A Cat-Shaped Hole in My Heart

A Cat-Shaped Hole in My Heart

Various Artists


This benefit CD started on a sad note several years ago, when Sam Rosenthal’s cat Vidna died of feline leukemia virus (FeLV, or feleuk). Sam, founder of Black Tape for a Blue Girl and Projekt Records, soon heard from other artists who had lost cats to feleuk, and so he decided to put together a compilation to educate people about this cruel disease and how to keep their cats from catching it.

The leading non-traumatic cause of death in adult cats, feleuk kills as many as one in ten annually. I’ve lost several cats to feleuk over the years, and I can tell you it’s no fun for anyone. Even the vaccine is not 100% effective (though it’s by far the best protection available, so if you haven’t had your cat vaccinated against feleuk, please do so as soon as you can). The best prevention is to keep your cats indoors, and make sure they are not exposed to other cats (feleuk is spread via the saliva/sneezes, feces, or urine of infected cats).

But the good news is, a bunch of cat-loving gothic and industrial artists have banded together to help fight feleuk with this compilation. All the artists are donating their full royalties to the Tree House, a cageless, no-kill shelter in Chicago for stray, injured, and abused cats.

There isn’t a bad song on this disc, which is pretty amazing for a compilation CD. Many of the songs include cat sounds, such as the sampled voice of a very angry cat named Max Millions in “Mad Max” by Thomas Thorn (of the Electric Hellfire Club), or extremely creative imitations of cat sounds, such as the eerily feline violin scrapings of “Caterwaul” by the Changelings, or the spacey ambient mutations of a meow in “Galactipus” by Tara Vanflower (of Lycia).

One of my favorite tracks is “In Dreams of Mine,” by the gothic duo Faith and The Muse. Whispered female vocals explore the ancient, mystical soul that shines behind amber feline eyes, while majestic atmospheres painted by electronic keyboards and percussion and chiming guitars frame the scene. Then there’s the cabaret-smoky, lounge-swinging “Inside Only Cat” by Shotgun Wedding (including Lynn Canfield and Brendan Gamble of the now-retired The Moon Seven Times). It’s uncanny how much the stick drop-rolling onto a drum in this track sounds like something a cat knocked over. And Lynn’s husky voice could convince anybody to be inside only–except, of course, her very unsatisfied cat, Chuck!

I wish I could talk about all the songs on this disc, but you’re just going to have to buy it yourself. If you love cats and gothic/industrial music, you won’t be disappointed. And you’ll be doing our furry friends a good turn, too.

Projekt/Darkwave, P.O. Box 166155, Chicago, IL 60616

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