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

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.