Cat News, Mews and Remembering Nellie

Cat News, Mews and Remembering Nellie

We were saddened by the death of one of our dearest blog friends on Good Friday. The sweet and sassy Siamese gal, Nellie from Nellie On The Edge will be sorely missed. If you haven’t already done so, please stop  by and leave a comment of comfort. Our Merlin and Nellie were briefly married last spring and Nellie was about to celebrate her 19th birthday in May. I expect a huge welcome from her many OTRB friends. Nellie was always the belle of any ball and a fearless flirt. The cat blogosphere is like a large extended family where we care and show support when one of our tribe is ill or dies. Nellie was one of our earliest blog pals and I’m still in shock from so many losses over the past year. Her death is a painful reminder that it will soon be one year since Merlin died.

This spring is a bittersweet mix of hope, renewal and nostalgia. It’s with the awareness of the circle of life, that I created a round memorial graphic for Nellie Bellie aka Queen Penelope. Long may she reign in heaven.

remembering Nellie

Spring has finally sprung and that means blooming. The drab palette of winter is quickly turning technicolor and while flowers are a passion to photograph, so are our cats. Since I’ve hijacked their blog today, I’ll let them take over.

ODIN and his Easter bonnet. The hand knitted hat is from Kitten Lidz who donate proceeds to the Brooklyn TNR group Bushwick Cats See more cute hats on IG.  Most cats hate wearing hats that squish their ears but the Kitten Lidz leave their ears exposed for hearing. But all hats, clothing, costumes and accessories must be worn supervised. Odin is a wild and natural boy and only worse his hat for 30 seconds.

“Damn straight I’m a wild. I caught a nice big Easter bunny for you, mom but nooooo, you didn’t want it so I had to eat it. What did you give me for Easter?  A froo froo hat with a frickin’ bird on it.  Maybe a girly girl might like it but not me.

I dare you to say I look cute!


Ah, that’s more like it! Free to be me. One wild and sexy beast. It was suddenly crazy summer hot on Easter and Domino and I lounged on the porch. I practiced a few yoga asanas.


We have a gazillion new photos but the human needs some sleep. Suffice to say, us cats are happy with the warmer weather.

Domino: I’m a creature of habit. It’s good to be lounging on my favorite wicker chair on the porch. It’s the same chair since I arrived 13 years ago. They swapped out the old cushion but I don’t mind dirty and ratty.

Clyde: Speak for yourself. You’re an old ex-feral while I’m used to the finer things. I like nice linen and I’m super fussy about clean bowls with bottled water. No tap water for me.

Nou Nou: You boys are silly. I have no interest to sit on a dirty old chair outside since I discovered your heating pad, Domino. Ha, Odin and I have been time-sharing it. And I’ve learned a new trick. Standing on my dad’s chest while he’s sleeping. I don’t meow to wake him up but after a few minutes, he wakes up and feeds me. It’s like magic.

Merlin: Did someone say magic? What’s more magical than an immortal cat.

Have a good week dear ones, from all of us. May you find some unexpected magic. If it doesn’t find you, create it.

Cats in boxes

C & W Rustic Hollow: Field Of Dreams Cat Heaven

C & W Rustic Hollow: Field Of Dreams Cat Heaven.

Today’s guest post is by Ellen Beck. Her guest post about her feral black cat Punchy inspired me to create Black Cats Tell All, our nonprofit book and black cat awareness cause.

Of the thousands of shelters and rescues in the U.S., a few exceptional ones stand out like Cat House on the KingsBest Friends Animal Society or North Shore Animal League. They are well-funded media darlings with celebrity klout but there are other less famous and exceptional havens for cats. We’re shining the light on one deserving shelter with a magical touch.

Is This Heaven? No, This is Iowa! Much like the Field of Dreams, there is a place, nestled on 90 acres that for some lucky cats are what would be considered heaven. It is located outside a small sleepy town best known for a song “Church in The Wildwood” near Nashua , Iowa. C& W Rustic Hollow as it came to be known, started much by accident. Carmen Linda Conklin & Wanda L. Orric had moved back to the Conklin family farm to care for Carmen’s parents. They built a small log cabin on site, and for eleven years took care of her folks.

C & W rustic hollow

In the late 80’s they began the first step towards building cat sanctuary by converting the 1913 family barn into the Kat Barn, and then Carmen’s childhood home, now Kitty Kottage. C & W for Carmen and Wanda, continued their kitty field of dreams for special needs cats no one wanted. In 2004, 2007 and 2009 more buildings were added. Each building has air conditioning, catios, special places for those cats who wish to lounge about to do so.




There are over 300 cats there at any given time.

I had the pleasure of visiting C & W recently. On that day they were holding a low cost spay/neuter clinic, and as each came out from their procedure, there were ‘kitty kuddlers’ to hold and keep the kitties comfortable while they came out of sedation. Carmen and Wanda believe that to control and benefit the cat population, that spay and neuter is the answer, and it has been proven to be true. From housecats to barn cats they serve them all but those kitties are visitors, with humans or colony caretakers picking them up later.

kitty cuddler

C & W has veterinarians,  vet techs and volunteers who care deeply and passionately about the care and welfare of each and every cat that comes through their doors.

c & w Rustic Hollow_shelter

The most striking difference between most shelters and C & W is that the cats who live there are not up for adoption. This kitty heaven is their forever home.

Cats in boxes

The cats come in every hue, color, and condition. There are cats who are elderly, blind, those with medical conditions, those with FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and those with FelV (feline leukemia).

Some cats that are sponsored. One example of sponsored cats is best seen at The Sandra McIntire Building, named after Sandra McIntire to house her own cats when she learned she was dying of cancer. Her cats share the building now with other cats, often watching videos on TV or doing what cats do best, lounging about.

bird Tv _cat shelter

As you walk about the C & W Rustic Hollow buildings, you can tell these cats are loved. They wander up and want to be petted. Some insist on being held, and hug as they purr into your ear. It is hard to leave the buildings, and in each one, the cats pull at your heartstrings.

c & w rustic hollow shelter

Food bowls are full, water dishes sparkling, cat boxes clean, this is not a warehouse, these cats are cherished for who they are. Volunteers are smiling, visitors are treated like friends, and the cats treated like the royal animals they are.

stairway to heaven_c & W rustic hollow shelter

The cats are cage free, although some are in partitioned area for their safety such as the blind or those who need a quieter area. C & W is a 5013C and is supported solely by donations, sponsorships of the resident felines, grants & estate giving. They also also conduct fund raisers each year. All sponsorships & donations go directly to the daily care of the felines in residence. Recently they had an open house, and sold items at their store in town as well. Many of the cats are sponsored throughout their lives by the same person, others by many coming together.

It takes work and dedication and these folks are doing a wonderful job at providing homes for special needs cats that in many cases would not have otherwise had a life. There are many residents there, but anyone who visits will be ‘picked’ by the cats to be loved on.

Each and every cat has a name, a personality, and is loved, and really what is life about but loving and being loved until the very end.

Thank you to Carmen, Wanda, all the volunteers and of course the cats. To borrow again from the Field of Dreams ” If you believe the impossible, the incredible can come true.” and it has again in a small town in Iowa doing incredible things.

To learn more about C & W Rustic Hollow, visit /

or visit them at their Facebook Page

The shelter will rehome or find homes for some cats but they live in foster homes and not at the shelter.

The nonprofit relies on monetary donations and a wish list of needed items.

Photos courtesy of the Rustic Hollow Facebook page by folks who love the cats!

Heaven’s Newest Star: RIP Sparkle Cat

Cat bloggers are tight knit community and when one cat dies, we all mourn. One of the original cat bloggers and brightest star, Sparkle Cat died suddenly yesterday in Los Angeles. Janiss Garza her cat mom and assistant allowed Sparkle all the limelight to shine her wit and wisdom for over 11 years. While I never met Sparkle in person, I’ve meet her mom a few times and know what a kind heart she has and can only imagine the heartbreak of this deep loss. The beautiful and soulful Somali named aptly Sparkle, touched cat lovers around the globe and will be sorely missed. I’ll miss her distinctively sassy comments, usually the first ones here daily. The Sparkle Cat blog will continue with a new Somali named Summer is arriving soon, but it is the end of an era and a milestone in blogging history. Thankfully Sparkle leaves a rich legacy of books, blog posts and images to inspire for years to come.

Merlin, Domino, Odin and Angel Gris Gris send their biggest mancat purrs of condolence.

If you’d like to share your condolences, please visit Sparkle Cat 

I made this tribute in Sparkle Cat’s honor. It’s how I see her, a star continuing to brighten lives from the great beyond. R.I.P. Requiescat in pace.

 Sparkle Cat RIP