We couldn't keep her from doing it.  I consulted the vet and our pet sitter who handles so many pets, and they felt Ebbie and Zoie had to settle it themselves.  But a few weeks later, it wasn't resolving.  We needed a new strategy.

We also had to feed Zoie in my office and pick up Ebbie and London's dry food whenever she was around because she'd gobble it all up!  We had to change a lot of dynamics.

Can Ebbie find freedom while Zoie's around?  Will Zoie stop jumping on her?

More about that next week and whether or not our three cats will really ever be "sisters."


© 2012 Karen Rose Smith

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RESCUING A KITTEN, Part 6


I decided to change the title of my blog today from RESCUING A KITTEN to KITTY MEETS CATS because we're entering a new phase of the kitty adoption.  Zoie Joy has known she is loved from the moment I held her the day we found her.  She's had a month of becoming more secure with my husband and I, knowing she'll have food often, water always, and petting whenever she wants it.  With her confident in all that, it was time for her to meet Ebbie and London who are both eleven.

The first meeting wasn't a love fest.  We brought Zoie to the kitchen in her carrier because it was a central place in the house.  She meowed.  London took a peek and hissed.  Ebbie wouldn't leave the room she feels safest in or her perch on steps at the window.  (She'd hurt her back months ago, so the steps help her climb.)

 RESTLESS ZOIE
 
They all just had to get used to each other, right?  Hmmm.  For a few days, we would bring Zoie in her carrier to the kitchen.  She was beginning to get restless in my office and wanted to expand her boundaries.  She was meowing at the door to go into the rest of the house more often.  Ebbie still wouldn't come to the kitchen to look when Zoie did visit the kitchen and London was still hissing when she saw the carrier and heard Zoie, though she didn't run as far away.  Progress?

New strategy.  I abide by the adage that keeping on doing the same thing over and over again with the same result is the definition of insanity.  (Einstein)  We came up with a plan.  They all needed to be freer to see each other.  After thinking about our options, we took a window screen from my office and put it at one doorway to the kitchen.  We barricaded the entrance from the dining room to the foyer with an old pegboard I had once used for home decorating demonstrations.  With this set-up, Zoie would be free to roam from office to kitchen to dining room.  Ebbie and London had the rest of the house.

LONDON ENJOYING A FEW MOMENTS OF PEACE AND QUIET


Zoie is social.  She wanted to be with us.  She wanted to be with the cats.  If she'd hear my voice outside the kitchen, she cried.  But she and London began a little dance at the screen from the start of the new arrangement.  London would lay about four feet away from the screen, watching.  Zoie would dance up to the screen, dance away, then go play with a toy.  Every once in a while, London would mosey up to it then turn her back on it.  Ebbie, on the other hand, still wanted nothing to do with the newcomer.  She was afraid of what she couldn't see.

 EBBIE FEELING SAFE ON ONE OF HER SETS OF STEPS

The interaction, the denial, the learning to accept change and a different family...  Are cats so different from us?  I'm learning much by watching, being patieint and figuring out what comes next.

Next week--  How the house dynamics change with three cats, all with different needs.


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RESCUING A KITTEN, Part 5


 A CURIOUS ZOIE

To catch up from the past few blogs...

Zoie had two veterinarian visits and took over my office as her living quarters.  It was already kitty-proofed from Ebbie and London.  While Ebbie had no contact with Zoie, although we washed our hands constantly, Ebbie's eye began to run though Zoie's were clearing.  The vet prescribed L-lysine for both, determining they had the Feline Herpes Virus in their systems.  The best management technique was to limit stress and give the antiviral treatment L-lysine.  This was the first time Ebbie was under this kind of stress since we adopted her.


ZOIE'S SWEET BIG "SISTER" EBBIE

Ebbie took liquid medicine easily as the sick baby we brought home on a snowy day.  But now she's particular.  She can always taste it in her food or smell it and will have nothing to do with it.  When she had digestive problems a few years ago and the vet prescribed a quarter of a crushed Pepcid, she did accept that in a dab of Reddi-Wip.  A few months ago Ebbie hurt her back and the vet recommended pet variety glucosamine.  I use heavy cream, whip it and empty some of the capsule into it.  As long as I don't go overboard, she eats it.

I didn't have to be concerned about Zoie taking medicine, especially in food form.  She gobbled up the L-lysine snacks.  But Ebbie wouldn't try them.  So we got an alternate choice--L-lysine gel and I mixed that in the whipped cream.  Success.  Ebbie didn't seem to smell or taste that.  I also started mixing a few of the L-lysine snack pieces with her food at night.  They were a different color from her food so I could tell if she was eating them.  Slowly, one piece started disappearing and then another.  London doesn't eat out of that dish, so I could keep my eye on exactly who was eating what.  Both were on the road to recovery, yet I know that the Feline Herpes Virus can never be cured...just managed.

Zoie's digestive problems cleared up with the anti-inflammatory medication the vet prescribed, but her second test for round worms was still positive.  Thank goodness we'd kept the cats separated.  So we had to worm her again.  When those results were clear after our third vet visit--she received her last vaccination that time--we could start to integrate our family.  (This was over a month after finding Zoie in our backyard.) During the time Zoie was in my office, Ebbie and London knew another cat was in the house.  London would sit by the closed door, watching it.  Ebbie was still trying to deny what she was hearing and scenting and it was obviously stressing her out. She was afraid without knowing what she was afraid of.

 A PLAYFUL ZOIE

We had used an introduction technique when Ebbie and London were babies that I detail in my mystery.  (My amateur sleuth takes in stray animals and finds them homes.)  When we introduced London to Ebbie over eleven years ago, this is how we did it.  Ebbie was upstairs.  We brought in London in her carrier and set her in my office.  Then we went upstairs with Ebbie, let her out of the bedroom and went downstairs with her to "find" London.  Ebbie smelled around her carrier for about a half hour.  With no adverse reaction, she seemed ready to meet her new sister.  We let London out, they began chasing each other, then settled near each other looking out the window.  Easy, right?  They were both kittens with about six months age difference.  They were also half sisters.

A SLEEPY LONDON

I was excited as the time came to introduce Ebbie and London to Zoie.  After we got the all-clear from the vet on Zoie, we put her in her carrier and set her in the kitchen, a central location.  That day London walked up to the carrier and realized a cat was inside.  She hissed and ran.  Ebbie heard Zoie's meows, went to her steps by the window without even being tempted by going to the kitchen, curled into a ball with her head on her paws and wouldn't come down.

Maybe not so easy this time!

More of the kitty integration next week.

I'd love to hear your cat introduction stories.  Feel free to comment and share.


©2012 Karen Rose Smith

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