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

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.