10

Treat Them Like Animals – Part 1

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At a remote location somewhere in the Sahara Desert.

Carl Camel (speaking into the phone): That’s great news! We’ve been trying to get them for months. When will they get here?

Listens and writes down the information.

Carl: Excellent! Thank you and your group for all your hard work.

Hangs up the phone and turns to his coworkers. They work at the holding area for Animals Protecting Animals (APA), a group dedicated to finding and punishing poachers. The location was chosen for its inaccessibility.

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Carl: The Southern Africa group has a huge catch. They got the group that killed Ricky Rhino and others. They should be here by the end of the week.

Vince: Let’s tie them up and cut off their noses.

Sandra: We could tie them up and leave them out for the birds.

Albert: How about fire ants?

Carl: I know Ricky was one of us, but we have to follow the rules. Otherwise, we’re as bad as the humans.

Sandra: We know. Just letting off steam.

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BREAKING NEWS

Everyone looks at the radio

A PRIDE OF LIONS HAS JUST KILLED A GROUP OF POACHERS IN SOUTH AFRICA (Fox News 7/5/18)

Carl: That’s fantastic news. We don’t have any lions in South Africa, but we can use all the help we can get.

Sandra (grinning): Even if they killed them?

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Carl: It’s not the APA way, but we don’t know what the circumstances were. Poachers are killers after all.

A few days later, the poachers Carl is expecting arrive by camel caravan. The four men are dirty and tired.

Carl: Welcome to Club Camel, gentlemen. Your first stop on your guided tour of Animals Protecting Animals.

The men swear and try to get down from their camels. The camels nip at them and force them back into their seats.

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Carl: It’s OK ladies, we’ve got them. Go over to the oasis and have a rest. Good job.

Poacher 1: Four camels, four men. We shouldn’t have any trouble getting out of here.

Carl: I suppose that might happen. But even if you try, you’ll die of thirst within a short time. Besides, you haven’t met our guards yet.

A group of Desert Horned Vipers slithers in. The men shrink back.

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Carl: Don’t worry. They have excellent manners unless you misbehave. Their bite may not kill you, but you won’t get very far.

Vince: So, this is them, eh? Trip didn’t do anything for their looks.

Albert: Or their smell.

Carl: Well, let’s get started. Sandra, did you assign them numbers?

Sandra: Yes, I did. Congratulations, gentlemen. One of you is lucky number 100 in our capture list. Not bad for a group of dumb animals, eh?

Going down the line, she counts off: 98, 99, 100, 101. The men are looking less sure of themselves.

Carl: Excellent. Vince, please take the gentlemen to their temporary home. Albert, get them something to eat and drink.

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Home is a large three-sided tent with a cage inside.

Vince: Here you go. Nothing fancy, but it will shelter you from the sun and keep the sand out.

Albert: And here’s dinner. Of course, it’s vegetarian. But the water and figs are fresh. Enjoy!

They slide the bolt, and the snakes take their places.

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Carl: The judges will be down in the morning to listen to what they have to say and determine a punishment.

Sandra: Good. The less time we have to look at them, the better. Do you know which judges will be coming?

Carl: The lions are coming. The hyenas have a separate case and the desert monitors are under investigation. Apparently, they tried to eat a defendant. Some sort of rodent.

Sandra: Good. The lions seem to intimidate the humans.

The camels settle down for the night.

To be continued.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

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18

At the Watering Hole

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Mid-morning at a watering hole somewhere on the African savannah.

Zebra 1: Beautiful morning isn’t it?

Zebra 2: Did you hear that Ryan finally got up the nerve to ask Tammy to mate?

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Zebra 1: No! They’re so cute together. I bet they have beautiful colts.

Zebra 3: Hmmmph! She is such a flirt! She led my Tony on that she would mate with him.

The first two zebras look at each other.

Zebra 2: Well, I’m sure Tony will find a nice girl too.

Zebra 3: You bet he will. Then she’ll be sorry.

Further along.

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Warthog 1: This is a nice place. How did you find it?

Warthog 2: I was talking to a guy who told me how to get here. Said there was a lot of good water and a fairly low predator to prey ratio.

Warthog 1: You should have brought him along.

Warthog 2: Unfortunately, he got eaten not too long after we met.

Silence.Image result for gazelle

Gazelle 1: Did you hear the hyenas last night?

Gazelle 2: It sounded like there were a lot of them.

Gazelle 1: I know. It was very strange. The last time I saw the pack there were only 3 or 4 of them.

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Gazelle 3: I heard a rumor that they have some kind of machine that can make it sound like there are lots of them even when there aren’t. I think it’s called a fone or something like that.

Gazelle 1: Should have known. Those guys are always trying to figure out some kind of scam.

The watering hole goes silent as the group of lionesses approach. Slowly the animals start to back away.

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Lioness 1: Take your time. We’re here to relax, not hunt.

The other animals quickly move away.

Lioness 2: They never trust us.

Lioness 3: Well, we do eat them.

Lioness 2: That’s no excuse for bad manners.

Lioness 1: Did you hear what Leonidis said just before we left?

Lioness 3: I wasn’t listening.Image result for ostrich

Lioness 1: He’s bored with eating zebras and gazelles. He wants something exotic for dinner.

Lioness 2: Did he mention what this exotic dinner was supposed to be?

Lioness 1: He wants an ostrich.

Lioness 3: There aren’t any ostriches around here.

Lioness 1: The new girl told him she had eaten a couple and they’re delicious.

Lioness 2: Then let the new girl get one for him.

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Lioness 1: He wants her to teach the new cubs how to pounce.

Lioness 2 (sarcastically): Well, isn’t she special.

Lioness 3: I wish Leonidis hadn’t heard that human refer to him as “King of the Jungle”.

Lioness 2: I know. It went straight to his head.

Lioness 1: Humans are so much trouble. We don’t even live in a jungle.

They hear a roar in the distance.

Lioness 1: Time to get to work.

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all pictures courtesy of Google Images

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.

 

20

Why There is No Animal World Cup

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We have noticed a lot of human interest around something called the World Cup. It is supposed to be the most watched sporting event in the world. We were a little confused at first. We call it soccer over here, but everyone else calls it football. Which kind of makes sense. A bunch of sweaty men play it with their feet.

After watching for a while, we noticed something interesting. The players use their feet and heads to move the ball. The only one who can use his hands is someone called a goal tender.

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This was the perfect game for animals! We have paws or hooves, not hands. So why wasn’t there an Animal World Cup?

We went to the source of all information, Google, and typed in “Animal World Cup.” The only thing there was a bunch of sweaty men playing soccer/football.

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We tried “Animal Soccer/Football” and got local youth leagues. “Professional Animal Soccer” got no results. How very strange.

We sent our reporter Freddie Ferret out to find out what was going on. Here’s what he uncovered:

Animals have always played a game similar to soccer. It was most popular in places with large fruit or vegetables that could be used as a ball. Players were ejected for eating the ball.

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The main rules were that players could only use their head and paws to move the ball. The “goalie” was allowed to use his entire body to stop the ball. The games would start at mid-afternoon and end at dusk.

For years, the animals played soccer uneventfully. However, one day the gorilla coach had an idea. His players had only been using their hind legs to play. Why not try using the front ones?

The idea was brilliant. The gorillas were unbeatable. The other animals sued to keep the gorillas from using their front paws.

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“That’s not fair! You’re using your opposable thumbs. You can hold onto the ball.”

“The rules say we can use paws. These are paws.”

The judges weren’t sure what to do. Technically, the gorillas were right; they were using their paws. Realistically, the other animals were right; opposable thumbs made the paws closer to hands.

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The judges went with the rules. The gorillas’ paws were allowed. However, they reminded the other animals that there was no rule about only having one species on a team.

Every team tried to get at least one gorilla to join them. Of course, there were not enough gorillas for all of the teams. So the teams tried to lure them with bananas, ants and other treats.

Chimpanzees and other animals with opposable thumbs were also in high demand.  Teams had to hide their prized players or another team would bribe them away.

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Soccer wasn’t fun anymore. All the focus was on the star players. Soon the other animals wanted to ban any player with opposable thumbs or force them to play in their own league.

Simians, pandas, koalas, and possums were outraged. They claimed species-ism. They all went back to court. This time the judges determined that there was no fair way to answer the question and banned all competitive soccer between adult animals.

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For a while, the animals grumbled and blamed each other. As time passed, they decided that the judges were right. They shouldn’t fight each other over a game.

It passed down from generation to generation that animals only played soccer for fun. Before long, it wasn’t questioned. It just was.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

(For the record, the trophy for the winner of the World Cup looks nothing like a Cup.)

22

Cat Forum: Summer Safety

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Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We are taking a break from our interviews to pass along some summer safety tips. We suggest you read them and leave several copies around the house for the humans. In front of the computer screen is usually a good place. In their “bathroom” is another.

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Roads – Hopefully you all remember the rhyme your mother taught you, “Road + Cat = Splat”. You should never play in the street. If you must cross the road, “Listen well, sound will tell.” The things humans drive are noisy. You may hear them before you see them. Be sure your adolescents know that playing “chicken” waiting for the car is a stupid idea. Girls are not impressed by idiocy.

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Machinery – Humans use a lot of things that make noise. They want the grass shorter. They want the tree and bush limbs a certain length. They want to get rid of the high weeds. And they don’t know how to do anything quietly. Or by hand.  The general rule here is, “If it makes your ears sore, head straight for the door.” All of the human machines are dangerous to kitties.

Note – do not let any small human convince you that you will have “fun” riding on one of these loud machines.

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Heat – It seems like we cats should like summer. After all, it’s basically one big sunspot. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, “Sidewalks are hot. Walk on them not.” If like to take the occasional stroll by yourself or with your human, try to stick to the grass. Our paw pads aren’t covered with fur and are sensitive to heat.

If you do feel your feet burning, find some water to put them in. It will stop the burning. Stay off of them as much as possible until they feel better. Do not let a helpful human try to use one of their remedies. Just because it’s safe for humans, doesn’t mean it’s safe for cats.

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Note – especially stay away from aloe. It’s a plant that humans use on burns and seems to work really well for them. It’s like poison to cats.

Make sure you drink plenty of water. It’s important to keep your body at peak efficiency, How else will you be able to chase after the bugs and moths that are so tasty this time of year?

If you are an indoor/outdoor cat, make sure your human leaves you water both inside and out. The outside water needs to be in a shady spot. That way you can enjoy a drink and nap in the same place.

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Water – Speaking of water, we know that some of you cats like to participate in water sports. Things like sailing, surfing, kayaking, etc. Remember, “Wear a vest for water past your chest.” Most cats are pretty small, so it’s safest to always wear a vest when you go to the beach.

Life vests come in a variety of sizes. Make sure yours is snug but not too tight. The idea is to keep you safe, not turn you into a sausage.

Note – sand is usually hot. Have your human carry you, if possible. If they forget, jump on them. You won’t have fun with sore feet.

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Children – Remember that summer is the time when the human children will be around full-time. They are usually fun and good to sleep with.

Try to avoid being dressed up as a doll. The clothes will be hot and uncomfortable. You will most likely be strapped into a carriage or stroller where you can’t see what is going on. And you won’t be able to get out on your own. Cats hate that.

Note – the older ones will be around more. Be careful. They usually have some sort of gadget in their hands that they are looking at. They will walk around looking at the screen and may trip over you. You should avoid this unless they have irritated you. In that case, get out of the way before they fall.

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Parties – Humans like to get together outside in the summer. Generally speaking, it involves food and some sort of hot surface to cook it.

No matter how good it smells, avoid these parties. There are a lot of noisy humans who may step on you. They may sit without looking and some of them are rather large. Try to snatch your food when no one is looking.

We hope these rules will help you have a safe, healthy summer. We are not responsible for humans who do not cooperate. You may want to find a large spider (or two) to put under the covers of their bed.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

10

On Dragons, By Dragons (Part 2)

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So far: Donnie Dragon asked his father why people don’t believe that dragons exist. His father is explaining how they became invisible. Part 1 is here.

The next night, Donnie asked his father to continue his story.

For many years, the dragons thought they had a safe home in Asia. Then they noticed something.

Every time a dragon was sick, a crowd of people appeared. If the dragon recovered, they went home. If the dragon died, a few people would wait for the bones to turn to ash and collect them.

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The humans believed that the bones had special powers they could use. The dragons were offended that they could not mourn in private. The dragons were angry, but the people would not stop.

Things were different in the West. For some reason, those people decided that we were evil from the beginning. It may have been the result of a couple of unfortunate incidents in England.

First, a sick dragon was flying home. He sneezed and accidentally set a village on fire. The humans decided that it was intentional, and dragons could not be trusted.

Then a young male dragon fell in love with a beautiful human girl. He took her to his lair against her will. Her father killed the dragon and took his daughter home.

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It was a huge scandal. The humans used the event as more proof that dragons could not be trusted. The dragons were angry that the humans killed one of them without asking why it happened.

The stories spread from one human village to another. With each telling, the story got worse. Eventually, people believed that the dragon had come down from his lair and set the village on fire. In the confusion, he had kidnapped all the young women and took them home to eat. Only the courage of one man had saved them.

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Donnie interrupted his father.

Donnie: But we don’t eat humans. Mama says they’re too fatty and not good for us.

Dad: I know. But it was too late to reason with them.

He continued the story.Image result for medieval village

Every time someone disappeared from a village, it was blamed on the dragons. We moved further and further away, but it was always the same story.

Some “brave” human would track down a dragon, lure the dragon close, and put a spear through his throat. Then the human would cut off the tail (no bones) and take it home. They never brought back the missing person because they “had arrived just as the dragon finished eating.”

The dragons sent a representative to town. He was trying to straighten out the situation. But as soon as he landed, he was attacked. He barely escaped with his life.

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A bookseller created a warning sign for the dragons to put at the entrance to their lairs, but it didn’t do any good. It was written in English, but the villagers couldn’t read.

Donnie: What’s ketchup?

Dad: I’m not sure. I think it’s a sauce to make humans taste better.

The dragons left for a place called Wales. Those people were much friendlier to them. But the situation was not good. The dragons were afraid all the time.

The Western dragons and Eastern dragons met high in the mountains of Asia. They decided that there was probably no way to repair the relationship with the humans.

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Because dragons are generally peace-loving creatures, they tried to find a non-violent solution. They looked through the Book of Spells. Finally, they found one that would make them invisible.

Some of the Eastern dragons weren’t happy with the solution. They had human friends they would have to leave. But there was no other answer.

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The dragons decided that they would all live together in those mountains. And here we are.

Donnie:  Do you think the humans will ever be able to see us again?

Dad: I’m afraid not. The spell can’t be reversed.

Donnie: That’s good. I don’t want to set someone on fire just to keep my tail.

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10

On Dragons, By Dragons (Part 1)

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Donnie Dragon came home from school and found his father working on the garden.

Dad: How was school today?

Donnie: Okay.

Dad: Did you learn anything interesting?

Donnie: Sorta. We learned that humans don’t believe in dragons. Why don’t they believe in us?

Dad: I guess because we’re invisible.

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Donnie: But we weren’t always invisible. Great-grandpa said that he knew a human.

Dad: Dragons live a long time. Much longer than humans. My grandpa’s human friend has been dead for a very, very long time.

Donnie: But people wrote about dragons. Why don’t they believe that?

Dad: Humans are strange creatures. If they can’t find evidence that something existed, they don’t believe it did. They think their ancestors made up the stories to explain something they didn’t understand.

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Donnie: Is that why they believe in dinosaurs?

Dad: Yes; there are many bones left from dinosaurs. But our bones turn to ash when we die. It’s in their dirt, but they don’t know it.

Donnie: So, they don’t know that we were alive then or that we are still around?

Dad: That’s right.

Donnie: Why can’t they see us?

Dad: We had to become invisible, so they didn’t destroy us all.

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He began to tell the story of dragons and the humans to Donnie at bedtime.

A long, long time ago, dragons lived in almost everywhere in Europe and Asia. There were thousands of us. And many varieties. Some even lived on the ground. There were no humans at the beginning.

When the humans arrived, we were afraid that they were going to start bothering us. Sure enough, the ground dragons were hunted as food.

The survivors climbed the mountains where it was safer. They started marrying the flying dragons, and the land dragons disappeared.

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More and more humans appeared. They respected us and left us alone. But they were curious and soon wanted to learn more.

They started to climb the hills and mountains to look in our caves. They even took some of our children to study.

The fire-breathers were safer than the others, so we developed into one fire-breathing species. The humans continued to be interested in us.

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The interest was different in the East than it was in the West. Unfortunately, both ended badly for us.

In China and East Asia, we were highly respected. They understood our control of water and our strength. The Emperors used us as a symbol of power.

Dragons and humans lived peacefully together for a long time.

Dad looked over and saw that Donnie had fallen asleep. The rest of the story was for another night.

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To be continued.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images