An Exclusive Interview With Spock The Cat, San Jose’s Top Bobcat Impersonator
Spock the Cat drags in a few choice words on media feeding frenzies.
By Tony Sokol
Smashpipe is not known for going for the cute and furry, unless we’re talking about Marco Rubio’s closet kink. We are also a dedicated non-SEO, anti-trending weekly magazine that finds ridicule at best for these subjects and I admit I’m the worst offender, having just been given official warning. But our listings editor Sarah Shanok apparently loves “photos of tiny animals doing silly human things” and I have to redeem myself from past vulgarities. I looked to the cool, wisdom of Spock the Cat.
There is a story trending right now on Spock the Cat, a big Maine Coon cat of San Jose, California, that passersby thought was a bobcat. Spock isn’t really the fuzzy and cuddly type. He was mistaken for a wild beast for a kick off, so it should have been self-evident. The Maine Coon is the largest breed of domesticated cat in the world. Spock weighs in at 27 pounds and measures almost four feet long, just two and a half inches shy of the Guinness World Records' title for longest cat. He is three and a half years old and eats about a pound of pure fish, chicken, turkey or pork every day.
The owner of Spock the cat, Colleen Pizarev, is a media professional who was a co-worker of mine for over twenty years at PR Newswire. She is highly bemused by all the attention she is getting. She took a call on the story from her local rag, The Rose Garden Weekly, and learned that sometimes it's okay to let the phone ring unanswered. The San Jose Mercury News ran with the story and it went viral. Colleen has since been called by Good Morning America, The Huffington Post and probably Nine Lives Weekly to share assorted sordid kibbles and bits about Spock the Cat and it irks her.
Sure Colleen loves Spock the Cat and, being a media professional, understands how all this could have happened. She’s not happy about it, but she gets it, and this writer is opportunistic enough to pour salt on her wounds and torture her over it for a story that might get a dozen extra hits. I reached out to Colleen, who left her media gig behind for the peace she finds in painting, to ask if I could do an interview with the now-famous feline. Pizarev said fine, that’s an angle no one had asked her about. She called the cat into the room, put the phone on speaker and said go nuts, what does she care?
Celebrity interviews are tough, and new celebrities either have a tendency to say too little or give out too much information. Spock the Cat was a meowing mix of these two things. I heard the purrs and mewlings, some of which went on for minutes at a time, but, of course, it was just insane ramblings to me.
So, Spock the Cat, I asked, how do you like your home in the rose garden? The big kitty yawned and scratched. I hear you have your own Facebook page and blog site, anything you’d like to say to your fans? Spock generously coughed up a fur ball and it sounded like he knocked over a cup of pens or something.
After a few interminable minutes of this, Pizarev walked back into the room.
“I did the Rose Garden Weekly interview as a way to stop the story,” Colleen said. “If I had known it would have grown to this proportion I wouldn’t have done the article. I’m trying to contain this. I find myself managing me and I know I can’t afford me. I’m a PR person and I have to represent myself. If I had pitched this I would be thrilled.”
That morning alone, Pizarev found herself arguing with the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed. Knowing media as elitely as we do here at Smashpipe, I wondered what the press might have gotten wrong.
“Only one person actually mistook Spock for a bobcat, the rest thought he was a lynx” Colleen corrected. “That stopped when I pointed out that it he had a tail.”
Taking advantage of a trained translator who speaks Spock, I asked how the cat was taking the new-found fame.
“He’s sublimely oblivious but he keeps asking to have his dinner upgraded to steak,” Colleen said.
I’ve known Colleen for years, as I wrote earlier, but now worried that she was becoming a crazy cat lady and had to know how Spock could ask for steak without the use of a communicator or resorting to a mind meld.
“He puts his foot in his bowl and bangs it,” she explained.
So she’s not out of her Vulcan mind, but she did explain why the cat was named after the science officer of the USS Enterprise.
“Because of his ears. He’s got enormous ears with pointed tuffs. And when you look at him you jut know he‘s thinking ‘that’s not logical,’” Colleen said. “He’s incredibly smart.”
I point out that this Spock didn’t invent the tricorder and wondered if the domesticated animal had seen any episodes of Star Trek.
“Not unless they have birds and squirrels,” Coleen said. “He’s addicted to YouTube videos of birds and squirrels. He thinks humans are over-rated. He calls them bipeds.”
That’s pretty smart for a cat.
“His Facebook page is written in first-person,” Colleen said proudly, then caught herself and added. “I have fun on that page ghostwriting for him.”
At least the cat doesn’t have the last editorial say.
“Yes,” she corrected. “He has to put his paw print on everything.”
In the last election cycle we saw many stupid pet tricks, like some news channel using some kind of octopus or turtle or something aquatic to handicap the presidential race. Surely, Spock the Cat has a prediction.
“I can’t say a word on that,” Colleen said, speaking for Spock. “He’s above it all. He thinks all bipeds are silly."
With that, Spock walked away with its tail in the air to find a catnip toy.
“Catnip is legal in the state of California,” Colleen assured me.
Published January 21st, 2016
Tony Sokol is a writer, playwright and musician. He writes for Den of Geek, The Chiseler, KpopStarz.com and wrote for Altvariety, Coed.com, Daily Offbeat. Dark Media Press, Wicked Mystic and other magazines. He has had over 20 plays produced in NYC, including Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera "AssassiNation: We Killed JFK." He appeared on the Joan Rivers (TV) Show, Strange Universe and Britain's "The Girlie Show."