Picture this.

I got a new phone a few weeks ago. I’ve gotten plenty of new phones in my life, so this isn’t a huge event, but what I haven’t had before is a phone camera quite this good. Up until now, whenever I wanted to take a “real” photo, I had to break out the good ol’ Nikon. Not anymore.

Of course, the day I got the phone, I tested out the camera on my two favorite test subjects. Berlioz, being the ham that he is, took part in my photo shoot immediately and happily.

I’m ready for my close up.

Wednesday, on the other hand, played coy.

No, photographs, please.

I tried multiple times to capture a portrait worthy of hanging on the fridge, but to no avail. Weeks went by, and the photos of Berlioz were piling up, while Wednesday continued to shy away from the camera. I was starting to think that the good people of Instagram were going to think I liked Berlioz better.

He sure is cute, though.

Finally, one day I was again crawling on the floor and contorting my arms awkwardly to try and capture Wednesday on film (ok, not really film, but whatever), she looked up at me for half a second, and I got it.


I’m sure there will be many more photos to come (I can’t help myself), and with the holidays fast approaching,  I definitely see some kind of holiday photo shoot in our future. Did someone say cats in santa hats?

Gandalf the Great.

Before there was Wednesday and Berlioz, there was Gandalf.

It was early 2003. I had just moved into a small apartment, alone. I really wanted a cat to share my new space with. I grew up with cats my whole life, and as an adult on my own, I decided now was the time to have a cat that was all my own.

I had a few guidelines for the cat I was planning to adopt:

  1. Must be from a shelter. This one was easy, being there are so many shelter kitties looking for a home.
  2. Must not be a kitten. This was also easy – there are way more adoptable adult cats out there since most people want kittens. I, on the other hand, did not want to come home everyday to a destroyed house, so I was hoping for a feline that was a bit more mature, preferably 1-3 years old.
  3. Must be male. This was getting a bit more specific, but pretty easy too, however it eliminated half of all the cats out there.
  4. Must be gray. Ok this one was going to be challenging. But I was not going to budge. I wanted a male, gray cat, so I could name him Gandalf the Gray. Yes, I was very into Lord of the Rings. No, I’m not embarrassed. Yes I also have a LOTR tattoo. I’m still not embarrassed. (ok,maybe a little).

So with my criteria in mind, I began my search. I found a ton of “almosts” – females that were gray, kittens that were gray, males that were 1-3 but not gray. And then, one day, I found him.

Baby Gandalf.

This was the photo where I first saw him. Yes, I downloaded it. Yes, I’ve saved it for 17 years. It’s small, grainy, and has another cat in it. But when I saw it, I knew. THIS was my Gandalf.

He was in a foster home at the time, so I drove to someone’s house to pick him up. He was 6 months old, so not quite a kitten anymore, but slightly younger than what I was looking for. I arrived at the house, and knocked at the door. A man answered, and a gray cat was there to greet me. He seemed super friendly and almost happy to see me. “This is definitely meant to be!” I thought.

I had brought my own carrier, and bent down to put the gray kitty who greeted me in it. A woman in the other room said, “oh, that’s not him. This is him.” Surprised, but not swayed, I walked over to another carrier with a smaller, scared, gray kitty inside.

“Open your carrier,” the woman said. She and the man then proceeded to turn my carrier so the door was open and faced up, and literally had to dump the kitty in from the other carrier, as he gripped the sides for dear life. This cat clearly did not want to go home with me.

It was too late, I had already made my choice, so I closed the carrier door, closed their front door, and opened my car door and placed Gandalf on the passenger seat, with the carrier door facing me, so we could get to know each other as I drove him to his new home.

I talked to him. I sang to him. I tried to put my hand into the door and pet him. He remained frozen, in the back of the carrier, staring at me, with dark beady eyes. He made no sound for the entire ride home.

I hoped that it would change when I arrived home and opened the carrier. I set it down, opened the door and….

nothing. He remained in the carrier, as far back and he could squish himself, and wanted no part of me and his new home. I tried food. I tried treats. I tried toys. Nothing helped. After a few hours of this, it was getting late, so I put out a bowl of food and water, set up the litter, and sadly, went to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, I jumped out of bed and hurried out to find Gandalf. The carrier was still in the middle of the floor, with the door opened, but Gandalf was no longer in it! This was good – he finally came out. He also used the litter box! All good signs. I called him. I began looking for him. Now this was a really small one bedroom apartment, however I could not find him anywhere. I began to panic. Did he somehow get out? I continued to search, frantically, and then finally I saw him. He was under the sofa, all the way up against the wall. He was silent, and again staring at me with beady eyes. I had to go to work so I had to leave him there, and hope for the best.

When I got home, he clearly had eaten and used the box again, but I still didn’t see him. I checked under the sofa, and there he was, in the same spot where I last saw him. He didn’t come out at any point that evening while I was awake, however he again appeared to have emerged while I was sleeping, only to return to his safe spot under the sofa when I awoke.

This went on for two weeks.

I was sad. There was no way I was going to return him – I could never bring myself to do that – but this was not the Gandalf I was hoping for. He didn’t even like me or want anything to do with me. I never had a cat like this growing up. I decided I would get a second cat, one that liked me.

That Sunday morning, my boyfriend at the time and I were hanging out, and again trying to get Gandalf to come out. With treats in hand, we went to the sofa, and peered under at him, calling him to come, like we’d been doing.

He came.

He came out from hiding. And never went back.

Let the fun begin.

For the next 13 years, Gandalf was my soul kitty. We laughed (sometimes at his expense).

why do you do this to me?

We cried.

Life is hard sometimes.

We sulked.


We played.


We loved.

soul kitty.

Gandalf was with me through 5 relationships, 3 moves, and 2 jobs. No matter what, he was waiting for me when I came home, meowing at the door, peering at me out the window. He jumped on my lap when I was sad. He was goofy, smart, soft, shy, surly, picky, loving, cuddly, and charming. But above everything else, Gandalf had one trait that set him apart from most other kitties – Gandalf had fangs.

vampire kitty.

He never bit, but man, if he did, he’d definitely have hurt someone. He looked like a little vampire. I loved everything about him. There was no kitty quite like Gandalf.  He was purrfect.

who, me?

Gandalf died on March 25th, 2016, at home. He had been sick for almost three months prior to that. I took him to the vet many times. They tried surgery. It seemed to work at first. They tried meds. They seemed to work at first. But he was slowly eating less and less. He was slowly moving around less and less. He began hiding. He began having coughing fits. But the worst part to me, was that he began to look sad.

His last photo.

I couldn’t help him. I tried. I still feel today (over three years later) like I didn’t try hard enough. That there was something I should have done differently or something else I could have done that I didn’t.

The day Gandalf died was the worst day of my life, and I will never forget it.

my favorite picture of him.

However, I have been able to realize that although there will never be another Gandalf, there can be another cat who I can love. Who stole my heart at our first meeting. Who’s goofy, funny, loud, and not at all shy. Who follows me around the house no matter what I do. Who loves me with his whole heart, like I love him.

I love you, mama.

Although the hurt never goes away, love eventually starts to outweigh that hurt, and that, my friends, is a truly wonderful thing.

Berlioz and The Wasp.

Today, I walked into the spare room and found Berlioz seated on the chair at my desk, staring at the air conditioner in the wall above.

The chair and the air conditioner.

I asked him what he was doing, but as usual, he wouldn’t tell me. So I stood there for a second, walked a bit closer to the air conditioner, didn’t see anything unusual, so I left the room.

Not even 5 minutes later, I heard a ruckus coming from the spare room (I was just across the hall in the master bedroom). I peeked out the door and into the room, and I saw Berlioz in the center of the room, playing with something that appeared to be moving itself. I again walked a bit closer, and then jumped like three feet back when I realized it was a giant bug. I yelled “kill it, Berlioz!” but he didn’t. Instead, he grabbed it with his teeth, and sprinted out of the room and down the stairs. I followed with a book in hand, hoping that I could crush the bug myself when he let it go. He did finally let it go and at this point I was able to see exactly what it was – a wasp.

the bad guy.

Upon this realization, I lost it. I grabbed a water bottle and tried to spray the wasp, but also sprayed Berlioz in the face. He snatched up the wasp (who I don’t think was able to fly or move very well anymore) and darted back upstairs with it, still buzzing in his clenched teeth.

I ran back upstairs, and frantically texted my husband, while the events unfolded before my eyes.



True story – Berlioz ate the wasp. I saw the whole thing. He saw me, he looked me dead in the eyes, and he began chewing. I heard a “crunch.” Then another “crunch.” He chewed a few more times, then began licking his chops. 

The wasp never had a chance.

savoring his victory.

I panicked again, because I never saw a cat eat a wasp before, and I had no idea what could possibly happen. I assumed after the two “crunches” that it was sufficiently lifeless and unable to sting him, but would he get sick? Would he have trouble digesting a stinger? Who knows??

Google knows. Google always knows. Unless it stung him inside his throat (which I’m pretty sure it could not possibly have) it’s just a bit of extra protein and he should be fine.

post-hunt nap.

Looks fine to me.

What Breed Are They, Anyway??

My cats are mutts. They came from shelters, they have no certifications other then they are certifiably crazy. But of course, that’s why we love them. But sometimes I wonder what their kitty heritage is. So I started doing some internet investigating, and I think I found the breed that is  most prominent in both of them. We’ll start with Wednesday.

What breed is she??

Wendesday is pure white (aside from a black spot on top of her head), is small, friendly (ish) and has bright, striking eyes that are two different colors. After reading up on a few breeds that match these traits, I concluded that she is definitely part Khao Manee. 

The Khao Manee is known for it’s white coat, and bright eyes which are either blue or two different colors (Wednesday is a match so far). They are friendly and outgoing, and get along with people (Wednesday is mostly a match…if biting people is considered getting along with them). They are intelligent (she is) and playful (she can be when she wants to be). They are considered royalty (she is also known as “the Princess”). So minus her sometimes grumpiness and black spot on the head (which is probably the source of her grumpiness), Wednesday is most likely an ancestor of the rare and royal Khao Manee.

You should see me in a crown.

So then, Berlioz. What is he?? I did the same thing with him as I did with Wednesday – I looked up different breeds and narrowed it down to the one that most matched his looks and personality traits: the Bombay.

How Bombay is he??

Berlioz is playful, affectionate, and glued to my side at all times. He fetches (and we never taught him – he was born knowing how to do it), he snuggles under the covers, and he likes everyone and everything he meets. Oh, and did I mention that he loves to eat? Like he would eat all day if there was food available. He even eats Wednesday’s barf (which makes me want to barf). He also has a shiny black coat (except for one small white patch on his chest) and bright yellow eyes. All of these are traits of the Bombay.  Bombay’s are typically social, playful, and very attached to their owners, earning them the title of “velcro kitty.” Bombays love to eat and food intake needs to be controlled to avoid overfeeding.

You don’t say.

food dream
I often dream of food…

Anyway, by no means am I claiming either of these shelter mutts are purebred kitties, but honestly, I would’t want either one of them any other way. They’re purrrfect, just the way they are.

A Tail of Two Kitties.

Sometimes, I just watch Wednesday and Berlioz interact. I suppose they like each other – I mean, they often sit in the same room peacefully, and although they chase each other around sometimes, it never gets violent. They are like polar opposites though in some ways – Wednesday is very neat, quiet, and graceful. Berlioz is a hot mess who flies into a room like a tornado, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. But they both love snuggling (on their own terms of course) and often they just hang out together, doing whatever it is cats do, like staring at things that are apparently invisible to the human eye:

something only they can see.

And then one day, I think they may have been trying to murder me, or teach me some kind of lesson. At least they were working together:

this will teach her to give us more dinner.

If the attempted murder actually was a success, what would they do at night, when they’re cold?

we are definitely NOT snuggled up next to you.

At the end of the day, these two felines from opposite sides of the river, with personalities that couldn’t be any more different, love each other (and by love, I mean tolerate) and bring us joy everyday (and by joy I mean mischief, mutiny, and mayhem).


I wouldn’t change a thing.

No, Kitty, That’s My Popcorn.

Last night, when I came home from work, I put my bags down, including my closed and zippered shut lunchbag, and started putting things away and getting settled in. I brought my two bags of groceries into the kitchen to put them away, leaving the closed and zippered shut lunchbag on the coffee table. Inside of the closed and zippered shut lunchbag was:

1 half empty jar of almond butter

1 used knife that needed to be cleaned

1 small sealed plastic bag of popcorn

I assumed that these contents were all safe, being that they were inside of the closed and zippered shut lunchbag.

During my time away from the closed and zippered shut lunchbag, I also fed the #catsquad who were begging for dinner as usual.

(disclaimer: this photo was actually taken the night before, but it could be any night as it’s always the exact same scene when dinner is about to be served)

After feeding them, I went upstairs to put the rest of my stuff away and to change. This took approximately 20 minutes. At this point, I came back down into the living room to claim the closed and zippered shut lunchbag and empty it of it’s three items and put them away, accordingly.

Someone had beat me to it.

closed and zippered shut no more.

I assumed it was Berlioz, however if there had been any doubt, it was cast away when he retuned to the scene of the crime, and began eating the popcorn faster than I could clean it up.


In all of this, I haven’t been able to figure out how he gained entry into the closed and zippered shut lunchbag. The world may never know.

We Can Work it Out.

The other day, I went upstairs to run on the treadmill. Berlioz followed me, as he often does. I set up the treadmill, and stepped out of the room momentarily. Upon my return, I was greeted by this sight:

You shall not run.

I tried to get him to budge, but no dice. I thought standing on the treadmill myself might give him the hint that it’s time to move.

It didn’t.

I can run too, mama.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, he moved out of the way, and I went for my 7 mile treadmill run, but not without him coming back into the room more than once, and getting dangerously close to the moving treadmill belt. I had to yell and throw tissues at him until he finally left the room.

As soon as I finished, I went into bathroom to grab a glass of water. When I returned, he was right back where he started.

Happiness is a warm treadmill.

I was finished running, and sort of tired myself, so I figured if you cant beat ’em….

…join ’em.

It was actually quite warm and relaxing. Plus the sun was shining in right on us, so I put on some chill music, and before we knew it, one of us had drifted off to sleep.

cat napping.

These cats are living their best (nine) lives. We can all take a few tips from them on how to relax, how to snuggle, and how to love.

For Love or For Warmth?

This past week, the cats have literally been all over me. Laying on top of me while I’m sleeping, jumping up onto my lap whenever it’s open, and even snuggling more with each other! I can chalk it up to one of two things: my husband has been away for work  and they love me and don’t want me to be lonely, or they’re cold. So, I’m going to share a few shots from the past week, and you can decide for yourself – is it for love or for warmth?

#1. The middle of the night sleep snuggle.

Love or Warmth?

#2. The coffee and pajamas nap.

Love or Warmth?

3. The underarm curl up.

Love or Warmth?

4. The synchronized cat nap.

Love or Warmth?

I’m going to have to go with Love here, folks. Sure it was in the single digits this past week, but they love me, ok? THEY LOVE ME.

PS – they also love each other.



Sometimes I think the cats hate each other. They run around the house, hissing, clawing, biting and wrestling. But then there are times when they think I’m not looking, that I catch them in the act of being best friends.

Here, they were in the middle of what appears to be a very important conversation, which I so rudely interrupted.


And one time I woke up, and they were totally snuggling. That is, until they realized I was awake, and all heck broke loose.

we’re only sleeping.

Another time, I walked into the dining room, and found this. I’m not sure what exactly they were doing, but it was clearly some kind of bonding ritual.

bonding or just plain weird.

And then there was the day I found them watching the birds together, and I knew once and for all, they were secretly best friends for life.


Time to drop the facade guys – the cat is out of the bag 🙂


The Cat in the Moon.

This morning, I saw this article on the internet. It was labeled “This is Important,” and since everything on the internet is true, I figured it must be important so I better open it.

Sure enough, it was very important. You can (and should) read it for yourself here, however I’ll give you a quick summary in the meantime.

Grab a toilet paper tube. Take a selfie with it. You’ll look like the moon.

Now this is the best thing I’ve heard in weeks! I had to give it a try myself right away, so up to the bathroom I went, where there was thankfully a roll of toilet paper that was almost empty! I took the now empty paper tube, and tried to take a selfie.

It looked completely ridiculous and it was not living up to the standard the article set. I put down the paper tube, slightly dejected about my failure to achieve the American Dream, when Wednesday walked in, and it hit me: I’ll make the cats look like the moon instead!

I snatched up the tube and my phone, and before she knew what happened, I successfully turned Wednesday into the moon.

The cat in the moon is smiling.

She seemed pleased, almost as if she aspired to be the moon her whole life. It took one shot to capture this fine work of feline art.

Berlioz on the other hand….

First attempt.

He was not having it. It took at least 10 takes, and none of them were worthy of the heavenly body we call “moon.”

Fourth or Fifth attempt (is he eating something here?)

I finally got one that was sort of ok….

Eighth or Ninth attempt. He’s sticking his tongue out at me now.

I almost gave up, but tried one last time….

Jupiter has finally aligned with Mars.

This will have to do. At least his eyes are open and his mouth is closed. For once. ;D