Let me just squeeze in here and…ah, that’s better! Now I’m sitting between you and the glowing rectangle, which means you must pay attention to me.
You know, human, you really are the best. Forget all that stuff I meowed before when it looked like dinner was gonna be late. I didn’t mean it. Can you just go ahead and scratch me behind the ears?
Ah, that feels good! Now my cheeks and under my chin! Don’t be afraid to give my fur a good scratch. That’s it. This is the life! I’m so relaxed…
Hey, could you scratch just right here on my belly? No, I’m serious, I’m not just showing you my belly for poops and giggles. I really could use a good scratch right there and…wow that feels great…hey, stop it, you jerk! You had a good thing going there and then you ruined it by going half a millisecond too long.
Now scratch my head again, it’s time for Seventh Nap…
Theron wasn’t exuberant like most people who walk through the door of the Bangor Humane Society looking to adopt a new pet.
The Maine man told shelter staff he’d resigned himself to adopting a new cat after his Cutie Pie, a gray-and-white medium hair kitty, went missing. He told the staff he hoped bringing home a new feline friend would help “heal his heart.”
Staffers showed him to the section where they housed the adoptable cats so he could browse at his leisure.
“As he perused the kennels, he stopped to examine one of our friends a little more closely and when the cat turned to face him, Theron erupted with joy. THIS WAS HIS CUTIE PIE!!” the shelter’s staff wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.
The staff had no reason to doubt him, but even if they did, Theron had ample proof: Like any human who loves his or her cat, Theron’s smartphone was a virtual gallery of photos of the little guy.
“Theron’s camera roll was full of pictures of Cutie Pie,” shelter staff wrote, “leaving no question that this reunion was the real deal!”
For his part, Cutie Pie must have had quite the ordeal and couldn’t wait to go back to his real home with his human.
“Let me just say I’ve honestly never seen a cat so eager to be in a cat carrier!” shelter staff wrote on Facebook. “He was SO ready to go home!”
I really don’t like to think of the possibility of Bud going missing, but if he did and we found ourselves in a situation similar to the one Theron and Cutie Pie found themselves in, the reunion wouldn’t be nearly as happy or tear-inducing.
“Oh my God! It’s Buddy! Buddy, it’s really you! I’m so glad I found you!”
“Get me out of this cage this very instant! These people are crazy! Do you realize they have not fed me turkey once since I’ve been here?!? Not once! And these accommodations! A bathroom and a food bowl within five feet of each other. Unthinkable! They’ve put me in with the riff-raff, as if I’m a common cat and not a king! I demand to speak with the manager! Actually, nevermind…I demand you take me home this very instant, feed me turkey, give me a massage, and then summon the manager so I can give her a piece of my mind! You’re going to have to make this up to me, you know. I expect the treat cabinet to be restocked with all manner of yums, including Temptations. I had to sleep on a pad. A pad! I tried to tell them, I said ‘I only sleep on top of my Big Buddy!’ And they wouldn’t listen. These people are torturous! I swear, when I get home…”
A distressed Redditor says his girlfriend of seven months gave him an ultimatum: Get rid of his cat, or the relationship is over.
He chose the cat.
If only he’d seen the warning signs earlier.
“She is an outspoken vegan, and she made it clear at the start of our relationship that it was important to her that any potential had similar cruelty-free values,” the Redditor wrote. “Me, already being a pescatarian, had little difficulty transitioning to a fully plant based diet. My GF was proud of me for going cruelty free and everything seemed well.”
With her boyfriend converted, the pair “became ‘the vegan couple’ on our college campus.” Retch.
However, Ms. Vegan wasn’t done creating the Perfect Boyfriend:
Fast forward through all the quarantine stuff… My gf and I have spent a lot of time together during this pandemic and we’ve started talking about taking our relationship to the next level. We began seriously looking at either buying a new apartment together or having one of us move in with the other.
However, after a lot of talking and planning, my GF sat me down and dropped a bomb shell on me. She said that with this next phase of the relationship, she did not see a future with me unless I was willing to give away Mittens. She said that she believed owning a cat is unconscionable for vegans, because they hunt mice and eat meat, and because the very act of owning a pet is a violation of vegan principles.
If you’re reading this and thinking that’s strange logic, you’re not the only one: The guy’s girlfriend wanted him to dump a well-loved animal because the cat eats meat and might hunt mice. (It’s not clear from the post whether the cat has access to the outdoors.)
But that’s not all!
I was stunned. I told her that I was absolutely not willing to give up Mittens, and she had no choice but to eat meat so I was reducing harm as much as possible by buying reputable brands of cat food. Plenty of vegans own cats and think along those same lines. My gf got mad and said “how much flesh does your cat eat? How many animals died to make all that food? Would you be okay with that being human flesh?”
I got mad and told my GF that I would have really appreciated her telling me about her cat opinions before we got serious. She went on and on about cats killing animals. I ended the conversation there. I was so angry that I left my gfs apartment. And I snuggled with Mittens when I got home! Although the mood soured a bit when my GF sent me a link to a Reddit thread advocating for the extinction of domestic cats. Sigh
I don’t think the Redditor’s vegan (ex)-girlfriend has really thought her position through.
Cats have been living with humans for thousands of years. The process of domestication results in genetic changes that make cats more friendly, sociable and curious than their wild forebears, at the expense of traits — like aggressiveness and cautiousness — that would help keep them alive in the wild. It’s nature’s trade-off, and it happens in every domesticated species.
In other words, domestic cats don’t have a “natural habitat.” They don’t have a home in the wild, and they belong under the care and protection of good humans.
We domesticated them, so it’s our responsibility to care for them.
If vegans are motivated by ending animal suffering, exterminating an entire species of cat — millions of animals — seems an odd way to go about it. So does advocating the dumping of millions of animals who are damned to short, brutal lives without human care.
Thankfully, the Redditor refused to dump his cat — who he’s had for more than three years — and ended it with Ms. Vegan.
“So, we broke up, obviously,” he wrote in a follow-up post. “I would never, ever give up my cat Mittens. Many users said that this situation was about control, not veganism, and looking back, I do see a pattern of control on my GFs part. I was blind to it I guess.”
My cat played it cool when I walked through the door today, acting as if he was indifferent to the fact that I’d been gone since Thursday afternoon.
I knew otherwise, of course — not only did Buddy attack his cat sitter, he also puked on two different carpets, leaving me a pair of surprises as a welcome-home gift.
As usual, the little guy couldn’t keep up the charade. After a few minutes he forgot he was supposed to be mad at me and climbed up to head bunt and reestablish his scent on me.
I enjoyed my time in the Catskills despite the heat and the pandemic. It was pretty clear some of the local businesses were hurting, especially those relying on vacationers coming through in the summer season.
For those of you unfamiliar with the region, the Catskills is an area of New York State about 120 miles north of New York City.
Most people who don’t live here think of New York as the city and its surrounding environs like Long Island and Westchester, but the vast majority of the state is rural and known for agriculture and recreation: The National Baseball Hall of Fame, Howe Caverns, Niagara Falls, the Adirondack mountains, Lake George, dozens of ski resorts, rivers for kayaking and fishing, and many other things for people who want to get away.
The Catskills does have a feline etymology, for those of you wondering. “Kill” is the Dutch word for river or creek, and the suffix is found in the names of local towns and rivers: Fishkill, Spackenkill, and Peekskill among them.
The “cat” in Catskill comes from catamount, a somewhat archaic word for a cougar, also known as a puma, mountain lion or panther. Although they’re very rare in the area these days, mountain lions were abundant in the forested valleys and mountains of the Catskill region.
Thus Catskill translates to “cat creek.”
This hotel on Route 28 has a section dubbed The Catamount, with carved wooden mountain lions keeping watch over the guests:
Belleayre Mountain is a ski resort that offers scenic gondola rides in the summer. Here’s the view from the gondola:
And from the mountain top:
I saw this sign in Woodstock. We hope little Spooky finds her way home:
A sign declares “HIPPIES WELCOME” in Woodstock, but not today — the shop is closed because of COVID-19:
This is the interior of Candlestock, a candle shop in Woodstock, NY. As the sign says, the “drip mountain” was started 51 years ago and has grown into a monstrosity of wax:
This dog was well-behaved and polite and waited for us to get up from our chairs before he swooped in for potential crumbs beneath the table. He’s got a unique coat and look, and he’s missing his tail. Does anyone know what kind of dog this is?
A shop called Modern Mythology on Woodstock’s main stretch:
Here’s my seven-year-old niece exploring the edge of Esopus Creek:
A stretch of rural road that I thought looked pretty cool:
Fabulous Furniture on Route 28 is adorned with metal sculptures of aliens, rocket ships and UFOs, all built by the store’s owner, Steve Heller:
Buddy has been declared the handsomest cat ever after winning the KingPet cat contest!
Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t enter him in the contest. Didn’t upload his photo, didn’t make a profile for him. I’m merely declaring him the winner because the people behind KingPet wasted 2.5 minutes of my life by enticing me with a Youtube ad to visit their “pet contest” site.
What is KingPet? Here’s how the site’s owners describe it:
KingPet is a Free Photo Competition for dogs, cats and all sorts of other animals! Participate and vote to win up many gifts each month!
You mean we can win up many gifts each month?!? Why haven’t I been told about this before? Many gifts! I’m in!
That bit of mangled English is just the first indication that something shady’s going on here. On the front page I saw a photo of an adorable kitten with zero votes, so I upvoted the little one and was immediately taken to a page that gave up the goods.
My first vote was free, according to the generous people who run KingPet, but if I wanted to keep voting past a certain point I’d have to buy vote packages ranging from $3.99 for 150 votes all the way up to $189.99 for 20,000 votes.
Now you can see where this is going:
Join the site and enter Fluffy in the contest.
Get upset because no one’s voting for Fluffy, without realizing that because you haven’t paid any money, Fluffy’s photo is just sitting on the KingPet server, not being displayed to anyone.
Indignant that lesser pets (!) are coasting to the grand prize of “winning up many gifts,” you exhaust your free supply of votes on Fluffy, reasoning that everyone else probably upvotes their own cats and dogs. (Of course they do.)
That failed to move the needle! Okay, let’s make a purchase — just a small one! — to get Fluffy moving up the charts. You can by 150 votes for $3.99, but 2,000 votes for only $12.99! Who wouldn’t do that? You’re saving money!
Now things are moving! Fluffy’s up from 2,612nd to 579th! Now you’re trading votes with other people who have been sucked into the competition, making IOUs until your next vote purchase and running up the charges on your credit card.
OH SHIT. Look at how adorable Little Princess is! She’s ranked 4th, her profile says she was found crying in a gutter, and she’s probably going to die soon because she needs risky veterinary surgery to fix a condition you’ve never heard of, but are totally sure exists. How are you going to compete with this sob story? Might as well give up now, which is a shame because you’ve already purchased $92 worth of votes this month.
Wait a second. Mr. Socks was also found in the gutter as a crying kitten and needs life-saving veterinary surgery? And Oreo just wants to win this contest until he’s put down? If you didn’t know better, you’d swear there was a trend: All the top pets are suffering from dangerous or untreatable conditions, have been photographed professionally, and belong to heartbroken humans who just want to win to have a great memory of their pet before it’s time to lead them to the Rainbow Bridge. Pass the tissues!
Okay, screw this! You’ve purchased the $189.99 vote package, you’re locked and loaded, and you need a new profile for Fluffy to compete in the sympathy vote category: “I found Fluffy when he was four weeks old. His fur was matted, he was covered with fleas, and he was crying as dogs bullied him and a bigger cat took away the only morsel of food he could find. The doctors tell me Fluffy has only weeks to live after he was diagnosed with COVAIDS-19. Fluffy told me his dying wish is to be declared King Pet. Vote for Fluffy to make his dying wish come true!”
What happens from there? A review on SiteJabber fills us in on the endgame, courtesy of a user named Rozina B:
“I shared the link on social media and to my family and friends, i told them to keep voting 10 times a day. My brother bought votes for my kitten and she ended up in 1st place. Everything went down hill after that. The second place person bought votes and became 1st again. They were trying to get money for their poorly pet but they were using their own money to buy votes so it made no sense, plus i dont like people trying to get sympathy votes there is a vast amount of people with luxury cats that they apparently found and was about to die etc all for votes basically. I then bought votes and we both ended up in this race to win, i bought votes they bought votes and it continued to the last minute of the competition till they gave up. I just wanted to be 1st for once as the 2nd place person had already won 1st place with their other cat. It was unfair. I must have spent a good £500 or more and they must have too.”
Five hundred pounds is the equivalent of $615 USD at the moment, for my fellow ‘Mericans reading at home.
So KingPet has the top five or 10 vote-getters, who have already opened their wallets, in a credit card arms race to boost their cats to the top of the list, along with an indeterminate number of other users spending lesser amounts to climb the charts. (It’s also possible that the “2nd place person” in the SiteJabber review was an account operated by the site’s owners, leapfrogging the others in the votes so they’d feel compelled to spend even more money.)
And that’s just for the cats. The same thing is happening simultaneously with dog owners determined to win a meaningless contest.
For what it’s worth, KingPet’s Facebook page is followed by almost 800,000 people, and a thread promoting the contest has 21,000+ auto-generated comments from people who entered the contest via Facebook.
The site’s About page says it’s part of a New York-based company called Playground Inc that runs half a dozen online contest sites with a combined 2 million users.
Not fair.People have to buy 10,000 votes to put their pet at the top, seriously? What’s the matter you don’t have enough confidence in your pets beauty that’s real nice. You have to buy votes or trade votes with people?can’t this contest just be one on sheer honesty and your pets beauty?
total scam on King Pet contests … im in the cat contest was leading all along and someone who won the prior contest come out of NOWHERE and buys up 30,000 votes every time a freind would buy more the 1st place cat suddenly buys 10000 more … either they are very rich or this is a total scam and rigged you decide ive spent more than enough !!!!
You people are running a scam. My mother is an elderly lady that is spending her lifes savings on your scam website. I have reported you to the Department of Justice for elder abuse. I have documents to back up my claims.
Notice also that many reviews complain that KingPet allegedly failed to reward prizes or cash to contest winners.
To be clear, I’m not saying KingPet is illegal, and I’m not saying it’s a scam. The FTC and courts would make that determination if enough people complain to trigger an investigation. (And from the site’s reputation scores and reviews on external sites, it certainly looks like there are lots of complaints.)
What I am saying, however, is that KingPet is a waste of time and money that employs a strategy of pitting users against each other to generate revenue. KingPet isn’t providing any value by selling meaningless votes for a contest that allegedly hands out prizes only sometimes. It exists to enrich its owners, preying on the insecurities and obsessions of the people who get caught up in it.
The good news is there’s a great way to feel good about your pet, it doesn’t cost any money, and it will mean a great deal more to your kitten or cat than an email saying he/she won an online contest: Spend time with the little one! Set aside time to play, surprise them with a random treat or a bit of catnip, and give them a little extra affection.
If you still feel you need recognition, print out a certificate declaring your cat or dog the winner of a pet contest. It’ll be just as “official” as KingPet and you’ll save yourself at least $500.
And so, in the spirit of all things Buddy, I once again declare Buddy the King of all Pets, or the King Pet, if you will. And it cost me nothing!
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.