It’s a cat’s world for us to clean up

Let us now discuss the ability of cats to communicate with one another over long distances and to use this ability to mess with the heads of humans.

As proof, I give you the two cats of my friends Wendy and Dean and their children Joely and Anna – Zipper and Tiny – and my cat, Mandy. I had dropped by the Wendy-Dean home twice a day to feed the cats (and, incidentally, two guinea pigs) and clean their litter, and to reassure them that they haven’t been abandoned just because Wendy, Dean, Joely and Anna were away.

And Wendy had left, along with the cats’ food (and the food for guinea pigs), a spray bottle of cleaner and many, many paper towels, plus instructions to investigate for kitty throw up and, by the way, use these implements to clean it.

Well, one day I went back and fed the cats (and the guinea pigs, plus I gave them some parsley, so they really like me a lot, which, apparently with guinea pigs, isn’t saying a whole heck of a lot), and there in two spots on the floor was kitty throw up. Oh, just ducky. I cleaned it up and went home.

Shortly after I arrived home, Mandy, from one of her usual perches, this one in the living room, atop a chest, threw up on the chest and the floor, thank you so bloody much.

I see here a distinct absence of coincidence. I see, instead, a kitty plot to mess with my head. I see Zipper and Tiny in confab, shortly after I left, deciding to cat-

communicate with Mandy and get her to play, “Hey, let’s throw up and make a human clean it.” It’s a fun cat game – for cats. Not so much for me.

I know what you’re thinking: You’re thinking, What’re you? A dork? Referring to me. Well, no, actually, I’m not, for you see, I understand the psyches of cats. We all know, for instance, that cats can be cruel, as when they essentially torture to death a mouse. That’s how we see it. That’s not how it’s seen by the cat. The cat thinks of it as playing, and thinks it’s a real drag when the mouse dies, because the game has to end. The cat doesn’t want the game to end until the cat wants the game to end, so the mouse dying takes the game’s end out of the paws of the cat, and no cat likes that.

But cats have discovered that no matter what they do, apparently they can’t kill humans, so messing with them is always a go. They are limited, of course, by size differential. A cat cannot bat a human around the floor the way it can a mouse stupid enough to enter a house in which lives a cat. The cat would like to bat around a human, but it’s just not going to work because there is always the problem of foolishly batting a human who isn’t all that fond of cats unless he is kicking one down the hallway.

But three cats plotting a National Cat Throw Up Day? Why not? No one can prove anything, no one can really blame the cats, it’s just happenstance, circumstance, whatever one wants to call it. No one can prove a thing.

Even I can’t PROVE that Mandy, Tiny and Zipper worked this out telepathically between Lyndeborough and Amherst, but I KNOW they did. I know because Mandy never throws up in the house. Never? Well, hardly ever. And to suddenly do it after I’ve had to clean up after Zipper and Tiny? And to WAIT until I’d gotten home? And to do it in such a spot that I couldn’t pretend not to have seen it so that Kathy would end up cleaning it?

No, it’s too much, too many little bits of proof.

As I write this, I am looking at a picture of Mandy on my computer desktop. She is sitting on the deck railing out back and looking right at the camera.

The look is absolutely malevolent. It is a look that says, “If you were just a little smaller, I’d be batting you all over this deck.”

And it is also, I am convinced, a look that says, “Let me know the next time you’re taking care of Tiny and Zipper and I’ll send them a little telepathic message about the joys of pretending the entire house is their litter box.”

Which is why I HATE cats.

Mike Cleveland is former editor of The Cabinet.