Ep. 1.12: Live! w/ Leslie Goshko, Carmen Lagala, & Muna Mire 

Transcription by Colette Arrand. Hire her if you need things transcribed!

Leslie Goshko: Happy Monday, everybody. Welcome to The Greene Space. My name is Leslie Goshko, my cat is Tater. So welcome friends, cat people, and friends of cat people, this is Let’s Talk About Cats, and let’s welcome noted cat lady Mary Phillips-Sandy.

[FAST PACED SYNTH MUSIC WITH CATS MEOWING.]

Mary Phillips-Sandy: Thank you, Leslie. Oh, wow. It is so nice to be here with all of you wonderful cat people, and friends of cat people. It’s really—any excuse to break out the dressy cat shirt. I don’t get enough opportunities.

Leslie: Any day is just an opportunity.

Mary: Well, that’s true, but I don’t go out of my house very much, so this is a rare treat for me.

Leslie: Wow, you’re not living up to the stereotype of a crazy cat lady at all, who just stays at home with her cat and just has the shirts.

Mary: Oh, no, no. Not at all. But we do have a really fantastic show tonight.

Leslie: We do.

Mary: We have all of the segments that you know and love from the show, and we have great guests.

Leslie: Yeah, we have amazing guests tonight.

Mary: We have amazing guests. Well first of all, we have Leslie Goshko.

Leslie: Oh my gosh, that’s me. Oh my gosh, that’s me.

Mary: And we also have the fantastic comedian Carmen Lagala. Some of you may have seen her on Late Night with Stephen Colbert. I don’t know if anybody has heard of that show. And we also have a really talented writer and producer, Muna Mire, who is going to be out later to tell us all about their cat. But you know what, we’ve been doing all of this intro, Leslie—intros are boring. Let’s talk about cats.

Leslie: Let’s do it.

Mary: Alright. So we’re going to get started, everybody, with the Cat Quiz. Now if you’ve heard the show, you know that the Cat Quiz is very competitive. And to participate in the Cat Quiz, we’re going to bring out our first guest, Carmen Lagala. Let’s hear it for Carmen Lagala, please.

Audience: [Cheering and applauding.]

Mary: Carmen, come on up. Take a seat, take a seat just for a minute. But now, normally, normally the Cat Quiz is a one person affair. Tonight, we need a volunteer from the audience. We need one brave person who thinks that they can participate in a breakneck round of cat trivia.

Carmen Lagala: Don’t be shy, guys.

Mary: Okay, guest, can you tell us your name?

Naomi: I’m Naomi.

Mary: Naomi. And what is your cat’s name?

Naomi: Zisa and Bala.

Mary: Great. And Carmen, while you’re out here, why don’t you tell us your cat’s name.

Carmen: Oh sure. It’s Larry Bird.

Mary: Lary Bird, alright.

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: Alright, so the way the Cat Quiz works is I’m going to ask you some questions, right? You are going to write your answer down on the dry erase board, so there can be no cheating. No, no, no, no. No peeking. There’s no timer. You will see that there’s no timer here. This is not like Jeopardy. I’m not Alex Trebek, either. So we’re going to be brisk about it, okay? There are seven questions in the Cat Quiz, and not to put too much pressure on you, but there is a prize at stake, okay?

Carmen: Ohh.

Leslie: I hope it’s a cat.

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: Now listen, I want to remind you also that you’re not competing against each other, okay? You’re competing against yourselves. Okay, the theme of tonight’s Cat Quiz, in honor of this being a live event—our first ever live event—tonight’s Cat Quiz: How much do you know about cats performing live?

[UPBEAT, JOCK JAMS-ISH MUSIC PLAYS.]

Mary: Alright, let’s get started. First question. In the 1920s, a man named Charles Swain hit the vaudeville circuit with an act called Swain’s Rats and Cats. It is what it says. They were trained rats and trained cats, and they performed together. The highlight of the show is when the rats dressed as what and rode the cats around a ring? Carmen, what did you say?

Carmen: Cats.

Mary: That’s very meta. That’s very meta. Alright, Naomi.

Naomi: I said ballerinas.

Mary: Wow, that would have been adorable. You’re both wrong! The answer was jockeys, of course.

Naomi: Ohh.

Carmen: Ohh.

Mary: Alright, question two. Get ready, get ready, you can redeem yourselves.

Carmen: My answer is going to be cats again.

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: I think I understand your strategy. I don’t know that it’s a good one. Okay. Some cats just are not cut out for live performance, because they get nervous around strangers. What is the number one thing you can do to make sure your cat is comfortable around strangers so it has a chance at a career in the performing arts? Carmen?

Carmen: CBD oil.

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: That might work. I don’t know. Naomi?

Naomi: Catnip.

Mary: Wow, okay, so both going the drug your cat route. Um, you’re both wrong again. The answer actually is to socialize them early when they’re kittens. Introduce them to new people. Question number three. Istanbul, it’s a cat friendly city, so in October 2018, a pretty kitty had no qualms about crashing a fashion show there. The cat wandered out onto the runway, sat down, and proceeded to do what? Naomi, let’s start with you.

Naomi: Catwalk! Catwalk! Uhhh-

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: Well, no, it sat down, it did not walk, you’re wrong. Carmen, let’s see.

Carmen: Clean itself.

Mary: Carmen, you are correct! It licked its butt. It licked its butt, of course. And the models just stepped right over it. Okay. Question number four. According to the Cat Fanciers Association Foundation and Feline Historical Museum, which is a real thing, the world’s first organized cat show was held in 1871 in which European city? It was the first organized cat show.

Carmen: Oh, thank you.

Mary: We don’t know about the disorganized ones that may have popped up here and there.

Carmen: That helps a lot.

Mary: Yup. Alright, let’s turn those whiteboards around. Naomi? Paris?

Naomi: Maybe, I don’t know.

Carmen: I said London.

Mary: London! Carmen is correct!

Carmen: Really?

Mary: It was in London. That’s right. Okay, question number five. We’ve talked on the show before about the Amazing Acrocats, which is a Chicago-based circus troupe made up of cats. Now the Acrocats has a closing act, the Rock Cats, which is said to be the only cat band in existence. I don’t know how you fact check that, but that’s what they say. However, the Rock Cats have one non-cat member, who plays the tambourine and the cymbal because cat paws are too soft to get sound out of those instruments. What kind of animal plays the tambourine for the Rock Cats? Alright, Naomi, you said iguana.

Carmen: I crossed out dog, I put human.

Mary: Oh, wow, those are amazing guesses. You are both wrong, I’m so sorry. The answer is a chicken, and its name is Cluck. Cluck Norris.

Carmen: Oh wow. Of course.

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: And again, I am not making any of this up, it’s all on the internet. Carmen, I think you won the cat quiz.

Carmen: Oh my gosh.

Mary: So you get a prize. It’s a black lucky cat. But guess what—in the cat quiz, everybody wins. Naomi, you also get a prize.

Naomi: Thank you!

Mary: That’s right, thank you both. So let us take a few minutes for a musical number.

Carmen: Oh my God.

[KEYBOARD PLAYS UP THE SCALE.]

Mary: And I would like to introduce our musical guest—it’s Leslie Goshko!

Leslie: Oh my goodness, that’s me!

Mary: That’s you!

Leslie: That’s me!

Mary: And Leslie, I hear you have created an original composition for us.

Leslie: I have. I was moved by the cat spirit and by you telling me to, so that’s what I did. So I have a cat named Tater, and I’m allergic to cats. But I heard there was a hypoallergenic cat. Which is what you’d call a lie.

Audience: [Laughter.]

Leslie: But if you read 1,000 cat blogs in like an hour, you’re like, this exists! So I found this cat in Florida that they said was hypoallergenic, and they said buy your cat a plane ticket and we’ll fly it from Florida to New York. And I said, that sounds legit. And that’s exactly what I did. And I got the cat, and he’s adorable. He really is cute. Definitely allergic, still. So this is an ode to my cat and all the other cats living in the city, and I hope you like it, and it’s going to happen right now.

[SOFT, SYNTHY MUSIC BEGINS. LESLIE SINGS.]

Leslie: Yeah. Hi! Here’s a little story.

 

Well… Kitty lived south but he got real bored, so he boarded a plane so he could head up north. Had his eyes on the prize, knew who he wanted to be, and landed all paws in NYC.

Two pounds nothing and white as a ghost, but those eyes, damn, I couldn’t resist the most.

He has fur like velvet every time I pet him. I knew that this love was never ending.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, he went and turned and flashed me that cat butthole.

Well he’s pooping in a box right next to me, because we’re cramped living in 300 square feet.

I’m working five jobs, can barely sleep, but he’s living the life, living organic, grain free.

Sleeps all day and plays all night. He’s a master magician hiding all hair ties.

He’s running up and down the hallway floor, then he’s screaming for no reason then he’s screaming some more.

And then he hits the window, what does he see? It’s a bird, it’s a squirrel, it’s kitty TV!

 

Oh city, city kitty.

You got that swagger, got you looking so out of sight.

Meow, it’s the city with the brightest lights.

Don’t give a damn, don’t give a care, make it here you make it anywhere, city kitty.

[Purring noise.]

 

Well he says he wants to go for a walk on a leash. Hell yeah, I’m a crazy cat lady. I’ll rock the gear, I send the memes, I spent $300 on a fucking cat tree.

He’s living like a king looking over the land, serving all of the humans with a generous hand.

He’s got great instincts, man it’s shocking, it’s like I got my own little Stephen Hawking.

But then he eats some garbage out of the dump, and oh no, I’ve got an eight pound Forrest Gump.

 

Oh city, city kitty.

You got that swagger, got you looking so out of sight.

In the city with the brightest lights.

Don’t give a damn don’t give a care, make it here you make it anywhere, city kitty.

 

Alright, let’s get those hands clapping, guys. Let’s everyone hear it.

[AUDIENCE CLAPPING IN RHYTHM.]

Oh city, city kitty. This is the breakdown!

You got that swagger, got you looking so out of sight.

Yeah! In the city with the brightest lights.

Don’t give a damn don’t give a care, you make it here you make it anywhere, city kitty.

Yeah, you didn’t think you were doing this tonight, did you?

Oh city kitty.

But here we are, we’re making memories.

You don’t need a MetroCard because you’re already a star, city kitty.

 

Thank you! Thank you so much!

[MUSIC ENDS.]

Audience: [Applause.]

Leslie: That’s “City Kitty.”

Mary: Wow, Leslie Goshko everyone. Oh my. I felt so many things.

Leslie: Then I did it right.

Mary: Wow. What a rollercoaster. So, let us take a few minutes to talk about your cat, Carmen.

Carmen: Sure.

Mary: Larry Bird?

Carmen: Mm-hmm.

Mary: Now Carmen, you did promise us that you would tell us the story of how you met Larry Bird.

Carmen: Oh sure.

Mary: So would you be willing to do that before we go any further?

Carmen: Absolutely. So I was taking care of someone’s cat, and then I didn’t think they’d come back for the cat, but they did and then I was really sad. So I started going on Craigslist, which is what you do when you’re sad, and I was looking up all these cats and I’m like, I’ve got to find my cat. I just spent a couple hours, and then I saw a title that caught my eye, and it was, “I’m going to kill all these cats.” And I was like, tell me more. And clicked on it, and when I got in, the ad read “Just kidding, I just wanted to get your attention.” But she was like, my mother and my grandmother died and left me with 50 cats. And then at the bottom it was like “Edit: We’re down to one cat.” And I was like—

Audience: [Laughter.]

Carmen: That’s my cat! And she’s like the best cat. I was expecting it to be like a very high maintenance, real mangy cat, but it is just a sweet, sweet little cat.

Mary: And she’s changed your life for the better.

Carmen: Oh, the best. I love them. I’m obsessed with this cat.

Mary: Now Carmen, you did tell me before we came on that you have written a joke about cats.

Carmen: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mary: Would you be willing to share it with us now?

Carmen: Sure, sure. I start talking about how I’m a loser, and then I talk about how I’m like, I’m like well, my best friend is my cat, which we all think is great, but a lot of people are like, hahaha. And I’m like, so my best friend is my cat, I love my cat, it’s such a great cat. I wish my cat could talk sometimes, but what if it’s first words were like, “Make America Great Again”?

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: [Laughter.]

Carmen: Well, I’ve got to put you down, so. It’s also political.

[KEYBOARD PLAYS WAH-WAH JOKE MUSIC.]

Audience: [APPLAUSE.]

Mary: Carmen, this is the right place for that joke. Thank you.

Carmen: Alright, good.

Mary: And this is our other guest. It’s Muna Mire! Say hello, everybody.

[KEYBOARD PLAYS MUNA ONTO THE STAGE.]

Mary: It is now time for a segment that we call the Hot Topic debate. It is where we resolve a divisive feline issue once and for all. And so Muna and Carmen, you are going to help us with this. I don’t know if anybody remembers this, but a little while ago, PETA tweeted out that there are words, there are phrases about animals that we should no longer use, because they are harmful to animals. Like you shouldn’t say “beat a dead horse.” You should say “feed a fed horse,” because I guess force feeding animals is good, I don’t know. But conspicuously absent from the list of animal phrases that PETA is cracking down on are phrases involving cats. And I am concerned about that. So, I wanted to look about this phrase here: Let the cat out of the bag. I actually used it myself in conversation not that long ago, and I heard myself do it and I thought, [GASPS] what if this is bad for cats? I don’t know! So I’ve invited you two here as two incredibly intelligent, smart, thoughtful cat people, to help me figure out is this bad for cats, and if so what should I say instead? Thoughts, please?

Muna Mire: Is the cat in the bag consensually?  

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: Well, I don’t know. I don’t know! The phrase—

Muna: That’s a salient question, right?

Mary: Yes, it is.

Muna: Because you were saying earlier that your cat crawled into our gift bags.

Mary: Yes, Grendel was in the gift bags. I removed her.

Muna: And I assume they had fun, yeah.

Mary: She did have fun. I took her out because I assumed you didn’t want her.

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: Well, okay, let me correct—you can’t have her. [Laughter.]

Muna: Okay. Okay. Well, you know, I just took a trip home, and my cat crawled into my suitcase. My cat crawls into my Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s bags, so I think, you know, if they want to be in there, let them in there. If you shove a cat in a bag like I do when I take her to the vet—

Mary: True.

Muna: It’s no good.

Mary: How does Larry Bird feel about bags?

Carmen: You know, she’s not a bag cat. She’s a box cat.

Mary: Oh, yes.

Carmen: She’ll get in a box and just like, just her eyes are above it. That’s kind of her thing.

Mary: If the saying were “let the cat out of the box,” would that influence your thinking, Carmen?

Carmen: You know, this one is like—I feel like this might be one of those sayings where you find out it has some sordid past, and you’re like oh my God, this is based on some 1700s story where people were stuffing cats in bags to ward off the plague or something.

Muna: I don’t like the energy this saying is bringing. I’ll be honest. It’s not a good vibe.

Mary: It’s true. Well there is something sort of violent feeling about it, right?

Muna: Like the cat would let itself out of the bag if it wanted to, right?

Mary: Yes. Let the cat let itself out of the bag.

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: Would you like to know the actual origins of this phrase?

Muna: Sure.

Mary: Nobody actually knows. According to Snopes, nobody actually knows. But there’s a rumor on the internet that it came from some sort of medieval European practice of selling suckling pigs at markets, and they would put the suckling pig in a bag. And apparently, according to the rumors on the internet, which are false, people who were unscrupulous would try to cheat you by shoving a cat in a bag instead of the suckling pig, and you’d get home and be like, oh no, it’s a cat! But, this is highly unlikely to be true for a number of reasons, the first of which is that if you are standing there and someone hands you a bag and you think it’s a pig and it’s actually a cat, you’re probably going to notice before you get home, right? That’s probably not going to be a widespread thing that happens over and over. I mean, they did actually sell pigs in bags, which is kind of sad to think about, but I like your point though. The cat will let itself out of the bag. Okay, so from now on, when you want to say that someone is revealing a secret, what do we say? Let the cat let themselves out of the bag.

Muna: Let the cat let itself out of the bag.

Mary: Alright? Can we all agree to do that from now on? Thank you.

Leslie: It’s so much less wordy. To thine own of letting thineself out of the cat! Make it out of the bag first, on it’s own initiative.

Mary: You know what, Leslie? Language changes, and it’s to make progress.

Leslie: It is.

Mary: Okay. Carmen has to go perform at a comedy show, but before you leave, Carmen, can you tell us where people can find you on the Internet, and anything you’d like to promote coming up?

Carmen: Oh, sure, absolutely. CarmenLagala.com, @carmenlagala on Twitter, @carmstagrams. Not a ton of pictures of the cat. She absorbs light and is very hard to photograph. But there are some.

Mary: Will you work on that for us? Will you work on that for us?

Carmen: I will. I will try very hard.

Mary: Okay. Carmen Lagala, thank you so much for talking about cats. Thank you so much!

[CARMEN IS PLAYED OFF THE STAGE.]

Audience: [APPLAUSE.]

Mary: It’s time for the interview segment that we call Let’s Talk About Your Cat. Muna, we’re going to talk about your cat. Her name is Simone, is that correct?

Muna: Yup.

Mary: Okay. So we often like to start out by getting to know our guest’s cats in five words. We call it a five word memoir. Could you do that for us?

Muna: Aries, aggressive, Beyonce, hyper-affectionate, vocal.

Mary: Wow, so she’s Beyonce and she’s vocal. That’s a good—does she have a record deal yet?

Muna: I don’t know, sleeping on her I guess.

Mary: Okay, well, you know, heads up, music agents. We might have a lead for you. So we’re going to get all into your relationship with Simone, but I want to take it back a couple of months to November 7, 2018. Do you remember where you were? You were on Twitter, Muna.

Muna: Okay. [Laughter.] Drag me.

Audience: [Laughter.]

Mary: And  you tweeted, “Tell me why my cat is addicted to McDonalds fries? Relatable, but also confusing.” I would agree, that is relatable. It is also confusing. How did you come to find out that Simone is addicted to McDonalds fries?

Muna: I mean, how do you think? [Laughter.]

Mary: Okay, did she take your fries?

Muna: She—I mean, yeah. She’s a very forward cat, so if you have a food that she wants, she’ll run up and slap it out of your hand and then eat it.

Mary: Oh my gosh. Beyonce would not—

Muna: When it’s on the floor. [Laughter.]

Mary: Actually, maybe Beyonce would do that actually. So now when you go to McDonalds, do you order extra fries for her?

Muna: Mm-mmm.

Mary: No.

Muna: Yeah, I try to keep her away from it if I can. Like, do as I say, not as I do.

Mary: [Laughter.] So do you have to—I do this sometimes with my—I have a small child, which is not a euphemism for my cat, it’s actually a small child, and sometimes like if I have treats, I have to go hide to eat them, because he’ll be like, what are you eating? And I’m like, nothing! Do you have to do that with Simone sometimes?

Muna: Yeah! She also loves like, chicken wings. It’s messed up!

Mary: Wow. She’s got a junk food tooth.

Muna: She does. I think she just likes anything when it’s fried in whatever animal oil that is.

Mary: I mean, that is very relatable. So I want to know, how did you and Simone end up meeting?

Muna: Well, I mean, it’s sort of a sad story, but I got Simone after my brother passed away, and I adopted her from a shelter called Sean Casey, run by somebody called Sean Casey.

Mary: I love Sean Casey. Let’s give it up for Sean Casey. For those of you who don’t know, the Sean Casey Animal Rescue—

Muna: In Flatbush.

Mary: In Brooklyn, is an amazing, amazing place. They do great, great work. and they’ve rescued a lot of really wonderful animals, including Simone.

Muna: Yeah. We were walking by, and she literally stuck her paw out of the cage.

Mary: She chose you.

Muna: Kind of like, stop. Like I am the one you want. And yeah, we just went with it then.

Mary: As though you were a French fry.

Muna: Fated, yeah. Like meant to be, kismet.

Mary: And was her name Simone at the time, or did you name her?

Muna: No, I named her.

Mary: And is she named for another Simone, or did you just come up with that name?

Muna: I guess Nina Simone, Simone de Beauvior. It’s a good name, energy.

Mary: I was wondering. There’s a lot of great Simones out there.

Muna: Good Simones.

Mary: It’s a really beautiful name. and I can see for a cat who has that kind of energy, that’s a name that fits. So today was your first day of work at a new job, and I want to say thank you for coming here straight after your first day of work at a very exciting new job. Can you tell us what your exciting new job is?

Muna: Yes. So I am part of the producing staff on a new show. It’s called Desus and Mero.

Mary: We know what it is. We know who they are. Desus is a noted cat gentleman.

Muna: Desus has a cat? I didn’t know that.

Mary: Um, yeah. As far as I know he still has the cat. But you worked on the Rundown—

Muna: I did.

Mary: On BET, which should never have gotten cancelled, if you’re listening, BET. And you’ve written for a lot of great outlets like Teen Vogue and Elle and Vice, the New Inquiry. That is all really impressive, but I know that that takes a lot of hustle, and that hustle can be stressful, am I right?

Muna: Mm-hmm.

Mary: Does Simone help you when you are stressed out from that kind of work hustle?

Muna: Oh, big time. Big. Time. I think there is a way in which she’s just fundamentally clueless about all stress that kind of helps. I could be being evicted and she would be like—you know? It wouldn’t matter? And so it’s grounding in that sense, and also, I don’t know, she’s just really cute, and being around someone, something that cute helps. Yeah. She’s obsessed with me—

Leslie: Who isn’t?

Muna: [Laughter.]

Mary: Who can blame her?

Muna: It’s very flattering, I don’t know.

Mary: Everybody needs that. Everyone needs something like that in their life, like some creature who is just like, no. you’re great. You’re fabulous, just the way you are. Like I know you haven’t showered in awhile, but I still think you’re fantastic.

Muna: Yeah.

Mary: You grew up in Canada.

Muna: Mm-hmm.

Mary: And I found this out, that according to a 2017 pet population survey, which is a thing that Canadians do apparently, I don’t know if they have nothing else to do up there, 37% of Canadian households have at least one cat. Growing up, was your household one of those households that had a cat?

Muna: No. No. So my mom grew up on a farm, and was just hellbent on having very nice things with no pets around.

Mary: Yes.

Muna: So sort of like a 180—I mean, I tried. I lobbied. I lobbied hard as a child, but no, no pets.

Mary: So when you became an adult, were you like, it is now going to be my goal to get a cat?

Muna: Oh, big time. Yeah, yeah. So Simone is actually my second cat. The first cat I adopted lives with my best friend and former roommate in Toronto. And his name is Flip.

Mary: Flip!

Muna: Yeah.

Mary: Shout out to you, Flip in Toronto.

Muna: Shout out, Flip.

Mary: You had to leave Flip when you moved here to New York?

Muna: I did, just because he’s an older gent.

Mary: Wow, that must have been hard.

Muna: I felt completely alone. Naked.

Mary: So how long were you in New York without a cat?

Muna: Two years. Two years, yeah.

Mary: That’s a long time. That’s a long time for a cat person to be without a cat.

Muna: Yeah.

Mary: So then you decided to adopt Simone in the wake of a tragedy. What was it about getting a cat that you thought would—was the right thing to do in that moment, when you were grieving?

Muna: I think a lot of people suggested that it might be something that would help me.

Mary: Oh.

Muna: And you know, I thought why not?

Mary: But that’s good, that you have people in your life who say, when you’re having those moments of darkness and trouble, and they’re like, you know what you need? You need a cat.

Muna: Well, you need to take care of something. Yeah, it helps you, weirdly, mentally, to take care of another thing.

Mary: Well, it helps you take care of yourself, right?

Muna: Yeah. Paradoxically.

Mary: Paradoxically. So you got—and Simone was a baby when you got her?

Muna: Oh yeah. She was maybe four months, three or four months old?

Mary: Oh wow.

Muna: Yeah, she was tiny.

Mary: So walk me through those first weeks when you had Simone. How did you feel now that you had this cat that everyone had been advising you to get as part of your healing process?

Muna: It was amazing. She was so small, and she was like a slinky. Like she just didn’t know how to move her body and would just be like pouring over surfaces. It was adorable and hilarious. She missed like 50 of her jumps. Like any time she would jump, 50% of the time she would miss. It was funny and cute.

Mary: Something to laugh at and something to love.

Muna: Something to laugh at when I thought I would never laugh again.

Mary: Do you think that she thinks of you a little bit as like, I’m here to take care of you?

Muna: I think so, because when I’m sick, she’s like a magnet. She’s just like, literally has to be touching me. Which I think is so cute.

Mary: Yeah. No, I definitely think that cats who enter your life in chaotic or difficult times, I think they know that they have that role to play, and I think that sticks with them. My cat Grendel is very much like that. She’s a weird and peculiar cat, and she will bite people, including me. But when I am having a tough day, when I am sick, when I’m not feeling well, when I’m upset, she wants to be aggressively next to me.

Muna: Yeah, same.

Mary: Like, aggressively. To the point where I will sometimes even push her away and she will just keep coming back, like I’m sorry, I have a job to do right now, and you need to let me do my job. That’s part of the relationship is letting the cat do its job when you don’t always want it to, because you’re just like, no, let me wallow here in my misery, but then the cat is just like, excuse me. Excuse me, that’s not how we’re going to do this today. And you just have to let it in a little bit.

Muna: Yeah, and she constantly reminds me that things aren’t that dire. Yeah.

Mary: And there’s always a reason to wake up in the morning when you have a cat to feed.

Muna: Oh yeah, exactly. She’ll slap me in the head, otherwise.

Mary: Oh, okay. Grendel is into ear chewing in the mornings. That’s her thing is just nibble, nibble, nibble, nibble. And it’s like, I can’t sleep through that. That’s not nice. That’s not nice. But I understand, you want breakfast and that’s fine. Your needs take priority over my needs sometimes.

Muna: She doesn’t really do anything that I find particularly objectionable. I think sometimes she gets up onto tables and counters, and I read—

Mary: She’s looking for those fries, that’s what she’s doing.

Muna: Exactly. And I read once on the internet, if you pick up the cat and then set it down on the ground and then you’re like, no, don’t, it helps. Sometimes I do that.

Mary: [Laughter.] Muna, does it help?

Muna: She can tell I’m not happy. And then she’ll stop doing it. But she’ll do it again like five, 10 minutes later, as soon as I’m not paying attention again. Yeah.

Mary: It’s a temporary fix. I am curious to know also, do you believe that Simone has any sort of—because I think this about Grendel, and I don’t talk about it often because people sometimes think I’m crazy, but this is a safe space. I truly believe that Grendel has some sort of ability to transcend this world that we live in. I don’t know how else to put it.

Muna: First of all, that’s not crazy.

Mary: Okay, thank you.

Muna: Okay, there’s like a long sort of storied history of animals as familiars and as maybe mediums between this world and the next. And I believe that. I believe that she channels stuff that I’m not necessarily aware of, and sometimes it really wigs me out, because I’ll just be like, chilling in my room at night and she’s staring off into a corner, so intensely. And maybe stalking a corner, and I’m like, is my room haunted?

Mary: Yes!

Muna: You know, like what’s going on, what’s the vibe you’re picking up on? I don’t know. She’s like a little being from another dimension.

Leslie: I feel like your cats are way more highly elevated than mine. Like mine literally just eats string cheese wrappers, and it’s like, another day!

Mary: But that’s the great thing about cats though, right? Is cats are like people. Some cats have this weird mysticism about them, just like there are some people who have that, that you meet and you’re like oh, you’re definitely in touch with realms beyond this one, and that’s part of your thing and that’s great. Other people are just like—

Leslie: Eating plastic.

Mary: They’re just eating plastic. Listen, I went to college with some of them. You know, and that’s fine. And we need all of those different kind of cats in the world. But I do, and this is something else I believe, that people think I’m crazy for, is that the right cat finds us at the right time. You all thought I was a crazy cat lady, and now you know I’m a crazy cat lady, right?

Muna: [Laughter.]

Mary: Muna, is there something that you would like to say to Simone, listening at home?

Muna: Can you stop eating flowers, please?

Mary: Oh, is she a plant eater?

Muna: Yeah, she’ll just eat them, and then puke them up.

Mary: Oh no. Simone, Simone, please stop.

Leslie: Oh, this took a turn. This took a turn.

Muna: A little. [Laughter.]

Mary: Well I think the answer is clear, which is that we just need to get Simone some more fast food so that she leaves the flowers alone.

Muna: Right, right, right, right. Fries, not flowers.

Mary: Put them in a little vase, and then she won’t know the difference. Muna, thank you so much for coming and telling us about Simone. I really appreciate it.

Muna: Thank you for having me.

Mary: We have some cat shoutouts, I’m told. Producer Lizzie is going to bring us some cat shoutouts that we’re going to read. I will read them all if you want me to. Do you want me to?

Audience: [Applause.]

Mary: Alright. And if you forgot to do it, you can email us. Shouts@letstalkaboutcats.com. We’ll shout out a cat that you love on an upcoming episode. But for now, let’s do this. We want to say hello to Nomi Nom Noms in Ridgewood, New York. Nomi, we love you. It’s been a joy watching you watch the pigeons watching you. Aww.

 

Yes, we want to stay hello to Sasu and Rosie in New York. Rosie, we’re so happy you’re feeling better. Please continue being a kitten. Sasu, please stop bopping Rosie. There seems to be some conflict in that cat household.

 

Saying hello to Dorothy and Dashiell in New York. Those are great cat names. Also great kids names, I guess. So if anyone has any children and you want to name them after cats, I suggest Dorothy and Dashiell.

 

Also want to say hello to Cosmo. Cosmo, stop licking my head.

 

Hello to Zisa in New York. Please feel better and keep being your mischievous, bathtub-swimming self. Swimming? You have a cat that swims? Okay, we need a video. Email me. I want video of your cat swimming in the bathtub, because that’s wild. Hello to Pauline, AKA Carl. We miss you, but we’re glad you’re reunited with your family. There’s like a whole novel in that one.

 

Hello to Bella in New York. You’re a great jumper, but please stay off the counter and out of the toilet. Wow, there’s just a lot to unpack here.

 

Hello to Callie from Montclair, New Jersey. Stop throwing up cat food on the carpet. A lot of stop, stop, stop with these cat shouts—these are supposed to be like, we love you type shouts. It’s fine, it’s fine.

 

Hi to Minnie, also from Montclair, New Jersey. We love you. There we go. We love you, Minnie.

Leslie: There it is.

Mary: Hi to Waldo from Brooklyn. Please finish your dinner and quit yelling for more. Hi to Petey, also from Montclair, New Jersey. Stop peeing on the couch. Petey, stop peeing. And finally, last but not least, hello to Peanut from New York. I love you, you stink-eyed goober.

Leslie: Aww.

Mary: I could not think of a better note on which to end. That is absolutely amazing. Peanut, you stink-eyed goober. We love you. And Leslie, do you have a message you’d like to give to Tater, who is listening at home?

Leslie: You’re the best son a mother could have!

Mary: Aww.

Leslie: There you go.

Mary: Love you, Tater. And of course, I would like to say to Grendel, Grendel I will be home soon. Please, please, please do not chew my ears tomorrow morning. I really would like to sleep in. And that is basically our show. We want to say thank you to The Greene Space for having us here.

Audience: [Applause.]

Mary: Oh my gosh, thank you.

[KEYBOARD MUSIC BEGINS PLAYING AS MARY CONTINUES HER THANKS.]

Mary: Our first ever live show! And we want to remind you also that if you are not subscribed to Let’s Talk About Cats, you should get on that right away. We are on Apple Podcasts, we are on Spotify, we’re on Stitcher, we’re on all of the places where you find quality podcasts, and honestly, mediocre podcasts. They’re all out there, and you can find us there. And if you don’t mind, rate us and review us. It makes a huge difference, it really helps us. Especially on Apple, you know how it works. Algorithms, whatever. And you can sign up for our newsletter. Letstalkaboutcats.com. We have a free newsletter, it only goes out once a month, so it won’t clog up your inboxes. And we’ll be back with new episodes starting tomorrow. I am noted cat lady Mary Phillips-Sandy. My cat’s name is Grendel. Our guest today was Muna Mire. And Muna, where can people find you on the internet?

Muna: My twitter is @muna_mire.

Mary: And what should people do if they want to watch your show that’s starting next month?

Muna: Buy Showtime!

Mary: Buy Showtime, everybody! Desus and Mero coming to Showtime, woot-woot! And Leslie—

Leslie: Yes?

Mary: What would you like to promote?

Leslie: I run a storytelling series at the KGB Bar in the East Village, and we are celebrating our ten year anniversary. It’s always free, so please come out and see it.

Mary: Ten years!

Leslie: Ten years of story time, so come see us.

Mary: It’s called Sideshow Goshko. I’ve been, it’s amazing. They always have a great lineup. Please do check it out. Yeah, so you can find us, letstalkaboutcats.com, or @ltacpod on all the social medias. And of course Carmen, who had to leave. So yeah, my name is Mary, my cat is Grendel, our show is produced by the real live Lizzie Jacobs. Our theme song is by Poingly with additional music by the English Muffins. And our show logo is by the incredibly talented Julia Emiliani. Thank you all so much for coming out tonight. We’ll talk to you again soon… about cats.