The Catnip Diaries: The First Years

The Catnip Diaries: The First Years

by Eileen Novotny


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, July 24


The CATNIP DIARIES highlight Sparkles' progression from a kitten to a full-grown cat. It is done with word pictures describing plenty of cat adventures, a smattering of philosophy and lots of humor.

My adoption of Sparkles from the local animal shelter was therapy for me when I put my husband in a nursing home and our dog died. My sister Helen has her own cat and when we compared notes, we decided we could probably write a book about their adventures.

Most of the entries are fiction, but we believe they could happen.

Other characters in the book are fictional, but they add depth and color to the diary entries. Anyone who is owned by a cat can visualize their own cats being just as naughty - or nice.

When a year's worth of entries were on the books, Sparkles disappeared. In my heart of hearts, I believe Sparkles was an angel sent to get me out of my depression.

Sparkles loves his Mommie!!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504973878
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 02/26/2016
Pages: 354
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Catnip Diaries

The First Year

By Eileen Novotny


Copyright © 2016 Eileen Novotny
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5049-7387-8



It was a regular Tuesday at the Pound. I heard Mommie tell the caretaker she wanted an adult female cat that purred. She walked right past me. Luckily for me there were only two such animals in the shelter and neither of the cats measured up to her purring standards.

On her way out Mommie glanced at me and stuck her little finger into the cage – I guess to tease me or something. That's when I went into my LOUD purring mode. "Love at first sight." Mommie reached in and held me to be sure the purring didn't stop. I could have pur-r-r-r-ed forever if it meant getting out of that prison.

Mommie told the caretaker she wanted a cat today and if I were available she wanted ME. Just think, someone really wanted me! I guess she didn't care that I was only five months old and male. She just wanted a cat TODAY.

In the office when Mommie was filling out the papers, she asked if I had a name. Of course I had a name, I just didn't know what it was. Mommie took another look at me as I scurried under the desks looking for something, anything, to go for a run away from the cage. Mommie told the caretaker about someone called Woffier and then she said I brought a sparkle to her eyes, so she called me Sparkles which sounded good to me.


This is my second night with Mommie. We seem to be getting along together OK. I sure hope so. This house is much nicer than the cage at the shelter. Last night I slept on the floor by Mommie's bed.

Tonight about 8 p.m. some really loud BANGS were going on. I was afraid and ran to Mommie for protection. Mommie explained that they were just fire crackers and tonight would be the only night they would go off, except on New Year's Eve.

Mommie held me outside for a while as we watched the fireworks display that the neighbors put on. Mommie said it was free and not too loud. I would just have to get used to it. I saw that several of Mommie's outdoor cats had come on the porch, but they skedaddled away when they saw me. I guess they wanted protection from the fireworks show too. Mommie said her Woffier was afraid of them too.


Mommie actually said that to me. I don't understand "No" because nobody ever told me what it means. Mommie says she is going to teach me what it means.

Lesson 1: Don't drink out of Mommie's diet soda cup. She bopped me on the nose and said "No". After the third time, the "No" got a bit louder. If I were a lawyer, I would suggest to Mommie that a diet soda cup left unattended on the night stand is "an attractive nuisance." It is so-o-o tempting.

I think I am getting a handle on this "No" business, because now I get close to the diet soda cup, but I don't dare risk taking a sip. I really don't care for the bops on the nose and I don't want to know how loud my Mommie's voice could get.


Really!! When Mommie got up this morning she sat on the side of the bed. Apparently she didn't watch where she was sitting because she sat on my tail. Now I have a pain you-know-where. Another half inch and I would be a paraplegic - or dead.

Did she even notice that I weigh less than five pounds? Sitting on me is like having a pickup truck sitting on her. I hope she got the message.

I know, I know, she was sorry and picked me up and cuddled me. I think I might fake a tail sit just for the cuddles because she does it so well.


I met some really nice cats that live outside here. One in particular, smells like a mommie herself. She meows at me, asking if I can come out to play with her little one that she calls her black angel. I don't think she realizes her little "black angel" is just that, a black angel! When his mommie is not looking he makes faces at me and mouths – ha, ha, ha, you are in prison.

By "met" I mean I see, hear and smell them through the screen door. My Mommie keeps the door locked so I can't get out and they can't get in. I know the outdoor mommie would come in and baby me if she could.

Mommie saw my forlorn look, but insisted that she "might" let me go out to meet the others in a month or so, but right now she said I need to be in the house. Mommie didn't see it, but I stuck my tongue out at her when she wasn't looking.

How long is a month?


Mommie had a nice towel she put on the floor for me to sleep on. Ha! She had hung it outside to dry and it was r-o-u-g-h which was not very pleasant. When she wasn't lookin I slept on the couch at night because it is so much smoother – and it makes a nice scratching post.

But this morning I found my dream bed – on the pillow next to Mommie. I got to sleep with my head on Mommie's shoulder on a nice smooth pillow case. Mommie woke up when I started purring too loud. (I've got to learn when to purr softly.) I might have to reconsider this spot because Mommie's head is pretty big and if she rolled over she might smash me. Decisions, decisions.


Mommie was trying very hard to be a good Mommie, but she bought me cat food that was too crunchy. She said the bag noted that it was for kittens up to age 9 months. It didn't mention how young the cats could be. Even though I have rather sharp teeth, that food was just too hard for me to manage.

Today she finally bought me some soft kitten food. Yum, yum. I think I was rather hungry because I almost ate the entire package by myself. It was fun to tell that black angel about how Mommie was really taking care of me. He has to sleep out under the stars and he can't be near my Mommie. Guess I feel sorry for him.


Mommie's side of the story: "I was caught up in the pitter patter of little feet this morning when something with four feet landed on my face and woke me up. I guess that is as good an alarm clock as any."

Sparkles side: I was aiming for the big hole in Mommie's face that was sputtering and doing something Mommie called snoring. I knew it sounded like purring, but even I can't purr THAT loud.

My jump stopped the snoring and Mommie grabbed me immediately and began petting me so she could hear ME purr. She really liked the purring thing and I liked the petting part. Guess we were a good fit for each other.


I have been with Mommie for ten days now. When she leaves she puts me in the bathroom and shuts the doors. The last time she came home she noticed that I was hot and panting.

Her solution is a little fan on the floor in the bathroom so I can be cool. She made sure the slits in the fan were small enough so I couldn't get my little paws in them. Cool!

Mommie always put the fan on s-l-o-w. She doesn't know I can change the speed of the fan by stepping on the controls. Yesterday I finally got the fan up to a speed that I really like – FAST. It cools me great.


Mommie said she was going to take me for a ride. Just think, I get to go outside for once!

What she forgot to tell me was that I was going in a cardboard box with holes in it. Whew! It's hot in that thing. She also forgot to tell me I was going to get some shots.

I met Dr. Bill and Dr. Candie. I thought Dr. Candie looked like a nice lady (I even purred extra loud for her) until she got out that needle that was as long as my tail -- honest.

Dr. Candie told Mommie she would have to wait in the other room because it was going to hurt for Mommie to look as much as it hurt me. When she stuck me with that thing I thought it was going to go straight through my neck and out the front. Mommie didn't cry, but boy did I cry!

Do you know that Dr. Candie actually stuck some kind of stick up my tail to see if I had heart worms? My heart is not even close to my tail. Does she really know what she is doing?

You can believe me, if Mommie EVER says I am going for a ride again -- Guess what? Mommie won't find me for a week. I will only come out at night to eat when Mommie is asleep. I know some pretty neat places to hide around here.


Mommie took me to see Daddie, her best friend. Daddie lives in a nursing home so he can get good care without breaking Mommie's back.

Mommie, do you know there are lots of OLD people here at "the home?" You should have seen the residents' eyes when I came in with Mommie. Everyone wanted to reach out and pet me. I think I might like it here.

Mommie said Daddie was a "dog man" and might not like me too much. Mommie said I can't sit on Daddie's lap because my claws are too sharp and Daddie has thin skin. She said Daddie would just pet me. Daddie did like me because he kept petting me a lot and he liked it when I purred.

On the ride home Mommie was real quiet. She said "I'm glad that Daddie got along so well with you" She continued "it would have broken my heart if Daddie didn't like you". As I just found out: EVERYBODY at the nursing home likes me.


When Mommie said we were going for a ride, I started to run. After all, the last ride was to see that witch – er, I mean nice lady, Dr. Candie. Mommie assured me we wouldn't be going anywhere near Dr. Candie because we were going to see Daddie. She said if I were good she wouldn't put me in that hot box.

Mommie put a small kitty litter pan on the floor of the back seat and a little pan of water. She said "stay put and don't roam around the car while I am driving". We weren't even halfway down the driveway when Mommie stopped the car and got out. In the first 200 feet of the driveway I climbed over the seat, jumped on the dash, turned the radio up LOUD, looked in the mirror on the passenger side visor along with several other antics. She found me stuck under the front seat.

You know, that box really isn't so bad.


Mommie feeds the outdoor cats by the back door. She used to put me in the bathroom and shut both doors. Now she just sets a bowl of food in front of me and feeds the cats.

I figured it out and just waited till Mommie opened the back door. She poured the milk and I slipped out. Not so clever. My outdoor Mommie turned on me and hissed like crazy. She protects what food they get because she knows that I get more and better food inside. Before Mommie had to rescue me, I ran inside as fast as I could.

The look on Mommie's face said "I told you so." Lesson learned.


Mommie worried that I wasn't eating much. The truth is that the food tray was right next to my litter box. Would you want to eat in your bathroom? I think not. Once she figured it out she put the food tray five feet away and I ate in comfort.

The litter box: Doesn't Mommie know that you should clean the litter box often? She was upset when I went potty on the floor right next to the litter box, but that litter box was AWFUL. I didn't want to get you-know-what under my claws. I clean my claws often, but y-u-c-k.

I teach Mommie a thing or two and she teaches me a thing or two.


Mommie doesn't know it, but I have a couple "hidey holes" where I store my stuff. One of them is big enough for me to hide in. If I get too much bigger though, that may become a problem, but for now it is perfect.

So far I have hidden a few dead spiders (the only kind I like), some stale popcorn, a couple big dust bunnies, and one of Mommies' socks in my biggest hidey hole. The sock is really fun to play with because it is so soft and cuddly, however it does take up a lot of space.

Everybody ought to have at least one hidey hole where they can "store" things that are important to them, but which may be considered garbage by someone else.


Mommie bought me this ugly fluorescent orange thing called a cat collar. Mommie must be getting old because she had a difficult time getting the package open. When she finally got it open, she couldn't get the collar fixed big enough to go over my head.

She should have told me to put my paws over my ears because she said a lot of bad words. She said the Petco staff would help her. I know God answers prayers. For now, he answered mine instead of Mommie's.


How do I know how the telephone landed on the floor or how the mail got "rearranged" on the desk? It wasn't me. Besides the telephone weighs three times what I do. How could I possibly get it on the floor? About the mail: The pile was about to topple over anyway, so it really wasn't my fault – right?

Okay. I'll admit to the getting-tangled-in-the-curtain episode. After all, Mommie had to rescue me. BUT, again too much temptation for such a little guy as me. The curtain hangs to the floor and the tie-back in the middle is red, my favorite color. I just had to get to it.

Mommie said she would "overlook the snags this time". She said it pretty loud, so I think she means it. Besides, I don't like being tied up in a curtain.


Mommie got me an email account. After all her beloved 11-year-old German Shepherd, Woffier, had one. He also had a Facebook account.

Mommie said the email account application had an interesting question – Sex – Male, Female, Other? I got signed in as "other." Ha Ha. The gays will probably be after me.

Wait till Mommie puts my picture on Facebook! I know little old ladies with a dozen cats will love me. and SPARKLES CATNIPPER on Facebook.


Here's the picture: Mommie's red smart phone lying on the bed.

This phone is programmed to call by pressing one number

My favorite color is red

You guessed it! I called Mommie's voice mail. First there was this ringing tone (sounds a lot like purring) and then there was this voice vibrating on my feet. Boy, did I run! That scared the you-know-what out of me!

Half an hour later Mommie came to pick up her cell phone. You should have heard the words that woman (yes, my Mommie) said. Mommie would wash my mouth out if I said any of them.

I don't get it. She said I "wasted" thirty of HER minutes. How come she gets all of the minutes and I don't get any? Besides, how do you waste minutes?


I saw this huge bug crawling around on the floor. It had eight legs! Mommie said it was a "granddaddy long legs" and it looked pretty fearsome to me. By its size I think it would be like a bull dog to Mommie.

Mommie told me "no" even though it is not poisonous, but I pushed it along the floor anyway. Then it tried to run. Guess what! I am faster than a granddaddy long legs. He got squished. I had to go clean my paws and Mommie had to clean up another one of my messes.


Yesterday when Mommie's neighbor came over to talk she brought along this BIG goofy looking animal called a dog. The outside cats warned me about such an animal because they bark. His bark curled my tail! Mommie, you scolded me when I hissed at it, but that was just instinct.

That animal's name is Sparky which almost sounds like my name. He had the craziest looking huge pink flower on a pink collar. Mommie said he is a boy, but he looked like a girl in that getup.

When he heard me snicker he just picked me up by the scruff of my neck and carried me along. He didn't really bite, but that was SCARY.

Mommie said Sparky has a sister cat named Sissy and a people sister named Melanie. I hope when I get to meet them, they are nicer than Sparky.


When Mommie feeds the outside cats, she puts a plate of food in front of me thinking I will concentrate on that and not hear her feeding them.

WRONG! Yesterday I pretended to eat and when the time was right I went straight to the back door. I slipped out when Mommie was picking up the dirty milk dish. Mommie said: "Sparkles, you naughty kittie, get back in the house right now!" I did.

Well, today, she went back to the "shutting me in the bathroom" routine. Mommie, I guess you forgot that there are two doors to the bathroom. All I had to do was go out the other bathroom door. I almost made it out the back door but probably luckily for me, she was done and coming back in.

Mommie: "I didn't forget. Tomorrow the OTHER door will be shut too."


Excerpted from The Catnip Diaries by Eileen Novotny. Copyright © 2016 Eileen Novotny. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Catnip Diaries: The First Years 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
BookWormTeachee More than 1 year ago
ARC in exchange for a fair review. This book is a fun collection of stories that cat owners can appreciate. It is written from the perspective of the cat about "mommie" and others. This book has the right mix of sweet and silly to be very entertaining and endearing.
SteffyC More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and read it in one night! I thought Eileen Novotny’s writing had great style and rhythm – the pacing is great to keep anyone’s attention with the short chapters, funny action and mischief and mayhem along the way. But this story also has important messages as well, such as love and friendship. And even though the book is “written” by the cat, the best part was how ‘real’ everything felt, and even if you don’t have a cat of your own you will relate to much of what is written here. I can see this being a book we’ll re-read again and my younger daughter (age 15) will like it as well. A great add to any collection, as it is a timeless story that children and adults will love.
JhonniP More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars "The Catnip Diaries” by Eileen Novotny is such a cute story! This book is written for adults, but I think it is suitable for even younger readers (teens on up). The writing is simple, clear and straightforward, and while most of it is told in narrative text (little to no real dialogues or conversations), the book is written in such a way that it is all broken up in different (very) short chapters that doesn’t even necessarily have to be read in order. But they will enjoy this wonderful story, and Sparkles (and other characters) are really charming! Don't miss this gem! A fun story that is lighthearted and sweet.
BenjisMom More than 1 year ago
"The Catnip Diaries” by Eileen Novotny is a fun, fast read that is sure to delight! Really cute character of Sparkles the cat narrating his fun life, from bird dodging to dating (lol) and draws you in right away. Animal and cat lovers young and old will certainly love sinking their teeth into this one! It stands out to me in terms of originality, even if some times the story was a bit on the ‘simple’ side and lacked any real tension or even a cohesive plot- doesn’t seem like something I’ve read a million times before, and I liked reading about the cat’s perspective on things. Very creative! Ms. Novotny has her own unique voice and writing style that makes the story feel fresh and exciting. I definitely enjoyed the personality of Sparkles and the creativity of the whole story. The story moves from scene to scene effortlessly, and is told in very short chapters to make for quick reading. Minor proofing issues, but nothing to terrible. Recommend.
LauraClarke More than 1 year ago
Oh I loved this book! I thought it was great. So easy to get into right off the bat, and I really liked Eileen Novotny’s writing style. The story flowed nicely, and you are pulled right into the action and world of the adorable cat Sparkles and “Mommie” right from the opening pages. You may think this is just a book about a cat, but alas, it is written BY the cat, which is what makes this so special :-) Brisk pacing and a lively narrative tone sweeps us along quickly, and even though this is a longer book I read it in one evening. Decent editing, but I wasn’t a fan of the formatting as the block paragraphs should have been indented more. But overall a charming escape that makes me wish I had a Sparkles of my own!
BellaReadz More than 1 year ago
I love cats and kittens and I thought that “The Catnip Diaries” was totally adorable! Love reading a book where the animals are the stars and just as big of characters as the people are. I was caught up in the entertaining and funny ‘episodes’ and thought the writing was great – nice flow and good pacing with a spunky tone. It is the kind of book that you can read at any part, as each chapter is really short (a page or 2) for different ‘vignettes’ or scenes. So it’s a great book to just look at when you don’t have a lot of time to read, but you want come adorable laughs! Do yourself a favor buy it! You'll smile and chuckle and love it each time you read it, and your children will enjoy it as well!
KayleeeKS More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I’ve read from Eileen Novotny and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! As a cat owner myself, I mean… as someone who also BELONGS to a cat (haha), I found many of the stories and situations humorously relatable on many levels. I really enjoyed Ms. Novotny’s storytelling abilities and the style of writing she uses—the distinctive ‘voice’ that is so fun and easy to read and believe is a cat’s point of view. “The Catnip Diaries” is creative and has wonderful energy. Sparkles is a hoot, and I enjoyed the pictures! This book will appeal to animal lovers of all ages.