Summertime provides the opportunity to spend more leisure time outdoors. I love a quiet evening sitting on the patio and enjoying a light breeze while sipping a glass of lemonade. Butterflies dancing in the warm afternoon sun add beauty to any summer garden. The sounds of birds in the garden and the buzz of the hummingbirds as they skip from one flower to another are soothing after a long day of writing and editing. But these summer mainstays are also attention-getting distractions for the outside cats. This week I watched Bonnie chase up a tree after a chirping bird with Clyde sitting at the base of the tree observing her antics. I also watched Bonnie as she discovered one of the first butterflies of the season as it fluttered in the garden. Fascinated and curious, she assumed the crouch/attack position and waited for the perfect moment, soon taking a giant leap into the zinnia bed after the yellow-winged monarch.
Unfortunately, we sometimes take the outdoors inside with us after an outside jaunt. Pesky flies seem to know when we open a door and buzz right through even the smallest opening. The buzz puts Paddy and Zoie on instant alert and a chase usually ensues until the intruder has been subdued and disposed of. Paddy always insists on seeing the evidence of the insect's demise before she resumes her usual indoor activities. One of this week's chases took Paddy to high places she doesn't normally climb--like on top of the bedroom chest of drawers.
Other animals are also a feline attention getter. One afternoon Paddy had settled on her fleece steps at the French doors. On closer examination, I spotted Clyde, one of our outside visitors, sitting on the deck. There was much less commotion with this visit than with a simple little fly. Zoie and Paddy also enjoy watching birds at the feeder on the deck. They send off a funny little clicking noise to signal that they have spotted a winged visitor.
Another afternoon, I noticed that Bonnie and Clyde were spending an unusual amount of time at the outside feeder on the patio. After they relented their vigilant watch, I tilted up the feeder only to find a chipmunk hiding under it out of reach of cat claws. A little nudge sent him on his way through the garden to safety.
Anything new or out of place in the house also immediately captures our felines' attention. The new cat condo was no sooner out of the box, than Zoie was perched on its shelf, staking claim to her new perch. And interestingly enough, Zoie has maintained that claim and spends a lot of time napping on the condo and using it to jump to the table for her feedings.
We can spend a lot of money on cat toys, but often the simplest things attract our felines' attention--the box a new delivery arrives in, a milk jug cap, a tin foil ball, a simple piece of ribbon. Just as we are creatures of habit, so too are our furry friends. They enjoy the comfortable and instantly notice the unfamiliar. Sometimes these distractions are long lasting, other times short-lived. And for us, they are just a reminder to appreciate the little things in life, to explore the unfamiliar and to deal with unexpected interruptions and then go about our daily routines as if nothing had ever happened.
|Guess who Clyde is waiting for! A simple|
little meow from Bonnie will capture his
attention and send him immediately to her
side whether it be for their evening meal or
a simple tousle in the shade of the
silver maple tree.
In my romance KIT AND KISSES, my heroine grows a
butterfly garden. This garden becomes a bond between her and the hero's special needs sister.
This is the first book in my FINDING MR. RIGHT series.
|Karen and Paddy|
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 95th novel will be released in 2016.
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.