Hard-hitting, clear-headed reviews of cats. Also, cat-related news.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Review of the Review

In keeping with the democratic ideals of the Review (an opinion for every cat!), I present the following critique of the Review of Cats, sent in by Feline Rights Activist Joe Bartolotta:

It is no secret that humans set forth a group of hermeneutics in approaching how they classify cats. A “literal” approach, much like Mr. Dicks takes, seeks to observe the actions of the cat in an effort to understand the personality of the cat. There is a “moral” approach, through which a human utilizes observations of cats in an effort to gain some ethical understanding of life. Mark Twain does this when he says; “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” There is an “allegorical” approach to cats, looking at how their constructions of communities can be related to human interactions. T.S. Eliot demonstrates this through his exemplary Old Possum’s Book of Cats. Finally, an “analogical” approach to cats seeks to understand cats as forbearers of the future. Classically, black cats have held this role, but the literary works of Haruki Murakami have expanded this vocation to most other shorthair cats. However, none of these breach an effort to understand cats for their unique ability to master themselves as individual beings.

My issue with Mr. Dicks’ review of cats rests in how I believe he interprets the quality of catness. His standards are set as though he expects our feline brethren to have been constructed through the imagination of Disney animators, rather than through a docile and diffident existence. His expectations that cats should “annoyingly bound onto my lap, then try to climb my shirt” and, “leap nimbly to my shoulders” in order to attain points seems to me to run contrary to the general ethos that I have observed in cats.

My first objection to Mr. Dicks’ reviewing method is that his criterion demonstrates an overwhelming bias. In the first place, this bias favors young cats and kittens. The acts of leaping “nimbly” and “bounding” are more difficult for the mature feline. Furthermore, the demand for the “moderately fluffy” cat demonstrates discrimination against longhair and hairless cats. Why should these cats even agree to be reviewed in the first place by such biased rubric?

My second objection pertains to the lack of emphasis on the substance of the character of the cat. Mr. Dicks contends that a cat must engage in a “volley of meows” in order to gain high marks. However, since Mr. Dicks has not demonstrated the ability to communicate with cats, he cannot place a value judgment on the substance of the meow. To put this in another context, it would be like one human speaking French to another human who cannot. While the human who cannot speak French may experience some pleasure on the sensory level, that person has no ability to tell whether the French speaker is sharing a grocery list or reciting the works of HonorĂ© de Balzac. Clearly, the emphasis on how a cat appeals to human sensory experience complicates Mr. Dicks’ judgment of the substance of a cat’s mew.

However, the objection that makes me write this tome taps into something far more sinister; Mr. Dicks demonstrates that he intends to reinforce the subjugation of cats by humans.

Maybe Mr. Dicks was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by cats that sought his approval, and these cats shaped his interpretation of how a cat should or should not act. Indeed, his declaration, “that cat better impress me,” demonstrates his relationship with cats as one of power. He demonstrates hegemony—cats in a position deprived of power and humans dictating the rubric through which a cat may be qualitatively analyzed. Cats are hereby subjected to become nothing more that serfs—their identities not considered unique and their sense of place in limbo depending upon their ability to satiate the expectations set forth by another species.

It would be foolish to suggest that cats are not aware of the ways in which humans assert dominance over them. However, it is much more astute to observe that cats do not recognize human dominance. Put in another way, cats are content with the fact that humans believe they hold the dominant role in their relationships to cats, but cats themselves do not place much stock into it. As far as cats are concerned, humans can believe whatever they want—the mature cat, comfortable with his or her felinity, does not feel threatened by this relationship. Everything cats do is to avoid hassle.

Friday, May 25, 2007

"The cat sprouted the wings after being sexually harassed"

Field correspondent Cricket sends in this story.

Granny Feng’s tom cat has sprouted two hairy four inch long wings, reports the Huashang News.

"At first, they were just two bumps, but they started to grow quickly, and after a month there were two wings,” she said.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Cat Review Number What the Hell?

The Review of Cats has been on hiatus for more than a month now. What has happened, you ask? What has happened, I tell you, is this: in March of this year, I visited my hometown. While there, I discovered that my parents’ back yard has been overrun with cats. Several cats. More than eight cats. Likely more than ten cats. My parents live next to a woods and to a derelict set of train tracks and next to a neighbor’s abandoned shed, and so you can imagine: stray cats love this part of town.

I’d foolishly left my camera back at the Cat Review Headquarters (heretofore known as the CRH), and so borrowed my mother's. The pack of stray cats were quick to spook, but I stalked them with all the care and experience a cat reviewer can bring to the field, and so captured several lovely pictures. I also got some good video, despite my mother’s insistence to try to lure the cats with her siren song (Heeeeere kittty kitttty kitttttttty!) in the background.

There were difficulties with this usage of new equipment. While uploading the photos to the CRC (the Cat Review Computer), I got a slew of images of my nephews playing baseball, of my sister’s new dog, of my sister’s ice cream shop. Then, after getting these images onto my computer and returning to Ames, the Cat Review Computer slipped into a deadly coma, taking my British Lit final and my novel-slash-thesis with it. I held its hand and gingerly stroked its head with a damp cloth but nothing would bring the computer around. Finally the foul-smelling but benevolent giants at the Apple Store, dressed in their ever-worn loin-cloth-and-stethoscope costume, retrieved my documents but wiped the computer’s hard drive. Cat Review Number Four was lost.

Disillusionment sank in. Inspiration evaporated through all pores not immediately covered by clothing. The Review went on hiatus and I traveled the globe in search of the Time-Traveling Eurasian Lynx, but it looked as if I would never return. Then, last Thursday, my roommate John opened our mailbox and envelopes literally spilled out. I arranged them on my desk:

As both cat-review correspondent Molly Magestro and Bil Shehan pointed out, it appeared that somebody had pushed the CAT FLDR button inside our mailbox. Because of the Denver return address, my first assumption was that the envelopes had to be from my friend DaveO. However, the addresses seemed to not have been written by anyone named DaveO. Also, DaveO is not in the habit, that I'm aware of, of drawing hearts on his letters. If only I'd opened the envelopes immediately, I'd have known that they were mailed by new Cat Review Correspondents Allison and Kara.

But discerning the exact origin of these letters was not of the utmost importance. Of the utmost importance was opening them and reviewing the cats that spilled out. So let it begin. Let's get it on. Rev your engines. Tune your ovens to gas mark 3. Sprinkle the pulverized walnuts on the meatloaf. Overfeed the goldfish.

Because several cats were shipped, they will be reviewed en masse. To avoid confusion with earlier cats who have received individual reviews, these cats will be numbered using Spanish. Also, some categories apply to all cats, including

Ability to lie incredibly still and remarkably fat during postage: Flawless, or 100%


Cat Uno: Oscar

I begin with Oscar because this cat is my least favorite cat. The accompanying note reads "Oscar (she's a girl!)" and then "Tim: this cat needs to be rated. She feels left out." My response is: this cat should feel left out. Please examine the unevenness of her stripes, the paunch of her belly, and the close-set front-paw posture. Most importantly, examine the face. This cat displays a mixture of timidity, anger, disappointed entitlement, and desperate hope commonly only viewed in single thirty-five-year-old parents. This cat may be disappointed in life, but let me tell you, life may be disappointed in it.

Rating: Low, or 27%


Cat Dos: Baxter

Allison and Kara note that Baxter "loves to curl up with a ball of yarn and enjoys a long island iced tea." Apparently Baxter enjoyed one too many before this review, because he was incapable even of standing on my desk:

. . . what . . ?

Ability of Cat to Get Blitzed Drunk without My Realizing it: High, or 87%

In addition:

Likelihood that Cat Could Perform Successfully in Some Sort of Chihuahua Impersonation Contest: Moderate-High, or 70%


Cats Tres: Larry, Curly and Moe

These cats appeared to be much younger than the first two. In fact, they seemed to be almost kittens. Is this blog titled "Tim(othy) Dicks's Review of Kittens," I ask you? No, you say. No it is not. Nevertheless, they will be reviewed.

The note accompanying these kittens reads "Tim: These kittens love you. Please rate them." Well, kittens, I have to ask you: how do you know you love me? How well do you even know me? Is there some sort of underground kitten-language tabloid that keeps tabs on (as well as sexy drunken photos of) those who review you? If so, can you send me copies of the articles featuring me?

Ability of Kittens to Flatter Me: Moderate-High, or 58%

Ability to Look Vaguely Terrified: Pretty Damn High, or 78%


Cat Quatro: Betty

Betty is an exceptional cat. She is young, cute, and gifted with the ability to cloud my mind or my camera's lens or both:

Look into her eyes and see your soul's darkest secrets

But months of experience have trained me to overcome even the wiliest tricks of the cleverest cat. I swore softly and adjusted the shutter and steeled myself with a swig of rum and tried again:

Ability of Cat to Stand on My Computer without Pressing any Buttons: Uncannily High, or 99%

Allison's and Kara's accompanying note reads, "Please rate this kitten so she can grow up to be an upstanding cat." Well, Allison and Kara, I hope that this cat will now have the confidence she needs to advance through the world and gain more than her share of cat food.


Cat Cinco: John Lennon

Allison and Kara describe John Lennon as "pretty," but they have to be kidding! Look at this picture(!):

Obviously, this cat has to have some sort of jaw deformity. He looks like he's got a mouthful of marbles or, you know, cat-sized marbles. Or tiny dominoes. Or lemon seeds. He's just got such a huge mouth.

Also, he appears to be a bit too fluffy. However, I will give him high marks for his brilliant orange color. He looks like a damn Oranges-and-Cream Creme Saver.

Ability of Cat to Appear Lightly Dusted with Cayenne Pepper: High, or 77%


Cats Seis: Vodka, Cait, Barkley, Merlot, Marven, and Stitch

Again, the Review's mission usually excludes the reviewing of kittens. These kittens, though, were just damn cute.

Ability of Kittens to Stand as One on My Notebook: Spooky-High, or 98%

These cats run the gamut from rockin to scary. Observe the confused-yet-confident stare of the white Vodka, in contrast with the sickly and timid gaze of Stitch. My favorite of all is Barkley, who has a strange name, but who also appears capable, brilliant, and ready to make a move on somebody. While all his associates stare docilely ahead, Barkley prepares to make a run for the nearest exit.

While reviewing these cats, my phone rang with dinner plans for tonight. When I turned back to the Reviewing Table, I noticed something awful. The Deadly Blue snake I keep beneath the desk had become hungry:

Finally Stitch's terror was merited

Despite my best efforts, he even got to Betty:

Ability to Apetize a Deadly Blue Snake: Very High, or, I Hope they Were at Least Nutritious

Friday, April 13, 2007

New Criteria and Fleas

Correspondent Gordon Reeder sent in a link to this story, which prompts me to add an extra two points to the score of any cat who knows how to ride a transit bus, preferably by itself. Ames-area cats are invited to click here, while Des Moines-based cats should click here. Cats living in or visiting the Twin Cities are invited to click here.

An Account of a Cat-Related Dream

Only two nights ago, in the very same cat-reviewing office in which I sit writing this update, I had a Dream. What was the Dream, you ask? It was this: I was surrounded by cats who, despite their cuteness, were entirely covered in fleas! They quickly became less covered as the fleas transferred from their feline bodies to my human one, and an orgy of scratching, slamming into walls, and slapping at grasshoppers, crickets, etc. ensued.

I say all this to let you know: if your cat has been the object of bug infestation, he or she may lose a fraction of a point to one entire point (depending on the cat's compliance with the offending bugs). If the infestation somehow enhances the cat's other qualities, however--if myriad ticks are making him or her woozy, and thus helping out with the Otherworldly Gazes, for example--you may just want to let it go for a few days.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ground Control to Cat Number Three--

--come in, Cat Number Three. For this examination, I was assisted by multiple individuals, several of whom were confused about why a grown man was chasing a grown cat around with a camera. Also, I was at Jenny O'Neill's Harry Houdini party. Was it a good party, you ask? Let me tell you this: I may or may not have conducted this examination while wearing a pair of handcuffs.

Regardless of how good the party was, however, it only became better when the cat showed up. Ronin announced his presence by standing in the doorway and staring at us all as if he could see our auras or the future or the ghosts of all the people we've mortally wronged flitting about our heads:

the cat sees only doom for you

which was obviously very damn creepy. Therefore:

Otherworldly Gazes: Intense, or 92%; Damn, that cat gave me the willies

Thankfully, the cat quickly grew bored with predicting our deaths, and charged into the living room. I called to my assistant Andrew Judge to seize the cat and he did:

Many of the cat's physical characteristics can be determined from this photo:

Shoulders: strangely broad

Weight: a bit plump, of 65% of the fattest cat I've ever personally encountered

Fur: dark for a Siamese

(It should be noted here that there is some dispute as to this cat's actual breed. Although my notes indicate that Ronin is a Siamese, and he wears the familiar black mask of the breed, some individuals contend that this is not true. Anyone familiar with Ronin's genetic background is welcome to weigh in using the comments at the bottom of this post.

UPDATE: Jenny says:

Ronin is supposedly a Siamese, but he is unnervingly fat and hairy. I think I was tricked.)

After greeting us all, Ronin was happy to dart around our feet:

and to sniff my elbow:

During this segment of the review, I was assisted by Wesley Beary. Wesley obviously enjoyed petting the cat, and Ronin quickly took to licking his arm. I called out for paper and was given a sheet by Lauren Cerretti.

"Wes," I said, "How many times did he lick your arm?"

"8 - 12 times," Wes replied.

Taste for Humans: low-moderate, or about 30% of the times Xena the Cat licked my hand in Cat Review Number Two

Shortly after, I discovered the following:

Quality of Meow: weird and deep

Willingness to Respond to Me Yelling "Cat!": nonexistent, or 0%

At this point, Ronin returned to the state we'd found him in, sitting quietly on the carpet and staring at our auras. In an attempt to better understand the cat's behavior, I'd like to introduce a new Cat Sight feature to the Review:

Us Looking at the Cat:

just look at the creepiness

The Cat Looking at Us:


Ability to Inspire New Features in the Cat Review: Obvious, or 100%

After asking Jenny for a post-party update on Ronin's status, she told me:

I don't know if I have any spiffy quotes, but I can tell you that he did puke on my floor late last night . . .

Final Evaluation: Initially I was wary of Cat Number Three. My expectation, after the examination, was that Ronin's strangeness, broad shoulders, and odd meow would cause him to score below both Rufus and Xena. I was reminded several times that the party atmosphere may have affected the cat's attitude, and I also admitted to an anti-Siamese bias.

Also, after putting together this Review, I realize that Ronin was entertaining and, although he apparently was not interested in f'ing around with a crowd of drunk humans, he indulged us for a while. Also, his Otherworldly Gazes creeped me the F out. Primarily for this reason, I award Ronin 5.73 mystical, creepy Cat's Eye Nebulas:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Put on your red shoes and review some cats.

It's been several weeks since my last post, concerning the mysterious Cat Fldr, and I bet you're wondering what the hell has happened. I bet you're wondering if I've been drowned or buried alive in my own personal Cat Flooding mishap. Or, perhaps, if some genetically mutated, giant and vindictive cats have kidnapped me to prod and poke in the service of some sort of Secret Society of Cats Human Review. But while I've been involved in several misadventures through the past few weeks, none of them involved cats, live burial, abduction, or much danger at all.

I have had a standard adventure, though, that involved cats. Or, at least, a cat. Here's a preview of Cat Review Number Three, starring Ronin:

Wesley Beary and Ronin the Cat

Also in the next few weeks: a review of some non-cat animals, a look at the preponderance of fake cats in Illinois gas stations, and a video guest review of a cat whose agent doesn't like the press.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Cat Fldr

Do you know what a Cat Fldr is? Do you even have any idea? Recently I was riding around with Molly Magestro and I noticed the Cat Fldr for the first time.

The shallow explanation is this: the Cat Fldr is a button on the dashboard of Molly's Jetta. It's situated with the radio/CD-player buttons. Even from my vantage point in the backseat, in the darkness of a winter nine pm, I was intrigued by the simple yet mysterious white letters of the Cat Fldr.

It taunts you with its devilish simplicity

There were four of us in the car and none of us--not even Molly, who, remember, owns the car--knew what the button was for. None of us could even make a reasonable guess. Even after ten minutes' discussion and roughly five weeks of pondering, therre still seem to be only two possibilities:

1) Cat Fldr actually means Cat Folder, and is some sort of device for (gently) folding your kitty into a convenient travel-size shape for a car ride:

The poor cat was so confused


2) the Cat Fldr is actually the Cat Flooder, a mechanism that floods your car with mewling, scratching, writhing cats:

She should never have pressed that damn button


Consultation of the internet has revealed to me that, unsurprisingly, the Cat Fldr may have something to do with radios/CD players/whatnot. You can repeat my experiment by typing "cat fldr" (don't forget the quotes!) into a Google search engine. Of the two results, only one directly mentions the Cat Fldr:

When I press Cat-Fldr, either I see the word Song and cannot move to the next choice or just see "Searching" on the Display and thats it. ...

That's written by MarcFTL, the only person on the page and, apparently, in the entire internet to ever mention the damned Cat Fldr. Damn you, MarcFTL, and damn anyone else who doesn't have the answers I crave.

If you have any information about this Cat Fldr, leave it in the comments or email it to me at the address on the right.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Cat Review Number Two

Cat Two: Xena

For this examination, I was assisted by graduate literature student Lauren Cerretti. When we showed up at Leah Graysmith's place, Lauren started the review immediately:

"Point One," she announced. "Xena did not greet us at the door."

Hospitality: very low, or 0%

Leah offered us hot chocolate, which I accepted, and tea, which Lauren accepted. Although I can not comment on the tea, I can say this: the hot chocolate was incredible.

We found Xena lying on the floor in Leah's bedroom. Apparently, the bed is situated so that the cat can lie beneath it and next to the heat register, and all the warm air is trapped by overhanging sheets and comforters.

Ingenuity, or Clever Use of Natural Resources: high, or 98%

Xena is a ten year-old cat, but looks to be in surprisingly good phsyical condition. She sports a lithe profile and slender hips. Also, she is the color of melted Milky Way bars (which I happen to find delicious).

Size: small

Comparability of Fur Color to Color of Popular Snack Foods: moderate-high, or 77%

In the basement, Leah turned on some exotic instrumental music, and the cat quickly began to slink about in a way that, in all seriousness, made me wonder if the cat thought it was a belly dancer/odalisque/whatever. The cat approached me, then walked away, rubbing against the leg of a coffee table. The cat crawled beneath the table and did a little dance. I tried to capture this on video and, shortly after, the cat scampered up the stairs, into the kitchen.

"Points for independence," Lauren said. "She doesn't need the guests."

Meow, she said, as she rolled on the floor

Up in the kitchen, I experimented again with the whole nose-touching cat greeting. Readers of the Review may remember that this technique met with disastrous results during my review of Rufus, and this time it didn't work much better. Xena deigned to approach me, then to poke her nose in my direction, but she quickly slid away, preferring to rub her neck against the bottom of the kitchen cabinets.

Willingness to Indulge Me in the Whole Nose-Touching Greeting Thing: low-moderate, or 41%

Back down in the basement, before Lauren and I left, I was able to determine the following:

Impudence: low-moderate, or drank out of my hot chocolate mug

The cat was moving amazingly quickly

Quality of Meow: harsh, sharp, and quick

Frequency of Meows: very infrequent (two total)

Ability to Imitate a Sea Shrimp: high, or 92%; Also, Ability to Blend Into a Couch: high, or 92%

Lauren attempted to test the cat for squishiness, but wussed out. I dove in, pinching, pinching, pinching (delicately), and the cat immediately began to lick my knuckles. "Four," I said. "Five, six, seven." The cat went on to lick my knuckles 35 times before I cut her off. She then began to lick her own fur.

Although Lauren and I were told that Xena sometimes exhibits an otherworldly gaze, we only witnessed one; therefore:

Otherworldly Gazes: low, or 17%; I wasn't creeped out in the slightest, nor did the cat convince me of the existence of ghosts, time travel, or secret cat wisdom

Final Evaluation
Although Xena hid from us at first, she went on to display an elegant, refined (if aloof) attitude. She enjoyed but was not dependent on our affection, she danced beneath a table, and she licked my hand. She is shapely and covered in soft fur. If I were a male cat, I would totally ask this cat out on a date, hoping that it would lead to lots of scratching, pawing, and caterwauling.

Therefore, of a possible 7, I award Xena 6 cute little kitty cat faces.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Review Two Will be Up Soon!

I have now completed the examination of Cat Two: Xena! Tomorrow I leave for the AWP conference in Atlanta, and I plan to put the review together on the road. Yes, on the road, from the passenger or back seat of Krystal Hering's Honda, while asking Goathead for good cat-related adjectives.

I had some help on this one, so I also need to run this review by someone else before posting it.

I hope you're excited, because this next review just might include video.

If I can figure it out.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Coming Soon: Cat Two

I've now made arrangements to review Leah Graysmith's cat Xena. The appointment is for Monday, so expect my brutal, snobbish take early next week.

Joe Bartolotta had offered to arrange a meeting between me and his Twin Cites-based cat, Pal, for this weekend. I'd looked forward to snagging .wav files of Pal's reportedly "mournful" mew, but because Ames started looking like this:

and then later, like this:

I'm stuck in town for the weekend.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Revised Criteria

I spent the walk to campus this morning reconsidering my first review—Cat One, Rufus, the timid and chocolately cat. The sun has been so bright and hot lately, and today the wind was just brisk enough to be refreshing. A few students nearly got run over by a college bus and my ipod kept playing funky British music. My stocking cap snuggled my head and I decided this:

I had been too lax in my evaluation of Cat One, Rufus.

Although I am indebted to Rufus for his willingness to go first, the 5.5 bags of catfood I awarded him were probably too many. He did not leap nimbly to my shoulders, he did not climb a curtain, and he did not hold a conversation of meows with me.

I fear the standard has been set, and it has been set a little low.

If I had it do over again, I'd award Cat One a simple 5 out of 7 bags of catfood. I'm not going to alter my past judgement, but I am going to expect more out of future cats. As part of this new reviewing attitude, I've decided to detail my criteria for evaluation:

This is likely the most important element of the cat's review. I don't care if the cat is fat or emaciated or oozing pus or riding high on the shoulder of some 4th Street hobo, if it will readily exchange a volley of meows with me, I will award it high marks. A cat who reluctantly meows in exchange for a few pets will obtain a medium score, and a cat who refuses to meow at all will receive no score at all.

(High points will be awarded for heart-warming purrs.)

I should walk away from a cat interview with a few playful tooth-or-claw scratches on my hand. Also, a cat who wants to achieve maximum points should annoyingly bound onto my lap, then try to climb my shirt.

Total Disregard for Decency
A cat who wants to impress me should perform at least one forbidden act—be it drinking out of a human's glass or climbing a curtain all the way to the top.

Acts involving feces will, in most cases, detract from a cat's overall score.

A good cat should be moderately fluffy, but not extremely so. My preferrence is for short-medium hair.

Otherworldly Gazes
Do you know how sometimes cats will stare into your eyes as if to ask What have you done with your life? (Alternately: She knows you've been sleeping with that other woman and Where is your god now?)

Highest points will be awarded for creepy stares of this nature. High points will also be given for gazes in which the cat does not stare directly at the human, but does appear to be staring at some apparition that is either A) invisible to the human, or B) just outside the human's field of vision.

Moderate points will be awarded if the cat stares thoughtfully into space, as if contemplating its own coveted and secret motives.

After an examination is conducted, I will retire to my apartment/a coffee shop/the nearest bar. I will review my photographs and notes while drinking a Rockstar/sipping a dark coffee/chugging the most potent liquor available. I will then hurriedly type out my review while trying not to think about the story I should be writing/the book I should be reading/the fact that I'm writing a review of cats on Blogger.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cat One: -:-Rufus-:-

Recently, I was struck by the total lack of informative cat-related content available on the web. (By recently, what I actually mean is, during breakfast.) In the past three years I've lived in

Cedar Falls
Des Moines
West Des Moines
also: Ames

and in none of these places have I found a good directory, database, listing, etc. of local cats. This didn't bother me, but if you happen to be

allergic to cats
interested in tracking local cat-sighting frequencies
some sort of fetishist who wishes only to pet cats of a certain shape, hue, or attitude

you may be interested in an independent cat-reviewing online magazine.

. . .

Cat One
Name: Rufus
Owner: Krystal Hering

Rufus is an adult cat, aged 1-2 years. Examined from afar, he appears to be a black cat, but under more careful scrutiny, the brown tint to his fur is readily visible. Because of this, Rufus perpetually appears to have just rolled around in a dish of baker's cocoa, as evidenced in this photograph:

Rufus ready either to pounce or to forcefully defecate

Rufus was born and raised in Illinois, but now lives in Ames, Iowa. He resides on the west side of town.

-:-Indoors VS Outdoors: Definitely Indoors-:-

When this reviewer arrived, Rufus showed an undeniable fear of the front porch. Owner Krystal Hering attributed this skittishness to a recent incident involving a UPS delivery man and a thrown package. Although Rufus eventually did come out onto the porch, he meowed plaintively until allowed back into the house. "Meow," he said. "Meow. Meow."

Once back inside the house, I attempted to stroke the cat. Having already attempted (and failed) to pet Rufus on multiple occasions, I expected him to tear ass up the stairs into hiding. To preempt this, I went up the stairs first to use the restroom. Reportedly, Rufus followed me up the stairs and then retreated when I flushed.

Today's attempts to initiate petting were met with some hesitancy. Initially, the cat refused to stay in one place:

but, surprisingly, Rufus eventually yielded to my advances.

--Allowed contact: petting, chin scratching, and belly rubbing--

When I was young, I read that to initiate contact with cats, the best thing is to approach the cat slowly, face first, until it touches its nose to yours.

"Meow," you're supposed to say.

The cat, sensing kinship, is supposed to respond, "Meow."

"Meow," you're supposed to say again.




And so on, until the cat is properly seduced.

Both times I attempted this greeting with Rufus, he nearly shat his kitty cat pants.

--Friendliness with Humans: Upper-Moderate, or 73%--

When I attempted to test the cat for squishiness, I discovered that he was ready to do battle. Rufus rolled to his back, batted my hands, and nibbled my knuckles.


--Readiness to Playfully Throw Down: Moderate-High, or 87%--


--Size: Moderately Large, or 72% the size of the fattest, biggest cat I've ever seen--

--Quality of Fur: Matte and Dry--

Favorite Activities:

Krystal reports that Rufus is a dominating cat who enjoys lying on some objects and pushing other objects off tables and counters. During a recent visit, this reviewer noticed that Rufus had knocked a large flower pot off a chair. During today's examination, however, Rufus's favorite activities appeared to be running, batting at yarn, and staring out the window at birds. Also, licking himself

and looking darkly calculating.

--Final Rating--

Although Rufus displays a magestic bearing and an aptitude with birdcalls, his aloofness and refusal to touch my nose with his cost him points. Also, this reviewer's preference is for cats who are slightly less fluffy.

However, Rufus does earn points for high energy, desire to walk on the kitchen counter, and following me up the stairs, to the bathroom. Also: Krystal reports that he performs a convincing bear impression, although he would not do so during this examination.

Out of a possible seven, I give Rufus 5.5 bags of catfood.