Tony Leads a Revolution & Other Cat News

August 27, 2021

By Karen

When I named him Tony Bourdain, I should have known Tony the cat would be a rebel. The hill he’s chosen to have me die on is apparently collars. For decades, all of my cats have worn collars without incident. Until Tony…

“Some kitties are born to greatness. I’d rather claw my way to the top,” says Tony the Troublemaker.

You may remember, last year at the beginning of the pandemic, after Tony destroyed his orange collar, he got a blue one

“Does is bring out the pink in my nose?”

It didn’t take him long to scare the crap out of me by working his jaw under it to choke himself. I think he cut his tongue in the struggle because the collar was bloody by the time I heard his screams and snapped it off of him.

That was the end of collars for Tony, until this past April when Max’s birthday wish was for everyone to get new collars.

The ones I found were light and super-soft, but Tony popped out of his almost immediately. Roc and Max, who have both always worn collars, seemed fine with theirs.

But Tony must have been applying peer pressure behind my back, because Roc eventually popped his collar off, repeatedly, until I gave up.

Max held out until about a week ago, when he turned up naked one morning. Several days later, I found his collar at the base of his favorite perch…

Max would have let me put it back on him, but it’s looking shabby now. To go for his annual checkup and shots yesterday, he did agree to wear Tony’s like-new collar to the vet’s. Who do you think wore it better?…

Another Mysterious Incident…

A few weeks ago, I found this mouse in the hall outside my bedroom…

None of current cats have EVER played with it, and I have no idea which toy box it came from. But it’s tatty, so somebody must have loved it once. I just don’t remember who.

After several days undisturbed on the floor, it disappeared and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then it reappeared and I saw Roc give it a few half-hearted kicks, but nobody has touched it since.

Tony and Roc have favorite toys (yellow sparkle ball, Fuglen the bird, respectively) they carry around, but they never just carry around random stuff, so red mouse is our new mystery.

RAL’s 2022 Calendar Went to the Dogs…

Because the contest got so cut-throat last summer when Tony came in 12th and became Mr. July 2021 on the Richmond Animal League calendar, I’d never get mixed up in this event again. The contest for the 2022 calendar wrapped up last Saturday and I caught the last 30 minutes. It raised a bit less than Tony’s calendar (approx. $66K vs. $80+K), but the competition was no less vicious and only three cats made the final cut.

Another black dog comfortably dominated by $6.5K until the last eight minutes, when a pair of dogs in third place threw in $6.6K and claimed the No. 1 spot.

The top fundraising cat, in fourth place with just over $3K, was a tux named Popeye Hailey…

“Popeye is a chip off the old Maxie in his snazzy collar,” says Max.

Also winning was a black cat named Thackery the Bestest…

“Black cats rock!” says Roc.

A tortie came in 11th place. Next year’s calendar will have nine dogs and only three cats.

The real drama was a cat named Father Christmas we were all rooting for because he looks like Tony’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather…

“The family resemblance is unmistakable,” says Tony.

But in the LAST THREE MINUTES, some stupid dog in a bandana made a last-ditch donation and pushed Father Christmas off the calendar into 13th place by only $21.

FUN FACT: The roughly $2.5K that Tony’s fans contributed last year would have put him in seventh place in this year’s contest.

Roc Dreams He’s a Tabby…

With humidity, the weather here has been feeling like 100+ for weeks on end now and we’re all wiped out. I happened to catch Roc this morning in Max’s favorite perch spot, masquerading in stripes as a tabby…

Max Rediscovers the Upstairs Perch…

Max hasn’t gone near the blue perch since I dragged it to the top of the stairs last November after building them a grand new perch for early Christmas.

This week, he rediscovered it and its fabulous aerial view of the front yard and neighborhood. Tony, who has been claiming exclusive rights, was none too pleased…

“Max, you can borrow it for a little while, but I’ll BE BACK!” says Tony the Terminator.

Chapter 102: COVID Chronicles

July 8, 2020

By Karen

Day 119

Robert E. Lee Stands Alone & Catching Up With the Kitties

Yesterday the statue of General J.E.B. Stuart came down…

Photo James H. Wallace, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Now the only Confederate left standing on Monument Avenue is Robert E. Lee, and he’s probably feeling like it’s Appomattox all over again.

There’s still no word on where the statues are hidden or what’s going to be done with them.

Next up on the Virginia To-Do list should be banning the Confederate Flag, which promises to raise an even bigger stink than the statues. I’m surprised Trump isn’t flying one over the White House right now, just for spite.

Speaking of Trump, the publication date of his niece Mary’s book, Too Much and Never Enough, has been moved up to July 14. I’ll be downloading the e-book as soon as I get the green light. Fingers crossed that hearing every cable news talking head laughing at him and swapping anecdotes about what a fucked-up little demon-child Trump was will accelerate his meltdown.

Richmond has had several straight weeks of humid weather over 90o. Even with central air and fans, we feel it and I’m more often drenched in sweat than not. Roc finds it cooler to nap on my recycle paper than in his comfy bed…

Yesterday, new collars for Roc and Tony arrived. Yes, I still hope Tony will one day accept wearing a collar so he doesn’t look like a stray.

As it turns out, that day has not yet arrived. As soon as Tony was in his new collar, he deflated. He kept scratching at his neck and shuffling around with his head down. His usual joie de vivre was gone. He’s already a virtuoso when it comes to playing me. So, Max got the new collar instead and he seems very satisfied with it…

Tony checked out Roc’s handsome new look…

Tony is obsessed by shadows. This morning he thought he saw something on the wall and we had this brief exchange (listen carefully) about it, but he finally agreed it was nothing…

BONUS: Did you happen to catch Trump saying he’d wear a mask if he had to? He wore a black one once and thought it made him look “like the Lone Ranger.” Comedian Sarah Cooper shows us how effective that would be…

PS: In case you’re unfamiliar with The Lone Ranger, here’s what his mask looked like…

And yet Trumpers are still out there believing Trump’s just fine.


Chapter 54: COVID Chronicles

May 21, 2020

By Karen

Day 71

Virginia Vote by Mail PSA & Tony Scares the Crap Out of Me

Entering week 11 of my lockdown, I applied for an absentee ballot in Virginia’s Democratic primary on June 23. Senator Mark Warner’s up for reelection and so is my representative, Abigail Spanberger. Neither have Democratic challengers, but I believe strong numbers out of the gate will put every Trump-loving Republican dip-shit who runs on notice that a Big Blue Wave will drown them in November.

Virginia traditionally makes it hard to vote by mail. You must have one of the limited reasons the state accepts or furnish a doctor’s excuse. At least this time the website turned down the gas on the flaming hoops by telling you which boxes to check if avoiding death by pandemic is your reason. You also need to give your Social Security and driver’s license numbers (they say they need your signature off your license). The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is June 5.

I’m giving all this detail and providing the link to absentee ballots twice so anyone reading this in Virginia will JUST DO IT. (I’m looking at my parents.)

I just finished Season 9 of Call the Midwife. I love this series, although I was a bit late to the party because, as with Single Parents, the subject matter didn’t seem to interest me in the slightest. I was wrong.

Admittedly, my least favorite scenes are the births. If you’ve see one pregnant woman sweating, screaming, panting and pushing until a slimy, bloody baby oozes out in a gush of — pee? amniotic fluid? — you’ve seen them all. And they always go close up on the hand cutting the umbilical cord, which grosses me out.

They use real babies, and some are genuine newborns. Where do they come from? I wonder if parents volunteer them so they can show the kids the episodes later, how they got to do an instant replay of their own birth by being pulled out of some strange woman’s crotch.

But I do find the stories a heartwarming and welcome break from all the ugliness we live with. Nonnatus House is like Downton Abbey filled with nuns. The last episode was set in 1965, so it’s also fun to see how their lives and fashions evolve.

This morning I managed to catch Tony doing his daily perch workout, although he didn’t do as many reps as usual because he probably knew he was on camera…

As I was typing this, I heard a picture on the wall moving and found Tony at the bottom of the stairs on the Kitty Condo struggling with his collar in his mouth, blood on his paws and the wall. He wasn’t choking, but panicked at feeling trapped.

His flailing claws hooked my hands in a few places, but I managed to yank the collar apart and free him. The collar that was in his mouth was stained, so he must have bit or scratched his tongue.

I’m still shaking, but right now he’s having a nosh in the Man Cave Café as if nothing happened. He must be feeling pretty smug, knowing he’s convinced me to let him be a teenage nudist.

“You saw the whole thing, you pink dummy! Why didn’t you fly down and rescue me?”


Chapter 23: COVID Chronicles

April 20, 2020

By Karen

Day 40

Tony Goes Commando & Mr. Clean Performs a Miracle

Since I put the new blue collar on Tony last week, I’ve been finding it more all over the house than on his neck. While I was working on yesterday’s post, I could hear him on the balcony attempting an escape and caught him right after the act. He even looks guilty…

I haven’t seen him actually do it, but I think he works his chin under the collar and pulls until it pops off. Roc used to do the same thing as a kitten.

Speaking of Roc, I had his collar from last summer that wasn’t too banged up, so I switched out his red one for a lighter look. Trying to get a shot of it while he was in the kitty perch, he kept rolling around like he was possessed. After about 30 tries, I caught this rare “full-tongue” moment…

Household Tip: I was about to throw away a pair of cloudy martini glasses because nothing I tried would get them clean again. Then I saw a tip online about holding them up to steam from a kettle and wiping them with a microfiber cloth. I boil a kettle every morning for the French press, so I was going to try it.

But then last night I figured, the glasses are ruined anyway, so why not see what a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser would do to them? It’s cleaned gunk out of my toaster oven better than anything else I’ve tried…

OMG, the glasses look like NEW again. I did only one glass at first to show you a “before and after”…

I gently wiped the inside of the glass with the damp Magic Eraser and then finished with a microfiber cloth. I don’t know if this would work on crystal, but try it if you’ve got any cloudy glass. It’s amazing.

BONUS: For your viewing pleasure, Cats Working’s resident troll sent me this delightful COVID version of a number from that beloved film classic, The Sound of Music

And I found another one…

Both are brilliantly written and sung. Rodgers & Hammerstein would be so proud.


Chapter 14: COVID Chronicles

April 11, 2020

By Karen

Day 31

Tony Gets a New Collar

Saturday is laundry day, so I also washed the myriad towels and blankies protecting my couch, a classic made by This End Up. It’s without doubt the least comfortable — yet most cat-proof — couch ever made. That’s why I bought it. Think of a church pew with a bottom and back cushion. It takes lots of extra padding to make this thing even approach comfy…

The pillow end is mine, and the purple end where the cats’ teddies and Mickey Mouse live is theirs.

[Fun Fact: I thought the company had gone out of business, but apparently they’re bigger than ever! And now they make padded sofas as well.]

For some spring color, I gave it a salmon quilt. Under that are layers of towels and afghans to keep claws out of the cushions. The pillows across the back are to discourage stretching and digging in, and I’ve got magazines draped over the arm because Max likes to approach from the end table.

Max, ironically, the most careful about never disturbing things, is the most destructive. When he stretches or leaps, he can pull divots out of the furniture.

Pleased with the couch, I next decided Tony could use some sprucing up. He’s brutal on collars. This morning the collar he got for Christmas fell apart…

I had new blue collar intended to be Roc’s spring wardrobe, but Tony needs it more, so he got it. Naturally, it came with a bell. It took Tony a few minutes to realize that he’d become a jingle toy (which he loves), but then it didn’t seem to bother him. It only me about 30 snaps to get this shot of Tony in his new finery (and you can see the couch naked)…

The nice thing about black or salt and pepper cats is that they look stunning in just about any color…

I didn’t foresee the effect Tony’s bell would have on Max. When Max finally came downstairs for breakfast, he did a quick U-turn when Tony ran at him, jingling all the way.

It took a little hunt to find Max in the Man Cave standing behind a black floor fan like he was trying to blend in with the furniture. When he heard the approaching bell of Jingle Kitty following me, he freaked out. He reminded me of Captain Hook from Peter Pan whenever he’d hear the clock ticking inside the croc who bit off his hand.

So I got out the pliers and Tony’s new collar is now silent.

With peace restored, Roc and Tony adjourned to the kitchen table to watch the neighborhood on Big Screen Kitty TV (the picture window)…

PS: I forgot to mention: Today is Adele’s birthday. She would have been 20 years old. Rest in peace, my sweet little Delly.


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