Tag Archives: cats

Miss Kitty Hasn’t Aged Well

I’m back! Did you miss me?

I’d like to report I spent the last several weeks’ hiatus from this blog in a whirlwind, globe-trotting escapade, or engaging in a passionate, all-consuming and ultimately tragic love affaglamorousmeir. But in fact I’ve mostly been lugging lawn furniture into the shed, filling my new trailer with yard waste, raking leaves and standing at the foot of the backyard apple tree, shaking my fist impotently at the bounty of fruit hanging from the topmost, too-high-for-any-ladder branches. (The apples will soon add insult to injury by dropping to the ground after the first snow, there to lie – and rot – until spring. Well played, Mother Nature.)

Since last I blathered on in this space, Halloween has come and gone. This year I dressed as a … wait for it … crazy cat lady. My entry captured second prize in the office contest, runner-up to a team who dressed as one of the company’s signature products, an individual-sized bucket of booze mixer. (With the cruel irony that so often accompanies corporate operations, most of the group was laid off not two weeks later; at least they had the grand prize – a bucket of fun-sized candy bars – as a lovely parting gift.)

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I’m too sexy for my cat.

I suspect I lost points with the judges based on the fact that I actually AM a crazy cat lady, and therefore my get-up did not technically qualify as a costume. Indeed, it’s safe to predict that I will look EXACTLY like this in 10 years.

My ensemble included a special prop: one of those robot cats they sell for old folks in nursing homes who miss having a real pet to hold and who presumably have forgotten that actual cats don’t make a tinny, mechanical whirring. Apart from that, though, the faux feline is pretty darned convincing. It moves its head, opens and closes its eyes, meows, purrs and even lifts its little paw to its mouth and rolls over for a tummy rub. That it does not subsequently attack the person rubbing its tummy with pointy toes and needle-sharp teeth is what ultimately betrays its artificial nature. A cat who doesn’t bite the hand that pets it is no legitimate cat.

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Mom is trying something different with her hair. I think it works.

At home, we had about the usual crowd of trick-or-treaters, though they skewed a bit older this year. One young candy-seeker actually drove herself around the neighborhood, while another fellow took a photo of my cat-themed pumpkin, declaring, “I’m going to text this to my wife!”pumpkin

I exchanged my cat lady duds for an actual cat costume to hand out candy. While it produced a gratifying terror in my real cats, it turns out that encased in a smelly, sweltering latex cat head is not the most congenial way to spend an evening.

Still, the night was not ALL bad. Due to my meticulous planning (buying one bag of every kind of candy I like at Walgreens), we were left with enough leftovers to maintain the impressive momentum I’ve established in girth-building. Win!

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Of Mouse and Man

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Update: The mouse saga continues. Yesterday afternoon, while my older brother (visiting for a few days) sat at the kitchen table with mom, kibitzing, he suddenly noted, “There’s a mouse.”

This was one of the small grays, not the mutant we turned out of the house the other day. It had apparently decided, in the middle of the day, to stroll through the kitchen and slake its thirst at the cat’s water fountain.

greedymouseYou grow too bold, sir.

Though I wasn’t there to witness, I’m told there was quite a scramble, with my brother leaping to his feet (more or less; he has a bad back) and the two cats belatedly feigning indignation at the intrusion. The creature was pursued into my mom’s bedroom, where it disappeared under the bed, followed by both cats. And then …

Peep's attitude toward mouse catching is a little ... lackadaisical.

Peep’s attitude toward mouse catching is a little … lackadaisical.

Nothing happened. That is to say, the cats didn’t catch the mouse and Peep, who seems to be over the whole “my job is to catch vermin” thing, eventually wandered off to nap in his favorite sunny spot in the middle bedroom. Remington, God bless him, maintained a patient vigil, staring intently at the narrow crack between the bottom bureau drawer and the floor.

tomcat mouse trapIt was at about this juncture that I came home from work and got the report. Mom had in the meantime secured a new sort of trap that is purported to be less likely to kill, maim or poison the non-mouse mammals in the household. It’s called the Tomcat Spin Trap. It bears an illustration of a black cat stealthily stalking a rodent in exactly the same way that my cats don’t. The label promises, “Kills quickly. No mess.” Sounds good. Well, not good. But less horrible than other methods.

However, the sole review on the website I consulted about these things stated,

“I set two of these traps over a week ago to catch a mouse in the basement, where I sleep. As of yet, nothing. I have even seen the mouse walk through the little tunnel and hit the boomerang coil– nothing! It could be that it’s because this is a tiny field mouse instead of a bigger sized one & its weight won’t set off the coil, but this product is ineffective, imo.”

Hm. That’s discouraging. On the other hand, it might be entertaining to watch the little guy walk through the tunnel.

Early in the evening, while my bro and I were outside, there was Another Incident. Specifically, Remington finally flushed the mouse out from wherever he was hiding in mom’s bedroom. Mom reports that Remington, ultimately joined by a half-hearted Peep, chased the thing down the hall to my bedroom, where it was stymied by a closed door. So there the pitiful varmint was, literally trapped in a corner with two cats mere inches away. There was no escape.

And yet …

It escaped. This time into the middle bedroom. Both of the cats followed, and mom slammed the door shut behind the trio. She then stuffed towels into the crack at the bottom of the door and waited outside for sounds of carnage from within.

Nopey.

All was deadly silent inside the room. My brother sneaked a peek a couple of times and reported the cats were under the futon, doing nothing at all to justify their continued employment here. At bedtime we finally rousted the cats out and placed ALL of the quick and tidy mouse-killing devices in the room, then pulled the door shut. Sadly, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our nearly 60-year-old house is out of plumb, with the result that no door in the entire place actually latches closed. When the cats were inside the room, this wasn’t a problem; the door opens inward. But now that they were outside, and the mouse (presumably) still within, both Rem and Peep suddenly developed an overpowering determination to Get In There and Kill That Thing.

Some way had to be found to keep them from nosing the door open and letting the mouse escape as they stumbled and blundered around, looking in every direction but where the mouse was. Mom and Kev eventually MacGyvered a set-up consisting of electrical tape stretched from the doorknob to the door frame, the ostensible purpose of which was to hold the door in a closed position. God bless them for trying.

In the morning we found the door pushed open, all the Tomcats untriggered and the cats no longer interested in anything having to do with the middle bedroom. Clearly our foe had escaped again.

As I left for work, I heard my mother express what we’re all feeling by this time. “That damned mouse is smarter than all of us.”

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Crowded House

crowdedhouseThey say over time people and their pets begin to resemble one another. I find it is much the same with people and their houses. At least, both of us having passed the half-century mark, both my home and its owner are rapidly decaying into roughly equivalent states of decrepitude.

Currently the biggest issue for me and said house is that it seems to be becoming increasingly porous. That is to say, it’s starting to let things in. Spiders, flies and box elder bugs, while irksome, are to be expected; even swank homes have to put up with those miniscule pests. But lately we’ve seen an uptick in the number and variety of more sizable wildlife. Last summer I found a chipmunk in the hallway. We have on at least two occasions over the past several years encountered snakes in the basement – an occurrence which, if it gains any kind of regularity, is grounds to knock the house down, burn the rubble and salt the earth beneath it.

Then there was that bat a month ago. That particular invasion was both horrific and costly, necessitating a rabies test that cost me $76 (and cost the bat its head, but we all have to make sacrifices, don’t we?).

This summer, though, is turning out to be the Year of the Mouse. We usually find one limp corpse around the house in the early fall, rousted and raked over by one or the other of the cats. This year, though, we’ve already encountered three homesteaders of the Mus musculus (common house mouse) variety.

Last night was the latest incident. I had just fed the cats their bedtime snack around 10 pm and gone back to editing a fanvid when I observed Peep and Remington walk into the living room in uncharacteristically close proximity, swaggering side by side like a pair of sailors on shore leave. Peep, our champion mouser, was proudly carrying her latest trophy.

“Is that another mouse? Damn it!” I exclaimed, scrambling off my chair and heading for the kitchen to grab a couple of Styrofoam cups to confine it, while my mother scrambled to her bedroom to hide from the beast. Peep, though an avid and skilled hunter, follows a “catch and release” philosophy. She brought her prize to the center of activity in the house, then proudly exclaimed, “Ta da!”

This is almost exactly what happens every time Peep "catches" a mouse.

This is almost exactly what happens every time Peep “catches” a mouse.

This announcement necessitated her opening her mouth and dropping the mouse, of course, and it took advantage of the opportunity to make like Speedy Gonzales* and vamoose. When I returned from the kitchen with my makeshift “live trap,” the cats had already lost track of their adversary and were prowling the living room, sniffing like a pair of bloodhounds. Cats are not bloodhounds. Thus, while they focused their laser attention on the treadmill, I observed the mouse zip from under the Laz-E-Boy to behind the piano. This was a problem, because the piano (an ancient, upright model inherited from my grandparents) is too heavy to move and too close to the wall for the cats to get in and resume their pursuit.

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My definition of “night life.”

While the cats stalked around ineffectually, I finished my vid and warily retreated to the sofa to sleep. (Regular readers will recall that I prefer to sleep on the living room couch rather than either of two perfectly good bedrooms at my disposal, for reasons unclear even to myself.) I brought with me my Styrofoam cups and a flashlight. Periodically over the next couple of hours, I’d hear one of the cats make a mad dash in the darkness. I’d bolt upright and flip on my flashlight, casting its light around the room and seeing nothing at all.

Finally, around 2 am, I heard another dash, a thud, and … a squeak.

Flashlight: on. The cats were jostling each other in front of the glider-rocker, trying to get under it a little like Laurel and Hardy trying to cram into an elevator at the same time. As they tussled, I observed the mouse dart literally between them and dive under the swivel rocker a scant three feet from my perch. The clueless cats continued to stalk the empty space under the glider, and I decided to abandon the battlefield in favor of more tranquil lodgings. I set up camp in the middle bedroom and closed the door.

I was awakened about four hours later by sounds of thumping from the living room: not the cats, this time, but my mom, using a broom to turn over the furniture in search of what she hoped would be a very much lifeless rodent. But there was – at least up to the time I left for work – no sign of the creature. The cats seemed to have lost interest at some point and were lounging at opposite ends of the room, supremely indifferent to mom’s anxiety. That’s how cats are.

And the mouse? Something tells me it’s peeking around the corner of the piano, or the davenport or an end table. Giggling.

*Remember when it was considered okay for children’s cartoons to be that racist? Don’t even get me started on Hong Kong Fuey.

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Call of the Wild

Mortal Enemies?

Mortal Enemies?

We have varmints. Well, one varmint. Specifically, Neotamias umbrinus, the Western chipmunk. At least, that’s what we believe streaked past my mother in the basement yesterday. It was immediately followed by a black streak that she definitely identified as our cat Remington. I don’t know which startled mom most: a woodland rodent in this very unnatural habitat, or the usually somnolent Rem’s sudden burst of ambition. I suppose the innate hunting instinct overcomes acquired sloth in even the most pampered pets.

This is not the first time we’ve been invaded by denizens of the Wild Kingdom. For several autumns running we attracted a solitary (as far as we knew) shrew or mouse. In any case, we only discovered a single corpse each year, usually in the hallway leading to the bedrooms. Presumably the victim had been cornered, caught and carried from the basement up to the inhabited areas of the house so we humans would be sure to note and appreciate the predator’s laudable killing skills.

Peep, displaying the razor-keen hunting instinct that has made our home a rodent resort.

Peep, displaying the razor-keen hunting instinct that has made our home a rodent resort.

Fortunately, the current resident hunters leave the body intact. Before I was born, our family had a Siamese cat who hunted outside and had a habit of leaving a single piece of its prey, some unidentifiable internal organ, for its owners to find on the front steps in the morning. I would have assumed it was a love offering, but my mother disagrees. Apparently this cat held a grudge against my father for an unfortunate falling-into-an-open-toilet incident, and mom believes the awful offal was intended as a warning, like a decapitated horse’s head in a bed: “You’re next.”

A few years ago, under the tenure of cats Jeff and Mr. Fuzzy, I was distracted one evening by the sounds of both felines hollering at me from the basement stairs like a pair of insistent preschoolers: “Hey! Hey! Mom! Mom! Hey! Mom!” Rolling my eyes, I went to investigate. I found both fierce predators stationed about halfway down the steps. This was suspicious; usually these two gave each other a wide berth, but just now they were huddled up together, staring at something below. Descending to their level (physically, not emotionally), I instantly saw the source of their fussing: a LARGE garter snake was slithering a lazy S-shape across the concrete floor. Now it was MY turn to holler. I’ve seen nature documentaries of mongooses attacking 6-foot pythons; obviously, Jeff and Fuzzy weren’t mongooses (mongeese?), but I still expected them to act more like carnivores than adolescent girls. In the end, since I am as much as scaredy-cat as my scaredy cats, I called my brother 10 miles away to come and dispatch the monster.

So apparently chipmunks in tiny outfits are a thing.

So apparently chipmunks in tiny outfits are a thing.

But back to the chipmunk. It’s unusual to see a chippy around our place; they generally prefer a more wooded environment. The “tamius” in their genus name is Greek for “steward” or “housekeeper,” which gives the little guys kind of a homey, efficient vibe. I picture a little rodent in a neat apron and babushka, holding a diminuative broom and briskly tidying up the seedy debris left behind in the room where I overwinter my tender bulbs. In reality, of course, the vermin is scurrying around among the boxes of Christmas ornaments and out-of-season clothing, pooping in my best dishware and incubating bubonic plague, hantavirus and hemorrhagic fever in its twitchy little body. I’ve been reading a book about rabies (spoiler alert: you don’t want to get this disease), so I also imagine the critter, frothy-mouthed and raging, lurking behind a jar of homemade pickles, waiting to leap out and bite me on the ankle. Death by chipmunk lacks the heroic dignity I aspire to.

Rem & Peep are too busy watching kitty porn to bother with chipmunks.

Rem & Peep are too busy watching kitty porn to bother with chipmunks.

As of this morning, we’ve seen no further evidence of the invader, alive or dead. Perhaps Remington, having read the same Wikipedia article I did, has discovered that chippers sleep an average of 15 hours a day, and thus feels enough in common with the thing to befriend it. Just what I need: one more freeloader.

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Who’s In Charge Here?

Last evening, surveying the carnage the children had created in the living room, I was moved to mutter that age-old maternal lament: “Where have I failed?” In a fit of pique, I even threatened to put the miscreants under the deck to fend for themselves. Don’t call social services; my kids are cats, not homo sapiens, and the threat was an idle one. I’d never expose my darlings to the Cold, Cruel World – and they know it.

I currently share my life with two cats. People often seem surprised to hear this. Perhaps my catlady zeal makes them assume I co-mingle with at least 40 felines – or perhaps it’s just the way I smell. In any case, though I tend to think three is the optimal number of cats for a single household, for the time being I am making do with my pair.

Separated at birth?

Separated at birth?

My younger furkid is Remington, named for the 1980s TV character played by Pierce Brosnan. I like to tell him he’s a swank tuxedo cat (he has shaky self esteem), but the patchy quality of his black and white markings suggests an unseemly liaison with a Holstein in his family history. I guess I will discourage him from participating in that PBS “find your ancestors” show. Despite his questionable lineage, Remington does have an almost regal air. Long and sleek, at repose on his belly with his long front legs extended and his sharply pointed ears erect, Rem resembles one of those statues of the Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet. His jaguar-like appearance belies his personality, however. Far from a powerful predator, Remington is, to put it bluntly, a wuss.

"Oh ... were you trying to work? I don't care."

“Oh … were you trying to work? I don’t care.”

On the other hand, Peep, my little, orange girl, is a smug bully. You wouldn’t guess it to look at her. Like her human mother, Peep is soft, round and a bit slovenly; she sprawls rather than lays, and on a subway she’d be the guy manspreading over three seats. While noises as subtle as a heavy sigh send Remington scrambling for the basement, Peep confronts a howling vaccum, grinding garbage disposal or shrieking smoke detector with indifference bordering on contempt.

Modern technology meets immovable object.

Modern technology meets immovable object.

Lately Peep has made it a point to assert her dominance over Lucifer, the robot vacuum, whom she seems to believe is another cat, hairless and even rounder than herself. When Luci begins its rounds in the living room, Peep deliberately plants her considerable bulk directly in the machine’s path and stares it down. If a cat could talk, Peep surely would speak with a tough Brooklyn accent: “You want a piece of this? I got your rotating brushes right here.”

A few mornings ago I was getting ready for work. My bedroom door was closed, but not shut (after 50 years of settling, no vertical line of our house remains in plumb, and there isn’t a door in the structure that actually latches without the Herculean effort of simultaneously lifting and pushing it into position). I was standing on one foot, wrestling the other into the leghole of my granny panties, when the door was pushed open and Peep muscled his way in, followed by Remington. It reminded me of Lenny & Squiggy’s characteristic entrance into Laverne & Shirley’s apartment – Peep played the role of swaggering Lenny, while twerpy Rem was the Squiggish sidekick.

wassupThe duo disregarded my immodest appearance – indeed, ignored me entirely – and marched across the room like they own the place (which, for all intents and purposes, they do). Up onto the bookcase under the window, blithely knocking off a stack of CD cases in the process, and into the windowsill. Hearing the ruckus, my mom (who seems to believe me to be in feeble health) called urgently, “Did you fall?”

“Nah. Just the cats tearing the place apart,” I responded.

Again?

‘Nuff said.

Mom and I have grown resigned to the fact that we are the least important inhabitants of Mohror Manor, functioning largely as domestic staff. I’m not bothered; it’s actually nice to know one’s place in the grand scheme of things. I’m content to accept how Peep has arranged the Great Chain of Being in our household – with cats perched at the very top.

"I'm the King of the world!"

“I’m the King of the world!”

Bastet would approve.

 

 

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Angry Birds

angry birds banner

Last evening, while I was puttering in the backyard, a blackbird fledgling hopped through the open door of the garden shed. My efforts to coax it out only caused it to scamper further into the dark recesses of my “woman cave.” All the while, the child’s mother was scolding me loudly from a nearby tree. When it was time to go in for the night, the little peeper was still in residence. Rather than locking him into the dark and stifling structure, I propped the door open a few inches to permit his egress at his convenience. I’m hoping, when I check the shed after work today, that I’ll find its population down by one, rather than up by an indeterminate number of snakes, mice, rabbits and other undesirable tenants.

My mom worried that the little guy might fall victim* to a white cat that prowls the neighborhood overnight. However, based on my experience of bird-cat relations, I’m more hopeful. Despite anti-cat propaganda that puts cat-caused carnage against bird populations on a par with the Visigoths’ sack of Rome, I maintain birds can hold their own against their feline foes.

In 2013, a controversial study in the journal Nature Communications postulated that cats are responsible for between 1.4 and 3.7 billion bird deaths a year. That does indeed seem appalling. But consider that the world population of birds is estimated at 400 billion, and the paltry .00925% that cats cull seems a little less egregious. Based on the cacophony of tweets and chirps that starts up about 4:30 am every morning outside my window, I can say with certainty that the winged creatures are not endangered species in my yard, at least.

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We maintain a congeniel habitat for our feathered friends.

Indeed, my experience suggests that birds are often the bullies in cat-bird interactions. Last summer I witnessed the startling spectacle of a bright orange blur of cat streaking across the neighbor’s property at full speed, pursued by a trio of dive-bombing bluejays. The last I saw of the beleaguered feline, it dived under a camping trailer; the jays perched on top of the vehicle, laughing and pointing at their humiliated victim.

Peep, stymied by a fragile mesh of screen.

Peep, stymied by a fragile mesh of screen.

More recently, I had just lain down for a Sunday afternoon nap (that’s what weekends are for, yo), when I heard my cat Peep chattering from his perch on the windowsill. She was clearly agitated by something, making that staccato eh-eh-eh-eh sound that I’ve always interpreted as the cat version of a string of obscenities. I got up to investigate and discovered, a mere foot or so from the screen window behind which my cat glowered, a tiny bird on the end of a tree branch. It was a house wren (Troglodytes aedon), about the size of a tangerine, and it was taunting my cat. I swear to God it was staring Peep straight in the eye, bobbing gently on its twig and singing a sprightly song whose lyrics can only have translated to, “Neener neener boo boo.”

At left, the house wren, Troglodytes aedon. Not to be confused with Trog, the 1970 low-budget horror film that marked the low point of Joan Crawford's career (right).

At left, the house wren, Troglodytes aedon. Not to be confused with Trog, the 1970 low-budget horror film that marked the low point of Joan Crawford’s career (right).

Frankly, as stealthy as cats imagine themselves to be, a bird that allows itself to be snuck up on by a cat is, in my opinion, not much of a bird. Birds have the great advantage of wings, which allow them to flutter just out of reach of their earthbound enemies, who are left to shout in impotent rage and shake their furry fists toward the sky before stomping off petulantly to take a nap.

As for the ghostlike predator that stalks our neighborhood, I hope he doesn’t have to depend on his hunting skills to make a living. A few days ago a quiet evening around the firepit was interrupted by a raucous din coming from the lilac hedge. A murder** of crows had descended on the shrubbery, occupying almost every branch. Their attention was directed toward the ground, and they were hollering in unmistakable fury. Beneath them, in a little hollow among the roots, cowered … the white cat. Whatever it had done to piss these guys off, it clearly regretted it. Rather intimidated myself, I backed away and left the stand-off to reach its natural conclusion. I haven’t seen that cat since, by the way. I prefer to assume he found other, more hospitable hunting grounds. But I did see a bit of white, furry fluff adorning a new nest in the pine tree yesterday …

Our swallow condo is always a hot property.

Our swallow condo is always a hot property.

*Sad coda: The fledgling apparently did leave the shed overnight, but was found some yards away, deceased of unknown causes.

** a group of crows is known as a murder, presumably because their raucous cries inspire homicidal thoughts in anybody who has to listen to them.

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Cat Fancy

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Jeffrey, characteristically relaxed

We live in an age when a great many people are being supported by their cats, and I can’t help resenting the fact that I’m not one of them. As a middle-aged cat lady, I naturally follow a great many feline celebrities (“celebucats”) on the variety of online forums available to them: Pudge and Oskar and Hamilton the Hipster Cat on Instagram; Tom Cox’s @mysadcat, @mysmugcat and @myswearycat on Twitter; Hallmark’s Happy the Cat on Facebook.

(Side note: Hallmark has named both its cat and dog mascots Happy, which suggests either laziness or astonishing lack of imagination in the network’s branding team.)

There are also the countless thousands of cat-themed websites, vines, YouTube channels, .gifs, memes and Pinterest boards. There may even be cat-oriented Tinder accounts, though I’m too nice a girl to find out.

Typing “cats” into the search engine on YouTube generates 3.7 million results. If you set out to read every entry on the Lolcats I Can Haz Cheezburger site, you would die of old age long before you reached that very first, Alpha Burger Cat. The originators of that site sold it for $2 million in 2007.

As far as I can tell, the young woman who owns Pudge – one of my favorite celebucats – derives her living entirely from her laid-back Persian. Besides sales of Pudge-themed memorabilia (often also featuring doughnuts, oddly enough), Pudge rakes in the dough(nut) as a celebrity guest at cat conventions (yes, they are a thing). I suspect Pudge would rather stay at home in her Pudge Pod or snoozing peacefully on her doughnut-shaped pillow than travel from Edmonton to L.A. doing interviews and meet-and-greets. But honestly, this cat is so weirdly relaxed that she probably doesn’t mind the fuss, or perhaps even notice it.

And that’s one of the things that is so irksome about celebucat culture. Its biggest stars don’t actually do anything to merit their fame. They might as well be Kardashians. Indeed, cats don’t even have to be living to be famous; I follow an Instagram account called Merlin’s Moments. Though the titular Merlin disappeared from home shortly after I started following him, and his dessicated corpse is no doubt laying in a ditch somewhere, Merlin’s Moments persists. Cash Cats, which consists of cats lying and sitting on currency, sometimes surrounded by weapons (I don’t get it), has more than 112, 0000 followers.

The whole point of this rant is … why aren’t my own felines pulling their considerable weight? True, they don’t sport handlebar mustaches or look grumpy or eat cheeseburgers. But they are good and pretty cats. One of my previous cats, Jeffrey, even had a trick: when you scratched him near the base of his tail, he’d tuck his head between his front legs and perform a perfect somersault. Now tell me THAT’S not worth some money. Sadly, I never got the chance to preserve Jeff’s unique gifts on film before he “crossed the Rainbow Bridge” (cat-lady-speak for died) last year.

I suppose I’d have to put some effort into promoting my cats if I really wanted to exploit them for filthy lucre. Instead, I’ve decided to adopt the stance that letting your pets support you is shameful and wrong, and I’ll tuck my DVD of “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas” in the back of my closet and never look at it again. I will continue to toil in obscurity to provide my cats with the lavish lifestyle to which they, the freeloaders, have become accustomed. And I will tell them, quite truthfully, that they are as clever and beautiful as any of those LOL cats. So there.

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