Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cats and Books

I know I'm not alone when I say that I love CATS and I love BOOKS. I loved cats first, since I couldn't yet read when I was a toddler who already loved cats, as evidenced by a picture of me in a sun-suit taking some of my first steps with a cat winding around my little legs. I grew up on a farm in eastern Pennsylvania where it wasn't unusual to see up to seventeen cats at a time eating from food dishes outside the kitchen door under the maple tree. We didn't know where all the mama cats came from who had kittens in the hay loft of our barn. I never got close to the skittish mamas, but I worked patiently until I tamed the kittens from each litter and became their best friend - that is, when I wasn't reading a book.

Have you noticed lately how many cozy mysteries have cats on the cover? Cats and cozies go together well, perhaps because cats can look so very cozy just about anywhere. Obviously, there are tons of cat-loving readers who have contributed to the success of cat-centered cozy mysteries. Some of my favorite fictional cats are Chablis, Syrah, and Merlot of Leann Sweeney's Cats in Trouble mysteries and Diesel of Miranda James' Cat in the Stacks mysteries. I'm prejudiced because Leann and Miranda (aka Dean) are dear friends who have been in my critique group for many years and who have both become New York Times best-selling authors. Thanks to Leann, I met my agent who urged me to write my new Bad Luck Cat series to be published by Berkley beginning in 2015. So now I'm enjoying my new feline friend, Hitchcock, the purported Bad Luck Cat, and I'm having great fun writing about him.

This morning I was wrapping a birthday gift for our five-year-old grandson (a gift which includes books, of course). My cat appeared at my feet within seconds of me pulling out the ribbon. How did she know I was working with ribbon? Does she know the sound of that particular drawer opening means ribbon is about to appear the way she knows the sound of me picking up a can of tuna as opposed to picking up any other canned food in the pantry? Cats are smart, and curious, and cautious. Nothing escapes their attention. They can squish into places they ought not be. They play with objects that aren't meant to be toys. They're dare-devils and fast runners. It's no wonder that cats make great sidekicks for amateur sleuth protagonists.

The combination of a warm purring cat nestled in my lap while I read a cozy cat mystery can't be beat. I love to immerse myself in a fictional world and forget, for a little while, all of life's little problems. Which is why I will always surround myself with cats and books, keeping them close.

Mystery author Kay Finch is currently writing her new Bad Luck cat Mystery series set in the Texas Hill Country. Her Klutter Killer mystery, Relative Chaos, features a professional organizer who finds a dead body in a hoarder's garage. Kay lives in a Houston, Texas suburb with her husband, two rescue dogs and a cat. Visit her web site at www.kayfinch.com.


  1. Kay, I love cats too. Like you, we always had cats around our house when I was a child, and each one was special. My last cat of 14 years was like a child to me, and I still think about him and how he used to sit next to me on my desk as I wrote. I enjoyed your blog today.

  2. Agree on all counts, Kay. I doubt if there any cozy mystery readers/writers who DON'T love cats. There's something about those eyes and the way they move, the way their tails twitch - like the tension in the early pages before the gun goes off.

  3. Cat Mysteries How cool! We had a cat - Sneakers - for about 14 years. Then when my son got his own place, he got a new car - Paris Channel - and believe me she was as aloof as her name implies!!!

  4. Hmmm. And here I was thinking all along that my cat was the one plotting my murder. I think it's those eyes - those amber, devious, sinister, eyes that are watching me when I wake up, which is usually with a start, because there's something on my face, restricting my intake of air. And when I open my eyes, there is a little face looking down into my face... and there's a thought bubble over her head that reads, "if you're not dead yet, then perhaps you'd be kind enough to use your opposable thumbs to open me a can of cat food." Or I could just be reading into it.

  5. I know plenty of writers that love and own cats! The magic combination in our house is the cat, the book, and the wood burning stove--and oh, the reader, of course!