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Monday, June 30, 2014

12 Step Program for Cat Fanciers

It’s not that I hate cats. After all, I grew up with cats. Lots of ’em. We lived on a major thoroughfare that was a drag strip to a high school, and the cats were always getting mowed over. If you put all the cats I had growing up in a blender, which would be a good idea, and poured them into a glass, the sum of them couldn’t measure up to a fraction of one of my dogs. Face it, cats are a pain in the ass, and here are just a dozen reasons not to own them.

1. The cat box. Yes I realize we have come a long way in cat box technology. We have clumping kitty litter and battery-operated “self-cleaning” cat boxes. But the bottom line is, you are still collecting cat shit and giant, clumped-up cat pee balls in your house. And I don’t think anyone will argue that cat waste doesn’t smell like the end of the world. Eventually you have to get near it, smell it up close, and figure out a way to get it out of your house. And how do cats repay you?

2. By Spraying. It is a myth that neutering your cat will put an end to random cat peeing in your house. And face it: cat pee is forever. Cats know how to maximize the length of time your house will reek of them. When I was growing up, we had a stove that had a recessed burner with a soup pot that fit down into the recessed hole. Mr. Ling, an inbred Siamese we owned when I was 7, peed on the burner while the pot was being washed. We never used that burner again, ever. Once I lived in a house where the heat registers were in the floor, and my last rat-bastard cat, Franny, peed in it, and every time the heat clicked on, a giant Glade Plug-in, Eau de Franny scent, spewed its foul stench throughout the house. Nothing—not baking soda, tomato juice, sprays, cologne, ammonia—could remove that smell. In the end, we ended up sealing up that heat duct, and that part of the house remained icy in the winter and subtropical in the summer.

3. No respect for hygiene. Cats will present themselves anywhere. They’ll walk on your kitchen counters and dining table. And we all know where those feet have been (see item #1). You want to have me over for dinner? Euthanize your cat and pressure wash your kitchen with Clorox. While we’re on the subject of cat feet, let’s talk about:

4. Claws. First of all, have you ever heard of Dog Scratch Fever? Of course not. Cats can do major damage with both front and back claws. And Cat Scratch Disease can bring on meningoencephalitis. I don’t know what that is, but it’s a lot of letters. Franny was given to me against my will by a passive-aggressive ex when we worked in Saudi Arabia. I wanted to leave him in his native cat-box-like country, but the ex insisted we fly straight back to the states, thus nullifying the one chance I had of experiencing Italy, which I blamed on the cat after the ex was dismissed. He (Franny, not the ex) loved to take pot-shots at anyone who came within arm’s length, and loved watching people bleed. In the rare moments when cats show affection, what do they do? They knead. You’ve seen that paw-packing action where they repeatedly dig their razor sharp claws into your flesh. And let’s not forget how cats use those claws to shred your furniture and drapes. You’d have thought that by now domestic cats would have evolved out of their claws. After all, they don’t need them to hunt down and capture Tender Vittles. But they keep them just to to have as their weapons of cat destruction. That’s how vindictive cats are. They totally eschew Darwinism. So if you think declawing is cruel, consider above-ankle amputation instead.

5. Disgusting table habits. Growing up, our kitchen table was bordered on two sides by an enormous vinyl booth. There was a corner platform on it that was in direct line of fire of a heating vent, where warmth attracted the cats. And of course, what better time to be in the booth corner than dinnertime, when aromas from the meat dish are easily enjoyed. Oh, and while we’re here, said Sohi and Ling, our two Siamese monsters, yes, while we are here and the whole family is here, and they are so rudely partaking of red meat and not giving us any, this would be a prime opportunity for us to kick back and lick our anuses. And let’s not stop until they’re done eating. To this day, people wonder why I’m such a fast eater. I minimized the time I had to watch that feline dinner theater. True, dogs lick their genitals, but wouldn’t you if you could? Dogs can’t reach their bee-holes with their tongues, and even if they could, they wouldn’t do it in front of you. They respect you too much for that.

6. Attitude. Cats don’t give a shit about you. They can get along fine without you. They don’t need you, and they don’t particularly like you. Dogs smile. Cats just scowl and give you that I-hate-you-so-much-I’ll-smother-your-infant-in-his-sleep look. Sure, some cats will purr and let you pet them, but sooner or later they grow sick of that, and they’ll turn on their bellies, latch onto your arm, shred you with all four paws and bite you. In cat language, this means, “I’ve had enough of your being nice to me; now piss off.”

7. Hairballs, hacked up in the booth corner at supper during intermission of the aforementioned Anus—The Musical! Not since Tuna Helper has there been a more delightful side dish.

8. Eating habits. If you attempt to feed a cat anything shy of Beluga caviar, you will get that Seriously? How pedestrian! nose-in-the-air look, and they will meow relentlessly until you hop a plane to Siberia to pick up a pound or two of expensive fish eggs. Our cats would often go on hunger strikes, prompting Mom to go to the grocery store and spend her precious bourbon money on cow kidney, which she brought home and made us cut up into angstrom-unit tidbits for the cat to feed on. Cats are finicky and they love to make you suffer. Cow kidneys are rubbery and stink and are almost impossible to chop up unless you have a chain saw. Dogs, on the other hand, are not the least bit finicky and will eat anything, including your cat’s puked-up hairball. Dogs will literally mop your kitchen floor with their tongues. That’s how grateful dogs are. Dogs make great housekeepers. Dogs give back. Cats just expect more.

9. Feline AIDS. Leave it to cats to bring a killer virus into your house. As Debbie Downer says, “It’s the number one killer of domestic cats.” If Jerry Falwell was right when he said that AIDS was God’s punishment for being gay, then FIV is God’s punishment for being a cat. If not, then why is there no Canine AIDS? Why don’t those psychotic Westboro Baptist Church vermin carry signs that read, “God Hates Cats”?

10. Estrus.  If you’ve ever witnessed a cat in heat, you have probably participated in some serious sleep deprivation. Females will yowl all night long to let the male cats in the neighborhood know they’re horny. What impolite behavior! What if humans did this? Picture some frisky woman out on the streets at 3 in the morning knocking at doors yelling, “Hey! Are there any Y chromosomes in there? Wake up, bitches, cuz I’m ready!” When dogs are in heat, you don’t hear them baying at the moon all night long. Dogs just find a way to escape the confines of the house and go out and quietly Get Them Some. Hell, they don’t even have to do that. A female dog can just kick back with a glass of good Chardonnay and quietly watch Lassie reruns while waiting for her gentlemen callers to show up at the door. Female cats are relentless in their cat-calls, and you can only shut them up by bringing in a male cat to mate with them. And then what do they do? Complain because the male cat rips them apart with their:

11. Penile Spines. From Wikipedia:  The female will utter a loud yowl as the male pulls out of her. This is because a male cat's penis has a band of about 120–150 backwards-pointing penile spines, which are about one millitmeter long; upon withdrawal of the penis, the spines rake the walls of the female's vagina, which is a trigger for ovulation. This act also occurs to clear the vagina of other sperm in the context of a second (or more) mating, thus giving the later males a larger chance of conception.” Lovely, just adorable. Just makes me want to purr with delight. You don’t see dogs having penile spines. They just have the knot, or as they say in Latin class, the bulbus glandis, the canine cock ring, which makes both parties involved happy. They wouldn’t dream of treating their mates so rough. And human males don’t have these. The closest thing men have to penile spines is the post-coital behavior of not calling the next day or not responding to her texts. Ouch!

12. Lousy Gifts. A dog’s gift is unconditional love. Dogs bring you balls, sticks, and Frisbees to throw. They give you the gift of exercise. They put their heads in your lap when you’re sad and cry when you do, because they are tuned in to your emotions. They amuse you by running their legs when you scratch them in the right spot. Dogs hug. What gifts do cats give you? Dead animals. Let us not forget the bird innards that dear Zooey left on my pillow one morning for me to rub my face in while I slept or the bleeding, screaming rabbit he brought into the house at 2:30 one morning that I had to chase around, catch and then put out of its misery. Thanks so much, kitties. What a pleasure it’s been to have had you as companions. One of the happiest days of my life was the day I took Franny to the vet to be euthanized.  By that time in his life, he weighed 20 pounds and had drawn blood from every friend I had brought into my house. I didn’t even stay with him while the doctor gave him his shot. I just dropped him off, drove away and thought of Italy.

So, the next time you head to your local animal shelter and are intrigued by those adorable little spry kittens frolicking around, remember these twelve steps to hell and go have a look at a nice mutt. Remember: he’ll mop your floors for you, not with you.

Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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