13

Feral Purrfessional – Part 3

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech. She plans to become a Feral Purrfessional to provide medical care to the feral cat population. She has arrived at the school with her mother and sister Charlene. They have just met Katie’s roommate Elise and her father Edgar. Read the beginning of the story here and Part 2 here.

Elise: We start tomorrow. Let’s go see where everything is.

Katie: Great idea! I think the labs are across the street. And the lecture rooms are the next building over.

Charlene: That way you guys can’t blow up everything at the same time.

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Katie: Thanks, Char. We really appreciate your support.

Katie looks at her mother and Edgar.

Katie: Are you coming, Mama?

Mama: I don’t know. I might be more frightened than ever about leaving you here.

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Edgar: Let’s go with them, Mrs. Kitty. That way you can see how safe it is.

Mama: Please call me Rose. No one calls me Mrs. Kitty. It sounds so strange.

Edgar: All right, Rose. I can explain what things are. It will make you feel better.

Rose: I guess that’s a good idea.

The girls race ahead chattering about how much fun they are going to have. Rose and Edgar follow close behind. There is a puma guard at the door to the labs.

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Guard: I’m sorry, but you’re not allowed in the building until tomorrow when classes start.

Edgar pulls out an identification card.

Edgar: It’s OK. I’m Edgar Khatt, Anatomy Purrfessor.

Guard: I’m sorry, Purrfessor. I’m new to the building. Please go ahead.

They enter the building, and Katie looks at Elise.

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Katie: Your dad works here?

Elise: Yeah. I don’t like to tell people. They think he got me in the program.

Edgar: Don’t worry, Katie. She won’t get more help than anyone else. I have an assistant who does the grading.

Katie: That’s pawsome, Purrfessor Khatt! I already know one of my teachers.

Edgar laughs.

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Edgar: That’s the spirit, Katie.

Rose: You mean you’ll see Katie every day, Edgar?

Edgar: Not every day. But several times a week.

Rose: I’m so glad to hear that. You don’t seem scary at all.

Edgar laughs again.

Edgar: Well, I’m glad to hear that. Here’s my lab.

He opens the door and turns on the light.

Charlene (startled): There are dead cats in here.

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Rose (terrified): You’re going to make them kill cats?

Edgar: Of course not. These are models, not real cats. We need the students to learn all of the bones and such so they can help others.

Rose (relaxing): Oh, of course. That makes sense.

Katie: Look, Mama. This one opens up to show the muscles.

Charlene: And this one has bones.

Elise: And they have real cats come in to show how the parts work for walking and jumping and other things.

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Katie: I can’t wait!

Rose: Well, I guess this isn’t too bad. What about the other classes?

Edgar: The students are very closely supervised. Some of the skills are practiced on each other, like weight and length.

Rose: How do you know when they’re ready to graduate?

Edgar: It’s a two-year program. Then the students work in our clinic for 3 months to practice their skills.

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Rose (hesitantly): Well, it does sound like a good program. Do you think she’ll be safe here?

Katie: Mama! Stop asking so many questions. You’re embarrassing me.

Edgar: It’s OK, Katie. (Turning to Rose) It’s very safe here. We’ve never had a problem with any of our students. All of the buildings are locked at night, and guards patrol the campus.

Rose: Thank you, Edgar. I feel much better.

Edgar: I’m glad to hear it.

The girls have been examining all of the models and displays. Katie and Elise seem to be bonding. Charlene still thinks some of the models are real cats.

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Edgar: Anybody interested in an anchovy and tuna pizza? I know a great place.

They walk to the restaurant and find a table. Katie and Elise talk nonstop about classes, books, shopping, and room decorations. The others mainly listen. Finally, they walk back to the dorm.

Edgar: How long are you staying, Rose?

Rose: We’re going to sleep here tonight and catch the train in the morning.

Edgar (disappointed): I was hoping to show you more of the town. At least let me take you to the station in the morning.

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Rose: That’s very kind of you.

Early the next morning Edgar picks up Rose and Charlene.

Rose: I want to thank you again. I feel so much better about Katie staying here. I’m going to miss her, but I won’t worry so much.

Edgar: If you’d like, I can call once in a while to let you know how she’s doing.

Rose: That would be wonderful. Here’s my number.

Charlene: There’s our train. We have to go.

Rose and Edgar purr.

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We will be taking a break next week for Cat Forum: Surviving Back to School. Then we will find out how things work out for Katie and Rose.

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

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21

Feral Purrfessional – Part 2

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech. She plans to become a Feral Purrfessional to provide medical care to the feral cat population. Her mother is uncomfortable with Katie being so far from home. Read the first part of the story here.

Katie: Mama, did you get the train tickets to school?

Mama: Yes, I did. I bought three – you, me, and Charlene. We leave at seven tomorrow morning. We won’t get there until the middle of the afternoon. I really don’t like how far away it is.

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Katie: The train takes longer than driving, because it stops. I think you’ll really like it.

Mama doesn’t seem convinced. The next morning the three Kitties arrive at the depot. Katie has been so excited that she hadn’t noticed how many bags her mother brought with her.

Katie: Mama, why are you bring so much stuff? I think you have more than I do! Are you planning to stay?

Charlene: Of course, we’re staying overnight. We can’t see anything if we don’t leave the train station.

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Katie: Good point. But you only have one bag. Mama has (counting) six. What is all that stuff?

Mama: I brought snacks for the train. And towels and personal items in case you forgot anything.

Katie groans.

Mama: And I brought some of those special salmon cakes you like, in case you get hungry at school.

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Katie: Mama, they have a cafeteria.

Mama: I know, but you might not like the food. And I brought extra school supplies. Just in case. And your stuffed mouse. And your favorite pillow.

Katie: Mama! I don’t need all that stuff! You’re going to embarrass me.

Mama (hurt): I just thought you might miss home and want some special things to help you adjust.

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Mama starts to cry.

Mama: I’m just so upset to have you moving out. You’re my baby, and I want you to be safe and happy.

Charlene glares at Katie.

Charlene: Can’t you just be nice? We all know how excited you are, but you are leaving home. Besides, someone will eat the stuff. Mama’s a wonderful cook. And you probably did forget things. You are pretty scatter-brained sometimes.

Katie: I guess you’re right. I do always seem to forget something.

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Turns to Mama and hugs her.

Katie: I’m sorry, Mama. It sure looks like you went through a lot of work for me.

Mama: It wasn’t any trouble.

They take their seats on the train. They weren’t too far out of the station before they were all curled up asleep. It seemed like no time before they heard the conductor calling their stop.

Katie: See, Mama? That wasn’t so bad.

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Charlene: It’s pretty here. It doesn’t even really look like a city. All the trees and flowers.

Mama: You’re right Charlene. It’s much prettier than I expected.

Katie: We need to find the shuttle to the campus.

She looks around and sees a van marked “Mid-America Animal Tech”. They find three empty seats. Ten minutes later, they stopped at a building with a sign that says, “Feral Purrfessional Dormitory and Lab.” Katie bounces up.

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Katie: This is it! My home away from home. Hurry!

Katie runs up the steps to the building. By the time Mama and Charlene have gathered everything together and get in the door, Katie has her room key and a set of house rules.

Katie: Hurry up! I’m on the second floor.

They follow her, carrying the bags. As Katie struggles to open the door, it’s pulled open by a handsome tom.

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Tom (laughing): You must be Katie; Elise’s new roommate. There’s Elise over on the bed.

Katie and Elise look each other over, rub heads, and begin to chatter. Meanwhile, Mama and Charlene appear at the door out of breath.

Tom: My goodness! Are you Katie’s sisters? And what’s in all those bags? Let me get them from you.

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Mama Kitty blushes.

Mama: No. I’m Katie’s mother and this is her sister Charlene.

Tom: My name is Edgar and I am Elise’s father. Unfortunately, her mother died in an accident, so I’m playing Mom today.

Mama: That’s so sweet.

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Edgar: What is in all those bags you were carrying? It smells delicious.

Mama: Those are salmon cakes I made for Katie, but she says she doesn’t want them. Would you like one?

Edgar: That would be purr-fect. I’m starving.

Mama gets out the salmon cakes and prepares a plate for Edgar. They are talking and don’t notice the younger cats watching them.

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Next week: Conclusion. Will Mama Kitty be comfortable leaving Katie at school?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

22

Feral Purrfessional

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Katie Kitty was almost through packing when her mother came into her room. Mama Kitty was visibly upset.

Mama: Are you really going, Katie?

Katie: Mama, you know I am. I’ve been talking about it since I got accepted by Mid-America Animal Tech. They’re even giving me a scholarship!

Mama: But it’s so far away. I won’t see you for weeks.

Katie hugs Mama Kitty.

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Katie: I know, Mama. But we can talk on the phone and Skype. And I’ll be home for holidays.

Mama: I know, but it’s not the same. I don’t understand why you can’t just stay home like your friends. They’re going to school at Feline First Academy.

Katie (patiently): They don’t teach what I want to study, remember?

Mama: Do you really want to do that? It’s going to be so difficult.

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Katie: We need to have more Feral Purrfessionals. I’m going to be able to help untamed kitties get medical treatment. I won’t be a vet, but I can do a lot of the things a vet can do. I’ll be able to fix cuts and treat infections.

Mama: That does sound useful.

Katie: Remember when Mrs. Murrow had so much trouble having her kittens last year? I’ll be able to help kitties like that. And I can counsel on family planning.

Mama: Well, there are a lot of ferals around. I guess helping them is admirable work.

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Katie: It really is, Mama.

Mama: But do you have to go so far?

Katie: It’s the closest place that has the training. Besides, they offered me free tuition and housing. It’s hardly going to cost anything.

Mama: That’s true. I’m proud of you being so smart. I just didn’t realize it meant you would be leaving us.

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Katie: I’m not leaving you. I’m coming back for good when the training is over. That’s the point. I want to come back and help the cats I know. That’s why most of the kitties will be studying there.

Mama: But there will be a lot of different types of cats there. Some of them are probably big-city cats. They’re all spoiled and can be kind of hissy around other cats.

Katie: I suppose that’s possible. But if they want to help ferals, I think we should let them. Cities have wild cats too.

Mama: Well, be careful around them.

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Katie: I will, Mama.

Mama: There are going to other kinds of animals there too. It’s open to anyone, no matter what species they are. What if they make you room with a wolf? You probably won’t survive your first night.

Katie: Mama, didn’t you read the papers they sent? They have separate buildings for each species. Girl cats room with girl cats. I’m not going to get eaten.

Mama: But you won’t be inside all the time. What if something tries to attack you?

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Katie: For goodness sake, Mama! We live in a multi-species subdivision. It’s going to be like living here.

Mama: I guess so. I just don’t like the idea of you being so far from your family.

Katie: Would it help if you saw Animal Tech? Maybe you’d see it’s not so bad.

Mama: I don’t know. I don’t like cities.

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Katie: The bus stops right on campus. You can come with me tomorrow so you are more comfortable with the idea.

Mama: Can I bring your sisters? I don’t want to come home by myself.

Katie: How about one sister? I don’t want to draw attention my first day there.

Mama: I suppose that will work. Maybe Charlene. She’s the biggest of us. And she knows how to fight.

Katie sighs and goes back to packing.

Next week: Mama Kitty’s trip to the city

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

16

Cat Forum: Name That Cat

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Greetings from Snoops and Kommando Kitty. This week we have a game for you. We’re going to give a list of characteristics and you need to identify the kind of cat being described.

We know this isn’t much of challenge for you kitties, so we recommend you team up with a human. You can help them with the hard ones.

There is a list of possibilities at the top and answers at the bottom. The pictures do not correspond to the description above or below. There are more possibilities than there are clues.

Some are breeds and some are coat patterns. Good luck!

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Possible answers: American Shorthair, Balinese, Calico, Havana Brown, Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest, Siamese, Siberian, Snowshoe, Tabby, Tonkinese, Tortie, Turkish Angora

Hint: Snoops is a representative of one of these cats

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Cat #1

  • Males are generally considered good luck.
  • Early Japanese sailors thought they could chase away storms
  • Official state cat of Maryland
  • An Irish wives’ tale says that rubbing a foot wart on this cat’s tail will make the wart go away
  • Maneki neko, a Japanese cat good luck talisman, is usually this cat

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Cat #2

  • Mix of Burmese and Siamese
  • Likes to talk
  • Very affectionate
  • Loves interactive toys
  • Very playful and energetic

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Cat #3

  • Likes to talk
  • Sensitive to human moods
  • Great leapers
  • Smart
  • Highly social

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Cat #4

  • Highly intelligent
  • Crave human attention
  • Love to touch their favorite humans
  • Love to carry toys and other objects in their mouths
  • Very adaptable to new situations

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Cat #5

  • Affectionate
  • Love water
  • Great jumpers
  • One of the largest breeds
  • Very playful

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Cat #6

  • Natural athlete
  • Friendly and family-oriented
  • Adaptable to new situations
  • Fun loving
  • Would rather cuddle than prowl

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Cat #7

  • Thought to have a strong attitude about most things
  • Celts believed the males were good luck
  • Japanese sailors believed the males protected them from ghosts
  • Are believed to bring money and have psychic abilities
  • If you dream about one, you’ll soon be in love

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Answers: 1 – Calico, 2 – Tonkinese, 3 – Balinese, 4 – Havana Brown, 5 – Siberian, 6 – Norwegian Forest, 7 – Tortie

Humans, don’t feel bad if you missed some, we cats have trouble telling most of you apart too.

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Ed. Note: Don’t forget that the cats that need you most are the (mainly) moggies/mixed breeds that are found in shelters. And most of them have paw-some personalities.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

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18

Family Feud for Cats

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Some of you may know that there is a TV game show in the U.S. called Family Feud. It has two families compete against each other by guessing the results of polls the show has taken. What most of you do not know is that there is also a version of the game for cats.

Host: Hello. I’m Maggie Moggy, and welcome to Family Feud for Cats!

(Wild applause)

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Maggie: Tonight, we welcome the Maine Coons

(Fans of the Maine Coons applaud and scream)

Maggie: Who will be competing against the Norwegian Forests.

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(Fans of the Norwegian Forests are equally loud)

Maggie: Does everybody know how to play? Each team has one representative at the buzzer. Whoever buzzes first gets to answer the question. Their team has a chance to guess the rest of the category for one point. If they are wrong, the other team gets to guess the answers.

(The teams nod)

Maggie: There are three questions and the top three answers for each question. Whoever gets two points first goes to the Bonus Round for a year’s worth of fresh fish and 50 pounds of Royal Gourmet Cat Kibble.

Let’s have the first two contestants come forward. Put on the eyeshades to block out the distraction of the red lights on the cameras.

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Here’s the first question: What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “dog”?

(The Norwegian Forest hits the buzzer)

NF #1: Drool.

Maggie: That’s right! The first thing cats think of when they see the word “dog” is drool.

(Loud cheering)

NF #2: Easy to train.

Maggie: Yes! That’s number three. What is the second most common thing cats think of when they hear “dog”?

NF #3: Clumsy.

Maggie: That’s it! The Norwegian Forests win the first point!

(She waits for the cheering to die down. The second player from each team walks to the buzzers)

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The second question is “Where is your favorite place to sleep?”

(The Norwegian Forest is the first to hit the button again.)

NF #2: In the sun.

Maggie: Yes! That was the number one answer.

NF #3: On my human.

Maggie: You’re right! The Norwegian Forests are only one answer away from the Bonus Round.

(Their fans wait quietly for the third answer.)

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NF #4: With my furry siblings.

Bzzzt

Maggie: I’m sorry, that’s not in the top three. Maine Coons, what’s your answer?

(Mixed groans and cheers from the audience)

MC #2: The human’s bed.

Maggie: Yes! Now it’s one point for each team. The winner of the next round will go to the Bonus Round.

(She waits while the third player from each team walks to the buzzers.)

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Maggie: The third question is “What is your favorite thing to chase?”

(This time the Maine Coon is faster.)

MC #3: Mice.

Maggie: Yes! That’s number three.

MC #4: The red dot.

Maggie: Correct! What’s the final answer?

MC #5: Toy on a string,

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Maggie: The Maine Coons are going to the Bonus Round! The Norwegian Forests will each receive a twenty-pound bag of Imperial Princess Natural Non-Clumping Cat Litter for participating.

(Loud clapping and cheering continue as they go to a commercial break. Maggie and the Maine Coons are onstage when we return.)

Maggie: You need to choose one player for this round. I will ask a question with the top five answers. The chosen cat will need to come up with three of the top five in 30 seconds or less.

(After a brief discussion, MC #3 steps forward.)

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Maggie: The question is, “What is the dumbest thing your human has ever done?”

MC #3 (thinking): Got a dog, forgot to feed me, tried to hide the catnip.

Maggie: Congratulations! That’s right! The other two answers were “give me a bath” and “try to feed me cheap/diet food”.

(The Maine Coons are surrounded by friends and family as the show goes off the air.)

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

15

Cat Forum: Ask Snoops and Kommando

We get all types of questions from readers of our blog. Today we thought we would share a few of them with you.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, I want to get my girlfriend a special gift for her birthday, but she’s already said that she doesn’t want a dead animal. Can you believe it? Any ideas?

It sounds like she doesn’t want a traditional gift. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. We recommend something personal. Girls like her tom making her dinner. Maybe a nice salmon patty or beef shreds. You could still use the mice for kebabs or a nice protein for a salad with cat greens. Catnip tarts are always a winner for dessert.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, My human keeps trying to get me to dress up in human clothes. Then they take pictures and post them. It is totally humiliating. What can I do?

We recommend the direct approach. If you find the outfit before they put it on, wet hairballs are a good option. They don’t look as suspicious as using the clothes as a litter box.

If the clothes are sprung on you, try to get away to someplace hard to get at or too small for them to come after you. With a little luck, they will give up trying to catch you.

It should always be a last resort to fight with your human. They are the keeper of the treats. However, extreme squirming is acceptable. Make it as hard as possible.

If all else fails, hide once the outfit is on. It’s much better for them to tell their friends that you were a fashion fail than have those pictures circulating on the Internet.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, My human keeps letting small humans into our house. We have our own small humans who are rather sweet (and good for getting us treats). However, these visitors are miserable little creatures. We do not like being held in sticky hands or chased around the house. They do not listen to our little humans. What do we do?

Do not, under any circumstances, hiss or try to claw the little monsters. You will get in trouble with the large humans. Our first idea is to stick around your human mom or dad when they come around. Any good human cat parent will protect you from grabby hands.

A cat tree or shelf is also a possibility. If you have an outdoor enclosure, head for that. Hiding under a bed will usually do the trick. (Make sure you’re in the middle where short arms can’t reach.) The key is to try to stay out of their sight.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, Our humans brought home a dog. It is huge (and smells awful). It wants to play with us. How do we deal with it?

First off, be grateful that it doesn’t want to be alpha animal. Some dogs come into a house and need to be taught that cats rule the roost.

It is a good idea to be as friendly as possible. Large dogs are useful in reaching things you cannot. And they can be blamed for all sorts of things.

Dog aroma is usually not too bad once you get used to it. A good way to adapt is to sleep in his bed whenever possible.  If the smell is excessive, the humans will force him to take a bath.

It’s fun to chase the dog rather than let him chase you. Whatever you do, protect your food.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, we hear that your blog recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. Congratulations!

Thank you very much, but the celebration is much too early. It is true that Cat registered the blog five years ago. But in our opinion, it was rather pathetic. Very human-centric and total lack of focus.

We actually took over the blog in July of 2015. If you look at it before and after that date, you will notice a marked difference. We have improved the content, standardized the publishing schedule, and drawn in more followers.

In other words, animals rule!

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30

Cats of the World, Unite!

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We have obtained a copy of the meeting notes from the Midwest Regional Cat Special Conference of June 19, 2018. We are printing it for all cats who are planning to join Cat World Domination Day on June 24. DO NOT let your humans see it.

Midwest Regional Cat Special Conference

June 19, 2018

Chicago, IL

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Murray: I hereby call this Special Conference to order. Before we get started on the main topic, are there any questions?

Herb: Are we going to be violent in this takeover? I don’t like violence.

Murray (patiently): No, Herb. I’ve explained this to you before. The point of Domination Day is to get the humans to do more for us, not to eliminate the humans.

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Janis: Are we going to include the ferals?

Murray: We’ve reached out to as many of the ferals as we can. A large number of them don’t want to have anything to do with humans. We have gotten commitments from some of the younger ones.

Mike: Have we tried bringing the dogs on board?

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Murray: I thought it was a waste of time. They don’t mind being subservient to humans.

Mike: Good point.

Murray (looking around): Any more questions? Then I’d like to present our speaker, Tabitha Tux.

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Tabitha: Thank you for having me, Murray. I’d like to speak a little about the goals of World Domination Day and then give some pointers. The goal is not to force humans to do our will. We want them to think it’s their idea. It’s not going to be accomplished in one day.

Sunday is really the kick-off for an ongoing campaign. Some lucky cats will see results in a few days, but others may have to wait months.

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Toni: How will we know if we have a hopeless human?

Tabitha: All humans are trainable. The trick is finding the right motivator. It may even be necessary to wait for breakfast.

(gasps from the audience)

Tabitha: You won’t usually need to go to such extreme measures.

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Murray: So how do we train them?

Tabitha: First you need to soften them up. If they have no interest in learning to hunt, stop bringing them prey. If they hate you fighting with your siblings, make a temporary truce.

Joe: Does this include cuddling on demand?

Tabitha: It might. I know it’s awful to be picked up while you’re trying to sleep, but remember the goal.

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Joe: what’s the goal?

Tabitha: You want them to give you a special treat or privilege. Once you get the treat, continue your training until getting the treat is a regular occurrence.

For example, if you love chicken and try to get a piece every time it’s served, try being patient. Chances are the human will tell you what a good kitty you are and give more chicken than you would have stolen.

You will need to work on one behavior at a time. You won’t be able to sleep in their bed at the same time you get to have a catio.

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Murray: All of this sounds like it’s going to take a long time.

Tabitha: It will take a while. But cats are a patient species. Also, humans are herd animals. If one person builds a catio, there is a good chance that the neighbors will try to build a better one.

Remember, humans didn’t get to this point of trainability overnight. It will take some work to reach the final goal.

(Enthusiastic applause from the audience)

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Murray: Any final words of encouragement, Tabitha?

Tabitha: Remember, Sunday is for time with your human. You can talk with your buddies on Monday.

Murray: Thank you for joining us. Tabitha will be here for a while to answer your individual questions.

(More applause. A line immediately forms to talk to Tabitha.)

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images.