This weekend we check in on our feline pal in Oakland, Marlon. We have dubbed him “Big Merp” for his large size and vocalizations that sound like “merp“.
This the face of cat who has lived life hard, and just wants to chill out in his older years. Fortunately, he is getting that opportunity as he has been spending more and more time indoors. This included getting to stay indoors during the worst of the smoke from the wildfires to our north last month.
As we have mentioned before, it is clear he was a pet cat at one point in his life. He enjoys the comforts of indoors, attention from humans, and food. Lots of food. His friend Hissy is not so sure about the indoor life and is still wary of humans, but she does come around for food and to hang out with Big Merp.
The two of them clearly share a connection, even though they don’t always have the same outlook on life. We hope Hissy does learn to trust people a bit more in the future.
We close with a reminder to readers to be kind to the cats – and other animals – that share our neighborhoods and spaces with us.
We at CatSynth took a break from our busy schedule of art, friends, and family in New York to visit the Brooklyn Cat Cafe.
The concept of the “cat cafe” originated in Japan, but has spread around the world, including at least three in New York. Like Cat Town in Oakland, it is an all-volunteer effort focused on finding foster and forever homes for the cats in their care. It is located in a small storefront on Atlantic Avenue in the shadow of the bridges and downtown Brooklyn, but a peek inside reveals a space covered in cats.
Many were napping, like the line above, but they are also quite playful and affectionate. They are, of course, cats.
This sweet black kitty greeted me with a nose kisses.
Hilda was perhaps the most playful on this evening, looking visitors in the eyes as she played with various toys. She especially liked this wires dangling from the main table.
Burton was a big fellow and quite a character. A very friendly cat, he minded me a big of our friend Marlon, aka “the big merp” in Oakland, but with Sam Sam’s markings.
One of the hardest parts of traveling is leaving behind my cats. So having cat cafes is in the cities I visit is most welcome. The change to play with cats, cuddle them, and pet them can brighten the stormiest night.
The cats are clearly loved and well cared for, and there are rules for visitors that help ensure a safe and respectful space for them. Most of these fall under the rubric of “don’t be a jerk”, but there are also reminders of the fact that each cat has a different level of comfort with human behavior. If a cat is wary of being pet, respect their boundaries. If a cat needs a break from human interaction and wants to hide (and I can certainly sympathize with that), let them. And the result is a place filled with love among human and feline alike, and many cats have found their forever homes through visits to the cafe.
The Brooklyn Cat Cafe is run by the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, which is dedicated to finding homes for cats and other animals in their community. They opened the cafe in 2016.
By our one-year anniversary in May of 2017, the cafe had welcomed over 35,000 visitors — an average of over 95 visitors cuddling with our cats per day — and placed over 250 cats in permanent adoptive homes.
To find out more about the cafe, including visiting, adopting cats, and how to donate or volunteer, please visit their website.
On this Veterans Day, we salute some of the cats who have served in their countries armed forces.
First up is Able Seacat Simon,
Simon has the distinction of being the only cat awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal after being wounded during a battle on the Yangtze River. From his Wikipedia page:
The badly wounded cat crawled on deck, and was rushed to the medical bay, where the ship’s surviving medical staff cleaned his burns, and removed four pieces of shrapnel, but he was not expected to last the night. He managed to survive, however, and after a period of recovery, returned to his former duties in spite of the indifference he faced from the new captain Lieutenant Commander John Kerans. While anchored in the river, the ship had become overrun with rats, and Simon took on the task of removing them with vigour, as well as raising the morale of the sailors.
When Simon died in 1949 he was buried with full military honors and lies in PDSA Animal Cemetery in Ilford.
Cats in the military have most often been ship cats, who have perform the practical function of ridding the ships of rodents and other potential pests, as well as boosting the crew’s morale. You can find many examples in this post from the Naval History Blog.
Cats have also served on land. Pfc Hammer served with an Army unit in Iraq in 2004.
The cat, dubbed Pfc. Hammer, experienced the war right alongside the soldiers. He jumped at the sound of nearby gunfire and unexpected explosions when they did. He would always take the soldiers’ minds off of the war at just the right time.
During a mortar attack on the unit Hammer ran to the bunker with everyone else. The nearest soldier picked up the cat and tucked the feline inside his body armor for safe keeping until the attack was over.
In the true spirit of “no soldier left behind”, the unit made sure that Hammer was able to come back to the U.S. with them. With the help of Alley Cat Allies and Military Mascots, he was relocated stateside and no lives with fellow veteran Staff Sgt. Rick Bousfield and his family.
If you have stories of cats who have served in war, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.
We at CatSynth love Chris Marker’s film Sans Soleil. It made an indelible mark on my thoughts about film and even inspired me to go find and visit the shrine dedicate to cats outside Tokyo that he featured. You can read about that adventure here.
Not our Luna, but another sweet black cat who shared the name 😻and all dressed up as a sushi roll for Halloween! From Yoselin Alcala via our Facebook page.
A Cats on Synthesizers Halloween submission! Our little Luna in her sushi costume with a Mellotron ✨🎃
“Sushi Luna” is posing with a Mellotron Micro synthesizer. We at CatSynth are quite interested in this smallest edition in the venerable Mellotron series. It is also the subject of our most popular CatSynth TV episode.
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.
Sarper Duman returns to CatSynth with one of his beautiful serenades with his cats 😻. From his Facebook page.
If you want to wake up to every new day with a real and unconditional love, adopt an animal.. Even if they don’t see, even if they’re missing a leg, they have no handicap in loving and being loved.. 🖤🐈🎹
Her yeni güne gerçek, çıkarsız bir sevgiyle başlamak istiyorsanız, hayvan sahiplenin.. Görmeseler de, bir bacakları eksik de olsa, sevmeye, sevilmeye hiçbir engelleri yok.. 🖤🐈🎹
The moment where the tabby crawls onto the keyboard is priceless!