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Lexie Lee 2004–2014

I need a happy ending. I need a break from hurricane talk! Hurricane Irma, eye wall, devastation, Cat 5, path, hurricane force winds, evacuation, animals, storm shutters, batteries, canned food, water, gasoline shortage, price gouging…………… As Hurricane Irma comes closer to Florida, I am reminded of the impact of previous hurricanes on a cat and me. Is it possible to have a happy ending? So into the archives I went.

In September of 2004, a stray cat hung around my tropical backyard after back to back Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne. Sometimes the cat drank out of the pool or slept on a patio chair. I suspected she was displaced by one of the hurricanes, and I wondered what the beautiful Maine Coon mix had endured. Besides missing her bushy tail, her left ear was tipped. I asked around, but no one knew anything about the most likely feral animal. Whenever the cat heard me, she ran. Months passed, but I only caught glimpses.

Then in the summer of 2005, the cat appeared on my property daily. First, I set out a bowl of water.  Water led to leaving food out. Then I sat quietly by the pool and talked to her. After several weeks, the cat jumped into my lap and let me pet her. She was on a mission, and she had captivated me. One night I coaxed the stray into the house. The first attempts were nothing more than the cat coming in and running outside quickly. Gradually, the house visits were extended to a few minutes before departing.  When I moved the food inside, the cat stayed longer. The cat cautiously explored the three levels of the house over several weeks. We were slowly bonding. What I didn’t expect was that our bond was going to be tested by another hurricane.

In October of 2005, I had to make storm preparations for Hurricane Wilma’s visit. While the cat was in the kitchen finishing her breakfast, I ran up the lower level stairs. When she heard me hit the top step and saw my black shoes, I frightened her. She bolted out a weakly latched back door and vanished!

The neighborhood was buzzing with sounds of power tools installing hurricane protection. She was highly sensitive to noises. I was frantic and could not believe she had escaped the day before the storm. My efforts to find her were futile. She did not come back to the house in the evening at the usual feeding time. The unrecognizable patio had been stripped of every table, chair, pot, and plant, and the house was shuttered.

Hurricane Wilma hammered us the following day. I could not stop thinking about the cat and wondering where she was. I prayed for her safety. My neighbors saw her clinging to a tree during the storm, but they had not seen her in the aftermath. I could not imagine her hanging onto a limb during the powerful winds and surviving. Two days later, as I cleaned leaves out of the pool, my dear sweet kitty emerged from the landscaping. I was stunned. I scooped her up in my arms and carried her to the house. Thankfully, she was unharmed.

My stray hurricane cat was still nameless. After the cat survived the storm, she had me! Having recently read True Believer by Nicholas Sparks, I was intrigued with the librarian’s name, Lexie. I learned Lexie was of Greek origin and was the feminine form of Alexander. It meant defender or helper of mankind. Well, the cat had certainly been defending my backyard for a long time. She also helped me complete the grieving process for my cat friend Katarina. Maybe I was on to something!

All my previous cats had been named singular names like Noelle, Tatianna, Taittinger, Marnie and Katarina. I wanted a unique two-part name and added Lee. The two names were lively and suited the stray cat’s personality. It was also fun to shorten Lexie Lee to Lex.  So Lexie Lee settled into exclusive indoor living quite naturally after clinging to a tree during ferocious winds and being blown into my yard not once but twice. We were blessed to share an extraordinary bond for ten years.

The above story was published in the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University Catnip Newsletter in January 2010, and I adapted it for this blog

Blessings!

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On one of my farm vacations, I watched Boots explore a hay field during mid morning. He was hunting for field mice, playing with the other kitties and poking around at the bottom of a hay bale. All of a sudden he leaped on top of it. I was fortunate to snap this action shot. I never knew what captured his attention. Later I created a haiku and discovered the joy of a photograph prompt.

Hang on Boots

Morning mission hunt

Prowling cat in alfalfa—

Hay bale distraction

Photograph and poem originally published in “Summer laJoie 2016”

Blessings!

NationalPoetryMonth_download

In celebration of National Poetry Month, today’s feature “Morning Visitor” is a cat poem I wrote after my beloved Lexie Lee’s passing in 2014. She was a feral who found her way to my home in 2004. She bravely survived hurricanes and fought lymphoma.

Morning Visitor

Unexplained lightness on bed
One week after your passing
Spot where you use to snuggle.

Did you return to your beloved home?
Is this the sign I asked you to send?
A sign that you are safe.

My life is so different without you
My life is so rich because of you
Ten years my fur baby, my muse.

Unexplained lightness on bed again
Ten days after your passing
I whisper Lexie Lee.

I turn over to look at you
Lightness is gone in an instant
But you are forever safe in my heart.

My welcome home greeter
My napping buddy and lap kitty
My kindred spirit.

“Morning Visitor” ©2014 Linda A. Mohr

This poem won Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion in Poetry category in 2016.

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Lexie Lee

Blessings!

Dawnie

Dawnie

 

This month’s Catnip Connection is a four year anniversary tribute to Dawnie who passed over to Rainbow Bridge on January 29, 2013. I got acquainted with Dawnie in the award-winning Catsong book written by my friend T. J. Banks. Dawnie and T. J.’s lives mirrored one another as conveyed in this passage: “We’ve both experienced motherhood, love and loss and struggled our way through that last one. When she comes to me now and walks over my work, demanding a head-scritch, or snuggles under the blankets next to me, purring, I can’t help smiling to myself, no matter what kind of day it has been.”

My experience is some animal bonds are formed deep and strong and touch each other’s soul. T. J. echoes this feeling in Catsong: “Chemistry–kindred spirits, soul mates, call it what you will–is a funny thing. There’s no dictating it. Somehow two souls knit together and stay knitted together, no matter what. Even death cannot undo those ethereal skeins.” I believe she developed such a bond with Dawnie. I love how she recently described their relationship as “titanium steel strong”.

 

Tribute to Dawnie
By Linda A. Mohr

You were my heart
A titanium steel strong soul connection.
You were my Dawnreader, my Dawnstar
My beautiful red Abyssinian.

Twelve and a half years
You graced the circle of my life.
Four thousand five hundred sixty-two days
Blessed scritch and snuggle time.

You taught me about heart matters,
How to take heart and
How to endure my heart
Being broken wide open.

You taught me to trust in time
Good things can root in a broken heart
Like hope, faith and joy.
Especially joy.

My dear Dawnreader
Forever in my heart
Forever my joyful connection
Forever more, my Dawnstar.

 

Credits
Dawnie’s portrait by artist Sally Logue
Catsong by T. J. Banks, stanzas three and four adaptation

Warm Purrs!

If you only say one prayer in a day, make it ‘thank you’.

~ Rumi

 

My Bedroom Farm View

My Bedroom Farm View

In keeping with my annual Thanksgiving month tradition, here is my 2016 ABCs of Gratitude list. My list is a culmination of the year. But gratitude is a daily ritual. Before I get out of bed each morning, I acknowledge one blessing. I do the same at the end of the day. I’ve discovered that I can’t be in gratitude and be unhappy.

Wayne Dyer believed that if you get to a place of gratitude you will experience peace. Be in a state of gratitude for everything because there is something to learn in everything. Be grateful even for the pain because there are lessons to be learned from it. According to Ingrid King gratitude is a wonderful way to raise your vibration and shift your energy. The vibration of gratitude is a powerful force. It can shift your mood and your thoughts from a place of scarcity to a place of abundance.

Anthology Essay…Finding Our Wings

Blanco…poetry mentor

Country View…soothing and peaceful

DAR…8th year of membership

eBay…top rated seller plus

eBay--Grandma's Flower Garden

eBay–Grandma’s Flower Garden Quilt

Felines…FL house & MO farm

Girlfriends…special luncheons

Health Essay…state DAR winner

Inn…Veranda House at Rhinebeck

Joe…unwavering life partner

Angus on Guard

Angus on Guard

Kravis Center…Bridges of Madison County

Laundry Room Renovation… stackables

Muse Medallion…Lexie Lee poem

Ninth Anniversary…Tatianna book

Omega Institute…life-altering

My Cabin & Writing Retreat

My Cabin & Writing Retreat at Omega

Physical Therapist…Dr. Adam’s amazing results

Quincy Airport…easy peasy

Retreat Speaker…female veterans

Sweet Peas…blooming in MO in November

Sweet Peas in November

Sweet Peas in November

Tai Chi…class 2 minutes from house

Universe…providing healing energy and hope

Vacations…NY, AZ, OR & MO (3 times)

Rhinebeck, NY

Rhinecliff, NY

Weinberg…healthy spine

X-rays…digital accuracy

Yoga…every Thursday

Zebra sweater…thrift store find

What are you thankful for–today and this year?

Blessings!

 

 

 

tatianna_coverDo cat books have nine lives? What I know for sure is Tatianna–Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend published on October 29, 2007 does! Does award-winning cover art showcasing the beautiful watercolor work of Drew Strouble continue to be appreciated? His website featuring Tatianna artwork as well as other incredible feline portraits speaks for itself!

If you are looking for a book for the cat enthusiast on your holiday shopping list, this autographed book is one to consider.  I love to give and receive books for Christmas and always have several titles on my wish list. I will autograph the Tatianna book and provide complimentary gift wrapping and shipping. Both hard and soft cover editions are available. Hardcover books are $23.95 and soft cover books are $13.95. Please email me at lindamohr7@bellsouth.net with questions or to arrange a purchase.

I want to thank all my readers and followers for their support, recommendations, reviews, and referrals the past nine years. Many specialty shops have kindly carried the book. I appreciate the bloggers and radio personalities who have interviewed me and the libraries who have invited me to speak.

The Tatianna book is the winner of the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award in 2008 plus six other awards. The Merial award is judged on the Cat Writers’ Association entry that best reflects and promotes the strengthening of the human-animal bond, highlighting the bond between a cat and owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian as another direct caregiver. Visit Linda Mohr for further information.

Tatianna continues to work her magic as evidenced by your support and generosity. As stated on Tatianna’s jacket cover, “I feel connected to the faithful Tatianna who has never left my side—she is simply in another dimension.”

Thank you.

Blessings!

 

What do costumes, candy, candles, cords, and commotion have in common? All are potential hazards for your cats during the Halloween season.

Costumes: Dressing your cat as Snow White may be enjoyed more by you than your pal. Keep in mind that the costume should in no way constrict movement, seeing, hearing, breathing, or meowing. Check for dangling pieces that may be chewed off and swallowed. It should be non-toxic and non-flammable. Simple costumes like a t-shirt or hat are best. Consider doing a dress rehearsal. If the cat resists being put in the attire or tries to tear it off, forget it. Your cat should always be supervised if dressed in a costume. Your witch outfit may spook your cat. A dress rehearsal may also help your cat get accustomed to the disguise.

assorted colorful candies

Candy: Halloween candy should be kept in the cupboard or in covered containers. The shiny wrappers are interesting to cats. I have to select a high cupboard out of the reach of Chauncey as he chews through any package left in sight or paw’s reach within minutes. He also knows how to open the pantry door, so that is off-limits for the candy stash. Contact your veterinarian or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888)426-4435 if your cat gets into candy that is chocolate or is sugar-free and contains xylitol. Foil wrappers may cause an intestinal obstruction if ingested.

cat-sniffing-candle-190x190

Candles: This time of the year we love the aroma of apple spice and pumpkin harvest candles. Candles light our jack-o’-lanterns. Cats are drawn to candles like moths to a porch light. Curious cats can knock over pumpkins and candles and start a fire or get burned. Cats may get singed when they swish their tail through the flame or get too close with their whiskers. Never leave candles and cats alone–even if you think the candles are out of reach. They probably are not. Since flameless candles are available in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and aromas, I have replaced traditional candles with flameless candles.

Photo Credit Donna Donald

Photo Credit Donna Donald

Cords: Halloween decorations with wires and cords should be kept out of the reach of your cats to avoid cuts and burns or electrocution. Dangling, snake-like, and thin cords attract a cat’s attention. These are just the kind of cords you will find on Halloween lights. Cats can also be strangled if caught up in a jumble of tangled cords. Take time to tape, wind up, or hide cords. Use cord protectors. Unplug lights when not in use. Whenever the routine changes, Chauncey and Grace take notice. Earlier this month when I decorated the Halloween tree, they wanted to be in the middle of the lights and ornaments.

witch in scary halloween concept

Commotion: Ringing door bells, frequent knocking, strange voices, and masquerades can scare cats. Changing the home to accommodate holiday decorations is disturbing. Consider moving your cats to a safe haven during trick-or-treat time or a party. If you have house guests, let them know about the off-limits room or put a sign on it. I take Grace and Chauncey to the master suite a half hour before I expect the first goblins at my door. I set up extra food along with a couple of their favorite toys. They are safe and comfortable giving me peace of mind that they will not bolt out of the house when I hand out KitKats.

Halloween can be fun for the whole family. Please take to heart these simple precautions and have a safe Halloween.

Blessings!

Omega Institute Campus

Omega Institute, Rhinebeck NY 

A highlight of summer was attending a poetry workshop at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. This beautiful 200-acre spiritual and educational center in the Hudson Valley has long been on my yearning list.

I wanted some formal training in poetry writing and found Richard Blanco’s weekend workshop–The Poetry of Expression & Connection: What A Poem Can Do for the World. President Barack Obama selected him in 2012 to serve as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, joining the ranks of such luminary poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. He’s published several books which I devoured before the workshop. Richard’s website describes his writings as “possessing a story-rich quality that illuminate the human spirit.” They do that and more and that is why I keep one of his books in my reading basket at all times.

We met Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. Our class was small with twelve students, perfect for a workshop atmosphere. Richard’s approach in writing poetry is using the five senses and having pin point descriptions. Our first assignment was to jot down three things we might write a poem about. I selected London, Grandma’s Table, and Family Farm. Then we chose one and worked on a list of the five senses with five descriptions under each one. The springboard for the poem was set. Each class session we reported back on specific assignments relating to our poem in progress. What was invaluable was hearing the instructor’s remarks to the other students as well as our own.

My Cabin & Writing Retreat

My Cabin & Writing Retreat

In the evenings, I returned to my little cabin in the woods and worked on a poem about my relationship with grandma. One evening when I sat on the porch I heard a rustle and a deer appeared at the corner of the cabin. I am not sure who was more startled! When he saw me almost touch him, he ran off before I could snap a photo. Over a decade ago Sacha, my life coach recommended Omega to me, knowing my soul would be right at home in the simplicity and beauty of this space. It indeed was.

Choosing this poetry instructor, this class topic, and this retreat location was not happenstance. Thank you grand universe for orchestrating this life-altering experience. I will write poetry the rest of my life.

Blessings!

 

Muse Medallion Poetry Category

  Copyright Jerry Thornton

As Labor Day weekend signals the winding down of summer, I reflect on special blessings. I attended the Cat Writers Write Stuff Conference in conjunction with BlogPaws at Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler, Arizona. This AAA Four Diamond resort is an authentic representation of the Gila River Indian Community.

Wild Horse Pass

Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass

CWA’s 22nd Annual Awards Banquet was also part of the conference. Three of my online articles and one poem had received Certificates of Excellence awards and were in contention for MUSE Medallions. The MUSE Medallion is awarded to the entry in each category receiving the highest average score from three independent judges. To become eligible for a MUSE Medallion, each entry must receive an average score of at least 90 and been awarded a Certificate of Excellence. muse2

My poem “The Morning Visitor” was the MUSE Medallion winner in poetry category. This was a bittersweet moment as the poem is about Lexie Lee who bravely fought lymphoma. I felt her spirit as I stood on stage to accept “our” award from Dusty Rainbolt.

Southwest Ceiling Mural

Southwest Ceiling Mural at Wild Horse

 

 

The resort’s website promise that it “offers quiet serenity created by the Native American tribes who found haven here'” was certainly true for me as well. This was a trip to remember!

Blessings!

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September 1 was the publication day for the first serious poem I ever wrote. I was on the family farm in Missouri for vacation in 2012. A strange event happened while I was relaxing in a lounge chair. “The Rocking Chair” (about my mother) will appear in the anthology The Light Within–A Collection of Peace and Prose published by Spiritual Writers Network. A free digital version is available on Amazon for Kindle Unlimited through Monday, Sept. 5. If you are ever interested in an author signed copy, please contact me.

Blessings!

 

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