Meaty has been on a workout kick for a while now. He hits the gym almost every day. I’m not sure if he takes his mom or the other way around but it’s really paying off. Last I heard he’d beefed up to a whopping 65 pounds (29 kg)!  Truth is, I’ve always wanted to be one of those dudes who, in a pickle, could bench-press his mom or gardening intruders…sometimes both simultaneously while the fate of the world hangs in the balance. But last Tuesday I weighed 47.1lbs (21.3 kg). That’s when I decided to give the gym aScreen Shot 2015-06-02 at 9.18.05 PM serious try.

There I was, standing face to face with an elliptical machine.  I’d just pulled my red sweatband over my ears when my phone started buzzing. Way I see it, that elliptical machine got lucky—it was my boss calling from out of state. He sounded uncomfortable on the other end of the line.  He paused and umm-ed his way through the call and I began to get curious.  I decided to walk it off on the treadmill as he hashed out what the woof was going on. Bottom line: I had to fly to Seattle to meet an up-and-coming celeb.  Okay, I thought, no big deal. I upped my speed to a faster-slow walk. But then he said:

“There’s something you should know: You need to come on a secure leash and you need to bring your mother…unless she’s allergic to cats?”

I had no idea what he was talking about, but it sounded pretty serious so I hopped off the treadmill and headed to my workout bag.  I pulled out a pencil and started jotting down the particulars. I stashed my phone and made a beeline for home.  Yes, I was nervous. In my entire journalistic career I had never encountered a cat.

My last minute duffle was basically packed: a raincoat for typical June gloom weather, my extra long red leash and some emergency catnip I’d always hoped I wouldn’t have to use. I explained the situation to my mom and she quickly sharpened my lucky pencil and helped me find my notepad. She gets it. Together we loaded our gear into the back of an Uber and headed for the airport.

The flight was awkward at best.  My mom tried to read her fashion mags while I frantically Googled “why do cats exist.”  I started to freak out somewhere between San Francisco and Seattle.  I needed to chill the woof out.  When we landed, I read over my notes: White Horse Trading Company near Pike Place Market @ 5pm.  I looked down at my watch and crunched some numbers—I was going to be right on time provided I skipped the Space Needle. Seattleites are an odd bunch.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 9.23.23 PMWhen I walked into The White Horse, with my mom, I scanned the room for a fellow all in white.  No one fit the description.  I ordered a water from the bartender—neat, no lime (the joint wasn’t big on citrus which was okay by me)—and asked if he’d seen any C.A.T.S’s hanging around.  He replied by pointing toward the bathroom door.  Cautiously, I walked over. I knocked politely and walked in.  There, curled up in the sink was a GIANT white animal purring softly with his mouth open. Was he asleep?

Bogie: Brimley?  Ummm Mr. Brimley Cat?  Wake up… Oh hey dude, hi.  I’m Bogie T.  Aside from bad dreams, you’re the first cat I’ve ever met. To be honest, I don’t fully understand what you even are.  Please explain.

Brimley: My dad and I are still trying to figure out what exactly I am, because I’m not like any of the other cats I’ve met! One thing’s for sure, dad and his family only liked dogs before I showed up, so I must transcend some kind of half-bulldog feline boundary. I’m just a fluffy little dude who loves ambushing dad as soon as he gets home, following him around for pets, and patting him in the face until I get my belly rubs every morning and night.

Bogie: I feel, simply from an aesthetic standpoint, that if I were to grow up and become a cat, I’d kind of look like you but maybe with some brown spots.  Do you ever get mistaken for a bulldog?

Brimley: All the time! Dad grew up with bulldogs, so every time his family comes to visit me I have to remind them that I prefer offerings of catnip and tuna to bones and biscuits. The uncertainty works out well for me though, bulldogs are so awesome that everyone forgets and falls in love with me too!

Bogie: Tell me more about those bones and biscuits. Your fame has sky-rocketed ever since that brief, albeit awesome, stint on Reddit. You were just on America’s Next Cat Star for woofing out loud!  What has this stardom and (potential) fortune done to your daily life?  I mean you probably can’t go outside without a swarm of ladiesScreen Shot 2015-06-02 at 9.18.47 PM wanting your pawtograph.  How do you deal?

Brimley: It has been so crazy! After America’s Next Cat Star aired, and Animal Planet flew dad and I to NYC to meet some of my fans on the east coast, I made an appearance at the Average Joe Cat Show in Shoreline (just north of Seattle). Some of the families that follow me online came all the way to the show just to meet me in real life! I knew everyone wanted to hang out with me, so after some standard meet-and-greets, I had dad put a harness on me so I could walk around saying hi to all my fans. I only charged one belly rub per pawtograph!

Bogie: That’s cheep like MAD magazine. You live in Seattle, a city known to have a hipster or two wandering around single origin coffee shops in plaid shirts with handle-bar moustaches.  What came first, you or the hipster?

Brimley: Well, the hipster came first because I’m only 2 years old, but they obviously have much more to learn if they drink coffee. I tried smashing my face into a cup of coffee dad had, and I couldn’t fit into the cup but it smelled gross! He also sometimes drinks this weird Seattle stuff called “craft beer” that smells even worse, so I much prefer dipping my paw into his glass of water instead. I’m pretty sure he loves it when I clean his water with my paw.

Bogie: Interesting. With your stardom escalating to new heights, where do you see yourself in five years?

Brimley: In five years I see myself as seven, and getting seven times the belly rubs! I haven’t thought much further than that.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 9.23.42 PMBogie: Gotta say, for a cat that arithmetic makes a lot of sense. Your simplistic style has won the hearts of fashion types everywhere.  Has white always been the new black for you?

Brimley: I’ve always gone with the philosophy “less is more,” unless of course you’re talking about belly rubs…or treats..or catnip.

Bogie: If you’re on set or headed for a big night out, what are three things you can’t leave the house without?

Brimley: If I were to head outside, the first thing I would need is my dad, so he can protect me from the big scary sun! Other than that, I’d probably take along one of my snazzy bowties and a tablet to keep up with all my Instagram pawdies!

Bogie: I know you have a catnap to catch, but do you have time for a quick lightening round, Brah?

Brimley: You know it!

Bogie: Salmon or Halibut?

Brimley: Salmon!

Bogie: Brunettes or Tabbies?

Brimley: Yes!

Bogie: Walks or naps?Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 9.22.37 PM

Brimley: Naps!

Bogie: Sinks or sofas?

Brimley: Sinks!

Bogie: Inside or outside?

Brimley: Inside with A/C!

Bogie: Poodles or Yorkies?

Brimley: Yorkies!

Bogie: Bath or shower?

Brimley: No thanks!

Bogie: Socialite or homebody?

Brimley: Seattleite!

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 9.19.05 PMBogie: Blowdryer or air-dry?

Brimley: Blowdryer!

Bogie: Mouth open or mouth closed…while sleeping?

Brimley: Open, of course!

Bogie: Belly rubs or ear scratches?

Brimley: BELLY RUBS!

Bogie: Meows or purrs?

Brimley: Purrs!

Bogie: #squishyfacecrew or #catsofinstagram?

Brimley: #squishyfacecrew is my jam!

Bogie: Wilford Brimley or Wilfred Owen?

Brimley: Brimley, of course!