Hello everyone! I am currently working away on The Rose and the Briar, sometimes loving it and other times thinking it is worthless drivel. You know, the usual writer mood swings! I’m sure that—with some help from my editor—it will turn out as fun as the first two by publication time. Meanwhile, I need to forge onward and keep my mind on the job.
But . . . sometimes I need to research things on the Internet, like raintrees or pookas or cinder sprites (not even Wikipedia has much info on those little critters, sadly). And while I’m researching, other things catch my attention (squirrel!), and soon I’m far away from Faraway Castle.
It’s all part of my writerly technique.
Right. Hope you didn’t believe that! But everyone needs breaks now and then, and here I will share with you a few of my Top Three go-to distractions. Maybe you'll find something to distract you as well . . .
MY OWN CATS
Myles is my fifteen-year-old traditional Siamese or “Thai” cat, who is my lifetime feline love. This cat has more personality—most of it goofy—than any one cat should be apportioned. He begs for hugs—reaching up like a toddler. He loves to be held like a baby, and attention needs to be fully on him—you’d better be gazing into his deep-blue eyes, or he will get miffed and stalk away.
Mimi is my ghost cat—the smoke-silver Egyptian mau who sneaks around corners and makes rare appearances to anyone besides me. She is eleven now—hard to believe!—but still very playful. And these days she demands her cuddle time too, usually while I’m trying to write, and gazes up at me with soulful green eyes.
TINYKITTENS AND THE CRITTER ROOM
I’ve been following these two cat rescue sites for five years now. I remember this easily because watching them was one of my major pastimes during 2013, which was my record illness year: breast cancer and a partial mastectomy in the spring, pneumonia and four cracked ribs (from coughing) in the autumn. Yes, I recovered completely from both, for which these cats and kittens and their heroic rescuers must be given some credit!
John, hero of The Critter Room, is currently on his 60th set of fosters: You can view the cuteness yourself in this livestream.
Along with running a kitten cam, Tinykittens also maintains several colonies of feral cats in Langley, B.C.—feeding and spay/neutering the adults, bringing in pregnant females to have their (last) litter of kittens, then adopting out the kittens and as many of the adults as possible. Not all stories have happy endings, but Shelly and her team have accomplished some amazing rescues in the past few years—currently she is tube-feeding (every 3-5 hours) a kitten with a severe cleft palate until she (Aura) is old enough for corrective surgery.
For ongoing (and distracting) adorableness, watch the livestream!
BIG CAT RESCUE
Yes, I love the big kitties too. I’ve always loved the big cats, but I never realized the problem the USA has—the widespread abuse of these beautiful animals--until I started following Big Cat Rescue. Private ownership of big cats is not only cruel to the animals but hazardous to the public! Big Cat Rescue takes in many abused cats and gives them comfortable homes for the rest of their lives.
You can watch several of the cats 24/7 on live feeds, which can be quite entertaining. Along with rescuing big cats from roadside zoos and other shows that exploit them, BCR takes in unwanted “pet” servals and hybrid cats, rescues bobcats and lynx from furriers and tigers from circuses, and teams with other sanctuaries across the world to save and rehome cats from circuses and defunct zoos.
Every cat at BCR has a “story.” Recently a zoo gave BCR a rare Amur leopard (Natalya) and a jaguar (Manny)—now two of my favorites! BCR also rehabs local (Florida) bobcats and releases them back into the wild. All of the cats get top-notch veterinary care, and many of them live into their twenties—more than twice the average lifespan of a tiger or lion.
Come check it out, fall in love with these beautiful animals, learn their stories, and maybe you’ll become a fanatic like me!
If you’re on Facebook, just look up Big Cat Rescue’s page for daily photos, videos, and updates. Otherwise, check out their web page and prepare to learn a ton about big cats!
Hmm. I’m thinking sometime in the not-too-distant future there must be a Faraway Castle fairy tale featuring cats . . . or cat-like beings . . .