By Tony

After a month that felt like a year, the 2021 RAL Calendar Contest finally ended last night at 8 p.m. when the top 12 fundraisers were announced.

Last Monday, we were in the dumps about my chances. Other pets were bringing in so much money, especially those damn dogs. What was a kitty to do?…

But then on Wednesday a BIG donation from “Rusty Crow” suddenly appeared — and it got MATCHED. This totally turned the tide, raising me to 9th place. Rusty Crow wishes to remain anonymous, but Karen knows who they are and wants to express her amazement and eternal gratitude for their repeated and unexpected support.

Dogs had already seized the top seven spots, but other cats weren’t sitting around on their tails, and their donations kept coming.

On Friday, Karen’s sister Keri brought in another surge from friends and family.

Yesterday, the final stretch, began quietly, as we expected. At 6:30 p.m., Karen, her mother, and several Cats Working readers and friends made their moves and got me to 8th place. I became the TOP CAT!

Roc and I tried to play it cool during that last hour, watching Karen rip her hair out at the laptop watching more donations come in…

I don’t exaggerate when I say all hell broke loose at 7:55. Especially between the two top dogs. The one who’d held a massive lead the whole time was suddenly kicked to second place. Her owner immediately donated $5,150 to get her untouchably back on top.

Meanwhile, a catfight broke out around me. At least one cat’s human threw another $1,000 into the pot. When all the fur finally settled, here’s what the leaderboard looked like…


Because of COVID, no big celebration was possible, but the RAL people wrapped it up on Facebook. You can watch how the cats scrambled the leaderboard and see how those big last-minute donations freaked everyone out. Go to 9:30 for the winner announcements. Mine was the first name they called!

We couldn’t relax until the video made it official, but I pretended I knew I was a shoo-in all along…

Later, I unwound on my favorite blankie in bed while Karen read about John Adams…

This morning, everything feels back to normal. I hit the dry bowls for some brunch…

Even though I’ll be a pinup cat next year (month TBA), I want to assure everyone that, like my namesake Anthony Bourdain, I’ll stay humble and never be above tearing paper and hanging out in my Chewy box…

I CAN’T SAY THANKS ENOUGH to everyone who supported me, including Ottavia Bourdain, who topped me off with a last-minute contribution. The $2,566 I raised will do SO MUCH to help other cats (and dogs, probably). RAL takes in animals from rural shelters in Virginia so they’ll have the best chance to become healthy and strong and find loving homes like I did.

I feel so blessed. Just a year ago, I was a sick kitten bouncing around foster homes with an uncertain future. Today, I’m a four-legged tribute to an internationally beloved writer and traveler, and a blogger with a family of my own. AND I have my month as an RAL Calendar Kitty to look forward to in 2021! It doesn’t get any better than this. And it’s due to the kindness all of you have shown me. I love you.

BONUS: Here’s another snippet of unwinding time where I get a little feisty…

9 Responses to TONY’S SPECIAL REPORT: You Did It!

  1. Anita says:

    Tony, you have so many fans and will get even more once your cute furry face adorns the pages of the calendar.

    I might be biased, but you were still the cutest cat up there. And obviously WAY cuter than any of the dogs.

    Hope you get to play with rubber bands today as your big reward! Just don’t eat them. xoxo

  2. Randi says:

    Karen, I could watch the video from the link in this post. Wow, it was intense! Even though I already knew Tony got a 12th place, I was on pins and needles watching them re-arrange the photos. I’m SO happy for you! And Tony can sense the excitement, I’m sure.
    How wonderful that Rusty Crow and Ottavia came in with a last minute contribution… and it got matched!
    It would be great if Tony is featured on the June page, but many cats are born from April to June.

  3. catsworking says:

    Anita, I WISH I could play with rubber bands today. Karen has hidden them ALL. And the one I ate in July has never been seen again. She’s hoping it did come out buried in poop and she just missed it.

    We have to agree with you. When you look at the leaderboard, I was the real standout. One of the dogs’ photos was sideways, but you couldn’t tell. The winning dog is black. I’m sure the photographer will use nice backdrops and good lighting so she doesn’t look like a blob.

  4. catsworking says:

    Randi, good, I’m glad you got to see it finally.

    When I was watching the video live last night, I didn’t know if Tony had won or not. So when that woman took him down from 8th place and walked off with his photo, my heart sank, thinking someone else had put in really big bucks and passed him in the last second. But then she brought him back and I went, WOO HOO!!! WE DID IT!!!

  5. Shelley says:

    I am so thrilled about Tony’s big win. I can’t wait to see his beautiful face on next year’s calendar. You must be over the moon;.

  6. catsworking says:

    Shelley, I keep feeling like I should be treating him differently because he’s going to be a local celebrikitty.

  7. Mary Hunter says:

    Karen, and Tony, I couldn’t be happier about your win! I am a little biased, but you really are one of the cuter cats with the most personality I have ever seen. You so deserve this Tony, and how wonderful that you are a namesake to someone who was so beloved by so many people the world over. This is absolutely fantastic, I can’t wait until the calendar comes out. How wonderful that Ottavia was involved. She is such a remarkable person and I’m glad she’s staying in touch with your blog. Congratulations!!

  8. bassgirl23 says:

    Congratulations Tony! So happy to see you’ll be in the calendar.

  9. catsworking says:

    Mary and bassgirl, thanks so much for the kind wishes and praise. It really was touch and go toward the end and we were all very worried we might let everyone down. It was such a relief to see me still on that leaderboard in the end!

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