My life in cats: Europa


For some reason, my friends’ cat Europa has recently decided that Mike and I are people who are supposed to be around. She’s acting much more friendly, and sometimes doing things like rolling around on her back to get my attention. I don’t feed her, so that’s not it.

It’s nice, though.

(By the way, she does not actually want to be petted on the belly when she offers it. Like most cats that aren’t our cats, she becomes all claws.)

My life in cats: Henderson

Presenting Henderson, also called Sweet Lady Henderson, which is a great name for both a cat and a blues singer:


Henderson was stray until recently when she made camp on my friends’ porch. They fed her through the winter, and eventually took her to the vet, where they discovered she was older than they’d thought, and really not suited to go back outside. (Some cats do just fine as fed outdoor cats–she was clearly struggling.)

Mike and I fostered her for a little while. She’s a sweetheart. She wags her tail when she’s happy. I can’t even deal with how cute that is.

She would like to be petted, please. Constantly, if possible.

The vet had to shave her because her fur was a mass of angry tangles. So, she looks a bit like a furless, pathetic goblin. A purring, furless, pathetic goblin with a wagging tail.

She seems to have rustled up a home. If you have to be a stray cat, it’s good to be charming. And since her home is with friends of ours, we still get to enjoy petting the furless goblin (who will eventually be furred) and watching gifs of her wagging her tail.


My life in cats: Aurora


Sometimes I think I should document my life in cats.

My friend’s cat Aurora is a very intelligent, very grand-looking tortoiseshell maine coon. She’s very self-possessed and polite to me–but not overly so, because generally when I’m over, it’s feeding time. And if it’s “time to feed the kitty,” then focusing on anything other than food is not on.

Aurora has some rare behaviors — for instance, she will correct her behavior when my friend reminds her to remember her decorum. When my cats hear us tell them things like “respect boundaries,” they look up with wild eyes, writhe around in a circle, and then bolt across the room.

Many of my friends’ cats are female, where all of ours are male. I don’t know how much there really is a behavioral difference between male and female cats, but it always feels like there is. Ours are energetic, ridiculous goofs. Aurora has this thing called dignity. I’d try to explain what “dignity” was to our cats, but then they’d just look up with wild eyes, writhe around in a circle, and bolt across the room.

Wander the Kitten, Napping

Photographic evidence suggests that, as a kitten, the fluffball named Wander did nothing but nap.

Wander has a snooze

And nap:

Wander naps

And sometimes flop:

Wander lies down

But mostly nap:

Wander still naps

…but really this is because the rest of the time he was running around too fast for the camera to actually take a picture.

Cats in Hats

First there was the dog Oscar.
hat - dog

The dog Oscar had a costume including a tuxedo and hat. His owner says that depending on whether he wears that hat or not, sometimes it makes him look like a gentleman, and sometimes it makes him look like a gentleman hobo.

Then there was the hatting of the cats.

First, Pete, was convinced to wear the hat. Despite his skepticism, he did not view the hat as a threat. He is here pictured next to an iPad on which is playing the game To Be or Not to Be, the choose-your-own-adventure version of Hamlet designed by Ryan North.
hat - pete

Next, there was Clone, whose love of humans overwhelms all. If a human is within 20 yards, he purrs like a truck. A hat is a small price to pay.

hat - clone

Then, Alexi, who accepted the hat along with some ear scratches. He did not seem to have noticed at all that there was a hat.

hat - alexi

He did, however, drool.

Not pictured: two cats who expressed their lack of enthusiasm for headwear by running away really quickly.

Visiting Kit Tea, a San Francisco Cat Cafe. See also: Excuse to post cat pictures.

A few months ago, a friend of mine and I went to Kit Tea, an Oakland cat cafe. I took a bunch of pictures, but I am only posting them now, because I am me.

I had never been to a cat cafe before, but of course I had read about them because I A) live on the internet, and B) like cats. It seemed like a good lark for a weekday afternoon.

When we came in, we saw the following wall mural:

cat cafe mural

…which I stared at for a bit because while I quite like hairless cats, and I am terribly amused by the conjunction of cats and yoga, somehow adding these things together broke my brain. (Also, it seemed like possibly uncomfortable appropriation, but I may be reading too much there.)

Inside the cat cafe, we discovered that just in case the flesh and blood cats were insufficient, there were lots of cat objects to compensate:

cat cafe catwoman

cat cafe sylvester

cat cafe fitness

cat cafe monopoly

I didn’t open the Cat-opoly to see what was inside, but I suppose it’s quite possible that I could have spent the time we paid to get into the cat room playing cat monopoly instead. On the other hand, if the cats at KitTea are anything like the cats in Chez Swirsky, they would have made short work of the game by scattering everything and then plopping down on the board.

There were also some cat toys that I’m surprised to find I didn’t photograph, such as Tetris scratching posts, and a giant cat-hamster wheel.

The cats themselves were pretty lackadaisical. It was the evening and they had been accepting the petting of strangers with good grace all day so they were tired. Also, they were cats, so they were tired.

This dilute tortoiseshell did decide she wanted human company, jumping straight onto someone’s lap and subsequently refusing to move:

cat cafe dillute tortoiseshell

This brown tabby was happy to let people pet him as long as they didn’t expect him to get up:

cat cafe brown tabby

This gorgeous orange fluffball spent most of his time hanging out on wall-mounted shelves, but eventually came down and sat by my friend and me. Periodically, he accepted head and shoulder petting.

orange fluff zoomed out

I don’t think this orange and white tabby ever came down, though.

cat cafe orange tabby on shelf zoomed out cat cafe orange tabby on shelf

There were other cats, and I petted some of them, but either I decided I didn’t want to take pictures of them, or the photos were so bad I’ve blocked them out. But there were other soft, purring creatures about.

I like the wall-mounted cat furniture. When we move, I want to get a bunch of it, so that our five cats have more room to roam and aren’t argh just on us all the time Jesus Christ cat why don’t you stop standing on my chest

A cat cafe is to some extent wasted on someone who has five cats. When I want to pet a cat, I pet a cat. When I want to pet a bunch of cats, I pet a bunch of cats. When I want to see cats interacting, I toss Pete at his nephew or his brother, and they adorably groom each other. When I want to see a cat playing, one is always in the mood. And my cats are always excited to see me since I’m not a stranger.

It’s still totally worth it to poke around a cat cafe if you are cat-deprived in your life, or merely suffering from the slight cat deprivation that results when one has less than five cats. (Five cats. Headdesk.) And ESPECIALLY if you are thinking of adopting a cat because the cats at Kit Tea are looking for homes.