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Archive for the 'Cat Poets' Category

Whittier v. Pinsky

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Pinsky has been here for five days now, and I am realizing just how unusual and ridiculous our experiences with Whittier have been. Pinsky’s approach to life and social integration could not be more different than Whittier’s.


When Whittier first arrived in our home, she slunk out of her carrier and hid under a chair for two days. Growling.

When Pinsky first arrived in our home, she bounded out of her carrier and immediately began exploring the guest room with youthful enthusiasm.

Whittier has only occasionally deigned to play with toys, and then only when they’re white.

Pinsky immediately began wrestling her fuzzy-ball-and-spring doohickey. It’s green and blue.

Pinsky v. Fluffy Toy

Whittier responds to visitors — especially young children — by crouching down, growling throatily, and occasionally hissing.

Pinsky responds to visitors — even a three year old — by bouncing around their feet.

Whittier responds to mirrors by… well, by doing nothing. Perhaps this is a sign of hidden intelligence.

Pinsky responds to mirrors by dancing in front of her reflection and attacking herself with a flying leap.

Pinsky v. Pinsky

Whittier responds to meeting her new companion by bristling, rumbling, and running away.

Pinsky responds by cheerfully following the fleeing bundle of white fur.

This will all end tears in me doing a lot of vacuuming.

A House Full of Poets

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Most of you know are familiar with our cat, Whittier Anique, that fluffy, fully-declawed ball of terror who has a beautiful appearance and an ugly personality. Though the previous owner named the cat after the Quaker (read, ‘pacifist’) poet John Greenleaf Whittier, Whittier has never really evidenced much of a commitment to peace.

We adopted her as a teenage cat, but the relative solitude of her kittenhood had prepared her poorly for our frequent house guests. Her petulance is widely reported upon; visitors exchange tales of derring do regarding how close they were or were not able to get petting Whittier. She has bitten younger siblings, hissed at inquisitive neighbors, and once, upon her untimely escape from our Chattanooga home, dispatched a bigger alley cat by sheer fierceness of personality.

We told her that a change was in order. That she was not participating in our family vision to be a warm and hospitable home. That she needed to make an effort at sociability. Thus far, she has not responded. She remains a privately lovable, publicly cantankerous, ridiculously good looking cat.

whittier in the grass

And so, after some reading, we decided that it was time to introduce someone new to the mix. A cat with a resolutely amiable personality that will hopefully unleash Whittier’s inner social butterfly.


Pinksy will be joining the Weichbrodt household this weekend.

Pinsky hails from a corn farm in Iowa, the childhood home of one of my fellow grad students. Her parents had a single abandoned kitten from a recent litter and they wanted to send her to a good home. After being assured that the kitten (a) had an extraordinarily people friendly personality and (b) color-coordinated with Whittier, we agreed to adopt.

You may be wondering, “Pinsky? Have the Weichbrodt’s no taste in cat names?” The answer may still be affirmative, but the choice is not without its reason: we were simply trying to thematize. Since we already have one female cat carrying the somewhat androgynous last name of a male poet, we thought we might as well keep things going. Robert Pinksy is the former Poet Laureate of the United States and the recent academic adviser for poet-laureate-in-the-making, R. David Macey. You may also recognize him as the moderator of the Colbert Report’s Meta-Free-Phor All.

It will be an exciting week of cat isolation, monitored visitations, and home exploration. There will be pictures. And stories. For what’s the point of having a house full of poets if you don’t get stories out of their residencies?