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DIANA finds the sweet spot between bedroom and bespoke on Familiar Touch

DIANA plays Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver June 26.

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Kieran Strange and her kitties

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Bands with cats – Kieran Strange and Pippin, Tesla, Bowie and Sherlock

– by Cheena Normandin

Name: Kieran Strange

Cats’ names:

CAT #1, Pippin. Named because: Lord of the Rings had just come out. Nicknames: Pip, Little Duke, Pantaloons. Class: Wizard. Alignment: Neutral Good. Age: I think about thirteen? Breed: DLH, Black & Fuzzy. Fav. toy: He doesn’t understand toys. Personality: Skittish, but ridiculously sweet and loving. Likes: Giving kisses, kneading people who are allergic to him, hearing his name. Dislikes: Plastic bags, loud noises, sudden movements.

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CAT #2, Tesla. Named because: He’s my favourite engineer *lame*. Nicknames: Tess, Tessy, Princess, Pretty Girl. Class: Berserker. Alignment: Chaotic Neutral. Age: Three. Breed: DMH, Spotted Tabby. Fav. toy: The television screen when we’re playing Minecraft. Personality: Double-edged sword – sweet one minute, murderous the next. Likes: Sleeping, non-belly pets, cat grass, craft beer foam, the top of the cat tree.

Dislikes: Her brothers, belly pets, the windowsill, anywhere else on the cat tree.

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#3, Bowie. Named because: It was a cute name that suited him, and I love the musician. Nicknames: Bo-Bo, Bojangles, Baby Boy. Class: Paladin or Healer. Alignment: Chaotic Good. Age: Almost a year. Breed: DLH, Mackerel Tabby. Fav. toy: The caged jingly ball that sounds like a tornado ripping the house apart when he smacks it up and down the hardwood floors. Personality: very sweet and affectionate, like, ALL the time. Likes: being groomed by his brothers, cuddles, belly rubs, food, climbing into the fridge. Dislikes: there isn’t really much he doesn’t like!

#4, Sherlock. Named because: he was quirky and odd, and liked to investigate everything that ever occurred in the house. Nicknames: Shirley-Whirley (much to his probable dismay), Little Prince. Class: Rogue. Alignment: Neutral Neutral. Age: One. Breed: DSH, Tuxedo. Fav. toy: cardboard box. Personality: quirky, weird, and pretends to be aloof, despite wanting cuddles. Likes: boxes, heights, dishes, boxes again, epic adventures digging in litter, climbing up me when I bend over and sitting on my back, the heating vents on the floor, being cuddled under the blanket. Dislikes: The hairdryer.

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What are your cats’ origin stories?

Pippin and Sherlock were both adopted from rescue centres. I’m not sure where my roomie got Pippin from, but we got Sherlock (then “Scooter”) from VOKRA, which is one of my favourite rescue places for cats in the Lower Mainland. They take so much time and care with placing their kittens, and ensuring that the kittens will not only be healthy and well taken care of, but happy too.

I wanted to get my roomie a new kitten for Christmas because she had been talking about getting a third cat for a few years and we both wanted to give another cat a home, and when we met him he fell asleep purring in her arms and we both fell in love with him. I remember having a mild freak-out when we brought him home, being all, “OH EM GEE I AM NOT READY TO BE A PARENT AGAIN WHAT AM I GONNA DO!?!?” but I love him so much and I never regret getting a third pet, despite the fact that they now outnumber us. Urk!

Anyway, after a while, we realized that Tesla wasn’t taking to the new kitten as well as we thought she would (because she’d always been incredibly close to her sister, who is my friend’s cat, but I’ll talk about that in a sec here), and Sherlock (who was fast becoming known as Shirley-Whirley, the poor little ****) was becoming frustrated that he didn’t have another cat who wanted to play with him. I’ve always been a firm believer that if you’re unsure as to whether or not you’re meant to have a pet, some sort of of sign will always point you in the right direction. We were heading down to the pool in my apartment complex one day, and discovered about nine kittens all running about on the lawns, and one kitten-babysitter frantically trying to gather them up, because apparently they’d all gotten out. Long story short, we asked about them, and the woman’s two adult females had both gotten out and gotten pregnant at the same time, and she was inundated with kittens she was looking for good homes for. She had two that weren’t spoken for, and we fell in love with little Bowie (then “Houdini”, because he constantly escaped). Sherlock finally had his little playmate, and the two have been inseparable since!

Tesla’s origin story is the best of them all. We were touring down through the United States, and we blew a tire in Texas and had to stop at an auto mechanic. It was baking hot, and while we were waiting, my friend Kitty who was touring with us (Kitty the SheGeek, a local Vancouver cosplayer) wandered over to a stack of tires and found a tiny black kitten underneath – so sick she couldn’t meow and could barely walk, with one eye that was almost sealed shut, and you could see the fleas moving all throughout her fur.

Upon further inspection, Kitty found a second kitten, just as sick, and a group of adult cats, with dry food (which kittens that age can’t eat) and no water out in the boiling hot sun. She asked the mechanic on duty whose cats they were, and he said that they were the store owner’s, but that he didn’t take care of them and that if we wanted to save the younger ones, we should. So we took the kittens, and Kitty and I each adopted one. They were our tour cats for a while, which was interesting, sneaking them in and out of motel rooms… hehhhhhhhh.

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What do your cats eat?

We’re pretty picky about what we feed them, for the most part. Pippin has a few health problems due to his age, so we have a very specific feeding plan for them all. We give them Red Dog Blue Kat, which is a raw brand made and shipped locally. We mix it with a bit of water (which looks disgusting, but it’s worth it to hydrate them a little extra!) and mix in the tiniest few drops of omega oil in the mornings, and apple cider vinegar in the evenings, which keeps the boys from developing any urine crystal problems.

Every now and then, we’ll give the three younger cats chicken thighs too, and we feed them healthy treats (like the freeze-dried 100% chicken bites, and dried sardines). We’re basically like those parents who are complete health nuts and give their kids sliced fruit at treat times…

Of course, they’re cats, so they try and get into things they’re not allowed. Each one of them is absolutely OBSESSED with something they are 100% not allowed to eat, but will do ANYTHING to get ahold of.

Pippin: Yoghurt. Any flavour, he doesn’t care. Just yoghurt.

Tesla: Beer. I’m not even joking, she will go nuts licking the rim of the glass or bottle, and she steals the caps and hides them around her cat tree.

Sherlock: Carbs. His favourite is toast or bread, he goes MAD for toast or bread, but he likes pasta, potatoes, pizza, and crisps too.

Bowie: Anything and everything he isn’t allowed, especially if it involves breaking into the packaging, chewing through a box, or climbing into the fridge. He just loves food in general.

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What are your cats’ theme songs?

Pippin: “Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab For Cutie, because he’s super close with my roomie and they’ve been together for so long.

Tesla: “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks, because… well, it’s just HER!

Sherlock: “Back In Black” by AC/DC,

or some really smooth jazz. Or any James Bond title song.

Bowie: “Love Today” by Mika. Or “Dude Looks Like A Lady” by Aerosmith.

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If your cats see a GIANT SPIDER, what are their courses of action?

All of them will take turns to gather around it and paw at it, usually with Sherlock and Bowie on it all the time batting it back and forth, and with Tesla and Pippin checking in on it every now and then. It’s really anyone’s guess who’s attention span will hold out the longest, but it’s usually Tesla.

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If your cats threw a raging party, what three songs would be on the playlist?

1) “Fight For Your Right To Party” by The Beastie Boys.

2) “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League.

3) A song by a secret band some of your readers might enjoy… it’s a new joint project with a company called Tasty Peach Studios, so keep an eye on my website in the next few weeks for the announcement! 😉

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If you woke up in a freaky Friday sitch with each one of your kittehs, what would be the first courses of action on each of their behalfs? And on yours?

Me: … Okay, so who DOESN’T want to try leaping onto the top of the bathroom door in one standing jump!? I would test out my new “superpowers”, as I would call them, because then I would feel pretty badass.

Pippin: Pippin would likely walk slowly around the house terrified, making himself jump constantly and freaking himself out as he tried to figure out what was going on.

Tesla: Tess would crack a beer and kick back with some Minecraft.

Sherlock: Sherlock would immediately put on a REAL tuxedo, because he’s just that smooth, and then make toast.

Bowie: Bowie would use his new opposable thumbs to open EVERYTHING, starting with the fridge and cupboards in the kitchen.

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Find Kieran Strange at:

kieranstrange.com

twitter.com/kieranstrange

facebook.com/misskieranstrange

youtube.com/user/KieranStrange

flickr.com/photos/kieranstrange

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