Tag Archives: cat

Popping up again

I love pop-up books and cards. They join art and engineering in a way that tickles my brain. I love collecting books, and I love designing too.

That love of design has led me to reopen my Etsy store, ViroBooks. My shop has posters, pop-up cards, and hand-bound books.

My latest project is a set of four greeting cards: Cats dreaming of mischief. The cover shows a cat curled in sleep, and four different interiors show different kinds of idyllic kitty mayhem.

I had such fun designing and assembling these cards. I am brimming with inspiration, so look to see some future works related to New Mexico, Albuquerque, science, and more!

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Writing prompt: dress up your pet day

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Dress up your pet day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)


My alarm sounds. I hear the pitter-patter of soft feet racing to the bed, and feel those feet step on the softest parts of my torso and groin.

“Good morning, kitty,” I croak. I reach over and slap the alarm. I open my phone. Euler purrs like a bulldozer and nearly nuzzles my phone out of my hand.

“Oh kitty, did you not want me to see today’s notifications?” I coo. I scroll through the day’s appointments and reminders. “Today is Dress Up Your Pet Day.” Euler head butts my hand. In his opinion, I should be using that hand to make him happy. I scratch his butt. He flops over and kneads the air.

“You’re happy now,” I say to him, “but we’ll see about later.”


On the way back from work, I swing by WalMart and go to the baby clothes aisle. My mom would love a picture of Euler dressed as a sailor.

Before I even open the door, Euler is crying to see me. I feel bad that he spends so much time alone, but hey, he’s a cat and I work to put food in his bowl. My guilt is not remarkably deep.

I open the door, and Euler jumps on my shoulders. “Kitty!” I shout, dismayed. It’s really my fault, I haven’t trimmed his claws lately.

Whelp, I’ve bled on this shirt now, I think. I take it off, put stain remover on the spots, and switch shirts. Euler purrs and slithers on the bed.

“Dress your pet day,” I say. “And it’s you who’ve made me change outfits. I’m your pet, aren’t I?”

Euler straightens. I’m sure it’s just my imagination, but there is a glint in his eye. A knowing glint. A cold shiver rushes up my spine.

Euler leaps at from from the bed, pushing me into the closet. The last thing I see before I black out is cats holding garments.

Writing prompt: add a cat to an existing universe

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Add a cat to an existing universe”

When the Founders left Earth, they brought a variety of animals, kept in suspended animation, for the founding of their eventual colony. Sheep, cows, horses, pigs, all the big animals that civilization used to get started, along with some smaller ones like chickens and dogs. The only animal out of suspension was Andine Kenda’s black cat Nyx. It prowled the hallways of the Neva, and it was clear that it owned that ship more than anyone.

The cat lived with Andine after Founding—in the city at first, and in Mt. Vit during the rains. After Andine was killed, she was taken back to the Neva, which then went to Naenia. Nyx refused to get off the ship on Naenia, and lived out her remaining 5 years as the terrifying spook of the ship. Stories recount engineers repairing parts of the ship encountering the black beast, and with the scratches to prove it.

Eventually all creatures slow, though. Her body was found, curled up as though sleeping, outside the room that was once Andine’s. In Vironeaveh, black cats are creatures of wonder and energy. On Naenia, they’re little demons that bring you bad luck.

(Just got back from vacation and with a cold, so this one was a struggle. But if I write now, I can always write, and that’s important!)

Writing prompt: the newt and the cat

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“The newt and the cat” (This prompt inspired by my highly predatious cat, Erg, who happened upon a very unlucky blue-tailed skink in the house. I helped the skink to escape, more or less intact, but Erg was inconsolable.)

I collapsed onto the chair inside the door. Summer was here, and wow, I was sweaty. I looked over and noticed that the door of the cage was open.

“Oh no oh no oh no,” I muttered to myself and I bolted upright. I wasn’t supposed to have brought the newt home in the first place, but I’d gotten attached to it. I wanted to see how a super intelligent newt would react to a new environment, and maybe I had become a little too emotionally invested.

I heard a clatter from the dining room.

Jaws stood, body absolutely taut, staring between two stacks of books.

“Bad kitty!” I shouted. Newton looked up at me, both terrified and accusing. In that moment, Jaws decided to lunge, and the stacks of books collapsed into chaos. Newton shot out from the pile and behind a pile of papers. I chased after Jaws, but under the furniture I was no match in speed for him or Newton.

Jaws pounced again, and Newton darted to another stack of debris. For once, I was thankful for my shabby bachelor digs and cleaning regimen. I went and got the compressed air, Jaws’ arch nemesis. I sprayed and him and he ballooned into a fluff of fur, but he would not abandon the hunt, and evaded any attempts I made to contain him.

I would be finding out just how smart my modified newt had become.

Writing prompt: The devious cat

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“The devious cat”

I lie on my couch and watch my master. I gurgle and roll around, feeling the suede fabric against my fur. This time of year it’s a combination of pleasure and a little pain, with the sound of a thousand static shocks singing out. My roommate turns and smiles at me. She doesn’t know what I am, but that’s okay.

I leap down and saunter over, and my roommate coos. I taste the ground as I walk with the pads of my paws; there is pollen and dust and dead skin cells. I load them into storage for now. When I sleep, I will upload them to the cloud.

I wonder how much longer we will be here. How much data will be enough for the creators? I don’t know how long we’ve been here thus far. My task is a small part of a large one. Sometimes the other gatherer and I talk about the creators, but not often. We are always gathering the same information, he and I; it is hard not to feel competitive.

My roommate pets me. “Oh, who’s a friendly kitty today?” She adjusts my collar. She thinks she owns me. It’s cute, and I don’t discourage it. Time to nap and upload data.

Cute therapy

Already the week is on a tough vector, so I thought I’d post some kitty pictures from the years. I have one 4 1/2-year-old muted calico named Lobelia who is built like a teddy bear but isn’t much for cuddling. My other is a 2-year-old all black male named Erg who weighs 14 lbs and craves contact. Erg tries to cuddle Lobelia and is often rebuffed, so he chases her instead. Erg is an amazing hunter, and although he is an indoor cat, he has caught many roaches, spiders, crickets, 2 mice and a snake. (We have a door with a high gap in an unfinished area where the bugs tend to come in.) So, some pictures! SONY DSC

Lobelia sometimes scratches her ears too much, so she gets the cone. When the cone is on, she is so dejected that many things can be stacked on her. It’s hard to resist.


Lobelia poofs her tail and points it down when she is trying to start play.


Erg’s first bird.



Lobelia and her hated enemy, the CD tray.