Bedtime is Party Time for My Cats!

Today I am sharing my column from the Albert Lea Tribune. This blog is in transition and if you are looking for more about Authors and my writing, please visit my website at to view my blog there. Today I feature Author Jessie Chandler who I interviewed about her book Operation Stop Hate, Operation #1. My website will be where I am sharing my writing adventures. This blog will be about whatever hits my heart. Today it is my cats. I hope you enjoy both blogs. At the bottom of there is a place to sign up for my newsletter and to be notified when my site has changed.  Enjoy.

Today’s column:

Natasha and Boris

Natasha and Boris

Do you remember the cartoons and movies where the toys came alive at night after their owners shuffled off to bed? Thoughts of the toy cartoons pass through my mind every once in a while when I think about my shysters, Natasha and Boris, who are our cat babies.

Boris entered our lives first. He was a rescue my daughter found for us. He was approximately seven months old and a pretty laid back guy. He loved to snuggle and wasn’t prone to getting into much of anything. As long as he had a warm body and love he was content.

We spend time visiting our children, and I felt bad that Boris had to live by himself while we were gone. I thought he might get lonely, so we adopted Natasha who is part Siamese. She was not the typical noisy Siamese. In fact, she and Boris had the wimpiest meow ever, and they didn’t use it much. But Natasha changed our household.

In a matter of days she showed us she could get our folding doors open. She could jump through the opening between the kitchen and the porch if we locked her out of the porch. She could open cupboard doors. If she wanted to be petted she would flop sideways down on the floor for us to pet her. Boris watched all of this from the sidelines. He was still content to be a laid back and stay-out-of-trouble cat.

We have had them both about three years now. Natasha is a great teacher. Boris now can open doors and climb in closets. He too has become a jumper and can jump on the highest shelf. Doors are not a problem for him either. And after about six months of watching Natasha take a dive on the floor on her side to be petted, he now does the same thing. We never know what the two of them are going to think of next.

In fact, I have an old chair that is toast, so I let them have an entire chair as a scratching post. This chair also has a hole in the bottom, and Natasha loves crawling in the bottom of the chair when she is teasing Boris. Because he is 17 pounds, he usually can’t crawl under the chair. However, one night he managed to get under the chair and into the hole. The problem he had — he couldn’t get out. I might mention if we haven’t seen the two of them for some time we start looking, because we know they are in trouble and got locked in somewhere. Don’t worry, when we go away we barricade all the closet doors, and we also have child locks on the cupboard doors so they can’t get in and get locked up while we are away.

My thoughts of toys in movies waking in the night, and causing havoc, were brought about by my two cats. Boris and Natasha spend most of the day sleeping. Natasha’s favorite place to sleep while I am watching television in the evening is right in front of my computer screen on the Tivo box so she blocks my view. It doesn’t matter how many times we move her, she goes right back, and she isn’t afraid of noise or water spray. She is fearless.

Boris sleeps in my husband’s arms or anywhere he can find a soft spot. He is not fearless and is easily directed.

The minute I and my husband start our journey to bed for the night they wake up. First they meow so I remember to put food in their bowls even if they have food. They can’t stand a hole in their bowl. It is a crime if I let the bowl show. Then they sit at the door to our bedroom waiting for us to leave the room.

The party begins. The chase goes up the stairs, through our upstairs bedrooms and into the living room. You can hear the stampede going on for hours. Occasionally we hear thumps from jumps or mischief. Once in a while Natasha lets out a curdling meow. The first time we heard it we thought she was dying, but it was only her attacking her play mouse.

In the morning I will find drawers opened, socks from one of the drawers strewn around the room. Rugs will be out of place, the food dish will be showing through the food, blankets will be on the floor and once in a while in their foraging they find an old candy wrapper or some of their toys I have not seen in a long time. Did I mention Natasha hides toys and other things?

As a child, I would always dream I had a secret toy room at the end of the hallway in my grandmother’s house, and the toys would come alive at night. Who knew this many years later part of my dream would come true — only it is my cats that come alive at night and make me smile in the morning while surveying their playtime damage. And for some reason my cats missed this tidbit of wisdom.

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures and cats like authors for the same reasons.” — Robertson Davies


Natasha The Notorious!



I love the shysters that I have created in my Fuchsia Minnesota Series. What many people might not know is that I have two shysters at home, Natasha and Boris. Natasha likes to sneak and get into trouble. From the first day we got her we realized we were had a problem, nothing was safe, because she could unlock the heavy bi-fold door into my porch office. We had to put a hook on the door to keep her out.

Her love of trouble continued in the kitchen when she mastered opening the kitchen cupboard doors. We put heavy Velcro on the doors so she couldn’t open them. One day she got herself into the drawer next to my bed. It isn’t unusual for her to open the door on my closet in the bedroom. In this video it was all the way closed and latched. She already had it open by the time I got the camera out. I was interested in seeing how she had done what she had done a few days earlier. She repeated the act in this video. I am a novice but I hope you enjoy Natasha’s How To Video for her cat friends.


Where Did You Find Your Treasure?

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf published week of January 13, 2015 in the Albert Lea Tribune and Courier Sentinel

I like treasure hunts. Almost every day I seem to be on a treasure hunt in my home. The treasure I am usually hunting is my sweet shyster Natasha.natasha

I have two shysters, but Natasha, who is part Siamese and part something else, gets into more trouble than my 14-pound Boris. Maybe when we named her we were asking for trouble because she does act a little like her namesake Natasha, from the “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” cartoons.

This week while working on the edits for my new book that will be titled “Something About Nothing” after this column, I was reminded by Boris and Natasha, who were helping me edit, that they do not get enough page time from me.

I was reading my columns about Sambo, my beloved pooch who no longer resides in our household. Natasha and Boris took the time to point out by their scratches and their meows that they are often absent from my writing. My granddaughter reminded me that it was time to introduce the shysters into my children’s books where Sam already has a starring role. Who would have thought the shysters would be jealous?

Though they don’t bury birdbaths, hang their fur on my floor giving me new carpeting as Sam did, they provide hours of entertainment and trouble. I decided to relent, and thus begins my story of my everyday treasure hunt.

Natasha along with Boris is my treasure. At some point during every day either my husband will ask, “Have you seen Natasha?” or I will.

Laidback Boris usually doesn’t care where Natasha is if he is trying to sleep.

The hunt begins. We check under the beds, under the covers, all chairs and after we have exhausted all boxes, we begin opening doors. We open closet doors, cupboard doors and the basement door. There are a lot of doors to open. We know a disappearance by Natasha is trouble.

Most people would not be concerned if they haven’t seen their cat in their house for hours. It isn’t unusual for cats to be shy and find somewhere quiet to sleep. Our shysters are anything but shy and usually are out in eyesight helping us with every step of our household duties.

If they are sleeping they like to be near us. Other cats hide; ours like to play hide and seek. Natasha hides and we seek.

Natasha is sneaky and quick. We know this, but she is quicker than the average eye, and can sneak into a closet and through the basement door quick as a wink without us seeing her. She is always in stealth mode.

You would think she would give us a small hint as to where she is by a meow or a scratch but no — she is content to wait for us to find her no matter how long it takes.

Before we leave the house we always have to make sure our treasure is safe and that means in plain sight.

One day when we left the house I forgot to secure my treasure. I was gone all day. On arriving back at my house I put my packages on the counter in the kitchen only to look over to the bathroom to see Boris sitting by the bathroom closet door. He wouldn’t move. There was no noise.

I thought it was strange so I decided to open the bathroom closet to see if he was waiting for a beetle or ladybug to pop out. He was waiting for Natasha to pop out. She had been left in the closet all day. Apparently she didn’t mind because there were no accidents and she calmly crawled out and kissed Boris.

The other part about Natasha is the fact that even if we did not open the door for her to sneak in, she can open doors herself. She has taught Boris how to open the door under the sink to get treats. We had to put a childproof lock on the door.

Natasha can open the bi-fold door on my closet and jump in. It is not unusual for me to hear a prowler during the night opening my closet door. Some nights she climbs in and closes it.

Natasha takes an interest in helping me with my writing. She likes to take the paper out of the printer when it is printing. Yesterday she climbed on to the top of my printer, stood up to a shelf on her hind legs and opened my plastic drawers where I keep my pens and pencils and tried to toss me a pen.

Yes, life with our two shysters is interesting and some wonder why we put up with their antics. Boris and Natasha are two of our treasures. They are two of the treasures that we seek that we always find. They are easy treasures to find. Other treasures in life may be hidden.

Treasure is defined in the dictionary as wealth or riches stored or accumulated; any thing or person valued highly. In our world today when treasure is mentioned the first definition of wealth or riches is what is sought and what comes to mind.

We get excited when the word treasure is mentioned. We buy lottery tickets; we search for the magic fountain of youth in bottles or the knife. We search for fame so it will bring us fortune. Our treasures might be the next super sale at a big box store

My treasure hunt reminds me of the book, “The Alchemist,” by Paul Coelho. Santiago, the shepherd boy travels from his homeland, which is Spain, to the Egyptian Desert to find a treasure buried in the pyramids. We don’t know what the treasure is. There are obstacles in the way of finding the treasure.

Santiago found his true treasure, but where and what he found might surprise you, just as your search for your treasure might end in a surprising place, right where you started, at home with those you love.