A brief introduction to a cat

Masha, a gray cat, laying on a pile of blankets and yawning.

The joy and the benefit of reader-supported publications like Sequencer is the relationship that readers and writers develop together. We are all characters in each others' lives. My therapist is known by his first name among my friends because I bring him up so often. Writers and artists I'm fans of are known quantities for people who know me, and are usually used to mock me (ask me about John McPhee, Lonesome Dove, and other dad-lit I read).

But like most people who have spent too much of their life in front of a computer, most of my thoughts are only occupied by my cat, Masha.

Masha, a gray cat, sitting on a desk in front of a computer.

She has walked across the keyboard as I wrote this blog. She is currently sitting in my lap and just pressed her head against my forearm. I met her at Feline Rescue in St. Paul, where her name was Velveteen. I asked the volunteer who accompanied me on my visit to her if I could change her name. He said, "Dude, the cat does not care."

This is a science publication so we must have a science angle (actually we don't but I'm gonna add one anyway). Masha has stomatitis, oral inflammation from what is essentially an allergy to tartar buildup. It causes pain, tooth decay, and notably bad breath. You can buy tuna-flavored toothpaste and a little cat-sized toothbrush if, like me, you want to waste $20, but the only real treatment is to just yank most of the cat's teeth out. This made me upset briefly before learning that this is no way affects a cat's quality of life (cats mostly do not chew, they simply grab and swallow whole chunks of food). It also made pictures of her extremely funny.

A picture of a gray cat named Masha who has only a few teeth yawning.
They left a few teeth behind for no clear reason.

Masha will be appearing in posts and newsletters for as long as I live.

Masha, a gray cat, licking her paw with her tongue fully out of her mouth.

This has been Sequencer's first pointless blog. Many more to come.