I don’t know if words can encapsulate the sexiness that is Tabs. He’s just sexy all the time. This happened today, on a Tuesday morning, at like 9:45. He wasn’t even trying!
Cat purr-sues literacy
DEAR TABBY: I really enjoy it when my assistant reads to me. I find it very soothing, and I would love to be able to read to her and, in the future, to other cats. My assistant has been kind enough to tutor me, but I’m having a hard time picking it up. I used to think that I was a quick study because I’ve learned how to open the cupboards at the office, and I also understand doors, but this whole reading thing is going over my head.
I was wondering if you happened to know of any good reading programs for cats (free or paid), or if you have any tips. — EAGER READER IN REDDING
P.S. My friend Earl helped me write this letter because I couldn’t do it myself.
DEAR EAGER READER: I admire your stick-to-itiveness. Please know that you’re not the only cat out there who struggles with reading. It’s actually a very common issue — so common that I started an organization to help called Cats for Literacy. We have after-school programs for young kittens and evening programs for adult cats who want to improve their reading skills. Visit the website at catsforliteracy.org to find a program near you.
Once you’re more comfortable with the fundamentals, practice by reading things you enjoy. I highly recommend Cat Fancy for its stunning photography and engaging profiles. And, of course, my column here.
I know that with dedicated study, you’ll be able to read Dear Tabby entirely on your own.
Cat deals with heavy petting
DEAR TABBY: My kitty modeling agency is small compared to yours, but even at my level, I’ve learned that good help is hard to find. My one and only assistant is great in many ways. She’s punctual, energetic when it comes to keeping me entertained with feather toys, and she’s a fantastic cook and gravy preparer, but she’s also the worst masseuse I have ever known. She has absolutely THE WORST petting technique.
She taps my head like I’m a dog and even — I kid you not — literally rubs me the wrong way.
I understand that every assistant has their strengths and weaknesses, and nobody is perfect. I definitely don’t expect perfection, but even if we could just slightly improve her petting abilities, it would be a big improvement.
I hope that my assistant doesn’t read this because I don’t want to hurt her feelings. Overall, I think she’s doing a wonderful job.
Tabby, what do you think I should do? Have you ever had an assistant that was great in so many ways but lacking in one particular area? And have you had much success sending employees to get outside training? — TOO MUCH TAPPING IN TOPEKA
DEAR TOO MUCH TAPPING: Of course I’d never admit this to my assistants because I like to keep them on their toes, but both of them are primo, top-notch at petting. I have, however, experienced a similar issue with one of my employee’s family members. My female employee’s mother does the same exact thing, and it drives me batty.
Here’s what I do: I let her get one or two pets in, but then after the third one I gently nip her on her hand — not to draw blood, but just as a reminder of who’s boss.
She’ll come at me again, of course — they always do — so I’ll repeat the process until she gets the technique right.
If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to escalate the situation, and I recommend dropping gentle hints. Print out a guide to successfully petting your cat. Google it. There are tons of them online. And place that on her desk first thing in the morning with a sticky that says, “FYI.”
I know that you know a lot about Tabs through his modeling, philanthropy and other endeavors — his fabulous life — but here’s a look behind the glam at what it’s really like to live with Tabs on a day-to-day basis.
I worry sometimes that he’s older than I always thought he was
I mentally prepare myself — scratch that. I keep trying to mentally prepare myself for the day when I wake up, and I don’t have Tabs there to greet me.
I can’t even handle the thought… It makes me so sad.
A few months ago, we took him to the vet for his regular checkup, and the vet said, “I think he may be a little older than we initially thought he was…” His eyes aren’t as bright as they once were, and he’s starting to slow down. He’s also getting ornerier, and he sleeps more during the day.
I worry that I might not have the time I thought I’d have with him, and I know that seems very greedy of me and self-centered, but I can’t help it. I just want my companion to live forever.
I think about collecting his whiskers…
A couple weeks ago I found one of his little whiskers — I call ’em little whiskees — while cleaning the living room, and his whiskees are interesting in that they aren’t all white. Some of them are black, and some of them are black with little sections of white.
I picked it up, and I walked up to El Hub and asked, “Do you think it would be too crazy cat lady if I saved all of Tabs’s whiskees?” because I’d been thinking about how when he finally goes to cross the rainbow bridge, I won’t have anything of his with me, and El Hub said, “Yes, that would be very crazy cat lady of you.”
So I threw it out…but you know what? I’m gonna start collecting his whiskees anyway, and then when he finally goes away, I’m probably going to spread his ashes on the hill behind us, because he loves being outside.
I feel guilty sometimes when I see outdoor kitties lounging around
Oh, Tabby, I wish you could be the outside cat that I know you see yourself as, always running around, chasing things and lounging about.
When I see kitties outside, especially at the end of the day enjoying the sunset or napping, I wish Tabs could have that same luxury, but I know that it’s probably safer for him to spend the evenings indoors. Where we live here in Novato, there are wide open spaces with coyotes (we see them a lot) and other predators around.
Originally, Tabs and I planned to take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood this morning, but that all went to sh*t when the paparazzi showed up…
They’re relentless! They never leave Tabs alone.
On the one paw, he’s a camera hog who loves attention, but even kitty supermodels need their private time. Tabs thinks up his best work on his daily walks, and they’re when he does his best creative contemplation.
What is “talent”?
Mysterious. Hard to define. That certain je ne sais quoi that only some cats have. Just look at all of the kitty models who never quite make it to supermodel status, and all of those broken hearts and broken dreams… Tabs has a great eye for discovering talent, believe it or not, and throughout his career as the world’s first and foremost plus-size kitty model, he has cultivated a number of talented photographers, kitty models, cat actors and designers. You just don’t hear about them all the time because he’s not the braggy type.
His latest discovery is poised to set the photography world on fire. Tabs found him through an underground network of feline friends and professionals because, you know, he’s a cat from the street. He likes to keep his ears and paws close to the ground where the action is. He’s not just about Chanel and Dior and that jet-set life. No matter what, he never forgets where he came from.
So he started hearing about this photographer named Z.
Yes, that’s his real name. Not “Zi” or “Zee.” It’s just the letter Z. He’s so mysterious…
Z has this really unique photography style, and Tabs, being part talent scout, spotted it from a mile away. He knew that Z was destined to be a big star in the photography world, so Tabs commissioned a series of portraits for Z to do, and because Tabs doesn’t do anything halfway, he had the corporate jet fly out to New York to pick Z up (he’s from Brooklyn, apparently), and fly him out here to the West Coast.