Surprise! Your cat could give two shits about you.

Using dogs and cats instead of human children, Daniel Mills, a veterinary science dude in Great Britain, recreated an experiment that measured the bond babies have with their mothers. He learned three things:

1. Human babies are greatly attached to their mothers

2. Dogs are greatly attached to their owners

3. Cats will pretty much whore themselves out to whoever is handiest

We are shocked, shocked. 


Monk, 1998-2012: an appreciation, sort of

Good ol’ Monk is gone. We put our 14-year-old cat to sleep yesterday morning. Although he was feeling fine, he’d been losing a lot of weight, and a blood test showed his kidneys were failing. So rather than wait until he started feeling bad, we made the decision to end it for him. He got to say goodbye to some old friends who loved him, and he was his usual affectionate, happy, bossy, obnoxious self right up until the end.

He was an AMAZING cat. By that I don’t mean that he accomplished much, or helped earn his keep, or showed gratitude for the years of care, feeding and shelter we provided, or that he was nice to the other animals, or was particularly intelligent, or gave a shit about what anyone else did, thought or felt. Still, he was an AMAZING cat.

I got Monk when his original caretakers, good friends, asked if I would adopt him. They were afraid he would pounce on their new baby, and he well might have. Monk was then a big, strong 2-year-old, and well into middle age he was like a coiled spring with incredibly sharp claws on the end. When they saw him leap off a piece of furniture and land claws first in the baby’s bassinet, they reluctantly decided to let him go. (No, luckily the baby wasn’t in the bassinet.)

I brought him home and that night my friends, concerned about the kitty they hated to give away, called to see how he was adjusting. What I had already figured out was that we, the people and pets already living there, were the ones who’d be doing the adjusting. He lumbered out of the cat carrier and looked around with an expression that said, “What’s to eat?”

Monk immediately established a hierarchy. It looked something like this:



other pets

He was always really friendly, extroverted even (to people), but until he was 6 or 7-years-old, he would not sit still to be petted. He was always on the move, rubbing up against one person and then the next, his bent tail always whipping back and forth. With many cats, you can tell they are getting restless when they start flipping their tail. Monk was always flipping his tail, even when he was sitting.

And the claws, oh my God. Naturally, he was playful, but I quickly learned to warn people NOT to play with him. When most cats start playing, they have their claws retracted. After a minute or two, they may start scratching a bit to let you know they’ve had enough. Only if you persist in messing with them will they really try to scratch.

MonkturedBut not Monk. His claws were unbelievably sharp and always deployed. He either couldn’t or wouldn’t retract them. Someone playing kootchie-koo with him might well be hemorrhaging after the very first swipe.

Once, not long after he moved in, I startled him. As I walked past him, he leapt straight into the air, then ran to another part of the house. A few seconds later I looked down and noticed a not-insignificant rivulet of arterial blood coursing down my calf. He’d grazed me with a claw and it was so sharp, I didn’t feel it. At first. I’d been Monktured.

Sometimes he got his claws stuck in your skin like fishhooks. It happened to the dog a LOT when she was still a puppy. (And it’s a wonder she didn’t have her eyes scratched out.) But more than once we heard Monk’s claws tearing the flesh on her muzzle. Amazingly, the dog never bled or seemed hurt. Dogs’ gots tough skin.

As Monk got older and mellowed, he did like to be petted—A LOT. And he wasn’t particularly concerned whether or not it might be a convenient time for you. For years I’d get a 3am wake-up call from Monk, who would be standing on my pillow dancing on my head and purring LOUDLY, screaming/meowing every once in a while for good measure. The only way to make it stop was to distract him by carrying him over to his food bowl. This was known as “concierge service.”

Oh, yeah. I guess up until now I haven’t mentioned that Monk was a LARGE cat. Not fat, just big-boned. Well, OK, and fat, too. He topped out at 17lbs. Now that may not sound all that big, but imagine when those 17lbs. are doing a dosey-doe on your chest, with some sharp claws thrown in. It could make some activities, like, say, breathing, a little difficult.

Sometimes adding to the 3am love encounters was the fact that Monk would be soaking wet. Purring loudly, it was like he was saying, “Dude! I love you so much! And guess what? It’s pouring outside!”

This is what my mom would’ve called…… chutzpah.







Ah, Monk. He was a big bully to the other cats. And sometimes the dogs. He ate a lot of groceries. He shed like a wooly mammoth. He had terrible, terrible breath. And, yeah, after several years the 3am head dancing kinda lost its novelty. 

We’re gonna miss him.


Monkey man
Monkey butt
Fatman Crothers
Stephan Fatsis
Twinkle toes
Mike Tyson (because of his effeminate voice)
Wide load
Tiny (head) dancer

Monk’s original adoptive mom just sent me this (thanks, Sara!). Could you not just plotz? But I can’t help noticing the scratches on the arms.

Today's entries from my neighborhood listserv

Hello, neighbors. I don’t want to raise everyone’s already elevated level of paranoia, but yesterday I saw a man walking from house to house, going up to each house and fiddling about with the mailbox or something. He was wearing a light blue shirt and light blue shorts and had a bag on his shoulder that looked like it had letters or flyers in it. I saw him make his getaway in a funny looking little white truck that had blue writing on it. Does anyone know who this person is? Could he be a burglar casing houses? Should I call the police? — Biff on Durwood Ln.

Hello, neighbors!!!!!!! One of my 18 or 19 cats is missing!!!!!!!!!! I’m not sure which one it is?!!!!!!! The gray one maybe!!!!!! Or!!!!! The one whose fur matches the color of my old car!!!!!!! May answer to “kitty kitty”!!!!!!!!!! Or “pusspusspusspusspuss”!!!!! HELP!!!!! — Bertha on Holmes Ave. 

Neighbors: It is important that you attend our next neighborhood association meeting, where we will devolve into a shouting match over who cares for the neighborhood more: the lazy old-timers who have become inured to the hellhole the area has become; or the zealous recent arrivals, who want to transform the neighborhood into the hellhole neighborhoods they left to come here. Cookies and bile will be served. Y’all come! Your participation is vital to keeping our neighborhood association factionalized and unable to reach consensus on a single goddamn thing. — Jerry the insufferable knowitall on Crayton Dr.

Description: made of tinfoil, shaped into a hat, picks up chatter from Trilateral Commission radio frequencies when worn by appropriate personnel. IF FOUND DO NOT RECYCLE! Reward! — (name withheld) on Randall Ct.

I’ll give it right back after I finish framing the new room we’re adding on. Also need a nail gun. And nails. — Martin on Maypole Cir. 

CAT FOUND!!!!!!!!!!!
It turned out to be!!!! The other one after all!!!!!!! Thanks to all who searched!!! And called in mysterious cat sightings!!!!!!!!!!! — Bertha on Holmes Ave.

Let me know if you can help me out with some of your “know how” for a few days/weeks, starting now. — Martin on Maypole Cir.

Hello, neighbors. I have this large thing that cost a fair amount of money when I bought it new, never lived up to my unrealistic expectations, and is now taking up space that I need for another ill-advised thing I just spent too much money on.  Email me if interested. — Karen on Corona St.

Please stop emailing me already. — Karen on Corona St.

Please keep both eyes out. To the person who suggested I use my tinfoil hat to locate my tinfoil hat, good idea. I thought of that, too. Problem is, it won’t work, because my tinfoil hat is missing. But good ideas always welcome. — (name withheld) on Randall Ct.

Oh, dear!!!!!!! Ol’ one-eye is missing!!!!!!!! Last seen last week!!!!! I think?!!!! Might’ve been yesterday!!!!! Likes cat food!!!!! Has eye missing!!!!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!! — Bertha on Holmes Ave.

Enjoy these videos of cat-horse love while I work for a living

I’m punting on writing an original post this morning, so it’s time to raid the YouTubes for cute animal videos, cat-on-horse category!

When it comes to cat-horse love videos, the bizarre Swedish folk song soundtrack of this one puts it way out in front: 

OK, for sheer equine/feline cuteness, this one is a standout:

This one is a little too self-congratulatory, but scores points for the kitteh FAIL at the end. Ha ha! The kitteh fell off the horse! FAILZ!

The cat in this next one should technically be disqualified for being a baby goat, but it’s my blog, so here’s looking at you, redonkulously adorable kid!