Kitten Cover Theory

silasPeople in the publishing industry work hard to get book covers right. They consider content, style, tone, theme. Twenty theories about what works exist; if you want to see them all, read the Guardian article that detailed them by googling “Scent of a Kitten.”

For it is theory #20 to which we turn our attention today: “Nothing draws a reader to a book like a picture of a fluffy kitten.”

Indeed. Nothing draws customers, either.

kittens 5Meet Clyde Edgerton (that’s him with his nose in the air on the left) Amy Clark (below) and Silas House (getting a cuddle above). We were going to name the girl Anne River Siddons, but a friend is drafting an Appalachian memoir, and what the hey, the kitten looks like her.

We started naming our foster kittens after books because it was cute and funny–and then we found out that people adopted the li’l darlins faster with literary names. Something to do with them being born in a bookstore–the kittens, not the customers.

And that kitten cover theory thing works; these tiny fluffballs cast the glamor over everyone who sees them, including Jack and me. After a hard day of shelving and basement renovation and customer service, we sit upstairs for fifteen minutes while the fur babies climb all over our legs and stare into our faces and make little “mip” sounds that we think will be mews when they’re older.kittens 6

We were away the weekend the kittens turned two (weeks) which is when they began to leave their soft cave of blankets draped over furniture to explore. Kittens handled for the first time will  exhibit stress and fear, so we told our local shopsitter Wes, and Heather our cleaning lady who lives up the street, not to worry, just please feed mommy Tallulah and we’d take care of socializing the kittens when we got home.

IMG_3520Worry, ha! When we went upstairs to greet them on our return, the kids leaped from their cushioned basket (basket? we didn’t leave a basket and we certainly didn’t weave a satin ribbon ’round one) to clamber into our palms. “Start the elevator!” they all but shouted. “Finger ride; finger ride!”

Jack looked at me over the rim of his glasses as Clyde, the adventurer, attempted to climb into his ear. “I guess we know what went on here over the weekend,” he said. Turns out, between Heather and Wes, a steady stream of guests visited the cathouse. Tsk tsk. We’ll be shut down!

But we understand. Nothing soothes the soul quite like three cherubic kittens romping and frolicing. Lowers the blood pressure.

Clyde, Silas, Amy and their mama will be ready to go to their forever homes in about four weeks…..


The Camel’s Nose Under the Tent

maddy 1This is Maddy, Maddy Prior. She is our newest (and only) foster in the bookstore. Jack and I like rescuing kitties, but over the past summer we looked up one day and found ourselves knee-deep in the little rascals. And their by-products.

Our customers are loyal, kind-hearted people, but we do kinda have to run a business, y’know? So we agreed, once the book touring started, that we would not foster again until we finished. And that we would not get overwhelmed by the need and go nuts.

Then, with one gig to go (tonight at 7 in St. Louis at Left Bank Books, and btw they have an adorable staff cat named Spike) my friend Stacy–curse her except she has the flu so she’s already cursed–started posting Facebook pix of kitties in our overcrowded local shelter.

Jack looked at them, looked at me, and said a really bad word.

So this is Maddy; I pulled her from the shelter Tuesday, and we left for St. Louis Thursday. She’ll be staying with us until someone wants her for life. Once she got a clean bill of health from the lovely Dr. Beth up the road, we let her socialize with our cats, but she really prefers lounging in her own little bed, occasionally rising with a yawn to walk over and down a mouthful of Cat Crunchies before returning to repose.

It’s good that she gets exercise.

I want to get Maddy a good home right away because there are three more kitties (probably about 12 weeks old) in the shelter, a yellow fluffball of incredible intelligence, and twin tortoise shells. All are in danger, as the shelter fills up fast just before Christmas, and right after the Holidays, adoptions screech to a “no money, bad weather” halt. maddy 2

Jack says one cat at a time, this is the camel’s nose under the tent, we can’t save them all. Yes, I know. I saw the look in the fluffball’s eyes as I carried Maddy out of the shelter, felt his little paw try to grab my finger, convince me to take him too.

So I hope someone who’s been looking for a healthy, six-month-old, gorgeous, litter-trained cat who aspires to a life of as little exertion as possible will soon give Maddy a happy home. She has a lot of love and purrs to offer. And so do the cats waiting in the shelter.