Tuesday, March 20, 2012
I trained my cats, even getting a female Siamese to tightrope walk a narrow stick spanning two bookcases seven feet above the floor. I toilet trained two cats when there were no products for such. After my own success, I learned of a video on toilet training cats. Curious to compare notes, purchased it.
Subsequently, I was interviewed at my office. The writer told me that he had contacted the vendor of the video in order to make contact with someone in New York City who may have actually trained cats. In actuality, I was duped in the 1990s by a writer for the Wall Street Journal who purported to be researching for an article. He was secretly working on an instructional BOOK on toilet training cats and had come to pick my brain. I also hoped to make and sell a kit, but soon after, such products became available. Even to this day, many are surprised to hear about the training of cats - understandable since, as any cat owner can attest, cats are difficult to train.
For years, I had a business customer who had the stage name Dominique the Catman. It was years before I learned in conversation with him that he had an act of trained domestic cats that performed regularly in Key West. I was absolutely AMAZED to learn of what he had done and astounded to finally see on video the act he had put together. Much later, I learned of the Moscow Cat Theater, a show that has toured worldwide and made a stop in New York City in 2005.
For some time, I have hoped to capture an alley cat in New York City. Here, however, as everywhere, cats are elusive and skittish. Invariably, by they time my camera is taken from a bag or pocket and readied, my quarry is fleeting or gone.
Recently, I was able to photograph a black cat. This was however, a residential neighborhood in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and this cat was likely an outdoor cat, not a stray. Like any seasoned New Yorker who has established him or herself, this feline looked like he had found his comfort zone in Brooklyn.
I used to talk to my cats, and one in particular I sometimes called Mr. PhD in Comfort. When not on the prowl for food, cats seek comfort, and I often found mine basking in the rays of the sun streaming through a window or resting in my home's most comfortable spot, which also happened to be one of my most valuable books or articles of clothing.
The character of the cat shares much with the New Yorker who has succeeded making a life here. Alert, clever, cautious, resourceful, adaptable - she's the Catwoman and he's The Catman :)
More animals: Catch the Worm, Drooling and Slobbering, That Should Cover It, Blessing of the Animals, Water 4 Dogs, Lost in that Wool, Pet Pride Parade, Bronx Zoo, Warm and Fuzzy, Ambassadors, Kitty, Parrots, Rain Forest, Feeding at the Zoo, Baby and Merlin, a la Chien, Gull, Dachshund Octoberfest, Snake Charmer