By Edith Maxwell
North of Boston
I’m a cat person. There’s no getting around it. I have met a few dogs in my past who I liked – ones who didn’t jump up on me, didn’t stick their noses in my crotch, didn’t rush me, and weren’t overly needy. But I prefer felines.
In our house currently we have senior boy Preston, who is featured in my Local Foods Mysteries series, his little “sister” Christobel, and junior boy Birdie. Our dear Athena, who was senior girl cat, passed away a year ago, after a disease that greatly diminished her formerly queenly self.
All of our cats are always rescue cats. Preston, a Norwegian Forest cat, had been mauled by a dog and was about to be put down when a vet surgeon said he could stitch him up. Hugh saw him at a foster home and was drawn in by his sweet nature. Christobel, who was a kitten when Hugh got her from a shelter about a year later, thinks
Preston is her big brother and adores him. He tolerates her and they often sleep curled up together. A construction worker found Birdie and his littermates without their mother when he nearly ran them over with a bulldozer. The worker scooped them and raced them to the shelter and only Birdie survived. He was bottle fed until I got him and named him Birdie because his purring turns into a chirp when he’s really happy.
When Hugh and I combined households six years ago, we thought the boys might have trouble getting along. They’re fine. It’s the girls who cause the problems! Athena and Christobel used to get in big fights. Christobel still doesn’t like Birdie invading her home and hisses at him when he gets too close.
I’m actually a bit allergic to the cats and when winter comes and all the closed windows and doors keep the allergens from escaping, I have to resort to my inhaler and an air purifier. And I have to wash my hands after I pet any of them so dander doesn’t get in my eyes accidentally. All three are long-haired breeds and Preston even has two layers of fur, which is why he likes to sit outside in the rain and snow. But I can’t imagine living without our little friends.
Cozy mysteries almost always feature a cat – check out Liz’s cover, for example! I hoped Preston would make it onto the cover of A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die but the publisher had other thoughts.
Which do you prefer, dogs or cats? (I know Liz has both!) Or neither? And do you think cozy mysteries are obliged to feature a cat?