Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cat Chronic (Felix)

        Making what I believe is his first appearance in these pages is my cat Felix (pronounced with a short "e" vowel sound, as the name is spoken in Brazil; Felix was named by my goddaughter, Vittoria Bernardes).


        The blissful look on his Felix's face in the three uppermost photos is the result of his inhalation and ingestion of the most powerful catnip known on this planet, which we receive as an annual gift from Farm Sanctuary, a superb animal rescue and care organization in Watkins Glen, New York.   We have never before seen anything like the effects this catnip produces; it turns our 10-cat pride into a happy, but zombified, feline assembly whose energy output is focused on a single task -- ferreting out additional sachets of the stuff (you can see the colorful cloth bindle Farm Sanctuary sends in the photograph immediately below), ripping them open and blissing out.

        Felix originally came to us one January eleven or so years ago. (Jane was still a baby; Vittoria, her mother and her younger sisters were also living with us at the time.)  My assistant Jeannie Cazares' daughter Megan found him as somebody's discarded Christmas kitten (this was our veterinarian's surmise due to Felix's good health and pristine cleanliness) in Queens, New York.  Felix recognized Megan's goodness, I think, and the shelter her family could provide and quickly adopted them.  Because Jeannie knew that we were willing and had the suburban space to let this very large cat (he was by far the biggest kitten I've ever seen; we believe he's mostly Maine Coon, as evidenced by the prominent "M" on his brow) stretch his legs in the country, Felix quickly became a member of our family and Jane's special cat and helpmeet (if a cat can ever be so denominated). 

        Directly above is Jane's portrait of Felix, painted several years ago when she was taking Mary Bullard's painting classes.  We think it captures him well.   He is also pictured below in a characteristic pose.  Visitors who don't know his name tend to refer to Felix as "the big guy".  It's a good thing Farm Sanctuary only releases this catnip once a year.  Until you've exhausted your supply, cat productivity around the house goes down to zero.


  1. Great post. Beautiful guy. Splendid portrait by Jane.

    The following is unrelated, but you might enjoy the show at the Tibor de Nagy gallery, which is about the gallery's history of publishing poems and the collaboration of artists like Larry Rivers, Trevor Winkfield, Jane Freilicher, and Joe Brainard with poets O'Hara and Ashbery and Ron Padgett, among others.

  2. Thanks, esp. for your appreciation of Jane's painting, which really is good. Hope to be in NYC the week after this one. The Tibor de Nagy show will be on my list and seeing you, I hope. Felix is a very good cat. He had some unexpected oral surgery this week and came through it well. I really admire my household family (animals and people). Next to them, I feel like the grumpy passenger.

  3. Wait, "cat productivity"? Isn't a complete absence of productivity at all times an essential attribute of feline excellence? Isn't that why cats are gods? Oh Felix, we pray that you will inveigle, cozen, scorn, snore, and hunt, hunt, hunt. But productivity? Perish the thought!

  4. Felix and the others agree entirely. I inserted the "cat productivity" phrase to needle them. We have a small quantity of the fiendish herb that we haven't yet dispensed, which we will today. Then the annual Cat Chronic crisis will have passed. Farm Sanctuary, by the way, is a wonderful organization, which I recommend to you and yours. Curtis