A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Miss Cuddlywumps Converses with Puri Gagarin: Cosmocat

Puri Gagarin looking up at Moon.
Puri Gagarin, Cosmocat, has his eyes on the Moon.
Photo courtesy Puri Gagarin.
 Friends, please help me welcome a very distinguished guest to the blog today. He’s a Siberian who’s got his sights set on the Moon—and beyond. While you and I are napping, he’s training in the Apawllo Program and preparing to leave the Earth’s atmosphere. Who is this cat, I hear you asking? He’s Puri Gagarin, Cosmocat. I can’t wait to learn all about him.

Hi, Puri! We’re so excited that you could join us today. Tell me, how did you get the excellent name Puri Gagarin?

Thank you for having me! My name originates from the fact that I am a Siberian Forest Cat, so it was decided that I should have a Russian name. When it came to actually selecting a Russian name, the fact that I wanted to be a cosmocat really meant that the obvious choice would be to name me after Yuri Gagarin, who was the first man in space and a fellow Russian. That being said, there was concern that if I had the exact same name, then people would become confused—one Yuri Gagarin would be the first man in space, while the other would be the first feline on the Moon. Frankly, it would be a public relations nightmare and could wreak havoc with the history books. To distinguish the two of us, I adopted the first name “Puri,” which is an homage to both Yuri and my feline roots.

It is a distinguished and fitting name, since you will be the first cat on the Moon. Have you always been interested in space?

I was about 12 weeks old when I joined the Apawllo Program and moved to the Training Base, and I certainly wanted to become a cosmocat long before that great day arrived. If I had to pin down a turning point, it would be shortly after I opened my eyes for the first time. I remember looking out a window and seeing the Moon shining in all its glory, and all I could think about was how amazing it would be to chase toys across its surface. Little did I know the technical challenges that would be involved, but that is where the dream was born. Ever since that day, this goal has been basically all I think about.

Yuri Gagarin, first man in space, in a celebratory
parade in Warsaw, Poland, 1961.
Photographer unknown. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
It would be fun to chase toys on the Moon, wouldn’t it? I’m surprised no cat seems to have thought of this before. But space is a harsh environment, and your cosmocat training regimen must be intense. Can you give us an idea of a typical training day?

In a few words: “Rise and Grind.” Every day is intense, and I only average about 16 hours of sleep a day because of these activities, so mentally overcoming exhaustion is a huge component of my preparation. Generally, I break my training up into three segments during a day, so that I can recuperate with lengthy naps between sessions. Activities include chasing toys (reflex training), watching out the window (observational training), reading (important to train the mind), stretching (key for preventing training injuries), and running around the house at full speed (cardio). At least once per week I will also go on extended missions from the Training Base, as it important to get out and explore.

Only 16 hours of sleep? That’s incredible. Tell me, we’ve seen you eyeing the International Space Station. Any plans for a visit there?

Absolutely! It is a great place to spend extended periods in space conducting experiments. I also understand that they have mice on board, so I am planning some specific experiments, such as mouse hunting techniques and testing how far I can bat a mouse in zero gravity. That being said, I promise that no mice will be harmed or eaten during these experiments. I will rather engage them as co-experimenters and work collaboratively for the purposes of science. It is time that we put our inter-species differences behind us and mend these fences.  

Puri Gagarin studies the International Space Station.
Puri studies the International Space Station. He plans to conduct experiments with the help of some
mouse friends when it is his turn to join the crew.
Photo courtesy Puri Gagarin.

Fascinating. Since you want to be the first cat on the Moon, do you have a “first pawstep on the Moon” speech prepared, like Neil Armstrong’s famous “One small step for man…”?

To be honest, this will really depend on what the Public Relations team for the Apawllo Program determines. The program is bigger than me, so I respect that I am part of the team and that whatever those first words are will become an iconic part of feline history. That being said, I know that the current view is to adapt Neil Armstrong’s words, primarily as a sign of respect for the technology developed by humans that will make this feline achievement possible. Most likely, the opening words will be “One small meow for a cat, one giant roar for feline kind.

Puri visiting the David Dunlap Observatory, just north of Toronto, Canada. It's important for a
cosmocat to understand the mysteries of the universe, and an observatory is the purrfect place to learn.
Photo courtesy of Puri Gagarin.
I’d love to hear that being broadcast from the Moon. What would be your ultimate space adventure?

Puri and shuttle
Puri checks out a transport option. In space, a cat must
be thoroughly familiar with his or her vehicle.
Photo courtesy Puri Gagarin.
In a word, it would be Mars. Going to the Moon is really a starting point, but in the grand scheme of things the Moon is relatively close to the Earth and it has already been visited by humans. Mars is the next big milestone, as it will be the first time anyone sets paw or foot on another planet. The challenge is that humans are already eyeing this prize, so the Apawllo Program has some stiff competition from the likes of NASA. Ultimately, I see this as the next big Space Race similar to the 1960s. Whether man or feline gets there first is hard to predict, but I expect it will be a photo-finish either way.

Does your family support your career as a cosmocat?

They do and, frankly, I don’t think I could train properly if I didn’t have their support. As an example, I haven’t been able to master opening a can of wet food and there is no way that I could train so hard without this nourishment. They are also excellent at piloting the Lunar Rover for hours on end to take me to museums and observatories, which are an important part of my educational regimen.  

What does a cosmocat do to relax? Do you have any hobbies?

Could Puri be the first earthling
on Mars?
By NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team
(STScI/AURA) [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons.
I think it is important to carve out some private time to relax with family and I definitely keep that a priority. Sometimes I spend my downtime just snuggled in bed with family watching a movie. On an ideal night, we will set up the telescope and spend a family evening under the stars.

That sounds nice. Family is so important, isn’t it? Anything else you’d like to add?

I would like to thank all of my supporters. Sometimes when I am completely exhausted, those moments when I simply have nothing left in my tank, then I will read through some of the comments I receive, and they inspire me to push through and keep training. My supporters are a key element of the Apawllo Program, and without them this mission simply would not be possible.

Thanks, Puri. It was great meeting you and learning about what it’s like to be a cosmocat!

Thank you so much for having me today!   

Close-up of Puri Gagarin in Apawllo capsule mockup
Puri takes a break in the Apawllo capsule mockup.
Photo courtesy Puri Gagarin.

Follow Puri Gagarin the Cosmocat on Instagram to keep up with his training progress!  

Find more Cats in Space.  


  1. Das vidanya!

    In English that means 'two vidanyas'.

  2. What a fascinating, and informational interview with Puri! I went right over to Instagram too. A cat in space makes complete sense to me, since cats are really FROM space.

  3. What a cool (and beautiful) kitty! I'm off to follow his adventures on IG right now!

  4. I would be too scared to allow a cat to go to space. Be safe.

  5. What a fun post! Our older tom loves gazing at the moon and even into our small personal telescope. If M was younger, I wager he would have loved to be involved in the Apawllo Program.

  6. We will be following Puri's adventures on Instagram too!

  7. Very interesting and insightful interview. I had no idea the extent of his training. I don't know how he survives in only 16 hrs sleep a day. Truly a cat with impressive stamina, commitment and vision. Thanks for doing this interview with a future hero of space!

  8. Nice to meet you, Puri! I love the combination of interests ... I love cats ... and I love astronomy!! And you are absolutely beautiful too. I'd never heard of a Siberian Forest Cat (I don't get out much) - but you are a ball of floofy beauty. Inquiring minds want to know if you were part of the Mew-cury program as well ;)

  9. Hi Puri,
    Oliver here. I'm "over the moon" about your space experience and would love to offer my services as your correspondent in space-
    . I think my talent as a well spoken feline would be an asset to your mission. There is one issue however. Being stuffed into one of those suits would be like being forced into the world's smallest cat carrier. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that.

  10. WOW, you sure are a feline with drive and determination, and the feline world needs more like you, to raise the profile and all the good we can do. Enquiring minds need know, if the moon is made of cheese, do they also have lakes of cream too?
    Purrs ERin

  11. Oh my mouses! I am SUPER impressed. My brother, Nissy, had always wanted someone to read his blog from the International Space Station but as far as I know, no one ever did. Maybe... Maybe YOU could read his blog from up there! PURRS.

  12. It is so pawesome to see a cosmocat so dedicated so his work and goals. I am looking forward to seeing history being made.

  13. I hope you are able to reach your goals, having the title of first cat on the moon, would be super cool!