For Cat Lovers Everywhere
I agreed that was a great idea. We both loved cats (though she loved every animal she ever met), and over our lifetimes we had lots of fodder for cat personalities, from barn cats to house cats to shelter cats. But I was in the middle of the Sleuth Sisters series, so the idea went on the back burner. When my sister died suddenly a few months later, I promised myself, "I'll write at least one crazy cat lady story someday, just for her."
Enter CATS AND CRIMES. My protagonist, Lorilee Riley, has multiple cats, who sometimes help her and sometimes hold her back, but every pet owner understands that.
Cat #1 Bruiser
The first cat mentioned in the story, Bruiser is based on Fred, a muscle-bound tomcat who from time to time deigned to spend a few nights at our house. He showed up and left on his own schedule, and often when we thought he was gone for good, he'd be waiting on the back porch when we got up in the morning.
Bruiser had a bent tail, ratty fur, and lots of extra toes. His voice was a cross between panther and banshee, so we always knew when he wanted something.
Somehow, he figured out what a gun was for, so whenever my husband got ready to do a little hunting, Bruiser was right there, ready to "help" with any game he might bring down. I often laughed to see Hubby disappear into the woods with Bruiser following behind like a hound.
The cat would have fought a buzz saw if it gave him the slightest reason to. One day when he showed up, the tip of one ear was hanging like a flag, torn in some wild struggle with heaven knows what other creature. It dangled for a few days and then was gone. John later found it in his boot...I have no explanation for how that happened.
Bruiser left one day and never returned. He might have met his match in the wild, but his legend lives on in Cats and Crimes. Like Jeremiah Johnson, he might be out there still.