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Thursday, March 21, 2019


Heather Haven is a multi-award winning mystery author. Her work includes the Silicon Valley based Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, the NYC trail-blazing WWII lady shamus of The Persephone Cole Vintage Mysteries, a stand-alone mystery noir, and an anthology of stories. Her latest endeavor is the soon-to-be-released Christmas Trifle, Book One of the Snow Lake Romantic Suspense Series. Today her P.I. sleuth Lee Alvarez stops by to discuss cat potty training. Learn more about Heather and her books at her website.

How I Potty-Trained My Cat
By P.I. Lee Alvarez

When I was a fairly new cat owner, I was struck by the idea of training my cat Tugger to use the facilities instead of the litter pan I tripped over every time I went into the laundry room. It can’t be so hard, I reasoned, even if he can’t work the flusher. After all, I am a Stanford graduate. I am a private detective. And Tugger is a very intelligent, obedient cat. Okay, he’s very intelligent. That’s a start.

After reading a particularly entrancing ad on the internet, I acted. Several days later, I received a pair of steel, reinforced gloves in the mail and a set of instructions that went like this:

Remember, it’s essential to take the upper hand when laying down the law to your cat. You can achieve your goal if your commands are clear and concise. You will be rewarded by an animal who loves you even more for your discipline. Below are three foolproof steps to employ:

1 – Discuss overall goal with self. You must be in total agreement with self on objective and how to achieve it. Keep cat out of room during this discussion. There is no sense in alerting cat ahead of time. They have their ways.

2 – Now relay overall goal to cat before you begin training process. You will find that sitting cat down in a quiet place, void of distractions, and outlining problem is the way to go. They will usually pay rapt attention to you, especially if you are waving catnip about. They may not remember all you’ve said, but it is a bonding experience.

3 –When you see cat doing business in litter pan, carefully lift animal out of pan while wearing aforementioned, patented gloves and carry to facility. Be sure lid is up. Firmly but gently, place back legs of said animal on either side of seat, smiling and chatting casually. Casualness is essential for success. After a few times of using firm but pleasant voice, you will be rewarded with a cat that accomplishes feat on his or her own.

Here are the steps they left out:

4 – Dry self off after cat and you splash about in toilet bowl. Apply Neosporin to scratches on upper arms and face. Clean up poop that landed on new rug while carrying cat from laundry room to bathroom.

5 – Transfer litter pan from laundry room to bathroom, so it will be closer to ultimate goal.

6 – Using ladder, get wet cat off top shelf of linen closet and towel dry. Put more Neosporin on new bites and scratches, bearing in mind you have to break an egg to make an omelet. Although at the moment, you have no time to cook.

7 – Introduce cat to new location of litter pan in one and only bathroom of house. Leave lid of toilet up even though you are a woman and you are used to it being down when not in use.

8 – Clean up cat poop in laundry room done by now confused cat that went behind dryer on your new, washable silk blouse that fell there earlier in the day and you forgot to retrieve. Rewash blouse. Hope claw marks will not show.

9 – Return to bathroom. Because you left toilet lid up, remove rubber ducky and bottle of expensive perfume that fell in when you and cat were engaged in wrestling match. Wash ducky and perfume bottle thoroughly.

10 – To continue training process, stand guard over litter pan waiting for opportunity to catch cat using again. Sleep in bathtub overnight.

11 –Bandage big toe that got stuck in faucet during night. Wash foot that stepped into litter pan as you were trying to get out of tub, overturning litter pan in process. Curse Internet. Curse cat litter. Curse all cats.

12 – Exhausted, track down cat and spy him curled up in bed on top of your favorite pillow, looking like the innocent you know he isn’t, but you realize you love him, anyway.

13 – Stagger back to bathroom. Shut toilet. Refill and remove litter pan. Return pan to laundry room. On knees, scrub down bathroom and use one hundred twenty-five dollar an ounce perfume to help mask odor you believe to be coming from recently removed litter pan. Realizing it is you who smells. Take shower to remove odor and excess kitty litter from hair and body. Put soothing moisturizer on chaffed knees, re-bandage toe, and reapply Neosporin to bites and scratches. Throw what’s left of perfume behind your ears; what the hey.

14 – Pray cat forgets entire 24-hour experience and will resume litter pan usage in laundry room. While you’re at it, pray boobheads that sold you reinforced gloves will take them back.

15 – Crawl into bed next to sleeping, purring cat that snuggles next to you, while you thank God for short memories.

Marriage Can Be Murder: A Mystery Novella
The Lee Alvarez and Gurn Hanson Mysteries, Book 2

Someone is trying to kill Delores De La Vega, an aging but legendary movie star known as much for her looks and numerous marriages as her acting ability. Now an animal activist and fabulously wealthy, she’s about to change her will in favor of the daughter she gave up at birth for adoption, making a claim on her biological mother’s billions.

With a woman as dramatic as Delores De La Vega, it’s all or nothing, so she’s planning to write out everyone else previously in the will. But can she live long enough to make the changes? And just who is trying to kill her? Is it one or all of her many -exes set to be cut out of millions? Or the onsite vet who might be more than a friend? Or is it one of the dozens of staff members, also being rejected in favor of the newly discovered daughter? Lee and Gurn, the Nick and Nora Charles of Silicon Valley, find no lack of suspects when death stalks a Portola Valley animal sanctuary.

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