NBA Catwatch Investigative Report: Where’s Whiskers?
NBA Catwatch is a website and twitter account dedicated to figuring out which NBA players own cats. The site also raises money for cat causes through sales of t-shirts, socks and other items. Whenever an NBA players mentions a cat on social media or is otherwise connected to one, NBA Catwatch investigates. TAI recently partnered with NBA Catwatch to uncover a developing story involving the Washington Wizards.
[Unidentified cat in a wizards hat; Photo: Etsy.]
The story begins almost four years ago with an innocuous tweet. Andrew Nicholson, then a first-year player with the Orlando Magic, shared some sad news with his followers: his family cat, Friskit, was dead.
There was nothing particularly noteworthy about the tweet, and it followed the customary life-cycle for such social media pronouncements — a few notes of condolence for the fallen furry friend, a thankful acknowledgment from the bereaved, and some hopeful words for a better tomorrow — before fading away, buried beneath the unrelenting sea of noise that is life’s timeline. Such is the ephemeral nature of the twitterverse.
But this tweet had a second act. It would take almost four years, but in early February NBA Catwatch unearthed Friskit’s obituary and noticed an unexpected message of hope buried within: “I still have whiskers!”
BREAKING: Nicholson then mentions ownership of a second cat, Whiskers. "I still have whiskers!" [2/2] https://t.co/EnGrTQ0s4v
— NBA CATWATCH (@NBAcatwatch) February 2, 2017
There have been no other mentions of Whiskers in the more than three years since Friskit’s death. NBA Catwatch’s attempts to reach Nicholson concerning the feline’s whereabouts and welfare went unanswered — as did attempts to enlist the help of Wizards media.
I was following the breaking story on Twitter and decided to lend a hand. Before Washington played the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, I approached Nicholson as he sat in a nearly empty locker room 75 minutes before tip-off. I explained the subject matter of my inquiries and he agreed to talk. We would finally learn what became of Whiskers.
What followed was a frank discussion about life, death, and cats (video below).
Adam Rubin: You tweeted about a cat a few years ago.
Andrew Nicholson: He’s dead.
Is that Friskit?
You said you had another cat named Whiskers.
[pause] Oh, that cat’s dead too.
[Ed. Note. Some viewers noticed laughter coming from this reporter after Nicholson’s response. While the observation is accurate, the intent was not malevolent. I was caught off guard by Nicholson’s deadpan responses and the fact that every cat I asked about received the same response, “he’s dead.” No disrespect to Whiskers was intended.]
Whiskers is dead too?
How long did you have Whiskers?
My mom actually got it. It died, I’m gonna say, like six months ago.
The cat was living with you or with your mom?
She found a litter of cats in a box in the woods and she took one of them and gave one to her friend. It was a wild cat so…
Do you have any plans to get any other cats?
So you are not really that much of a cat person?
After my cat died, not really.
How long did you have Friskit?
He was about thirteen, thirteen and a half.
You said Friskit was the best pet anyone could have. What made Friskit so good?
He had dog-like features, believe it or not. He’d fetch stuff. He was always around pretty much.
Do any other Wizards players own cats?
No. I don’t think anybody does.
Is there anybody on the team you think could be a cat person?
I don’t think anybody on this team likes cats.
So, there you have it. Friskit and Whiskers are dead. Nicholson is not getting another cat. And no other Wizards are cat people. Sometimes stories have a happy ending, sometimes they don’t. All you can do is follow the facts.
Exclusive cat interview with Nicholson for @NBAcatwatch. Sad news…
Me: How's Whiskers?
Andrew: [pause] "Oh, that cat's dead too." pic.twitter.com/XgAXyT4AdC
— Ledell's Place (@LedellsPlace) February 3, 2017
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