Meet the Cats

With the new addition to the Books On My Cat family this year, I thought it would be nice to share a little more here about us. If you’ve been around for a bit, you may have seen the about section, which will soon be updated to coincide with this post! Since you may already know about Boris’s love for books and cheese-flavored snacks, I will try to stick to new information, as well as some more background on our new little girl.

Boris was born in May 2015, but came into my life in November 2015. He originally belonged to the coworker of one of my housemates. The family had a young child and a new baby, and quickly became concerned about the “rough play” the kitten would engage in with the kids. There was also concern about his “constant growling,” although after some investigation we realized they were talking about purring! The family was talking about taking him to a shelter, but instead my friend said that she would find him a home, and that we would foster him in the meantime. He was intended to stay with us for two days, but when it was time to take him to his new home, it was discovered that he absolutely hated being in the car: he cried constantly for the first 30 minutes of a 5 hour drive, before the car was turned around and he was brought back to our apartment. The plan was to search for another suitable home, but at the insistence of our third housemate, and the insistence of Boris, he stayed.

Originally, Boris was intended to be “our” collective cat. We had a rotation of chores related to his care, and all initially vied for his attention. Boris had other ideas. Although we all viewed him as our sweet and lovable boy, very early on into his stay, he began to show clear preference for me. He would happily spend time with any of us, especially if there were snacks to be stolen, but when the snacks were away my lap was the preference, and my feet were clearly the best to sleep on each night. After others had they affections repeatedly rebuffed, most of his care fell to me. The only thing that remained for others to do was to feed him in the morning, as I had the latest work start and he would typically start pestering for food much earlier. Despite the fact that I was not the person to feed him through the week, I was always the one that he woke in the morning when he was ready to eat, clearly marking me as “his person.” We all stayed in the house together for another 3 years, but when I bought a house and moved out, Boris came with me.

One more thing I feel I have to comment on is Boris’s size. You may have guessed this from photos of him with the books, but just to make clear: Yes, Boris is huge. When we first got him at 6 months old, we assumed the family must have been a little off about his age, since he appeared to be nearly full-grown. But then he just kept getting bigger. While his penchant for snack stealing and tricking others into thinking he had not yet been fed was a contributing factor, even at 23 pounds he did not appear to be a particularly fat cat. Perhaps a little fat, but much more noticeably: tall, long, large. Our vet affectionately refers to him as “the puma.”

The new addition to the Books On My Cat family, Minka, is a sassy little calico around the same age as Boris was when I first met him. I know less about her origin: my dad owns a scrap yard, where he found her in mid-July 2019. We do not know for sure where she came from, or when she was born, only that when she was found, she appeared to be too young to be away from her mother. Mother was searched for, but did not return, and no other kittens were found nearby. Our assumption was that she was either abandoned, or perhaps her mother had been hit by a car on one of the busy roads nearby. My dad quickly began to care for her. For several weeks, he brought her back and forth between home to work each day. When my mother insisted that they were not going to be keeping a cat at home, Minka moved into the office building at his scrap yard. The office is not in use as an office, but more of a storage space, with many places for her to climb, explore, and hide.

Minka lived there for several months, visited daily by my dad, brother, and Axel the dog, who soon became her favorite playmate. She seemed mostly happy, but was very attached to anyone who would come to visit her. After some time, my dad decided that it was time for her to have a proper home, where she could get some attention more than an hour or so per day. I was reluctant to take in another cat—Boris is quite independent, and is also a bit of a scaredy-cat. I worried that he would not do well with another cat in the house. After setting up a contingency plan (a potential home in case things did not work our between the cats), I decided to bring Minka home on a trial basis.

Since moving in with us at the end of December, the cats have started to become adjusted to each other. They are not quite friends, but we seem to have passed the point of fights and are moving toward friendly. Minka has also started to show a bit more of her personality. She is very affectionate, and wants to be as close to people as she can. She loves to sit on my lap or feet, and the two have started taking turns with one in each place. She is interested in any food that I may be eating, but is not quite the scavenger that Boris can be. Her favorite thing in the world is to play with her big brother’s tail! Our little girl is still a kitten, so she has a lot to learn from her big brother. He is definitely annoyed with her, but is starting to come around. I am looking forward to seeing this little girl grow up!

Balance and Book Collections

img_2593I have been struggling some with balance lately– particularly the balance between life, work, and leisure. I suppose it is the season where everyone feels like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. I have definitely been feeling that, but I also partially blame the two large trees in my yard… who knew raking could take so much time from the day??

While I am not beating myself up for it, the need to focus on other things has cut into my reading time. I have still been trying to read a bit every day, but I have not been finishing books at my normal pace. I am definitely behind on my goal for books read this year, and am not quite finished with the book that I was planning to post about today! I had hoped the collection of Halloween themed books I had shared throughout October would help me to catch up, but alas here I am, behind again. Rather than skip this week, I thought I would share something a little different.

Last spring when I was traveling, I posted about a small collection of books I’ve collected from the different countries I’ve visited. (You can read about that here, if you’d like.) Similar to that collection, I have also slowly been accumulating books from the US states that I have been to. I cannot quite pinpoint when this collection truly began. The first book I remember seeking out was The Art Forger, when I was in Boston in June of 2018. However, I had at least 2 of these books prior to that, although not exactly intentionally. My intention with this collection is to gather books from each state that also related to that state, whether that is because of a local author or setting/content of the book itself.

Since this is a fairly recent collection that I have started, it does not reflect the number of states that I have actually visited; that number is between 24 and 30, depending on how you count (24 truly visited, 4 borders crossed but not explored, 2 only in airports). I have been making an effort to add on books as I have revisited the states around me, and hope that I can start to catch up to reflect the places that I have been! Anyone else reading a collector of books? How do you differentiate a collection versus other books you have accumulated?

For anyone interested, here is the list of those I have so far:

  • Alaska: Travels in Alaska by John Muir
  • Indiana: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Kentucky: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
  • Louisiana: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
  • Massachusetts: The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro
  • Michigan: Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides
  • Wisconsin: A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O’Nan

Travel Break and Update

img_0184I am a bit behind in my writing, as I just returned from a 10 day trip exploring Mexico! I had the forethought to set up an auto-post while I was gone, but had not yet completed one for this week. It has been a whirlwind since I got home, and I was not able to complete anything new for this week.

BUT

I still wanted to share something for the small number of you that are following this blog (thanks, by the way!).

I have always been interested in travel and seeing new places, which I have always thought matches well with my love of books and exploring new worlds through reading. Up until last summer, most of my travels and exploring had been limited to areas within a reasonable drive from home– while I had not been as many places far from home, I definitely thoroughly explored what there is to see nearby! When I expanded my horizons a bit with some further destinations, I started a new collection: books, of course!

Since Boris is still a bit peeved with me for leaving him with a babysitter, I thought I would share my modest collection of books from the countries that I have visited. The first book in this collection came from Iceland, the Sagas of Icelanders. I also added a short book of Icelandic Fairy Tales from that trip. This fall when I visited Ireland, I added James Joyce’s Dubliners, which I picked up from Books Upstairs in Dublin.

My trip to Mexico added a bit of a challenge– while I would prefer to have purchased a book from a local author, I had some difficulty locating one that was written in English! I opted to go for something a little different this time around– “Matar A Un Ruiseñor,” the Spanish translation of one of my favorites, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I am looking forward to perusing this one, despite my lack of skills in the Spanish language. Maybe this will help me expand my vocabulary a bit?

Welcome!

I am new to blogging, so I thought it best to start out with the basics: Why am I here? I don’t mean to get too keep into that–no meaning of life discussion–but why am I here writing this blog? I guess it’s fairly simple: I love books. I have two main reasons for starting this blog: to share my love of the books I read, and to channel that love of books into something that feels productive to me. Okay, three reasons: I also plan to share some really cute pictures of Boris, my cat.

“Books On My Cat” is something that started on Instagram, mostly by accident. I love to look through book related posts to see who out there was reading the same things as me, which eventually lead to posting some “bookstagram” pictures of my own. I soon realized that my most of my reading pictures had something in common: Boris. I have a favorite spot to read, and Boris has a favorite spot to sit while I read… on my lap, of course. Once I discovered this trend, and added a #BooksOnMyCat tag, I started to get a little more creative in my photos. Instead of waiting until an opportune reading moment, I started adding books into photos when I decided that Boris was being cute. He is a surprisingly tolerant cat, although I will admit that there have been some minor injuries when he has decided that he has had enough of my nonsense.

This blog feels like the right next step in that project. While I will often make word of mouth recommendations, I have not always been consistent in writing reviews or getting my thoughts on a book recorded. This will be my place to do that. My plan for this blog is to post a new review and picture every Wednesday. This is slightly faster than my “usual” reading pace, so while I plan to keep this as current as possible with my reading, I also plan to fill in some of the gaps with previous reads as well as some of my favorite kids and picture books.