Category: cat stories

A Cat Hails A Starship

Grudge the Cat is having a season of firsts on Star Trek: Discovery.

The floofy Maine Coon is the beloved companion of Cleveland Booker (David Ajala), a mercenary and cargo-runner who turns out to be a galactic do-gooder, stealing animals from the illegal interstellar wildlife trade and bringing them to the safety of sanctuary.

Considering the illegal wildlife trade is thriving and directly contributing to the extinction of many species here on Earth, it’s not a stretch at all to imagine people in the future would pay a hefty premium on ultra-exotic pets from alien worlds. The Booker/Grudge storylines may even prompt more people to pay attention to what’s happening here on our own world.

In Thursdays episode (mild spoilers ahead), the crew of the Discovery receive a hail from outside the cloaked and secret Federation headquarters of the 32nd century. Anyone with the top-secret location of the base — and the ability to hail ships within it — must be VIP or have urgent business, so the acting captain orders the hail on screen, and the entire bridge crew braces as the image resolves into…

…floofy Grudge sticking her face into the camera.

The cast does an excellent job of looking befuddled and amused at a cat contacting the Discovery on a priority channel when they were likely expecting Orions or Andorians or any number of antagonists.

Screenshot_2020-11-20 st_d9_ep306_1233_rt jpg (WEBP Image, 1200 × 628 pixels)
Grudge looking regal on the bridge of Booker’s ship.

And so, for the first time in Star Trek history, a cat has hailed another starship.

It turns out Booker, anticipating trouble on a dangerous mission, set his ship to auto-return to Discovery’s Commander Michael Burnham if he didn’t make it back in time. That sets up the episode’s main plot in which Burnham goes to rescue Book.

The best line of the night goes to Michelle Yeoh’s Commander Phillipa Georgiou: “That cat can’t get lost. It has its own gravity field!”

That’s floof, not fat, Georgiou!

Grudge is referred to as a female cat in the show, but she’s played by Leeu, a two-year-old, 18-pound male Maine Coon.

grudge_and_book_rect1-777x437
Ayala as Booker with his beloved Grudge.

‘New York’s Fattest Cat’ Relinquishes His Title

Remember Barsik, the cat who was so extra-chonk he had to be wheeled around in a baby carriage because he couldn’t fit in a cat carrier?

The former “Fattest cat in New York” has melted the pounds off in the year since he was surrendered to NYC’s Anjellicle Cats rescue and adopted by 35-year-old Meredith Adams.

When he was surrendered, Barisk tipped the scales at 41 pounds — dangerously close to the Guinness record 46 pounds for a house cat. He was so big, the sight of him getting wheeled into the shelter prompted an amused visitor to snap a smartphone pic and quip: “Did he eat another cat?”

Screenshot_2020-11-15 barsik-cat-2020-1-1 jpg (WEBP Image, 915 × 610 pixels)
Slow news day: Barsik made the cover of the Post’s late edition back in April of 2019.

Barsik’s having the last laugh, as he’s down to 22 pounds and enjoying life in his new home.

He’s well on his way to his ideal weight of 16 pounds according to Adams, who says she’s been controlling Barsik’s dry food intake while feeding him wet food.

“He does pretty much everything regular cats do — jumping around, at night he gets the zoomies,” Adams told the New York Post. “He is a regular cat now.”

The Post notes Guinness stopped taking new entries for heaviest cat out of concern that misguided owners would over feed their chonksters to pursue the crown. Himmy, the Australian kitty who set the record, died at just 10 years old from complications associated with his obesity.

Barsik has settled into his new life, diet and all.

“He has a big personality. He is very demanding, he is very vocal, but he is also really friendly,” Adams said. “When I come home from work and get into the building, I hear his meowing all the way down the hall. He wants his food, but he also wants to say ‘hi’ to me.”

barsik
Barsik shortly after he was surrendered in 2019 and was living in a foster home.
Screenshot_2020-11-15 fat-cat-jan-2020 jpg (WEBP Image, 915 × 610 pixels)
Adams and the newly-slim Barsik.

Utopia Avenue: Searching For The Moon Gray Cat

I’ve just finished reading David Mitchell’s new novel, Utopia Avenue.

Not only has Mitchell been my favorite novelist for many years, but part of the fun of reading his books is seeing characters from his other novels pop up, pass through, make brief cameos or even take the leap from minor character in a previous book to major player in a new story.

While the vast majority are human, one of those characters is the Moon Gray Cat, a domestic feline who shows up at the strangest times and has a major impact on Mitchell’s characters.

For instance, a war correspondent character in Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks sees the Moon Gray Cat on a stairwell landing in a Baghdad hotel. He bends down to pet the mysterious feline just as a car bomb detonates outside the building, sending shrapnel, shards of broken glass, dislodged pieces of concrete and other debris through the window.

If the character hadn’t seen the Moon Gray Cat and hadn’t stopped at that instant to pet the little guy, he would have been shredded in the blast.

mitchellutopiaavenue
Mitchell, left, and the cover of his newest novel, right.

In Slade House, Mitchell’s sole foray into the horror genre thus far, the first chapter’s protagonist notices the Moon Gray Cat laying dead in an alley. It’s the only Mitchell book in which the cat appears deceased, and signals that there will be no magical interventions for the characters this time around. (It is, after all, a horror novel. But don’t worry: Mitchell says the Moon Gray Cat isn’t dead and cannot die.)

Sure enough, the familiar feline shows up again in Utopia Avenue, once again marking a major moment in the book.

Of course, our readers here know of a particular Moon Gray Cat. He may not be as literary as his fictional counterpart (his interests lie more in world domination, the procurement and sale of catnip, and eating as much turkey as possible), but he’s just as magical. Since adopting the little dude in 2014, I’ve come to think of him as the mysterious Mitchellverse meowster.

Moon Gray Cat, we salute you!

F35B3507-FDDC-4C81-82D6-39596D72F898

buddy_stretching2
“I’m magic!”

Grudge The Cat Makes Her Star Trek Debut

One of the most anticipated new characters in Star Trek: Discovery’s third season made her debut this week, continuing a proud tradition of felines in the Federation.

Grudge the Cat is a Maine Coon and the beloved pet of new character Booker Cleveland, played by David Ajala. (Ajala should be familiar to science fiction fans of his roles as Captain Roy Eris from Nightflyers and Drifter from Kill Command.)

Ajala’s Booker plants a kiss on Grudge’s head as the floofy feline hangs out on the bridge of his starship. Later, when a mercenary courier tries forcing Booker to reveal the location of priceless cargo and Booker refuses, the mercenary threatens Grudge.

“She is a Queen!” Booker says indignantly, clearly more upset at the threat to his cat than to his own personal safety.

F4BD022E-AACD-4770-A890-155EEFF79B52

Grudge is played by Leeu, a male Maine Coon who was chosen after the producers put out a call for a large domestic cat.

The floofy tabby follows in the paw steps of Spot, Commander Data’s beloved orange tabby on Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as the show’s most prominent species of felid aliens, the Caitians.

Now we just need to get Buddy his own guest spot on Star Trek — preferably as the captain of his own ship.

Utah Couple Drops $15k To Save Beloved Cat

There are so many stories about people surrendering their cats to shelters, abandoning them when they move house and generally treating them like disposable creatures that it’s refreshing to read about people who wouldn’t part with their cats unless someone pried them from their cold, dead hands.

The story of a Utah couple who didn’t balk at a massive vet bill to save their cat’s life isn’t just uplifting because of the cat’s amazing recovery, but also because of their commitment to the little guy.

Golden Gibson and Lianna Warden adopted Lilou two years ago. His kittenhood sounds a lot like Bud’s: He was the runtiest of his litter and the last to be adopted out, yet he’s got a huge personality and he’s well-loved by his humans.

Warden describes him as “the cutest, happiest soul.”

Unfortunately, three weeks ago Lilou was hit by a car. Gibson and Warden didn’t know what happened to their cat until they got a call from a veterinarian telling them a Good Samaritan brought the badly-injured Lilou in.

Things looked grim: Lilou suffered multiple fractures of the skull and jaw, his hip was shattered, and he had dozens of lesser injuries. The veterinarian, Dr. Jennifer Alterman, told Gibson and Warden she wasn’t sure if Lilou would live, or if he’d be able to walk again.

The couple told Alterman to do all she could anyway, and paid the initial $5,000 for the cat’s care, despite Gibson losing his job due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Since then the bill has climbed to $15,000, and Lilou’s not done: He will need “multiple surgeries and intensive home care” to continue his recovery, the veterinarian said.

Screenshot_2020-09-10 EXCLUSIVE Utah couple explains spending $15,000 to save their cat (1)

When Lilou came to at the veterinary hospital and saw Gibson beside him, Gibson put his hand nearby — careful not to touch Lilou’s broken body — and the badly injured cat reached out, touching Gibson’s hand with his paw.

After several surgeries at the veterinary hospital, Lilou went home with his people, but he’s still got many more vet visits to go, local CBS affiliate KUTV reported. Gibson and Warden have to feed him through a tube, which takes about 45 minutes per meal, and they have to administer timed dosages of antibiotics, painkillers and anti-nausea medication.

“We sleep in shifts,” Warden said. “It’s kind of like having a newborn.”

Asked why she believes Lilou has been able to pull through such serious injuries, Warden said it’s because he loves his family, and knows they love him.

“I believe in my heart of hearts that it’s the love we’ve been giving him,” she said.

Their veterinarian agrees.

“This is a pretty rare case,” Alterman said, “in terms of that kind of commitment from an owner.”

Screenshot_2020-09-10 EXCLUSIVE Utah couple explains spending $15,000 to save their cat (2)

Lilou’s recovery has also surprised Alterman.

“It’s pretty incredible to see,” she said, “considering I thought this cat was never going to be able to walk again.”

Three weeks later he was back for an appointment “walking around like he owned the place,” Alterman said. “He was like a totally different cat and I’m totally falling in love with him.”

As for Warden and Gibson, they say they’re overcome with gratitude for kind-hearted cat lovers who donated more than $6,000 to help cover Lilou’s veterinary bills, and the still-anonymous Good Samaritan who brought the ailing cat to the veterinary hospital.

“We would love to be able to find that person and show them how well [Lilou’s] doing,” Warden said, “and have them be part of this story, because they are a huge part of it.”

Note: Because we know the images might be upsetting to some of our readers, we did not include photos of Lilou after the accident and during recovery. You can help contribute to Lilou’s medical bills by visiting Lilou’s Lifesavers on Facebook, or the GoFundMe page.