Sunday, January 20, 2013

Obstruction the View

Marie Viljoen writes the gardening blog: She writes about her small NYC terrace, plants, and a horticultural life in the big city, with botanical side trips.

Her cat's blog is She says, "I have no control over what he writes. His full name is Don Estorbo de la Bodega Dominicana."

Marie told us:

"I adopted Estorbo (which means Obstacle, or Obstruction in Spanish) when he was about one. At the time his name was Midnight. He was the resident rat catcher at a nursery in Manhattan, where I had just begun to work in plant sales.

"He was born in a bodega on the Lower East Side and adopted as a kitten by a woman who then went on holiday and did not claim him from her cat sitting friend when she returned. The friend worked at the nursery and brought him there to live and work. I am told he laid dead rats out in front of the cash register for staff to find in the morning.

"When I adopted him he had been sidelined by an accident at the nursery in which his jaw had been broken (nobody knows how it happened) and then he needed a better home. I had a Spanish-speaking boyfriend at the time who re-named him after his habit of walking right in front of one and then stopping suddenly. Trip and fall hazard.

"He is a big and tall cat and weighs 17lbs, has been diagnosed recently with hyerthyroidism and is responding well to medication (pills). He has strong opinions about vets but likes his current specialist, Dr Slade, at VERG.

"Estorbo has the run of our tiny terrace and also has access to the roof and the roofs on our block, five in total. He likes to sit in pots, loves grass to chew, hates squirrels and will have nothing to do them, once chased off a raccoon, and keeps a herd of summer cattle on the roof. (They are actually Brooklyn cockroaches. In summer we are very careful about letting him back in the house at night. He first has to open his mouth and say "Ah"...only then may he come back inside.)

"The garden is a small terrace on the top floor of a Brooklyn townhouse. There are about 35 pots, and I grow all my kitchen herbs in them, as well as strawberries, figs, roses, lilies and other ornamentals. And catnip for Estorbo, of course. I water by hand, sometimes twice a day in the heat of summer. I garden organically, the pots receive no special protection in winter, and I divide perennials in spring. The fig is root pruned every year. On the roof I grow vegetables, blueberries and white currants.

"Oh! And in a New York Times article about our terrace last summer he was described as " a large, irritable black cat." He took exception to that."


  1. If you go back in Estorbo's blog several years to the time when he wore t-shirts and onesies for a licking problem (leek, leek, leek) you will literally have tears of laughter streaming down your cheeks. I highly recommend taking the time :)