Special Message from Tony

August 11, 2020

By Tony

First, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has already helped me raise funds to give cats (and dogs) who come to our alma mater, the no-kill Richmond Animal League, a chance at a good life. If your generosity makes me one of the top 12 fundraisers, I will be featured on a month in the 2021 RAL Calendar, which will not only show that Cats Working readers are the best, but it will also be a tribute to my namesake, Anthony Bourdain.

Right now, I’m in 14th place. So I’m close!

The humans running the 2021 RAL Calendar Contest announced today they have an anonymous donor who will match up to $2,500 in donations beginning at 10 a.m. (ET) on Wednesday, August 12.

So, if you have been toying with donating, anything you give tomorrow will be matched and equal double votes for me. I and the pets this helps will be thankful for any amount you can spare.

Here’s where you can visit my page to make a donation.

Thought I’d just let you know.

PS: I love you all!


Chapter 116: COVID Chronicles

August 6, 2020

By Karen

Day 148

Tony Becomes Couch-Curious & Dreaming of a Trump–Lisbeth Salander Matchup

Tony’s over the moon that his post has raised $250 (Thank you!) in the Richmond Animal League’s 2021 Calendar Contest to help once-homeless dogs and kitties like Max, Roc and Tony get medical care and a second chance at life.

Tony hopes to be a top-12 fundraiser and get his name and face on a calendar page as a tribute to Anthony Bourdain. If you can help him by August 22 with a donation of any size, please do.

In the meantime, I think I need a bigger couch. Lately, Tony’s been angling for a spot, but Roc and Max aren’t giving an inch. This morning, Max wasn’t even in “the” coveted purple spot when Tony tested the water…

Now, to literature: When my friend Shelley told me about the Swedish crime novel, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, it didn’t sound like my kind of thing. But I read it and Lisbeth Salander, the “Girl,” has earned her place beside Jane Eyre, Jo March, Scarlett O’Hara and any other steely heroine you can name.

Larsson intended a 10-book “Millennium series,” but had only finished three, not yet published, when he died unexpectedly in 2004.

Films were made in Sweden of all three books, starring Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth…

What happened with the series after Larsson’s death between his long-time partner Eva Gabrielsson and his executors is an unfinished story in itself, which you can read about in the link above.

I thought no actress could compete with Noomi Rapace until an American Dragon Tattoo came out starring Rooney Mara…

Several years later, Americans filmed the third book, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, with Claire Foy, the softest incarnation of Lisbeth…

But back to the books. After Larsson’s nearly complete fourth novel and notes for others got tied up in squabbling, his publisher hired Swedish author and crime journalist David Lagercrantz to continue the series. He wrote three more and now says he’s finished. I’m reading his last book, The Girl Who Lived Twice, and it’s a shame because he has stayed true to the characters and added some great twists.

In the past week, I’ve also rewatched movies starring all three actresses. I’ve chosen Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth as best to deal with Trump.

A bit of backstory: Larsson’s original title, which was oddly translated to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was Män som Hatar Kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women). Being abused and tortured by misogynists all her life is what turns Lisbeth Salander into literature’s ultimate avenging badass.

My Salander-Trump match-up fantasy is a situation from the first book. Picture this:

Trump has been put in charge of Salander’s personal finances (that’s all you need to know). Before she can get an advance on her “allowance,” he forces her to give him a blowjob in his office. The next time she needs money, he invites her to his apartment. She expects more oral stuff, but he ties her up and violently rapes her.

Can you picture Trump doing that to a woman? Sure you can.

When she comes back AGAIN, he thinks she’s into him. Instead, she tasers him, strips him, trusses him up like a steer, and forces him to watch a secret video she filmed from her purse while he was attacking her. She threatens to use it to ruin him if he ever crosses her path again.

As a final touch, she tattoos, “I’M A SADIST PIG AND A RAPIST” in big, bloody, sloppy letters all over his chest.

Now that I think of it, this is probably something like Trump fears Putin will do to him if he ever makes a peep against Russia.

Lisbeth Salander, I wish you were real.

BONUS: When Trump called Yosemite National Park “Yo-Semite” and “Yo-Semin-ite”…

My sister Keri and her actor friend Dan Ruth made this parody, which Keri hopes will go viral…

DOUBLE BONUS: I just loved this scene of Hitler bemoaning Trump’s miserable crowd failure in Tulsa…


Chapter 115: COVID Chronicles

August 3, 2020

By Tony

Day 145

I’m a Philanthropist & Other FYIs About Me

Karen adopted me last year from the Richmond Animal League no-kill shelter and the rest, as they say, is history

Well, Karen has entered me in RAL’s 2021 Calendar Contest. She says I’m the most photogenic. Twelve animals who raise the most for RAL will get a professional photo shoot and appear on a month’s page.

I started in fourth place and was a shoo-in. But the competition is hot now with 110 contenders. Last time we checked, I’d dropped to 22nd. Some of these animals are AMAZINGLY well-networked (or rich) and have raised huge sums.

Max and Roc (and the late Adele, Cole and Yul) all came from RAL, so our ties run deep and we want to help RAL kitties be healthy and find forever homes.

We’re a little embarrassed to ask for your support because things are tough for everyone right now, but if you could help — even just a little bit — please visit my page and make a donation by August 22.

We’d appreciate that SO MUCH. If I can claw my way back into the top 12, having my name, Tony Bourdain, in the calendar will be a tribute to my namesake, and I’ll look totes adorbs doing it, right?…

As thanks, I’ll sharing some little-known personal facts about myself with you…

  • I don’t know how to be petted. Roc and Max take it like pros and even purr. But I I’ve got this habit of biting the petter. Not hard, but my teeth have a nervous tic.
  • On the other hand, I want to be petted. I sidle up to Karen and push my head under her hand until she gets it, then when she starts petting me, I bite her.
  • My litter box etiquette is impeccable. I squat to pee, always cover my business and I (usually) exit carefully to avoid litter scatter.
  • My favorite playmate these days isn’t Roc, but a rock. It’s red. When Karen threw away the dirt from her failed chives experiment, I pulled this rock from the bottom of the pot and we’ve been inseparable. I like how it skitters across the kitchen floor…

  • I’m into people cheese. When Karen makes a sandwich for lunch, my slice of turkey must come with crumbles of Havarti, Muenster, Swiss, Gruyere, Colby-Jack, Cheddar or even Feta. I’m not picky.
  • My next go-to people snack is shrimp. I’m also not averse to white meat rotisserie chicken.
  • I have a brother. We were brought to RAL together. That’s all I know about my family of origin.
  • I make requests with utmost delicacy. When Karen’s doing her daily steps in front of the TV and I’d rather she waved a stick toy for me, I’ll tap her shoulder from the kitty perch ever so lightly, no claws, and wear my most needy look when she turns around. Roc and Max just meow incessantly.
  • I’m the champion bug-hunter. Roc’s lethal if a bug throws itself at him, and Max is a pacifist, but I’m a HUNTER. My favorite catches, because they’re fast and try to flee three-dimensionally, are spiders, flies and the occasional wasp.
  • From my first night here, I’ve been obsessed with a blankie Karen considers an embarrassing failure. She crocheted it for Adele from thick baby yarn, but nothing about that idea worked out. It even got holes. But every night, Karen folds it beside her so I can knead and suckle it. (Yes, I still suckle. I lost my mom at 6 weeks, I’ve got issues.) To me, this blankie will always be beautiful…


Chapter 99: COVID Chronicles

July 5, 2020

By Karen

Day 116

Kitties Hate Fireworks & Catching Up on Movies

Last night, Roc and Tony were jumpy during the barrage of July 4 fireworks, celebratory 2nd Amendment gunfire and explosives that went off mainly between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. We felt some big booms quite close to the house, but I couldn’t see who was behind them. Through the trees, I did catch a bit of the fireworks, but I have no idea who put on that show.

This was really Tony’s first Independence Day. Last year, he was a tiny four-week-old kitten fighting to survive.

I was just refreshing on Tony’s roots in his paperwork, and discovered a freaky coincidence. It appears Tony and Roc are both alumni of the Happy Tails rescue in Abingdon, which is in the western corner of Virginia. The Richmond Animal League takes in animals from shelters that euthanize or do fewer adoptions so the little guys have a better shot at finding a forever home. So, Tony and Roc took exactly the same path to find me.

When movies are released and I don’t get to the cinema, I put them on a watch list and check periodically to see if they’ve made it to TV. I just caught two.

The first was A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, with Ton Hanks wonderfully channeling the gentle spirit of Mr. Rogers…

His co-star is Matthew Rhys (The Americans), who starts out as a cynical investigative journalist who initially resents being assigned a 400-word magazine fluff piece on Rogers. He morphs it into a 10,000-word cover story, and the friendship with Mr. Rogers that develops changes his outlook.

As a kid, I preferred Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room to Mr. Rogers. But after seeing this movie, I regret it. After you watch, you’ll feel better about the world — until the next time Trump opens his mouth.

Aside: I’m watching Matthew Rhys in an HBO prequel/remake of Perry Mason. Here, Perry is a seedy private investigator working a baby kidnapping and murder case. I find Rys convincing, but after two episodes, I don’t see how or why anyone felt compelled to call him Perry Mason, nor how he’ll make the leap from grubby PI to slick  attorney. He gets his clean ties off stiffs in the city morgue.

The other movie that blew me away was The Good Liar, with Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen. They “randomly” meet through online dating and it’s immediately revealed that McKellen is a swindler who’ll con anyone for a buck. His partner in crime is, of all people, Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey (Jim Carter).

When McKellen determines that Mirren is a well-off widow, he plays on her sympathy until she invites him to stay in her house as her companion.

As his and Carson’s scheme to clean her out gains momentum, you’re rooting for Mirren, hoping she’s really the better liar and figures out a way to save herself. But the ending has a twist I didn’t see coming. It was mind-blowing, yet satisfying. No spoilers here.


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…

151127-Roc-PhotoOp1

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…

160124-Roc2


How We Got Roc

November 24, 2015

By Adele and Karen

Cole died one day before Karen left us for 3 weeks to travel, leaving her sister to housesit with me and Max. We didn’t need “babysitting,” but Karen had hoped Cole would be alive and he needed intensive care, and it was too late for Plan B.

So we mourned Cole and the disruption of our normal routine without Karen. I’ve lost brothers before, so I was pretty, “C’est la vie, now I get the bed to myself,” while Max brooded like a Goth kid in his man cave.

Max-Moping-2015

Upon returning, it took Karen exactly a week to reject our new upstairs-downstairs cat arrangement. Max needed a friend — and it was never going to be me.

Now I’ll let Karen pick up the story…

Cole was the buffer between Adele and Max, but it took years. I needed a different approach, and pleasing Adele was Job One.

After Fred died, I adopted 3-year-old Cole. It took Adele 5 years to tolerate him.

After Yul died, I adopt 4-month-old Max. Four years later, Adele and he live on separate floors.

So I had to go even younger — staying male — because Adele’s only had brothers, even in her birth litter.

Last week, I found a 3-month-old orange/white kitten named Champagne on the Richmond Animal League website, off-site being fostered.

Here’s some background on no-kill RAL. In 1996, Yul was my first adoption, then Adele in 2000, Cole in 2009, and Max in 2011.

The process has become increasingly convoluted. The application is 4 pages, requires 2 personal references minimum, and vet verification that current pets get care.

RAL is open only 4 hours a day (closed Mondays) and most animals are being fostered off-site, so meeting them can be tricky.

Except for the limited accessibility, this is all OK if it keeps irresponsible dipshits from taking animals. But all these hoops are pretty annoying when you’re a regular.

Now, back to the story…

Champagne was great, but I spotted 4 black kittens even smaller — 3 females and a male named Ham. I’m a sucker for black cats, so I asked for Ham.

RAL identifies cats by their microchips. The kitten they handed me had a white triangle on its chest and had been reaching for everyone passing the cage with a purposeful gleam in its eyes. It was as if my Yul had sent me his replacement. Ham was the cat for me.

They said, “OK, make an appointment to come back and go through your application.”

WTF!!?? I’d given them my app the previous day, along with vet documents on Adele’s and Max’s shots, which they’d refused because they prefer to phone (yeah, weekends when vets are closed).

I put the kitten back and could see its hurt and confusion, as if it were asking, “Why? How did I screw this up?”

Fortunately, they had an opening an hour later, so I had to go kill time and think of a name. To honor Yul, I picked Roc, after human Yul Brynner’s son Rock. I dropped the K for style and social media brevity, and because my cats aren’t named after inanimate objects.

Then back to RAL with my cat carrier. (Did I mention I’d redone Max’s man cave into a nursery?)

After more paperwork, I got a kitten. Eager to escape the bureaucrats and all the pleading little faces I couldn’t take home, I put the kitten in the carrier and left.

At home, the first thing the kitten did was throw itself against my leg, kneading and purring. After it took a long drink, had a nosh, and began exploring, I picked it up for a cuddle. To my horror, he had NO WHITE TRIANGLE. They’d given me the WRONG KITTEN!

Thinking it was female, I put it back in the carrier and dashed back to RAL. It kneaded a blankie while staring fixedly at me the whole ride.

But RAL had misread the chip the FIRST time and had me meet the wrong kitten. Ham the male was all-black. So I did have the right cat, but essentially adopted him sight-unseen.

I was so crushed not to get a cat with Yul’s looks, yet so relieved not to reject the sweet all-black kitten, yet worried that I knew squat about him, on top of still choking up over Cole, I almost had a melt-down. The people who witnessed this climactic scene must have thought I was bonkers.

The one thing I do know about Ham is that he comes from a litter with a strong streak of Yul-ness, so he’s taking the name Roc.

Roc-SexKitten-112215

Max will fill you in on how Roc’s adjusting to his new life and siblings and how his personality is unfolding.


Cats Working Gains a Roc

November 23, 2015

By Karen

On Saturday, Nov. 21, Adele and Max welcomed their new brother Roc (the kitten formerly known as Ham) into the family, courtesy of the same joint that once saved them, the Richmond Animal League.

Roc-1-112215

Adoption was a 2-day ordeal involving some highly frustrating bureaucracy and a bizarre case of mistaken identity that almost sent me over the edge. Stay tuned. Details to follow…

 


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

 


Cats Working Welcomes Cole

June 15, 2009

By Karen

Fred’s unexpected illness and passing in May left a huge hole in our hearts at Cats Working. But since Fred came to me as a stray, I know he’d disapprove of me wasting a lot of time grieving for him when some other needy cat could use his good home and opportunities. So I recently visited the Richmond Animal League, the no-kill shelter where I met Yul and Adele.

Since Adele has been the sole princess among males since birth, Yul misses having a sparring partner, and Cats Working needs a blogger, we agreed an adult male would be the best fit.

That cat turned out to be a stray who was captured in late 2006 making a dash across the Powhite Parkway, a busy highway in Richmond. He ended up in “the joint” (what the cats tell me they all call RAL), where they named him Dash. Aside from a few months in a foster home, he’s been living in a big room with many cats of both genders.

As Adele was a miniature Fred, Dash resembles Yul — black except for white toes and a patch between his hind legs. Oh, and he still has his tail.

Dash came home on June 2 and we now call him Cole because cat names are never verbs around here.

RAL has a big-screen TV in the cat room, so Cole has been a news junkie, and he’s been devouring the newspaper and magazines since he got here.

He says the past 2 weeks have been a blur, trying to adjust to a drastically different routine and lifestyle, and getting used to being part of a real family, so he wants to take it slow.

But once Cole is settled, he promises he’ll be checking in here. What he’ll have to say is anybody’s guess.

Yul asks, "You learned typing in the joint, right? You're gonna need it."

Yul asks, "You learned typing in the joint, right? You're gonna need it."


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