This is K.B. Dundee, best-selling author of the award-winning (as soon as someone reads them) series The Adventures of An Emancipated Cat, including, to date SPAM VS THE VAMPIRE and FATHER CHRISTMAS, SPAM THE CAT’S FIRST CHRISTMAS.
But enough meow about me. It is time for the first intermew in my award-winning, best-selling blog (as soon as someone reads it) Spamslitterature, in which I will intermew other award-winning, best-selling cat authors and heroes.
Joining me today from his home in Australia is the best-selling, award-winning feline author, Doughall, the hero of DOUGAL’S DIARY by David Greagg (Dougal’s Man and typist).
1.K.B.: Welcome, Doughall. I am honored to have such a distinguished cat writer as my first guest. Your book is basically the story of your life, hence the title. We are hoping, since you are still a young fellow, that there will be a sequel?
D. Thank you very much, KB. And yes, there is! My new book is called When We Were Kittens and it deals with the next year of my life. More or less. It starts soon after the first book ends, and it deals with our next year. Available in March from Clan Destine Press. (Shameless plug)
2.What made you decide to write your story? Did you hope to inspire other cats and kittens, or was it the fame and furtune you sought?
D. Partly the fame and furtune, yes. I have to raise my paw to that one. But also because I want humans to read it and realize that a lot of them aren’t treating their cats right. Please don’t dump us in The Bad Place With The Cages. It’s better than trying to live on the street, but not much. Be kind to us, don’t yell at us when we do something wrong and just explain as best you can. Even if you don’t speak Cat. We are intelligent beings and we will try to communicate with you. Just be a little patient. Also, I couldn’t help noticing that there are a lot of books out there which are supposed to be about cats but really: they’re about the humans and how their cats made them feel. And we say that’s all very well, but why not let us speak for ourselves?
3. You are not the only cat in your house but you are the top cat, right? Can you tell us a bit about the cats who share your home?
D. Actually, I don’t think cats work like that (having a Top Cat). I share my house with Belladonna and Shadow. And there appears to be a little kitten who I think wants to move in. We will have to talk about that. When it comes to security, I am Top Cat, certainly. If we get home invasions then I have to coordinate our defence and lead from the front because I am the warrior cat. When Bad Cats and dogs try to attack us on our walks then I put myself between her and danger because that’s my place. I have been defending my girl cats since I was a kitten. I don’t like fighting, but I’ll do it because it’s my duty.
Belladonna is Senior Cat because she is old and she was here first. She is cross and crabby sometimes and she used to hiss at us when we were kittens. But she has mellowed a lot since then. I asked her straight out why she wouldn’t play with us when we just wanted to be friends. She was a bit surprised by that, and admitted that she was jealous of us because we were young and cute. I now understand because last night I saw Man playing with the little intruder cat. Shadow and I were jealous of her because she is so young and cute. So we understand now. Belladonna changed her ideas when I first began to drive away the Bad Cats who were terrorizing her. Shadow and I have never been prouder than the glorious day when two big dogs walked right into our house and Belladonna was really scared. But we saw them off. I was right in front of them and Shadow guarded the flank and we hustled them right out of the house. Then Belladonna got down off her shelf, kissed us both and told us we were good kittens. That was a good day.
Shadow my sister is Top Cat when it comes to food, and also with Man’s Pillow. She was a street kitten: always hungry when she was growing up. I grew up in a house where there was always food and we weren’t hungry. They put her in a cage with me and told me to look after her. So I have, ever since. Like Belladonna, she is a black cat and thinks Belladonna is her Mum. And she eats my food. I think this explains my munchies habit, because when our humans put down wet food for us she wolfs hers down as fast as she can and then she eats mine. So I’d walk away and eat my munchies, hoping at least that I would be able to eat them in peace and quiet. She sometimes eats Belladonna’s food too, though she keeps a wary eye out in case Belladonna walks in and catches her at it. I play too rough with her sometimes, apparently. I can’t seem to help this either. We have Issues, but we do love each other.
4. Very democratic way of arranging your individual authorities. You also have an important philosophy that guides your life. Please tell us more about being a Good Kitty, its rewards and challenges.
D. When I was stuck in the Bad Place With The Cages, I was so miserable because I didn’t know what had gone wrong. One moment I’d been in a happy home with Mum and the other kittens, and next thing I knew I’m stuck in a cage all day. Then I got my own house and humans and bad things happened there and they sent me back to the cages. So I decided that things were going wrong because I was a Bad Cat. Bad things happen to Bad Cats. I thought I’d try being a Good Cat and see if that worked. And it did, because the White Coat Humans put this greedy little black kitten in my cage and they told me to look after her. So I did that, and I let her eat my food, and I played with her and everything. Then my kind humans turned up and took us home to their wonderful house and we’ve been there ever since. I am beginning to suspect that sometimes Bad Things happen to Good Cats, too, but it’s much more likely humans will look after you if you’re a Good Cat.
Being a Good Cat means that if you’re strong and able to protect your friends, then you have to do it. But fighting just to show you’re a boy cat is silly. Every time Red Cat attacked us on our walks I would think this: look, you’re being a Bad Cat. We KNOW you’re a Boy Cat. We could hardly miss it, could we? You can sit on your front fence and guard your house like the other cats do and we’ll just walk on by and that way no-one has to fight at all.
The reward for being a Good Cat is that your humans like you, other humans will be kind to you and other cats will get on better with you. I’ve seen old, scarred boy cats who can’t stop fighting and honestly: they’re in terrible shape. Kindness works, because people and cats will be kind back.
The challenges? Oh, my. I used sometimes to dream about giving my sister a hiding for eating my food right out from under my nose. I knew what she was doing was wrong. So did Man. He used to hold her in his paws while I was eating. But poor little Shadow was born hungry and she took ages to get her little furry head around the idea that yes, tomorrow there will be food. And the next day, and the day after. You don’t have to squaff it all down now. She was a Bad Cat because she was hungry and scared. So sometimes being a Good Cat means letting people eat your food.
The other big challenge is having to be brave when you don’t feel like it. The Bad Cats used to wander into our house and everyone would be frightened. Me too. They were much bigger than us and I was really scared. Our humans were asleep and it was up to me to do something about it. So I did. I kept chasing them away even though I was terrified and eventually I got so big and strong that they stopped coming. I haven’t been physically scared for a long time now. Even the Fast Dogs Off Their Leashes don’t really frighten me because I have backup. Man will save me if I’m in real trouble. I’m sure of it.
5. How did the other cats in your house react to your writing your story? Were they jealous that you monopolized your human while he served as your typist? Or did they lounge on nearby cushions, eager for another installment?
D. Belladonna doesn’t mind. She thinks I should put in the bit about her being an Egyptian goddess and Princess of Cats, so I did mention that in the next book. So she’s happy with that. Shadow was a bit put out that everyone now sees her as a greedy little fat cat who eats everything, but she thinks I’ve been fair to her otherwise. I think she’s proud of me. I hope so.
6. Are you an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? In your book, you mention a special activity you share with your human. Please tell us a little more about that.
D. I’m an outdoor cat mostly. I like to sit out the front and watch the world go by, knowing that this is my house, and I’m guarding it and I never get tired of it. I have a big carpet to lie on in summer and a big fluffy which is amazingly warm in winter and I spend a lot of time there. When everyone’s finally gone to bed I like to come in, eat some munchies and curl up at the bottom corner of the bed. It reminds me of sleeping close to Man when we were kittens and how good that was.
Our special activity is that we go for walks every night. By ourselves cats rarely go far from home; but with Man we’re able to explore a long way away, and it’s wonderful. We wait out the front late at night after Woman has gone to bed, just sitting patiently. Then Man opens the gate, turns on the light, waves the Jingly Things and off we go. Mostly Man lets me choose which way to go and we find the most amazing places to explore. Huge gardens, and doormats which humans put there to sharpen our claws on even though they don’t have cats of their own (it’s so thoughtful of them!), and fences and new houses being built and piles of sand and birds and mousies and bats and possums. Some cats retreat into Dream World after a while, and I think it’s because their mundane lives are dull, so they dream. We dream too, but our life is so exciting with our walks that we never get bored.
7. Have you had to do a lot of sitting around in bookstores or fending off adoring fans since the release of your best-selling, award-winning book? Or have they respected your privacy? Perhaps you’ve had to wear a disguise?
D. I grew a beard soon after the first book and this helped. I’m a bit shy in company, I have to say; but everyone has been very respectful.
8. What other kinds of stories would you like to write besides your own life story?
D. I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about that. Other stories about cats, certainly. I have a vague idea about a made-up story. They say you should write what you know, and what I know is about Being A Cat.
9. Do the other cats in your house hope to have their moment lying in the sun by writing their own autobiographies? How would you feel about that?
D. Much though it pains me to say it, I don’t think I’d be comfortable with that. When We Were Kittens will have interviews with all of us, I think. They will get their say then. Belladonna’s life might be intriguing to hear, but she won’t say much about it.
10. I won’t ask you to spoil the suspense in your story, but I am new at this intermewing stuff. What else would you like to tell our readers about your book or your purrsonal life?
D. The thing about my book which is different from everyone else’s except yours is that it’s my life story told from where I’m sitting. I got cross reading these books Man lent me. I told him look: you told me these were books about cats, but they aren’t. This stuff is all My Beautiful Cat And How She/He Made Me Feel. Now I’m glad these humans appreciate their cats. That’s the good bit. But they should let us tell our own stories. So my books are my personal diaries, and the focus is all on us and the humans are our supporting cast.
The other thing your readers might like is the fact that our lives are very different from other cats. Man and Woman encourage us to be Our Own Persons and develop strong personalities. Ms B says they’ve always been that way. When we started going for our walks at night, we noticed that there weren’t any other humans taking their cats for walks. Also, and here is something I feel very strongly about, Nothing Really Bad Happens to us! There are too many books and films and stuff about animals out there and what happens at the end? The animal dies! Really! That just isn’t respecting your audience. My books are loved by young humans (especially girls between 8 and 13) and these are kind, gentle, generous-hearted people. You mustn’t wring their hearts to no purpose. We know animals die. Don’t end the book like that. It spoils everything. So I place my paw on my heart and solemnly swear the following:
No, none of the major characters dies. We may become sad at times, but it will end happily. I promise.
11. I have one other question. When your family writes to my mom about you, they call you Doughall, and yet your book is titled “Dougal’s Diary.” Why is that?
D. Oh, right! My normal name is Dougal, but in Gaidhlig it’s Dubh Geal, which Man says means Black and White. Because I’m a b&w cat. Spelling names in English which come from other languages can be a bit random. Man talks to us in Gaidhlig and we like the sound of it. It’s a very soothing language.
12. Please tell us the easiest way for our readers to get a copy of your book.
D. Easiest way is to order through the publisher’s website:
It’s based in Australia, so buying direct from them is easier for you overseas people. *PUUURRRR* And thank you for intermewing me! Best hugs and nose-kiss Dougal
Thank mew so much, Dougal. We will be asking for another intermew when WHEN WE WERE KITTENS comes out.
*Dougal’s Diary is also available as an e-book from online booksellers.
Readers, please check back in a couple of weeks when we will be intermewing yet another cat author. K.B. (but mew can call me Kittibits)