Tag Archives: Cat

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

Santa’s Christmas Cat?

24 Sep

Claus, our two year old cat seems to be on a rampage over the holidays.  He won’t stay away from the artificial tree and  when I went into the family room the other day  the real Christmas tree was   laying on the floor. The rug was soak with water from the tree stand and Claus was nestled in the branches, denying any knowledge of how it could have possibly have happened. Although a very attractive cat, Claus unfortunately is an inveterate liar.  
For example,  all winter he keeps insisting that he wants to go outside. He is a very vocal cat—  not a desirable trait in a feline. He sit by the door for hours,  whining about how he needs to see a man  about a rodent or something.  But no sooner than you let  him out than he is on the other side of the door complaining about how cold it is outside.  You would think he could at least go to the bathroom while he was out there, but noooo,  that might  be too uncomfortable for his majesty. He saves it up,  apparently preferring his litter box that I have to clean
The other day my wife Diane let him out the back door and then went down to the basement where she immediately met him again.  Evidently Claus has learned to dematerialize and  reappear in  our basement at will.
Diane and I constantly compare him to our previous cat, Hobbes.  Poor Claus is like   the second wife in Daphne du Maurier ‘s  novel Rebecca,  who must compete with the memory of  the beloved  first wife.  Hobbes was one in a million:  an elegant gentleman cat  and Claus, I am afraid to say, is no gentleman.  Unlike the noisy and disconcertingly human-sounding Claus,  Hobbes only meowed  his orders once and expected and usually received  total  obedience. If we didn’t rush to  open the door at his first command, Hobbes would simply  walk away and act totally indifferent, there was none of this pedestrian  squalling.  Also Hobbes always did his business outside, bless his cat soul.
Of course, we have a selective memory when it comes to  Hobbes. He wasn’t perfect either,  if the truth be told.  As a kitten he ran up our  Christmas  tree and batted at every ornament  he saw.  
There was even one Christmas when the  great Hobbes totally disgraced himself.    Against our better judgment and express wishes, our oldest  son   brought another cat into our  house. This new  cat, Clawdy, was a female who had shared an essentially feral existence with a bunch of  college boys.  Clawdy immediately took  possession  of Hobbes’ favorite   place  our bedroom. Hobbes was too much of a gentleman  to evict a lady and besides Clawdy had become  terribly ferocious,  competing  with   college boys for   pizza scraps and having to use a filthy litter box that was hardly ever changed— much like the boys’ apartment bathroom if I remember correctly. 
Thus having both gender and territoriality issues,  Hobbes apparently  wanted to make certain that everyone in the house  knew that the  shiny presents under the tree were his property, which caused Diane, an obsessive compulsive wrapper, to almost have a seizure.
Last winter Claus was outside during an  ice storm and managed to get severely injured. We don’t know  exactly wheat happened,  but he managed to drag himself up the porch steps and to lay next to the dog.  Fortunately our son-in-law, Jeff is an emergency veterinarian near Cincinnati  and managed to patch him back together. We are also  lucky that cats have great recuperative powers. Jeff says if you throw two pieces of cat  in a room,  they will grow together into a cat. Claus was in intensive care  at my daughter and Jeff’s  house for several months, while my granddaughters nursed him back to health. I am not sure Claus truly appreciated all the attention, wearing a baby bonnet,  or riding in the doll stroller. Except for the indignity of having several inches removed from the tip of his tail, he recovered  remarkably, given the extent of his injuries. And he can still catch a mouse, he would like  you to know.
Claus was  named by our middle son after friend of his from Germany, but we still think of him as a Christmas cat. At the restaurant at Holiday World there are several paintings of Santa’s workshop  and many of them contain a cat that   has the same unique markings as Claus. We told our granddaughters that the paintings  prove  that Claus is related to Santa’s cat. They just smile back at us skeptically and humor us,  as if we were completely insane, much the way our  children do.  

     
Originally published in the Tribune & Evening News (http://newsandtribune.com/)