Wednesday, October 29, 2014

National Cat Day

Today is National Cat Day. Founded in 2005 by Pet and Family Lifestyle Expert & Animal Welfare Advocate Colleen Paige, the day is meant to celebrate the cats in our lives and encourage their adoption.

What’s National Cat Day without pictures of cats? Here are the two who graced our lives for many years until they moved on to the great playground in the sky. Both were rescues. The black cat was Maleficent (Mally)

and the orange tabby
was Maxwell. We used to refer to them as our Halloween cats. (Seems appropriate for this time of year.)

Cats and other animals abound in cozy mysteries. There are the Pet-Sitter and Pet Rescue Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston, the Cat Who Mysteries by Lillian Jackson Braun, the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mae Brown and a slew of others. I found this list compiled in 2007 on of cat theme mysteries: I’m sure there are a lot of new ones since then.

I love cozies. I read and write them. I’ve heard a lot of people try to explain what makes a mystery a cozy, but I’m not convinced there’s a clear definition. For me, it’s usually a “I know it when I see it” kind of proposition. But most people seem to agree that a cozy doesn’t dwell on violence and has little or no sex in it. The emphasis is on solving the crime and restoring order to the protagonist’s world, something that doesn’t always happen in real life.

Cozies often involve amateur detectives, i.e. ordinary people. I think the reason there are so many cats and other animals in cozies is because these kinds of mysteries are about murder intruding on ordinary people’s everyday lives and animals are a part of that everyday life. Just look at the billions we spend on our pets every year. Yes, billions. The Los Angeles County Library acknowledged the importance of animals in our lives this past summer with their Paws to Read program. If you’re going to write about the average person’s life you’ve got to mention a pet here and there.

My own book, Fatal Brushstroke, is a cozy. In it, computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Rory Anderson discovers the body of her painting teacher in her garden. Well, she’s not the first one to find the body. There's this neighborhood dog: “A fluffy ball of fur named Mitzi was the first to sniff out the intruder, alerting the unsuspecting residents of Seagull Lane to the grim discovery.” Rory may not have a pet of her own, but she comes across a number of them throughout the book as someone would in real life.

Today I’m going to curl up with a cozy mystery and celebrate the cats who've brightened  my life. What about you?

1 comment:

Eileen Goudge said...

Love kitties! Yours look very content. I'm sharing this with my daughter who fosters abandons kittens. She needs to find homes for them.