Early Morning Open Thread: Refugee

From commentor Joseph F:

In the spirit of Balloon Juice’s love for all animals adopted, I thought that I would send along a photo of our newly adopted office cat….named Sandy of course.

My office is located on the beach in Cosey Beach East Haven, CT. This neighborhood took it hard last year with Irene and again this year with Sandy. The house between us and the water was washed away this time and countless others were damaged beyond repair. When we returned to our office (converted apartment) we found the cat meowing loudly at the door and being huge animal lovers, my partner and I let him in and he is here for good.

It did not take long for him to make himself comfortable, as you can see by the picture which was taken less than four hours after we let him in! He loves sitting in our office chairs when we are not in them and spends the rest of the time on my desk or lap, purring louder than any cat I have ever had.

Here is the kicker, when we found out who he belonged to, we reached out, but were told to either just let him about the neighborhood or drop him off at a shelter. I can never understand how anybody could feel that way about a living thing, but at least he has a happy ending.

One final note, he does not have the girth of Tunch, but his belly is only a couple of stamps from dragging on the ground.

57 replies
  1. 1
    Alexandra says:

    Kitteh reading Slate. Freddie won’t be impressed.

  2. 2
    PurpleGirl says:

    Cute kitteh. Good on you, Joseph F, for taking the kitteh in.

  3. 3
    Wolfdaughter says:

    I have just recently taken on a cat who either wandered away from his home and couldn’t find his way back, or who was abandoned, I believe the latter.

    A few weeks ago Marmalade, as I decided to call him, was hanging around the house of some friends. They fed him for a few days and asked around their neighborhood if anyone had lost him, with no success. They already have four felines, all of whom have health issues–they spend a young fortune at the vet. They didn’t feel they could take Marmalade on as well. So, being between felines, I offered to take him.

    He was absolutely terrified when he got to my house. He spent the first couple of days hiding under the bed in my guest bedroom. He wasn’t even eating, so I moved the food into the room where he was, and then he finally started to eat. But any time that he ventured out of the bedroom and saw me, he ran and hid. I just let him be and made sure he had food and water and litter.

    Finally after about 3 weeks, he began to come closer. Long story short, he is now a very affectionate cat, who loves to be stroked and cuddled. But I’m pretty sure he was abused, at least psychologically, at his previous home. He cringes if I reach out my hand to stroke him, and lowers his back into a defensive posture. I stick out my hand and let him rub himself against it, then he is fine and craves my touch. I use a walker around the house and at first, he ran when he saw it, hissed at it, etc.

    I just don’t understand how someone could abandon an animal. As far as I’m concerned, they are our little furry brothers and sisters, and for me, it’s a sacred charge that I’ve taken on to live with this beautiful little kitty.

  4. 4
    Allen says:

    Both of my cats (T.C. and Kitzel) are both found cats. Kitzel was found on our local coyote highway, how she survived that is beyond me. T.C., on the other hand, was driven out of her former home by a litter mate. The former owners claim they looked for him, but were one dumpster off. Thier personalities could not be different, Kitzel is very shy but has taken to my neighbors, whose large dog is terrified of her and will go quite a was out of her (the dog) way to avoid her (the cat), which is funny.

    T.C. on the other hand is just the opposite, works on the theory that everyone is his friend, everyone in the neighborhood just loves him and gives him an extra dose of skritches, which just suits him just fine, thank you.

  5. 5
    blahblah says:

    I was hoping for a picture of a truck.

  6. 6
    Warren Terra says:

    Just be wary … he looks like a Chaplin Cat, but he could be a Hitler Cat in disguise.

  7. 7
    Triassic Sands says:

    Hooray for tuxedos — formal attire, casual demeanor.

  8. 8
    Triassic Sands says:


    Abandonment is abuse. Cats are usually pretty resilient if they are cared for and the humans are patient. Despite their teeth and claws, life is still very difficult and dangerous for a homeless eight to fifteen pound domestic cat — there are lots of predators and other threats. Today, house cats are living well into their teens — unless they are homeless.

    Good for you.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    Both Wolfdaughter’s and Joseph’s story put a smile on my face. It’s a nice start to the day.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    I am not a cat person, but I just have to say that is one beautiful kitteh. Good on you, Joseph.

  11. 11
    Amir Khalid says:

    Sometimes, as with Sandy, it’s the cat that chooses you. Bianca was this little black kitten I’d seen around my neighbourhood, who’d come up to me sometimes for skritches. One day, eight years ago, she just decided to follow me home (maybe it was the food I was carrying that day), and she’s been here ever since.

  12. 12
    danielx says:

    Yes indeed, and before long you become the cat’s human as opposed to the boss of the cat.

    I hesitate to think of the amount of my life that’s been spent in opening doors for cats, and that’s not counting the amount of time spent in waiting by open doors for cats to decide if they really want to go out or come in…

  13. 13
    bemused says:

    Bruce Bartlett is pretty testy with an anti-tax raiser on UP with Chris Hayes this morning. He’s calling bullshit.

  14. 14
    geg6 says:

    If you all didn’t see Bruce Bartlett tear into some hack from George Mason, you haven’t seen the best news clip of the day. He’s still on, if you want to see him, on Up. Jeebus, he called her “so goddamned dogmatic” and a liar. I’m no Bartlett fan (Reagan cooties, after all), but that was epic.

  15. 15
    Joseph F says:

    that is funny about the Slate comment; I had linked to Dave Weigle article and when I looked at that photo before I sent it in, I thought, boy i hope they dont think i spend my time reading Slate all day.

    listen, it is not like it is Red State or World Net Daily.

    the cat does have a little dictator in him, when i returned to the office on friday after being out a few days, he jumped on my calf and wrapped both of his paws around my leg to get my attention. Twice. he is not shy that is for sure.

  16. 16
    geg6 says:

    Oh, and he’s kicking her around somemore. Delicious

  17. 17
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    My first pet as a kid was a wonderful cat named Amanda who looked just like that. I didn’t know until years later that it was a particular type with a name.

    Speaking of pets, Gail Collins has name-checked Seamus once again in a column. So the clock gets reset.

  18. 18
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    Despite their teeth and claws, life is still very difficult and dangerous for a homeless eight to fifteen pound domestic cat—there are lots of predators and other threats.

    A vet told me that the average lifespan of an urban feral cat was about 18 months. Here in MI many don’t make it through the first winter. It’s a shame and a tragedy.

  19. 19
    WereBear says:

    I think cats who come to humans for help are already demonstrating their affectionate bona fides. They want to be our friends!

    Blessings on all who take in…

  20. 20
    WaterGirl says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: What column? I looked at the column from today and from yesterday, and a search for seamus found nothing.

  21. 21
    bemused says:


    Loads of fun to watch. Bruce can be woefully myopic about the Republican party in general but on economics he’s been taking apart the Republican’s ridiculous fiscal ideology for quite awhile now. He’s goddamned frustrated.

  22. 22
    Bago says:

    Hooooooorj! Why don’t official websites that stream commercials just play content live? Making someone on the internets wait for hours before commenting on a tv show is just cruel. The Internet doesn’t embargo content to save the three seconds of commercial time to say 5am PST

  23. 23
    Schlemizel says:

    Our old rescue was abused & even 18 years later still is fearful of certain things. Our other we got from a ‘street litter’ as a very tiny kitten & never had another human. Yet the second one winces every time someone reaches out to pet her. She duck and cowers which is very weird because she has never been hit even once. We have no idea what causes her reaction, we have never had another cat like this.

  24. 24
    Schlemizel says:

    Off cats & into open thread:
    The paper had an NYT story about “concierge” doctors. Tired of dealing with insurance companies these guys sign on clients. One guy has 1000 clients that pay him $38 a month, the other has 300 clients that pay $150/mo. They are seeing fewer patients and making more money with less office staff.

    Eventually people are going to recognize that its the insurance companies that are a useless, even damaging, parasite on the healthcare industry. But this idea of for hire private doctors looks to be an invitation to bad things happening.

  25. 25
    gelfling545 says:

    @geg6: I would say that many people are not “cat people” until they meet their cat. I grew up with dogs and had no interest in cats until I was about 35 & met my first cat which I agreed to give house room to only because we were getting overrun with rodents due to blasting for large scale construction in the area & the dogs were ignoring them. Cat never even got a proper name but he gradually became my dear companion for 17 years. He just had a way about him. My mother was just short of an ailurophobe until when, over 60 years old, she met Cos (short for Cosmos – the flower, not the universe), my sister’s cat. They bonded like glue. No knowing why – just that cat at that time.

  26. 26
    JoyfulA says:

    @Schlemizel: According to our local newspapers, south-central PA has had concierge doctors for a couple of years. Or at least, concierge doctors were announced some years back; I have no knowledge of whether said docs made a go of the plan.

    Just from the patient’s perspective, I see problems. Does the concierge doc have hospital admitting privileges? Does the doc feel obliged to keep up with what’s new?

    My doc is with a practice of internists. If I want to see her tomorrow, I probably can’t, but another doc or PA in the practice will see me, with full, immediate access to all my medical records. This setup suits me fine—better than a concierge doc.

  27. 27
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Sandy looks much like my JP. Something about those Tuxedos – they purr like small panthers. And he’s my big snuggler. I’m so glad you let him adopt you.

  28. 28
    SectionH says:

    All of our cats have “found us,” in one way or another. I’ve loved them all, but the tuxedo boy who was an office cat where my son worked turned into my cat-of-a-lifetime. He spent his days going from lap to lap, but the office was gonna be closed for a week at Thanksgiving, and the cat was gonna be dumped outside again. So of course I said “bring him here for the week.” We only had 3 cats at the time… ha. Of course by the end of the week, there was no question about him going back. Sweetest cat ever. And he seemed to have been “gently raised” too. No one knew what had happened, but that office was very near the county animal shelter, and Jesse was clearly familiar with indoor living, already neutered, etc. – we’ve speculated that someone meant to take him to the shelter, found it closed, and then just dumped him. It sounds appalling, but who knows what sort of crisis his former owner was in? In Jesse’s case, there was a happy ending. Thanks for making a happy outcome for Sandy, Joseph F.

  29. 29
    jurassicpork says:

    Hitler Cat: “Oh, you wanted to sit here? Let me know if I’m in your way.”

  30. 30
    MazeDancer says:

    Yay, Joseph F! Tuxedo kitty! Congratulations!

    Good on you for giving home to the clear charmer. Have had many a kitty “appear” when we both needed each other as well. (Though at first appearance, I didn’t always recognize that the need was mutual, and that over the long term, I would be the lucky one.)

    May your good deeds return bountiful blessings upon you, your partner, and your business.

  31. 31
    YellowJournalism says:

    I want a kitty. Just can’t have one right now. Plus, I think my boys would trample one the way they tear through the house right now.

    My youngest is going to be the animal lover in the family. He wants to take home every cat, dog, or wild rabbit he sees outside and would spend hours in the pet stores if he could. He constantly cuddles with our cairn terrier, who adores him in return. He was a sickly baby, and she would stand guard wherever he slept, getting angry with me if I wasn’t at his side the moment he made a noise. I’ve had to teach him the proper way to greet a strange dog because he wants to immediately cuddle them like he does ours.

  32. 32
    ruemara says:

    Hello, Sandy! Between this one and Wolfdaughter’s, this is a misty eye morning. All my kittens have been foundlings, but Takkun is my first official SPCA adoptee and Kage is my first BJ rescue kitty. I’ll do anything, including cut my food budget, to keep them happy and healthy. Pets are important and I could not imagine anyone just throwing them away. Good on you two for taking them in.

  33. 33
    dr. bloor says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    Hooray for tuxedos—formal attire, casual demeanor.

    “Bond. Sandy Bond.”

    Great picture–cats always seem to know when they’re found “home.”

  34. 34
    Rosie Outlook says:

    People kill living things for no reason every day.

    My old doctor went concierge in 2008 or thereabouts , right about the time the modern depression started. I couldn’t afford his new plan and didn’t like the idea anyway. He would be practicing solo–what happens if he gets sick, or abruptly quits?

  35. 35
    dr. bloor says:


    But this idea of for hire private doctors looks to be an invitation to bad things happening.

    These guys have been around forever. They’re not going to shift the fundamental dynamics of the system; it’s a form of capitation that quickly turns into a bad deal for the doc, the patients, or (most often) both parties when applied on a larger scale.

  36. 36
    lou says:

    In fact, we took in a stray tuxedo cat a week ago that had parked itself in the back porch of someone who couldn’t adopt him. He’s a kitten, about 5 months old, and an absolute sweetheart and purr monster. I can’t believe anyone abandoned him, but we had him scanned for a chip, put up fliers around the neighborhood and in local vets’ offices, as well as checked for ‘lost cat’ reports at animal control and got no hits.

    Now we’ve named him Jackpot, because his attitude when he moved in was “I struck gold in the stray kitty jackpot. Yay. me!” I think we’re overfeeding him and he got used to it, but he was so hungry when he moved in. The neighbor said he had been visiting her back door for about a week before we rescued him.

  37. 37
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    Hooray for tuxedos—formal attire, casual demeanor.

    Not entirely convinced on the “casual demeanor”. We have a perfectly marked tux — every line in place. Put a black bow-tie on him and he would fit right in at a formal ball. However, the cat is — well, crazy. He frequently barks like a dog, jumps to shoulder height (my shoulder — I’m about 6′) then throws himself at the wall. You might call this casual demeanor, but he’s hardly casual about it.

    OTOH, he is extremely affectionate. A wonderful lap cat, but very needy of reciprocal attention.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    sab says:

    With his big tummy, I’d get “him” to vet to find out if he’s not a she. Cat’s aren’t like dogs where everything is out there for the world to see.

    Our tuxedo rescue (wandered in during a storm) is the best cat ever except for his war on pit-bulls.

  40. 40
    karen marie says:

    @lou: According to my vet, feeding a cat a wet diet (esp if they’re overweight) is much better than dry, because the dry has more carbs. Our Gracie was three pounds overweight. I switched her to 1/2 can twice a day for a year and she dropped it nicely. I now give her dry food and the 1/2 can twice daily. My brother says she’s fat, and she’s certainly fatter than she was after the yearlong diet but she likes having the dry food to tide her over and I just don’t have the heart to stop it again.

    That being said, a fat cat is a potentially costly cat in that they can develop diabetes and/or health problems. Our Mr. Mittens, a Tuxedo who weighed 27 pounds (with a head the size of a softball) died of a stroke at age 7.

    Must be something about tuxedos though. Mr. Mittens lived two houses down but decided he preferred my house and moved himself in when he was 2 years old. He was in love with Our Gracie.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joseph F:

    the cat does have a little dictator in him, when i returned to the office on friday after being out a few days, he jumped on my calf and wrapped both of his paws around my leg to get my attention.

    Kitteh who grabs your calf is saying, “I want to PLAY!” You may need to invest in some toys to keep him occupied when you’re not around for a couple of days.

  42. 42
    lou says:

    @karen marie: Thanks. Our previous cat, who died in July, was slightly overweight with the same diet you describe. That is, until she stopped eating when she got cancer.

    Jackpot probably went without food for at least a week, so he was starving and skinny. Now that he’s not starving, he’s still whining to get the same amount of food we were feeding him when he first arrived. It’s going to be a challenge to whittle down his diet after he was spoiled for a few days.

    Fortunately we’re helping him burn it off with a laser light game.

  43. 43
    zacsmith says:

    A few years ago we adopted a long-hair calico who reached out from her cage at the adoption center and grabbed my wife’s coat sleeve. Initially she was very leery about being touched and would slink away from any touch.

    Now, she’s become one of my two office cats, loves to be stroked, and from time to time, sprawls out across my belly while I (try) to work and type around her.

    In our experience, adopted cats start off being suspicious and aloof, but quickly become really appreciative of their new home.

  44. 44
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    I also have a wonderful tuxedo I adopted from a local shelter 2-1/2 years ago. His name is “Robin Obama” – named for Robin Hood and guess-who. He’s about three and is a sassy cat, but very timid. He gets along beautifully with my other cat, a tabby female called “Alice Obama”, and with me, but he doesn’t like strangers.

    He has beautiful tuxedo markings but his chin is strange. The black mark is only in the front and on this left side. So he looks completely different from each side! All in all, he’s a wonderful little fella.

    Look for “Robin O” and “Alice O” in the new pet calendar. They’re sitting together on a table by a window, looking at the bird’s nest outside. The shot is taken from the back and is just adorable.

    Oh, and the kitteh Sandy is definitely a “kitler”

  45. 45
    Glidwrith says:

    I was working out in the yard one day and heard a kitty meow in the night. Figuring it was a house kitty just meowing out the window, I meowed back. I got a questioning “Mrww?” that I echoed back again. Next thing I know there was an excited series of mrw, mrw, mrw and crashing through the bushes is a long-haired, large gray kitty. Thin and not in the best of shape but I got him into my garage and safe. Since I was already a three kitty household, a fourth was out of the question, but I put out a call and an office co-worker adopted him. I made sure not to name him so I wouldn’t get attached, but I was already tagging him as Zeus. A few weeks later, the new owner stopped by and said he was doing well and they had chosen a name as well. The new kitty name? Zeus.

  46. 46
    Ruckus says:

    I’m wondering if this is all bad. It of course could be if the doc decides to jack the rates and you have paid for nothing. But if the total costs go down…
    OTOH with ACA is this necessary at all?
    Side story, last job I had with insurance every doc I went to changed offices on a regular basis. I don’t recall having the same doc for more than a year or two. So it’s pretty hard to build a doc/patient relationship and maybe this would help. Probably makes the docs life better as well, knowing that he has a known work load and gets to know his patients better. But as you are alluding to this is ripe for abuse.

  47. 47
    Yutsano says:


    Not sure if my Lexie counts as a rescue, as she’s the daughter of my arents’ barn kitteh. She would have spent her life chasing mice and avoiding horses on the ranch as opposed to snoozing on my dresser at this moment. Cats are pains, but I luvs her.

  48. 48
    Hattie says:

    Looks just like my cat, Fred, also a foundling.

  49. 49

    One of the funniest reality-TV shows I ever saw was when an earnest veterinarian was issuing instructions to the owner of an enormous grey tabby cat about how to get her to lose weight.
    They were supposed to strictly limit the amount of food she got, and stop giving her any table scraps or treats of any kind; they had to keep her in the house at all times so she wouldn’t eat mice or birds. Oh, and then bring her into the vet for weekly weigh-ins.
    The owner just stared silently at the vet through all this, with a drop-jawed “are you out of your mind?” look on his face. And I could just visualize the living hell that he was anticipating from that cat, by about midway through day two of this new regime.
    Made me wonder if the vet had ever lived with a cat — I expect not.

  50. 50
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Why are you subjecting Sandy to Slate? Poor thing.

  51. 51
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Glidwrith: Sweet story.

  52. 52
    Cain says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    Sandy looks much like my JP. Something about those Tuxedos – they purr like small panthers. And he’s my big snuggler. I’m so glad you let him adopt you.

    The one I had was so smart. I’ve mentioned him a couple of times on here. He disappeared about 3-4 years ago now. We still talk about him, and when we do it’s like he’s still here in spirit. That cat had a profound effect on me. We clicked instantly at the time I we met at the shelter. Occasionally, my wife and I would share a tear.

  53. 53
    EthylEster says:

    this guy looks just like my gilbert!

  54. 54
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Joseph F: Sandy is adorable, Joseph! Congrats on your new fur baby, and good on you for taking him in.

    @Wolfdaughter: Awwww! good on you. Glad that Marmalade is fitting in nicely.

  55. 55
    Gemina13 says:

    Congratulations, Joseph F., and good for you on acquiring Sandy. Tuxedos are wonderful–vocal, loving, affectionate, and able to purr like backhoes.

    Lucky, my current cat, is a tuxedo and a rescue (I picked him up on the 110 Freeway in L.A.). He’s a gorgeous boy, loves people, and thinks windows are his particular perches from which to receive the adoration of the outside world. He loves women, but he’s just now coming around to accepting affection from men. I took it as a good sign that, when he met my SO, he immediately pressed against his calf, then lay on the floor and showed him his belly.

  56. 56
    Delia says:

    Sandy looks a lot like my Katrina, except she’s fatter. My daughter found her in the parking lot of the Santa Rosa, CA pound on the day that hurricane struck. She (the daughter kept her for a couple of years but she moved around too much and Katrina got so she’s go climb a tree every time she saw a suitcase, so she joined my crew. She’s learned to enjoy lapsitting and will even nuzzle the dog, which is great for someone who seems to have started life as a stray.

  57. 57
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    Casual insanity. What’s so hard to understand about that? It’s a cat after all.

    And, of course, even if there were are rule, there would also always be exceptions.

    But, you have a point. I think virtually all cats are insane — we have an expression — “cat madness” — which is when, for no apparent reason at all the cat will suddenly go berserk, race around a room, flail, jump, bounce, leap, and do somersaults, ears back, pupils dilated, teeth bared, claws out and then…back to normal as if nothing had happened. The climax is often a sudden halt to activity, a quick assumption of a reclining position and then a studied licking and grooming with the frenzy utterly forgotten. In my experience, it’s a rare cat that doesn’t experience “cat madness” at least occasionally.

    In truth, it doesn’t really make much sense to me to claim personality traits for tuxedo cats, since tuxedo is a coat coloration and pattern, not a breed. Still, if you wore a tuxedo every day, don’t you thing it would affect your behavior? That’s why they have school uniforms, right?

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