3

Snoops and Kommando: On the Prowl

Kommando: Hi everyone! We’ve been so busy interviewing other cats that we forgot our most interesting subjects.

Snoops: Who’s that?

Kommando: Us, silly!

Snoops: Things have been a little interesting recently.

Kommando: We got two new channels of cat TV. It’s pretty pawsome. They’re on the second floor.

Snoops: You may remember that we had four humans – two male and two female. Now we’re down to three.

Kommando: The younger female moved out. She brought home a strange male human one time. It was awful. He smelled worse that Horatio Hedgehog.

Horatio: Hey! I’m right here, you know.

Snoops: She didn’t mean it. You know we love you.

Horatio: Cats!

(He huffs and goes back to sleep.)

Kommando: Anyway her room is on the second floor and has views from two directions. One is even a new direction!

Snoops: It’s true. But it’s probably the most boring. There aren’t any trees that way.

Kommando: That’s true. But still, she was hiding it from us.

Snoops: True enough. It was so messy that it was hard to get over there.

Kommando: It hurt my delicate little paws to walk on it.

Snoops: Whatever you say, Kommando. Let’s move on to the pawsome TV show we found on human TV.

Kommando: That’s right; I almost forgot. It’s called “My Cat from Hell.”  Every time we see it, there are cats just being cats. You know, racing around and getting into stuff.

Snoops: Well, some of the cats are a little obnoxious. There seem to be awful lot of them who bite their humans. We don’t approve of that at all.

Snoops: She right. The pawsome part is that the human who runs the show, Jackson Galaxy, always blames everything on the humans! All the “bad” stuff that the cats do is because of something the humans do. Even scratching the drapes and pooping outside the litter box.

Kommando: Yep. They get homework and everything. And the humans work really hard to get their cats back to our usually sweet selves.

Snoops: He always says that there are no bad cats. We already knew that, but it’s really cool to hear a human admit it.

Kommando: Every week, the humans have done what they need to, and the cats have become snuggly like the rest of us.

Snoops: Life has been good.

Kommando: Well except recently. We got abandoned again.

Snoops: Oh yeah. Last night.

Kommando: Mom has been home with us 24/7 for the last few weeks. She had the other tunnel opened, on her left wrist. That’s two, so I think she’s done.

Snoops: It’s too bad. For the first couple of weeks, she wasn’t supposed to lift much of anything. And after that she had a weight restriction.

Kommando: It was great. Naps and snuggles and cuddles…

Snoops: It’s a good thing that she went back though. We used our last can of food the day before she went back. And she gets our food where she works.

Kommando: Oh, right. That would have been bad.

Snoops: At least she works nights. So we have someone here to wait on us all the time.

Kommando: And Dad had that flu thing a couple of weeks ago. He wasn’t much fun, but he was good to sleep on.

Snoops: And they get different days off, so they’re both here together.

Kommando: All right. I guess life is pretty good.

Snoops: And it would be perfect if we could get rid of all the noisy machines…

 

5

A Cat is a Tortie, But a Tortie is a Turtle

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Come crown my brows with leaves of myrtle;

I know the tortoise is a turtle.

Come carve my name in stone immortal;

I know the turtoise is a tortle;

I know to my profound despair;

I bet on one to beat a hare.

I also know I’m now a pauper

Because of its tortley turtley torpor.

by Ogden Nash

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Every once in a while we get an interesting question from a human. We’d like to share a recent one:

Dear Cheeseland:

The most recent addition to our family is an adorable kitten. They told us she is a tortoise shell. However, when I looked up tortoise shell on the computer, it showed me a picture of a top of a turtle. It didn’t look at all like sweet, little Penelope. I’m confused.

 Tortie Mom

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Dear Tortie Mom:

Congratulations on your new addition! You are actually more confused than you think you are.

Your new kitty is a tortoiseshell, not a tortoise shell. It refers to the beautiful colors in her fur. Humans think these colors look similar to a piece of polished shell from a dead tortoise. Humans have truly grotesque imaginations sometimes.

Since you looked up tortoise shell, you saw the top of a tortoise. A living tortoise.

A tortoise is a turtle. But only a type of turtle. We’ll turn to our resident reptile Rex, a member of the painted turtle family, for more clarification.

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You’ve brought up a very interesting topic, Tortie Mom. It’s not very often that we get a question about the difference between turtles and tortoises. Or anything about turtles. Turtles are fascinating creatures.  Of course, I’m partial to the painted family of turtles. However, our tortoise cousins offer some interesting traits.

Those of us who spend a large part of our time in or near the water rarely see a tortoise. You see, they don’t like water. Strange, huh? Explains those short, stubby legs and feet. And knobby knees. Nothing at all like the webbed beauties we other turtles have. Probably have dry, scaly skin too.

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Frankly, I’m a little surprised that you confused the big, bulky tortoise shell with the sleek turtle shell. Seriously, it looks like you could go camping in one of those domes.  But I supposed that if all you do is go lumbering around on land, it really isn’t too much of a problem. My shell is built for speed in the water. They should have let me race that rabbit.

Tortoises are rather picky eaters. Most of them are vegetarians. I guess that makes sense since they’re so big and slow. You don’t have to move very fast to catch grass. The rest of us are much more flexible in our dining habits. Fresh juicy bugs are the perfect companion to a nice bunch of berries.

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You may have heard some rot about tortoises being better mothers. True, they protect their hatchlings for up to 80 days while ours are set loose at birth. But why do they require protection? Because they’re being pampered to live a softer life than our offspring. That’s why they live longer too.

Who cares? Our turtles are tougher!

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(Ed. Note – We have no idea who Rex is. We received a message telling us to pay $500 to have the original post ending restored. Rex’s was better, so we left it in.)

21

Cat Forum: Interview with “Three Chatty Cats”

Hi everyone. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here and welcome to this month’s Cat Forum. We are interviewing the pawsome cats from Three Chatty Cats. It’s a great blog about cat rescue, cat shelters, foster cats. And, of course, the three cats: Dexter, Olive and Sophie. (We listed them alphabetically for reasons you will see below.)

Would you each tell us one nice thing about each of your siblings?

Sophie: Hi Snoops and Kommando! I’ll tell you one nice thing about Dexter and then have a good think about Olive. Dexter is an awesome groomer! And I don’t just mean grooming himself. He loves to groom both me and Olive. He’s the bestest big bro any kitty could ask for.

Dexter: Thanks Sophie. That was nice of you to say about me.

Sophie: Now you say something nice about me.

Olive: Hey, shouldn’t he say something nice about me first? I am older than you.

Dexter: I’ll say something nice about both of you. Olive is right. She’s my first baby sister and she is a beautiful and mysterious tortie. She is the bravest of the three of us, except when it comes to big dogs. But other than that, she will greet most anyone, which is very impressive to a shy cat like me.

Sophie: Now what about me?

Dexter: You’re the goofiest of us. And you always make mom and dad laugh.

Olive: I’m so sorry, Snoops and Kommando, but I just don’t have anything nice to say about Sophie. Except that it’s nice when she’s not near me. But I love hanging and snoozing with Dexter. Although he’s shy around people, we have a lot of fun together. Like during our morning zoomies up and down the hallway.

Are you all BFFs (Best Feline Friends) or do you get hissy once in a while?

Olive: Oh, no! No, no, no, no, no. We are not all BFFs! Dexter and I, sure, you could call us BFFs. But that Sophie…she deserves the hissy hisses more than just every once in a while. Why, the other day, I was minding my own business, walking along the windowsill and Sophie bit my bum! Can you believe it? She just came up behind and chomped down on my bum bum! I have proof, too. Mom saw it happen! Anyway, I gave her a big ol’ hiss.

Sophie: I have no idea what Olive is ranting on about. I was just trying to nudge her out of my way. She was hogging the whole window!

Dexter: See what I have to deal with here? Does that answer your question?

It sounds like your human is pretty busy. Do you ever feel ignored? How do you get her attention?

Sophie: Oh yes, the Mama stays pretty busy. She works one of those 9 to 5 type job thingys. But I think we’re lucky kitties because she gets to work from home. Which means she’s lucky, too, because she gets to work with us kitties in her office. When she gets too wrapped up on that computer thingy, I’ll jump up and reminder her that we need petting. Or, I’ll drag something throughout the house – like a sock, the kitchen towel, or the doggie doo doo bags – and then I’ll meow and meow and meow until she comes and investigates to see what prize I brought her.

What’s your favorite thing to do with your human?

Sophie: My favorite thing in the whole wide world is to snuggle up on Pop’s chest. I pretend to read his iPad with him because I know he thinks it’s cute. But I’ll tell you a secret…I can’t read.

Olive: My favorite thing is to snuggle up against mom’s leg when she’s reading a book. I’m not a lap cat, but I definitely love lounging next to her and rolling on my back so she’ll pet my belly.

Dexter: I like hiding from our parents and making them work to find me. It’s so much fun seeing them sweat as they turn the house upside down looking for me. But I also love sleeping next to mom at night.

Do you live somewhere you can go outside or do you just watch cat TV like us? (The channels are much more interesting this time of year.)

Sophie: We’re indoor kitties, but our parents put together a little catio for us. Nothing fancy, but it gets us fresh air and we can hear the birds chirping. And sometimes a lizard will run into our area. Now that is fun. All three of us like the catio a lot. And since we live in Southern California, the catio stays open all year.

We are seeing a lot more of you on the blog. Do you like your increased role?

Olive: It’s okay. It just means that mom is putting the camera in our faces more and more. Although if a treat is involved, then that’s fine with me. I know that Sophie really hams it up for mom, so that takes the burden off me and Dexter.

Does your human make you share with each other?

Dexter: Not really. We have so many toys and different lounging spots that we could go a whole day without seeing one another. But mom can usually find at least two of us cuddling together at some point during the day.

Olive: I’ll give you one guess as to who you’ll never see cuddling together.

Sophie: Us? Is it us, Olive? You and me? If it’s not, do I get another guess?

Olive: (shaking her head and muttering) Not the brightest bulb…

What’s your favorite hang-out place?

Olive: My favorite place in the whole wide world is in my big box! It’s in the sunniest room in the house and no one is allowed in it except for me! And Dexter. Dexter is allowed in it. But not Sophie.

Sophie: My favorite place to hang out is on the cat tree in the bedroom. Or in my favorite scratcher. Or in the downstairs cat tree. Or in the catio. Or on the Mama’s desk. Or on the…

Dexter: Sophie! She said favorite! Those places can’t all be your favorite.

Sophie: But they are, Dexter. They are. What about your favorite place?

Dexter: In the closet.

Sophie: Oh yeah. I knew that. I should add that one to my favorite list, too.

Your human does a lot of work with shelters and rescues. Do you ever get to give advice? Is that why you’re chatty?

Olive: We’re mostly just chatty because we want more food. And treats. Food and treats make us really chatty. Sometimes we sound like a choir waiting for mom to fix our breakfast and dinner. But we do let her know what we think about any foster kitties she brings home. So far, it’s only been a few, but I have a feeling more are coming.

Dexter: We had some secret meetings with the fosters to let them know what it’s like living in a home. We told them all about the endless supply of food and treats, about the loving and belly rubs they will get, how someone steals our poo, and about the warm beds to cozy up in. We told them how much they’ll love it in a home.

Sophie: Just like we love our forever home!

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Olive: Nope! We just want to thank you for the awesome interview! We had a lot of fun. I was even able to tolerate Sophie being around me.

Sophie: Hey, Olive.

Olive: What?

Sophie: Knock, knock.

Olive: (gets up and slams the door in Sophie’s face) Go away. I don’t want any.

Don’t forget to go visit Three Chatty Cats to see what everyone’s up to.

And to all our furry (and not) mothers:

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9

A Kitten of Great Price – Conclusion

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By archy cockroach and mehitabel cat, City Desk

You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

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We saw a long building with three pens attached. In the first one, there were probably 8 adult cats, male and female. The second pen had pregnant females, and the third had nursing mothers with kittens. They had access to the building for shelter, but couldn’t roam free.

mehitabel immediately went up to the first pen and started talking to the cats. He noticed that they were all beautiful long-hairs. Strangely enough, the males all appeared to be Angora and the females were Himalayan. Five were female and three were male.

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mehitabel: We’re reporters from the Cheeseland News. We heard that humans were holding some cats captive out here against their will. Can you tell us what’s going on?

Tom 1: That’s right. They’re breeding us and then selling our kittens. These are lovely ladies and don’t deserve to be treated this way.

Female 1: Thank you Thomas. That’s very kind of you. But all of the adult cats were stolen from their homes and brought here, even the males.

mehitabel: How long as this been going on?

Female 2: Well, let’s see. The first batch of kittens were taken to be Christmas presents, they said. So that would be about six months.

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archy: That’s awful! Are they still stealing cats?

Female 2: No, we’re the last.

Tom 2: They said they were done after each of these ladies had two litters. They thought they’d have enough money by then.

Female 3: And they’re afraid of getting caught.

mehitabel: So each female is let go after having two litters?

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Female 1: They said they want a variety of kittens.

Tom 1: But not too varied. So everyone’s an Angora-Himalayan mix. They think the kittens look exotic enough to be sold as purebred.

mehitabel: So what happens after a female has two litters?

(The cats look at each other.)

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Tom 3: We don’t really know. They say the humans release them at the edge of the woods. Of course, none of them would ever come back here, so we don’t really know. You might want to talk to some of the females with kittens. They probably know more.

mehitabel: Thank you for your time. And try not to worry.

We continued to the next pen. There were three pregnant females in that one.

mehitabel: Hello ladies. We’re from the Cheeseland News and we’re trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on here. How long have you been captive?

Female 6: Almost three months. This is my second litter. They’re going to release me after my kittens are weaned.

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mehitabel: Do you know where they are going to release you?

(She motions with her head to the woods.)

mehitabel: Is that where you live?

Female 6: No. I have no idea how to get home from here. I hope someone in the woods can help me. Or maybe I can find some of the other cats from here. We’re all going to be out soon.

(She motioned to the others in her pen and the nursing mothers. Then she started to cry. mehitabel tried to comfort her before moving on to the final pen where two nursing mothers were laying. Once again he introduced us.)

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Mother 1: Can you help us? They’re going to take my babies away next week, and I’ll never see them again. And then they’re going to throw me in the woods. I’ll probably get eaten by something. I’ve never been in the woods before.

(She finally caught her breath. We looked at each other.)

Mehitabel: Ma’am, we’re on our way to do just that.

We ran to the house. Fortunately it was still night, and the men were asleep (very noisily.) Our luck held, and we found a computer. mehitabel quickly sent a message to George and Lenny (our editors). As quickly as possible given that he had to use two paws.

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We raced out of house to try and find our own way home.

 

Follow-Up

George immediately called the local police and told them what was going on with the cats. By morning, the police were at the farm with people from the local shelter. The men were arrested and are in jail. They have to pay back all the people they cheated when  they sold them mixed breed cats as purebred.

It turned out that the humans who had adopted the kittens had already fallen in love with them and had no interest in turning them over to shelters. The kittens were equally happy with their homes and wanted to stay. The humans know that they will be waiting a long time for their money, but are happy the scammers were caught.

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The shelter took in the pregnant females and nursing mothers to make sure everyone was healthy and safe. They weren’t sure what to do with the adults. No one knew how to get home. Finally the cats agreed to be matched with humans, but only if they had the right of refusal on the human.

The shelter wasn’t sure how easy it would be to find homes for 8 adult cats who were rather grumpy after being penned up. But they took pictures and put them on the website. Within a week, they all had forever homes. It turned out that they weren’t as difficult as they pretended once they were cuddled and petted.

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The humans never found the cats who had been released. But after a little digging, we discovered that they had formed their own family. They settled near a human artists’ colony where they could come and go as they pleased. They artists considered them furry muses. The cats considered the humans providers of treats and shelter when needed.

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(All pictures courtesy of Google Images)

 

10

A Kitten of Great Price

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By archy cockroach and mehitabel cat, City Desk

Recipients of a Bullitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for their three-part story Bedlam in New York (part one here, part two here and part three here)

We had noticed a sudden influx of very expensive kittens in the city. The sellers said that they were a special breed from the Far East. There were no licensed breeders in the United States, so they had to be imported. The transportation costs were part of the reason they were so expensive. There’s only one facility that handles the kittens, and there are no current plans to allow the cats to be bred here.

We have a friend at a shelter who was concerned that the pricey kittens were taking forever homes away from local kittens. He asked if we knew anything about the cats.

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It was all very strange. Why would someone be shipping kittens overseas on an ongoing basis? Why weren’t they allowing the cats to be bred in this country?

Being a mixed breed, mehitabel is not a fan of breeders. If two Siamese cats got together, they’d have a purebred litter. If a Siamese chose a Korat, there wouldn’t be a pure bloodline. So what? The humans needed to keep their hands off cat business. Especially baby cat business.

We decided to investigate. Being a cat, mehitable stood the best chance of being able to get near one of the kittens. We discovered when a litter was scheduled to arrive at the harbor. When we arrived, we had no trouble finding the kittens. One of the new human parents worked for a local news station. A crew came along to get the story.

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mehitabel had to admit that the kittens were very cute. But he really didn’t see the difference between them and some of the other kittens in the city.

Once the kittens were connected with their human parents, archy jumped into the cage with the one who had seemed to be the leader. The kitten was very friendly and tried to help archy. archy was surprised to find that they had no trouble communicating. The kitten seemed smart enough, but archy couldn’t make sense of what she was saying.

She said that the kittens had left their mother that morning. For the first few weeks of their lives they had lived on a farm. It was beautiful, but they were kept in a pen and couldn’t explore it. The mother cats were released after a few litters. She didn’t know what happened to the father cats; she never saw them.

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archy asked why they were put on a ship rather than an airplane to come to the U.S. It seemed like a huge waste of time. The kitten said that she didn’t know what he was talking about. They traveled in the same truck she was in when she met her forever humans.

archy noticed that they had stopped in front of a very nice apartment building. He thanked the kitten for her help. She purred good-bye. He jumped out of the car when the door opened. He knew cockroaches weren’t welcome in that type of building and knew what would happen to him if he stayed.

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We discussed what archy had learned. We were sure we had met the right truck. And they were by the harbor. What was going on? We needed to look further into the matter.

To be continued…

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(pictures courtesy of Google Images)

6

So Ugly I’m Cute?

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(ed. note – Due to the reaction humans have to blobfish looks, Bob has requested that we only use one picture. Therefore, the rest of the pictures will not be of blobfish.)

Hobart, Tasmania – Greetings. Ahab the Whale here. As you may recall, Cat wanted each of us to report on an unusual animal this year. Recently I received a reader request to know more about blobfish. Since Oceania is my beat, I thought I’d do both at the same time.

Easier said than done. Blobfish live far, far under the sea. They move along just above the ocean floor. Way, way too much pressure for a guy like me. No Internet. No cell phones. I talked with my colleagues. Someone knew a guy who knew a guy who had done something with blobfish. It was the best I got.

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The guy suggested I set up a relay to get the questions down and the answers up. I needed three intermediaries between me and Bob the blobfish, with an equal number of translators. I hope I didn’t lose everything in translation.

Ahab: It’s nice to meet you Bob.

Bob: Thanks for talking to me.

Ahab: Pardon me for asking. Do you look like a blob?

Bob (sighing): No I look pretty much like any other fish down here. But because it’s so deep I don’t need much in the way of muscle or bone to keep my shape. Those stupid humans have never seen me down here.

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Ahab: You’ve never met a human?

Bob: No it’s way too deep for them. They only see us when one of us gets caught in their fishing nets.

Ahab: That’s a shame. I’ve seen some of them after they’ve been in the water for a while. Not a pretty site. Just like them to judge though.

Bob: Since they can’t come down here, they can’t see what we really look like. I’ve heard them say we’re about 12 inches long and 20 pounds. I don’t know what that means, but I’m guessing it’s dead weight. (A little blobfish humor, I think.)

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Ahab: So is the food good?

Bob: Not bad. We mainly eat crabs, sea urchins, and shellfish. We just move along and wait for it to swim into our mouths.

Ahab: That is a good deal. Do you have to worry about someone else swimming along and getting you?

Bob: We’re pretty much top of the food chain down here. Except for the humans of course. I’ve heard we don’t even taste good to them. They think we’re “rubbery.”

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Ahab: That’s probably good. I’ve heard they’re rather tasty.

Bob: Hmm, that’s interesting. (I think this might have been a side comment from one of the translators.)

Ahab: Do you have a partner or children?

Bob: I don’t believe the humans know anything about our reproduction, and I’d prefer to leave it that way. Once they know anything, they always want to know more.

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Ahab: I understand completely. It’s really rather embarrassing the amount of time they spend discussing the sex lives of other species. The other thing is how long we live. What difference does it make to them? We don’t care.

Bob: Exactly! It’s not like there’s any way to tell down here.

Ahab: You’ve been a wonderful guest. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Bob: I would like to suggest that it’s not very polite for the humans to have a contest for the ugliest animal.

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(Canadian Mr. Rude)

Ahab: Don’t let it bother you, Bob. They only do it to take their minds off how funny looking they are.

Bob: Thanks, Ahab. It was nice talking to you.

Ahab: Take care of yourself, Bob.

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(pictures courtesy of Google Images)

8

Cat Forum: What is a Moggy?

Today we are taking a break from our interviews with the totally pawsome cats we have met. But don’t worry. They’ll be back next month when we talk to the folks at Three Chatty Cats.

Mom finally brought home a decent book. It’s called Catopedia: A Fascinating Collection of Feline Curiosities. It’s all about cats, so of course it’s fascinating. Unlike those human books she usually gets.

Snoops: So Kommando, what did you think of the Catopedia?

Kommando: It was really good, but it needed better editing.  A lot of the words were misspelled. Too many “u’s” and “s” where there should have been some other letter.

Snoops: That’s because the lady who wrote it, Justine Hankins, is British.

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Kommando: That’s like English, right? Like the language? If the lady is from the same place as the language, why can’t she spell right?

Snoops: Moving along, what else do you remember?

Kommando: Well, I didn’t think it was very nice of her to insult us.

Snoops: She doesn’t even know us.

Kommando: It doesn’t matter. She called us moggies.

Snoops: That’s not an insult. It just means we don’t have pedigrees.

Kommando: Nope. You’re wrong. Look at what it says on page 66: “Initially a variant on the woman’s name Maggie, a name which was given to cows from the 18th century and was also used to describe a scruffy woman.” I am not a cow. Nor am I scruffy.

Snoops: It’s nothing personal. I’m sure if she met you, she’d know you were a cat.

Kommando: That’s not the point. Did you notice that it rhymes with doggy? She better not come over here and call me that. I’ll shed on her.

Snoops: I’ll be sure to let her know. I thought it was really interesting that in the 10th century King Hywel Dda of Wales said that if you killed someone’s cat you had to pay them enough grain to physically cover the whole cat.

Kommando: Wow. I wonder what I’d be worth?

Snoops: Less than me. I’m bigger.

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Kommando: It probably would have been better to have been a mouser for the Royal Mail. The book says that they were paid a shilling a week between 1868 and 1984. Just think, if all those cats put their money together they could have bought land. By the end, they would have had enough to get one of those seats in government.

Snoops: I don’t think they sell government seats.

Kommando: Are you sure?

Snoops: I was a little disappointed to see that the 10 Cat Museums they listed didn’t have a single one that is run by a cat.

Kommando: Probably because the book is for people. People aren’t interested in the good stuff.

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Snoops: People are a little weird sometimes.

Kommando: Did you see that Kitty Litter was invented by a guy here in Michigan?

Snoops: Good thing since Mom and Dad won’t let us go outside.

Kommando: Yeah. But now they make it out of clay, wood pellets, recycled paper, silica gel (whatever that is, it sounds disgusting, like going on Jello), walnut shells and whole kernel corn.

Snoops: Walnut shells and whole corn? What about our delicate little paws?

Kommando: I wonder if the humans have tried going on it?

Snoops: Probably not. They seem to like that soft stuff on a roll.

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Kommando: Did you notice that Queen Victoria likes cats? That’s good for us.

Snoops: It would be if she wasn’t dead. The current one is a dog person.

Kommando: That’s unfortunate.

Snoops: It’s OK. A lot of the government buildings have official mousers. Those cats live in nice houses.

Kommando: I guess those British people are OK.

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(Kommando refused to give two paws up to a book that called her a cow.)

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Proceeds from the sale of the Catopedia go to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London, est.1860. If you are interested, you can learn more about them here.

(pictures courtesy of Google Images – except the one of us)