Anthony Bourdain: Cat Person

By Karen

At last, I’ve found a plausible link between Anthony Bourdain and Cats Working. He’s a cat person.

When I first wrote about Tony months ago, I never suspected his name would put my blog on the map. I had no idea he was that big. I kept throwing tidbits on the pile, and now my Most Popular Posts read like Bourdain Central.

The cats aren’t happy about it.

Tony’s wives Nancy and Ottavia battle for No. 1 spot in total hits, and Big Brown periodically edges them out by a nose like the thoroughbred he is.

So I was thrilled to justify it in Bourdain’s own words. He prefers cats to dogs – as pets, not food.

Also, in a letter to Nancy at the beginning of his book, A Cook’s Tour, he tells her he misses the cat.

So Anthony and Nancy Bourdain were cat owners – and fish owners, according to this photo – thoughtfully providing entertainment for their cat.

This is pure speculation on my part, but Ottavia doesn’t strike me as a cat lover. For some reason, I imagine her like my Italian grandmother, who would scream obscenities (in Italian) if a cat snuck into the house and jumped on her kitchen counter, and who believed that old wives’ tale about cats sucking the breath out of babies.

I can’t see Ottavia as a dog person, either, strolling around Manhattan in her big sunglasses behind some pooch, carrying a plastic poop bag.

But I can totally picture Nancy scooping a litter box. How about you?

When Ariane is old enough to start begging for something warm and furry to love, I won’t be surprised if she ends up with a frog or a gecko.


13 Responses to Anthony Bourdain: Cat Person

  1. Ichigo says:

    Ha, the poor cats. But I must agree, Mr. Bourdain has created quite a stir in activity around here. I agree with you, I can picture Nancy scooping litter boxes. She seems to scream cat person from what I’ve seen (though that isn’t much).

    I’m a dog person actually (le gasp!), though don’t get me wrong. I do love cats. I had a cat before I had a dog, so that must count for something. Dogs just bring more to the table, atleast for me. And I guess it depends on the cat itself (or even the dog), personalities vary widely.

    Maybe Ottavia is more ‘exotic’? She may prefer a kotamundi or maybe even a pet sloth? Though be advised, I wouldn’t get either. Wild animals DO NOT make good pets, even if bred in captivity. Ottavia does kind of strike me as a bird person. Maybe a nice parrot or a canary?

    As for frogs and geckos making good cuddling companions? I can say from experince that they most certainly do. My frog curls up on my shirt and just sits there quite content. Only problem with amphibians is you must keep them moist. No one likes a dried up froggie, especially the froggie. I have a few geckos that will just totally lounge in your hands, giving the occasional lick to your fingers. But by far, snakes are the best cuddle buddies. One of my ball pythons will curl up with me while I read, every now and agian slithering over the pages to see what’s up. Probably not the best choice for a youngin’ though. Yes, I am the Reptile Woman.

    Though I think a pony would be a wonderful experience for Ariane and the family. The only problem is that it’s alot of work and you really need to research (as with any animal). I’ve seen more horses/ponies ruined due to inexperience and carelessness than anything else. But a horse can really change your life; it’s wonderful.

  2. Daniel says:

    This is a very interesting post. I like Bourdain’s shows. He has a great take on travel and food. The strangest thing is, his wife’s name is very close to my last name. Anyway, thanks for the info about the guy from us here at

  3. Bob says:

    Sorry to be doing on your posts.

    But I am In Canada, I wick the Bourdain shows off the web

    Kinda wigging for the new episode

    any hints would be nice

    Thanks in advance hope the Cats are well


  4. cat says:

    There was a mention on the internet some time ago that Tony was spotted walking a dachshund. I think this was when Ottavia was in hospital having baby.

  5. catsworking says:

    Yes, I can see Ottavia as a dog person as long as someone else is scooping.

  6. Nickole says:


    I believe the dachshund reference came a long time ago (2005??) when some people believed he had moved in with Paula Froelich. He was spotted around her apartment walking her dog. I know I read that somewhere, but I now can’t remember where.

  7. catsworking says:

    I vaguely remember reading something about Bourdain and a dog myself. I stand by my theory that Ottavia isn’t a pet person, but maybe she’ll someday get overruled if Tony and Ariane decide it’s time for something warm and fuzzy.

  8. Edlia says:

    Bourdain cannot be a cat person. No way. Cat people don’t smoke cigarettes with such rebellious gusto nor do they dance with the edge of acceptable with such obvious relish. There must be some mistake. No kitty kitty belongs to Bourdain – tell me it ain’t so. Obviously some Zimmern spy has inserted this falsehood into the blog to begin a chef war. Edlia

  9. catsworking says:

    Edlia, I agree that anyone who smokes around a cat doesn’t have the cat’s best interests at heart. But Bourdain is definitely a cat person. He mentioned having a cat in one of his books when he was with his first wife, Nancy. And apparently he has a cat now (don’t know if it’s the same cat or a new one – no photos available) because it came up in a recent interview.

    I’m hoping his daughter Ariane is a cat-lover who will keep Dad from acting on his basest impulses around the family pet.

    If Zimmern ever had a cat, it’s undoubtedly just a skeleton by now because that guy will eat ANYTHING. After seeing him chow down on guinea pigs, Cats Working can’t even watch his commercials for “Bizarre Foods.”

  10. Edlia says:

    Ok, so he made the mistake of marrying a catwoman – did he not end this marriage? If he has a cat now, I am sure it is a real cat type – not some wimpy schmoozey leg rubber. I mean I am not a cat person but there are a few that I would tolerate.

    Bourdain may not know that he is a dog person you know. Maybe he is so busy with cooking and smoking that he has missed this part of his personality. I say he needs a big dog that thumps well when patted on the side.

    As for Zimmern eating cats, well, this is a possibility but he also is such a nice guy that I don’t think that the danger is real except in the mind of a cat lover type.

    Coffee Drinking
    Dog Lover
    and defiant ex smoker

  11. catsworking says:

    Zimmern will eat ANYTHING. I can’t stand to watch him in action, so I have no idea if he’s already eaten a cat or not. Maybe someone who watches him will check in on that point.

    I don’t see Bourdain as a dog person at all. He’d appreciate the independence and snarkiness of cats, and probably have little respect for a drooling, fawning dog who needs constant reinforcement and attention.

    We don’t know that his current wife, Ottavia, is a cat lover. I suspect not, but that’s just personal speculation. She doesn’t strike me as the type who would like any animals in her house. But I don’t know her, so I could be reading her all wrong.

  12. Joan Toast says:

    Nancy is a cat person, a very loving cat person. And a dog person. Tony is neither; he’s a Tony person.

  13. catsworking says:

    Joan, I’ve always pictured Nancy as a cat person. Ottavia is apparently a cat person as well. She adopted Lupetto from the North Shore Animal League.

    As for Tony, he often behaves like a cat. A feral cat. He really doesn’t strike me as someone who would be a pet owner, but would tolerate living with animals if someone else took care of them.

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