Monday, October 13, 2014

Showering with your cat and other bad ideas

Patty here


Tigger-boo was my first feline and being an animal lover in general and a zealous new cat guardian in particular, I wanted to do right by him. I brushed him daily and said, “I LOOOOOVE my little pussy cat” in my sexiest Barry White voice because he seemed to like low tones. I bought him expensive toys that he never played with and a deluxe cat bed that he completely shunned, preferring to sleep with my Westie, Dottie (the tart). He was an inside cat and always smelled of hand lotion from being petted excessively.

And then one day I was having a conversation with a cat-expert acquaintance of mine and mentioned that I never bathed the Boo. She looked at me as if I were Fagin in Dickens's novel Oliver Twist. “That’s bad,” she said. “Really bad.”

I’d committed a faux paw without even knowing it. But errors can be corrected, so I began plotting a sudsy afternoon for the Boo. The kitchen sink didn’t seem like a sanitary place to do the deed, so I opted for the shower. After all, it was made of glass so he wouldn't get claustrophobic and enclosed so he couldn’t escape. And I'd be there to cheer him on. What could go wrong? Cat people everywhere already know the answer. I thought I’d need a blood transfusion when it was all over.



Every writer I know invariably digests negative comments from editorial critiques or reviews while often ignoring positive ones. When I receive critiques on any Work In Progress, I make a practice of listening to the criticism but also writing down every word. Then I put my notebook away and don’t read the comments until the next day. The criticisms are generally more palatable in the bright light of morning and the suggested changes are often more minor than I’d remembered. Plus, there are always encouraging comments I’d failed to hear.

This waiting-until-later tactic is even more essential when you think your manuscript is finished. At this point in the process, many writers stop asking people to read the book because they think it’s perfect. It never is. Attracting an agent and a publisher isn’t easy. If, after several reads by friends, I still have doubts about the manuscript, I send it to others who can and will uncover any additional flaws.

My first book-advance check after polishing the manuscript until it was ready


When I first opened my Twitter account, I was told by social media mavens to follow everybody who followed me. As you can imagine, doing that produced a lot of messages that didn’t interest me much. And the messages I did want to read were difficult to find in my fast-scrolling news feed.

I had pretty much given up on Twitter until recently when a fellow author with over five thousands followers compared to my measly 180, told me if I wanted to maintain my sanity, I needed to download a free app called TweetDeck that would allow me to sort messages into topics like: Showering With Your Pet or Surviving Criticism or whatever. 

So I downloaded the app and with a little bumbling around, I arranged my Tweets into columns by topic. Then I actually had a conversation with a stranger and was able to follow the thread because those notifications were highlighted in a separate column. My Tweeting life has been saved and I feel damn good about it. Next, I will attempt the death-defying trick of scheduling a Tweet to post when I’m in the shower with my cat. ME-OUUWWWW!

TweetDeck Screen Shot



  1. from Jacqueline: I know this will sound a bit rich given my current predicament - arm in a sling, big bump where I once had a clavicle, languishing on the bed because it's the only place I can get comfortable - but isn't showering with your cat REALLY dangerous!!!! At a pet event in San Diego years ago, I watched a demo of bathing a cat - you have to wrap them in a towel - tight - so they can't get you! My advice would be to treat the cat to a spa - let someone else risk lifetime scarring!!!

    1. Now you tell me! The Boo was so docile and cool. Who knew his dark side was so Atila the Hunnish.

  2. Good advice all around. Especially about showering with anything no human.