Lynley Cannon’s FRIDAY FELINE FACTS & FANCIES, T-N-R

 

Lynley Cannon, star of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, is often referred to as a crazy cat lady herself, but when it comes to the feline species, this sixty-something cat shelter volunteer knows her stuff. Check here each Friday for instructive and intriguing information on our favorite subject: cats!

“A cat is considered feral if it has grown up in the wild without human contact. These cats are terribly afraid of humans and rarely adapt to being pets. To cut down on rampant feral populations, many communities have adopted a Trap-Neuter-Return program. With TNR, the cats can live out their normal lives without adding to the homeless cat population.”    ~Copy Cats, chapter 25

Is there a TNR program in your town?

Check out more of Lynley’s kitty tips, tricks, and facts preceding each chapter in CATS’ EYES, COPY CATS, CAT’S PAW, and CAT CALL.

 

 

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WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT “CAT CALL”?

What’s different about Cat Call?

That’s a tough one. Cat Call is a cozy, and cozies have rules. Cozy readers require a certain set of elements. We want to revisit the old neighborhood. We want to meet characters who have become friends. We want to know there will be trials and tribulations, but that good will prevail. We want our happy ending.

By their very nature, cozies need to invoke a feeling of familiarity without becoming predictable. We still want to be surprised and, yes, shocked! We want a twist. We want to try to guess Who done it? and why. Don’t worry. Cat Call has all the fun stuff we like in a cozy cat mystery.

Cary Grant & Clark Gable, actor cats

What sets Cat Call apart from the other Crazy Cat Lady stories?

The first thing you’ll notice about Cat Call is that Lynley ventures into new territory. Thrown into unfamiliar surroundings— the set of a television mystery pilot— she finds herself assuming the new and unusual job of cat handler. Cat Call takes us behind the scenes as we watch Lynley do her darndest to keep up with the whirlwind world of films.

Also a breakaway from previous stories, Cat Call turns an eye on the occult. Crazy cat lady Lynley Cannon doesn’t usually dabble in arcane matters, but strange happenings on set have her wondering. What is this mysterious “hex” everyone is talking about? The show is fraught with mayhem and misfortune. Is it a hex, or a hoax?

Finally, Lynley arrives on the scene with a new tool in her belt. She has been taking self-defense classes from her good friend Special Agent Denny Paris, so this time when chaos comes her way, Lynley gets to throw a few punches of her own.

A new cast of characters mingle with the old:
Lynley befriends a famous actor.
Seleia hits it off with the young production assistant.
Big Emilio plays ambassador to the actor cats, Clark Gable and Cary Grant, when they come for an overnight.
But don’t worry—Lynley is still the same cat lady we’ve come to love. (Not quite crazy yet.) There are heart-to-hearts with shelter buddy Frannie, cookies from Cupcake City, and it goes without saying, lots of cats.

A scene from Cat Call:

“Give her some room here.” The medic, Louis, flagged the onlookers back. Sirens were approaching, still blocks away but coming fast.

“Will I be okay?” It was a plea.

“Sure, hon,” Louis mumbled, “but it looks like you have a nasty break. The ambulance will be here in a minute. Just try to stay quiet and breathe.”

Rhonda sank back onto the gravel, barely stifling her tears, but did as ordered. The in-and-out motion of her breaths seemed to soothe her, and the whimpers hushed into little meows.

The siren, loud now, abruptly cut off. I looked up to see people motioning the emergency vehicle down through the lot toward Rhonda. It pulled to a hard stop and a pair of EMTs appeared, parting the crowd to get to their patient. They took one look at Rhonda’s misshapen leg and began to prep her for the inevitable trip to the ER.

As they got her onto the gurney, she reached for my hand. “Take the cats,” she moaned. “Take the cats for the shoot.”
“But…” I stammered. “But I don’t know anything about cat handling.”

“You know about cats. They know what to do. Please, Lynley. I’m afraid if they don’t work today, we’ll be fired. Please? You can do it, I know you can.”

Her hand fell away as they began to roll her toward the vehicle. I didn’t have a chance to answer, but Rhonda’s eyes were closed now. She knew I would say yes.

Behind me, in the buzz of worried conversation, I thought heard someone say the word, hex.

 

Cat Call will be out on October 26th and is available for preorder now. Cats’ Eyes, Copy Cats, and Cat’s Paw will be on sale through October 31. Catch up now!

  

 

 

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Lynley Cannon’s FRIDAY FELINE FACTS & FANCIES, Hero Cat

 

Lynley Cannon, star of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, is often referred to as a crazy cat lady herself, but when it comes to the feline species, this sixty-something cat shelter volunteer knows her stuff. Check here each Friday for instructive and intriguing information on our favorite subject: cats!

A Georgia family adopted a sweet white cat named Mr. Meowy from a local animal rescue group; the next day, Mr. Meowy returned the favor by saving the family’s home from going up in flames.   ~Copy Cats, chapter 28

Check out more of Lynley’s kitty tips, tricks, and facts preceding each chapter in Cats’ Eyes, Copy Cats, Cat’s Paw, and Cat Call.

 

 

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LUX

Every once in a while, I find a tidbit about Lux, the difficult cat I fostered for celebrity cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy in 2014. Because I can’t run around the country visiting cats as often as I’d wish, I have to take information where I can get it.

I recently came across an article posted last year by Pet Health Network, Jackson Galaxy: Thinking outside the Box to Improve Cat Behavior. In it, Jackson has a few things to say about Lux and his ongoing saga. Again he calls Lux his most difficult case. He still doesn’t name Lux’s whereabouts, so neither can I.

I want to see Lux again and hope in the coming year to travel more. Meanwhile, you are in the same postion I am when it comes to Lux: watching the internet.

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BOOK GIVEAWAY and Promotional Hoopla for CAT CALL

To celebrate the launch of CAT CALL, the 4th Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery on October 26, I’m giving away 2 beautiful paperback copies of CAT CALL!

When a friend suffers a bizarre accident on the set of a television pilot, sixty-something cat shelter volunteer Lynley Cannon takes over as cat handler, only to find the show is “hexed” and murder is waiting in the wings.

To enter, just comment in the comment section of this blogpost.
Winners will be randomly chosen and contacted via message reply on Wednesday, October 25th. Good luck!

You can preorder Cat Call here and receive it on your Kindle October 26th.

Catch up on the first of the Crazy Cat Lady series.

Kindle editions on sale until November 1st.

 

 

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Lynley Cannon’s FRIDAY FELINE FACTS & FANCIES, the Literate Cat

 

Lynley Cannon, star of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, is often referred to as a crazy cat lady herself, but when it comes to the feline species, this sixty-something cat shelter volunteer knows her stuff. Check here each Friday for instructive and intriguing information on our favorite subject: cats!

“For he will do
As he do do
And there’s no doing anything about it!”
― T.S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

~Cat’s Paw, chapter 9

 

Check out more of Lynley’s kitty tips, tricks, and facts preceding each chapter in Cats’ Eyes, Copy Cats, and Cat’s Paw.

 

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Lynley Cannon’s FRIDAY FELINE FACTS & FANCIES, Slight of Hand

 

Lynley Cannon, star of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, is often referred to as a crazy cat lady herself, but when it comes to the feline species, this sixty-something cat shelter volunteer knows her stuff. Check here each Friday for instructive and intriguing information on our favorite subject: cats!

Watercolor by Lorraine Lewitzka

It is important to teach your cat that the hand is not a toy. As cute as it may be having that kitten wrapped around your fist like a fuzzy glove, once kitty is old enough to draw blood, the cuteness factor fades. When kitty begins the attack, swap out your hand for a catnip body pillow; that way, both of you can enjoy nonviolent fun.  ~Cat’s Paw, chapter 12

 

Check out more of Lynley’s kitty tips, tricks, and facts preceding each chapter in Cats’ Eyes, Copy Cats, and Cat’s Paw.

 

 

 

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REMEMBER ME THURSDAY, TODAY’S THE DAY!

“Shine a light on orphan pets waiting for forever homes.”

Unwanted.
Stray.
Abused.
Neglected.
In line for euthanasia.

Can we replace those words with:

Forever home.
Soulmate.
Best friend.
Loved.
Protected.

I am so privileged to live in a community that embraces the practice of saving all homeless pets, where none are euthanized for lack of space, where a brilliant program of low-cost (and free) spay & neuter has reduced the unwanted pet population to where our shelters can take animals from shelters in other, less fortunate areas. It’s all because of the ASAP.

“ASAP stands for the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland, greater metro area. This acronym was chosen because the mission of ASAP is, indeed, one of urgency.
ASAP Vision: We envision a community that values, protects and cares for animals and provides a safety net for homeless and at-risk cats and dogs.
ASAP Mission: Working together, we develop and sustain metro-wide programs and services that reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs, and save the lives of all shelter pets that can be humanely and responsibly rehomed.”

And it’s working. Between the six ASAP shelters, over 12,000 cats and 9,000 dogs were adopted into loving families in 2016 alone. These include seniors and special needs animals as well as the more popular kittens and puppies.

I’ve done my part, adopting many cats from shelters over the years. My newest is 18-year-old Tyler who came to the Oregon Humane Society without a past. He wasn’t a stray, someone brought him, but they had declined to fill out paperwork about themselves or their experience with Tyler, making him an adventure into the unknown.

Things had happened to the big tiger-striped boy. Maybe Tyler was just a shy cat or maybe he had learned not to trust, but when approached, he would cower and hiss. He’s a big cat and a little scary, so for a while cattery put him under limited interaction. It didn’t last long though. We soon we learned that though hissing was his first response, loving was his second. He craved to be petted, and if I scratched his head and sideburns, he would come out with a rumbling purr and a love blink every time.

Initially I adopted Tyler because no 18-year-old cat should have to linger in a shelter, but I soon came to know it was far more than that. He is such a love, so affectionate and caring.

My home was missing him before he came.

I just didn’t know it.

Volunteer – Adopt – Love

 

Remember Me Thursday® is a global awareness campaign uniting individuals and pet adoption organizations around the world as an unstoppable, integrated voice for orphan pets to live in forever homes, not die waiting for them.

On September 28, 2017, the entire world will share the importance of pet adoption and shine a light on all orphan pets waiting in shelters and rescues. In 2016, people using #RememberTheRescue and #RememberMeThursday reached nearly 340 million people on social media. Can we get even more people sharing the importance of pet adoption in 2017?

 

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30 DAYS UNTIL CAT CALL

30 days from today I’ll be nervous. I’ll be practicing reading, testing out different chapters to see which has the most appeal. I’ll be choosing which dress to wear and hoping it doesn’t rain. I’ll be worrying about finding a parking place in the busy Mississippi neighborhood.

I’ll be lugging a suitcase full of shiny new books up a long flight of wooden stairs and spreading them out on a table, admiring their colorful Leslie Cobb covers. I’ll help Elisa set out the champagne and sparkling cider, cat-print cupcakes on a plate. (Hopefully) People will come and I’ll greet them. And finally, I’ll introduce my new book, Cat Call, into the reading world.

“When a friend suffers a bizarre accident on the set of a television pilot, Lynley takes over as cat handler, only to find out the show is “hexed” and murder is waiting in the wings.”

If you are in the Portland area on October 26th, I hope you can stop by. If not, Cat Call will be available from Amazon both for Kindle and in print on that day. In the meantime,  this is how it begins:

 

CAT CALL, Chapter 1

 

The message contained only three intelligible words: Call… Cat… Help! Interspersed was a garbled squawking that I recognized as the voice of my friend, Rhonda Kane. She sounded drunk, terrified, or both, blithering away like the Simpson’s crazy cat lady, which was ironic because usually I’m the lady considered crazy for cats. I have eight cats; Rhonda has only two, though hers happen to be movie stars.

My name is Lynley Cannon, and I’ll be the first to admit, eight is a lot of cats, but they are all well cared for and healthy. I have to take out a second mortgage on my Old Portland home when it’s time for their dentals, but that’s part of the deal. I love them dearly and they love me, each in his or her own catly way.

It began innocently enough with Dirty Harry. After life as a street stray, Harry was territorial, and I just assumed he wouldn’t tolerate a second cat encroaching on his space. As a shelter volunteer, I’d often heard statements like Missy won’t stand for another cat in the house, or Tom doesn’t get along with other kitties, or I’d love to have a kitten but Spot would throw a hissy-fit—he needs to be the only one, you know. I believed it for the longest time; then I got my little sweetheart, Little.

Granted, it took a while for Harry to get off his high horse and accept he could still be king, but I’ll never forget the first moment I saw them playing together. There was such joy in their antics. It took time but they became friends and now that Harry has hit his senior years, Little warms and grooms him like a sister. I don’t know what he would do without her.

The adoption of Little opened the gate to multiple cats. Next came Big Red, the orange tabby male who moved in on my side porch, then Solo, ghost-white, deaf, and totally reclusive, from a needy friend. Violet arrived sometime later, all twenty-two pounds of her, and then sweet Tinkerbelle. I rescued Mab, the Siamese kitten, from a disreputable breeder, and picked up Emilio when I was on an art retreat at the famous—and infamous—Cloverleaf Animal Sanctuary. So far, all good.

As a retiree in my sixtieth year, I have time for the cats. I have time for anything I please and manage to fill the hours with love and good works, volunteering, family, and friends. I was born for retirement and thank God every day I didn’t wait until I was sixty five—or seventy!—to take it.

But back to the voicemail message. I hadn’t seen Rhonda Kane for quite some time. We’d met at a feline behavior lecture series, and though she was nearly a decade younger than me, we immediately bonded. Ours was one of those friendships that just picks up where it left off, whether it’s been a week or a year. This time it was closer to the year.

Rhonda had continued the behavior training and become one of Portland’s only working cat handlers. With the Northwest’s budding film and television industry, it was turning out to be a rewarding if not lucrative pursuit. Her highly trained pair of actor-cats had starred in a few commercials, held a small but reoccurring role in the IFC production, Portlandia, and had even hit the big time once in an episode of Grimm. Since Clark Gable and Cary Grant were identical neutered males, they often played one part interchangeably.

Cat handling was meticulous work and Rhonda was the best, which was why the crazy communication was such a surprise and, yes, a shock. I recognize the sound of panic when I hear it. Something was very wrong with Rhonda Kane.

I’d just finished a shift at Friends of Felines cat shelter where I spent a big chunk of my time playing with cats and helping to keep them happy during their scary interim between homes. Without thought, I sank down on the bench in the volunteer locker room and hit redial. I held my breath as I waited for her to answer. One ring, three, seven. Just when I was sure it was going to cut off and give me the generic computer-generated click-Rhonda-click is not available at this time, she picked up.

“Lynley!” she gasped. “Thank goodness you called back.”

“Rhonda, what’s the matter? What’s happened?”

“Oh, Lynley!” She was crying now. “It’s so awful! You’ve got to help. You’ve got to… I don’t know. Come, quick as you can…” The voice wavered and threatened to devolve into crazy-cat-lady-speak again.

“Rhonda, hold on,” I commanded. “Just take your time and tell me what’s going on. Of course I’ll help, but first I have to know what’s up. Are you hurt? Are you in some kind of trouble?”

“Worse!” she hissed in a harsh whisper. “It’s Cary Grant!” Through the phone I heard her gulp. “He’s gone!”

 

 

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ECLIPSE

 

I watched the eclipse.

In Portland, Oregon and thereabouts, everyone did. On August 21, 2017, every local soul was outside with their eclipse glasses on, staring at the sun. It was cool, amazing, wonderful, surprising, and phenomenal, all rolled into one. We gathered in fields and parks, in small or huge groups. There were viewing parties and rock fests. There were traffic jams trying to get to the perfect spot. There was nothing else on the news for long enough to make us sick of hearing. But then it came and we stopped what we were doing. We watched, wrote poems, took pictures, talked to strangers and friends. When it was over, we went back about our business, but a little changed from the magnitude of the experience.

Everyone did that, right?

Wrong.

I forget that my scope of friends is far wider than my town or state. Now, partially thanks to social media, I have friends from all over the world. They have asked me what it was like? How did I feel? The eclipse!

I chose to remain in my Portland home, about thirty miles from the path of totality. I figured staying put in my personal serenity was worth getting only 99% of the view, that the slight variance wouldn’t be that great, and I was mostly right.

I am blessed with a fenced private jungle of a back yard, so that was my basecamp. Early that morning, I arranged a lawn chair on the old deck, put my eclipse glasses and camera on the plastic table beside it, set my alarm and was ready to roll. I’d read about several occurrences that accompany an eclipse such as the eerie quality of the light, the flicker of shadow bands, the drop in temperature, so I was prepared to see— and feel— it all.

The spectacle began about two hours before totality. I donned my eclipse glasses and sure enough, swimming in the darkest black I’d ever seen was the orange ball of the sun, a tiny bite out of one side. Incredible, and it was only the start.

Over the next hour, I looked several times more. The eating of the sun progressed, bringing to mind ancient stories, symbolism, and religions. It was quiet, hushed, as if the city were waiting with me. As if the world was on pause. When the time got close, I quit my inside work, put my cat, Little, in her harness, and we came out for the duration. I was excited, yet at peace. I didn’t mind that, aside from Little, I was alone.

     

I took a few pictures of the changing light, an odd almost-ominous shading, unlike anything I’d imagined. I tried to capture the shadow bands, striations, and the way the rays moved in stripes across the deck and grass. I caught a bit of the crescent-shaped refractions on the walls, but I didn’t spend too much time at it, having been forewarned not to waste these short important moments staring at a camera. Professional photographers would be doing that, much better than I ever could, so I sat back to let it unfold.

My picture

NASA.gov

The temperature plumetted. My summer dress was suddenly not enough, but I wasn’t going back into the house for a sweater. It was happening. It was happening now!

The birds chirped weird half-songs and then were quiet. The bees in my husband’s hives quit busying and settled as if it were night. Little didn’t seem to notice, or maybe she just didn’t care. The neighbors lit off firecrackers (the human response to anything celebratory) Then it was over; the sun grew stronger, the light normalized, the summer heat returned.

Since I was off the path of totality, I never got to see the sun haloing the moon. For that I was sorry. By staying home, I had missed the heart of the display. (I will know better next time.) Still I was content; after all, the last time there was an eclipse in my area, it was overcast.

   

I didn’t write a poem or draw a picture but found great value in the experience. The human mental process of trying to grasp such a grand phenomenon was a revelation in itself.

Watching the eclipse made me feel small, yet not unimportant.

Is that why some people chase eclipses all over the world? To remind themselves of their place in the universe?

The news media has gone off to other things; the eclipse glasses are thrown in a drawer, but those few moments of cold, powerful beauty with stay with me for the rest of my life.

In memory of my father, who would have loved this.

 

 

Posted in Life Through Amber, Local Fair, memoir, Portland | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments