SALT LAKE CITY — American actor Wilford Brimley was reincarnated as a kitten this week, retaining his trademark mustache — and his beloved diabeetus — in his new feline form.
Brimley, who is known for appearing in films like 1982 classic The Thing, 80s sitcom Our House and decades of commercials raising awareness about diabeetus, said he went to bed Tuesday night feeling sick and fatigued.
“I thought I had that there Corona flu,” the 85-year-old American actor said. “I had me one of them dreams about heaven, where I met Jesus and we talked about diabeetus. Then when I woke up I went to reach for my glasses and realized, ‘Holy mackerel, I’ve got paws!‘”
(American actor Wilford Brimley in his human form, left, and as a kitten.)
Brimley, who is known to generations of Americans as a Quaker Oats spokesman, said he suddenly had an urge for raw meat.
“But that don’t sit well with my diabeetus,” he said. “So I went downstairs and I called to my wife Beverly, and I says ‘Beverly, I’m a kitten!’ And Beverly, she says ‘Wilford, is that you? Oh my stars, you still have your mustache!’”
Although it’s been years since Brimley’s days as a pitchman, the actor says he’ll return to TV — this time in commercials for Blue Buffalo canned food.
“Blue’s all natural ingredients will keep your cat healthy,” Brimley says in one of the new adverts, “whether she has diabeetus or not.”
Buddy and I were a bit skeptical when we first heard the story of a cat who padded into the emergency room of a hospital, carrying her kitten by the scruff of the neck, to plead for help for the little one.
The story first appeared on Reddit without any details, but we were able to track down some of the people involved to fill out the narrative and answer some questions.
A woman was waiting in the emergency room of Kucukcekmece Hospital in Istanbul at about 5 p.m. on April 27 when the cat dragged her baby through the open doors.
The witness, Merve Özcan, described the kitten as “a little bit mischievous” in Twitter posts about the incident.
An article in Sözcü, a daily newspaper whose name translates to “spokesperson,” said the mother cat brought her kitten right up to the blue-gowned hospital staff, meowing for attention.
Hospital staff immediately helped — more about that below — and the cat mom followed them, keeping her eyes on her baby as they brought the kitten into a room for treatment.
“While the kitten was being cared for, the mother cat was given milk and food,” the newspaper reported. “Hospital staff ensured full treatment by passing them onto a veterinarian after their intervention.”
The story doesn’t say exactly what was wrong with the kitten, and Özcan did not know either.
While this story would seem insane to most of us, it starts to make a lot more sense when you consider where it happened: Istanbul, a city famous for its massive cat population, and the humans who revere those felines.
Cats are the most beloved animal in Istanbul and the living attraction of this huge city. They are extremely friendly, come in all sorts of cuddly colors and sizes, and always respond with a greedy “meow.” Stray cats usually take the best seats at cafes and restaurants in Istanbul without anyone even bothering moving them. They maneuver around tables and customers, inside and out of the buildings in search of the most comfortable spot.
Caring for the city’s hundreds of thousands of cats is a community effort: People feed them, pet them, bring them to veterinarians when they’re injured, and even build little dwellings for them.
With that in mind, it makes sense that a cat in Istanbul would know to approach humans for help, and to go to a hospital. If the mom cat lives in the area, undoubtedly she’s seen the sick and injured walk through those doors many times.
“Money is not an issue to some people when it comes to cats,” Ozan, a pet shop employee, told Reuters. “They take in cats with broken legs, blind ones or ones with stomach problems and bring them to the clinic. When they see that they are healed, they let them live on the street again.”
In an article titled “Istanbul: The City of Cats,” Goran Tomasevic of Reuters describes the relationship between the city’s inhabitants and their feline friends:
They are so ubiquitous that no one bats an eye at a cat padding across the lobby of a high-rise office building, or when one curls up to sleep on a nearby barstool. Shop owners and locals often know their neighbourhood cats by name and will tell tales about them, as if chatting about a friend.
A 2017 documentary, Kedi (Turkish for cat), explores the world of Istanbul’s street cats and the people who love them. Pictured at the top of this post is Kedi director Ceyda Torun, posing with cats in Istanbul.
Bo, a 5-month-old Beagle puppy, drapes a paw around his best feline bud, 10-month-old Jasper, in this video showing that cats and dogs getting along is not a sign of the apocalypse, contrary to what Bill Murray said in Ghostbusters all those years ago.
Lisa Plummer of South Bend, Indiana is the pet mom to the adorable duo.
“Bo loves his cat siblings so much,” Plummer wrote, adding the little ones sometimes “drive me crazy with their constant chaos.”
“This sweet moment melted my heart,” she wrote, “and made me want to take back all the bad things I’ve said about them.”
At the dawn of time in 1 AB (Anno Buddy), a mommy cat gave birth to a litter of feisty felines. They were strapping young kitties, and when the time came for them to pair up with humans and move to their new homes, they went one-by-one.
All except one, the smallest and runtiest of the bunch. He was sick and he had a limp, but he was a happy little boy. Every day he waved goodbye to his brothers and sisters, and wondered if anyone would want him. He was small and his mew was only a squeak, but he already had a very big heart and lots of love to give.
Then it happened. A mysterious stranger enquired about the runt and almost two weeks later he arrived in person to take the little kitten home. The little kitten was scared. This human put music on in the car ride home, and his singing voice was terrible!
The kitten cried.
“Don’t worry,” the human said as he drove. “Me and you are going to be best buddies! You’ll see!”
After arriving at a strange new place, claiming every inch of it and pooping under the human’s bed for two weeks, the little kitten knew he had found his home. The human’s bed became his bed. The human became his pillow. Things were turning out okay.
The human fed the kitten healthy food. The kitten’s limp improved, his coat started to look healthy, and his poops were less nasty. The kitten also learned that the box with litter inside it was for the aforementioned pooping, not for making sand castles.
The kitten still had no name. One day the human’s mom observer her son with the kitten, and after her son called the cat “little buddy,” she said: “That’s a perfect name for him: Bud. You guys are the Buddies. Buddy number one and Buddy number two.”
They were henceforth known as Big Buddy and Little Buddy.
The big human and little cat became best friends. One day Big Buddy brought home a harness. Little Buddy didn’t like it. But after a lot of practice, Little Buddy learned to accept the harness and learned how to walk on it next to his Big Buddy.
It was during one of those walks that a human female saw Little Buddy and declared him the cutest kitten ever. Suddenly Little Buddy realized he was very handsome, and embarked on a career as a kitty model that continues to this day.
Soon Little Buddy began pumping iron, and began the transformation to the strong, regal kitty with huge muscles that you’re familiar with today.
And there you have it. Buddy’s origin story.
– Buddy the Brave
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.