by Kathleen Costa
& Eileen Watkins
This week we have a review of another pet mystery, Claw & Disorder by Eileen Watkins, and a fun guest post by Eileen with fun facts about cats. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and links to purchase it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.
Claw & Disorder: A Cat Groomer Mystery By Eileen Watkins
“Meow-der, She Purred” —Claw & Disorder
It’s been a little over two years since twenty-something Cassie McGlone escaped a difficult relationship and moved to Chadwick, New Jersey, opening Cassie’s Comfy Cats, a down-to-earth, no uppity frills cat grooming and boarding business. Housed in an older two-story home, the ground floor has grooming stations, a playroom, and several cat condos for the extended stay. Her assistant Sarah Wilcox, a retired high school teacher, is a good friend for listening and offering advice as well as being an invaluable “extra pair of hands.” She’s also been right there along with Cassie’s Bohemian friend Dawn, owner of a health food store, when suspicious deaths of some of her two-legged clients have required a bit of amateur intervention. A bit of romance has entered Cassie’s life, too, in the form of a handsome local veterinarian and jazz fan, Mark Coccia. Life is busy, perilous at times, but it may be the purrfect life she wants.
Claw & Disorder earns 5/5 Cat Conundrums…Entertaining Fun!
Following the recommendation of Philip Russell of Towne Antiques, “…everyone says great things about her,” Gillian Foster arrives at Cassie’s Comfy Cats to scrutinize the facility and determine if it is up to her high standards for her Himalayan purebred. She wasn’t much impressed questioning the limited staff, size of the cat condos, and lack of private facilities, but she’s in need of something immediate. Feeling good about a well-paying, albeit difficult, client, it was easy for Sarah to pull on Cassie’s heart strings over the plight of several cats in the questionable care of seniors Bernice and Chester Tillman. They hope to de-clutter these hoarders’ home and possibly take in a few felines to avoid already overcrowded shelters. Sadly, tragedy entangles Cassie and her friends with queries, anxieties, and multiple murders. Poor Bernice is found asphyxiated, and circumstances make her husband or any one of the cats as a person or “feline” of interest. Poor Mrs. Foster, although excited about her open house showcasing the renovation and design elements, didn’t expect a dead body to become part of the decor. However, someone isn’t done yet.
Meoow! I am allergic to most cats, but I didn’t sneeze once. Eileen Watkins penned a delightful “fur-friendly” cozy with her fifth book in her Cat Groomer Mystery series. I am a newbie, and worried I’d be at a disadvantage, however, she uses the traditional cozy formula I enjoy revisiting just enough background and connections, no spoilers of previous books, to keep me well informed and engaged. The murder mysteries had me guessing whether they’d all be tied together, and although I dismissed some of my early theories, my inner Sherlock was pleased I was on the right track. Eileen’s writing style used a first-person narrative, a favorite, from Cassie’s perspective given me vicarious involvement with the “I-s” and “me-s” and “my-s.” Her use of descriptive language brought the various people, places, and things well into focus, and the realistic banter illustrated the varied personalities and emotions causing me to be completely invested in the story. Excellent read for cozy fans!
No bonuses, unfortunately, at the end of the book. No cat grooming tips or recipes for treats best for two- and four-leggers alike. But, still I enjoyed the tidbits, insights, and information about cats and cat rescues along with some romance, jazz, and enough murder to delight any cozy fan!
Cat Groomer Mystery
The Persian Always Meows Twice (2017)
The Bengal Identity (2018)
Feral Attraction (2018)
Gone, Kitty, Gone (2019)
Claw & Disorder (2021)
Be a Big Eileen Watkins Fan!
Eileen Watkins “specializes in mystery and suspense fiction.” She began her Cat Groomer Mystery series in 2017, and with five books to date, it’s become popular with more than just cat lovers. Under the name E.F. Watkins, she wrote the two-book Quinn Matthews Haunting Mystery worth checking out.
Ten Facts You May Not Know About Cats, Including Yours!
By Eileen Watkins
Claw & Disorder is the fifth book in my Cat Groomer Mystery series. I’ve loved and owned cats for most of my life (never more than two at a time), but to write about a continuing character who works with them professionally, I still needed to do some research.
First, I had to find out if it was possible for someone to make a living strictly by grooming cats! Beyond that, I needed to learn some of the secrets that a cat groomer and animal behaviorist like Cassie would know.
I discovered many facts about our furry feline friends that I did not realize before, and I don’t think most people do. Here are my top ten:
1. You might make a living entirely by grooming cats if you ran a very high-end salon and/or developed a large, loyal clientele among the cat-show crowd. Not wanting to go that route for my series, I decided Cassie would also board a limited number of cats at her shop. This works because…
2. Cats need to be groomed differently from dogs, and pet groomers even learn the techniques separately. Not only are cats usually crankier about being handled by strangers, but their skins are thinner and more elastic, so there’s a greater chance of accidentally injuring them. Some “pet grooming” businesses do not accept cats at all!
3. Also, cats often do not fare well in the same boarding facilities as dogs. Even when they’re kept in a separate area, just smelling dogs nearby or hearing them howl or bark can make cats nervous. They may not eat or sleep well and may come back from their “vacation” more agitated than before. (My character grooms and boards just felines at her shop.)
4. Most cats have two types of fur: a topcoat of thicker “guard hairs” and finer “awn hairs,” and an undercoat of fluffy down hairs. The proportions of these can vary with the breed. The “hairless” Sphynx has a very light covering of only down hairs, while in the Persian both the topcoat and undercoat grow extra-long.
5. The large Maine Coon sports a thick, naturally “shagged” coat designed to protect it from cold and wet weather. This is one of the few breeds that may actually like swimming and being bathed!
6. Cats and dogs have very different body language, which is why it may take them some time to get used to one another. While dogs may enjoy a busy, noisy household, and understand that semi-rough tussling is just good, clean fun, cats don’t like either of those things! Loud noises generally frighten them, and if you play rough, a cat will take you seriously and retaliate with nasty scratches or even bites! In nature, cats are prey as well as predators, and when they feel threatened, they instinctively defend themselves.
7. You may be vegetarian, but don’t try to convert your cat! Even more than dogs, cats need to eat meat as the “lion’s share” of their diet. Raw or canned food is best because it contains water; dehydration can lead to kidney failure. If you must give dry food as even part of your cat’s diet, provide plenty of water on the side. Some felines may prefer to drink from a pet fountain.
8. Rabbits have the reputation, but cats are extremely prolific breeders. One female can produce three or four litters a year, or more than a dozen kittens, and during the same period a free-roaming tomcat can father hundreds. So unless you are a professional breeder, it is crucial to spay or neuter your pet at least by age 5-6 months. This is important even if you keep your cat indoors because both sexes can develop annoying behaviors, such as spraying urine and yowling, once they pass puberty.
9. The best way to control the number of feral or “community” cats in your neighborhood is to trap, neuter, and return (TNR) them to the same area. If they stay on site, their colony will gradually dwindle, and meanwhile, they’ll keep other cats away. If they are removed, though, chances are that a new, fertile colony will just move into the territory.
10. Many unusual breeds have been developed by crossing cats with naturally occurring genetic mutations. These genes may also carry a tendency toward certain ailments, so if you buy an exotic cat, make sure you know its health risks. Some breeders screen more carefully for such issues than others. One new, unusual breed that supposedly comes with no special health problems is the Lykoi, or “werewolf cat.” Its dark hair grows more sparsely around its face and legs to give it a half-human look.
To enter to win a copy of Claw & Disorder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “claw,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 20, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.
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