Chapter 47: COVID Chronicles

May 14, 2020

By Karen

Day 64

Whatever Happened to Bedspreads & More Kittens!

The chives (or spring onions) are coming along nicely. Here we are, Day 2 to Day 4…

Several are splitting into two stalks. One toward the back hasn’t sprouted yet. I’ll leave it a bit longer to see if it’s a late bloomer.

The cats aren’t touching my experiment, but their play area is a hot mess today…

They’re throwing toys pulled out of the teaser around. The paper’s getting tatty again. You can see Tony’s rubber band, blue sparkle ball AND discarded collar. I think he’s timing himself to see how fast he can ditch it. He still finds his lettuce twisty endlessly fascinating…

Cats Working reader Randi from Denmark asked if we can buy mothballs in the U.S. I have no idea. Does anybody? But it got me thinking about things we used to buy that you can’t find anymore (like carbon paper).

Another example, fountain pens, my favorites. Back in the ’70s, you could buy a cheap, yet lovely, Scheaffer refillable fountain pen in any drugstore for a few dollars.

Then fountain pens disappeared for decades. Now they’re back. Pilot makes a very nice Varsity disposable fountain pen. But during the long pen drought, I once spent $80 on a fancy Levenger fountain pen whose gold nib was DOA, so they sent a replacement that was equally useless. That fucking pen never wrote a single sentence.

Now Scheaffer is back. I’ve got a couple of their new pens and they’re as good as ever.

But what I really miss is bedspreads. Remember those? One big piece that went to the floor on all sides AND covered the pillows. You didn’t need to a bed skirt, a quilt or duvet, and pillow shams. After you smoothed out the bedclothes, one last swoop of the spread and the whole bed was made. Tuck it under the pillows, and done!

Now I’ve got four rows of pillows on the bed and a quilt (queen-size to match the mattress), but it’s too short and leaves the box spring hanging out in the middle like the bed’s got a muffin top.

Here’s one last video I found of Tater’s kitten, shot by my sister when the kittens were 17 days old…

Prince Harry and Georgi Girl (who now goes by Gigi) were adopted together by Katie, Keri’s neighbor two doors away, who co-parented the litter with Keri. They both turned out long-haired. Skylar, shorthair, was adopted by a friend of Katie’s, and all I know is she lives with a dog. And the tortie, Mary Sue, stayed with Keri and became a a partner in crime with Alfi, Roc’s former BFF. Here’s Mary Sue and Alfi today. Yes, Keri has trained them to eat meals at her kitchen island like this…

Reader Tracy supplied more details about the tiny gray tiger kitten I showed you yesterday:

A man in Tracy’s neighborhood feeds feral cats, so they’re always around. A cat in that group probably had a litter of kittens. Neighbors saw the mother cat and kittens in their yard, but then they all disappeared.

One day, mewling was heard from a narrow, almost inaccessible “no man’s land” created by fences erected closely together between houses. The fire department was called, but they declined to help because of the tight space.

So, using a ladder and a rope hanging from a tree, the kindly neighbor climbed the fence and lowered himself by rope between the fences to rescue the kitten. Tracy took the kitty to her vet because Tracy has a dog and her husband is allergic to cats. No one knows what happened to momcat and her kittens.

Chapter 46: COVID Chronicles

May 13, 2020

By Karen

Day 63

Outlander Goes Out with a Bang (or 2, 3, ?? Literally) & Kittens!

Last night when I started watching the season finale of Outlander, Roc was beside me. At some point, it must have grossed him out enough that he had to give it some space because when I looked up at the ceiling…

I won’t give away spoilers except to say I KNEW finally being rid of Briana and Roger (mostly Bree) was too good to be true. The more I think about it, the lie they milked for a whole episode about why they were “leaving” forever — that Roger got offered a teaching gig in Boston too good to pass up — was beyond ridiculous. Really? Some university knew Roger, from Fraser’s Ridge in the boonies of North Carolina, was such an expert in — what? — they just had to have him on the faculty.

Anyway, I think it was the most violent, blood-thirsty season yet, and the Revolutionary War hasn’t even started. With COVID fucking up everything, it could be years before we see what happens next, but I still feel no compulsion to read the books. I read the first one, and my curiosity about the source was satisfied. I just found this Outlander review I wholeheartedly agree with (warning: the last several minutes are gory)…

And here’s the rest of my sister Keri’s video about Tater and her Tots (don’t click away too soon; candid footage of the kittens at the end)…

BONUS: Cats Working reader Tracy commented recently about rescuing a week-old kitten. She sent me some photos of the little girl…

All we know is that Tracy’s vet hooked the kitten up with a nursing momcat, so we hope the kitten has a happily ever after story like Tater’s Tots.

Chapter 35: COVID Chronicles

May 2, 2020

By Karen

Day 52

Fuse Getting Short? Think About Kittens!

Another nice day so the windows are open and strangers are wandering in the street. This lockdown is getting old for everybody.

The shipment just arrived so the cats have plenty of canned food, treats and litter now. The FedEx driver wasn’t wearing a mask, so I opened the box on the steps and rubbed everything down with Clorox. Roc and Tony would have loved the big box and oodles of crinkly brown paper. But all my precautions were wasted if I brought the box inside, so I tossed all the packaging. Shit!

Last night I finally caught up on Outlander. Glad Brianna’s rapist, Stephen Bonnet, finally got what he had coming. Now Bri can shut up about that. Her son belongs to her and Roger now. Period.

Call the Midwife is stacking up, so that’s next if I don’t veer off to Downton Abbey tonight. Can’t leave Anna languishing in jail forever.

I definitely have quarantine brain. I don’t really notice it here with only cats because I do all the talking. But I’m snapping real easy if I have to deal with people in any way.

For example, today I had just started a big proofreading job (which I time because I bill it by the hour) when the phone rang 10 minutes in and stopped the clock. It was my mother, asking the status of a pet supply store she said she has no intention of ever shopping at. Then she filled me in on some cousins I haven’t seen in decades, don’t stay in touch with, and have zero interest in. I’m sure they feel the same about me.

I was rude to her and felt guilty after we hung up. I know she’s as bored as I am and just checking in. Saturdays used to be when Roc (or Tony) and I would visit. The cats would run around while we drank cheap wine and watched her favorite sitcoms because I’m the only one who can navigate On Demand.

If she’s reading this, I want to tell her I’m sorry. This lockdown and 24/7 coronavirus is wearing me down. My hair’s turning gray, even though I have three boxes of hair color. I just don’t care. It’s all I can do to put on clothes every morning. When I stop doing that, I’m finished.

The cat haven’t been particularly photogenic, so I’m raiding the archives.

You’re about to see the only known photo of me and my first cat, Friskie Whiskers. He was probably born in the spring of 1965 or ’66 to a stray in a window well of our house in Ohio. I was 10 or 11. (The kid in blue is my sister)…

Friskie wasn’t allowed the run of the house, so he lived in the basement while my sister and I spent the summer with our grandparents in Massachusetts. When we returned, Friskie in solitary confinement had grown into a feral and scary unneutered teenager. He ran away the first chance he got. All the neighbor kids helped us search, but we never found him.

Fast forward to 2011. Here’s Max. At the shelter, he was known as Venice. He had a broody personality even as a kitten…

In 2015, Roc at the shelter was aptly named Ham…

And when Tony, last but never least, joined us last October, he was called Kappa…

Do you think Tony could be Friskie coming full circle?

My Kitten Roots are Revealed

January 27, 2016

By Roc

Karen must have cat DNA for curiosity. With each passing day, my reputation for having the greatest charm, energy, personality, and wit grows almost as fast as Donald Trump’s (I’m ignoring hisses from Adele and Max right now), so Karen tried to find out more about my background.

But first let me set the record straight on one important matter, in case I ever run for president: I was born in this country. In fact, I was born in the country. The western corner of Virginia to be exact.

Here’s the rest of my timeline as we knew it…

September 1, 2015 – (approx.) I was born.

November 19 – I was brought with 3 sisters (and possibly my mom) from Happy Tails Animal Rescue in Abingdon, Virginia, to the Richmond Animal League in the big city.

November 20 – I got a butt-shave and was neutered on a day that will live in infamy.

November 21 – Karen adopted me.

So, other than those 3 relatively traumatic, life-changing days in November, the rest was a blank, until…

Karen wrote to Happy Tails to ask if anyone remembered my litter. They did!

My mother must have been a pregnant stray last summer, because a “Good Samaritan” took her in until she had her kittens.

Unfortunately, the good lady couldn’t afford to keep my family, so when we were old enough she took us to Happy Tails, where we stayed a few weeks. We are remembered as being affectionate, playful, and happy for attention.

Karen concluded that I owe my great personality to the Good Samaritan, who must have done everything right during my first crucial weeks (such as, never screamed, vacuumed, or slammed doors on my tail).

Of course, I could have simply told Karen all this, if only she spoke cat.

My birth mom was great as well. She taught me everything I needed to become a successful pet, such as always squat to pee in the litterbox, always use the litterbox, and always use your “inside paws” on your human (no claws!). I hope my mom and sisters found forever homes as nice as mine.

And now for a quick update on my progress. Here I was 2 months ago…


And this is me today, filling out the cat bed a bit more fully, thanks to my boundless appetite for Fancy Feast , Sheba, and Friskies. I’ve never met a can of cat food I didn’t like. I’m a whisker shy of 5 months old…


Kitten’s First Photo Shoot

December 7, 2015

By Roc

Adele and Max are rudely saying I need to “get my feet wet” with this blogging stuff, since they’ve figured out that my greatest dread in life is getting wet. So here goes…

Last week I came upon a snuggly unoccupied cat bed on top of Karen’s bed and decided to stretch out for a nice, quiet catnap. In no time, who should creep in but Karen and her camera. Her pitiful begging for me to do something cute wore me down because, well, I’m just a little kitty with a big heart…


But do you have any idea how exhausting it has been to be “on” 24/7 since I got here? After she was unsatisfied with just one shot of my adorableness, I gave her a little cattitude and a tail flick to reveal some shaved baby-butt…


I’m still counting the days until I can lick “down there” and have my tongue feel fur again. Can’t wait to yak up my first hairball!

But when that pose didn’t do the trick, I tried again…


I call this intense look “Black Steel.”

But she was still clicking away, so it was time to show her my “Wild and Crazy Guy”…


Then for shock value, I threw in some full frontal nudity…


Now I had nothing left, so I pulled the tatters of my dignity together and told her she’d have to take pics of the paw, because the bod was officially bored.


That finally worked. I’ve gotta have my quality catnaps if I’m ever going to take Max down. He claims he has a “black belt” in Brazilian jiu jitsu, whatever that is. (Nice try to impress me, Max, but I know you’ve been black from neck to ankles since birth. I’m still laughing — and yawning.)


PS: Karen spent most of yesterday putting up a BIG Christmas tree. Max says she hasn’t done that since 2011 when it was HIS first kitten Christmas here. I had a blast. Stay tuned…


Hello, My Name is Max

August 18, 2011

By Max

Yes, the rumors on Twitter are true. Cats Working has a new member. I was sprung, like Cole and Adele (and the late Yul) from the Richmond Animal League.

RAL neutered me at 8 weeks and enrolled me in vocational training at 10 weeks (I’m 18 weeks old now), which is how I can type. RAL don’t shelter no unemployable freeloaders. 

In the joint, they called me Venice, which was unfortunate because Karen’s long-ago ex-husband was named Dennis. But I had no problem starting my new life with a brand-new new collar and a brand-new new identity.

Karen thought I looked like Oscar Hammerstein (yeah, I know, what was she smoking?), but I kept ignoring her until she consulted a character-naming book and read about 2,000 cat names on the Web and finally pulled Max out of her butt.

At LAST! She guessed my REAL name!!

So, since all Karen’s cats have been named for famous humans, my full name is Maxwell Perkins Wormald.

It’s taken me a few days to pull this post together because Karen wanted it illustrated. But this is how they were all coming out because I’m really fast.

That's me, after leaving a little present in Cole's big-cat box.

And then I had to learn how to use a PC. (I’m used to Mac.) I couldn’t wait to get right to work in Karen’s office first thing Monday morning, but my learning curve was interfering with Karen’s work.

I never knew watching someone type could be so much fun!

I literally sat there for HOURS, mesmerized.

When it was my turn to type, I noticed that Karen has an ergonomic keyboard. I really love it!

I quickly realized I type much faster when I sit on the other side of the keyboard.

In fact, since I arrived, I have spent most of my days hanging out in Karen’s office, and I have already learned how to keep this from happening whenever I jump off her desk.

I hadn't been there 10 minutes before all Karen's projects went flying.

Karen moved one of the cat beds in for me, but I found her recycle box just as comfy.

Trying to prove I'm not a golddigger. Hope it's working. I won't always fit in here.

I wasted no time in letting Karen know that even though I’m named after an editor, I can’t be trusted with manuscripts.

Best to dispel early any notions she has of making me her file clerk.

Speaking of trust, yesterday while Karen was trying to take a nap with Cole and Adele to get back in their good graces, I snuck upstairs to use Cole’s box instead of the tiny kitten box Karen gave me. I hate to be treated like a child. Unfortunately, the toilet paper was hanging beyond my reach, so I had to make do.

Glad she doesn't buy that cheapo one-ply stuff. I'd have to unroll twice as much.

My first night “home” (ah, I love how that sounds!) I slept in the room that Cole calls his “man cave,” and I think it left Cole feeling displaced and a little grudgy. But he has nothing to worry about. I moved out the next morning and I’ve had the run of the house ever since, including the coveted crow’s nest of the kitty perch.

Do you think it's true, what they say about boy cats with big tails?

I won’t say Adele and Cole have been mean to me, but they haven’t been exactly cordial. I’ve been using my considerable charm to steadily wear them down.

Who could resist this sweet, innocent face?

It’s working. Last night, Adele shared a game of laser pointer tag with me, and then sat me down for a pow-wow. I did my best to show respect for her vast wisdom. Now she lets me touch her nose.

Why does she keep calling me "Grasshopper?"

Before the evening was over, we were all hanging out together and nobody was hissing, so I think this is all going to work out.

Day 4. Our first group photo. I arranged that lamp shade.

Since I’m named after Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s editor, I know Karen set the bar for my blog posts very high. Cole says that until I get up to speed on current events and start having intelligent opinions — which I suspect he thinks will never happen — I’ll be handling the cat beat.

Adele keeps repeating, like a broken record, “Write what you know.”

So I just thought I’d pop in and introduce myself.

PS: Kittens play hard, but we also rest hard. Here’s me discovering that the bed in Karen’s office isn’t half bad!

Not my most flattering pose, but at least I'm not drooling


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