Have I got a treat for you, and it’s better than catnip. I have a purranormal cat detective here to cat chat with me today.
What is your name and your author’s name?
My name is Spam, because my feral father’s hobby is making copies of himself with all of the unaltered lady cats in town. There are long haired ginger cats and kittens everywhere you look.
My two-legged author’s name is Elizabeth Ann Scarborough but she let her cat cultural consultant, K.B. Dundee (aka Kittibits) take top billing on my first book.
What book(s) have you appeared in and what genre are they?
Spam’s the name, purranormal detective is my game (so a cross between mystery and woo-woo). Or as my raccoon assistant, Renfrew likes to say, “We use our snoopiness to solve spookiness.” My books are:
- Spam Vs the Vampire (my “origin story”)
- Father Christmas, or Spam the Cat’s First Christmas (a Christmas gift book (novelette) with 11 interior illustrations, proceeds going to the local Humane Society shelter)
- The Tour Bus of Doom or Spam and the Zombie Apocalyps-o (full length book)
4.-4.5 Spam and the Sasquatch This case was the basis for a short story my illustrator, Karen Gillmore, used to create a graphic novel privately released. My author has also released it as an unillustrated short story.
- Spam, the Spooks, and the UPS Bandit, a Christmas short story for an anthology called Naughty or Nice for the benefit of the Cystic Fibrosis foundation. Now available as an individual short story.
Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.
I’m actually based on two cats. K.B.Dundee or Kittibits is responsible for my appearance, because when our mom/author first moved to town she was often visited by a long-furred ginger tabby who would have been beautiful except that he was a feral with dreadlocks. This apparently didn’t lessen his appeal for the ladies because the day mom/author went to the shelter to look for a kitten, there were four, including Kittibits, who looked just like the old dude, and she’s seen many others since then.
In Father Christmas Dreadlocks Cat (called Hank in my books) gets the brakes put on his reproductive pastimes, after being haunted by the erstwhile mates of Christmases past and present.
My personality is based on another, more intrepid family member, Cisco, who is courageous, conscientious, and curious, a much better combination for a cat detective than Kittibits’, since he responded to every perceived threat by hiding under the bed.
Please tell me more. Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that feature you in an important scene? If so, please include it.
But once outside, back in the howling wind and rain, I panicked. It was cold out here. I had been going to search more but my paws refused to do anything except backtrack toward our house, toward food and family. Then I reminded myself why I was out there and crossed through the neighbor’s yard to the back fence, where the big dog lay sleeping. I could almost see the death rays spreading out all around his body, threatening to zap pesky cats in half just for gazing upon him.
“mew,” I said, then adjusted my courage and my volume. “Er, mew? Sir? I am your next door neighbor, name of Spam, and I just wanted to come over and tell you how much safer my friends and I all feel with you standing guard over here all the time.” Okay, so I was laying it on a little thick but the Dog Whisperer said stuff about how dogs liked recognition for doing their jobs and responded well to positive reinforcement.
An ear came up, then a nose, then an eye opened. I thought he would bark me halfway across the lot but instead he glanced at me, got to his paws and stood at facing me.
“You woke me up to tell me that?” he asked gruffly.
“Well, actually, since you’re so good at this sort of thing—guarding and watching and stuff—I was hoping maybe you could help us out with another problem.”
“A cat problem?” he asked, not sounding exactly flattered to be consulted.
“Not really,” I replied. I decided to change tactics. Show no fear, the Dog Whisperer always said. I sat down and gave my shoulder a lick, then my paw before answering in a cool voice, as if it didn’t matter to me a whole lot. “It’s our human, She’s been missing for two days and we’re afraid something might have happened to her.”
He whined and backed up a step. “Adult missing persons are never investigated until the first 48 hours has passed. What evidence is there that she’s missing besides the fact that she’s not there?”
“Well, there was a break-in earlier today, and the burglars took our computer,” I told him. “I was just wondering if you might have seen or heard or smelled anything that could help.”
“If I did, what could you do about it, Punk?” He barked a lot more aggressively than was called for.
“Not much maybe,” I said, staring up at him over my half-washed upraised paw, “But I am on the outside of the fence while you’re on the inside. I could follow leads if I had any. We’re very concerned for Darcy’s safety. And my name is Spam, actually.”
“There’s probably nothing to be alarmed about. Humans take off and leave animals behind all the time. She probably just got tired of you all. My master has always said your human keeps too many cats and I have to agree.”
“Not really…” I said.
“Really! You should be where I am having to listen to your racket this week.”
“But we’re starving!” I said. “Wouldn’t you make noise if your human left one day and didn’t come back to fill your bowls or pet you or have someone else come in to do it?”
He growled. “I’d bark my head off. But I would never be in your place. I am a valuable canine service dog. I was fifteen years on the force before I retired to live here with my former partner.”
“You really were an actual police dog, then? That must have been amazing.”
His chest puffed out. “It was. I could track as well as attack. I could sniff firearms, drugs, explosives, bodies living and dead. Before they started training specialist dogs, I was the top canine enforcement officer in town.”
“Wow,” I said, though it might have sounded more like “meow” to casual listeners unaware of the nuances of inter-species communication. “I sure wish you would help me. Darcy may be hurt or those people who took our computer might be holding her prisoner or something. I know if you were able to catch the scent and follow the trail we could find her right away.”
“The problem is, Spam,” he said, sounding much friendlier now that he’d had a chance to impress me with his importance, like his size wasn’t already enough to impress me, “I cannot ever go outside this fence without a handler. As I am highly trained in the use of deadly force, my teeth and paws are considered lethal weapons. I am armed and dangerous wherever I go unless a human is with me.”
“Bummer,” I said sympathetically. “But did you see anything Sunday morning when Darcy left? Or this evening, when the thieves came?”
“What time did she leave the house?” he asked.
“It was about 10 AM, when she often takes the pad-puter and walks downtown for a latte at the bakery. They have the internet there too so she takes the pad-puter with her sometimes.”
“Why does she do that?” he asked.
“Dunno,” I said. I had wondered about that myself. Why did she have to go off someplace to do what she could have done at home on our computer here? Did she know that I secretly use it while she’s gone and she wanted to give me some quality time on it to do my blog, maybe check my own email? Or was she meeting clients or friends she played games with? I felt a stab of jealousy about her life outside the house, the life we knew nothing about, the part of her life that she led without our supervision.
He growled, not in a scary way, more like he was thinking hard. “You need to think a little harder about this human of yours,” he said. “The clue to the solution of these cases can often be found in the personality of the victim. Was she happy? Despondent? That sort of thing.”
I couldn’t see what that had to do with anything. She was gone and something had come to the door and something else had taken our computer. What did Darcy’s mood have to do with that?
The dog wagged his tail contemplatively for a moment or two, apparently remembering. “On the morning of Sunday, October 10, I observed the subject exiting her residence through the front door and proceeding to the street and across it, toward the woods with the shortcut to the path leading down the hill. Whether or not she entered the woods, I could not see from my vantage point behind my fence, but I did hear her pocket play music at one point—the theme from Twilight, I believe—and she pulled out her cell phone and was speaking into it as she reached the far side of the street.”
“The woods, Yeah, yeah, what else?” I asked, washing my other paw as if straightening its fur would straighten out my tumbling thoughts.
“Yes, and, er, on the nights before and after that incident there was other unusual activity, on both occasions occurring at around 2400 hours.” He whined. “I was alerted to the disturbance in your yard on the first night, despite the high wind and driving rain, by the smell of something dead. The wind was from the east and blew the scent right into my yard. Visibility was very poor, however, and by the time I reached the fence, I could see little except for something that seemed to be flying away, in the direction of the woods. The following morning, the primary subject of your inquiry presumedly entered the woods, as I stated previously.
“Later that night, again at approximately 2400 hours, I detected the same dead scent as the night before. This time I observed something large and black and billowing entering your property and proceeding to the back entrance of your residence. On this occasion I barked, attempting to alert my master to the disturbance. But before I could rouse him, I was silenced.”
“I don’t know how but suddenly it was as if something had clamped a muzzle over my—er-muzzle.” His tail drooped suddenly and he whined and sank to the ground with his paws over his nose, as thoroughly ashamed as if he had peed on the rug. Finally, he pulled himself together, rose to his elbows, and said, “ I could not even open my mouth until the thing, whatever it was, had departed your premises.”
“That’s weird,” I said.
“Did you cats experience a similar sensation?”
“I couldn’t tell you really. Most of us were under the bed. I did get close enough to hear whoever it was sneezing his head off. You’re right though, it smelled dead. And it kind of billowed.”
“Highly suspicious,” he said. “I heard the sneezing too and wondered what that was about.”
“How about the burglars? Did you see them this morning too?”
“I knew they were up to no good,” he growled. “Have you noticed, Spam, that the neighborhood seems to be deteriorating? There has been a great deal of suspicious activity on your premises lately. I saw a vehicle drive up to your place. Two men exited it and went to the kitchen door, where they entered. When they exited later one of them was carrying a large bulging bag.”
“That would be our laptop and some of Darcy’s stuff,” I said.
“Yes, well, I barked and barked but my human was gone and nobody was around to hear me. One of the perpetrators did look my way and I saw him clearly if that’s any help.”
I said, “I actually saw them too but I’m not a trained attack animal like you. I couldn’t do anything to stop them.” If only I’d known what was going to happen later maybe I could have organized all the bigger cats to gang up on them and hold them down until help could come, but human help hadn’t been around for a couple of days. No, it wouldn’t have worked.
The dog cocked his head sideways. “You know as much as I do now but what can a little fellow like you do about anything? You’re just about one good bite for a coyote.”
“I wish everybody would stop talking about coyotes,” I spat.
“Manners, kid. Look, I’ll tell you what. Retirement is pretty boring. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open. I can’t do much about the dead thing if it silences me again but I’ll keep my nose to the ground when my partner and I go for our walks. Check back with me and if I learn anything else I’ll do what I can to help. I’m Bubba.”
“Thanks, Officer Bubba,” I said. “I’ll check the woods.”
Purrfect! I am clapping my paws at that wonderful scene.
What do you like most about your role in your author’s books?
In my books, after my first adventure where I escaped the house on the heels of burglars in order to rescue my human, who has been kidnapped by a vampire, I am given my own key to my personal cat door and trusted to go out to solve my cases around town.
I’m never exactly alone, of course. I’m usually accompanied by my assistant, a larcenous raccoon named Renfrew who helps me with my cases by stealing any shiny clues like cell phones.
Also, I get a lot of help by the local members of the Port Deception deer herd, who are everywhere in town and hear more than anyone thinks. They’re my version of Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars and also occasionally provide me with taxi service to reach far-flung destinations quicker than my paws can carry me.
Sometimes I get help from my coyote-hunting housemate, a vampire cat named Rocky, who was turned while defending our home and now sleeps upside down in the corner cupboard in the kitchen.
The former police dog next door, Officer Bubba, provides me with law enforcement advice. Sometimes the wild things even bring me cases, like when Ma Eagle was worried about the threat she thought the Sasquatch might pose to her babies.
Then there’s Maddog, who is sort of human, though a vampire. He’s a good one though, a crypto-biologist, fisherman and secretly Vamp Law South of the (Canadian) Border. When I meet up with him, we often go for fish ‘n’ chips.
What a cool cast of characters.
Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
I’m not a talking cat like Joe Grey in the Shirley Rousseau Murphy series. The only human I can converse with is Maddog, who’s a magical kind of guy and telepathic besides. But the other critters around me, including my doppelganger brothers and sisters scattered around town, them I can converse with.
What advice would you give other cat characters?
Mmmmm, just be yourselves. You are cats, after all, and therefore automatically charming and intriguing to humans, whether you are real or imaginary. When I first started in the detective game I wanted so badly to be a street-wise dude like Midnight Louie but I couldn’t pull it off. I can study his techniques all I like but I simply can’t pull off a black fedora the way he can.
Most cat characters don’t have the infestation of supernaturals we have here on the Olympic Peninsula where I live. Once that lady let the sparkly vampires out of the bag, the others took it for an open invitation.
Very interesting. You are quite a unique cat character, and I agree that all us cat characters need to find our own niches. You seem to be doing well with the supernatural gig.
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
My author plans to do another full-length book soon, and maybe a collection of my short stories when she–er–collects enough. If she doesn’t get back to me soon I am going to have to ever-so-carefully insert one claw into her bare leg while she’s writing about somebody else. Currently, I am being upstaged by a bunch of dragons.
MOL (Meow Out Loud). I know what you mean. My author is working on other projects right now, too. I need to get her focused back on my books after the summer. I hate to use violence to get her attention, but maybe a quick claw jab would do the trick.
Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.
We are! I have my own Facebook page:
Mom has Facebook page too:
She also has a website for all of her books including mine:
Plus we have our WordPress blog where soon we will feature you, Sneaky. Like you, we like to interview other cat characters and have particularly sought out cats our readers might not have encountered before so we encourage our readers to read all of our blogs.
Pawsome! It’s great for me to be in the interview chair for a change. It’s been great having you here, Spam, and best whiskers to you on your upcoming purranormal adventures and your author on all her other writings.