Monday, October 13, 2014

The Story of Otis (and a book giveaway)

by Cathryn Parry

Otis is our neighbor’s cat. He’s a gray-striped tabby of about fourteen, and when he first moved into our neighborhood, he adopted our back porch as both his personal hunting blind and favorite place to hang out and nap.
We were appalled at first—especially my husband, who’s been allergic to cats his entire life. I’ve always loved the idea of pets, in theory (both parents are allergic to animals), but didn’t have much practical experience to judge how I’d like it. Until Otis showed up in our lives.

How could I resist a cat who stood on his hind legs and knocked on our screen door, every single day, just to say hello?

A cat who “talks”—I swear to you he says “Out,” “Hi,” “No,” and “I want to go out.”  If he’s feeling particularly argumentative, we can converse back and forth for awhile until I finally give in and get him what he wanted just because I’m laughing so hard.
A cat who knows how to open sliding screen doors so he can let himself into and out of the house without bothering his humans.

A cat who, like a dog, will follow us down the street and accompany us on walks, although at a respectable distance. He’ll also sit and watch cars go by, and greet us personally every time we return home from wherever it is we’ve been.
A turning point came in our cat-human relationship when my neighbor’s daughter moved back home from college, bringing her new cat with her, an adorable tiger-striped male named Simba that she’d picked up at a rescue shelter in Boston. Otis, however,was outraged. To show his displeasure, he ran away from home, snuck into our house and hid under the bed—he would not budge. And in our bed is now where he sleeps, next to me on the pillow.

Otis wants to go to Scotland
Now, we have a co-cat-parenting arrangement with our neighbor, where we take turns watching the two cat brothers if one or the other of us is out of town. I even gave in and upgraded my cellphone to a smart phone solely for the purpose of texting her about Otis’s schedule.

We love Otis. Interestingly, my husband isn’t allergic to him at all, though he does get a skin reaction when he touches Simba. My theory is that Otis’s fur is different—longer—he seems to be part Maine coon cat.  (Does anyone know if this makes a difference?  Please let me know in the comments!)

Otis was the featured pet in my second Superromance (The Long Way Home), and in each book since then, I’ve written in a different pet who lives in my neighborhood in real life.  I don’t ever do this with people (do not worry, neighbors!).

Scotland for Christmas

Cathryn Parry’s next Superromance is a December release. Scotland for Christmas doesn’t include any pets, alas, because Secret Service agents and graduate business students have hectic schedules.  Cathryn's website is

PS  I have a book to give away.  I'll choose a random name from those entered in this post's comments.  Take care! 


Anonymous said...

Growing up, we fed a neighbor's cat - she was a very skinny grey tabby named Bones. Many of your neighbors also set out food for her, so she could always eat during her travels during the day.And this cat ate a lot to be that skinny.

Colleen C. said...

Oh I love cats... we have some ferals that visit everyday. My sister recently became allergic to cats and her son is allergic to certain dogs... the doctor told her it is not so much the hair, it is the dander they have that people react to.

Cathryn Parry said...

Hi, Tammy...I've always wanted to attach a tiny camera or even a pedometer to Otis, because I suspect he visits people on his rounds and picks up lots of treats. Still, he's skinnier than his housebound brother. :-)

Cathryn Parry said...

Colleen, that's interesting about their dander. I wonder if there's a test available?

Mary Preston said...

My neighbor two doors down has a beautiful black & white cat. Not sure of the breed. He patrols the neighborhood like he owns it. He likes to keep me company while I hang out the washing of a morning.

bn100 said...

Interesting pet

BW said...

Otis sounds like a delightful cat. I cat sit my neighbors cat periodically and I have developed a close relationship with both. However, I am more of a dog person and plan to get another one eventually. I lost my dog last year.

Also, I am allergic to cats too. Not so much short hair cats but definately the long hair ones.

Cathryn Parry said...

Thanks, everyone, for commenting! I've picked a random winner, and it's Tammy. Congrats, Tammy! :-)


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