It’s been a little while since we last checked in with Big Merp. He had been splitting his time indoors and outdoors in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, but as the cold and rain started pounding the region this winter, he has gladly made the transition to being a mostly indoor cat.
He is definitely loving the posh and comfy life in his new home.
He does like to go outside now and then, to patrol the neighborhood, and to check in on his lady friend Hissy. But most of the time he is content to stay inside. Sometimes, we open the door for him to go outside, and he just stands there, thinks and goes “nah” and heads back in. As someone who hates the cold, I think this is a wise choice.
Yesterday, we got him a catnip toy from our visit to Cat Town cafe and adoption center, and he has taken to it with aplomb.
We hope you are all enjoying a happy and fulfilling Sunday, whatever you are up to.
It happens almost every year. After returning home from NAMM, a few days later I fall ill with what we affectionately call the “NAMMthrax”. I suppose it’s not surprising, being in close quarters with thousands of musicians and others over four days and compromised immune systems from all our drinking and debauchery. This year’s hit hard around Wednesday, and has lingered into the weekend. But fortunately Sam Sam is here, and being both a great companion and a great nurse.
When I lie down to rest, she is usually by my side. Of course, being a cat, she takes frequent naps herself.
There is something so peaceful and calming about her curled up and resting. And it seems to fit well visually and spiritually with the stormy weather that has settled in this weekend. Since December, we have been hit with a series of really nasty winter storms with high winds and flooding. It is not pleasant, and sometimes even stressful, but I know I shouldn’t complain as much of the country is in a deep freeze.
I like this portrait of Sam Sam sitting down in “loaf” pose on the ledge. And if you want to see a bit of action, here she is in our most recent Instagram.
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 a 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.
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.
Today we visit with our feline friends in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. First up is Marlon, formerly known as “Fluffy.”
Despite living outdoors, he is healthy and well-fed, and clearly has a past that includes life as a pet cat. He loves people and didn’t need much convincing to spend time indoors. Indeed, he is living it up with his indoor time, getting food and scritches and soft blankets to relax on.
He is a big fellow but has a tiny voice that sounds more like “merp” than “meow”. I don’t yet have any video of his vocals, but you can see him thoroughly enjoying himself in this Instagram video with the music of John Schott playing in the background.
You can hear more of John Schott and his Actual Trio in this CatSynth TV video. In the meantime, let’s check in with Sophia, formerly known as “Hissy.”
As one can see in this photo, she is a beautiful cat, with Siamese-like markings and a graceful bearing. We think she might have once been a pet as well, but she is still extremely skittish around people. I mostly just get a glimpse of her from a distance and she runs off at any attempts to get closer. But she usually remains hidden nearby when Marlon is around. The two of them seem to have a special bond, despite their divergent attitudes towards humans.
We hope all our human and feline friends have a lovely weekend.
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.
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.
We introduce two new kitty pals today: Fluffy and Hissy. They are outdoor kitties who live in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, California.
This is Fluffy. He is a big fellow, and quite friendly. As far as we know, he lives outdoors full time, but he is very comfortable around humans, especially when they provide food.
By contrast, Hissy is much more skittish around people, and it is quite difficult to photograph her.
Usually, Hissy backs away, but if one does get close, she lives up to her name.
Both Fluffy and Hissy seem to be healthy and well fed in comparison to some of the street cats I have encountered in the neighborhood, so they probably have a network of food and safety options, beyond our “satellite office” in the neighborhood.
We hope to get some better photographs of them soon.
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.
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.
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!