On Black Friday, Jessica and Nikii Gerson-Neeves bought a blender. It was a Vitamix blender, a professional-grade splurge, and the couple was looking forward to a winter of smoothies and soups.

It arrived on Dec. 16 at their home on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Jessica put the hefty box down on the floor in the kitchen, just for a second. Her 4-year-old tuxedo cat, Max, otherwise known as the “sentient soccer ball,” jumped up on the box. Jessica thought it was funny and snapped a photo.

Then Max’s 13-year-old feline siblings, George: Destroyer of Worlds (“sentient potato”) and Lando Calrissian (“the questionably sentient dust bunny,”), demanded their turn on the knee-high box.

That was more than three weeks ago. Since then, the cats have refused to leave the box, fighting over who gets to perch upon it and taking turns standing guard while the others eat or are busy elsewhere. The blender remains ensconced inside.

The Gerson-Neeveses, who refer to themselves as “the middle-aged lesbians,” documented the standoff, taking photos and posting daily updates on Facebook, specifically in the 900,000-plus-member group “THIS CAT IS C H O N K Y.” The hostage situation has drawn thousands of comments from those who know the “but the cat was on it!” explanation all too well.

“STANDOFF: Day (are you KIDDING me) 4: The situation has come full circle as the sentient soccer ball took advantage of a moment of distraction by the sentient potato and reclaimed the Vitamix, immediately adopting a posture suggesting that he came to eat treats and bitchslap any lesbians who try to come for the Vitamix, and he’s all out of treats,” wrote Jessica, a psychologist and the writer of most of the updates. “One of the middle-aged lesbians appears to have locked herself in the bathroom; the other was heard in fervent prayer to the patron saint of all queer cat lovers, [Freddie] Mercury. ”

The couple, who married in 2016, are accustomed to seeing their cats jump on boxes and sit on piles of things. The animals usually lose interest after a day or two at most. Not this time.

Treats, decoy boxes and toys have been used, all for naught. The Gerson-Neeveses moved the box to a less-central area of the kitchen, hoping the change in geography would end the stalemate. But a cat remained on the box, on guard at all times. Jessica got up in the middle of the night to try to claim the box. Occupied.

“There is just something about the Vitamix box that just has really held their attention,” Jessica said. “At this point, it’s turned into something so much bigger than us.”

People frequently ask why the couple doesn’t just take the cats off the box. These are clearly dog owners. This is not how cats work.

“We’re far enough into it, I can’t move them now,” said Nikii, 38, a utility billing clerk. “They’re committed, we’re committed. ”

They hoped that while they were away over Christmas that the cats would lose interest. The Gerson-Neeveses came home, put their bags on the floor and — nope. The Vitamix had not been abandoned. At one point, they coaxed Max into jumping onto a second box, but as soon as he leaped off, Lando jumped on. Max was not happy and quickly reclaimed the spotlight. The couple gave up on smoothies and started eating homemade ice cream.

On Jan. 2, the couple reached out to Vitamix on a public Facebook post, asking for three empty boxes that might fool the cats into relinquishing the appliance. The company immediately obliged, but between snowstorms and customs, the empty boxes have yet to arrive — and Nikii and Jessica aren’t quite sure how the boxes will fit in their small apartment, much less if they will satisfy the cats.

But the duo and their many followers are happy to let the battle run its course.

The truth is, the couple says, this could be easily resolved. The cats are not particularly heavy. But they are having fun, the cats are having fun, the Internet is having fun, and people — pushed back into their houses and masks after two years of a pandemic — need fun right now. Many of the comments on Jessica’s posts express the need for something bright during the dark omicron days.

“This is just so silly and sweet and kind of wholesome,” Jessica said. “And if our cats and me thinking I’m funny are providing that fun, why on earth would we interrupt that? Like, the blender will still be there.”