(Apologies to those who saw a sneak peek of this in their email a bit ago. I hit the wrong button! 🙂 )
Have you ever had a cat who was obsessed with cat treats?
I have. It can get kinda scary.
My family had tons of pets throughout my childhood. One of them was a Siamese cat named Chloe. I’d like to take a few moments to tell you a bit about Chloe.
The Siamese cats I’ve encountered have been on one far end of three spectrums. They were either extremely intelligent or dumb as a rock (oh, my sweet Sammie cat, how I miss you), really vocal or very quiet (okay, I don’t so much miss the mraking in the middle of the night), and super sweet or…evil incarnate.
Guess which one Chloe was with that last spectrum?
I have scars. Like, on-my-body scars.
She was quiet. She was smart. She would lie in wait for me before attacking.
It was always worst when I knew it was coming. I would dare to pet her, and forget ONLY THE SPOT ON THE TOP OF HER HEAD RIGHT BETWEEN HER EARS AND BEHIND HER FOREHEAD (seriously, it was like a one-inch square space). Not her back. Not her chin (Source protect you if you put your fingers that close to her mouth). Just that one spot.
Sometimes, she would wait for days to exact her vengeance.
There was only one thing that could dissuade her if you were lucky enough to see her coming at you. Cat treats. Specifically, cat treats in plastic containers that make rattling noise when you shake them.
Chloe loved those things.
I remember a brief period of time when I would carry around a cannister of cat treats just to try to save myself when she was mad at me. I would shake them vigorously, while screaming, “Don’t attack me! Don’t attack me!” It met with…mixed results.
Chloe wasn’t our only cat. Not by a long shot.
There was also Rachie, short for Rachmaninov, because he liked to run back and forth on the piano keyboard in the middle of the night. He would also run up our body and grab onto our shoulders, hanging there without any human intervention required. Sometimes he’d get us with his claws, but it was so cool when he did his climb that I never really was bothered by it.
Then there was Sammie, the super sweet snuggle muffin Siamese who never lost his soft kitten fur and was so, so dumb, but gorgeous and loud and the best cat ever.
When I sat down to write Export Duty, these three cats inspired Nana Lillian’s glaring more than any of our other pets—the fear of Chloe, the amazing agility of Rachie, and Sammie’s loving nature. Fusing memory and imagination, I created one of my favorite culture-shock scenes of all time.
There’s something you need to know about Rin. He’s never seen a cat before his book begins. In fact, he’s never even heard of a cat.
There are no animals quite like them on Sadr-4. There’s nothing for his cultural indoctrination session to translate in his brain (which cues on past experiences and likely Earth encounters—pets not being one of them, since the soldiers are under orders to avoid human interaction). So when over a dozen semi-feral cats hear Rin shake that cannister…
Well, I’ll let you read about what happens for yourself in this excerpt.
Poor Rin. But don’t worry. Lily helps him feel a lot better 😉
Tomorrow is release day! I can’t wait to share this story with you all <3