Thursday, December 20, 2007


I am thrilled to have a very special guest come to you "live" today. Her third Theda Krakow book is currently available (see the link below) and has earned some fabulous reviews. If you're looking for some great escape reading (and who isn't at this time of year?) you'll love Cries & Whiskers.

Without further ado, I present, Clea Simon! {applause; applause}

Are you addicted to cats?

Sometimes I think I am. No, I’m not a “crazy cat lady,” one of those sad old women (and they do tend to be elderly women) who “collect” or hoard so many animals that it becomes unhealthy for both people and pets.

But I love having a cat in the house. Even while I was mourning my last cat, a lovely long-haired grey named Cyrus, I longed for a feline presence. It wasn’t that I didn’t love Cyrus. At times, years later, I still think about his particular affectionate-and-yet-dignified personality, the way he would silently “mew” and then let me rub his white fluffy belly. I still think of him with love.

But I was also missing the physical presence of a cat. Any cat. There’s just something about having the soft warm bulk of a shin-high body press against you as you stand cooking in the kitchen or sit staring at another blank page. It’s not exactly inspiring, not all the time. But it is comforting. “I’m here,” that soft pressure says. “We’re in this together.”

Therefore, I confess it was a relief when we got the call from the animal shelter. A friend who worked there knew how we felt, and she’d called to say, “I have a kitten here that I think you’ll love.” “I’m not ready,” I told my husband. “We’ll just go visit,” he said. Needless to say, we left that day with Musetta, a spunky, plump black-and-white kitty who has found her own place in my heart, next to Cyrus, and her own spot behind my chair where she sometimes snores and mutters while I work.

There’s been a ton of research recently about why we love the pets we do. Some of it, like this article in the New York Times, suggests that our affection for cats might be a result of a parasite!

But I prefer to think of my connection as pure affection. She definitely inspired me through Cries and Whiskers. When I need a break from writing, or from dealing with any of life’s stresses (an ailing, elderly mother; yet another snowstorm; bills), Musetta is there for me, purring and head butting me. When we go to sleep, I feel the soft “thud” as she jumps up on the bed. When I come in, she twines around my ankles, chirping and mewing to tell me about her day. I hate to think of the day when she won’t be there. But I know, when that time comes, there will be another shelter kitty who needs a good home. Because I need that feline presence. Maybe I am addicted to cats.

Thank you Clea, for making even those of us without a cat want one! (What is it with writers and cats anyway?)

I appreciate you taking the time to make a special appearance today, and wish you all the best in 2008.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Thank you, Peg, for the opportunity to go on about a favorite topic.

    Happy holidays to you and yours - and to everyone out there in cyberspace!

  2. Clea, my pleasure. I thoroughly enjoyed our collaboration.

    When Clea Simon says she's gonna do something . . . look out!


  3. Am I right in thinking that's Musetta on your most recent cover? It sure looks like the cat in the photo I've seen where... you're holding a cat!

    And I know what you mean about the absence of a kitty presence. I got my beloved Wheels -- a half Russian blue -- in 1982. He was 22 when he died and, even though it's been a few years, there's still a hole in my life where he belongs.

  4. Linda, I know Clea will answer, but I got here first. LOL.

    There's a place in my heart that will ever be McKenzie's. Not a cat. A white shadow of a bichon. He was 16 and it will be 5 years on March 19th.

    During the final days, I carried him everywhere. After he was gone, my arms ached.

    I'll miss him every day until I die, and then we'll meet up at that awesome Rainbow Bridge.

    My heart surrounds you and Wheels.

  5. Yup, that's Musetta! The designer had requested a photo for inspiration and I sent that one to him. He did a couple of mockups (including the one that is still on Amazon) but everyone at the press agreed that Musetta had more personality. Of course.

    My heart goes out to you both, Linda - for Wheels and Peg for McKenzie. These little creatures have such big (and distinctive) personalities, don't they?

    Cyrus was truly regal. He was my philosopher king of cats (though he would lose his dignity and go nuts for lamb, particularly lamb fat - a mountain lion throwback gene?). Musetta, on the other hand, is our little riot grrrl. Very talkative, very rowdy. It was pure luck that we got a cat with such a different personality, and I'm very grateful it is so.