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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Happy Fifth Averyversary!

Avery, enjoying one of his favorite modes of transportation.

Avery the Cat! He’s the cat who was born with an exclamation point!

It was five years ago tonight Avery and I made our acquaintance. Stephanie had a tip on another cat — we had only just begun to search for a worthy successor to the late and legendary Bernie — but Avery made his availability known and she scooped him right up, recognizing talent the moment it licked her on the face. Off into a cab they went and then onto the Long Island Rail Road. Avery was just a couple of months old and he was already commuting.

This was our initial thinking after Avery got off the train:

Such a cute little kitten! But we have to be careful. He’s new, and with older, warier Hozzie around, we just can’t let him wander at will right away. We have to break him in to his new surroundings, like we did Hozzie. We have to get him through his nervousness. We’ll set him up in the bathtub and close the door, because he’ll be shy and…

AVERY!

Forget the best laid plans of us and adopted kitties. Avery was comfortable among Princes about five seconds after he came home. He jumped out of his temporary bathtub encampment and into my lap. He wanted to be around us. He wanted to be around Hozzie. Hozzie preferred to hide under a bookshelf during Avery’s first weekend (same place he mourned big brother Bernie’s passing that May). Avery was his polar feline opposite, in campaign mode from the word “meow”. Hi, he’d say, practically sticking out his paw, I’m Avery the Cat and I’m running for the office of your affections. Can I count on your vote?

He was elected in a landslide.

Hozzie eventually emerged from hiding. Avery never hid. Avery was front and center, our featured kitty. Their chemistry developed slowly, but mine and Avery’s was instantaneous. One minute I was trying to confine him to the bathtub, and before the minute was out, he was my living room companion of record. As a bonus, Avery arrived just in time to catch (or maybe magically spur) the 2005 Mets’ late-season revival. They, too, were hiding under a bookshelf, dropping from 68-60 at the tail end of August to 71-75 by mid-September. Avery jumpstarted them toward 2006. His first night, Pedro Martinez shut out the Braves. After two weeks with Avery on their side, the Mets were 83-79 and bursting out of their own bathtub.

It was a heady time for Mets and cats. It’s still a heady time for Avery. He and Hozzie are old pals now, having progressed from strangers on the carpet to colleagues in the kitchen to something approaching brothers in arms…or legs. He continues to live up to his title as World’s Most Interactive Cat, never shying from Stephanie and finding me cozily amenable after a half-decade of relentless interaction.

Quite a ride these first five years with Avery…I mean Avery! Looking forward to seeing where else he takes us!

Meanwhile, I’d like to take you to lunch at Bronx Banter, my favorite blog of a different stripe. It’s safe to eat there, despite some unsavory elements you might have read about elsewhere.

8 comments to Happy Fifth Averyversary!

  • Inside Pitcher

    Happy Anniversary Avery! (And to the Prince family!)

  • Dak442

    I read somewhere recently that the proper way to introduce a new cat into an established one’s domain is to put the existing cat into seclusion, allowing it the opportunity to hide from the newcomer and then allow him to seek out newbie at his leisure a few days later. Seems horribly unfair to us humans, though.

    Your grilled cheese story made me hungry.

    Speaking of food, I had a Shackburger at the ballpark last night. I usually go with Blue Smoke or Taqueria, but there was literally NO line at 6:00 last night so I thought I’d take advantage. I gotta say, Shake Shack is all hype. It’s not bad, but it’s just a burger. I’ve eaten at three different Five Guys locations in the past six weeks, and as far as I’m concerned, Five Guys blows away the Shack.

    • Thinking back, when we introduced Hozzie into the homestead (his eighth anniversary is in eight days), we kept Bernie at bay. Bernie was incredibly cooperative as was Hozzie in terms of each being sent to neutral corners, and when we let Hozzie emerge, Bernie couldn’t have been more…I won’t say welcoming, but not at all resentful.

      Hozzie was having a rough summer post-Bernie and was kind of down in general, so it’s not surprising he wasn’t exactly forming a welcoming committee. And Avery, as noted, was just gangbusters. It all worked out in the end.

      Shake Shack very good, but not a worldbeater. Haven’t tried Five Guys. There’s one in Long Beach, where I haven’t been in more than a year but is actually not far away. But if I’m going to Long Beach, I’m going to Gino’s…or Franco Fanelli.

  • maryanne

    Your blog just confirms the thought that God wants us to have that special animal in our lives. Happy anniversary! LGM!

  • Andee

    Zevon the cat (sitting in my lap and purring like a steam-engine-powered helicopter as we speak) wants to know why Avery is cuter than him. “All cats are gorgeous” isn’t cutting it with him. Territorial !@#$%.