Happy 2nd Gotcha Day, Sam Sam!

It’s been exactly two years since Sam Sam made the long trip from southern California to come live with us at CatSynth HQ!  And not a day goes by that we are not grateful to have her in our lives.  I’m pretty sure she feels the same way.

Sam Sam checking out the next studio setup

Samantha, or “little Sam Sam”, had a complicated life.  She started out (as far as we know) in the suburbs south of San Francisco, and then moved with her human to the high desert north of Los Angeles – we like to joke that she lived “out in back of Palmdale where the turkey farmers run” in tribute to one of our musical heroes, Frank Zappa.

When her human passed away, she then went to live with his sister, also in southern California.  Unfortunately, the sister’s health was declining and another cat bullied Sam Sam, so this was not a happy chapter for her.  As her new human was preparing to go into assisted living, Sam Sam needed a new home.

In December of 2016, I was still deeply grieving after Luna’s death – and also reeling for the shock and horror of the election.  I hadn’t yet prepared to welcome another cat into my life, but when a friend and bandmate reached out to me that he needed to find a new home for a sweet cat whose human was headed to assisted living – and then shared her adorable photos, I said yes.  How could I not?

At first, Sam Sam was exceedingly shy and skittish, spending most of her time hiding under the bed, coming out only for food, water, and the litter box.  She was mostly silent but occasionally emitted these tiny squeaks.  As she adjusted to her new home, her personality blossomed.  She’s quite friendly, vocal, outgoing, and quite a ham.

Sam Sam scratch-n-roll

And she has no trouble demanding exactly what she wants from her humans.

“I want food nooooowww!”

We close with this episode of CatSynth TV featuring Sam Sam is all her adorableness.

Please join me in wishing Sam Sam a very happy Gotcha Day!

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam: Sheltering from #CaliforniaFires

California is on fire.  To our south, the area northwest of Los Angeles that I remember fondly from past visits in on fire, including Malibu and Thousand Oaks.  To our north, the devastating Camp Fire has laid waste to much of the town of Paradise, is threatening Chico, and is among the smokiest I have ever experienced.  If anything the air quality in San Francisco is even worse than it was during last year’s wine-country fires, which were much closer.

We’re mostly hiding indoors during this time, at least as much as we can.  Even just opening the patio door for a minute left my eyes watering and nose as if I was just breathing straight out of a charcoal grill.   Yesterday, Sam Sam seemed quite distressed as the particulates seeped into HQ (mostly from the main hallway).  Today is slightly better, and she is more like her normal goofy self, including showing off her scratch’n’roll.

But she still is finding places to hide – if I can smell the smoke, I can only imagine it’s much more intense for her.  Yesterday, before I left for work, she jumped up on my chest and snuggled in, wanting me to stay and be close.  I had to go, but came home as soon as I could after my in-office responsibilities were done.

We do also worry about our pal Marlon in Oakland, who spends much of his time outside.

The light from the smoky skies is stunningly beautiful.  It’s amazing how such beauty can arise from something as awful as this.

But in all, we need to put our challenges in perspective.  I can’t imagine the horror and pain people in the fire zones are going through, losing their homes, fearing for their loved ones, and of course their companion animals.  The messages I see from people searching for their missing cats, or the heartbreak of not being able to rush home to rescue them, is painful and our hearts go out to them.  Other animals, too, of course, as we hear about horses, dogs, and birds.  

Both north and south zones have evacuation shelters for those who have small or large animals.  In the north, Butte County has set up a line for those who either find and are searching for lost pets in coordination with North Valley Animal Disaster Group.

NVADG is active both in trying to locate and rescue lost pets, as well as running multiple shelters for those with animals.  From their website:

NVADG is providing emergency animal sheltering and where and when allowed will evacuate and/or care for animals in evacuation areas.  
Animal shelters will be established at:


Small Animal Shelter: 2279 Del Oro Avenue, Oroville.  Off Nelson near the County Center and Highway 70.

Small Animal Shelter 150 Airpark Dr, Chico at the Chico Airport
Large Animals should be taken to the Rolling Hills Casino Equestrian Center off Highway 5 in Corning

If you want to donate to NVADG, please consider a cash donation. It gives us the flexibility we need and we will definitely need it!  Donate on our website or send a check to NVADG, PO Box 441, Chico, CA  95927. 

We certainly hope all the fires around our home state are brought under control soon, and the air returns to normal as well.  Then the hard work of rebuilding begins…

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam, and Remembering Luna on #BlackCatDay

Sam Sam continues to delight every day with her adorable antics.

And she certainly gets lots of love and attention in response.

It’s interesting to see how different her unique facial markings look from different angles.

Of course, being the constant center of attention can be quite exhausting, so there is always time for naps.

Sam Sam often sticks a paw on her tail while sleeping, a trait we have remarked on before.  I don’t know whether it serves a purpose or is just a quirky habit, but it is very sweet.


Today is #BlackCatDay, and an opportunity to celebrate and recognize black cats as we close in on Halloween when stereotypes and threats sometimes reach a crescendo.  It breaks our hearts to think of any cat being hurt or abused, but black cats can face an especially different time.

For years, the celebration of black cats on and around Halloween was a ritual, with Luna often hosting the special Halloween Black-Cat Edition of Weekend Cat Blogging (back when that was a shared thing).  Now it is more a time to remember and reflect on Luna, who left us on October 31 two years ago.  We will have a proper remembrance on that day, but for now, we just want to bask in the beauty of our beloved black kitty.

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam: The Neighbor Returns

Sam Sam is not amused.

Our feline neighbor is back and enjoying himself on one of the terraces behind CatSynth HQ.  You can see his face through the glass bricks, albeit in a Cubist sort of way.

Nothing wrong with his being there.  I for one love to see cats enjoying themselves.  But his presence brings out both Sam Sam’s curiosity and territorial instincts, and she was quickly back up on the ledge to investigate – and to assert her territorial claims.  We managed to capture a bit of it in this video.

It definitely makes a bit nervous to have Sam Sam up there, but there really is no stopping a determined cat.  It’s also a reminder that I need to replenish that wine rack.  The one bottle that remains is from Armida Winery, whom we featured in a CatSynth video back in June.

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam

It’s been almost a month since our last check-in with Sam Sam on these pages, and that is too long.  And she is expressing her desire that we give her the attention she deserves.

If you have seen any of Sam Sam’s videos on Instagram or YouTube, you know she is quite the talker.  Usually, it’s her tiny raspy mew, though her voice occasionally blooms into full-blown arias.

Sam Sam’s morning routine 😻 #catsofinstagram

A post shared by CatSynth / Amanda C (@catsynth) on

By the window #catsofinstagram

A post shared by CatSynth / Amanda C (@catsynth) on

This is a good time to remind folks that you can follow her antics regularly on our Instagram @catsynth.  Please do follow us if you feel so inclined.

The main rug is definitely one of her favorite spots and shows evidence of her frequent scratch’n’rolls.  Honestly, we don’t mind as we delight in her antics.  But it does require vacuuming, which is on deck for today.  I know she is not going to enjoy that, but it is necessary.

Fortunately, she has other spots to enjoy around HQ, including this comfy chair in the loft.

Honestly, I wanted to sit there to read 😸

We hope you all have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam: Camera Study

The vast majority of my recent photography has been done with the iPhone, but for the upcoming Outsound New Music Summit, I will need to use the SLR and lenses.  So I’m getting back into practice with Sam Sam.

I think this one came out beautifully, especially as Sam Sam was being the perfect model.  I recently got a new faster camera, and so far it has been a joy to use, especially with our existing portrait lens on manual.  With the iPhone, I have forgotten both the fun and hazards of managing optics.  When focused properly it really brings out the detail of her fur and puts the background in the background.  Some shots work better than others, of course.  This one was less than perfect, but I really liked her vocal expression.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t shoot some pictures of her scratch’n’roll.

Sam Sam definitely knows how to ham it up for the camera.

I will be on photography duty for most nights at the Outsound New Music Summit, or at least the nights I’m not also performing with my band CDP.  You can find out more about the festival, including tickets, on the official website.

CatSynth 12th Anniversary

It’s our twelfth anniversary!  It’s hard to believe that this little project I started as a lark in 2006 is still going and expanding.  Here is that first picture of Luna that went up on July 19, 2006!

As always, we look to the anniversary as a moment for reflection and for changes.  We don’t have compiled detailed stats this year, but we do have several high-level milestones.  Most notably, we launched CatSynth TV last October, and since then have shared 74 videos! More are on the way.  We have continued to develop our apps, including the original CatSynth: The App! and Highway☆, though there is so much more we want to do there, both with existing and new apps.  And Sam Sam has blossomed into the new star of CatSynth!  With so many facets competing for our attention, there has been less time for the long-form reviews that once dominated this site, though we still write long-form articles when we can.  So with that, we make some announcements:

  • Sam Sam finally takes her rightful place on the masthead alongside the late great Luna!  It’s a change that is long overdue.  And appropriately, we are featuring one of her scratch’n’roll poses.
  • We are going to open up the site to new voices.  We have already had a couple of guest music reviews, and of course the semi-regular Mensa Cats cartoon series.  This is going to expand in the coming months.  If you have an idea for an article you would like to contribute, please let us know.
  • And as always, please keep sending us your cat-and-gear pics.

So please join Sam Sam and me in celebrating twelve years of CatSynth!  We look forward to sharing many more with all of you.


Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam

It’s a good time to check in with Sam Sam.  Life is good for her at CatSynth HQ, as she relaxes, gets brushed and cuddled, runs around, plays, explores…it’s good to be the cat!

Here we see Sam Sam on the upstairs balcony.

Behind her to the left is a painting/collage by Kasper Rodenborn.  We acquired it at his solo show at Far Out Gallery here in San Francisco last year.  You can read our review of the show and also watch our video (it was one of our earliest on the CatSynth TV channel).

Of course, Sam Sam never misses an opportunity to demonstrate her trademark “scratch’n’roll” move.

It’s irresistible and definitely gets my attention whenever I’m sitting nearby.  She does love getting attention.  For example, her she is yesterday in the studio while I was busy working on our latest synth-demo video.

We hope you are all having an enjoyable and relaxing weekend.

 

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam: At Rest

It’s been a stressful few weeks for us at CatSynth.  Not bad per se, just stressful.  During times like this, I often lie down to reduce psychic entropy and practice disintegration of thought.  And Sam Sam is often lying down next to me.

Sam Sam Curled up to sleep

Like most cats, Sam Sam is quite good at napping.  One might even say she is an “expert sleeper”, but that might cause confusion with one of the modular-synth manufacturers we sometimes feature.  She does have her own unique way of curling up, though, pull her tail close to her head and sometimes even grabbing it with her paw.  It’s adorable, and it never fails to make me smile.

Sam Sam holding her tail

She enjoys the soft blankets, either the burgundy or gray.  But she almost always chooses the same corner of the bed.  This is not surprising, as all of us at CatSynth are creatures of habit.

We hope you all have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.  For us, it will be a bit stressful once again, but with very focused study and practice on both the technological and musical fronts.  But I will do my best to keep Sam Sam’s example in mind as I work through it.  We can learn much from our cats!

 

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam: The New Neighbor

It looks like we have a new neighbor at CatSynth!

We have been noticing a new feline presence around CatSynth HQ, through sounds and bits of motion.  But this is the first time we saw him/her on the patio ledge.  It’s a little tuxedo cat, like Sam Sam.

Closeup of neighbor cat

This cat presumably lives in one of the apartments just beyond our patio.  We often see him sitting on the ledge behind this glass-brick window.

As one might imagine, Sam Sam is rather curious about this new cat outside her windows.

Sam Sam and the new neighbor

She is a bit anxious and agitated by the cat’s presence, and often jumps up on this sideboard and even the window ledge above!  Her is always fully fluffed during these encounters.  I suspect she is feeling both intrigued and territorial at the same time.  (We have already started clearing off the most fragile items and tchotchkes from the glass table).

We hope you have a great weekend.  And we’d love to hear about adventures your cats have with their feline neighbors 😺