No, this article has nothing to do with Moog. Rather, it's just a story with a happy ending published by the local SPCA a month or so ago (unfortunately, they appear to have removed the link to the original PDF). Everyone needs a happy story now and then, even the rather dark and cynical characters who spend time on this forum.

A cat had been found in a San Jose alley nursing her kittens. She had been a victim of animal cruelty and had a 14-inch slash that extended from under her left arm to the end of her stomach. She had been rushed to an emergency vet hospital where surgery was performed to stabilize her and clean and repair her wounds.

Now it's possible that the 14-inch slash on the cat's belly was an accident, but it's more likely that it was a deliberate act of cruelty. What sort of sick, depraved, person slashes a poor kitty, let alone a mother with kittens? I suspect kids. Pro-lifers, take notice! Fortunately, the cat did recover from her wounds:

Although in pain and barely alive, Kitty continued to love and care for her three kittens. The staff at the humane shelter quickly realized this was a special cat as she was extremely sociable and quite the purr-box.

She was then transfered to the Santa Cruz SPCA, where she acquired the name Princess Mugio. Mugio is a Latin verb for groan/roar/bellow, and of course, “moo.” The following is a quote from the person who fostered her during her recovery:

Upon laying my eyes on this severely injured cat, a tremendous wave of sorrow came over me. I could not understand what would possess someone to commit such a heinous act. Here laid this helpless animal, weighing a mere five pounds, suffering from a fourteen-inch thoracicabdominal wound. Princess Mugio had done nothing to deserve such abuse.

Pro-lifers, take note a second time.

Happily, Princess Mugio did make a full recovery, and became quite a charmer:

Princess grew stronger and healthier with each day. She began to flourish. Her unique personality slowly emerged. She began conversing more, especially in the mornings and when I would return from work. It became clear she was a remarkably intelligent cat.

Sounds a lot like Luna, who is not only a “princess”, but is also quite the conversationalist in the morning and evening (when I get home from work).

Eventually, Mugio was ready for a permanent home, and was featured as a “Pet of the Week,” with her own ad in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. It stated: Deserving Princess Seeks New Castle. The link takes you to their archives.

Apparently it didn't take long for someone to give her that “castle” and what appears to be a happy ending to what could have been a very tragic story.

Weekend Cat Blogging #74: Preparing for New Orleans radio performance

Lali at Lali et Cie is hosting Weekend Cat Blogging soixante-dix quatre (I never could get the hang of French numbers). And how appropriate to be blogging this weekend from one of America's great cities with French heritage, New Orleans. I am here attending the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), and will be performing a piece live on local public radio WTUL FM. For anyone interested in listening in, it will be streaming live online, next Friday at 1PM CST US (check out my main site for more info.

Needless to say, I've been scrambling a bit to get ready for the trip in general, and the performance in particular. I'll post more about the music and technology later this weekend, but for now it's enough to appreciate that Luna has been keeping me company in the studio as I work out some nasty bugs in the software for the piece:

She seems to enjoy sitting on my lap while I work. And it's great to have her sharing in some small part of the creative process.

I think this closeup qualifies as a “catsynth pic.” Luna poses with laptop, E-MU Xboard, E-MU Vintage Pro and circuit-bent VTech toy phone.

In my absence, Luna is being well cared for courtesy of Ronni West's Happy At Home Cat Sitting.

Halloween Weekend Cat Blogging: Black Cat Appreciation

This special Halloween edition of Weekend Cat Blogging is being hosted by Linda and Aggie over at kayaksoup. It is a lovely warm sunny October afternoon here on the left coast, and Luna has some lovely harvest-themed pictures to share:

Here Luna obliges us with the traditional Halloween pose:

Sadly, Halloween can be a difficult time for cats in the United States, especially black kitties. The image of the black cat as “bad luck” or witches' familiars permeate folklore as well as the pop culture and commerce surrounding Halloween. Ritual sacrifice and harm to black cats is largely documented to be an urban legend, but the fiction can influence kids. Indeed, animal killing and abuse does rise around halloween mostly because of “poorly-behaved kids” influenced by the folk and popular images:

Far too often, the animals are tortured and sacrificed during pseudo satanic-based rituals.

“But not by the real religious satanic groups,” [Lillian Dubois-Tercero, president and executive director of Arizona Pet Line] stressed. “They don't sacrifice cats and dogs. It's the idiot juveniles (who are) responsible who don't know what they're doing.”

This is one reason why many shelters control (or ban) adoptions of black cats in the weeks leading up to and immediately after Halloween. However, shelters are trying to minimize another problem faced by black cats around Halloween – people “adopting” them as living decorations, trying to go one better than the ubiquitous paper cutouts. Even if not specifically “hurt,” many of these cats are apparently returned to the shelters after Halloween. Such “shelter whiplash” can be traumatic, and if I were a cat I would lose some of my trust in humans. has an excellent article on The Perils of Halloween for Black Cats. We join the author in dubbing October as Black Cat Appreciation Month. Of course, here at CatSynth every day is Black Cat Appreciation Day.

So be kind to kitties you meet these week, and keep your own feline companions indoors. Might want to keep an eye on some of those kids, too…

UPDATE (Oct 29): AP has an article today entitled “Black cat adoptions banned on Halloween”, which discusses both the practice as well as potential downsides for already stigmatized black cats:

Janet, a black cat up for adoption, pauses on a wall ledge at the Kootenai Humane Society, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2006, in Hayden, Idaho. The Kootenai Humane Society is prohibiting all black cat adoptions from mid-October to Nov. 2, fearing the ebony animals could be mistreated as a Halloween prank, or worse, be used in a satanic sacrifice. (AP Photo/ Kirk Mastin)

Doesn't Janet look a lot like Luna? Such a sweet face…

Weekend Cat Blogging #72: The furry encounter

Jelly and Kamikazee over at I got Two Shoes host this weekend's roundup. Uncle Kamikazee is up to his old antics again.

We had our own little drama here earlier. Luna was looking out one of her favorite windows here in the studio when one of our neighbors showed up:

This tuxedo kitty has been in the neighborhood a lot longer than I have, and, well, he thinks he owns the place. That being said, Luna has her own claims to the view out the window, and attempts to let him know who's the queen of this domain. She has a unique sound she uses for encounters with other felines, as can be heard in this Catster video:

This is as good a time as any to let folks know that Luna has her own profile and blog at Catster, where you can read about this episode from her perspective and watch Furry Encounter Part 2.

Weekend Cat Blogging #67

Luna blends in perfectly with her dad's decor while getting warm on a table above our main heater. The temperature this morning was 49F (10C)! That is a travesty in September, usually the hottest month of the year along the California coast. It's not helping my recovery from whatever ailment has befallen me this week, either.

Anyhow, being stuck home gives me plenty of time to host Weekend Cat Blogging #67, taking over from last week's host, chefsarahjane. Assuming I'm feeling better over the weekend and things warm up a bit, I'll be spending as much time as I can outside – but that shouldn't stop me from posting updates.

So send us your feline articles and photos; either leave a comment on this post, or send me a message. Bonus points if you can fit into the cats-with-music-and-art theme of this forum.

Weekend Kitty Blogging #71: Silliness and The Mighty Hunter

This weekend's round-up is being hosted at Rosa's Yummy Yums, featuring Fridolin and Maruschka taking turns with a knit bonnet and looking quite embarrassed. Check out this week's round-up of silly and crazy, but nonetheless extremely cute felines.

Luna is quite the sophisticated cat, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have her silly moments, such as her fun with boxes last week. She also loves to play with her toy mousies, and goes at them with reckless abandon:

One of her favorite games is to push them under the couch farther than she can reach, which often leads to amusing scenes like this:

Indeed, Luna can be quite silly and obsessive when she plays the mighty hunter. I snapped this pic while she was engrossed for 15 to 20 minutes with a bug that fell behind the dresser after she succeeding in swatting it:

Sweetie, just let it go…

CatSynth pic: kittennettik fyrall

It's been a little while since I've posted an actual cat-and-synth photo. Here we have a kitty posing with a “kittennettik” instrument called the fyrall. From the website:

fyrall is a multo-jungo-world dialer, it is a freak. Within, it has three electronic wheels, one made out of wigglers, one made out of digital counting temples, and the third reconnects the others. at every move it may be in a state of internal paradox. it is always looking for a state of rest and it can never find it. Experimenting on the fyrall is fun because new rewirings will cause it to spasm in the weirdest ways.

The fyrall and the other kittennetiks use chaotic cicruits for sound synthesis and control. The creator of these instruments has some specs and papers, which are, well, quite interesting. See for yourself.

My interest is definitely piqued. However, I might try looking at one of the “paper circuits” they provide before considering any of the full-blown kits.

Weekend Cat Blogging #66: More Luna in Action

WCB #66 is being hosted this week by Sarah over at chefsarahjane. Sounds like she is going away on Sunday, and I'm busy today preparing for my set at the headphone festival in SF (see the previous post). Thus, I looked back in my rather extensive collection of Luna photos and came up with this action sequence from last February:

It was around Valentine's Day and I saw that little pink-heart toy during a routine pet-store run – it was pretty inevitable that I would buy it for her, and as you can see she loved it!

The toy is still around (probably under the sofa) though the black strings are long gone.

Weekend Cat Blogging #70: Cat in a Box

This weekend's hosts, Boots, Tess and D at The Hidden Paw, have challenged us to produce Cat-in-a-Box submissions for WCB 70. That's not too hard for us, as Luna is quite fond of boxes:

In the photo above, she is caught in the act of chewing on pieces of her favorite box from Ikea. This is one of her guilty pleasures in life.

Here, we have Luna encountering an Amazon box in the hallway. I wonder how that got there…

Visit the round-up for more adorable pictures of cats in boxes, bags, and other sundry containers.