We were back to business last week following the apocalyptic events here in the West, including the Echo Mountain Fire Complex, which at last information had burned 2,552 acres and destroyed 293 residential structures. They do not expect to be able to fully contain the fire until Sept. 30. Thankfully, we have not had reports yet that anyone died. I hope it stays that way.

According to the school district, 31 students and three staff lost homes to this fire. The start of school was delayed a week as a result. And our community is in pain. It’s hard to describe. We are just not ok right now. But we will soldier on.

I mentioned briefly in last week’s blog that when we evacuated our home due to wildfires our first priority in what we took with us was our three cats (and one dog). Taking our pets was never a question. We left not knowing whether we’d find a hotel to take us all in. I’d have slept in my car if it came to that. But it didn’t, thankfully, because of how wonderful the other Oregon communities were to us evacuees.

The hotel we landed at in Yachats had evacuees not just from our fire but also from the fire outside Eugene, Oregon. It was surreal. We were all comparing stories and wishing each other well. And we all had pets with us.

I wasn’t sure how the cats would travel. One of them is very easy. He’s the one who has been on several long trips in the past couple of years after breaking his leg, so I knew he’d be fine. The other two hate the car. One pees in his carrier just going to the vet. The other has been known to poop in there to express his displeasure.

As we fled town (John driving, me working on a hotel for us and others), we heard yowling and hissing coming from the back of the car. The boys were decidedly not happy.

But when we got to the hotel to check in, I discovered why. One of the cat carriers had shifted, tilting forward so my poor cat Max (the one who usually pees) was wedged in against the door of the other carrier. The yowling was him saying, Help, I’m squished. The hissing was my cat Sydney saying, Hey humans, we’ve got a problem back here! Max did pee in his carrier (not that I blame him) but that was it. Even with the hardships of being loaded into the car so fast, shifting in place, and not knowing where on Earth we were all going, they did great.

In fact, they did great at the hotel, too. Moved right in for the most part. Used the makeshift litter boxes. No accidents. They really handled it all beautifully.

Cats really are mysterious creatures. Just when you think you know how they’ll react, they can surprise you.

The cats in our latest volume of The Year of the Cat help prove this point. Here’s the synopsis of A Cat of Cozy Situations, which releases Tuesday, Sept. 22:

Cats find themselves in all sorts of situations, sometimes comic, sometimes scary, sometimes just plain headshaking. In fact, for some reason, cats tend to draw crazy situations to themselves like the old cliché, moths to a flame.

But nothing attracts cats like a good mystery, particularly of the cozy kind. Cats love crime; they love to solve crimes, to observe humans trying to solve crimes, and occasionally even to commit crimes, because, you know—cats.

The felines in this volume do all of the above and more. Grab a comfy chair and a purring feline, and dig in.

“Lin Jee” by Mary A. Turzillo
“The Maltese Double Cross” by Carole Nelson Douglas
“Scrawny Pete” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“The White Cat” by W.W. Jacobs
“Uncle Philbert” by Dory Crowe
“Cat Nap” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Mystery Cat” by Dean Wesley Smith
“The Christmas Kitten” by Ed Gorman

To read more about these mysterious cats, click here.

I’m happy to report that my boys are quite pleased to be back to their usual routines. Nothing mysterious about that.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.

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