The orange butterball weighs in at 35 pounds and was surrendered to the SPCA in North Carolina’s Wake County this week after his former owner died.
Although the shelter says some people were initially outraged that a person would let the ginger tabby grow to such elephantine proportions, it turns out there’s more to the story: Bazooka’s owner was inflicted with dementia and, never sure if he’d fed the amiable cat, he just kept feeding and feeding — and feeding — Bazooka, who has apparently never met a cup of kibble or a can of tuna he won’t happily scarf down.
We wouldn’t be surprised if there was some insistent meowing prompting his late human to keep refilling those bowls.
“[Bazooka’s owner] thought he was doing the best thing for his cat by feeding him,” the SPCA’s Darci VanderSlik told North Carolina’s News-Observer. “We need to look on this with a compassionate view. He was loved.”
It turns out Bazooka is a loving and chill dude as well.
“He wants to be around people,” said Michelle Barry, the big guy’s foster mom. “He’s happiest lying right next to you. And he’s more active than I expected him to be.”
He’s in for quite an adjustment period, going from a life of on-demand meals to a strictly-regulated diet designed to get him down to a healthy weight. As any cat servant knows, there’ll be lots of agitated meowing in his future.
The ‘Zookster has already been adopted and will soon move into his forever home after the shelter provides some basic veterinary care and draws up a weight loss plan for him. Working with his new human, staff at the SPCA want to get Bazooka down to 20 pounds or so, which they feel is appropriate for his large frame.
They say they’re just glad to help.
“We don’t know a lot of the back stories of the animals we get, but we try not to judge people or make people feel bad about the circumstances that led to their surrender,” VanderSlik said. “We’re really lucky to have the resources to take him in and help him get a home he deserves.”
They prefer to be called animal communicators, which makes their work sound more professional and less hokey, but the services they offer are pretty much identical to those offered by regular psychics, mediums, sorcerers and wizards. Per the totally legitimate site SheKnows.com:
Put simply, animal communication is a silent, telepathic language that functions via deepened intuition. Animal communicators are very much in tune with this ability and use it to have a dialogue with an animal. Animal communication is not about deciphering an animal’s body language or behavior, though. It’s an actual exchange of information between the communicator and animal in the form of words, mental images, feelings and more.
Buddy and I have several different means of communication: In the early morning hours he tells me he wants me to wake up by standing on my face and meowing into my ear, and I tell him to shut up and go back to sleep by throwing pillows at him.
By late afternoon Bud begins his daily ritual, communicating to me that dinner time is fast approaching and failure to serve yums on time will result in even louder and more annoying meows. I respond by threatening to sell him to the nearest Chinese food restaurant.
Clearly, we communicate well!
But could an animal communicator facilitate even better ways of exchanging information that don’t include vulgarities, face-walkings and late night ambushes?
We set out to ascertain the truth.
Animal Communicator # 1: The Long Island XL
Length of session: 42 seconds
Comments: “Relax your chakras. Open your inner eye and heart to the quantum energies of my chi. Okay. Good. Now I’m going to connect our minds. Oh my…Ugh. I’m getting an overwhelming stench. It’s…fish. And poultry. An ocean’s worth of salmon and enough turkey to feed a small country. More fish. More turkey. The clucking of a million portly birds, thousands of pounds of slimy salmon overwhelming my olfactory senses…I’m drowning in it. Oh God! Help me! Help me! Pull me out!”
Buddy’s comments: *BURP* She was pretty accurate.
Animal Communicator #2: Edward John, animal telepath
Length of session: 18 minutes
Edward John: So this is your cat, Buster?
Me: His name is Buddy.
Edward John: Okay, so you want me to talk to little Bubba here and have him tell me what he’s thinking?
Me: Uh yeah, the usual. I want to know if he’s happy living with me, what he likes, and what I can do for him to make it even better.
Edward John: Okay. I’m performing the Vulcan mind-meld now. My mind to your mind…it is logical to accept the connection.
Oh my. He’s a ferocious little guy, isn’t he, your Bubba? I’m getting images showing him prowling the neighborhood…
Me: He doesn’t go outside.
Edward John: …prowling the living room, serving as enforcer to the other cats in the house…
Me: He’s an only cat.
Edward John: Right. I knew that. Now I’m seeing fleeting images of a female cat, a neighbor’s cat. Buster sired a litter with her…
Me: Buddy was neutered at 5 months old.
Edward John: …but he revealed he’d been neutered, so he couldn’t be the father, which is why they brought Smudge next door for a paternity test and he’s the baby daddy.
Edward John: Okay, your cat’s speaking directly to me now! He says he’s sorry he doesn’t meow much, but he promises to meow with joy if you feed him more tuna.
Me: He hates tuna, and the problem isn’t getting him to talk, it’s getting him to stop. He treats me to nightly dissertations, rendered in meow, on theoretical physics and the creamy texture of smoked Gouda.
Edward John: Whatever. That’ll conclude our 18-minute session at the low price of $350. We can keep going for only $39.95 per additional minute if you’d like me to continue probing Barry’s mind.
Me: I think Barry, Bubba, Buster and I are good. Thanks, Edward.
Animal Communicator #3: Alison Doobwah, Medium
Length of session: 21 minutes
Alison: Okay, something’s coming through. I’m seeing a house. It could be white, or gray or maybe a light blue or tan. Does that sound familiar?
Me: No. We live in an apartment building.
Alison: Okay, I feel like he’s telling me he wants turkey. Does turkey mean anything to you?
Me: Yes, it’s all over the blog. It’s his favorite food. Not exactly a secret. Anyone could have looked it up.
Alison: A skeptic, huh? All right. I’m getting images, visualizations from the quantum reality, echoes of someone whose name begins with a D. Maybe Dave, Doris, Devon, Dirk, Debbie, Darren, Delilah or Decker?
Me: Nope. Neither of us know any Dorises, Devons, Dirks or Deckers.
Alison: Dominic? Diego? Dorian? Maybe Dakota or Desmond?
Me: No. Sorry.
Alison: Maybe an H? Oh, or a G? Does Buddy know a Greg, Gary, Gerald, Geordi or Gerrit?
Alison: What about grandma or grandpa?
Me: I had grandparents! That’s amazing! And my mom is like a grandmother to Buddy. Your intuition is outstanding!
Alison: I’m just reading the images I get from the astral plane. I’m merely the vessel through which the chakras broadcast their quantum energies and reveal their secrets.
Me: Makes total sense. What else?
Alison: He says he wants more toys. He says the snack selection in your home is sub-par, and that if you really love him, you’ll put more effort into buying a more diverse array of treats. He also says he wants a cat condo. In fact, he says he’s brought this topic up before, and he’s disappointed in your failure to follow through. Regarding sleeping arrangements, he says he’d like you to cut down on tossing and turning during the night, because you’re his mattress and excess movement disturbs his sleep. On the subject of wet food, he feels you don’t serve him turkey as much as he’d like, and that poultry should ideally be followed up with seafood. Regarding the vacuum…
Me: Okay, okay. Enough. I get it.
Alison: But there’s more! He says…
Me: Any more complaints and he can tell them to the cooks at Szechuan Garden II. Comprende?
This is not the first time the Underworld actress has subjected poor Clive to such indignities. A few days before Christmas of 2017 Beckinsale dressed the little guy as a dinosaur, and he seemed to hate it slightly less than he hates this year’s Santa costume.
I’d suffer death by a thousand cuts if I tried to squeeze Buddy into a costume like this:
Every Christmas, the staff at the Bronx Zoo transform the grounds into a “winter wonderland,” an LED-illuminated forest of festive fun that begins at sundown.
The good: Young kids will enjoy themselves. The bad: All the animal exhibits are closed, with the tigers, bears, monkeys and elephants brought into their indoor enclosures before dark to shelter from the frigid New York winter.
On Friday night the only animal on duty was Quincy, a 16-year-old Eurasian eagle owl. The impressively-plumed Quincy gamely hung out and remained calm despite a small crowd of guests pointing cameras at him, occasionally repeating a vocalization that sounded more like Buddy’s high-pitched greeting than a call you’d expect from an owl.
Hooting, which is what most of us associate with the nocturnal birds, is more closely associated with territorial displays and mating calls, Quincy’s handler explained.
After taking my brother’s kids to Winter Wonderland, we stopped for a look at Roy’s Christmas Land in Harrison, NY. The owner, 61-year-old Roy Aletti, describes himself as a “maniac” when it comes to holiday decorating.
As you can see, his design philosophy can be summed up as “Buy as much shit as you can and cover every inch of your lawn.” The kids love it.
Zoltan Kaszas starts off his stand-up routine by declaring he’s a cat person.
“I’m not anti-dog, you know?” he says, reassuring the dog-lovers in the audience. “Every time I tell someone I’m a cat person they’re like ‘What do you mean, you don’t like dogs?’ No, I like other people’s dogs!”
“I like dogs, but I like them over there. And I’ll go over and play with them, but then afterward, go back over there,” he says, gesturing to an imaginary pooch and drawing laughs from the audience.
“I don’t need that kind of energy in my house, you know what I mean? That annoying dog best friend, in-your-face-all-the-time kind of energy? … All the time? Ugh! No thank you.”
“That’s why I like cats. Cats are like ‘Hey, what are you up to? Oh never mind, I just remembered I don’t care. I’ll be in the kitchen, see ya later.’ I don’t need a best friend, I just need an apathetic roommate who wants to hang out sometimes!”
Of course, what Zoltan really means is cats are better for people like him. Or, since you’re reading this blog, people like us.
He’s right: Dogs and cats bring a distinct kind of energy to a home, and studies show reliable differences in so-called dog people and cat people. Among them: Cat owners are comparatively more introverted and cerebral, while dog owners enjoy less intellectually challenging activities like sniffing glue and eating paste. Sorry, couldn’t help myself!
Most of Zoltan’s set revolves around cats, their amusing antics, and the diet struggles of his rescue cat, Jessica.
There’s also a hilarious anecdote about his wife’s new hobby — reading stories about special needs animals on the internet and crying.
Considering how baffling and hilarious cats can be, it’s surprising there aren’t more comedy sets like this. Zoltan proves that cats can be just as funny as any other topic.
The internet’s done its part, launching the San Diego-based comic into the viral strata, and now Zoltan is known as the Cat Guy of Comedy. One thing’s for sure: Cat people like to talk about their animals.
“I get messages all the time from crazy cat people across the country who send me pictures of their cats,” he told an interviewer. “I respond to all of them. ‘Gee, she’s fuzzy.’ I’m running out of things to say to people’s cats, but it’s a good problem to have.”
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.