RIP Mimi the Synth Cat

Mimi and Juno 60

We received some sad news today. Our dear friend and frequent guest on CatSynth Mimì passed away this weekend. She was 19. Mimì had the best synthesizer collection of any cat we knew; and more importantly, she loved a long full life and was very much loved.

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Our thoughts and condolences go out to Eric Pochesci of polynominal.com for his loss. He has put together this wonderful tribute page for Mimì. You can also see her many appearances on CatSynth here.

RIP Mimì. You will be missed.

First visit to Cat Town Cafe

The Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, California is the first cat cafe to open in the United States. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit for the first time.

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The cafe is essentially divided into two sections. The first resembles a standard small cafe but covered with cat photos. Here is where one checks in to visit the cats as well as order drinks and small snacks, all made by local Oakland-based businesses. After ordering, visitors can cross an airlock to the cat room. This is a spacious area designed at least as much with the cats in mind as the humans. They are plenty of places to play, hide, eat, and sleep. The interior wall is covered with a mural featuring Oakland cityscapes and a few celebrity cats like Grumpy Cat and Li’l Bub. The cat furniture pieces are one-of-a-kind based on landmark Oakland buildings, including city hall, the twin Federal Building, and the Oakland Tribune Building.

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The largest concentration of cats during my appointment was in the Tribune building. For the first half hour they were all napping, but one could gently reach through the openings to pet and stroke the cats. One little girl particularly seemed to enjoy the attention, and eventually she got up to stretch and explore.

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Turns out her name is Athena, and she was quite playful after her nap. A few of us took turns playing with her as she wandered the space. She particularly enjoyed feather toys.

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Like most cats at the cafe, she comes from local shelters via Cat Town, an Oakland-based organization that recused and fosters cats in the community. The cafe has been extremely successful in adopting out cats. As of my visit, 77 had been adopted since the they opened in October. And it is always crowded with humans, especially on weekends. Indeed, they have sold appointments for every weekend since opening!

I’m sure I will be back to see the cats and find out more about the workings of the cafe. We at CatSynth also hope their success will help others get off the ground. There is at least one now open in New York, and there is currently one planned for this year in San Francisco.

CatSynth video: Taide’n Borg – Jorgos and The Revenge on the Iron Beast

From Sun’s May Flower on YouTube, via matrixsynth.

“Equipment:

Poly synth – Roland Super JX 10
Bass – Korg Monopoly
Synth Lead – Arp Odyssey
Strings – Solina String Ensemble
Drums – Akai S900

Effects:

Reverb – Lexicon LXP 15 II
Analog Delay – EEM 2000 ST
Chorus – Boss CH1 Super Chorus
Stereo Phaser – Arion SPH2″

Spot the cat :)

2014: Transition and Turbulence

CatSynth 2014 in Review
[Click to enlarge.]

Once again, it’s time for our traditional end-of-the-year image at CatSynth. 2014 was a year like no other for us: transition, turbulence, complexity, controversy, beauty. Luna turned 10, and is enjoying the life of a mature but very spoiled house cat. And for me, the year began with a profound change that is still reverberating. Some things stayed remarkably constant, as one can see from themes in the words and images here. But others changed in ways I was not prepared for. Changes in my music, my personality and identity, my friendships and relationships, and my professional life. But in the end I learned the importance of speaking one’s truth. It comes with tremendous risks, but with potential great rewards. So what this means is that even more big changes are likely in store for 2015, especially in music, work, and the pages of this website.

The blog did suffer a bit amidst all the tumult of this past year, but we are reinvigorating it for 2015. There is the new look and feel – one of our truths – and more posts and channels coming. Thank you for being part of this year with us, and looking forward to the next!

SF SPCA Holiday Windows

Once again, the San Francisco SPCA has partnered with Macy’s flagship store in Union Square to feature adoptable pets. I have visited a few times during my walks around downtown SF this holiday season, and on Saturday say these playful kittens and many others.

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Besides providing an adorable respite from the usual holiday commercial overload, these windows serve to highlight the plight of adoptable pets in our communities that need homes. Indeed, all these pets are available for adoption and many do fine loving homes from people who see them in the windows. I am confident this vivacious youngster will find a home soon.

There are also adult cats in the windows for adoption, and I hope the find homes as well. Adult cats from previous homes can make great companions, especially for quieter households. (Luna was a previously homed adolescent when I adopted her.)

I did love seeing these two intertwined, especially because one looked like a very young Luna. Perhaps they will be adopted together?

It’s always fun to come see the cats in the windows and help support the cause of caring for homeless pets. If you do visit before it closes on January 4, please make a small onsite donation. You call find out more about the holiday windows program and how to support all the SF SPCA does for animals in our community via their website.