Buddy would like to wish all of PITB’s readers a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
The Good Boy surprised me with a gift this year, which I unwrapped eagerly:
Buddy is such a good boy! And how thoughtful! He really is the best cat! Forget anything I ever said about him being annoying, picky or demanding.
He is a perfect little guy and any flaws I thought I saw in him were obviously my flaws projected onto him. I see that now. When he shrieks at me for breakfast while I’m asleep, the fault is mine for not anticipating his hunger and not getting up to feed him.
I mentioned how handsome and charming he is, right? Please don’t kill me!
I am very lucky to be Buddy’s human servant and vow to do a better job in all areas in 2022.
Buddy and I would like to thank our readers, who indulge our absurd sense of humor and massage Buddy’s ego.
We’ve gotten lots of feedback, which we always appreciate, from our regular commenters as well as people who have reached out privately with kind words, requests, brutal criticisms and marriage proposals for Buddy.
We hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and/or holiday celebration with your families, and that Santa brings you something awesome!
Bud won’t tolerate a costume and I wouldn’t make him wear one, but he’s cool with wearing a festive scarf courtesy of my mom, who insists she doesn’t like him but somehow ends up buying stuff for him.
The cool thing about having an unusually curious and friendly cat is that he dashes to the door like a dog whenever someone knocks. Halloween is no exception, and Bud has been helping me hand out candy since he was a kitten.
When trick or treaters come by, the little guy can’t wait to see who’s in the other side of the door. He sits on the threshold and just takes it all in — the new people, the funny costumes, the strange human ritual that involves helping children get an epic sugar high and upset stomach.
For Bud it’s a night of excitement without any anxiety since no one’s actually stepping into his territory. They all keep a respectful distance, like supplicants with an audience before a powerful but benevolent king, and in turn the king allows his servant to reward their fealty with gifts of candy.
Sadly Halloween was a dud this year even more than last year, which was our first pandemic All Hallow’s Eve. Living in an apartment building, especially on the first floor, usually means a steady stream of kids, but this year I had maybe six or seven knocks on the door, and the kids were trick or treating in ones and twos. (All kids are chaperoned by parents these days too. It makes me wonder how my brother and I — and our friends — survived as kids, going out into the big bad world ourselves to trick or treat!)
Queen frontman Freddie Mercury loved his cats so much that when he found himself missing them on tour, he’d ask his girlfriend to put them on the phone.
“He’d get to a hotel, we’d dial through, and he really would talk to his cats,” Peter Freestone, Mercury’s personal assistant of 12 years, wrote in his memoir.
Mercury’s feline infatuation began years earlier when Mary Austin, his girlfriend and eventual fiance, adopted a pair of kittens named Tom and Jerry when she and Mercury moved in together. Austin would stay home to take care of the duo — and a subsequently growing pride — when Freddie did gigs.
“Mary would hold Tom and Jerry in turn up to the receiver to listen to Freddie talking,” Freestone wrote. “This continued throughout the years with succeeding feline occupants of his houses.”
Mercury was a servant to 10 cats throughout his life, and loved them so much he dedicated an album to them, devoted a song to his cat Delilah, and took great joy in picking out presents for them at Christmas.
Thus, Bohemian Catsody seems both inevitable and so natural, it’s a wonder someone hasn’t done it before. New Zealander Shirley Șerban uploaded the video on Oct. 1 and it’s already got 89,000-plus views.
The lyrics couldn’t be more appropriate:
“I choose to employ you, now attend to me Open the door, then I’ll come, then I’ll go Feed me now, don’t be slow! Stalk you in the bathroom Privacy don’t matter to me…to me! Mama, just killed a mouse Ate it all except the head That’s your present on the bed Mama, a sign of my love Why did you scream and throw it all away? Mama, ooooh, oooh! Didn’t mean to make you cry I’ll try to find a bird for you tomorrow!”
Army of the Dead, the long-awaited post-apocalyptic heist movie from director Zack Snyder, has a simple premise: Las Vegas has been overrun by zombies and cordoned off behind massive corrugated steel walls, becoming a kingdom for the undead who are ruled by a handful of intelligent and incredibly dangerous “alpha zombies.”
A Japanese businessman (Hiroyuki Sanada) approaches a famed zombie killer (Dave Bautista) and tells him he’s got $200 million in a vault inside one of the now-inaccessible casinos. If Bautista and his team can fight their way in and get the money, half of it is theirs to keep.
The catch? They have a little more than a day until the US government plans to drop a low-yield tactical nuke on the city to wipe out the zombie plague.
Bautista and his crew hire a coyote (French actress Nora Arnezeder) to get them inside the city, and as they make their way toward the Las Vegas strip, they hear a blood-curdling roar. A four-legged figure approaches, obscured by dust, smoke and the ruins of abandoned cars, until it climbs on top of one of the vehicles and we see it properly for the first time — it’s a pissed-off zombified white tiger!
“Valentine,” Arnezeder says, turning to her huddled companions. “One of Siegfried and Roy’s.”
The zombie tiger, she explains, patrols the outskirts of the zombie “kingdom,” making a light snack of anyone who ventures too close.
Later in the movie there’s a scene in which the alpha zombie leader rallies all of his undead — including Valentine — and sends them en masse toward the hotel where the protagonists are trying to crack the safe and get at the piles of cash inside.
Snyder makes a great show of the endless zombie hordes thundering toward the hotel with Valentine among them, and it looks like the big cat is going to lead the charge until he stops, yawns and settles down on the hood of a car for a nap.
Is there anything more feline than that?
As it turns out, Snyder and his team were looking for a big cat expert to help them nail the tiger’s signature gait and physical tics as they created the CGI felid, and the consultant who agreed to provide them with feedback was none other than Big Cat Rescue’s Carole Baskin. As Variety notes, production on the movie began long before Baskin became a household name with the release of Netflix’s Tiger King documentary.
Although the inclusion of a zombie tiger was a fun surprise, my all-time favorite tiger from zombie fiction is The Walking Dead’s Shiva. She’s got a compelling backstory: The character Ezekiel was a zookeeper before the apocalypse and, realizing no one was tending to the animals as the world was collapsing, he risked his life to get back to the zoo and feed the trapped creatures.
When he got there, Shiva was so malnourished and hungry that her gratitude for Ezekiel’s intervention was obvious. Gambling that the powerful tigress — whom he’d taken care of for years — wasn’t going to hurt him, Ezekiel opened her enclosure to set her free. But rather than run off on her own, Shiva decided to stay with her human friend, and the two became inseparable as the world ended.
While Valentine was just another zombie, Shiva fought the undead, and she was badass. The show also earned praise from animal rights groups after opting for CGI instead of using a real tiger. The special effects team responsible for Shiva did such a fantastic job that viewers were convinced she was the real deal.
Back in May, we were appalled at UK Metro’s seemingly endless appetite (sorry) for photos of chonky cats:
“Do you have a pet who’s even chunkier than Manson? Get in touch to share their story,” Metro’s editors wrote at the end of an article profiling a 28-pound fat cat.
Now The Guardian is similarly alarmed, declaring the trend of glorifying morbidly obese cats online “has to end”:
The internet is now full of pictures of fat cats that their owners think are adorable but are actually health disasters, barely able to fit through a cat flap, let alone jump on to a ledge. In fact, the only time they jump is when their owner fills their feeding bowl.
The newspaper cites popular Instagram accounts like Round Boys, which counts almost 800,000 followers and features a constant stream of plump butterballs in cute poses, and Cats Is Chonky, a Facebook group that does not allow any discouragement of overfeeding cats, which the page’s operators say amounts to “shaming.” (There’s only one cat who can surf the internet and read its content, as we know, and his name starts with Bu and ends with ddy. Thankfully he’s more concerned with reading comments about himself and trying to order turkey.)
The Guardian’s call — and our own post — has nothing to do with shaming and everything to do with the fact that rewarding bad pet parenting only encourages more people to overstuff their cats.
If people think fattening up their cats is a shortcut to internet fame and lucrative $15,000 sponsored Instagram posts, they’re much more likely to hand out snacks like crack, and much less likely to use the word “no,” which as we all know is a necessary part of the vocabulary when caring for cats.
Obesity is not healthy for our feline friends. The chonk craze is dangerous. Not only does obesity lead to early death — as in the case of Buddha, pictured at the top, who died at age 6 from obesity-related complications — but by overfeeding, we are choosing an unhealthy lifestyle for our pets, who can’t give their consent or complain about unhealthy meals.
Please do right by your cats and feed them healthy, balanced foods. More time with your little buddies is more important than ephemeral internet fame.
Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.