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What is a Vintage CaT Tastrophe?

Simon posed for this picture the day we set up our new photography light.

      A Vintage Cat Tastrophe is the business of working with old and fragile things alongside five hard working and helpful cats. When I say “hard working” and “helpful,” I really mean curious and mischievous. It is my opinion that cats have begun their hostile takeover of the world. They have infiltrated internet, home, cafe and business alike.  If you are a cat owner, or even a dog, bird, ferret or elephant owner, your companions want your love. Cats especially want to be involved or more likely, in charge. When you exercise they stand under you to count your repetitions. When you want to watch TV they stand on the console so they can watch YOU, watch TV. Cooking dinner is an exciting time for them. They jump on the counter and make sure you don’t put too much salt in the soup. They are great at helping with homework or paying bills by covering your notebook, checkbook or keyboard with their entire body. When repairing a clogged sink, they are watching from nearby making sure that you are doing it correctly. Any incoming packages are inspected thoroughly by these hard working cats. I’ve found, that they will not help with vacuuming, although there are many who have accepted those robot vacuums as their own. (I’m saving up my $$$ for one of those. The vacuums, not the cats. Five cats on my payroll is all I can handle without purchasing a pre-war brick factory in Newark.) When your vintage business is based in your home, you can guarantee that all these things apply and can make for a fascinating adventure. Cats being curious by nature, get into everything.

The Cat Crew inspecting our newly aquired buffet. A great attic find!

      The process starts with the hoard of newly acquired treasures found from all corners of this dimension and beyond. You bring home knick-knacks in your reusable bag or crate and set it down in the living room. Streaks of furry lightening come from every direction to see what you’ve uncovered. The process of sorting items into categories allows the Cat-Crew* to thoroughly inspect each item.

The Sorting Begins:

  • The basket of linens and clothing to go to laundry. (Simon Loves rolling around in this basket)

  • The box of items to go into our personal curio cabinets. (About 1/3 of the hoard)

  • The “Needs Work” box of stuff for repair, refurbish, clean, up-cycle. (We may need to get a storage unit for this stuff, or purchase that abandoned factory after-all)

  • The box of all manner of weird things that we “could use” to make “something……someday.”

  • Things to go in the box marked, “investigate.” (After 30 years, there is still so much to learn about vintage and antique things. After all, every year a new crop of forgotten items can be called “antique” or “vintage”)

  • And the box of treasures ready to find a home. (The goal is to get these items listed on our website ASAP, but that rarely happens)

Odin napping on freshly washed Western Pearl Snap Shirts!

      Moving said items to their next staging area is treacherous. Besides the usual obstacles like the kids’ book-bags and the husband’s giant boots, there are booby traps consisting of toy mice and feather things, scratching posts, and yarn trip wires. Once you’ve arrived safely at the storage area, you cannot put down the heavy ceramic “THING” because 1 cat (Odin) is sitting on a nearby table and another, (Simon) is sitting on top of the bin that you want to use for the *safe storage (*see below) of the heavy item you are about to drop because somebody else, (Isaac) just ran on top of your bare foot with sharp nails. In some cases, that ceramic “THING” survives the journey. Other times…….it ends up in the “Needs Work” or “Weird Things” boxes. If only I could add my scratched up foot to one of those boxes too.

      Cats are very serious about photography and videos. Staging items for photography is time consuming and made all the more challenging when, Odin, your Product Placement Specialist does not approve of the angle of the shot. After an hour of cleaning, ironing and prepping dresses for their big photo shoot, Odin invokes a strike, demanding more crunchies in his bowl because, “OMG I’m going to pass out if I don’t eat this very second.” The rest of the crew join the strike and all you can do is drop everything to feed your workers because after all cat unions are a very powerful machine. Industry would cease to thrive without its backbone. The troops fed, you hurry the photo shoot along without having feline intervention. While editing photos for the website, you discover a third are blurry or at a weird angle. Another third have a paw, tail or ear in the corner, or a cat blatantly laying on the ledge in the background. The final third range from meh to perfect! You end up using the last third and half of the third with cat photo bombs for your listings.

Odin does not approve of this picture!

      Once you’ve photographed 99 items, enough to fill a couple of plastic bins, you have your work load for a week or three. If you do not put lids on those bins, any and all of the cats will deem them fair game for nap taking. You grab nine T-shirts from the bin and begin the listing process. Each item must be thoroughly inspected for imperfections that are noteworthy. The Cat-Crew tend to help mostly with the measuring. After-all, you must have somebody to hold the other end of the tape measure. The measuring process takes twice as long with this… HELP. Isaac and his assistant, Finn tend to hover around to make sure you do not forget any important details about the merchandise and don’t have any issues uploading photos and adding tags and descriptions. A smart merchant updates their inventory spreadsheets with the latest status of items. The old-fashioned merchant marks their progress in ledgers. (I suppose V-Cat falls into the Smart-ish-Old-Fashioned variety of merchants.) You’ve updated your elaborate, brain cell killing spreadsheets. Then, just in case there is an e-meltdown of everything digital, Skynet takes over the world or any other general zombie apocalypse you go to mark the SKU# in your ledger as a backup, but somehow your pen has vanished. (Finn-Again. Where does he put them? You try to tempt him with a colorful bendy straw but those are not the same as your expensive liquid gel Uni-Ball pens.) Hooray! Your items are listed. Now you follow the same steps as you did when you first brought items home. Navigate the obstacle course and locate the correct storage locations for the various items and wait for a buyer. (Hopefully this year.)

We have lots of notebooks full of Inventory numbers and the occasional reminder to google something "disco cafe song from the office"

      At this point every night, the Cat-Crew is well fed so there can only be one other reason they are all standing around looking at you. (Looking probably isn’t the right word. It is more like stabbing you with their eyes) They are telling you it’s time for bed. (If wishes were horses, beggars would ride and all that) You prop yourself up in bed under a mountain of blankets with your iPad and start social media-ing the hell out of your newest listings. That would take about 5 to 10 minutes if Isaac wasn’t trying to lay on top of your face or across your chest. Meanwhile, Odin and Finn decide it’s not time to sleep and chase each other back and forth across the bed, into the living room, into the bath tub and then back to the bed depositing droplets of water from the shower onto you, your blankets and your iPad. At this Isaac says in his whiney voice, “meeeeeeew”, and sits on your iPad.

This is the best place to be on any given day. Clockwise at 1o'clock, Odin, Finn, Simon, Isaac.

      The next thing you know, it’s 4:30am, dawn is breaking in an HOUR and you are getting poked in the eyes by one or two different cats while another is nibbling on your ear lobe And the other is rearranging your hair into a nest. I’ve said this earlier and I will remind you about how hard working cats are. It’s time to get up and repeat steps starting at paragraph two.


Our next blog will be a thorough introduction of our crew members. Check back for more photos and stories of our cat's antics!

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