cat for sale

This isn’t what I was planning to talk about.

I’d intended to write something uplifting about getting back on track after the COVID-19 derailment that we’ve all be dealing with. 

Then my cat, Sophia, hopped onto my bed.

This blog is designed to give you a little peek into what a writer’s life is actually like. True, lockdown has given you a taste of it. You’ve been working from home while also raising and homeschooling kids and doing housework. You’ve learned the dangers of wearing elastic-waisted pyjama pants to a kitchen office. 

And if you have a cat, you’ve also learned that felines are, without question, the worst colleagues in the world.

They don’t care about us or how hard we’re working. They have no respect for the carefully stacked piles of paper on our desks and they don’t hesitate to stick their bottoms up to the camera when we’re on Zoom calls. 

All of this we can, and do, excuse as charming cat behaviour. 

But last night, Sophia crossed the line. 

Oh, she’s a beautiful looking creature, but the truth is that she’s a demon. My mornings are spent cleaning up the carnage from her previous evening’s killing spree (birds, squirrels, and more shrews and mice than I can count).

And they’re all partially eaten. 

She particularly enjoys the heads although sometimes, rather than eat the head, she simply bites it off and leaves it next to the body. 

She likes to spend her days exploring in the woods behind my house. When she comes in at night she’s full of mud, grass, burrs and even creepy crawlies. I try to catch her and clean her before she runs throughout the house, but last night, I wasn’t so lucky. Before I knew it, she was on my bed. 

It was late. I was tired. I was trying to finish writing a scene for my novel, so I left her there. I should have known better. Within minutes she’d puked up undigested mouse bits on the bed, and on the notes for my novel. And then, as I was running around to clean it up before vomit juice soaked through the bedspread I stepped, barefoot, on a slug that had fallen from her fur.

This, my friends, this is what a writer’s life is like. There’s no lounging on a beach waiting for The Muse to strike, but there is cleaning rodent intestines off your creative work.

I know what you’re thinking. There’s an easy solution to this problem; just keep the cat inside. Oh, would that it were so easy! This cat plays hardball. I have, in fact, tried that approach many times but the result is always the same. To punish me for not bending to her will, she poops on the floor and pees in the laundry basket. 

One of these days I’m going to write a story with anthropomorphized animals. I’ll give you one guess who the villain will be. 

(below: Laura (L) and Sophia (R)) 

About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women