A Cat Gloats Over the Preakness – a Little

May 22, 2016

By Adele

It’s not often I take a victory lap when one of my Triple Crown prognostications pans out, but this time I can’t help it. I totally nailed it.

Yesterday, EXAGGERATOR OUTRAN NYQUIST AND WON THE PREAKNESS!

Before the race, only one of the talking heads on NBC agreed with me. They were all rooting for Nyquist.

OK, I have to admit that Cherry Wine snuck in out of nowhere and actually finished second but, if you’ll review the comments on my previous post and see where I responded to a demand from a Cats Working reader well-known to Roc as “Grumpy,” I boldly predicted that Exaggerator would outrun Nyquist and Stradivari, in that order. And that’s exactly how it went down, with Nyquist and Strad coming in 3rd and 4th.

There’s no doubt about it. I’ve still got the gift. Even if I do say so myself.

I’m doing my best to wrangle an interview with Exaggerator before the Belmont, so stay tuned.

PS: We were all deeply saddened to learn that actor Alan Young died on May 19 at age 96. He was the best friend of our all-time favorite horse, Mister Ed. Fortunately, Karen has the entire 5 ½ seasons of the show on DVD (available on Amazon) so we can get our Ed-and-Wilbur fix whenever we want one. You should try it. Even 50+ years later, Ed is still hilarious and often astute in a timely way.


Preakness Stakes: A Cat Torn Between Two Horses

May 20, 2016

By Adele

I regret to report that my favorite in the Kentucky Derby, Exaggerator ran second, missing the wire by only 1 ¼ lengths. He’s back for the 141st Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. (On NBC Saturday, May 21, post time approximately 6:45 p.m. ET.)

My second Derby pick, Suddenbreakingnews, came in fifth, which wasn’t too shabby, but he’s sitting out the Preakness.

Nyquist was the Derby favorite and he won it, flicking his tail in Exaggerator’s face for the 4th time and maintaining his unbeaten record. The Derby was Nyquist’s 8th win in a row. Can he make it nine in the Preakness?

Only 11 horses are running this time, and only Nyquist, Exaggerator and Lani also ran in the Derby two weeks ago. Lani came in 9th. At the Preakness, Lani will be in post position 6, odds 30-1.

For my treats, Exaggerator (pp 5, odds 3-1) and Nyquist (pp 3, 3-5) are the two to watch, because the Ex Man needs to avoid losing a 5th time to Nyquist or risk having it called his career.

Since Nyquist has a shot at the Triple Crown, I wish him the best. But I’ve got a thing for Exaggerator, and he’s got a score to settle with Nyquist for the honor of the Desormeaux stable.

You see, Exaggerator has a stablemate named Swipe (not running in the Preakness) who has also lost multiple times to Nyquist, coming in 2nd FOUR RACES IN A ROW.

So, if ever a horse had a target on his rump, it’s Nyquist, and the Preakness is Exaggerator’s best chance to serve him up a nice, big, cold plate of revenge.

Other than that, the Preakness is crawling with kids of Uncle Mo. In addition to Nyquist, there are his half-brothers, Uncle Lino (pp 2, 20-1), Laoban (pp 8, 30-1), and Abiding Star (pp 9, 30-1).

Keep an eye on Abiding Star. He’s the second most experienced horse in the field, with 11 races under his saddle. He’s won the last 5, so he’s definitely on a roll, even though his odds indicate not many agree with me.

The least experienced horse may also bear watching. He’s Stradivari (pp 11, 8-1), with only three previous races to his credit, but he won the last two.

Fellowship (pp 10) is the most experienced overall, with 12 races, but he only won two.

As always, we’re keeping 12 paws crossed that all the horses run a good race and cross the finish line safely.


A Cat’s 2016 Kentucky Derby Picks

May 5, 2016

By Adele

It seems like only yesterday that American Pharoah was winning the Triple Crown, but he’s retired now and living the good life. It’s time for new hooves to run for the roses in the Kentucky Derby. You can watch it on NBC May 7 from 4-7:30 p.m. ET (post time 6:34).

Studying this year’s field of 20, it was hard to find a favorite, but then one jumped out at me. Actually, two.

The first is Exaggerator, son of Curlin. Curlin was Big Brown’s all-round nemesis back in 2008. And here’s an interesting twist: Exaggerator’s going to be ridden by Brownie’s faithful jockey, Kent Desormeaux. The Ex Man pulled post position 11. He’s won four of his nine previous races, the most recent being the Santa Anita Derby on April 9, and his odds aren’t too bad at 8-1.

My treats are on Exaggerator to win.

My second pick is Suddenbreakingnews, who has won three of his eight previous races. His most recent race was the Arkansas Derby on April 16, where he came in second.

Sudden’s grandfather is Afleet Alex, who won the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes in 2005. Alex is another sentimental favorite of mine because of that moment in the Preakness stretch when Scrappy T bumped into Alex so hard, he nearly fell on his knees and threw his jockey, but then he recovered and WON THE RACE by 4 ¾ lengths!

Suddenbreakingnews’ pulled post position 2, which could put him in a tight spot by the rail. His jockey is Luis Quinonez. His odds are 20-1

And because I’m not into jinxing any horse’s chances, my third pick is the 3-1 favorite, unbeaten in seven previous races, Nyquist. He most recently won the Florida Derby on April 2. He’ll be in post position 13 under Mario Gutierrez.

Interesting FYI: Nyquist is competing against his half-brother, Outwork (post position 11, odds 15-1). They are both sons of Uncle Mo.

Another family tie I noticed was Destin (pp 9, 15-1) and Brody’s Cause (pp 19, 12-1), who are cousins that share a grandpa, Storm Cat.

Cats Working wishes all the horses good luck (because you never tell them to “Break a leg!” before a big race), and hopes all cross the finish line safely.


Bourdain Takes the Gold in Jiu-Jitsu

April 18, 2016

By Karen

I seldom write about Anthony Bourdain anymore, but I still keep up, and just saw something amazing I have to share in case any of my former fellow Bourdainiacs are still reading.

If you haven’t noticed, Tony has become a household word. Last week on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah and a guest threw the name “Bourdain” around as if the entire planet knows who that is. I also just saw him referenced in an article in Conde Nast Traveler as some standard for travel.

Tony took up jiu-jitsu a year or two ago, inspired by his wife Ottavia and daughter Ariane, who both practice the art. BTW, Happy Birthdays, ladies! (They both celebrate one in April.)

Upon earning his blue belt, Tony just competed in his first competition, in the Blue Belt Masters 5 Middleweight Division at the IBJJF New York Spring International Open Championship.

He won and took home the gold.

Here’s a video on Fight Sports of the whole match-up. It’s not exactly action-packed, but more a test of brute strength, with Bourdain mostly keeping his opponent pinned to the mat for about 5 minutes…

Flograppling.com filmed from another vantage point and included much more of Ottavia and Tony’s trainer cheering him on. At the end of the match, it also clearly shows the phenomenal shape Tony’s trained himself into. He’s approaching 60 on June 25 with six-pack abs and not an ounce of fat.

For old times’ sake, Cats Working extends 12 paws up and a hearty “Congratulations!” to Anthony Bourdain on his milestone victory, and wishes him many, many more.


Kitten’s Double Life Revealed

April 5, 2016

By Roc

Ever since I came to live here in November 2015, I’ve been stepping out with Karen nearly every Saturday to visit my “home away from home.” Adele and Max think I’m bonkers when I climb into the carrier without a fuss. For them, that crate means only one thing — the VET.

My secret escape is a sweet little set-up at a big house belonging to my Granny and Grumpy. There, I’m a superstar. Those two are absolutely CRAZY about me.

They have a great fireplace, which they turn on just for me so I can catnap in front of it. At first, all I had was a blankie on the floor…

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But it wasn’t long before a bed showed up. Now my Teddy and Squeaky Hamburger guard it full-time…

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Speaking of Teddy, I got him for Christmas when I was real little… (on blue carpet), but you can see how I’m growing into him. Karen took the next picture of us in February…

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I have other toys, too. We have so many at home, Max and Adele haven’t even missed these…

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And they don’t know about my latest acquisition, a new scratchy pad with feathers…

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I like hanging out on the big couch while everybody drinks wine and watches some tube, with no fears that Adele will come along and sit on me…

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I also like playing on the kitchen table, now that it’s an easy leap. Here I am on Granny’s chair…

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And here’s Granny giving me a workout with my Martha Stewart stick toy…

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She also encourages me to explore my artistic side. Here I am playing “Kitten on the Keys” on her piano…

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Grumpy plays with me, too, but mostly by letting me chew his feet. I know it looks like he’s trying to strangle me here, but that’s how he does “friendly”…

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I returned the favor by visiting his office for a desk inspection (BTW, he failed, it was a mess)…

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Then I scared the pants shorts off him by trying a new trick. That black thing on the bannister at the top of the stairs is me…

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Bannister-walking has become my new hobby, but that’s for another post.

When I need a little alone time, I hang out in the guestroom and watch for geese on the little lake behind the house…

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I also have my own stash of food, bowls, and a litterbox. But don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not a mooch. I earn my keep. One Saturday I helped Granny with housework by fishing some popcorn, a Goldfish, and a couple of peanuts from under the coffee table for her (OK, I ate a peanut). She was so horrified by all the stale snacks I was finding, they moved the coffee table and vacuumed the whole rug…

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I’m not sure what Adele and Max do while I’m gone, but I enjoy my weekly breaks from them. And they don’t seem to mind because I don’t come home reeking of the vet.


Atkins Meal Makes Fasting a Better Option

March 28, 2016

By Karen

Since being on Weight Watchers®, I default to Lean Cuisine® or Smart Ones® frozen meals when I don’t feel like cooking. Anybody who eats these things knows they never quite look like the picture on the box. But my recent Atkins frozen meal took false advertising to a whole new level.

I tried Atkins because 1) I have a friend on a high-protein diet who says she’s flirting with size 6 and eats pork chops for lunch, and 2) the Atkins meals were on sale.

The Chicken Margherita pulled me in with this photo. By Weight Watchers standards, all that melted cheese qualifies as soft-core food porn…

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But here’s what came out of the microwave…

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As porn goes, it was the culinary equivalent of two hairy, sweaty people with dirty feet doing it doggy-style on stained sheets with rats running around the bed.

I’m embarrassed to admit I ate it anyway because I hate to waste food — even greasy red and green globs laced with chewy chunks — and that it cost me 11 WW Points Plus (out of my 26-point daily allotment).

Dr. Atkins’ stomach should be turning in his grave.

The cats got the last laugh when my dinner looked, smelled, and tasted (according to them) a lot worse than any canned food I’ve ever served them — including the many flavors of Fancy Feast® they hate.

And an hour later, I needed a sandwich.


Jiu-Jitsu, Kamakazi Kitten-Style

March 2, 2016

By Roc

OK, now you’ve seen my cute little splashy side. Let’s take a look at my inner beast.

Anyone would expect a kitten named Roc (as opposed to Dust Bunny or Fluffer Nutter) to be scrappy. I wasn’t here at Cats Working more than a few days before I decided to find out how far I could push Max, even though he was about 4 times my weight. What’s one life to a kitten with 8 more in his future?

Our first good bout when I was 3 months old ended in a draw…

But Max-wrestling instantly became my addiction (even more than jumping into the refrigerator every time Karen opens it). To practice my moves, I jump Max every chance I get. He doesn’t always appreciate it.

Our latest match-up was just a few weeks ago when I was 5 months old. We amped up the thrill factor by adding the possibility of the loser taking a 9-foot plunge off the balcony into the living room…

PS: Rest assured that nobody went over the edge. There may have been some slight ego-bruising, but no kitties were hurt during either filming.


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