It was inevitable that I would, eventually, write a book about cats. I adore cats, and I’m not ashamed to admit that my cat is my baby. Whatever some people may say about the feline species, I love that streak of independence. It makes it all the more meaningful when a cat decides to choose you as their person.
It’s not just cats. Much like my character Riley in Learning to Love Cats, I’ve been an animal lover all my life. I grew up on what I guess you could call a hobby farm, one with more than a few similarities to Riley’s orchard in the book. We had cats, dogs, a couple of donkeys, raised and bred rabbits and chickens (although the latter I never did like, and the feeling was mutual), and I went through the stereotypical teenage horse-craze years. Over time, I’ve pared down until I now have my one lone cat. I’m okay with that, because as I’m sure Riley could attest, the farm animals are a crazy amount of work. I don’t miss getting up at seven in the morning, wading through snow and frozen mud, to shovel horse manure. The real test of my love for animals, though, actually involved cats, and not farm critters. I lived with my cousin while she went to school to be a veterinary technician. All we had at the time for her to practice on was our two kittens – and practice she did! Quizzing her on disease, helping her wrap up cats in blankets for ‘examination’, drawing blood at the kitchen table, and finding stool samples in the refrigerator – if you can survive that, you can call yourself an animal lover! (But believe me, the fridge received a very thorough disinfecting!)
I came by my animal obsession naturally, and not just from my cousin. Most of my family is animal crazy, with one notable exception – my dad. He likes some animals, tolerates others, and would rather avoid my cat entirely. It got me thinking, a common issue with writers! What happens when a guy who could care less about having a pet falls in love with someone who sits firmly on the far side of the animal crazy spectrum? Or in the case of Mike and Riley, how does a guy who can’t even keep his nephew’s hamster alive handle a house full of cats? It’s a disaster ready to happen, because cats know when someone doesn’t like them. It’s been my experience that it can then go one of two ways – the cat will either make it a mission in life to become your best friend, or their mission in life to draw as much blood as possible. Either way, you are guaranteed regular tormenting!
It’s a good thing that Mike is a stubborn man and is willing to brave fangs and claws to win his man! I hope you enjoy your time with Mike, Riley, and the cats as much as I did.