“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” –Terry Pratchett

A writer needs three things to be successful: Writing implements, a warm cup of coffee, and a cat. There is nothing as essential (or as distracting) to my writing as my feline companions. Whether it is lying between me and the keyboard, typing comments into my work-in-progress, or depositing live prey at my feet (for the benefit of my muse?), Swt and Ella are dedicated to making my writing life as interesting as possible. Whether I want them to or not.

Ella, Swt&MaiThai


Baby Swt

Swt, Sweep (now called Sidney), and Sue were born at a Welsh horse stable just outside of Caernarfon. Because their mother was too young to have kittens (insert my rant about taking proper care of barn cats), she lacked both the milk to feed them and the skills to care for them. I asked the farmer what was going to be done for the kittens and she said, “I’m going to let nature take its course.” My response? Not on my watch. So I went to a horse riding lesson alone and came home as a mother of three. My husband, Rob, was not thrilled but was invaluable in helping me get them to adulthood. In case you didn’t know, kittens must be bottle fed every two hours (even overnight), stimulated to use the bathroom, cleaned, kept warm, and loved beyond a shadow of a doubt. At the end of nine weeks, I had three healthy kittens ready for a new life and a whole new appreciation for my mother.

Swt Sweep Sue

Sue Sweep & Swt
I wanted to keep all of them (who wouldn’t want five cats?) but couldn’t deny the pleas of two friends who wanted to give Sue and Sweep a home. Swt, on the other hand, had wheedled his way into my husband’s heart. Rob refers to Swt’s solitary white eyebrow as Swt’s antenna to the alien mothership. Swt believes that the best way to show Rob love is head-butting Rob in the nose hard enough to make his eyes water. They have a special friendship.


Swt does not approve of my writing or reading habits because he is too slow to get to my lap before Mai Thai does, and both of these activities involve me taking my eyes off of him. In my efforts to teach Swt the ways of being a cat I managed to also teach him to sit at the dinner table, takes baths in the bathtub, attempt every night to brush his own teeth, and generally boss everyone around. When I asked Rob why he chose Swt, he replied, “He’s going to be a great cat.” Eight years later, Swt proves my husband right every day.

Nick Names:
Black and White Naughty

Daddy (Mom is for feeding, Dad is for fun), Flies, commonly known as sky raisins, getting wet especially in the bathtub, kissing (whether you want a kiss or not), going outside to boss around the neighbourhood, climbing my 5 1/2 foot tall cat tree and lording over the living room, taking up as much room as possible in bed, cat nip.

Sharing of any kind, Mai Thai sitting with Mom while she is reading and writing, and windy weather.

Swt in the bath



Our neighbour knocked on our door late one October night in 2017. A conversation went as follows.

Neighbour: *offering black and white furry bundle towards me* I found this cat behind my car. I thought she was Anne’s missing cat but apparently she’s been hanging out at the elementary school. My son wants to keep her but I’m worried that Charlie, our dog, will hurt her. *both cat and neighbour look at me expectantly*

Me: What do you need me to do?

Neighbour: Can you keep her overnight? I’ll check around and come back for her tomorrow.

Rob: *sees Ella and Ella sees Rob. It is love at first sight for both of them. He picks her up and cradles her to his chest. I understand that she has just charmed her way into a forever home.* We can take her until you find who she belongs to.

Short answer: She belongs to us. Someone took her to the school and left her there to fend for herself. (insert my rant about pet abandonment) Charlie Dog decided under no circumstances would he share his home with a cat and Ella agreed since she was already making long-term plans with Rob.

Nick Names:
Floof, Girly


Rob, rubbing her face on feet (in or out of socks), food of any kind but especially Dreamies cat treats, Swt (her love is unfortunately unrequited), the stick end (not the plush end) of a fishing rod cat toy, laying in front of the fire place.

Loud noises and sudden movements, heights, Ranch salad dressing, and being outside.

Mai Thai
June 2000 - January 2019


Adopted in 2001 from Project Hope Humane Society in Illinois, Mai Thai was a great admirer of the arts adding helpful comments like “mmmmnnnnnllll” and “/****988888++” to my writing projects whenever possible. He once even managed to highlight every third word in the footnotes of my PhD thesis blue. At 19-years-old, he still managed to kill a toy mouse, bring it to my bedside, and then sing the song of his people every night. He crossed the rainbow bridge January 2019 and I miss him every day.

Nick Names:
Thai, Stripy Boy, Thai Fighter.


More Information:

Project Hope:
For those interested in supporting Project Hope Humane Society please visit:
Project Hope

Cats Protection League:
Swt, Ella and I support the Cats Protection League and sponsor two pens there. For information about sponsoring space for cats at Cats Protection League visit:
Cats Protection League,

Information for new cat mommies:
If you are a new cat mommy, remember that your veterinarian is the best first port of call. Get information on feeding, warming, cleaning, and elimination. Take notes! Most vets have a 24 hour service or an emergency number. Do yourself a favour and call first.

For basic kitten hand-rearing information:
Vetwest on Hand Rearing Kittens, Cat77 on Hand Rearing Kittens, Although this site recommends a heating pad, my husband and I found that using a Habistat Vivarium Heat Mat (7 Watts) covered with a towel provided the perfect temperature. The matts are waterproof just in case of accidents and provide reflective heat. We made sure that there was room for the kittens to move off of the matt if they were too warm. If they are reluctant to suckle, put a little honey or golden syrup on the nipple. This is also helpful for reluctant eaters.

For stimulating your new born kitten to defecate and urinate:
Stimulating Urination Although the video mentions using paper towel, I wouldn’t recommend them because of the amount of rubbing and patting that must be done to stimulate the kitten to go to the bathroom. Paper towel is rough and can cause sores on your cat’s genitals. Keep records of when they poop because you won’t remember when or how much. They should go every 24 to 36 hours.