July 2021 is Tony B. (the Cat) Month

July 2, 2021

By Tony

Thanks to some Cats Working peeps and Karen’s family, friends, and friends of family, I’m the featured pet on the Richmond Animal League’s calendar this month!

It’s weird to know that thousands of people are staring at my picture in their homes right now. I guess this is what 31 days of fame feels like.

If you weren’t around last fall, Karen entered me in RAL’s annual fundraising contest for the 2021 calendar. She had no idea it would turn cutthroat and high stakes in the final days and hours. Overall, the contest raised over $80,000 to help homeless animals.

More context: Max, Roc and I started out as immigrants to RAL from other shelters around Virginia so we’d get good medical care and have a better chance of being adopted. As you can see, it worked! The late Yul, Cole and Adele were also RAL alumni.

As the contest unfolded, the top seven fundraisers were dogs. I was in eighth place as the top cat until the last few hours, when the four cats trailing me threw a ton of money into the pot.

But — as when RAL took me and my brother in as sick, starving kittens — I survived.

Eleven of the winners got to pick their months in descending order of their fundraising contributions. Since I ended up in 12th place, I got the month nobody else claimed.

What were those other animals THINKING? July is an awesome month! It’s right in the middle and has a big national holiday with fireworks.

OK, I HATE fireworks. Lately, Karen’s been having strange men do a bunch of noisy work on the house and it’s given me a phobia where I hide under the bed.

We’ve got one calendar hanging on the fridge, and another one is on the bulletin board above Karen’s computer. That means I can be anywhere during the day, but she’s never out of my sight…

The caption Karen wrote for me says…

Adventurous, fearless, funny, inquisitive, intelligent, affectionate. Meet Tony Bourdain Wormald, who overcame a precarious start in life with RAL’s help to become the feline embodiment of his namesake.

Thanks again to everyone who generously helped me and RAL. We promise never to do that to you again.


White House Should Listen to Major Biden

April 8, 2021

By Max

You’ll find no dog-lovers here at Cats Working, but since we all share Major Biden’s backstory as shelter animals who made good, we’re unanimous in our opinion that he’s getting a raw deal over two alleged “biting” incidents.

We were shocked after the second one when that two-faced, closeted Trump-lover Joe Scarborough on MSNBC called Major “Cujo” and a “werewolf,” and had the NERVE to suggest that Major be put to sleep and “meet Dog Jesus”!

(At least Mika and Willie Geist took Major’s side.)

Even César Millán, the famous “Dog Whisperer,” called in to defend Major when Fox “News” was trashing him.

Let the record state that neither time did Major break skin or draw blood. Joe Biden himself confirmed that when Major first “nipped” a Secret Service agent. The second time, Major’s nippee was a National Park Service employee who got medically checked out at the White House and immediately returned to work “without injury.”

So, Mr. Scarborough, if you step on toes twice in a crowded elevator but don’t break any, should we take you out back and shoot you so you can meet “Douchebag Jesus”?

Let’s step back and consider this rationally. Major, who’s 3 years old now, went from anonymous shelter mutt to living with a former vice president — who then became president and promoted Major to Second Dog (his bro Champ, who’s 12, is First Dog) in the White House.

That’s a LOT of change for a doggy brain to process…

After the first nip, Major was sent home to Delaware for training, but he was only back at the White House for about a week when he got nippy again.

Major may be trying to tell Joe Biden something about the White House; he may smell lingering Trump cooties on people. German Shepherds tend to be very protective, and Major looks like he knows his job is keeping Biden safe…

Perhaps the best way to resolve this is to line up all the White House staff and the Secret Service like luggage at the airport and let Major do an inspection. Anyone he doesn’t pee on or nip gets Top Canine Clearance. The ones not so lucky need to be put on leave for more thorough background checks because something’s clearly not right with them. Dogs (and cats) know these things.

Or maybe Major senses Trump’s demented hatred of dogs and the White House needs an exorcism.

PS: Tomorrow is my 10th birthday and I’m celebrating with presents for EVERYONE! Roc and Tony are in for surprises. Stay tuned…

BONUS: Speaking of douchebags, Randy Rainbow has struck again with a classic parody from Oklahoma


Cats’ Answer to “Pooch Perfect”

April 5, 2021

By Roc

I’m being a blog hog for another day because over the weekend I brainstormed with Max and Tony and we came up with a cat version of Pooch Perfect in case NBC or CBS is interested in giving ABC some competition that’s real entertainment.

Our show’s title is CattyGories. Let that sink in a minute, because it sums up the concept perfectly.

The human contestants would be people who claim they’re pet psychics or cat whisperers. You know, people who live under the delusion that they can get cats to do stuff.

The kitty contestants may be temporarily captured ferals, shelter cats or even cats who have good homes. Since this show is so NOT like Pooch Perfect, cat owners might WANT their cats on it to get their 15 minutes of national TV fame.

Why? Because it has an intriguing twist. The usual premise of these “game” shows is for humans to exploit animals for their own amusement. With CattyGories, humans must depend on the kindness and mercy of the cats, and their goal is to stay in the cats’ good graces to keep from bleeding out.

The competitions are tailored around things cats might — or might not — want to do normally. Without using brute force or cruelty of any kind, the humans must attempt to complete simple tasks like:

  • Give the cat a mani-pedi, or apply fake adhesive covers to the cat’s claws
  • Teach the cat to use a people toilet
  • Put the cat in a carrier
  • Train the cat to fetch
  • Get the cat to come when called by name
  • Keep the cat off a countertop where there’s a freshly roasted chicken
  • Walk 10 feet with the cat on a leash
  • Get the cat to sit on their lap for 5 minutes

Each week, nobody gets kicked off, but one human is declared that week’s loser based on how badly they failed to get their cat to cooperate and the total dimension of spatters on bloody tissues they accumulated in the attempt.

On the final show, the judges add up the total inches of scratches and count how many puncture wounds each human sustained. The one with the lowest number of both “wins.”

The performance of the cats is never judged in any way. On the final show, EVERY cat is declared a winner. Because with cats, there’s no such thing as losing.

And maybe dogs will watch CattyGories and learn something. Such as, if they’re ever conscripted to be on a TV show like Pooch Perfect, they don’t go down without a fight bite. At the very least, every human on the set should get one leg humped and the other one peed on.


ABC’s “Pooch Perfect” More Like “Dogs Dissed”

April 1, 2021

By Roc

On March 30, ABC launched Pooch Perfect, a new dog groomer unreality competition hosted by former dog-shower Rebel Wilson (who looks fabulous, Karen adds).

I could be catty and say that Max, Tony and I love seeing dogs humiliated on national television, but we’re bigger cats than that, so I’ll stay on the high perch. Also, I know that some Cats Working readers love both cats and dogs, and we don’t hold it against you.

(This isn’t to say that Tony and I wouldn’t be thrilled to give Max a break from our teasing if Karen ever brought home a “teacup” something we could kick around instead.)

PP follows a well-worn formula. The groomer contestants are pairs — mother-son, couples, BFFs, mentor-mentee — and they’re mostly weirdos, as humans go. Every week, one of them gets the boot for not defacing grooming a dog to the three judges’ exacting standards.

The only judge we know is Lisa Vanderpump because Karen forces a lot of lot BravoTV on us. We’re familiar with the ever-present posse of cute-but-spoiled mutts she uses to make herself seem less plastic.

The dogs on PP first show up unkempt and filthy. I don’t know if they come that way or if the producers rough them up backstage. Then the groomers have to give them makeovers according to themes.

In the first round, the groomers had dogs whom they were supposed to transform into versions of their own personal “heart dogs.” This was obviously an attempt to humanize the groomers so they don’t seem so much like frustrated graffiti artists. Most of the dogs came through that challenge relatively intact, although I think some got fake gems and sequins glued to their fur.

Then the elimination round was the Unleash the Beast Ulti-Mutt Challenge. The groomers had to turn another set of dogs into OTHER ANIMALS. This is where it turned cruel.

Things were done to those poor dogs that will take months — if not years — to grow out.

One dog was dyed black and white to look like a skunk. Another one was dyed fifty shades of pink to look like a flamingo…

Some of the dogs were even turned into cats — lions and leopards. You get the drift…

The dog named Best in Show was turned into a fish!..

The judges goaded Fish-Dog’s groomer into this by telling him in the first round that he wasn’t extreme enough. In addition to dying his dog clown colors, he shaved “scales” into the dog’s back. This was a technique several groomers used, shaving heart shapes down to the skin and then dying the hearts pink.

I must say, the dogs were incredibly good sports about it and nobody got bit — at least on camera. If they were shelter dogs, maybe they saw it as their best shot to get adopted. I can’t imagine any responsible owners would have volunteered their dogs for this ordeal. Lisa Vanderpump certainly didn’t let any of them lay a mitt on the dog she had with her.

Let me just state for the record that this show would NEVER be made with cats.

The groomer who got kicked off first “only” turned her dog into a fire ant by dying it red, shaving its legs and putting antennas on it…

PETA is already pissed about the whole concept, and we’re afraid of what’s coming next for more dogs as the groomers feel increasing pressure to outdo each other.

PS: We send Major Biden our thoughts and prayers. He’s taking a lot of heat at the White House just for doing his German Shepherd job. Max is working on a story now.

Major Biden

TONY’S SPECIAL REPORT: You Did It!

August 23, 2020

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…

I WAS STILL ON IT. I WON!

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…


Chapter 62: COVID Chronicles

May 29, 2020

By Karen

Day 79

Another Tree Gone & Chihuahuas ROCK! (Shh… don’t tell the cats!)

Woke up to chainsaws and a wood chipper roaring suspiciously close by. Roc and Tony were dying for me to get up and open the blinds so they could see what was going on. The house across the street was losing a large tree in front.

I saw them grind up a big dead section, so maybe it needed to come down, but I hate it when any tree goes. Without that shade, they’re going to love their air conditioning bills this summer.

The house next door to them had EVERY tree removed by its latest owner. She’s the only one on the block with an actual lawn. But I wonder why anybody who prefers the prairie would buy a house in a neighborhood with a mature forest. Her house isn’t any safer; lots of neighbors’ trees could still fall on it.

Anyway, my not-chives are five days in the pot and coming along. They have a new leader, and the new runt has a microscopic shoot…

I’ve tried to determine the difference between chives vs. scallions vs. green onions vs. spring onions and, as far as I’m concerned, they’re interchangeable. Chives apparently aren’t as oniony. The others have thicker green stalks.

According to the link above and thekitchn.com, green onions and scallions are different names for the same thing. Spring onions are mature scallions/green onions.

I guess if what I’m growing ever gets pink flowers, I’ve got chives. Since I only use the greens as I’d use chives, that’s what I’m calling them. The differences between the others are all about the bulbs’ size and taste. Some people who cook with scallions throw away the greens altogether. Since my bulbs are staying underground, what kind they are is moot to me.

If I’ve never mentioned it before, I have a thing for talking animals. I love them all. For a COVID escape last night, I watched Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva la Fiesta! (now on HBO Family)…

It stars Chloe, the original pampered Beverly Hills Chihuahua. She’s married to Papi Cortez, a scrappy Chihuahua who grew up on the mean streets of Mexico. They have five puppies, four boys and a girl, and belong to a young couple looking for a new place to live. In exchange for free room and board, the humans are hired for menial jobs at a posh hotel that caters to guests with dogs because the hotel manager wants to use glamorpuss Chloe for marketing.

The story is all about the dogs, with the humans as subplots. It’s filled with music, romance, mystery, drama, adventure and lots of laughs. The highlight is a colorful and joyous canine quinceañera that Papi hosts for his little girl, Rosa.

The amazingly talented cast is real dogs and they talk. What’s not to love?

I’m a cat person, but I enjoyed this sweet movie so much, it’s one I could watch again and again.

 


Boy’s Best Friend is His Cat

May 15, 2014

By Max

Cats Working salutes Tara Triantafilo, a gray 6-year-old tabby and former stray in Bakersfield, CA. Tara went all “Big Cat” on a vicious dog larger than her to single-pawedly save her 4-year-old human, Jeremy.

Jeremy was minding his own biz playing in his front yard when a neighbor’s 8-month-old Lab-chow mix decided to drag Jeremy away by the leg. It was all caught on security cameras.

Jeremy was toast until Tara sprang seemingly out of nowhere and launched herself at the dog, chasing him off her property. Watch it…

Jeremy’s wounds needed 10 stitches. Tara only got her tail in a fluff. News reports say Jeremy’s mother Erica also got bitten on the leg, but it’s impossible to see how, since she didn’t show up until Tara had the dog on the run.

The dog is now sitting in quarantine at animal control, serving out a 10-day sentence until his execution. His owners gave him up willingly, which makes me wonder if this wasn’t his first offense.

When the Triantafilos took Tara in as a young stray, they probably never dreamed she’d repay the favor. In addition to Jeremy, she also lives with 2-year-old twin boys and a 4-year-old Husky mix named Maya.

So far, Maya has had no comment on the incident, nor do we know her whereabouts while the attack was going down.

Erica says the kids treat Tara pretty rough, but she puts up with it. Sure, after living on the street, she figures a little tail- and ear-pulling and occasionally getting sat on are small prices to pay in exchange for a forever home.

Tara’s video went viral; I saw it on CBS. It was pretty insulting to see how the talking heads found it so TOTALLY INCREDIBLE that a cat could do anything selfless.

The Bakersfield Californian had the most complete story (with pictures), but you have to answer a few questions to read the whole thing.


Innocent Housecats Under Attack

February 1, 2013

By Max

A new survey claims domestic cats are homicidal maniacs who kill BILLIONS of mice and birds.

Here’s a news flash: Karen has killed more mice than me and Adele COMBINED. (I can’t speak for Cole. He’s mum about his feral kitten days.)

In this study, LiveScience researchers surmised there are about 84 million cats owned in the U.S. They pulled numbers out of their ass and claim we each kill 4-18 birds per year and 8-21 small mammals annually.

They failed to acknowledge that, of those 84 million housecats, MANY are indoor-only.

And who’s weeping over fewer mice and voles? There’s a reason they’re called “vermin.”

OK, chipmunk deaths are regrettable because they’re cute, and some are even great singers.

But this anti-cat wack job in New Zealand named Gareth Morgan has a blog called Cats to Go and says he’d pay the SPCA $5 for every cat it kills.

Who says birds are more important than cats? Has Gareth never heard of avian flu? Did BIRDS save Europe from the Black Plague?

Gareth should visit India. There aren’t many cats there, and rats devour the grain so people starve.

And what about our contribution to technology? The Internet full of BIRD videos is unthinkable.

I Can Has Cheezburger with lolBIRDS? Are you kidding?

Here’s just one example of Gareth’s cat-hate:

Before you say it, even well-fed cats kill. The fact is that cats kill on instinct, not because they need to eat, it is one of their most pleasurable activities. In one study, six cats were presented with a live small rat while eating their preferred food. All six cats stopped eating the food, killed the rat, and then resumed eating the food.

It was a RAT! Those cats did humans a favor, even though they had to finish their meal with rat hair in their teeth.

Yet this Gareth clown makes it sound like a bad thing.

Cats Working appeals to every cat-lover with a social media presence to denounce Gareth Morgan.

Instead of calling for our deaths, he should adopt some cats, keep them indoors, and learn what delightful companions we are — as opposed to dogs who just want to cover every ‘hood with poop.

Humane neutering programs will take time to eliminate feral cats, but people could speed things up a lot by offering more kitties good homes — indoors.

More killing is NEVER the answer.


Worried About Casey Anthony’s Dog

January 11, 2012

By Adele

Casey Anthony, the 25-year-old woman who was acquitted last year of murdering her daughter Caylee, is living in an undisclosed Florida location, serving out probation for her felony conviction on passing checks she stole from a friend.

Casey claims a computer hacker put this creepy video diary entry she filmed on October 13, 2011, out on YouTube. Nobody seems to know how it really got there.

At one point, Casey marvels, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to call something mine,” and gabs about all her stuff — a new computer, phone, camera.

Then she says she’s adopted a dog whom she talks to and loves. However, she doesn’t mention the dog by name or tell what breed it is. You get the impression she considers it more of her stuff.

Let’s hope someone is watching out for that unfortunate dog. Guilty of murder or not, Casey Anthony has demonstrated zero skill as a caregiver.

Casey goes on to talk about her upcoming birthday in March and how many more months she’ll be on probation. She thinks she could be free by February.

As Casey prattles on about herself, you can’t help remembering that little girl who will never have another birthday, and who laid for months rotting in the woods while her mother lied to police at every turn so she’d never be found.

If we can be sure about anything, it’s this: Casey Anthony’s itching to get on with her life. If that dog so much as whimpers about being left alone when she’s able to party again, it will end up road kill and Casey won’t stop or ever look back.

There’s something wrong with a country that will let people adopt pets after they’ve shown themselves incapable of keeping their own children safe and alive.


Wanted: A Cat for Michael Vick

December 16, 2010

By Yul

After doing hard time for mercilessly exploiting dogs for fighting and having a judge prohibit him from ever owning another one, football star Michael Vick says he still wants one. He thinks it would help his rehabilitation, and he misses having a pet around the house.

OK, I have a better idea. Instead of a dog, Vick should get a cat. And not just any cat, but…

A full-grown, street-wise tomcat. His attitude toward humans is that thumbs make them good for operating a can opener and wielding a litter scoop. Period.

This cat should preferably be black, so if Vick harbors any superstitions, he’ll start feeling real lucky whenever he manages to avoid being tripped by the cat on the stairs in the dark.

And whenever Vick fails to dodge the cat’s interceptions, he can chalk it up to “rehab.”

It should be a cat who tolerates some petting (just how much varies day to day) and then screams and sinks his claws and teeth into whomever is petting him whenever they exceed his secret time limit.

This cat will have confidence to spare, taking possession of (and shedding on) any piece of furniture that looks comfortable, and sacking out right in the middle of Vick’s bed every night.

The cat will never come when called, refuse to learn tricks, and disappear if Vick even thinks about trying to discipline him.

And if Vick does or says anything that displeases the cat, he will spray all over any object Vick treasures, including electronic devices.

I think only after Michael Vick has experienced a few years of being owned by a real “cat’s cat,” he’ll have a clearer understanding of how he totally blew it when he had trusting, obedient dogs.


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