This column was originally published in the Bureau County Republican on Oct. 15, 2011.
As the cat sits here staring at me, I can’t help but think, I’ve always been a dog guy.
When I was growing up, I lived on a farm and we always had dogs. Dogs with cool names like Tojo and Bozo, Luke and Rusty. We even had a beagle named Cecil. Sure we had cats. It was a farm and what farm doesn’t have cats? I figured that the cats were just there for the dogs to get some exercise every now and then.
I always pictured that when I grew up and became a world-famous cartoonist, that I would have my drawing table set near a fireplace with my faithful Basset Hound at my feet snoring and experiencing occasional flatulence. His name would be Barney or Bob or Billy or Billy-Bob or at least something that started with the letter B because that’s just how a Basset Hound should be named with the exceptions of Fred and Flash.
He would have those kind of dog jowls that flop around on those rare occasions when he would feel the need to run. His leg would move involuntarily when he was dreaming. Basically I wanted a four-legged version of myself including the occasional flatulence (I gotta have somebody to blame it on.)
Well that was my dream. And then I got married. My wife doesn’t really care for dogs. It has something to do with her being a little girl and not apparently having the appropriate foot speed to outrun a slobbering Saint Bernard. It’s some kind of story like that but I wasn’t really paying attention. All I know is that she doesn’t have the same kind of appreciation for canines that I do.
So we became cat people. During most of our 20 years of marriage, we have possessed a feline of some kind. We’ve had cats named Seuss, Pillsbury, Nestle, Seuss II, Fuzzy and Gracie. My wife and the kids like to pet and play with the cats and I spend most of my time keeping them off the drawing table and trying to figure out what they’re thinking as they stare at me with their cold, soulless eyes. No luck so far.
We were actually cat free at the time my son brought home a rescue kitten a while back. He said at the time that he had found it mewing in a wet pile of leaves and decided to bring it home. I later found out there may have been a slightly different version of this story but fortunately for him the statute of limitations has run out.
This kitten was tiny. It had just opened its’ eyes and we actually bottle fed it for the first few weeks that he was in our house. It would take turns napping on everyone’s lap for warmth. Yes, even my lap with the occasional flatulence.
The day after it showed up, somebody mentioned that they thought it looked like a male kitten. I figured that this person knew what they were talking about because I surely had no idea since the animal literally fit in the palm of your hand and had no discernible “boy” or “girl” parts. I heard somebody say it was male so in my mind it was a male. I named it Mike.
Mike the cat has grown into being a cherished member of our tight-knit family. So you can imagine my dismay when my little daughter yelled at me to come to the door because there was another cat fighting with Mike out in the front yard. However, they weren’t fighting. Quite the contrary. I felt like putting on some Barry White and letting them have some privacy. Over the next few days, we found out that Mike liked to “fight.” Mike liked to “fight” a lot.
My wife looked at me and asked if maybe I had made a mistake in assuming that Mike was a male. I told her that after the initial statement of the cat being male, I never really checked. I didn’t know it was my job and as I have already pointed out with the Saint Bernard story, I don’t always pay that much attention.
I think that this would be the proper time to point out that if I am ever reincarnated back to this earth as a feline who likes to walk around with my tail up in the air, I would appreciate it if you humans would have the decency to look away. It’s the right thing to do.
In the interest of wrapping this story up, in what can only be described as a medical miracle, Mike the cat gave birth to three healthy kittens in my daughter’s laundry basket last Saturday morning. We’re already discussing a future surgical procedure for Mike and who knows what the cat’s going to be thinking with those cold, soulless eyes after that.
I am sure that in the writing of this column, I may have inadvertently offended a whole host of people from cat lovers, PETA, the SPCA, Bob Barker and most of all, anyone named Mike. To all of you I offer my most sincere of apologies. I would ask that you refrain from sending me scathing emails or lecturing me over the phone. I would ask that if you feel strongly enough to chastise me, please do it in the form of a written letter.
I’m going to need something to line the litter box.
You can contact Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com. You can also subscribe to his comic strip “Nothing is not Something” at www.gocomics.com/nothing-is-not-something.