And then we said “What the hell, let’s get the cats a new apartment”

I live with three dudes. Only one of them has intact testicles.

There’s the dude I married. (More on him later.)

And then there’s Shinto.

When we lost our cat Janacek, a sweet old boy remarkable only for his shedding, we went to the shelter looking for a similar cat. We asked the attendant to point us in the direction of a big, lazy cat who would be fine while we were off at work. He led us to Shinto, describing him as mellow and low maintenance.

So we took him home.

When it immediately became obvious that Shinto was maybe just the teeniest bit high maintenance.

Of course, at that point, it was too late. We loved him.

And then the world shut down from Covid so we had plenty of time to indulge his endless need for attention.

Once we started heading back out into the world, Shinto was miserable. The only solution I could think of was to get him some company, kind of his own emotional support cat. I asked a friend, who is one of those saintly-type people who foster cats, and she activated her network of other saintly-type people which culminated with what I call “the cat drug deal” where a saintly-type cat foster lady handed over a box on my sidewalk and I brought that box up to my apartment and inside that box was Tanuki.

I had to sign an agreement with the cat foster-to-adopt service that I would keep Tanuki and Shinto separate for 2 weeks, so I locked him in the bedroom. The cats rattled the door in desperation and had many meowing conversations through the crack under the door. After a few days Tanuki made a break for it when I opened the bedroom door and ran straight to Shinto. They gazed into each others eyes, Tanuki licked Shinto’s neck, they sniffed buttholes…and off they went romping around the apartment.

So you could say the whole cat drug deal thing was a success.

And we love Tanuki too.

He’s much lower maintenance than Shinto and far gentler (except when he’s broken into the catnip stash). However, get the two together…and there’s trouble. Tanuki is strong and Shinto is smart. Nothing in the apartment was safe from them—we even had to get a child-safety lock for the refrigerator. They were a lot of cat personality for a one bedroom apartment.

So we said “What the hell, let’s get the cats a new apartment”.

Here’s a thing I never thought I’d say—we live in a high rise.

The cats like racing down our new, longer, hallway. I like the garbage chute and all the groovy details, which (like me) are circa early 70’s.

Okay, though, we didn’t actually move for the cats. We moved because HOB has Parkinson’s Disease and we needed to live in a place with an elevator. He wanted this to be secret for a long time, though it came to a point where he had to tell people. (I suspect people reacted like I did when my best friend came out to me as a teenager “No way.…never ever would have guessed”).

So here we are in a 39 floor building with two rowdy cats. HOB is doing his voice therapy because like a lot of people with Parkinson’s he is slowly losing his voice.

But at least he still has his testicles.


  1. Helen Devries · · Reply

    So very sorry to hear of your husband’s Parkinsons….what a rotten thing to have happened – for both of you.
    Your cats sound a real handful…luckily they have each other to spar with…..I sympathise as we have Mr. Darcy who is more Hyde than Jekyll – but unutterably adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is pretty rotten—thanks for your kindness Helen.

      Mr, Darcy knows what he can get away with because he’s cute, just like our hairy monsters. I just put a plant in the bathtub to get it out of the jaws of Shinto…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There I was thinking about what a very cool couch and chair you have (I have long coveted an aquamarine blue-y type couch and maybe I DO like cats because those 2 are adorable together and a million years ago when we lived in Croatia and Italy, we had Mazza and Betty – similar tuxedo and tiger combo – and how entertaining that was. And then – shit. That sucks so much. I am really sorry for this turn of things for you guys. Shit. Sending big cyber hugs and love your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, you already have the perfect dog so no need to branch out into cats (you notice the cool chair has anti-cat scratching tape on the side?).

      HOB likes to introduce himself to people with Parkinson’s. Recently he was talking to a guy who referred to the disease as “Sack of Shit” instead of the official name, which is about right.

      Thanks for the hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Appreciate your sharing the news about HoB, can’t be easy but I hope it’s all made manageable for him very soon. But lovely to hear about your feline friends and their antics, great stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the well wishes. The cats are what keep everything manageable. They are quite a distraction!


  4. I’m so sorry to hear about the Parkinson’s. And I loved reading about your cats.


    1. At this actual moment they are doing some WWE wrestling on top of a dresser about to knock over a clock.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry to hear your lousy medical news. What a downer. But clearly you’ll approach this situation with your usual resourcefulness, grace and even hilarious humor. The new digs look lovely and of course the cats are totally awesome. Wishing you both strength, courage, and many furry snuggles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Feeling particularly ungraceful but thanks for your kind words. Shinto is an epic snuggler, which is handy in the winter when he sleeps all pressed against me under the covers like a little space heater. Tanuki likes to cuddle indirectly—he will cuddle Shinto who is cuddling one of us. Hope your cats are enjoying their best felines lives as well.


  6. Hearts to you my friend! I get it… But I’d really like to hear more out the child lock on your fridge! We’ve had 6 cats over the course of our married life, and clearly your cats are far more intelligent than ours are/were if they can crack the fridge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hearts back at you. Oh these cats can do tricks too. HOB trains them every day and they have to sit on little trivet pads to wait for their meals.


  7. Hi, WOB. It has been a while since I have responded to your posts. (Sorry.) I always enjoy your writing and vicariously traveling with you and HOB. This post was terrific. I grew up in a high-rise on Sheridan Road. Hope you are used to the elevator, trash chute and the lovely view. Sorry to learn of HOB’s health issues. Best wishes for managing that challenge.
    FYI, The New Yorker magazine Feb 13-20 2023 issue had a great article about Chaucer and the Wife of Bath. (The Marrying Kind. The Feminist Forerunners in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” by Joan Acocella.) I think you will enjoy it.
    Hope your new job is working out and you are pleased with the change. Keep writing. I enjoy everything you send. Bruce

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who knows, bappel2014—you may have lived in the same high rise on Sheridan Rd. We’ve basically been following in your footsteps around the north side. What view did you have? We face north but also have an east view of the lake.

      Thanks for the tip about the New Yorker. If I can’t locate a physical copy I’ll search for the article online.


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