by JT Ellison
Yes, I am in the deep south. Sophie Littlefield and I are on our Stealing Souls tour – and let me see, what day is it? Friday? That means right about now we are just leaving Memphis heading back to Nashville, and will be doing our 5th event in 5 nights tonight at one of my fave stores, Reading Rock Books in Dickson (7-9 – y’all come!)
Sophie and I have had too much fun for words – working hard, playing harder, visiting with old friends, making new ones. I’ve been so incredibly impressed with every bookstore we’ve visited. Perhaps it’s an occupational hazard, but bookstore folk are terribly gracious and kind. We’ve been lovingly welcomed across the south this week, and we are forever grateful to everyone who’s worked so hard to make these events successful.
With that said, I’m going to share a different kind of blog today. I’m sure y’all have all heard me talk about my precious cat. There aren’t a lot of drawbacks to being on the road, but missing my hubby and my kitty are at the top of the list. That said, I have gotten a ton of work done. Once you read below, you’ll understand why. Sophie is a darling, but she and I may be drafted for the Valkyries, or the Amazons, and she’s not spending a lot of time curled in my lap.
So, without further ado, meet my alleycat, who has turned into a galleycat.
I’ve been having trouble working lately. It’s not what you’re thinking – I’m not blocked. I’ve got plenty of ideas. I’ve got lots of time, full days free of encumbrances, all waiting patiently for words to fill the moments.
No, the reason I’m having so much trouble is my cat.
Jade is a tiger striped rescue who has never let me forget how much she appreciates the fact that I picked her. When I first saw her at the pound, she was five weeks old, suffering from a bad cold. So bad that they were going to put her down. They can’t afford to have sick kittens in the cages; disease spreads too quickly among unloved animals.
They’d named her Tori. She had the most inquisitive, if rheumy, green eyes. I knew immediately I had to take her. I couldn’t let this poor thing get put down because she’d been weaned too early and struck out on her own, a little stripedy runaway. She had gumption, I could see that. Desires, dreams. She wanted a bigger world than the one she’d been dealt. She was a renegade. Perfect.
She was also a five-week-old kitten who was terribly sick. The vet around the corner took her in, nursed her back to health, and she came home with us. A yowling little ball of fur who was the most fiercely independent cat I’ve ever had.
She took up residence on the pillow at the corner of the l-shaped couch and pretty much stayed there for the next several months. She was a sweet, lovely little thing who didn’t like people food, wanted her chin scritchies on her terms, and determinedly made a friend out on my husband, who wasn’t what we like to call a cat person.
I adore her, as you can tell.
We go to special lengths for this cat. When we travel, she has her own personal babysitter who comes over and stays with her, watching television and reading books to her. She absolutely can’t be boarded, she turns into a neurotic, shaking mess around other animals. She’s afraid, afraid! of other animals – so scared that she’s an only child. When my parents come to visit, she takes up residence under my bed, hissing and growling at everyone who dares come near. It’s hysterical, especially since she’s a regular hussy with anyone else who shows up on our doorstep. It’s only my parents, who arrive bearing their own cat and a little dog, that send her into paroxysms of kitty terror.
What must she have seen in those five weeks before we made her our own? What terrors haunted her days and nights? I’ll never know.
So Miss Jade, my fiercely independent, won’t allow herself to be picked up, I am my own cat, thank you very much, cat has suddenly turned into a lap cat.
This is a problem on numerous levels.
First, I use a laptop. Operative word – lap. I’ve been spreading a bit as I age, but I’m not to the point where I can accommodate a cat and a computer. And she doesn’t take no for an answer – she’s going to get in my lap whether I want her to or not.
We battle for several hours in the morning. She curls up while I’m going through my RSS Feeds, then jumps off. Rinse and repeat times about ten. The teakettle will be whistling, and I can’t get her off. Okay, okay. I should say I don’t have the heart to kick her off. It’s been a wintry winter in Nashville, with lots of snow and little sun, and she’s getting older, and her joints get cold. I debated getting her a heated blanket. But it’s nice to have a furball in your lap. She’s warm. She purrs. She gazes at me adoringly when I scratch her ears.
Yes, yes, I know. She’s playing into my ego. I’m enamored of the idea that this cat, who I chose, has also chosen me.
But wow, it’s hurting my word counts.
Jade is also the reason I got published. I worked for the vet who patched her up for three days (I thought I’d be working the desk, but he wanted me as a tech in the back. Bad. Bad. Bad. After my first neutering, I was done.) I was quitting on Friday, and on Wednesday I picked up a large golden and herniated a disc in my back. That led to surgery, and recovery time, and library books, where I discovered John Sandford. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tell me about your critters today! I’ll send one of you a copy of my new book, SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH, which definitely isn’t about sweet, soft kittens, and make a donation to your local animal shelter.
Wine of the Week: a gem from Atlanta, and so apropos for our tour —Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise