Karen and the Cats

Karen Wormald

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Karen Wormald is an award-winning business writer and author of How to Work Like a CAT, her second book. She was a contributing editor to PC Solutions and her work has appeared in many other publications, including Cruise Travel, Credit Union Business, Office Solutions, Cats magazine, and at AbsoluteWrite.com.

In 2002, she left corporate America’s rat race to embark on a life of full-time freelancing as owner of Kew Publications, trading cubicles and annoying co-workers for bunny slippers and cats. She writes copy, edits, and proofreads for businesses across a spectrum of industries, and it still leaves her time to catnap and pursue other interests.

She has presented workshops at her alma mater, the University of Richmond, and before many other groups on AP style and various aspect of business writing. She’s available for private corporate coaching sessions.

A former ballroom dancer and Yankee transplant to the South, Karen is a news junkie with a liberal bent who enjoys visiting faraway places by ship, collecting classic movies, learning French (30+ years and still not fluent) and Norwegian, watching travel and cooking shows, reading and writing satire and, of course, communing with felines.

If you ever need writing services large or small, check out her personal site and contact her.

The Cats

Max (top) and Roc (left) try to explain blogging to the newest team member, Tony, and coax him to come out and spitball topics for future posts.

 

Going back a few years to the team of Yul, Adele, and Cole — taking five.

 

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The original team: Yul and Fred debating blog topics while Adele barely conceals her boredom.

Tony

Tony joined the crew in November 2019 after the passing of Adele, giving Cats Working its first all-male feline staff ever. Tony’s full name is Tony Bourdain, because he has an adventurous spirit and doesn’t take any guff — especially from Roc, who’s very good at dishing it out despite his innocent looks.

Tony is interested in all things culinary and has so far found very few people foods he doesn’t like. He’s willing to try anything at least once. He’s also obsessed with stealing rubber bands, can be mesmerized by faucet trickles, and watches TV for extended periods, especially if it’s cartoons or about animals.

He got a rough start in life, found with a male sibling at six weeks in Northern Virginia malnourished, sick with multiple conditions, and most likely abandoned. He fully recovered his health, but prefers not to be held or petted. His early experiences seem to left some lingering trust issues, but we’re working on that.

Roc

Roc joined Max and Adele in 2014 as a cuddly kitten. His attention span is more suited to Twitter, but before Adele passed, he promised her that he would learn to love horses and continue her legacy of reporting on Triple Crown races. Whether he’s a cat of his word remains to be seen.

Roc is very outgoing, enjoying road trips and visiting Karen’s parents, whom he calls Granny and Grumpy. They also have an orange tabby named Tater Tot who Roc endearingly calls his “Sweet Tater.” At home, he had a cordial relationship with Adele and she didn’t mind hanging out with him when she wasn’t busy disciplining him.

His hobbies include soaking his face in the kitty fountain (which annoys Max to no end since he drinks from it), playing with any toy on a stick, stealing food, doing acrobatics, monitoring activities in the neighborhood, hanging out with his Teddy, and being adorably affectionate most of the time.

Max

Max was another former inmate of the Richmond Animal League who joined the team in August 2011 when he was just 4 months old. Even at such a tender age, he showed a strong work ethic and wasted no time in making himself at home at Karen’s desk so he could peruse the Cats Working archives and learn about blogging, which he never really took to. He’s been more of a tweeter, but vowed to change his ways since the loss of Cole, and more recently, Adele.

While Max continues to seek his niche as a writer,  in his spare time he enjoys playing with anything that strikes his fancy when he’s not power-napping. He never gave up hope that some day Adele would like him, although she bullied him right to the end.

Adele

April 11, 2000 – September 12, 2019

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Adele was a shelter cat who joined the family in 2000 as princess and peacemaker, the latter a role she relinquished after Fred and Yul passed away, which made way for Cole and Max to come on the scene and shatter her serenity. She spent the next several years running around the house screaming at the top of her lungs at nothing.

Her hobbies included sticking her arms in the VCR (yes, we still have one, although seldom used); watching TV (Video Catnip is a particular favorite); frolicking in water; fetching toys (in the right mood); over-grooming, because she believed a white cat can never be white enough; burrowing; performing death-defying stunts in places too high and narrow for sensible cats; nude sunbathing; and thoroughbred horse racing. Before Cole’s death, they had developed a companionable relationship. She never fully accepted Max, but gave Roc a pass when he obeyed her and stopped stealing her food.

We lost Adele on September 12, 2019, after her fierce two-year battle with kidney failure, which was topped off in the end by a tumor on her throat. She never lost her spirit, and used tough love to raise Max and Roc to respect females. Adele was born during the Clinton administration and lived through two terms each of Bush II and Obama, seeing Trump well through his first (and hopefully only) term. Her passing marks the end of the original Cats Working team.

Cole

2006 – October 26, 2015

Cole

Cole joined Cats Working in June 2009 as a 3-year-old. He was rescued when he was 6 weeks old trying to cross a major highway and taken to the no-kill Richmond Animal League. Apart from a short time in foster care, he grew up knowing nothing but institutional life. Once adopted, he slowly learned to adapt, room by room, to being a house cat with a home of his own at Cats Working. He spent most days lounging on Karen’s bed or watching backyard wildlife through the sliding glass door from a pink kitty cube.

It took Cole a while to discover that cat toys can be fun, particularly Da Bird and this 12-foot piece of flannel on a stick. His culinary loves were real bacon and Temptations treats, and he enjoyed the occasional buzz of a  fine ‘nip.

When not sleeping or trying to splash all the water out of the kitty fountain, Cole kept in shape by chasing or being chased by Adele. Like Fred and Yul before him, we lost Cole too soon to chronic renal failure at age 9.

Yul

1996 – August 13, 2011

 What! You’ve never seen a cat in a sweater?

Yul was a 1996-vintage former shelter cat and the diabolical mastermind behind many unexplained crashes in the night. He didn’t find his voice until he was three, and then nobody could shut him up. His thirst for adventure and black coat once got him accidentally locked in a dark closet. During his Houdini-like attempts to escape, he sustained a minor injury that ultimately cost him his tail. But he didn’t let this “shortcoming” in cat body language keep him from having the last word in any argument — punctuated with well-placed claws.

His hobbies included binging and purging; playing dress-up; filling the food bowls with assorted objects; stealing knives; sassing back whenever he was scolded (which was frequently); lying on his back and contemplating the ceiling; and putting Adele up to stunts that invariably got her in trouble.

In his final year, Yul suffered from frequent respiratory infections, almost total deafness, and vestibular disease (vertigo). He endured all those conditions without missing a beat but, ultimately, there was no beating chronic renal failure, although he put up a good fight for four months. His wise and wry posts at Cats Working will be his legacy, and a tribute to an amazing cat.

Fred

1992 – May 21, 2009

Fred

Fred was Kew’s honorary senior executive vice president because he spent the most time in the office — asleep under the desk. He became alpha cat after appearing on a softball field in 1993 as a mysterious stray with no past. Fred’s approach to life was pragmatic — if you don’t like something, just walk away from it, spray it so it will never forget you, or kill it.

His hobbies included binge drinking from faucets; sitting on whatever you’re reading; catnapping in sunny spots; keeping tabs on the ‘hood from the kitchen picture window; stuffing himself with cat treats; and licking people.

Fred passed away from chronic renal failure, but his wit and wisdom appear in the archives of Cats Working and will endure as long as we occupy the blogosphere.

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