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Claus: The Feline Archcriminal

15 Mar

I would bet that at least 99% of Americans are opposed to animal crimes. I for one have always taken a firm stand against such patently unacceptable behavior. For these reasons I feel compelled to turn over to the authorities our recalcitrant cat, Claus. Sure, he looks like an adorable stuffed animal. He’ll snuggle up to you, purr, and even lick your hand. But this is all a façade, behind that cuddly fur and saucer-sized eyes, lurks a fiend— an archvillain, a feline Moriarty, a master criminal. Occasionally he slips up and reveals his true nature. He may start out nuzzling you, but before long the claws and fangs come out, and to him you’re nothing more than an oversized hunk of mouse meat.

I offer to the grand jury the following five felony counts and urge that Claus be indicted as soon as possible. Please be wary of his numerous tricks and lies. As we have learned the hard way, he is capable of almost anything.

Felony Count 1 Litter Box Malfeasance: Claus fancies himself an indoor cat. Even though we scoot him outside, whenever the weather is good, he apparently believes that he is “too delicate” to do his business out-of-doors. With his highly inflated sense of self esteem, he apparently holds it all in, until we let him back into the house.

When Claus was younger we kept one of his litter boxes downstairs in the bathroom tub. After we removed the box he seemed to think the drain was good enough. Now we have to keep that bathroom door closed at all times. Now we keep his litter box upstairs on an old vinyl tablecloth to catch any litter that might fall out. Always devious, he has taken to throwing a few pawfuls of litter onto the tablecloth to rationalize using the table cloth, rather than squeezing into his box. Along with his overt transgression, there seems to be a lot of contempt thrown in for good measure. He is the devil incarnate.

Felony Count 2 Food Dish Misconduct: Around 4:00PM or whenever he is let into the house, Claus starts his daily complaints and demands to be fed his wet food. He has always had plenty of dry food available, but by some nefarious means he managed to intimidate his cat-sitter into giving him wet food every day. The cat sitter then intimidated us, insisting that Claus just had to have wet food. I suspect some kind of mind control.

Claus is relentless in hanging around his food dish, griping, moaning, and threatening to bite the microwave electrical cord until he is fed. When he is fed, the first thing he does is tip over his dish, so that a big chunk of food falls on the floor. He often doesn’t even eat this, but just leaves it there. Someone needs to teach that cat a lesson.

Felony Count 3 Sofa Mistreatment: A few years before we knew what we were dealing with, we bought Claus a “Mouse-go-Round” scratching post. It had little mice made of carpet hanging by ribbons from the top of the post so that he could bat them around. All this, however, was evidently not good enough for Claus. Apparently this was not sufficient to satisfy his primal instincts. Recently we discovered that he has also been using a hidden corner of our living room couch as a scratching post. I take this offense rather personally. When he is asked to leave the room or we aren’t quick enough delivering his wet food, we can hear him in there sharpening his claws.

Felony Count 4 Attempted Manslaughter: Like any narcissistic personality, Claus always insists on going first. He runs ahead of us to the door when we come from work to make sure he can get a jump on complaining that he hasn’t been fed. He tries to jump ahead of us when we open the basement door. I don’t know why he is so keen on getting down there. He can get into our basement any time he pleases from the outside, using his secret evil Ninja powers. In addition he is always underfoot in the kitchen, just hoping to trip someone carrying a hot pot or pan. But worse of all, he has taken to jumping ahead of me when I go down the stairs. He frequently entwines himself between my legs as I try to step down. He is fiendishly clever and doesn’t do it every time. So now I worry, even when he isn’t even there. Like in chess the anticipation is worse than the move. I have lost all confidence in navigating the steps. It is a deadly psychological game of cat and what he sees as a very large mouse.

Felony Count 5 Rodent Bribery/Extortion: I know that Claus realizes I am on to him, so he has been playing it cagey pretending to be sweet, but he’s not fooling anyone. The other day I was gingerly coming down the stairs when I almost stepped on a dead mouse, carefully placed on the bottom step. I have concluded that the presence of the dead rodent could mean one of three things. 1. It was an attempt to scare me to death, which almost succeeded. 2. It was an overt threat, sort of like that bloody horse’s head, the gangsters put in the guy’s bed in the Godfather movie. or 3. It was Claus’ cynical attempt to bribe me into silence.

Finally, if my body is found lying at the bottom of our stairs before Claus is prosecuted, make sure the police look for gray cat fur on my pants, just about shin high.

This blog orignally appeared in the Southern Indiana News Tribune.

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The Cat Food Standard

10 Dec

 

 

I’m in hot water because we ran out of cat food, again.  I didn’t forget to buy it.  My wife is mad at me because I have this aversion to stocking up on consumables like cat food,  dog food, applesauce,  ketchup, and other condiments. And rather than admit to my neurosis I become defensive. Whenever she says, “Do we need more cat food?” I automatically say no– Just how much cat food do you really  need? Suppose poor Felix, bless his heart,  gets flattened by a truck; there we’d  be with $500 worth of  superfluous Puss-in-Boots on hand. Furthermore  it  would be emotionally devastating to dispose of it,  even if I could find a buyer.  Now if you only have a few cans it’s not a problem to toss them into the donation container at the store.  
 When I was a younger my stepfather would buy cases of dented cans from  this shady surplus store. This stuff was left over from old train wrecks and truck hi-jackings and usually was about a decade old. For years we had cases of  canned pepper steak, chicken chow mein, and tamales crammed in our basement. The rancid stuff didn’t have labels and I was scared to eat it. I developed nightmares about moldy  cans of decaying food crawling up through the floorboards. Hence more of my negative associations with stocking up behavior.
 Another rationalization is that I don’t want to tie up all my readily available cash in  pet food and groceries.  That stuff just isn’t all that liquid. What if a kid says, “Dad I need  lunch money.” and all my cash is invested in a case of Fancy Feast, sitting in the pantry. What you do, throw him a  surplus can and say,  “Here kid, trade this for  a lunch ticket ?” 
 Perhaps instead of the gold or silver standard our economy should switch to the cat food standard. I would feel  much more secure but vending machines would need very large slots.
 This habit partially stems from my single days when I was always broke and spent most of  my spare time  grocery shopping. I literally shopped on a  daily basis. Each night on the way home I stopped at the store and bought tiny quantities of food, barely enough for one meal.  Soft drinks were the only foodstuff I bought in any quantity.
 I imitated the highly efficient Japanese “just-in-time” production method, in which manufacturing companies  have component parts delivered directly to the  assembly line on the plant floor at the precise time they are needed. Their cash earns interest  longer and they save a lot of money in storage space.  The analogy breaks down because I guess, unless you eat in weird places, you usually can’t buy food just as it enters your mouth.
 Using the same logic, I’d seldom  filled up my car’s gas tank. If  I filled up the tank I usually didn’t have enough money left to go anywhere.  People have finally convinced me that buying in bulk is cheaper and that  small portions  are much more expensive. Evidently what’s good for Toyota ain’t necessarily good for most of us. I’ve gotten  better, but those traumatic years occasionally intrude and overpower me.
 I’ve always admired how my friend Tony stocked extras three deep in his pantry. Over at his house, when you’d run out of mayonnase,  magically there would be new jar migrating to the front row, just like a shark’s tooth. For generally  being an idiot  he managed his dry-goods really well.

From an article in the New Humor Magazine