A Tale of Two Kitties

The other day I was flipping through the channels when the I came across “Best In Show: Cats” on the Animal Planet. I did what any dad would do: I immediately called the cats, gave them spare change, and sent them to the liquor store to buy me some beer so I could at least enjoy the second half of the show while intoxicated. Truth be told, I also didn’t want to have my cats watch the show by accident and live under the false impression that some cats have it better than they do. True, so some cats may not be subjected to dressing up as court jesters and paraded around the neighborhood, or even have their tails used to tickle the nose of a sleeping boyfriend with extremely violent tendencies, but still, that’s just semantics. You say “tomatoe” and I say “the cat already had that when I got her”.

But back to the show. So I summoned the cats and told them that I was not feeling too well and needed my afternoon booze nap. They asked me if everything was okay so I lied and said “no”. I may have also said something to the extent of “if I die from nap-deprivation no one will hear your cries” but I forget now. Anyhow, they pointed out the fact that it would be nice to have their efforts rewarded with a treat so I did what I always do when my two little precious munchkins ask for a much-deserved treat, I pretended to be asleep. And it worked. Within seconds I heard them pulling out their hoodies and then I heard the front door close. Coast was clear.

I turned the volume up just in time to hear the story of “Pinky”, a 6 months old kitten who has won over twelve titles for being super cute. Pinky had long, fluffy hair, booger-free eyes, and not a single dreaded lock of fur on his back. “Big deal,” I thought to myself, “to award a cat for having fluffy hair is like awarding a building for having pretty windows.” Cats should be rewarded for their skills, if you ask me, not for their parents’ hard labor. Why slap those ribbons and medals on the cat? Why should they get their ego stroked? Why are we to take pride in the fact that their hair is not a big clump? Not fair. If anything, watching Pinky’s story made me proud that my cats and the two functional eyes they share between the two of them are much more worthy of that award. I mean, time and time again they prove their skills through hard labor and exceptional singing skills.

I decided Pinky is a spoiled sponge that knows nothing about life and was eager to see who the next cat would be. Then came the story of “Celeste”, a beautiful orange and white Persian, just like my Gizmo. And the best part was that just like my Gizmo, Celeste produces enough gunk out of her eyes to fill up a keg. I was immediately in love. True, so maybe her Mom devoted her life to following Celeste and wiping out the brown sugar from her eyes every second of the day, but still, if left to her own devices, Celeste’s looks would quickly fade and she would look like a homeless cat that haunts the public train at night, just like my Gizmo. “She’s not fooling anyone”, I thought to myself, “send her Mom to Shady Pines and let Ginger Spice here do her own grooming, for a change.” I immediately felt a great sense of pride in my Gizmo and his vagabond face. I mean, knowing that he could never rely on me to clean out his eyes on a daily or even monthly basis, Gizmo has learned to rub his eyes against sharp corners as a DIY method. Besides, having partial eyesight means that his other senses–like opening cans of beer, giving foot massages, and cleaning the toilet–have sharpened.

I liked where the show was going, it made me feel much better about my hard working cats, who were no doubt haggling with the salesperson and trying to score a deal. “If they really love me”, I thought to myself, “they’d try to smuggle a kitkat inside one of Gizmo’s ratty hair mats.” But I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high.

Next came the judging segment. Drumroll, please. In walked a woman with a very large belly and an extra chin would hold each cat and give her little speech about the importance of the cat and why everyone should be oohing and aahing and clapping. She held up “Rainbow”, a white Persian that looked like fuzz that had fallen off a cloud. Rainbow looked very, very regal and far too important to be on the show. You could tell he had to plan being away from his beloved sofa months in advance to make the cameo on the show. I think I may have even caught an eyeroll at some point, when the lady was holding up Rainbow and showing his belly and his little love bits to the whole world. What a rude, classless lady. And poor Rainbow. How embarrassing to have your biscuit put on display for the whole world to see. All of a sudden I had a mild flashback to my college days, and the whole scenario got a little too uncomfortable.

Then came the words that I will never forget. As the lady and her gaggle of chins held up Rainbow and his little biscuit, she rubbed her hand on his belly and uttered the most hateful, biting words anyone has ever directed at me. Looking straight at the camera she opened her mouth and said

“See, people, a cat that’s been brushed both on its back and its front. No knots!”

Each word was a dagger to my heart. When the people in the audience began clapping as if Rainbow had done all the work, I could feel my heart sinking. “How could she?” I mumbled to myself. I began tearing up with shock and humiliation that the rooster lady would be so cutting and heartless with me. It was then that I heard Gizmo on the other side of the front door yelling at Lulu and telling her that she needed to stand still if he was going to use her as a jumping board to help him get the key in the lock. I thought about just getting up and letting them in but I knew that they would resent me if I ever made their lives easier. I kept on hearing “And…go!” every couple of minutes, which was then followed by a crashing sound and a downward key scratch on the door. “Idiot! My turn!”. This went on for about an hour.

By the time they came in most of my tears had dried up but my puffy eyes said it all. As soon as the cats and I made eye contact they asked me if that meant they’d have to cut up a cold cucumber and help me restore my looks. Not wanting to disappoint them by refusing their help, I said yes, laid down, and chose to think happy thoughts.img_2803

Moments after cleaning the house, Gizzy and Lu take a brief nap.

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