Tag: New York

International Cat Day: Interview With Buddy

Big Buddy (The Human): We’re here with Buddy the Cat to celebrate International Cat Day. Welcome, Buddy!

Little Buddy (The Cat): Thank you.

BB: I appreciate you joining us. I’m sure our readers do too.

Buddy: Yeah well, you told me no treats unless I do this interview, so let’s get it over with.

BB: I love the enthusiasm. Our first question is from Mrs. Caldwell’s third-grade class in Skokie, Illinois. Rebecca, age 8, asks: “Hi Buddy! What’s the best thing about being a cat?”

Buddy: Hi, Rebecca. Well, the schedule’s pretty good. Plenty of time for naps and siestas. The food’s usually pretty good too. But I’d say the best thing about being a cat is my status as an apex predator. No one messes with you because they know that you can decapitate them with a single paw swipe. Other animals don’t step to me because they don’t want to see their entrails spill out like a waterfall or their arterial blood sketching a map of Hawaii on the ground, you know what I mean? I’m a very ferocious creature.

BB: Ahem. Maybe we can take it down a notch on the questions from kids?

Buddy: My bad.

BB: Our next question is from Mr. Piper’s eighth-grade class in Rye, New York. Charles, age 13, asks: “Buddy, do you have any tips for getting puss…” Ah, Charles, this is a family blog! Sheesh. Your teacher approved this? Oh! Sorry. The whole question is: “Buddy, do you have any tips for getting pussy cats to come when called?”

Buddy: Sure, Charles. It’s really simple: Do you have any treats? If the answer is yes, then it’s worth our time to acknowledge you and approach. If not, well, we have napping to do.

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BB: That’s great, thank you, Charles. This one’s from six-year-old Cindy in Mrs. Cooper’s class in Bakersfield, California. Cindy says: “I have a dog. Woof woof! Do you like dogs, Buddy?”

Buddy: Yes I do, Cindy! I like them far away from me, in someone else’s home, dragging their butts across someone else’s carpet, preferably very far away so I don’t have to smell them.

BB: I can just feel the love, can’t you? Okay, now let’s go to 10-year-old Ashton from Mrs. Draper’s second-grade class in Lincoln, Nebraska. Second grade, Ashton? Really? Okay. Ashton writes: “Hello Buddy! As president of the Americats, are you happy that baseball is back this season? And who do you think is gonna win the World Series?”

Buddy: It’s a terrific thing that baseball is back, a tremendous, tremendous thing, okay? The American people love baseball, believe me, and we’re gonna have the number one baseball season in history, okay? It really will be. I like the Yankees, Ashton. I know a number of them personally and they’re tremendous people, just terrific people. They’re going to win the World Series over the Dodgers, and the Red Sox aren’t even going to make the playoffs because they’re losers. They’re fired.

BB: Okay. Finally, here’s a question from Lisa in Mr. Park’s fourth-grade class in Peculiar, Missouri. Lisa asks: “I love my kitty cat, Mr. Wobbles, and he loves me. Do you love your human, Buddy? What’s your favorite thing about him?”

Buddy: Hi Lisa! Do I love my Big Buddy? I love it when he feeds me treats and catnip! I guess you could say I love him even though the service is slow and sub-par around here sometimes. I’m very forgiving. Still, he could improve. My favorite thing about him? Hmmm. He’s a pretty good mattress.

BB: Oh, that lukewarm endorsement has moved me to tears! That’s all for today. Thanks to Buddy for generously taking time out of his busy napping schedule, and for all the kids who submitted questions. Don’t forget to do something special for your own cats today!

The Return Of The King’s Servant

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:

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Belleayre Mountain is a ski resort that offers scenic gondola rides in the summer. Here’s the view from the gondola:

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And from the mountain top:

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I saw this sign in Woodstock. We hope little Spooky finds her way home:

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A sign declares “HIPPIES WELCOME” in Woodstock, but not today — the shop is closed because of COVID-19:

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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:

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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?

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A shop called Modern Mythology on Woodstock’s main stretch:

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Here’s my seven-year-old niece exploring the edge of Esopus Creek:

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A stretch of rural road that I thought looked pretty cool:

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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:

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Heller also builds custom cars:

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Kitten Buddy Celebrates Successful Ambush

From the archives: June 17, 2014

NEW YORK — Buddy the Kitten celebrated another successful ambush on Tuesday after violently rousing his human from sleep, sources said.

The 14-week-old gray tabby howled with delight after climbing up onto the bed and launching himself at his human’s face, landing belly-first with a delightful THWAP! as the big stupid human screamed and bolted upright.

Buddy the Kitten promptly retreated to a dark corner of the bedroom, shaking his butt and trilling with joyful anticipation until he heard his human, Big Buddy, begin to snore again.

With a battle cry of “Rrrrrrrrrrr!” the 4.5-lb kitten chomped down on the human’s exposed foot, which was fortuitously left uncovered by the protective blanket when Big Buddy shifted during his sleep.

“Shit!” the human howled, recoiling from the kitten’s shark teeth and claws. “Let me sleep, you little jerk, or I’m selling you to Szechuan Garden II!”

At press time Buddy the Kitten was planning an elaborate new attack involving a makeshift trebuchet and a water balloon, and said he was unconcerned about his human’s threats to sell him to the local Chinese restaurant: “I am a good boy!”

He would likely leave that attack for the following night, the playful kitten said.

“I has to purr in the morning so my human thinks I’m just a sweet little kitten and feeds me turkeys,” Buddy the Kitten said. “Then I make war again! Muahahaha!”

Buddy the Very Handsome Kitten
“I’m just a cute widdle kitten! I didn’t mean to attack you, I swears.”

 

Plankton The Cat Has A Home After 2,432 Days In The Shelter

We’d like to offer a special congratulations to the SPCA, two kind-hearted adopters, and especially Plankton the cat for finding a forever home after a long, long wait.

Plankton had a rough start to life: He was one of about 100 kittens and cats rescued from a hoarding situation in a two-bedroom apartment in late 2013 and suffered renal failure. For years, potential pet parents passed up on the handsome black-coated little dude because of his condition, and the thrice-weekly infusion of liquids he needs to stay healthy, even though staff at the shelter say he takes the infusions like a champ.

Ashlee Haughtaling read about Plankton in a Feb. 15 article by the Kingston Daily Freeman, a New York newspaper covering the mostly-rural Ulster County about 75 miles north of New York City.

Haughtaling had a dog who suffered from kidney problems as well, so she knew what caring for Plankton would entail. She reached out to the county SPCA immediately.

“I thought it was so sad that no one was adopting him because he had a medical condition,” she said, per the SPCA. “The fact that he had been there for so long, it really hit home for me. Sick cats need homes, too.”

Ashleey and her mother Ann Houghtaling took Plankton home six days later. For the first time, the 6 1/2-year-old cat has a place to call home. He gets along well with other cats, the shelter said, and he’s got a pair of new feline friends, Nutmeg and Boots, in his new home as well.

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Ann and Ashlee Houghtaling comfort Plankton, the newest member of their family, before bringing him home from a shelter where he’d been staying for 6 1/2 years. Credit: Ulster County SPCA
Plankton the Cat
Plankton suffers from kidney problems and must have fluid injections three times a week. Credit: SPCA

 

RIP Beautiful Kitty

I was driving home on Tuesday night, just about to leave the city limits of White Plains when I saw a cat laying in the road.

I swerved to avoid the cat, saw motion out of the corner of my eye, and pulled over on the nearest side street. There was more traffic behind me and I held my breath as I approached, worried that one of the passing cars would drive over the injured feline.

Using my iPhone as a flashlight, I finally got close. The poor cat was dead. There weren’t any obvious injuries, but his mouth was filled with blood. In retrospect I believe the movement I saw earlier was just the wind blowing his fur.

I picked him up, carried him off the road and set him down on the grass near a street sign. Then I called the police.

He was well-fed and well-groomed, with a striking coloration — medium-length fur that was pure white except for a single black stripe on his tail.

This was someone’s beloved cat, and that person was going to be rattling a bag of treats and calling out for kitty to come home, wondering where the little guy had gone.

Someone hit or drove over that beautiful cat and kept driving.

It’s one thing to know the statistics, to understand in the abstract that outdoor cats only live three years on average while their indoor counterparts live an average of 16 or more years, and quite another to see a dead cat up close with my own eyes, left there as roadkill.

Feral Cats
A group of feral cats. Image credit: Cats On Broadway Animal Hospital

Many people labor under the assumption that cats belong outside as if it’s their natural habitat. The truth is, cats don’t have a natural habitat. As domesticated animals they’re no different than dogs, pigs or cows — the process of domestication has rendered them human-dependent. They’re genetically distinct from their wild ancestors, molded over thousands of years to be companions to humans.

Domestic cats aren’t as swift or agile as wildcats. While they retain some of their wild instincts, they’re ill-equipped to deal with danger.

Life as a feral or stray is tough, brutal and short. Some can survive for a short while. Most don’t.

They should live indoors, and there’s no reason an indoor life should be boring for them. As caretakers it’s our responsibility to keep them entertained, to provide them with toys, perches, hiding spots and window vantages. Most of all, it’s our responsibility to give them attention and affection.

Please keep your cats indoors and safe from the many dangers of the outdoors.

Note: The featured photo at the top of this post is not a photograph of the cat I encountered, but a similar-looking cat. Header image credit /u/phlebotinum/Reddit.