Okay, first of all, I don’t hate cats. For pete’s sake, I live on a farm, where I raised two daughters and now have three granddaughters who visit on a regular basis. Living with cats is just my destiny. My business card even has a picture of a cat, the lost and lamented BD, i.e., “The Worst Cat in the World.” I’ve used him as an example to myself many times. Whenever I’m faced with an ethical dilemma, I ask myself, “What would BD do?” and then do the opposite.
I feed cats, shoo them out from under the UPS truck and occasionally even take them to the vet – although I admit I’d rather have them prove that “nine lives” thing before I make that investment. Last summer I spent more time than I care to think about feeding six orphaned kittens milk replacer through a syringe every four hours. It makes me think I should have scored some real points in the whole karma thing, although perhaps the words I used while doing it may have caused me to lose more than I gained.
So while I don’t hate cats, they can get on my nerves. First, they have no sense of gratitude. No matter what I take them to eat they look up at me and say, “What, is this all? Boy, you’ve got some nerve bringing us this crap.”
They don’t do anything. It’s not that I expect them to save me from a burning building; they don’t even help themselves. Every now and then, I fill their bowl with cat food. No matter how much I put in, or how often I do it, the bowl is always empty in the morning. It took me a while to figure out that in addition to the cats, I was also feeding raccoons. The cats just lounge around while a raccoon comes in and eats their food! I realize that an average raccoon is tougher than an average cat, but there are five of them! They should be able to take a raccoon. All it would take is for one to hide in the rafters, wait until a raccoon came through the door, then leap down (shouting “DEATH FROM ABOVE” would be optional, but a nice touch) while the other four cats each grab one leg of the raccoon and throw him out the door. They wouldn’t have to do it every night - the raccoons would catch on. What if there was more than one raccoon? Give me a break – this isn’t the rumble scene from “West Side Story;” there’s not a herd of raccoons terrorizing the neighborhood.
How can I respect animals that won’t band together to defend their cat chow?
It gets worse. We now have a litter of kittens. Many animal mothers have their babies in remote, hidden areas for reasons of safety and privacy. This cat had her kittens right next to the food bowl that the marauding raccoon empties in the night. Now, I don’t know if raccoons see kittens as prey, and I’m not all that curious, but there are residents of our farm who see it as a serious risk, so I’ve been going out and shutting the food bowl, and the cats, up at night. Last night I went to lock up the cats and they wouldn’t come in the building. They were out frolicking in the dark. I would yell, “Kitty, kitty, kitty,” and they would look at me curiously and go back to chasing leaves and licking their rear ends.
I hate yelling “Kitty, kitty, kitty.” Would John Wayne have done that? I don’t think so. That’s why men like dogs, because they’ll come when you whistle. You can’t feel like a man while you’re screaming, “Kitty, kitty, kitty.”
Anyway, I started yelling louder. “Kitty, kitty, kitty,” mixed in with a few other words. The only thing worse than calling a cat is chasing a cat – it’s just a foolproof opportunity to look like, you know, a fool.
I tried one more time, bellowing as loud as I could and adding yet more new words. The mother cat ran OUT of the building to see what all the fuss was about. I gave up and went to bed, feeling a little guilty, but not really. It seemed like evolution in action to me.
The next morning the kittens were fine, but the cat food bowl was empty.
Copyright 2011 Brent Olson