Two kitties and a guitar case

My teenage daughter foolishly left her soft guitar case open on the floor in our hallway. Before long, her tortoiseshell kitty, Tabitha, came across it. With a few circles and kneading of paws she took possession, purring loudly at the pleasure of such a find.


Tabitha makes the discovery

It wasn’t long before Ancient Albert, our precious nearly twenty-two-year-old boy ambled past on his aged and unsteady legs. Tabby hissed defensively, as thirteen-year-old torties are prone to do, but to no avail. Soon there were two cats in the guitar case. There wasn’t a lot of room for two cats to sleep comfortably.

Not quite enough room for two cats

Not quite enough room for two cats

The inevitable happened—Albert evicted Tabitha and had it all to himself. I’ve noticed my female cats inevitably concede to the males when it comes to possession of comfy sleeping spots and desirable food.

Albert has the guitar case all to himself

Albert has the guitar case all to himself

Eventually Tabby gracefully admitted defeat gracefully and went and found herself a box of paper—printouts of my work-in-progress.

Tabby squeezes into a box

Tabby squeezes into a box

Albert enjoyed sole possession of the guitar case until he wandered off and found himself an even better bed—my daughter’s large velvet-lined guitar case. Much more spacious and comfortable!

Albert finds himself an even better guitar case

Albert finds himself an even better guitar case

When daughter complained about cat fur in her guitar case did I have pity on her? A little. I know I should have removed the kitties, rather than laughing and taking snaps with my iPhone. But since then neither I—nor the cats—have noticed any guitar cases left lying around the house!


Reinventing Rose is on special at Amazon for just $US0.99 from 1 through 5 May, 2013 as part of the Book Lovers Buffet. There are loads of other wonderful books across all romance genres on sale, too.

KandyShepherd_ReinventingRose800Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction. Her new release is the contemporary women’s fiction (aka chicklit!) Reinventing Rose, where there are two kitty characters.

Kandy’s romances include The Castaway Bride, Something About JoeLove is a Four-Legged Word and Home Is Where the Bark Is.

Ancient Albert comes of age

Happy 21st Birthday, Albert!

My precious cat Albert turned 21 on & July. We rejoice every day that he is still with us, enriching our lives with his feline presence. It’s been a long journey for Albert. He was born in London, England and transported to Australia (his only crime being we loved him so much we couldn’t bear to be parted from him!)

Ancient Albert on his favorite cushion in front of the heater. Albert is a Burmilla.

Looking after a cat this age can be demanding. His senses aren’t what they were so he has to be fed carefully, helped with grooming and taken regularly to the vet. Most of all he is loved, loved, loved.

Looks uncomfortable, doesn’t it? Not for Albert. He spent ages here snoozing happily on my husband’s legs.

Albert has a big personality and has endeared himself to many people in his twenty-one years (which translates to well over a hundred in human years.) It’s sad to see him getting so frail, but he is clinging tenaciously to life and demanding very vocally that his needs be met.

Albert convinces my daughter he is much more worthy of attention than that pesky keyboard.

We are all his adoring slaves!

Update on Ancient Albert

I sometimes wonder what a nearly 21-year-old cat dreams about.

Ancient Albert dreaming

My darling Albert looked so content and happy when I took this snap of him on the sofa. In a deep sleep, his head was tucked on his paw, ears and paws occasionally twitching. Memories of long ago mouse hunts? Meals? Who knows? His waking time revolves around wailing for food, nibbling at food, turning his nose up at food that he deems unsatisfactory, sometimes needing to be fed by hand (and I mean literally from the palm of our hands) and snuggling with his humans at any opportunity. Always a sociable cat, he totters down the hallway to greet visitors, still wanting to know what’s going on, still wanting them to make a fuss of him. So maybe he’s dreaming about food and parties!

It isn’t just us who looks after him. Our younger cat Tabitha–well, relatively young at age 12!–looks after him too, grooming him and letting him eat first. So sweet to see them together.

Tabitha (behind him) keeps him company

As the weather cools Down Under, Albert needs to keep his frail bones warm and loves nothing better than baking under the wood combustion heater. It gets hot under there and he eventually comes out for fresh air and a drink. He’s done it for years–so do the others–and it doesn’t seem to harm him though the vet is horrified to hear it.

Can you sport a cat under the old wood combustions stove at our farm?

There he is, baking his bones!

And when the fire dies down at night, he finds his favorite spot of all, snuggled under the covers with us. (My husband, who never had a cat in his life until he met me is unfailingly loving and patient with Albert. I never write a hero who doesn’t love animals–no wonder when my own real-life hero is so wonderful with them!)

Love that cat!

PS. People often ask me where I got the feather-embroidered pillow in the top photo. I got it online at Lands End, sadly they don’t have it any more.

My 20-year-old kitty

The day after I got back from the Romance Writers of America Conference in New York City, my precious Albert turned twenty–that’s well over a hundred in cat years. My heart lifted when I saw him tottering down the hall to greet me on his increasingly shaky legs.

Is she awake yet? It's breakfast time!

People ask me how we got him to this venerable age. The vet says a strong constitution and lots of loving care. I add another reason: he has always been very vocal in letting us know his needs (see pic of him in alarm clock mode). In short: non-stop meowing until he demands are met! We sometimes say that if he could talk and people asked him his name he would reply: “My name is Shut-up Albert.”

I am  grateful to have had this special animal with me for this long and continue to cherish every moment–yes, even when he’s yowling!

Snug on his 20th birthday

Four-legged friendship

Yesterday, within the space of two hours, I was knocked down by one of life’s lows and then lifted right up again by one of its highs..

Kira and her brother Albert - she's in front

Kira and her brother Albert - she's in front


First the low. I brought my sweet, smart, nearly 18-years-old cat Kira home from the vet, knowing I was bringing her home to die. Even at her advanced age, she’s very sprightly, when she suddenly seemed frail I knew something was wrong. The vet said her lungs had nearly filled with fluid and it was amazing she was still alive. After an overnight stay that involved draining the fluid, some time in an oxygen box and a spell on a drip she seemed her old self again, demanding very vocally to come home. But the diagnosis is cancer and it’s only a matter of days before the lungs fill again and I have to take her back to the vet for her last visit… All I can do is cherish her and make her last days comfortable. Eighteen years is a long time to share with a little four-legged friend. I’ve had her since she was a kitten and will miss her terribly. I know I’m lucky to have had her for as long as I have – and happily I still have her brother. I won’t blog when she passes, I’ll be too heartbroken…

My little old lady

My little old lady

Now the high. My darling Kira was lying purring in the sun in the courtyard when a delivery came. My author copies of Love is a Four-Legged Word! The book is awesome, the pink foil on the cover a surprise and a lovely quote from best-selling author Julie James praising my book as “A delicious, fast-paced read.” Thank you Julie and thank you Berkley for such a beautifully designed book. And thanks to the delivery man for bringing that box of books at just the right time.

WHAT I’M READING NOW: Touched by the Devil by John Clarke & Andy Shea. Some research into the mind of a psychopath, to help give authenticity to a villain I am creating. This is a chilling book but very useful to a writer.