Cat Camp = Best of Times

I went to Cat Camp on Sunday to check it out, buy some stuff for my cats (er, me), and see Jackson Galaxy’s keynote. Little did I know that about 15 minutes after I arrived, Jackson Galaxy himself came out to his foundation’s table to sign pictures and take photos with people. 

When it was my turn, I thanked him for all he does and shook his hand, took a photo, and then asked him as briefly as I could what I should do about getting Ares and Playbill to get along – since Playbill had started to treat Ares like prey. He asked a few additional questions and then told me that they’re not ready to be in the same room yet and to keep feeding them on opposite sides of the gate until they can eat and ignore each other. I shook his hand and left, elated, since I had no idea I’d even have the opportunity to talk to him.

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So cool. He was the nicest. 

I bought lots of toys for the furmonsters, donated some money to various organizations, purchased some cat wine from Apollo Peak, and bought a tank top with a meditating cat on it that says, “Meowwwwwwwm” with the literal Sanskrit translation of it below made by Squirrel Den Studio. (I mean, I obviously had to buy this t-shirt.) I also saw a talk with Lil Bub and her dude. To be honest, I’m not really familiar with Lil Bub, but I know more now, and she’s the most chill little cat ever, not to mention adorable. The Kitten Lady was there, too! But I also learned about some amazing stuff going on in the cat community that I wanted to share:

Littleman_Mika: A kitty who was born with a cleft palette. Her human is raising awareness for special needs cats.

The Cat Rescuers: A documentary about volunteers who TNR in Brooklyn. Look for it in 2018!

Kitty in NY: In-home cat caregivers! If you’re moving, or renovating, or need to travel, this is an organization that will come to your apartment and take care of your kitty. Awesome idea, since most cats don’t travel as well as Lil Bub!

Catnip Nation: Another documentary in the making, this one is about how cat videos have taken over the internet. Cosign that. 

My Cat Kyle: A big black and white kitty named Kyle sat in a harness on the table for this organization. Kyle was a kitty who once witnessed a murder in his home, so this organization is about the pets that get forgotten in the midst of domestic violence and how to help save them. 

Only Maine Coons Rescue: A 9-month old Maine Coon say on the table of this organization and she was BIG. She was bigger than Playbill and this Maine Coon was only a kitten! You can obviously decipher what this organization does. 

The Paw Project: This is an organization that was collecting signatures in an effort to get New York State to outlaw declawing. I gave them whatever money I had on me. 

Polydactyl Cats: This is an awesome cat toy company that make toys for cats that “think outside the mouse.” I bought soy sauce and duck sauce packet catnip toys for my cats. LOVE this company. Their toys are amazing

Square Paws: This is an awesome cat furniture company. They’re currently working on making NYC apartment-sized cat furniture which is great because all of their stuff is way too big for anyone’s apartment. 

The Dancing Cat: This is “art for the moderately crazy cat lover.” They’re really fun photos and I would’ve bought one but I couldn’t find a tuxedo or brown tabby cat photo!

There were many others which you should totally check out on Cat Camp’s website. This was an awesome day and I can’t wait for next year!

Lil Bub and her dude.

Lil Bub!

The 9-month old Maine Coon kitten!

Jackson Galaxy’s key note!

Tumblr, meet Ares.

Two weeks ago, Justin and I went to Koneko Cat Cafe on the LES to meet a cat named Sammy who seemed like he’d be an awesome fit for Playbill. He’d been at the cafe the longest, and I felt bad for him because he was (is) super adorable. We arrived to hear that an application for him had just been approved but we were hurried in nevertheless and introduced to a four-and-a-half-year-old Tabby named Ares. We fell in love as he licked the dried tuna treats off our fingers and stared at us with his permanently grumpy face and said OK. I filled out an application and we picked him up from the UWS Petco last Sunday.

I didn’t know how hard it would be to integrate him into my apartment with Playbill, but it’s been a process. We were told to let her smell him in his carrier when we got home and we did. And she hissed so we rushed him into the bedroom, let him out of the carrier, and he immediately fell asleep on my bed.

Playbill’s area of the apartment has always been the living room, so he obviously gets the bedroom. He has his own food bowls, cat tree, and litter box in there. Justin stayed over most of the week to keep him company in the bedroom while I slept out on the couch with Playbill, so she’d know I was still here and she wasn’t alone, or being replaced. 

We bought a baby gate this weekend and that’s been helping. I try to feed them both at the same time on opposite sides of the gate and I always close the door when I leave the apartment. I have a (clean) sock that I will occasionally rub on Ares and then give to Playbill to smell. Oh, and I’m also using Jackson Galaxy’s ‘Stress Stopper’ serum. 

Playbill is still stressed, but Ares is a big loaf. He came from the cat cafe where he dealt with other cats all the time so he is not phased by her very occasional hissing. He will literally fall over and sleep anywhere (okay, mostly the bed right now). We might rename him Loaf, but his grumpy face just says ‘God of War,’ right?

So, it’s an ongoing process. If you have any stories to share, I’d LOVE to hear them! 

PS: If you’re looking for a cat, Sammy’s application sadly fell through and he’s still available for adoption through Anjellicle Cats! He was a sweet and active little kitty.

Snow Day!

I honestly don’t know anyone in the city who loves a good snowfall like I do. I mean, obviously it’s ideal to be able to sit in your apartment and watch it fall, rather than commute to work in it, but I love it regardless. All you need is a good pair of boots and you’re set. It gives you an excuse to go buy (or make!) hot chocolate or extra coffee because there is no better time for hot chocolate and coffee than a snow day. 

I am currently sitting in my living room watching some light, but consistent, snowflakes fall from the sky while my cat sleeps on the windowsill and I’m trying to decide whether or not to go to a yoga class at 11am. I’ve been trying to let my strained knee heel for the last week and a half before teacher training starts (on Monday, OMG). Shockingly, constant yoga classes weren’t helping, so I took Friday off and my knee is feeling a bit better (it hasn’t been in excruciating pain, just extra sensitive). 

Annnnnnnd I think I’ve just talked myself out of going. Thanks, blog and free-writing mind. I’m going to do some light flow and stretching in my apartment before I go to help to administer a survey at In Transit’s matinee (90 minutes, no intermission!). It should be an interesting piece, or at the very least it’ll be different.

And I hadn’t planned on it, but Anjellicle Cats was at a loss for a volunteer tonight so my bleeding heart for cats said yes, so I’ll trudge back out in the snow later tonight to play with some cats that are waiting to find their furrrrever homes. (Have you adopted a cat lately? If not, I seriously think you should.)

In the meantime, get a good pair of boots and enjoy your snow day. 

Still Breathing.

If I’ve been a little quiet the last couple of weeks it’s because a) the atrocity of the election, and b) I was laid off two weeks ago. The first part of that sentence makes me way more sad than the second part. 

My layoff was not really a surprise. There was a hiring freeze, so there was no recruiting to be done, and running the office and HR for a staff of 15 was not a full time job. Honestly, I was bored and just sticking around so I wouldn’t look like I was jumping around again on future resumes. The office felt cold for the last few months. But I do miss most of my colleagues. They were (are) a good group. 

Since I have savings, I decided to take a week off before I dove into job hunting 100% and after the election on Tuesday night, I could not have been happier to not have to show my face to the world or be forced to talk to people in an office. The Democrats fucked up and nominated a bad candidate (not saying she was unqualified, just not a good candidate because she was too strongly disliked). I never thought Clinton had it in the bag, despite what polls told us, and my deepest fears were confirmed that the American people are, collectively, pretty stupid. Clinton included. She didn’t even GO to Wisconsin. Come on. 

How did I cope on Wednesday? I ordered a Trump cat toy off Amazon so she could scratch his face off and went to yoga. 

The toy didn’t go as planned. She likes to sleep with it. I pretend she’s smothering it.

I’ve spent the last two weeks going to yoga daily, cooking, sending out resumes, chatting with recruiters, and hanging out with my cat (her birthday is tomorrow, so I’ll tell her you all say happy birthday). I’m also shocked at how much fun unemployment is with a cat. Speaking of cats, I’m volunteering with a few adoption organizations to clean and feed cats who are waiting to be adopted at the UWS Petcos. This is also fun. And kind of sad. I might adopt 5 more cats. Who knows. No promises.  

And while contemplating my next steps, given my savings and severance, I’m considering doing a 200-hour yoga teacher training course in January with one of my favorite teachers. I don’t know if I necessarily want to teach yoga, but it’s been a constant thing in my life for so many years now and I want to deepen my understanding of the practice. So, I might sign up for that and do temp work until then to keep myself afloat. 

Lastly, I’ve been sucking at this blogging thing lately. I’m still backlogged on my Poland posts and I have so many things that I could just ramble about. So, I’m going to try write once a day if it kills me. Starting today, starting now. Here’s to post #1!

(Really, lastly, don’t forget to donate to Planned Parenthood.)

First Vet Trip Success – Sort Of

I noticed a couple of little moving white rice-looking things on Playbill’s butt on Monday night/Tuesday morning and thought that probably wasn’t normal. I called two vets on Tuesday morning and emailed the adoption organization that I rescued her from. I decided to go to Uptown Veterinary Associates because the other vet had awful reviews (one was, “you overlooked my cats cancer and I had to put her to sleep!”) and Uptown had great reviews. 

J came over to help me load her into her new cat carrier which I’d picked up earlier that day at Petco and it was a battle. She’s a shelter cat so, of course, she was going to be freaked out at the idea of going into a carrier again. We both felt so bad and told her over and over that she was coming back with us and not to be scared. Of course, she didn’t understand so, that’s one drawback to the Cats Not Kids lifestyle. We eventually got her in and called an Uber, which she hated even more. Anjellicle Cats had said that she hated the taxi ride over to my apartment and she hated this car ride too. She mewed like she was being tortured the entire time. Again, we felt so bad.

A few minutes later, we got to Uptown Vets and checked in and it was only a few minutes until we were placed in a room. The offices were bright and clean and they had an office Chihuahua and three office cats. A nurse came in to weigh her and get her details and a few minutes later the vet came in. Playbill was pretty calm by this time. I kept my hand on her, petting her the whole time. The doctor was so great. She gave Playbill lots of catnip and scratches. She said Playbill was on the high end weight-wise for a cat her size. Oh man, I’d always though she was small! 

They told us that she had the most perfect shaped “cat face” that they’d seen in a while and that she was their star patient for the day in terms of behavior (admittedly they said the bar had been set kind of low by other animals that day). Another technician not involved came in and said, “Hello! I saw those eyes looking at me through the door and I had to come in!” Yes, she has huge Pixar eyes. 

I gave the vets her stool sample and they gave her some medicine for her worms. They also gave me monthly anti-flea medicine to put on her to keep her from getting bit and getting worms again. 

She hated the car ride back, but a little less, I think, maybe because she knew she was going home. She flew out of the cat carrier in my apartment and jumped on the bed, giving me a “I’m never going in there again”-look. It wasn’t a cheap vet visit by any means, but it was worth it. 

Meditating with a Cat

For better or for worse, I usually do my morning and evening meditations sitting on my meditation pillow on my bed. Different meditation experts say different things about whether or not it’s good to meditate where you sleep, but screw it. It works for me and if it works for you too, have at it.

It’s been an interesting time for the last almost two weeks adjusting to coexisting with another living creature. Cats are weird because they need you sometimes and want nothing to do with you other times. Don’t get me wrong: that’s a good thing. 

I digress. The one time Playbill (my cat) seems to always want me is whenever I’m meditating. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s wondering where the voice of my meditation MP3 is coming from and she absolutely-must-investigate-it-now or if that’s just what she likes to do. I haven’t gotten through a single session without opening at least one eye once because she jumps on the bed or mews (I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that cats just meow, for anything or nothing, and it doesn’t always mean something’s wrong). 

I’m sure I’ll figure out how to circumvent this issue eventually, right? Right. 

My New Roommate

I’d like to introduce the cat I rescued a week ago. I’ve named her Playbill. She’s a small 8-year-old tuxedo cat that I met at a pet adoption event at Petco with an organization called Anjellicle Cats two weeks ago. When J and I met her, she stuck her paw out of the cage at us and we melted. She’d been living in Petco for the last month and was becoming depressed and on a hunger strike. I went back to play with her a few days later at Petco in a stress-free environment (i.e. there weren’t 200 people walking in and out) and I said FINE, I’ll adopt her. This was such a big decision because I’m 100% indecisive, always. After attending the required “new pet adopters” seminar the following Sunday, I paid the adoption fee and asked if they could drop her off the next night. 

A woman from the organization came by last Monday with her in a carrier and let her out and she instantly started running around and sniffing. She hopped on the couch and tried burrowing into the pillows. She ran under the couch and the bed (she cleaned under my bed by pushing out all of the dust bunnies, so thank you, kitty) for a bit.

J met her (again) on Thursday night when he came over and she is not afraid of strangers at all. Various friends met her on Saturday afternoon and she sat said her hellos and then just watched us from afar.

On Saturday J and I went to Petco and bought a scratching post, a bed, a brush, and a couple of toys to go with the ones that my mom sent a few days earlier. (Her favorite toy is still the catnip-filled hedgehog that I bought for her on Thursday!) She figured out what her bed was for in less than a day and claimed a pillow on my couch. She knows how to use her litter box perfectly and I applause whenever I see her using it (positive reinforcement, right?). She eats a ton and runs around the apartment and hasn’t scratched anything yet (knock on wood). 

On her first night, she woke me up once; on the second night she won’t me up twice and I got up to make sure everything was okay. I emailed Anjellicle to make sure her behavior was normal (it was) and they said, “This is her way of checking to make sure her new human is still there. When she meows at night, she’s saying, ‘New human, are you still there, new human?’” Awe. So, now if she meows in the middle of the night, I tell her I’m still here and that’s the end of it. She hasn’t woken me up in the last three nights though, so that’s nice (again, knock on wood). 

So overall, I’d say this was a great decision. It’s nice having an animal around and, as you can, she’s super adorable. 

My friend Ben put it best on Saturday why he, and myself as well, likes cats: “I realize that most of my friends are like cats. They want your attention sometimes, but not all the time like dogs do. If you had a friend that needed your attention 24/7, you’d stop being friends with that person.”

Sunday in the Heights (of Morningside)

After a great Friday night at Salvation Taco and an extremely relaxing and reenergizing Saturday, I spent Sunday morning watching a few episodes of The Leftovers (apparently it gets better after the first couple of episodes that I’d watched, says everyone). After I headed over to Columbia University’s campus where the weekly farmer’s market was – almost bought some of those Pink-a-Boos, but instead went with some apples, string beans, and sweet potatoes, and that little pumpkin (does anyone know how you keep a pumpkin fresh?). 

I looked for the For Dummies guide in Book Culture that I’d sold to them last year but they didn’t have it unfortunately. But incase you’re looking for a number of books on Marxism, they have those in spades.

Last on my walk around my neighborhood was the Petco on Columbus Avenue. The beautiful animal above is 2 years old and named Felicia. I didn’t want to adopt a long-haired but she was so sweet and mellow and apparently if you brush them often enough, they don’t shed. So I submitted an application to adopt her. We will see what happens.

I ended the day with a vinyasa and meditation class and a few more episodes of The Leftovers

Not a bad day at all. 

Kitten Sitting & What I Learned

What did I learn while kitten sitting this weekend? Kittens are a lot of work. Not a lot of work like a puppy-amount-of-work (because you don’t have to walk them and they’re smarter than dogs and a bit more independent), but they’re kind of crazy. They run and jump on everything, and when you’re not looking they show up behind your feet and you could step on them (but you don’t because they’ll yell at you first). Or they could run under a mat on the floor (see above – I think that’s her best bitch, please face) and it just kind of looks like it’s a bump in the mat, until you realize: oh, it’s a kitten

I wondered if Miko the Kitten wasn’t eating because she would never eat when I’d put her food out, but then a friend said, “No! It’s not food time when you’re there, it’s play time!” Oh, yeah. Duh. I also realized that her food was always gone when I got back again so it’s not like she wasn’t eat at all.

Kittens are also very talkative. Miko talked… a lot. I’m not sure I could handle a pet who mewed so much. It’s adorable, but I’m not a heavy sleeper, so I’d probably get woken up by the slightest mew. I also spent moments here and there trying to remember whether or not I had re-closed the bathroom door (I always did) or if she had fallen into the toilet. I don’t think she’s small enough to drown in the toilet, but still…. That wouldn’t be fun to come home to.

But… BUT… despite the mewing and the crazy energy, they are so, so cute. She was 4lbs of furry adorableness that I had a great time playing with her. I’m going to check out some kittens at the ASPCA when I get back from Scandinavia, but I think I’ll look at ones that are 6 months to a year old, and not four months old. Because the older they are, the less likely they will be to drown in the toilet.