Our Pets Trained Us Well!
In regard to cats, you may feed the felines, clean their litter
boxes, keep them in your house and pay their medical expenses,
but let's get one thing straight regarding the relationship
between cats and humans. You do not own them. They own you. We
have in our house three cats, one dog and two human beings. I
purposefully put the human beings last on the list, because it
delineates the real chain of command. Having the biggest brains
and bodies doesn't mean anything to cats. And when you start
seeing things from their point of view, the whole
top-of-the-food-chain argument is laughable. I know when those
three thugs communicate among themselves that the word "owner"
prompts uncontrollable hysteria. The relationship is akin to
maids or butlers, the hired help, ordering around the rich
people who pay them. However, maids and butlers are remunerated
for their services. Whereas, humans who "own" cats simply pay
dearly for caring about the most ruthless, obnoxiously
demanding, self-centered creatures of this planet. If you own
cats and think you are in charge, you are ether deeply in denial
or trying to defend yourself for being so involved in such a
Our dog is much different than the cats. The dog actually shows
open appreciation toward our efforts to fulfill her needs. She
seeks our approval, love and companionship. She truly wants to
please us. She is visibly disturbed if we are angry with her.
She won't even eat until she knows that we are pleased. Now that
is how animals are supposed to act. Our cats think the dog is
nearly as foolish as us for displaying such behavior. I say
nearly because the cats have learned to use the dog to increase
their own benefits package. It is somewhat like a
labor-management negotiation where one department gets an
additional benefit so the other department gets it too. Every
time we reward the dog for going outside in the yard to go to
the bathroom, the cats line up around her for their treat too.
Fearfully, we comply with their demand due to fear of
retribution. We opt to not risk having the living room smell
like their litter boxes. Tony Soprano might call this a
protection payment or an assurance-policy premium. We know
better than to mess with it.
Our most obnoxious cat is also considered crippled, because his
hind legs are not 100 percent functional. But what this black
cat lacks in mobility it more than makes up for with the ability
to moan louder than a lion. This cat's tone is so loud a deaf
person would be able to sense its vibrations. The constant
howling is so grating it would prompt the pope to curse worse
than an angry NHL player. If this cat were human, it would
summarily be punched out or shot. And when you complain about
this poor, little crippled cat's behavior, people think you are
heartless. If you took it to the animal pound, you would get
pelted with stones before you reached the door. So, we are stuck
with this black devil forever.
It all began so innocently. It is even touching. Approximately
four years ago, my wife worked as a vet tech in an animal
hospital, where this little bundle of joy was found mangled on
the streets and was recovering from surgery. Every day the
mercurial little manipulator caught my wife's attention by
purring and acting cute. So she brought the poor, crippled cat
home and said she was going to be a foster parent till someone
adopted him. The feline-Satan incarnate has been with us ever
since. I know he is going to outlive us--and then move on and
terrorize another household. That cat is probably a couple
thousand years old. Twice daily, sometimes beginning as early as
4:30 a.m., he moans to be fed. It is like having a police car
with a blaring siren driving through your house. What makes it
even worse is that the cat's demanding tone inspires the other
two cats to whine too. The dog has recently joined the trio. But
we still can flash a scowl her way and she shuts up. But I know
that is not going to last much longer.
That little, black monster is cunning too. Last year we brought
a 60-pound greyhound home, because I am a glutton for punishment
who lacks the gumption to just say no to my wife. That is how
our household expanded to three cats, one dog and two humans.
The other two cats immediately attempted to push the dog around.
Generally, greyhounds are shy and submissive animals. The other
two cats couldn't believe their luck. At first, the big dog was
actually afraid of them. However, the evil one, sensing an
opportunity, from the beginning befriended the nervous dog.
A few months passed and the dog no longer feared the cats.
Actually, she now knows how to scare them with a quick bark and
a little stomping. However, the little crippled cat is the dog's
best friend. The dog actually lets "Damian" have the doggie bed,
while she lies on the floor next to it. The other cats do not
mess with the crippled cat because if they do, they know the dog
will jump into the fray. This cat's manipulative skills make
Machiavelli look angelic.
The cats no longer view the greyhound as a fool, but we still
retain that status in the cats' minds. Like I stated previously,
we clean their soiled litter boxes, feed them and pay their
medical expenses. They treat us like dirt by shredding carpets,
scratching furniture and whining excessively when they want
something. When we yell at them for doing something wrong, they
possess the temerity to display anger toward us.
When wild animals figure out what cats already know, humans are
in a lot of trouble. That is the real reason we keep our cats in
the house. Because if they got out and spread the word,
humans--with the exception of the few "token thumbs" who would
be spared during the transitional period--would no longer be