Piece O’ NYC: Our City Cats

This post is dedicated to the animals I love the most: cats!

When Jeff and I first moved in together, back when we were wee ones in Baltimore, I immediately told him we were getting a cat. Wisely, he didn’t fight me on this. I’m a bit of a cat lady. Most of my friends — ok, ALL of my friends — know that if they spot something cat related to show it to me or get it for me. I’m just one of those crazies.

So, throughout our marriage, Jeff and I have had cats. Sugar, our first cat, sadly passed while she was still a kitten. She was very sweet and loved us both.

Then came Carlton. His full name is Carlton Butterworth Livingston Goldsmith, I. (At the pound his name was “Cookie”…short for Cookie Monster we think…). He was hovering on 17 pounds when we got him, but is now a nice and husky 13 pounds. He’s a gentleman and a scholar, and as his time with us progressed, it became clear that he and Jeff would become the closest of buddies. So that made me feel ‘cat-less.’
Carlton with his buddy, Jeffrey. Probably talking about girls and football...

Carlton with his buddy, Jeffrey. Probably talking about girls and football…

FullSizeRender copy 2Since I’ve never felt right without cat love, I had to get my own. Back to the pound we went, and home we came with Millie, (Millicent Butterworth Goldsmith — if you think these names are funny, wait until you hear what we have in store for our kids one day ;p). Millie is the perfect cat. She’s super sweet and loving, you can leave tons of food out for her and she doesn’t over consume (Carl is a glutton), and she plays with all of her cat toys equally (Carl only likes his princess pillows or squeaky mice). She also plays fetch and does this!

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She’s pretty protective of this quilt… I wouldn’t try to use it while she’s ‘guarding’ it.

FullSizeRenderLiving in tight quarters with two cats does have several challenges, though. There are hair ball nuggets everywhere and no matter what you do, there’s never enough floor space for all of Millie’s toys or for Carl to lay out on. We have random corners where Carl has to have his cat bed — he’s big enough that instead of cat beds, we get him small dog beds. Plus, our litterbox is an eye sore. Jeff and I can totally see why many people here have dogs. (Jeff has never had a dog or puppy, but one day I totally plan on getting him one. One day when we have that house we’ve always dreamed of…).

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NYC is interesting for cats. Millie loves our high rise view and I know Carlton’s happy just as long as you feed him on time. Some people in this city walk their cats in strollers, and we’ve seen cats on leashes in the park. I really think Carlton could be down with this, but Millie is too much like a dog. She’d want to explore.
When Jeff and I talk about our marriage, we immediately think of the cats we’ve had during that time in our lives. For example, it was Sugar who comforted me as I scrolled through bridal magazines looking for DIY wedding ideas, but it was Carlton who moved with us to a new apartment in Baltimore as a married couple. Aren’t pets just the greatest?!

Piece O’ NYC: Romancing the Weekend

There are a lot of weekdays when Jeff and I get home really late from work and school. We often feel like we don’t have enough time to connect and it can feel like we’re more married to our work than to each other — even when we do have time during the week, it’s used to run errands, clean the house, or do all the other little things that build up at the house (a major reason we started up Blue Apron was to save time and headache). I guess this is what you go through during this stage of life, but boy is it distressing sometimes. Honestly, the weekend should have three days and not just two…
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We should probably put down our phones during brunch, huh?

But in efforts to keep the romance alive, Jeff and I try to do fun and special things together. We have a great city to take advantage of, so it should be easy right? Sometimes it is, and sometimes we really just want to chill and veg out on the couch with our cats. Lately we’ve been going for long walks and runs in Central Park. A few times, we’ve tried a new brunch spot we’ve never been to and consumed copious amounts of fun brunch cocktails. Last weekend, we went to the only Cat Cafe in NYC, Meow Parlour — leave it to me to find something to do with cats during “us” time ;p. The upside was that Meow Parlour also has a patisserie down the street that sells cat shaped macarons…and they were yummy!
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This is Carlton, our own cat. He always needs a little weekend romance too.

Another day we went to the Whitney Museum. Jeff loves modern and abstract art and, though I’m not a huge fan of modern art, I loved the new museum. It’s in a great location and is down the street from ‘bruffins‘, so I was content to visit with a pit stop along the way. If you visit the Whitney, get lunch at Bubby’s afterwards and go for a stroll on the High Line. Bubby’s had an amazing corn salsa that we tried and we will definitely be replicating this weekend.

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Nice views at the Whitney Museum, no?

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Since we know that as soon as the academic year commences, and our stress levels elevate, Jeff and I are on a serious mission to try as many new brunch spots and new things together! Gotta keep the romance alive! Do you and your partner do anything special to connect or reconnect? We’re all ears!

And now there are two…

Our eldest cat, Emma, went to heaven this morning. At least, I expect that she did. She was, after all, a meek and mild cat, hardly ever mean.

Emma is in the middle between Belle (front) and Dave (back).

Emma is in the middle between Belle (front) and Dave (back).

I think I’ve written before that Belle (in front) showed up starving and sweet-tempered. As she got stronger, she changed and ended up chasing the other cats out of the house.

Emma decided to live the back yard. Truthfully, the space has a pool with growies around it, rather than being a ‘yard’, but Emma had a very nice set-up in the shed. She loved lying in the pool chairs, moving with the sun. I think she enjoyed her 1 1/2 years of being the primary owner of the space.

About 2 weeks ago I noticed that she was very thin. We took her to the vet who ran tests but at the $400 mark the best he could say was she probably had cancer and it was a toss-up as to what he could do from there. I didn’t think that Emma was up for extensive cancer treatments so we took her home with extra-special food and did what we could to make her happy. Since Emma ‘happy’ looks like Emma napping, it was not hard to do. She was still a little perky then, looking happy to be alive.

I got home Sunday from California and Emma had lost more weight, she had not been eating at all, and she no longer looked perky. So, this morning, Steve and I took her in to have her… put to sleep? euthanized? killed? The words are tricky.

I’m not one for dressing up words for death. We all die, and that’s the word I usually use. It is to be hoped that we end up in a happy place, but that happens after we do the dying part. However, with that thought in mind, the phrase ‘passed on’ makes more sense. I’ve never particularly liked it, but that sums up what happened with Emma today. She passed on from this existence to the next.

We got a little teary-eyed but Dr. Locke assured us that we did the right thing. A mass had grown on her back in the space of a week and he said that whatever she had, he would not have been able to stop it. She never seemed to be in pain and the process went very smoothly. She seemed happy—or at least not unhappy. There are so many worse ways to go.

Emma is now planted in the front yard near Spike and Walter. I miss seeing her at the back door but she will live on in our memories.

Now it’s Dave’s who has a problem. It’s not a lethal problem, but he’s losing the hair on his face. Dr. Locke thinks it’s an allergic dermatitis. If Dave could see himself, he’d be very unhappy—but he can’t see himself! There are times when it’s nice to be blissfully unaware of circumstances you cannot change, don’t you think?

Sometimes you just need a box…

I just read that cats love boxes. How did I miss this important fact!

We have 3 cats: Emma (gray, female, sort of delicate) has been with us 12 years or more. Dave (male, black, kind of aggressive) joined us a few years later. Last winter, Belle (female, small) showed up between ice storms. She was bony, obviously homeless.

For a while the cats co-existed in the house. This is the one and only picture I have of them together…

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And then all hell broke loose. Belle decided that she was the boss and she started fighting with the other two cats. I tried putting different cats in cat carriers. I tried closing them off from each other. No dice.

Emma fled first, to the back yard. We finally put a cat door in the shed. I got her a kitty kabin and a heat lamp for winter. She seems happy in her new home. Every now and then she flirts with the idea of coming inside the house, but then she turns tail and runs.

Dave (big, tough Dave!) is back to being a mostly outside cat. I set up a warm spot (with a heat lamp) in the garage for cold nights. He actually snuck into the house the other night to sleep in front of the fire, but he skedaddled first thing in the morning, before Belle saw him.

Belle is now the queen of all she surveys. The house is hers. We are her people. Steve is not crazy about Belle. He doesn’t appreciate the fact that she has run the other 2 cats outside. The funny thing is, though, that he was not crazy about the other 2 cats either. He (says he) would be happy if they all went to heaven.

I wish the 3 cats were happy together; instead I have 3 happy cats who thrive in their own separate spaces. Keeping them separately fed and watered is a small hassle but other than that, it’s not that bad. I’m not unhappy that Belle is our inside cat because I like her personality. She’s perky! She is also sometimes pointy—but not usually. Sort of like me :-).

I am, however, going to remember about the cardboard boxes. Maybe, if I could somehow get them all in the house at the same time—with boxes aplenty—they could each go to a box and think about getting along.