It’s getting colder, and I am embracing all the warm and furry things I can get. The other day Jon called from the road, and he told me that he saw the grey cat following the mailman on Berkeley, which is a residential street adjacent to us. This is not necessarily surprising, since the grey cat is so amenable to strangers and his “family” alike, but it’s also the farthest either of us have ever seen him go. Unlike Chicken, who seems to traverse blocks away, the grey cat mostly stays in the adjacent backyards, and is so unwiley and goofy and not-street smart it only makes him more lovable. He gets trapped in the next door neighbour’s chicken wired garden regularly, while the squirrels scamper around, in and out of large gaps, wondering what he’s doing.


In any case, Jon called me to go get him since he was already in the car and zooming off and I looked at the kitchen table and it turned out not only was the grey cat lounging on the kitchen table next to me, Jon does in fact have some small shard of his heart occasionally allocated to this stray. And also, apparently, some mild confusion about what the grey cat looks like. 


Here is a brief update on everyone’s second favourite shop cat:

  • He is a food thief, and totally indiscriminate, eating everything from cold oatmeal to crackers to sticking his snout into cups of coffee. It’s terrible, something totally foreign to us, as Chicken I don’t think ever in his life has stolen a human food scrap from anywhere in the kitchen, even raw or cooked meat.
  • Proving much, much more biddable and food motivated than Chicken, I’ve recently begun attempting to train him to learn to sit. It is not yet going well, but I have low-to-medium level hopes, so stay tuned.
  • He recently came in with a missing back claw, and I tried to get Jon to take him to the vet, but I asked him at the wrong time and Jon said definitively no, under no circumstances was he going to bring a cat that was not ours to the emergency vet for a missing claw. We have made our fair share of emergency vet visits over the years, and each time we return Jon talks to Caleb about the lucrative nature of a career in emergency veterinarian medicine. “People will come to you with the dumbest things, Caleb, and you can charge them extra for it.” We once had to bring Super, our dog, to the emergency vet because he ate a bulk box of raisins, and it cost us thousands. The vet was impressed at how many raisins she pumped out of his stomach, like an alcohol poisoning victim except with dried fruit. I was worried the grey cat’s paw was going to get infected, it was looking a little soggy, but it turns out he’s fine.
  • He has fully ceded all territory south of the hallway closet to Chicken, and while he used to roam around fairly freely, he now stays in the kitchen, bathroom and hallway closet unless there is a serious incentive (i.e. treats, or rather, the possibility of treats).
  • Chicken meows quite loudly at the door to get our attention when he wants to come in, but this cat has a very low volume meow so he mostly just sits there pathetically, waiting for someone to let him in. Not sure if this is related, but his purring is also much softer than Chicken’s.


And, in full disclosure, I must now admit that all along, we have been calling him a name other than the grey cat. Having some shame, I’ve been pretending like we haven’t named a cat that clearly isn’t ours but had wandered one day into our backyard and to whom I have become emotionally attached. It was a bit of a joke with the kids, oh, we can name this stray cat, oh, yes we can name squirrel—not, let’s actually name this cat that doesn’t belong to us and bring him into our home and pretend like he’s ours and possibly kidnap him from his owners. In any case, we’ve been calling him Tuna.




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December 20, 2021 — Liz Chan



Alina said:

Chicken and Tuna, how perfect!

I am anticipating Ham, maybe Mayo next? Hoping for a full deli experience on your delightful blog, Liz!


Valerie said:

I absolutely loved this post. You have such a talent to tell stories. I hope you write a book one day.

Megan Rasila

Megan Rasila said:

I mean, Tuna has clearly adopted you as his family…even if he has another home somewhere. It’s clear by the amount of time he spends with you that he prefers to be there. I’ve definitely read stories of cats having multiple homes. It’s not like you are trying to make him an indoor only cat!

Simone Nieuwolt

Simone Nieuwolt said:

Tuna seems like a delightful individual, a born opportunist. I hope you can connect with his humans one day and report his activities. So glad to hear this update on the cat situation.

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