First Cat Cafe Opens in Dallas

SauerkrautKitty-Tamar

For their launch weekend August 8, guests will have the opportunity to meet a special guest of honor, internet “celebricat” Sauerkraut Kitty. Image courtesy of Tamar Arslanian

What the heck is a Cat Cafe and why does Dallas, Texas need one? Do they serve cream and mice to cats, or what? Find out this Saturday, August 8 in Dallas–with specialty coffee drinks and treats in addition to some adoptable kitties.

What Is A Cat Cafe?

Cat Cafes have been around for decades, and are very popular in Japan, in part to deal with cat lovers who don’t have enough space to live with their own feline. But in the past year or so, the cat café concept has become a popular idea in the US, too, and offers a legal “kitty fix” to those unable to share their life with a cat purr-haps due to rental policies or allergy concerns. In the best situations, cafe cats offer a way for cat-seeking adopters to get a more up close and personal test of potential kitty candidates behavior, and c’attitude.

Cat Connection Has You Kitty-Covered!

The Cat Connection, a Dallas based pet supply store and cat only hotel and spa, located at 14233 Inwood Road in Dallas, will be home to the first Cat Café in Dallas for four weekends starting Saturday August 8th, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The event will feature adoptable cats and kittens compliments of various local rescue groups. Guests will be able to play with cats on a first-come-first-serve basis for up to twenty minutes.

Operation Kindness will provide adoptable cats and kittens for the Grand Opening on August 8th, and be on hand to facilitate adoptions. Operation Kindness is the original and largest no-kill animal shelter in North Texas, saving more than 75,000 cats and dogs over almost 40 years. The organization cares for approximately 300 cats and dogs on a daily basis, with another 100 in foster homes. This first weekend, you’ll find specialty drinks with a barista on site and snacks all weekend for free.

Texas Cares and other local rescues will be on-site for subsequent weekends. Donations are not required but are appreciated and will support local rescue.

Errin West, co-owner of The Cat Connection says this will be “…a great opportunity for cat lovers in the area to connect with and interact with adoptable animals in a relaxed setting, hopefully increasing adoptions for local rescue groups.” I’ve visited the store, and it is well worth checking out all the PAW-some cat-centric products–having cats on hand puts this event over the top.

Sauerkraut, pictured above, will attend this first event on August 8 only, to offer her paws-up of approval. Sauerkraut is a special needs rescue kitty from Central Oklahoma Humane Society. Rising to internet fame due to her adorable scowl and struggles with Feline Hyperesthesia, Sauerkraut now serves as an ambassador for shelter cats nation-wide.

To ensure both feline and human attendees have an enjoyable time, The Cat Connection asks that no outside animals be brought to the event. Children are allowed under an adult guardian’s supervision. A complete set of guidelines can be accessed at The Cat Connection’s website.

Have you ever visited a cat cafe? Would you if given the chance?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Want the insider info on the latest books and appearances? Join my team and get advance sneak peaks related to myTHRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

Amy Shojai Joins Toby Neal & Lei Crime Kindle World #LeiCrimeKW

LeiCrimeJuly31I have a fantastical-fun announcement! Many of y’all who follow the blog know that I not only write nonfiction pet books, I also incorporate pet-centric themes and characters in suspense stories that feature pets–including a dog viewpoint character and trained cat. Now I have a chance to expand that notion in a brand new “world” of readers alongside a fantastic group of talented authors. My novella, as yet untitled, will launch in late December. If you want a chance to read and review it in advance, be sure to apply for my Triple A Team here.

I’ve been invited by best selling author Toby Neal to write a novella for her Lei Crime Kindle Worlds based on her Lei Crime Novels all set in Hawaii. Wow! She already as a fantastic team of authors with their own stand alone and series books, with the first group of novellas launched last April. The second wave, in some cases sequels to the first novella, launches today. Check it out here!

WHAT IS KINDLE WORLDS?

Kindle Worlds are short stories, novellas and full length books written in the “book world” created by a particular author. That may mean a continuation of an existing story with familiar characters, or taking a minor character and expanding/creating a new storyline. By writing in the Lei Crime Kindle World, I’ll have a chance to work with a fantastic team of other authors–including Toby herself!–to support each other and share our own work with those who already love reading Toby’s stories and characters.

RottiePup_5353394_originalFor me, one of the deciding reasons to say yes has to do with Toby’s main character Lei and her relationship with her dog, a Rottweiler girl named Keiki! I’m still percolating on the story but it probably will be a “prequel” before Lei and Keiki connected. Y’all know how I love to write in young-dog “voice” LOL!

Of course, I must finish SHOW AND TELL first, and I’m nearly at the finish line on that 3rd book in the September Day series. Stay tuned for more fictioning news in the weeks and months ahead. The end of 2015 promises to be a roller coaster ride!

Meanwhile, I strongly encourage those who love mysteries, suspense, crime fiction and even contemporaries to check out the launch books today. You’re sure to get hooked–I know that I already am! Click this link now.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Want the insider info on the latest books and appearances? Join my team and get advance sneak peaks related to myTHRILLERS WITH BITE!

Cats and Bathrooms

a person sitting on the toilet reading the newspaper

Does your cat follow you to the bathroom, paw-pat under the toilet door, yowl for attention when you want privacy? What’s up with that?! Our cats’ behavior sometimes challenges the most insightful among us to figure them out. Felines always have a good reason for doing what they do. But a given behavior doesn’t always mean what you think.

dog-in-the-toilet-article

Dogs to this, too, but the toilet terrorist behavior seems even more universal among cats. I’ve had many readers relate funny stories about being ambushed on the (ahem) facilities, stalked with paw-pats under the bathroom door, and persistent potty buddies demanding lap-time or napping in unmentionables dropped to half-mast.

cat in washsink

Karma does this. He loves “nesting” in the cool basin. What a surprise when there’s water in the bottom, LOL!

Why Cats Follow Us to Bathrooms

Human bathrooms are often the coolest place in the home because of the tile, small space, and fewer windows. Cats tend to be furry heat-seeking missiles that relish lounging in warm places, but a few—my Seren is one—enjoy cool spots. These kitties seem to appreciate spending time on cool tile, damp towels, or other slick or cool surfaces. For older cats suffering from the health condition called hyperthyroidism, the metabolism goes into overdrive and heats up the kitty so hyperthyroid cats often seek out cool resting places.

Cats also are instinctively drawn to high perches like countertops that they associated as safe. They chain behaviors that link one action to another in a particular routine. And cats LOVE routine, so once a behavior sequence becomes a habit (especially if there’s a benefit for kitty), your pet will repeat the routine over and over again.

Cats never do anything unless it’s of benefit to them, and they are rewarded in some form or fashion. For instance, when you awake in the morning and run to brush your teeth (before filling the cat food bowl), it only takes a couple of days for cats to remember the routine and race you to the bathroom first. So let’s put all this together, and answer the question, why are cats avid potty buddies?

6 Reasons Cats Love Bathrooms

Black cat sitting on human toilet, close up

Seren uses the potty as a stepping stool to the vanity, where I’ve placed a fountain and snack bowl.

  1. People visit the bathroom on a predictable schedule, and they perform predictable behaviors while in the room. Cats know what to expect and won’t be surprised.
  2. Bathrooms offer convenient sinks with running water that many cats relish. Moving water simply tastes better, and people persuaded to run the tap for the cat reward this interaction with attention.
  3. The sink vanity provides a great perch or lookout for cats. Sitting on the sink or vanity positions a cat for a convenient face-to-face interaction when you are perched on the (ahem) thrown. That’s ideal from the cat’s perspective for controlling the interaction—the human can’t easily escape, so kitty can approach or stay out of reach as she prefers.
  4. Cats that insist on lap-sitting time may be frustrated in other parts of the house if you often instead give attention to a magazine, book or laptop computer. The felines that snuggle in your rumpled tidy whities draped around your ankles offer another type of compliment—basking in your most personal aroma to be as near their beloved human as possible.
  5. Felines appreciate the rewards they get by spending private one-on-one time with owners. Even the kitties that only paw-play under the door get attention in terms of you talking to them, or rewarding the behavior by FINALLY coming back out the door. The longer you spend inside the room and then emerge, the more powerful lesson cats learn that paw-pat persistence and kitty complaints eventually will garner success.

image of little girl taking a bath with curious black cat

6. Toilet paper chase, the game that never ends! ‘Nuff said.

How about your cats–and dogs? Do they follow you to do your duty? What’s their reason? How do you manage the unwelcome attention? Do tell!

Cute kitten playing with roll of toilet paper,  on gray background

Karma LOVES playing with TP, how about yours?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Want the insider info on the latest books and appearances? Join my team and get advance sneak peaks related to myTHRILLERS WITH BITE!

10 Reasons Pets Are Better Than Men

PugSleepingCat_19220097_originalAt the risk of hissing off men, and with tongue firmly in cheek, I had a lot of fun putting this list together of 10 reasons pets are better than men. Frankly, most items could be applied to women, too–or kids. Or (fill in the bank). What do you think? Have I missed anything?

Is this a type of "remote training?"

Is this a type of “remote training?”

Pets Don’t Steal The Remote. Well, some dogs do, and chew it up (ahem). But both cats and dogs are happy to hang out and watch whatever TV show you want to watch. They don’t pick up the remote and change channels from DANCING WITH THE STARS to the latest football game without asking.

Pets have their own style...

Pets have their own style…

Pets Don’t Care How You Look. Cats and dogs love you whether you wear makeup, the latest designer gown, or frumpy dumpy jeans. They aren’t interested in making sure you can impress their family or friends—it’s enough that you impress them with your big heart.

Pets Always Look Good. Cats never have to be reminded to “spiff up” for an event. They’re grooming is impeccable, and they’re always ready for that close up. Even dogs maintain that “casual chic” and wear mud well.

YOU'RE HOME!!!

YOU’RE HOME!!!

Pets Are Easy to Please. If you’re a bit late coming home the dog is even happier to see you. For a birthday bash, Kitty is happy with an empty paper bag or crumpled up wrapping paper, and could care less what it contained. All the pet wants is your lap and your time.

An older lady in a black and white striped shirt holding an orange cat.

Pets Don’t Try to Change You. In fact, cats will object if you change too much. Dogs love you for yourself, they don’t ask you to slim down or change jobs or move to please them. And once Kitty has the routine down pat, you can depend on the cat to stay the course without unexpected or unwelcomed changes along the way.

Kitten laying on German ShepherdCats Don’t Snore. Well, if they do snore it’s a delicate purr-like noise. They may hog the pillow, but cats won’t pull off the covers while you’re sleeping, or mess with the thermostat when you’re freezing (or boiling)—or complain if you adjust the thermostat for your comfort.

Photo of beautiful sad dog, closeup portrait of german shepherd, brown dog looking at camera, domestic animal playing outdoors, doggie face, adorable pedigreed dog, purebred canine, fluffy pet

Pets Don’t Complain if You Leave Up the Toilet Seat. They may actually prefer that.

Pets Are Always On Time. They don’t need to call to say they’re late, or make excuses when they forget to call. And if you lose your watch and forget the time, dogs and cats remind you about the important events well in advance. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Playtime. Naptime. Cuddles. Treats. And treats. Oh, and treats and cuddles.

Cute dog listening to music with headphones - outdoors

Pets Listen. When you need a furry shoulder to cry on, or talk out a problem, cats won’t offer you unsolicited advice. They don’t tell you what should have been done, or why you’re wrong. Dog don’t argue—although they may offer barky commentary. But for the most part they simply listen, wag or purr, and let you get it all out.

lying on red sofa young woman with  cat

Pets Never Stop Loving. They show love in infinite ways. With wags and snuggles. With kitty eye-blink kisses. When they knead, cheek rub and purr, or shove a soggy tennis ball into your lap. Pet love is unconditional, and never has furry strings attached.

What are some other ways dogs and cats are better than…(YOU fill in the blank :) )

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Want the insider info on the latest books and appearances? Join my team and get advance sneak peaks related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Magic’s Birthday–9 Glorious Years!

Greta-Magic-Baby

Magic with his littermates and Greta, his mom. Guess which one is him?

Today, my baby-dog Magic celebrates his 9th birthday! I can’t believe the puppy I fell in love with now has a gray muzzle, and am so very grateful he remains the funny, energetic, loving bundle of furry delight. He doesn’t act like an aging dog at all.

We had been without a dog for about 8 years before we got him. After I lost my heart-dog, another wonderful GSD who inspired me to become a pet writer, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to adopt again. Part of that was my travel schedule at the time, and then Seren-Kitty came along. There came a point that the hole in our lives could only be filled with another GSD.

We were incredibly fortunate to find a fantastic breeder (Fernheim Kennels) in our neck of the woods, so close that we got to visit the Mom-Dog before Magic was even a gleam in Greta’s eyes. After being on the waiting list for two years, the “M” litter was born. We got unprecedented visiting and photo ops during his early weeks of life. Here’s little “orange collar” at 17 days old, our boy who became Magical-Dawg.

17daysold

Magic at 17 days old.

7weeks

Magic at 7 days old, probably during his temperament test.

These days, I get to help Gillian with temperament tests when she has a new litter (her “Z” litter just went to new homes). I was told Magic temperament test indicated off the charts for Schutzhund potential.

Magic was night-and-day different than our first silver and black GSD in so many ways. Our first boy had hip dysplasia and such bad skin/allergy disease (atopy) we couldn’t have afforded to keep up with vet bills if I hadn’t then been working as a vet tech with a discount on services. Our first shepherd also was fearful of strangers, and a “soft” doggy eager to please and easy to train.

Magic’s breeder does all the tests, and then some, on the doggy parents. He came to us already knowing a “potty command” and crate trained.

He was never shy or “soft” by any means. He’s smart, but hard headed. A smart aleck. A challenge. Driven. Healthy, thank doG, with sound elbows, hips, eyes and skin. A canine athlete willing to throw himself into every game, to such an extent that torn dewclaws and sliced paws and other such accidents “dogged” his early years. Easy to train–he did “puppy pushups” (sit-down-sit-down) on TV at age 9 weeks–and went to HARVEY (play) rehearsals and hung out with the cast at about 5 months of age. We were grateful when he outgrew the 9-month-old delinquent phase. The fact he adored us–BOTH of us–and still does, made it possible to put up with his few challenges.

1stDayHome8weeks

First day home–8 weeks old. You can see his tattoo in his right ear which by now has faded. He was microchipped, too.

My husband didn’t grow up with pets, and our first shepherd wasn’t close to my husband at all. So I think he was surprised to fall so hard for Magic. It was a treat to watch the relationship develop between them. Today they’re still best friends.

MagicMahmoudBestFriends

Puppy kisses!

Seren-Kitty was not amused. During our long dog absence, she’d come into our lives and been an “only” cat for seven years. I planned the introduction and set up gates and schedules and relocated litter boxes and food 6 months in advance, and then more step-by-step intros once Magic arrived. He weighed 11 pounds when he arrived–and Seren never tipped the scales at more than 7 pounds. So from the very beginning, Magic was taught that “Seren is the BOSS…don’t care if she started it, she is the BOSS!” I wrote a case study published in the IAABC Journal about the introduction process that also won writing awards. Even then, Magic inspired my work. And nine years later, he still knows to bow to Seren’s rule.

MagicMeetsSeren

It took 5 months before Seren would willingly come this close to Magic when he was awake. Philly cream cheese helped.

MagicEarsUp

It took a while for the floppy ears to go up. And then it took another while for Magic to grow into the donkey-size appendages.

My first shepherd’s health issues inspired me to write about pet care and health issues. Magic’s joy and delight in everything inspired me to return to fiction-ing.
MagicOfficeMagic has never met a ball or toy or Frisbee he didn’t love. He is all about the PLAY!
MagicFrisbeeDoes your dog find ways to make you laugh? Magic does, constantly!
MagicChickenMagic also has patiently helped me with photos and product reviews. Here he is in the Thundershirt which he’ll be the first to tell you, he does not need. He loves loud noises! (Maybe it’s the puppy-party and treats he gets with each thunder-boom that helps, hmnnnn).
MagicThundershirtMagic had to wait 7 years before he got to sniff cat butt up close and personal! I think Karma-Kat was the best gift he’s ever gotten and the pair of them are inseparable.
Magic-Karma
If you’ve read my fiction, you’ll recognize the character Shadow patterned after Magic as a youngster. I wrote the first book LOST AND FOUND using the name “Magic” and then changed it once the book was finished.  Here’s Magic and Seren celebrating the arrival of my debut thriller (the old cover featured one of Magic’s doggy relatives…)
Magic-Seren-BooksMy boy does love his “treats” and especially people food. He’s cleaning up the last of the yogurt.
MagicYogurt
Writing fiction is addictive. When it includes pets, it’s joyful. Magic again inspired some of the scenes in our play STRAYS, THE MUSICAL–and helped us promote it by serving as a model. GOOD dog!
MagicStrays

MagicKarmaI took this picture (below) about an hour ago. There’s more white in his muzzle now, and he’s a wee bit calmer. But Magic will still play Frisbee-Fetch forever, if you let him, still loves games of hose-tag, adores his BFF Karma-Kat, can’t wait to play and hang out with me and my husband–

He’s the perfect dog. And I am so grateful, and hope that he has many more healthy years ahead. Today, we’re spending lots of playtime together, and (shhhh! lotsa treats!). We’uns got lots more stuff to do together!
Magic-9-bdayI love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me onFacebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!