Monday, November 10, 2014

New Moon on Monday

The Jellicle Moon is shining bright-
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball...
T.S. Eliot, The Song of the Jellicles

It's that time of year when the weather becomes a constant worry as I think of the feral kitties. Nat has already secured for them their insulated homes, placed them where they are camouflaged yet accessible to the colony. Check.

Our crew, who are more like our outdoor cats than random street kitties, will be displaced soon--victims of the constant overbuilding here in Jersey City. Nat has found a place that may take all six of them, where they can live safely as ferals but also have comforts of indoor cats. I'm very hopeful that she will be able to trap everyone so that we can put the relocation plan in motion. I know our work will not be complete. Yet, the thought of these kitties surviving another harsh winter is more than either of us can handle. Two of the cats are not  fixed and this has led to multiple kittens. The goal is to get at least one of them in the next few weeks to put the kitten factory out of business! Caring for them is Job 1. I especially want my Puck to get to a vet, he's not looked well to me for awhile. I'm hoping he just needs the basics and then he'll bounce back to the precocious and adorable tabby who stole my heart when he was a kitten.

The moon that lights up the Jellicle Ball, PAD location

The other night, when out on my appointed rounds, I saw the beautiful moon. I'm not even a good amateur photographer, so it's not a great picture but trust me--it was calming and comforting to see the moon hovering over the Hudson and peering at me between these two buildings as I prepared to feed my feline friends. I see the moon, and the moon sees me...

I do wonder, would I be invited to the fabled Jellicle Ball, if I brought the tuna?

This is Z-Girl. Out.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

#SundaySelfies with Bessie

It's Bessie. There's just so much to tell, so much to tell.

The big news: after living in the Warehouse Apartment for three years and establishing myself as the kitty that doesn't want to be touched, I've had a change of heart. A big change of heart.

Z-Girl has patiently worked with me since my Great Capture back in the Summer of 2011. I haven't been difficult really, because I do love her. She feeds me, and she knows when to change my litter. There's always a soft, snuggly blanket for me near the bed (where Lulu and I are stationed), a flokati rug that we love to sleep on when under the bed, and lots of toys and plenty of treats. This year she even moved her office down to the windows so we can all hang out together when she has work from home days, and I really like that. Means I can talk to her and also keep a close eye on what she is doing throughout the day.

She and I have many face to face conversations, and yes--she can hear me purr, and I respond to her with a gentle meow at times. I also initiate some discussions.

I'm not going to bore you with the progression from an initial tail touch to what is now full blown scratching and petting. Meaning, I jump on the bed in the morning and ask to be pet AND scratched. I purr. And when Z-Girl stops, I ask for more. I'm a cat, and I don't need to provide any explanations for my decisions. I just know that petting and scratching really are wonderful. Lulu has tried to convince me of this for a long time, showing me how much she loves it. Now we both get a nice session in the mornings and we feel very, very content.

If you are asking, "When will you let Z-Girl pick you up?", you need to stop right there. I am not entertaining any discussions about the future.

Today is Sunday Selfies, and we are late to the party on everything these days. Here is a picture of me trying to take a selfie with the iPad. It didn't work. Maybe next Sunday?

Where do I push to take my selfie? ~Bessie

We are participating in the #SundaySelfie Blog Hop Sponsored by The Cat on My Head
Hooray! We made it! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Since I've Been Gone

For those of you who are wondering, yes, I know I haven't posted in almost two months. A few things have happened here in the Warehouse Apartment that will require additional explanation. In summary:

Three very chic (Shabby Chic, as a matter of fact) shelves were installed. We are working on the mechanics of  reaching them. Treats work as encouragement but the journey up isn't as easy as hoped so, a few more access points are needed. Will add more photos soon.

Other catification was placed around the bedroom closet but again, we seem to have an entrance problem. Smarter minds than mine are addressing this issue.

The cat pole was utilized but it's clear that stabilization is in order to make it more appealing. This problem has a solution and will be undertaken in the coming weeks.

New rugs have arrived and have been a great spot for naps. Among other activities (yes, coughing up fur balls is one activity).

After 3 years of living with me, finally I am able to pet Bessie. And scratch. And she even rolls over for me to see her belly and she purrs. This is sheer heaven. I have to approach her on her terms,'s just fabulous.

New chairs arrived (let's just call them expensive scratching posts, shall we?) and have passed inspection.

New sofa fabric has been ordered and slipcover will be in production soon. I'll need to get plastic covers (ala Everyone Loves Raymond) to assist with saying "this is a no claw zone" (yea, I can hear you laughing...)

There's more, I'm sure.

Let's just say the volume of work has eclipsed my time and ability to write posts. I think about it, I wonder if anyone misses us...and then I'm distracted. I'm really, really lucky to have the client I have right now so I will not register this as a complaint. I simply wish I had the personal capacity to write for both work and the blog. Soon, but not in the next 6 weeks.

We will post updates as we can. In the meantime, be good to yourselves. And let us know what you think of our catification shelves!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Not So Easy Sunday

Stop the world
Turn off the sun
I'm so tired of it turning round.
Stop the world
Call it a day...
Leave it all behind, leave it that way.
is just a word.
It's just a word.

Growing up, I don't think I fully comprehended just how lucky I was to live, go to school, forge friendships, dance, sing and just be in Howard County, Maryland. This has been a looping thought in my brain over the course of the past year, starting with the pack up of the Furrow Avenue house and tearful farewell to our family life as I had known it for almost 50 years.

Furrow Avenue in the snowy winter, 1995

I've never been particularly good with accepting transitions. When I arrived at Hood for my senior year, I can still remember saying to my friend Maria as she watched me stare at my unpacked suitcases and bags, "if I don't unpack, the year won't start and it won't end."  She knew that I was not able to apply logic in that moment. It was pure emotion, and rather than talk me out of the feeling, she encouraged me to join in with our Hood sisters and participate 100% in the activities in front of us and those just beyond our field of vision. 

The changes that life thrusts us into can be exciting and joyous. There have been many for me, including the rescue and adoption of three of my beautiful kitties. Actually, all 5 arrived in some sort of unexpected manner, introduced a level of confusion into my existing routine and have helped me bring forward the better parts of myself. And sometimes, the change is downright discouraging. Example: the despair of unexpected job loss, which I did experience in late 2008.

The journey out of that unsettling phase was nothing short of transformative. Surrender and acceptance of a new reality have allowed me to blaze a new path, one that doesn't have much definition but certainly offers more opportunity (spiritually and intellectually) than the limits of my previous career paradigm.

All of this is a preamble to say that sometimes change is good, and sometimes it just sucks.

The confluence of events this summer have tested my personal limits and I can no longer contain the successive swirl of sadness and grief. Deaths of two contemporaries, both of them brothers of dear friends of mine tragically unfolded within the span of 8 days. Other friends have experienced the sting of losing a parent. I have found myself going to the well too often these past few months, and each time my residual pain surfaces but doesn't fully abate. 

And then, yesterday. Aristotle was killed by a car.

Ari was a rescue cat from Queens, and I asked my parents in 2011 if they would adopt him, because he really needed a loving home and I was still trying to place Bessie, Lulu and Joey (the kitten) at the time. They agreed and Ari moved to Ellicott City. He had no idea just how lucky he was to be saved from the mean urban streets and whisked to a house in the suburbs. This upset life for my darling Chaucer, who never adjusted to Ari's presence. Yet he was a good companion for my mom, and made Chaucer's passing in 2012 a little softer by being there to purr and snuggle. 
Aristotle, in 2011 on the streets in Queens, New York

My parent's move to Pittsburgh was quite upsetting for Aristotle, in that he had to witness the packing up of the Furrow Avenue house. He didn't seem to be too stressed by it until large pieces of furniture disappeared. The day the movers came and packed the van, he cried and ran around the nearly empty house in utter desperation. It was the guttural howl of the feral, one I'm familiar with only from Bessie's initial rescue (which separated her from her babies for 24 hours).  The next day he traveled to PA to board for several weeks until my parent's new house was ready. He had a hard time adjusting to his temporary surroundings, with daily visitations from Mom and Dad bringing him some comfort and much needed companionship. On the day of settlement, I went to pick him up and bring him to his new forever home, after the movers were gone and furniture was in place. He protested the entire 45 minute car ride. We arrived at the house while Mom and Dad were out getting dinner. I opened his crate, let him run around and he silently checked out everything. He was overjoyed when my parents walked in and greeted him. That night as they were closing down to go to sleep, they called him. Happily, Aristotle jumped on their bed, nestled in and looked at me as if to say everything is all okay now. His favorite blanket, his family. He was truly a sweet and low maintenance cat. He loved my parents and his life. And we all loved him.

I read in Joan Didion's book, The Year of Magical Thinking, a passage about knowing somewhere that she and her husband would age, and eventually die, but her youthful projection of that inevitable time was more like a fading into the horizon together, with the sun setting. This resonated deeply for me, as I think somewhere in the recesses of my mind I must hold a similar image of the passage of time with my parents. Never pictured that we would be geographically far apart. I certainly was not able to foretell that my ability to have any say in their decisions would be superseded by the influence of others. Others who may be operating from a different vantage point that me, and certainly not with the greater good (from my perspective) of our family in mind.

Was it the bucolic surroundings of Howard County, the wonder years of my youth, and the values inculcated in the fiber of my being that blinded me from witnessing the progressive ebb of time? From identifying the slow erosion of the cohesive unit we once were? Little by little, I've felt us floating away from a comfortable norm.

And then the flash of recall-- pleas close to Joey's death, an urgent warning to everyone that the table was going to turn and we were going to lose him. I wanted to change that inevitable consequence . No, I needed to change it: the alternative-- letting it go-- meant that we'd be without him. To this day, I carry the burden of what feels like inertia. Despite his mother and father asking me immediately to release the thought that I could have impacted the life and death course of events by opening the door or answering the phone. I'll never fully reconcile the nagging "what if" question that looms just below the surface, every day. And now, Aristotle. I tried, begged, Please, please don't let the cat out. I've seen cats hit by cars, and it's horrible. Please. Again, my words fell on deaf ears and my nightmare was realized. I can't rationalize it through, "these things happen," or "everyone/every pet dies," because I do believe in both instances, I could have intervened and prevented these outcomes. 

Somewhere in my grief therapy I was offered this pearl of wisdom: "I wish you could see what you did to to extend Joey's life, not what you didn't do." This has helped me, much more than this blog post may reflect. Likely I will need to apply the same to losing Aristotle.

For today, I lament that the story of the rescue kitty from Queens ends so tragically. The bigger challenge now is to settle into this phase, to gain clarity and deal with life as it's being served each day.

To surrender.

Not so easy....if you made it this far, thanks. 

"...some events in life would remain beyond my ability to control or manage them. Some events would just happen.” Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

* The thoughts and emotions presented in this post are those of the author, and are not meant to solicit advice. I thank my good friends who have provided support beyond your contracts. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Five cats, one fly

Hi, it's Lulu.

It all started out as a typical Caturday yesterday. Z-Girl fed us on time and then hustled out of the house earlier than normal, for a weekend. She says she will write about that experience tomorrow. Which is good, because I want to tell my story today.

Somewhere in the mid-afternoon, Z-Girl noticed me focused on a UFO (Unidentified Flying Object). I was fascinated. It was whizzing about, so I had to follow.

From the dresser to the bed, up in the air with a big twist I jumped. Thought I had it with one of my two-paw clasps, but it escaped.

So I started calling, "come here, little fly!" Although all Z-Girl heard was my meow, I was in full communication with the flying menace. Of course, this tipped off the rest of the cats in the Warehouse apartment, and from there it was a melee.

The two tuxedos think THEY own the windows by the TV. I'm really not into territory, not when there's a fly to catch. So, I ran to the window and I had a good shot at getting my paws on it again. Until Valentina jumped in the window, forcing me down. (Yes, I hissed at her as I jumped down). But I didn't run away. I stayed close by. Then, Manhattan came and SHE jumped into the window too. That really upset me. Surely, those two were going to get my prey. Somedays I feel like Cinderella and they are the Evil Step-Tuxedos.

Anyway, the fly toyed with Valentina for a few minutes, and then zoomed over to my windows.

From there on, I decided not to talk. It seemed like he knew his minutes were numbered. Z-Girl turned her attention away from me, and when she came back I was asleep in my bed, perched beside the window.

And I'll never reveal if I caught and killed it, but I can tell you--he's not flying around the Warehouse apartment anymore.

Lulu, out.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Now We are Six

Happy Birthday, Coco Chanel!
You didn't arrive in my life on this day 6 years ago. But, my heart was calling out for you. I had started feeding a neighborhood kitty a few weeks before your birthday, and each time I would walk away from him I felt sad. Then, right after Labor Day someone sent to me a photo.
And said that this little kitten needed a home. That email changed my life. I can remember the conversation I had with the woman who was seeking to place her--she explained what a special kitten she was, and that her birthday was 08/08/08. How could I say no?
We'll celebrate again on your "Gotcha Day," but for now, let's think about you turning Six. 
My mother so loved Winnie the Pooh. I think my favorite Pooh album (yes, I had Winnie the Pooh albums) was Now We Are Six. Here is the poem, for Coco from my mama and me:

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.
 Author: A.A. MilneHappy birthday to my sweet and saucy Coco Chanel. Thank you for saving me.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Manhattan is the Calendar Girl

I love, I love, I love my calendar girl....(Neil Sedaka)

This is me. Z-Girl captioned it "Bartender, do you have any cocktails with tuna juice?"

Today I appear as the July 24th cat of the Cats of the Cat Blogosphere Calendar. It's an honor...

Something is afoot in the Warehouse apartment. Well, okay, I know we keep telling you things are happening but it feels so slow. Z-Girl says I need to be more patient.

But today, she's starting to move art off the closet wall by her bed. I heard "patch/repair/paint" but I was taking a bath, so I didn't get the full sentence. I guess we'll see what that means soon enough...

Valentina: Manhattan, I was paying attention. It means that everything has to come out of the closet so the painter guys can fix the big leak stains inside and outside the closet. 

Manhattan: So wait--does that mean all of her shoes will be out of the closet? And ohhhhh--drop cloths, right? They cover everything with plastic drop cloths that make noise when we walk on and under them...PARTY!!!!

    Me during the last big painting extravaganza...

I do have another bit of information to share: Z-Girl had a cat pole with shelves installed. And NO ONE likes it. Z-Girl suspects that it's because it's not yet drilled into the ceiling, giving us the stability we like. She has a second suspicion that it is the shelves themselves. I am going to make her figure it out...I mean, we can't make this easy for her...

More on the Catification Progress: While we await for our friend Mr. Dino to come by and hang the Ikea shelves over Z-Girl's desk, and two cat shelves JUST FOR LULU, the large wall catification is underway. Materials purchased and shipped to the shelf maker man. He will then customize and by mid-August, they should arrive! We also hope to have a new coffee table delivered around the same time. We will take photos of each small step...given how we all hang out with Z-Girl when she works from home, it's likely that the shelving all around will be welcomed! She says she hopes we end up liking the cat pole, too...let's see...

And yes, she tried treats, the laser, and even a soft blanket. No mice. I mean dice. No dice.

Happy Thursday, people!

Manhattan, over and out.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's a July Trifecta: Happy Birthday Manhattan, Bessie and Lulu!

Happy Birthday to the Three Formerly Feral Kitties of Squeedunk!

 This is Lulu, back in the summer of 2011. Her first vet visit and first solo photo. 

This is Bessie, fall of 2011. We estimate she was 15 months at this time.

And this is Manhattan, recovering on Z-Girl's bed after her Great Capture and 10 day hospital stay in March of 2010. We estimate she was 8 months old.

Given that these girls were all born on the streets of Jersey City, the best we can do is estimate their dates of birth. 

Manhattan was about 3 months old when I started feeding her, and before I entered the scene, Natalie had been feeding her and her siblings. This little girl is the one from the litter who was left behind--one sibling died and the other two were rescued prior to my introduction to the kitten who stole my heart the first time I saw her.

Bessie was a very dutiful mama kitty begging to be fed when Natalie and our friend Eugenia first found her. They quickly saw that she was caring for two tiny kittens. In a 24 hour rescue mission, we were able to sweep Bessie in one Great Capture, and the next night were finally able to get Lulu and her brother. The kittens were about 4 weeks old and the vet estimated that Bessie likely was only a year (if that) herself.

And now, here we are. Manhattan is 5 (born July 2009, rescued February 2010), Bessie is 4 (born approximately July 2010 and rescued July 2011), and Lulu is 3 (born July 2011 and rescued the same month). It may not be accurate, but it's unimportant. Instead, we focus on living healthy, happy lives together and taking stock in every single day. 

Happy Birthday to my three beautiful girls. I'm so lucky to share these days with you as my companions!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Breaking News: Catification Installation Underway

Hi, it's Valentina. It's been awhile, hasn't it?

At this point--who's keeping track? Our posts are few and far between lately. Since Z-Girl is the typist, we are at her mercy. I knew I should have taken that typing class when it was offered to me...

Rather than regale you with a list of updates since we last blogged, I'm gonna share the big headline.

The first Catification installation took place last night and frankly, I'm not sure I get it.

I can be seen in the bottom right hand corner of this iPhone photo. I'm not all that interested in this "catification" installation.

Z-Girl put treats on a few of the shelves around lunch time today.
So we did what you would expect. Surrounded the pole and meowed until she moved them to our normal stations, our Kittypod scratch decks (I can be seen sitting in one in this photo).

I forgot to say she tried the red laser dot trick last night and none of us fell for it.  Okay, maybe Bessie and Lulu are interested but I am gonna put a STOP to them trying it before me.

What's next, you ask? A few shelves above her desk, she says. And then more. I don't want to know what that actually means...more poles?

Valentina, Over and Out.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Dirty Dozen

Grief changes shape, but it never ends.
~Keanu Reeves

I'm never quite sure how I'll respond during this time of year. Will the tears or anxiety crop up in March? In April? Or will they sit in silence and perhaps stay dormant when the Preakness, the day following, and May 19 all converge on the calendar?

This year, the memories started to creep into my everyday thoughts in March. It's the month we met in 1994, and also the month in 2002 where I fully realized that the sickness of addiction clearly had Joey in its grip. I knew he was dying, but this knowing was more like words floating above my head in a quotation bubble. I said it often. I cried a lot. I searched, I felt hopeless.

Those memories continued to knock at the door of my heart in April. Even May 1, my 49th birthday. But they didn't really break through until last week. One week before the anniversary. Such a strange word to recognize the loss. Anniversary.

There's no way to explain the power of grief. It surfaces at unexpected times and often through unremarkable events. There have been years when it takes a little time for me to diagnose the emotion as the residual and recurrent process of grieving. Someone once explained, "it is now programmed into you at the cellular level--you won't even need a calendar, your body will remember." I suppose this is why I can't pinpoint when something will surface. 

If you want more of the backstory about Joey, I've written about it here.

Twelve years has allowed me to pull forward all of the good memories. I don't spend time thinking about Joey's pain. I'd rather think about his true essence and the lasting impact he's had within my heart.

There's no pithy ending to today's post. It's simply a way for me to continue to honor Joey's life. 

Joey, on Wireless, in 1999. Maryland Tuna Tournament, in the fighting chair.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Progress in a month...slow, but showing

Hey, this is Valentina...

Coming' at you on a Sunday. Mother's Day Sunday to be exact.

This has been an interesting month.

As you know, we are in the process of a re-decorating project and NOTHING is going as quickly as I would like.

The kitchen was painted and I must say, it does look nice. I hear there is one more wall before everything is complete; it's below the breakfast bar and it will be a charcoal grey.  The black and white stripes have been successfully converted back to all white baseboards.

The couch was moved and some other furniture arranged along with it and that has taken some getting used to, for us kitties. All in all, we approve.

Red Chair Status: It's still here. Z-Girl says that until the replacements come, she wants to keep this for us, since we like to climb and perch on it, and it also is the only barrier now between the living area and the bedroom space.

Integration Status: We still have some hissing and chasing that goes on between Coco/Manhattan/Me and Bessie/Lulu, but Z-Girl says that she is happy with how much progress Bessie and Lulu are making. I'm not so sure I agree with the "happy" status, but alas. I suppose I can't keep them sequestered by the bed forever. Lulu came to sit on Z-Girl's desk the other day, and you would have thought Robert Downey Jr. walked into the apartment, what with all the squeeing...

Catification Status: Two weeks ago, Z-Girl went on a shopping expedition with Ms. Andrea. They saw lots of great things, but not so many options for catification. Since then, Ms. Andrea has found some reclaimed wood and they are both looking into options found on some of our favorite blogs, like Zee and Zoey and Glogirly and Hauspanther. There's more to come but honestly, it's not happening fast enough for me.

Since we last blogged, I turned 5. That's right, I had a birthday and so now we are coming up on my 5th Gotcha Day, which is somewhere near Memorial Day.

I was adorable. I know. This is me, pre Z-Girl...2009

Z-Girl also had a birthday. And a party, so we had to endure lots of people in our apartment and of course everyone wanted to see me so I would come out and then run and hide, but then come back out. It was great fun to watch people look for us.

I think Z-Girl wants to share some thoughts with you, so the next post may be straight up from her.

I'll be back when I can. Maybe I'll have some catification progress to share by then.

Valentina, Over and Out.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and human guardians of animals.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What happened to Easy Sunday?

Hi everyone, this is Coco.

Z-Girl clearly has her mind on too many things these days. What with all the painting and furniture moving.

I didn't give my approval for any of this activity, so I remain unconvinced that there will be anything interesting that emerges from the current state of transition. "We are in transition," she keeps saying. What does that mean?

Well, for starters she took away two pieces of furniture yesterday and moved two others. Today, she has the darn paint can open again, putting white paint over the last of the black and white baseboards.

Bye Bye Black and White...

Last week, the Big Purple Wall was patched and painted. That looks good, and so does the floating TV. But these improvements dislocate artwork that then is put aside until other projects are complete, and as a result I'm feeling a little out of sorts. So much so that I've not spent much time on  one of my favorite perches, the Painted Trunk.
A great photo of me, prior to the chaos that ensues in the Warehouse apartment today...

Here's what I know about the upcoming plans: Mr. Jim will come back in a week to paint the kitchen. It will be a pale grey with some texturizing. The Red Chair allegedly will disappear after that, and other furniture will be moved around. I *think* Z-Girl believes that she is facilitating some sort of unity between Bessie & Lulu, and Valentina, Manhattan and me. Yea, you may read Mieshelle Nagelshneider Z-Girl, but I've a mind of my own. 

In early May, Z-Girl is hosting a party here and then the big changes will take place. Furniture slipcovering (I heard more talk about "cat proofing" things...seriously?) and then the much anticipated Catification of the Big Purple Wall. A shopping trip is planned to find items that will match the decor of the apartment. All I can say is they better run a few things by me before they do any installation.

This transition it seems will be an ongoing process. We've been blogging about it for months. Z-Girl says that these things take time. Apparently, there are other factors to consider. None of which concern me.

Therefore, I'm going to patiently wait for today's painting session to be over. After all, next week the whole kitchen will be disassembled and I will have to tolerate two more days of cans and drop cloths. Geesh.

In the meantime, the construction outside the windows continues. Work permits, people. They need to be validated by me first. Understand?

This is Coco, Over and Out.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Two Tuxedo Toosday: The transition is underway...

Hey everyone, it's Valentina here.
Comin' at ya on Two Tuxedo Tuesday.

Just wanted to post an update about progress here in the Warehouse apartment.

The TV was moved from one wall where it was flat, to another where it hangs from an arm and looks likes it's floating. There were big holes in the wall where it was first stationed, so today Mr. Jim came and patched them.

Tomorrow he'll come back and paint that wall, and a few other touch ups around the apartment.

Next week, Miss Andrea will come back with ideas for how to re-arrange furniture and art.

Manhattan: And, also where to put our catified shelves. Don't forget that part.

Valentina: Right! That too! I don't even know what that means but Z-Girl keeps talking about it so I guess she thinks we will be excited about that.

Manhattan: I kinda like all the drop cloths and the way everything is out of order in the living room area. There's so much for me to investigate...

Valentina: Yea, except Z-Girl keeps moving stuff every time I start sniffing or chewing something.

We'll be back with some photos of the purple wall once it's done. Then, paint colors for the kitchen. Too bad Z-Girl doesn't own this place...

This is Valentina, over and out.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Manhattan Madness

Hi, it's Manhattan. Here we go again, weeks between blog posts.

Z-Girl was supposed to tell my story in February because you see, in 2010 I was caught in my Great Capture. I went through two surgeries and spent a lot of time at the vet hospital, then came to live in the Warehouse apartment. My Rescue happened right around St. Valentine's Day and my transition to my new home started in early March.
 My first surgery was to save my life.

A few days later, I was spayed.

Dear readers, you know how things go here. When Z-Girl gets busy at work, this blog gets neglected. It's really not fair because I truly was looking forward to the publication of my tale. A few pictures will have to do.

Important Update:
Remember when we told you that catification is on it's way? Well, here's what I can report.
Tomorrow, Mr. Casey will come to move the TV off the Big Wall. He will also hide all the wires so Valentina can't chew them they don't show anymore.

Next, Mr. Jim has to come and patch/repair the Big Wall. While that is underway, Ms. Andrea is planning the relocation of furniture around the Warehouse apartment--but best of all, she is going to draw up the design for what will go on the Big Wall and the Window Wall for us kitties. 

I did overhear something about the Big Red Chair. Something about when it's gone. Gone? Gone? Where will we have our Kodak moments?  Valentina is having one here:

Valentina has always loved the Big Red Chair. Gone?

Then there's talk of paint for the kitchen and I know there's more but my attention turns to sunbeams.

Z-Girl said she will take pictures of the walls in transition. Keep your paws crossed for us. 

This is Manhattan, over and out.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cats, Hats and Other Cool Scats...

Hey there, this is Valentina.

Today is lazy Sunday in the Warehouse apartment. Z-Girl was away on business all last week, and we threw quite a party when she arrived home Friday afternoon. I conducted my signature victory lap up and down the hallway. Manhattan joined in. Lulu, she had a lot to say. She pointed out that during the week of her absence one of the new high rises going up outside our window has now eclipsed our view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the New York Harbor skyline. This is a milestone we are not at all happy to announce.

Coco and Bessie show their happiness in individual ways, but needless to say we were all tuckered out Friday night at lights out!

Although late to the game, all of us at Squeedunk Cats want to participate in The Dr. Seuss/Read Across America Day. After all, he wrote The Cat in the Hat...

So we selected a meaningful quote. Hard to do cuz he had lots of fun quotes and even wrote about fish.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot. 
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.
The Lorax

Trees from 9007 Furrow Aveune, Z-Girl's Family Home for 30 years.

Reading is the doorway to knowledge. Knowledge keeps a person, and us cats, curious. 
And this is how we learn, and grow, and change. Hopefully for the better. 

Read, Be curious. Care a whole awful lot. Make a difference.

Here's a question for Z-Girl: Why don't any of the Squeedunk Cats have hats? They look like great fun. You could wear the hat and we could curl up in the hat box...

 (Black and White with a bow...perfect!)

This is Valentina, Over and OUT!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunny-side Up Sunday

Hi, it's Lulu.

We in the warehouse apartment have been busy monitoring the pigeons of the PAD. I'm happy to report they are coming around more frequently. This as you know is a good thing for us because we love Birdie TV.

Birdie TV shows Pigeons of the PAD on a nearly regular basis these days. Me with Mama Bessie.

In other news, the snow has been piling up around the city. We have been watching it fall from the sky, blow around, and accumulate on the warehouse across the street. Z-Girl has commented about the outdoor kitties and how cold it's been for all of them. Mama-Bessie and I escaped having to live harsh winters as ferals because Z-Girl brought us to live with her after our Great Capture.

But other kitties remain outside, living in the shadows. Here is one who comes for her food dutifully:
A feral tabby awaits her meal, Winter 2014

It must be cold on her paws, but she patiently waits for her food to be served and along with the others in her colony, rushes to eat meals before everything freezes. Luckily, Aunt Nat has put kitty shelters out for them to burrow in and stay warmer and drier than they could on their own.

So today, as we lounge around the apartment in the sun that's streaming through our windows, we also think about those who need extra love and attention. We know that Z-Girl and Aunt Nat do their best to help, as do other friends in Jersey City. And still more friends who we've met virtually on the blogosphere. Surely, we can be the change for cats we want to see in the world.

And yes, I just quasi-quoted Gandhi.

Finally, we know you've been reading about our forthcoming catification. Z-Girl says that step one is to paint the baseboards white. Right now some are black and white striped. This seems to be some sort of effort to look like Valentina and Manhattan, the Squeedunk Tuxedos.

Coco, 2009 with the previous purple shade on the wall, the black and white striped base board and a piece of Robert Koch sculpture. 

Why painting them white is the first step, I don't know. I can attest to the fact that this new cat decor will be a welcome change because just recently, she took my kitty bed and put it on her dresser beside the window. And I sleep there ALL THE TIME now. I wasn't using the bed on the floor, but *love* my soft, cozy surroundings as I watch the sun set, the moon move across the sky and the dawn break every day. She told us there will be levels for us to choose from to walk around and also to sleep or take baths.

Step two is relocating the TV and all the wires. Allegedly, this will happen before the end of February.

And then, yes then: Plans will be drafted for our new walls and the Great Furniture Extravaganza. I'll let Z-Girl fill you in on details as decisions are made.

How do I stop this thing again???

Valentina: Lulu, say over and out.

Lulu: Oh, right. That's all from us today. This is Lulu OUT.

(I had to do it my own way)

Hey, everyone, happy belated Valentina's Day! I love all of our readers and hope that you took time to share some warmth, purrs and head bonks in celebration of the day dedicated to displays of affection. For me, that's every day! -Valentina Rossa, Squeedunk's Social Committee Chair Cat

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Two Tuxedo Toosday: A Flock of Pigeons

Hey there, it's Valentina and I have late breaking, exciting news:

The pigeons have found our ledge again. Lots of them.

I'm also thinking there's a name for a band in here somewhere...a Flock of Pigeons...

Yesterday around lunch, when Z-Girl made her way home through the snow and slush she settled in for a conference call and I spotted movement outside. I slowly approached a window, putting just my front paws on the sill. I don't think the birds noticed my ears and whiskers.

With this Manhattan came trotting over. Quick, but low to the ground with no pitter-patter and joined me at the second window.

Lulu was then tipped off that something was happening. She climbed into the third window and she was immediately transfixed.

Bessie was asleep under the bed and didn't stir. Coco didn't care.

When Z-Girl came to investigate, she counted at least 15 pigeons, cooing and nestling in their feathers for their naps. When she returned with her camera, most of them had left. I think I scared them with my chattering.

This morning, even more of them formed a cluster and landed on our ledge. All five of the Squeedunk cats rushed the windows to check it out. Z-Girl says that we looked like a pack of Big Cats going after our prey.

This was short lived. It seems they want to hang out on the sill but are not yet sure that the glass provides a safe barrier between US and THEM...

This is Valentina reporting from the Warehouse Apartment. Over and Out!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Catify

Hi, this is Bessie.

Evidence: We need stimulation in the Warehouse apartment.
Solution: Catfication.

We'll have some BEFORE pictures to share soon.
Then, we'll post AFTER photos once the project is underway.

I for one can't wait. 

There's more to life than flokati rugs....

Bessie, Over and Out.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two Tuxedo Tuesday: The Inside on the Outside

Hi Everyone, Valentina reporting in after another brief hiatus. It's been unusually cold here in the Powerhouse Arts District (PAD). We've heard stuff on the TV about how bad the weather has been the last few weeks, so every night we ask St. Francis to help the feral cats in Jersey City.

Z-Girl wanted to give the inside scoop on the outside cats back in November. But with the holly-days, it didn't seem appropriate. So I decided to help give the updates cuz Z-Girl--she can get a little emotional.

This is Puck, when he was not quite a year old, sitting in a beam in what was an abandoned lot.

Jersey City has a feral cat population that crosses neighborhoods. Aunt Nat and Z-Girl look after cats in the PAD section. Given the construction of several buildings currently afoot, there's been multiple re-locations of individual kitties. Puck, pictured above, used to hang out in an open lot diagonal from our building. But that lot is now filled with tons of steel rods and equipment, for the building that is going up in front of our window. The very same building construction that has interrupted the pigeon's playground that used to convene on top of the abandoned Manischewitz factory. But--I digress.

The PAD colony is now living in a location that I can't disclose so as to protect the kitties. To assist in telling the story, we'll call this location a lot. The day prior to Thanksgiving, Z-Girl received a text from Aunt Nat at work.
"Very sad news, one of the younger cats from the colony was killed by a car; received word from Helen and came to see if he could be saved. It's terrible. I won't describe it. At the same time, I heard cries in the lot and found Blackie. He is not well. I rushed him to Dr. H and he's taking a look. Text you when I know more."

Z-Girl was overwhelmingly sad. One kitty, tragically and senselessly killed by a speeding car. And Blackie. Turns out he had cancer and tumors in his mouth and was FIV positive, in organ failure. Dr. H said that there was nothing he could do for him. Aunt Nat and Z-Girl had to give the okay for him to be put to rest.

Needless to say there were lots of tears. Z-Girl told us just that previous Saturday evening that Blackie was the first at the lot to come for food when she went to feed the colony. That night it was cold (but not below freezing), and he emerged from a pile of leaves. He slowly approached and took his share of dinner. The other cats who came out stood back and allowed him to eat.

Z-Girl texted Aunt Nat after serving dinner and they shared the same belief that Blackie was sick, and needed help. But what to do? Where to put him? This is the constant dilemma they face: kitties in need and limited resources.

The holly-days are not really Z-Girl's favorite time of year, but she knows that many people have different perspectives. So, she opted not to tell this story to our readers when it took place. We decided that it's okay to tell it now--in the context of continuing to raise awareness about the plight of the feral kitties, or those cats who find themselves left outside by humans with little sense or no heart. We here at Squeedunk want to be part of the solution.

The status on the colony through this arctic cold, snow and ice has been tenuous. Uncle Phil and Aunt Nat have put multiple cat shelters in the lot, camouflaging them from plain view. The Leader Cat, Puck, and the other three kitties do take refuge in them which we all believe has been a critical factor in their survival. The last week has been shrouded in some mystery---little to no food consumed and only one cat appearing for nightly feedings. At least last night Aunt Nat saw three of them. The temperatures are dipping again, and the situation becomes dire when this happens. Aunt Nat and Z-Girl keep close eye on them and will trap and vet anyone who is in need.

We hope all kitties who live in the shadows can be rescued and placed in loving homes. Between them, Aunt Nat and Z-Girl have been a part of rescuing and re-homing close to 30 kitties right here in the PAD! Yet their work continues.

Maybe someday soon, Puck will be on the Inside looking Out, just like Manhattan, Bessie, Lulu are today--and so many of the other PAD kitties once on the streets.
Me n Manhattan, PAD watchin'. 

This is Valentina, Over and Out.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sunrise, Sunset

There's something about sunsets that I really, really do love.

Wow. That sounds like the beginning of a profile, doesn't it?

I made the decision to work from home today. Wasn't up for the arctic cold. As the sun started to set, I was on the phone so I was able to gaze out the window, marveling as the sky subtly changed colors from grey blue, to pink and almost burgundy, to shades of ink-blue, and fade to black. Nature's artwork.

Although this photo was taken in Costa Rica while I watched a spectacular display, I'll admit that my favorite sunsets are in ordinary places: my hometown of Ellicott City, and gazing through my urban neighborhood apartment windows.

This is Z-Girl, over and out.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside

This is Bessie.

Today it's easy Sunday. We like lazy, easy Sunday afternoons here in the warehouse apartment. Z-Girl turns on some music and keeps cozy blankets and sweatshirts available for us. I personally curl up on *everything* she puts out on her bed because I love Z-Girl scented clothes.

Over the last few days here in Jersey City it snowed and then the temperatures dropped so much that after I sat in the window looking at my 'hood, I had to sit on the heater to take my bath and warm up. That's pretty darn cold.

Z-Girl keeps telling us about the other kitties who live outside in our 'hood. And if not for our Great Rescue, Lulu and I would still be out there.

 This is me with both my kittens after our Great Rescue. The Captain (on the left) has a happy home with a brother and loving guardian.

Manhattan: Me too. Remember, Bessie--I was the first Great Rescue Z-Girl and Aunt Natalie performed as a duo.

Bessie: Yes, that's right Manhattan. And you were Caught in February?

Manhattan: Right. I survived a snow storm in 2009, Z-Girl came out and cleared away the snow from the grate where I came out to get food, and also made a little spot for my food tin. It was very cold and wet on my paws.

Bessie: Manhattan and I don't always agree, but on this we do: It's too cold for any domestic animal to be outside. The plight of the feral cats is one that is dear to all of us here at Squeedunk. Luckily, Lulu was a baby when the Great Rescue of  July 2011 took place so she doesn't know what it means to live in the cold, wet conditions of the winter.

Aunt Natalie has made a few houses for the ferals in our neighborhood. They have been nestled inside when she's fed the last few nights, so they are finding them useful. But the temperatures are threatening to dip again.

We know that together, Z-Girl and Natalie will do the best they can. Their resolve grows stronger with every capture and every loss.

Maybe in 2014 more people will adopt and still more will help where they can. As I day dream in the window, this is my hope.

Happy Easy Sunday, fur friends and human friends. Wanna adopt? Check our Rescue Me page.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday Photo Hunt: AQUA

Hello, good people, this is Coco Chanel.

Today we want to participate in the Saturday Photo Hunt AQUA.

So here is my favorite spot for lounging--the painted trunk.

The painted trunk has lots of words on it but the center of it says Life Is, surrounded by a beautiful shade of aqua...

Here is a picture of Valentina and me on the trunk when she was a kitten. I let her wash my ears back then.

In this shot you can see but not read the words on the trunk...

The warehouse apartment has lots of whimsical colors in it, so naturally we have splashes of aqua. It goes so well with purple.

Enjoy your Caturday, everyone. I'll be on the trunk to sunbathe at some point today. You can count on it.

This is Coco, over and out.

Friday, January 3, 2014


Hey everyone, this is Valentina.

Happy New Year! We read so many of our favorite blogs and Facebook posts, and Twitter feeds over the holidays and didn't do any writing from the warehouse apartment. Sometimes it's good to be quiet and appreciate the gifts of the season. Thanks to all of our talented friends on the blogosphere, we were surrounded with good cheer!

This is my submission to Box Day Catsravaganza on Cult of Otis. I received good props for my side sit.

Now we're back and ready to roll for 2014. Here's a few things we hope for, from our urban domain:

1) Cat-ification of our space. Z-Girl has been muttering something about a designer and new furniture and maybe even some levels on the walls where we cats can climb and hang out. We are skeptical, but hopeful...
2) Harmony. Apparently, the division in the apartment between Coco/Manhattan and me against Bessie and Lulu is something that Z-Girl wants to change. The new furniture arrangements (yet to be defined) should help with that...or so SHE says.
3) More assistance to kitties in need. We have helped as best we could over the last 5 years, but there's more we can do. More blogging, more involvement, more personal time.
4) Good health: Z-Girl says it's time we all cleaned up our acts. Less treats for her, probably less treats for us. More natural food for her, more natural food for us. I'm not sure what that means but so far the changes have been tasty (for the most part--I did fully reject one attempt).
5) Less last minute thinking, more planful living. Oh, don't get us wrong. Last minute decisions are fun but we need a better balance in order to come to you regularly here on Squeedunk. And to spread more goodness to people and kitties in need.

Those are our goals. Not resolutions. Z-Girl has one about running but we run every day so we don't get why someone would need a goal. Just DO IT.

This is Valentina, over and out!