CATastrophes

I have never owned a cat. However, over the years several cats have owned me. I’ve always been able to reach working arrangements with our pet dogs. They’ve been less demanding, more forgiving and , unlike cats, less prone to having attitudes.

There are about 76 pet million cats in America now so a lot of people would probably say I’m misjudging cats, but if our 90 million pet dogs are allowed to participate in the survey, I think I’d have a solid majority on my side.

A kitten that’s brought into the house will be treated like a princess. (“Oh what a sweet little kitty! Listen to her purr. It’s my turn now. Let me pet her.”) But before you know it, the beast grows up and one day she calls a family meeting. “Listen you guys,” she snarls. “This is the way it’s going to be from now on if you don’t want your sofa and drapes shredded, your carpets corrupted and your dog traumatized.” So you end up with a foul-smelling litter box and a closet full of Friskies, and catnip treats and toys.

Cats don’t bark and that’s one of their few saving qualities. A friend of mine had a cat who, when his screeching was being ignored, would claw the family dog and make him bark. It was like having an agent.

Thank goodness we don’t have to walk cats. That would involve high-speed squirrel chases, fence-jumping and tree-climbing, something like qualifying for the Olympics twice a day.

But tree-climbing? Why are fire fighters called to rescue cats in trees? Certainly it’s the cat owners rather than the cats who make the rescue calls (as far as we know). Cats are not in much danger perched a mere 50 feet up in a sycamore. There are records of cats falling 26 stories (about 260 feet) without suffering serious injury. That’s attributed to their large body surface compared to their lightness which reduces the terminal velocity of their landing, resulting in a 90 percent survival rate for long distance falls.

So if you get angry with your cat don’t toss him out the window. He’ll most likely come back to get revenge. If you really want to get even, do what I did. I named my last cat Fido.

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