Cat people know that felines have a never-ending affection for boxes, but Jessica and Nikii Gerson-Neeves didn’t expect their three rescue cats to take that inherently feline obsession to the next level. The Vancouver Island, BC, residents ordered a Vitamix blender during a Black Friday sale, envisioning soups and smoothies, but when the package arrived in mid-December, their cats had other plans.
Their five-year-old tuxedo cat Max (also affectionately known as “the Sentient Soccer Ball”) sparked the situation, claiming the box just moments after it was brought inside and placed on the kitchen floor. Jessica snapped a photo and shared it on Facebook with a tongue-in-cheek caption, commencing what would become a diary of the standoff, captivating the Internet.
Not to be left out, their 13-year-old orange tabby George (aka “the Sentient Potato”) and their 13-year-old black cat Lando Calrissian (“the Questionably Sentient Dust Bunny”) joined in, demanding their turns. From the moment of its arrival, the cats refused to be lured from the box, squabbling over who got to sit upon it or guarding it while the other cats took a break to eat. The blender, of course, remained trapped inside the box.
“It turned out that this was not a passing interest in the Vitamix and this box was suddenly the most interesting thing in our whole house, according to the three cats,” Jessica tells Modern Cat. “This kind of absolutely obsessive focus on one thing—neither my wife nor I had ever seen anything like this from them before.” Jessica even got up in the middle of the night in an attempt to reclaim the box. It was occupied.
The saga continued for over a month, with the cats never leaving the blender box unoccupied. The couple documented the hostage-taking on their Facebook page with regular updates, gaining over 54,000 followers in the process. The posts went viral, and their story was widely reported in the media, in outlets from The Washington Post to NPR. The couple was surprised and definitely amused by the response the situation has received.
“You know, the internet is pretty much always caught up in one cat or another, but you never really expect it to be your cat,” Jessica says.
Jessica believes the major reason people have become so captivated with the saga is the humour. They have even had healthcare workers and followers reaching out to them to say their posts are getting them through the day.
“There really aren’t words for how rewarding that is. Something silly that we started doing for fun is actually making a difference in people’s lives. Our three goofy cats and the two of us being goofy is bringing so much joy to people,” Jessica says.
And yes, their posts even got the attention of Vitamix. The company sent the couple empty Vitamix boxes as decoys, hoping it would mean Jessica and Nikii could finally use their new appliance. Eventually, it became clear the decoy boxes were not going to work, so Vitamix sent another blender.
“When the second one arrived, we did not let it touch the floor! We got it right out of the box and put it directly into rotation,” Jessica explains. “Two days after that, they abandoned their ‘siege’ altogether, because of course they did.”
While this stand-off ended in the most cat-like way possible, the Gerson-Neeves’ are grateful they were able to bring people joy and have fun with their trio of beloved rescue cats at the same time.
“The cats were having fun, we were certainly having a lot of fun, the internet was having fun,” Jessica says. “My wife says, ‘find joy where it lives.’ In a world in which everything is very stressful and overwhelming right now, if where joy lives is in your kitchen on a blender box, go with it!”
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