And Fez on a hot night in McCarren Park. Three cats is a lot of cat. But I couldn’t live without these little furballs.
Fez was born and raised in Williamsburg. My brother and sister-in-law and I found him as we were walking through McCarren park one summer evening. This little smudge of a kitten ran up to us with his tail held high and climbed into our arms when we reached down to pet him. Fez is the friendliest cat I’ve ever met. He’s a feline ambassador. He’s also a little miracle. He fell four floors off our old balcony and we thought we had lost him. Three days and thousands of signs later we found him in the bushes near our old house. He still climbs to the tippy top of everything so he certainly hasn’t learned his lesson. I have, however.
Grendel and Inkling are Singaporean. I worked at an ad agency there and was homesick for Oregon. Then 14 years ago, during a monsoon, I heard the most pitiful kitten miaows coming from the alley behind my flat. Two tiny kittens huddled together in a soggy cardboard box, both of them drenched and scared and hungry. I scooped them up, cursed humanity for abandoning them to starve and adopted them. They proceeded to terrorize the geckos in my apartment until we flew to New York. They both have passports. I am the Angelina Jolie of Cat moms, I guess. When they don’t listen to me I assume it’s because I don’t speak Mandarin.
This time last year I almost lost Grendel. He came down with an autoimmune disorder. The poor guy’s body was essentially attacking itself. I spent four days and Christmas with him in the kitty ICU. At one point I curled up in his cage and thought that was the end. He weakly raised his head to butt it against my cheek as if to say goodbye. But somehow he pulled through. Dr. Zelman at Greenpoint vet and the awesome folks at Blue Pearl brought him back. And now he’s yowling and demanding food and prowling around the place like always. He has a permanent standard poodle cut; his fur hasn’t grown back because of his meds.
The littlest Inkling is a stone-cold killer. She will seriously cut you. But her favorite thing is curling up in the nook of my arm in the morning and murdering any bugs that wander aimlessly into my apartment. She and Grendel are inseparable and yin-yang together, curling up to stay warm in the winter. And just because in the summer.
Beth Ryan is a creative director and writer who has made ads and films and things with brands like Google, Jameson, Sprite and Target. She’s a 10-year New Yorker. And came to Brooklyn by way of Oregon, Washington and Singapore.