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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Cats

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 02, 2014

Maybe they’re not man’s best friend, but cats can be great pets for guys living in the city. You’d think a Guy’s Guy would want a dog. Yes, I can see myself walking along a riverbank with my trusted black lab at my side. But city life is a different ballgame for canine ownership. And I’m not sure I have the time or the right environment to offer a dog the great life it deserves. Plus, I’ve seen hundreds of dog owners huddled in the rain, picking up their dog’s poop with a plastic sandwich bag. I always tell myself, no way Jose. If I move out of the city, I’ll consider a dog. For right now, if I’m going to have a pet, it will be a cat. When I first moved to NYC, I owned a cockatiel who lived in an open cage for many years, but that’s another story.

A few years ago, my wife and I discussed adopting a rescue cat from one of the city shelters. We spent a Sunday traversing private and public agencies, meeting people who loved cats, and felines of all varieties and ages. My criterion for adoption was simple. I did not want a cat that was too old. I’d never owned a cat from birth so I wanted a kitten less than two years old and not one of a pair. There are many older cats with siblings that need homes. I will consider a mature cat or even two cats next time, but I wasn’t an experienced cat owner, so I did nomt feel comfortable taking on more than I could handle. My second deal breaker was that the feline up for adoption did not scratch me.  And that become a problem. The first three cats my wife liked for some reason immediately scratched me, so they were eliminated. Finally we stopped at the Bid A Wee on the East Side. As I approached the front door a small cat was staring directly at me through the window. She quietly followed us around and ultimately turned out to be the one that we took home. Sooki has been with us for close to three years now and this is what I have learned from her.

Cats are affectionate. I assumed that I would drop her into her litter box and that would be it. She’d roam the premises and do as she pleased, ignoring my wife and I unless she was hungry. Then she would make a deposit in the litter box and take a nice long nap under the window as the sun filtered in. Boy, was I wrong. Sooki, like all cats, need attention and love. They might not show it in as profound a way as a dog, but they do crave your love and touch. Sooki greets us when we enter our apartment. I make sure to acknowledge her then and each morning. I say hi and stroke her head to let her know I appreciate her. She also sleeps at the foot of our bed. Whenever I am working on my computer, like right now, she sits quietly close by and takes a nap. And when I crash onto the couch to watch “Ray Donovan” or ESPN, she climbs up and looks me in the eye. I rub her head and she plops down against my side. I’m not sure every cat rolls like Sooki, but my girl needs and gives love.

Cats can be stinky. Unlike a dog, cats do their business in a litter box. You only have to drop them into it once and they know the drill. That’s the good news. The other side of the coin is that cats can get sloppy. Their piss smells awful and their poop needs to be scooped out deposited into the toilet promptly if you want to keep your place smelling good. I tried different of types of litter and found that Feline Pine works well and lasts for about a week. There are a few tricks to keeping the stink quotient low when you own a cat. One is to keep a half lemon slice near the litter box. For some reason it absorbs the odor. The other is a stone called zeolite, which can be purchased online (I found it on Amazon). The stones costs about $30, but they absorbs virtually all of the kitty odors and they last a long time.  Beyond that, you have to change the litter box and disinfect the area on a regular basis. Anything less and your litter box quickly becomes a disaster area.

You don’t want a fat cat. Since cats are nocturnal creatures that also sleep close to eighteen hours a day, they can beef up rather quickly if they don’t get exercise and if they eat mass produced cat food. Similar to what humans are faced with when it comes to food choices, the good stuff costs more per serving, but goes a lot further when it comes to nutrition and good health. After deploying a wet (Newman’s Own Organics) and dry food (Orijens) combination each day, we noticed Sooki start to pack on the pounds after she graduated from her kitty stage. After some experimentation, we decided on giving her only dry food twice a day, and learned that she doesn’t eat as much since becoming an adult. So Sooki is relatively lean now and she’s healthy.

A cat is still a cat. Like any other female creature, Sooki likes having her hair combed and her nails done. We have a young son who likes to pull her tail or grab her face. Since she is a cat, Sooki has taken a token swipe at our little guy a few times, so I take her to a pet store to have her nails trimmed monthly. It costs ten bucks. I’ve found that this has made her more peaceful and less aggressive and jealous of him. But, I keep a watchful eye when our sixteen-month year old goes face to face with her. I’m certain that they will become good mates in a year or so.

What else can I say? A cat is not a dog, so you’re not going to take her hunting or for long runs on the beach. But if you live in the city and like having a loyal furry companion, owning a cat can be rewarding and if you adopt, you will be providing a home for a discarded animal.

There are thousands of cats that need a home. Have you ever considered rescuing a cat?

This week's Guys’ Guys of the Week are the staff at Bid A Wee shelter in New York City. They work tirelessly in the service of displaced animals. This is a great place filled with cats (and dogs) that need homes. 

Things Guy's Guys Like (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 11, 2013

So what’s a Guy’s Guy?

I keep getting asked this question, and it’s a good thing because in a world where men have never been as free to be whoever they want, it’s never been less clear who they are.  Once again, simply stated, a Guy’s Guy is a contemporary Man’s Man, with a nod to a return to the casual confidence and seductive integrity of the classic male, but updated to reflect the belief that everybody wins when men and women can be at their best. A few months ago I posted a partial list of all things Guy’s Guythe likes and dislikes.

So without further ado, I submit the second installment, the sequel if you will, of all things Guy’s Guys. And yes, since a Guy’s Guy is flexible and open-minded, this list is subject to change.

More Things That Guy’s Guys Like

A smile from across the room, Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, winning a piece of new business, your father’s laughter, a sweaty workout after a long night, homemade smoothies, early Sunday morning in NYC, flip flops, the Jolly Roger, The Eagles first album, that first dive and last dives into the ocean each year, grilled fish, reruns of Mister Ed when you’re hung over, reeling a feisty bluefish into the boat, that broken-in leather belt that goes with everything, connecting people and seeing it all work out, a pair of freshly broken-in running shoes, a fluffy towel after a hot shower, your fantasy football draft, fish tacos, sex in the morning, outdoor cafes in May, when technology makes life easier, driving the green, that first kiss, women with toned bodies, active listening, vintage acoustic guitars, summer wind, kids playing, aloe plants, waking up next to someone you love, Jeff Bridges movies, always having a great joke to tell, content over curating, radio, heels and shapely calves, peaceful solutions, going for it, organic, Joe Frazier, pancakes with real maple syrup, the heavyweight championship of the world on the line, your own personal style, that go-to pair of jeans, Orchard Street south of Delancey, dark rum, free weights, a good night’s sleep, three-run homers.

More Things Guy’s Guys Don’t Like

Unnecessary sequels of bad movies, not showing up, standing inline, insufficient fare on your Metro card as the C train pulls into the station, dirty looks from the bartender when you order a club soda, rushing to cross the street as the light changes while pushing a stroller, not qualifying a sales lead, covering your ass with email, paying retail for clothing, retail workers talking to one another other while you’re waiting to pay, greeters at banks (WTF), reality shows about hillbillies and swamp people, not saying “thank you” when someone does you a solid, OMG, unlabeled GMO foods, “who are you wearing?”, skinny jeans on dudes, light beer ads that think they’re clever, big dogs forced to live in little apartments, white flour/rice/sugar, a weak clammy handshake, cigarettes, ads using dogs (lazy), steroids (WTF), sugary breakfast cereal that claim they are good for you, obviousness, violent video games, fear-inducing media, watching too much sports (really), trash talk, teams that run out the clock at the end, of the first half, waking up to construction noise on the weekend, the weeks between the Super Bowl and March Madness, chasing fashion, air kisses, artificial sweeteners, uninspired kisses (why even bother).

I could go on and on and on, but that should suffice for now.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is LeBron James. Even if you're a Knicks fan, but you've got to give him props. The “King” is on a roll.

She Had Me At Meow

Robert Manni - Wednesday, July 18, 2012


A Guy’s Guy Needs a Little Unconditional Love Now and Then, Too…  

I’m referring to the kind of love that only a pet can give you. You know, when you come home after a hard day’s work and you are still sore from a few punches in the stomach from your boss or clients or whomever you have to deal with in business or your chosen profession. There is nothing better than seeing those clear animal eyes looking up at you and sending you so much love…along with a healthy dose of hunger. And after you have fed your little beast or beasts or fish or fowl, it feels good. Really good knowing that this little creature is counting on you for love and a bowl of food also. Don’t take that the wrong way. You once needed your Mama to put some tasty grub on the table.  

 Why Pets Matter to Guys’ Guys  

I’ve had a handful of pets in my life at different times and places, but one thing that has been consistent is the love they give and the feeling of peace they brought into my life. Us Guy’s Guys know how to go it alone. When we are just starting out we live in our man caves, drink lots of beer, and eat processed foods along with a few steaks now and then.  Somehow we get by until we meet the right woman who takes a few moments to make sure we… and they… are eating properly. That’s great, but it’s good for a Guys’ Guy’s soul to be mindful of another living being and to take proper care of it.  

 There Is Such A Thing As Love At First Sight

All of my pets found me with one look. I spotted Chachi, my pet cockatiel of twenty-two years, in a shipment of a few hundred of these colorful African birds at what was once a shop called Bird Jungle in Greenwich Village. Now it’s illegal to import these birds from Africa and this cool store is now just another clothing store. The woman I was dating at the time had convinced me to visit the store and buy a cockatiel. When Chachi looked up at me; that was it. I took her home. The woman and I broke up a few months later. Chachi and I spent over two decades together. After seeing this little winged creature flutter around my apartment, we had a talk and I told her that I would never clip her wings again and that I would keep the door of her cage open. Sure, things become messy at times, but no animal deserves to be locked in a cage for their entire life. Not on my watch. I think that’s why she lived such a long, healthy life. She was free to be herself.  

 Why Another Pet Now?  

I wanted to do something different this Valentine’s Day so I thought that a kitten might be a cool gift. We headed out to the local pet chain and after observing how stressed out these animals were and after being nipped by one kitty, we walked across town to the local Bid-A-Wee shelter. No cages anywhere. Just a lot of stray animals and a loving staff. The moment I opened the front door a small feline with big green eyes sitting on top of a shelf far away from the other cats was staring directly at me. I asked about her and was told that she was taken. We checked out a few other cats in another room, but another one bit me so I walked back to the front desk and asked about the little one with the big green eyes. Surprisingly, the couple who was going to take her and her brother decided to leave her behind, so we quickly filled out the paperwork and took her home. Sooki, as we eventually named her, has become a very important part of the family. Yes, she’s a cat, not a baby, but this little kitty follows me everywhere and loves nothing more than curling up at my side. She makes me feel good and she’s reminded me about the importance of love and helping those less fortunate. I am so glad we rescued Sooki and each day I look forward to walking through the front door and seeing her hopeful eyes staring up at me. Okay, so she wants to be fed, but she reflects an unconditional love that every Guy’s Guy needs to experience. Plus, she reminds me to not just think about myself. Give love. Get love. Pretty simple.  

Guy’s Guy of The Week: Caesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer  

Is Your Pet A Source of Love?    

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