13

Humans in Cheeseland

Image result for puzzled mice

We recently received an email that we found a little puzzling. The writer was a human who accused us of not paying appropriate attention to people in our writing.

What puzzled us wasn’t the question. Rather it was how they had found us in the first place.

Generally speaking, there are only a few people who would go to a blog that openly proclaims that it is edited by mice. For some reason, there is a prejudice against mice in many parts of the human world.

Additionally, it seems to us that there are enough magazines, blogs, videos, and so on dedicated to humans. There are magazines for potato farmers, croquette players, and lighthouse keepers, and everyone else (it seems).

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However, humans are mammals. In light of our non-speciest pledge, we decided to speak with this person. We sent Lexi, our language specialist.

Lexi: Welcome to Cheeseland. I’m Lexi.

Human: Hello, Lexi. I’m Charles. Thank you for meeting with me. I hope you don’t mind that I brought along someone to document our meeting.

Lexi: I guess not. Why is he wearing protective gear?

Charles: I was hoping to meet someone a little more, um, exotic.

Lexi: Really? Like what?

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Charles: I was thinking a crocodile or hippo.

Lexi: You realize that we’re not in Africa, don’t you?

Charles (embarrassed): I didn’t think I was going to be meeting with an actual animal.

Lexi: Excuse me?

Charles: You know. A non-human. I thought this was a gimmick for some type of animal rights group. You are an actual dog, aren’t you?

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Lexi: Of course I am.

Charles: You wouldn’t mind me touching you just to make sure, would you?

Lexi growls.

Charles: OK. Don’t get excited. Just let me talk to the humans who work here.

Lexi: What are you talking about?

Charles: You know. The people who write the articles.

Image result for cat at computer

Lexi: Have you actually read Cheeseland?

Charles: A little. You don’t expect me to believe that cats and a mongoose and an elephant write articles do you?

Lexi: Why not?

Charles: What do they do? Use their furry little paws to type? And their furry little brains to think?

Lexi growls again.

Charles: OK, OK. Let me see the newsroom. I can decide who to talk to there.

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Lexi: Fine.

They walk down the hall and enter the newsroom. There are a few cats, a couple of dogs, a hedgehog, and a couple of ravens.

Charles: Very funny. A room full of animals making a bunch of noise.

Lexi: This is the newsroom. And these are the reporters. The editors are next door.

Charles: There aren’t any real computers in here.

Lexi: Those are real computers. They have voice recognition technology instead of keyboards. That way we don’t have to use our “furry little paws” to type.

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Charles: Let me talk to one of the reporters. I want that cat over there.

He points to a gentle-looking mixed breed. Lexi talks to her.

Lexi: Dar, this man would like to speak to you. He has the strange idea that we’re all humans dressed up like animals. You’ll have to listen carefully, he has a very thick human accent.

Dar: Hello. My name is Darlene. How may I help you?

Charles: Will you please take me to the humans who are running this place? I don’t understand all the animals running around thinking they’re people, but I’m going to get to the bottom of this.

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Darlene: Why would we think we’re people? We’re happy the way we are.

Charles (frustrated): Just show me any human.

Darlene: We don’t have humans, just other species.

Charles: There has to be a person somewhere.

Lexi: The only human we know is Cat. She pays for the blog.

Charles: I knew it! Take me to her office.

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Lexi: She doesn’t have an office. She doesn’t live in Cheeseland.

Charles: Fine. I’ve had enough. You get all of this, Willy?

Willy: Yep. But people are never going to believe it.

Charles: That’s OK. It’s not fake, so they’ll know there’s something weird out here.

Charles and Willy returned home. They posted the video to YouTube and waited for the response. The only comment they got was “???”. When they looked at the video again, all it showed was Charles talking and a German Shepard barking. Then Charles talking and a cat meowing.

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13

Cat Forum: Black Cats are Pawsome

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We are sharing our post this month with our cousin, Onyx (see picture above). She requested that we talk about the specialness of black cats. Since Cat Forum is all cats, all the time, we agreed. But it doesn’t mean that we all aren’t pawsome.

As you know, the reason that black cats may need some extra love is that they have a bad reputation among some humans. They think that cats are bad luck.

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Most of the trouble goes back a long, long time. But you know humans. Once they get an idea in their heads, sometimes it gets lost and can’t find its way out.

Many years ago, people believed black cats belonged to witches. (Probably because they could move around and not be seen at night.) Those cats were called “familiars”. A familiar is an animal-shaped demon serves a witch as a spy and companion.

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Or that black cats were witches themselves. In fact, if a witch became human, the black cat would leave them. Witches were blamed for a lot of the bad luck people had in those days.

There are a few lingering negative beliefs about black cats in various part of the world:

  • In Yorkshire, England, it is good luck to own a black cat, but bad luck to have one cross your path.
  • In North America, it is bad luck for a black cat to cross your path but good luck to have a white one cross your path.

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  • Seeing a black cat in a dream means you are having trouble trusting your intuition.
  • A funeral procession with a black cat means another member of the family will die.
  • A black cat walking toward you is good luck. If she turns and walks away, she takes the good fortune with her.
  • If a black cat crosses your path while you’re driving, turn your hat backwards and make a cross on the windshield to prevent bad luck.

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On the other hand, some humans believe good things:

  • In Japan, a single woman who owns a black cat will have many suitors.
  • In Germany, if a black cat crosses your path from right to left, good things are coming.
  • In England, giving a bride a black cat will bring her good luck.

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  • In Ireland and Scotland, it is good luck for a black cat to cross your path.
  • To dream of a black cat is lucky.
  • Finding a white hair on a black cat is lucky.
  • A strange black cat on the porch brings prosperity to the owner.
  • Traditionally, sailors and fishermen in Great Britain thought black cats would bring good luck and a safe return home.
  • In ancient Egypt, the cat goddess Bastet represented truth and prosperity.

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Fun facts and information:

  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) celebrates Black Cat Appreciation Day on August 17 and October 27 is National Black Cat Day in Britain.
  • The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognizes 22 different breeds that can have solid black coats.
  • According to a recent survey by the ASPCA, the total number of adoptions of black cats is highest of any color.

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  • There are three “black” fur genes: solid black, brown, and cinnamon. If a black cat has a tabby stripe gene, heavy exposure to the sun will make it look “rusty” brown.
  • There is a black cat café in Himeji, Japan named Nekobiyaka.
  • Professional photographers recommend that black cats be photographed on a plain background, angled toward a natural light source. On an iPhone you can tap on the cat’s face (in the picture), and use the sun icon to lighten up the picture.

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Kitties, we recommend that you share this information with your human. Get the word out that black cats are just another furry addition to the family who’s a little harder to see in the dark.

 

Sources

http://mentalfloss.com/article/87226/8-hair-raising-facts-about-black-cats

https://www.dogtagart.com/blog/how-black-cat-stigmas-superstitions-still-effect-us

https://www.thesprucepets.com/black-cat-folklore-554444

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

8

Cat Forum: Seriously, Human?

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We’ve been going through our correspondence and noticed a trend. A lot of cats are wondering why their humans ask such silly questions. The short answer is: we have no idea.

However, we have come up with some possible answers. Which one you use will depend on your level of cattitude. If you have better ideas, let us know and we’ll share them in a later.

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Does kitty want snuggles?

  1. Don’t you remember our snuggle appointment is 2:30 am? I’ll let you know if I’m available other times.
  2. Don’t ever wake me up to ask that question again.
  3. I suppose. But remember: it’s a favor because I love you.

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Fluffy, do you like the new puppy?

  1. Can you return it?
  2. I suppose he can stay if you can get rid of the smell.
  3. Oh good! You finally got me the servant I’ve been asking for. I hope he’s easier to train that you were.

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Don’t you love the new, all-natural, low-fat food I got you? You look slimmer and sleeker already.

  1. It tastes like wood, and I’m starving to death.
  2. I’ve been feeding it to the dog, and I’m starving to death.
  3. I hope you enjoy the chunks I put in your soup so you can appreciate the “interesting, non-carnivore” flavoring.

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Why did you put a mouse in my slipper?

  1. I thought you might want a snack in the middle of the night.
  2. You are the worst hunter I have ever seen. I wondered if you could find a mouse if it was right under your nose.
  3. I thought it would make a nice storage facility for my back-up snack supply.

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Will you please stop clawing the chair?

  1. No.
  2. I’m bored. I’ll stop if you buy me a hamster.
  3. In a few minutes. I’m almost done.

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Why are you always begging for treats?

  1. I want to get rid of these ones so you’ll buy the kind I like.
  2. I’m starving.
  3. I like the way you look when I keep coming back. And your voice gets funny-sounding too.

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Why are you standing at the back door?

  1. I want to go out, and it was raining when you opened the front door.
  2. I want to go out to see if they delivered my package back here.
  3. I let the puppy out. I’m waiting to see if he comes back.

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Why did you whack the dog in the nose?

  1. He looked at me.
  2. He looked too peaceful sleeping there.
  3. It’s a game I invented.

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Why won’t you let me take your picture?

  1. You don’t respect my privacy when I’m bathing.
  2. You never pay me for posing.
  3. You always have that thing in my face. Even when I’m sleeping.

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Why are you mad at me?

  1. You made me wait for breakfast while you used the bathroom.
  2. You smell weird. You were around other cats.
  3. You bought that icky litter that stinks and sticks to my paws.

We hope these suggestions are helpful. Just remember, some human qualities are just too strange to understand. Like why they get mad if you sleep on the kitchen counter but think it’s cute if you sleep in the sink.

Just remember: A snuggle and a purr will get you out of pretty much anything you do. Your “cute” face usually works too.

Purrs and Head Bonks,

Snoops and Kommando Kitty

 

18

A Mouse in the House – Part 2

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Where we are: John and Josie Mouse had been renting space with Matt and Sandy Manx until Josie’s brother Mortimer had accidentally alerted the homeowners’ association to the prohibited arrangement. John and Josie have been forced to live in a field until they find another arrangement.

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John and Josie have built a nice den on the edge of a corn field. The weather is warm and there’s plenty to eat.

John: Well this isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Josie: I agree. Although I could do without the dirt everywhere. We need to figure out what we’re going to do.

John: I’ve been thinking about that. How do you feel about joining a co-op out here and just staying? We don’t have the money to afford to buy a house.

Josie: I don’t know. I’m a house mouse.

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One of the neighbors comes to the door of the den.

Neighbor: I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this. The older lady mouse who came with you was just taken by an owl.

Josie (horrified): That’s why I like being a house mouse.

Mortimer: I’m so sorry. I know it’s my fault you’re out here.

John: That really doesn’t do Aunt Gertrude much good, does it?

Mortimer: I’ll find a way to fix this. I promise.

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Mortimer leaves the den to think. He doesn’t really understand the appeal of being in the suburbs. The field mice had dens. The city mice had their own communities. But Josie wanted to live out here. With cats!

He knows there’s only one way to fix the situation. He walks over to the homeowners’ association president’s house.

President: Hello. I thought I made it clear that you are not welcome here. You made such a fuss at the meeting that the animals are still talking about it.

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Mortimer: I came to apologize for that. I didn’t realize I was going to get everyone in trouble. I come from the city, and that’s the way we communicate. I feel terrible about what happened.

President: Thank you for coming. I appreciate your apology. What can I do for you?

Mortimer: I need to find a way to make things right for my sister. She’s never lived outside, and she’s scared. Can you help me?

President: Let’s see what we can do. Come inside and we can talk things over.

Later in the day, Mortimer returns to the den.

Mortimer (excited): Hey everybody! I’ve got great news!

John (sarcastically): You’re going back to the city?

Josie: John! Give him a chance to talk.Image result for working animals

Mortimer: I went over and talked to Mike, the president of that association where you lived. I told him how sorry I was about what happened and asked for his help.

Josie: What did he say?

Mortimer: He looked through all the rules those animals have to follow for that place. He said that there was one exception to the rule prohibiting having non-family members in the house. Employees of the owners can live there.

Josie: Employees? What kind of employees would people have at home?

Mortimer: The agreement said that there would be exceptions for nannies and housekeepers.

John: That’s great. But how does it help us?

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Mortimer: Well, it turns out that those cats missed you guys. Mike called them up, and they would be happy to have Josie as their housekeeper. And you can stay too.

Josie: That’s wonderful! Thank you, Mortimer.

Mortimer: After I got you kicked out, I had to make it right. There’s just one condition.

Josie: What’s that?

Mortimer: They won’t let me back. I guess I caused too much trouble at that meeting and upset everyone.

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Josie: Mortie! Where will you go?

Mortimer: That Mike is a pretty amazing guy. He has friends all over. Turns out a local church is looking for a librarian. I can live there too.

Josie: Good for you! So we can still be together.

Mortimer: Yep. As long as I can make it through probation.

Josie: What does that mean?

Mortimer: I have to make it through ninety days and not eat any of the books. And follow the most important rule. I have to be “quiet as a church mouse.”

John and Josie start to laugh.

Mortimer: Hey! I can do it.

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13

A Mouse in the House

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The homeowners’ association meeting was near its’ end, when the President asked if there were any issues someone wanted to raise.

Mortimer Mouse: I have a complaint to file against the cats in my neighborhood. Some of them stay up all night and hunt right outside my windows. It’s very traumatic.

President: You must have known there were cats in the neighborhood when you moved in. And cats do hunt at night.

Mortimer: They don’t have to do it right outside my window.

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President: You are aware that we don’t generally sell homes to mice in predator neighborhoods.

Mortimer: I don’t actually own the house. I’m visiting.

President: Are you visiting cats?

Mortimer: No, I’m staying with my sister. She lives with cats.

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President: Why is your sister living with cats?

Mortimer: I have no idea. They’re horrible creatures with no sense of humor. I tried to take a piece of kibble from one of the kids, and it tried to eat me. As far as I’m concerned, she should have bought her own house.

The room starts to respond angrily, but Mortimer doesn’t notice.

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Mortimer: It’s probably her stupid husband’s idea. He’s one of those ‘live and let live’ types. I think they should be in an all-mouse place.

President: Your sister and her family are staying with a family of cats?

Mortimer: That’s right. So, will you fix the problem?

President: We’ll definitely look into it.

Matt Manx quickly left the room and went home.

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Sandy: Matt, you’re home early from the meeting. How’d it go?

Matt: Some obnoxious mouse got up and started bad-mouthing cats. Then he said that he was visiting his sister who was living with cats. How many cats do you know who have mouse boarders?

Sandy: But our mice are so sweet!

Matt: I know, but you know the rules. We’re not allowed to have boarders, and they’re obviously not relatives.

Sandy: You mean they have to leave? I’m sure they don’t have anywhere to go.

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Matt: I’m afraid so. This mouse really got folks riled up.

Matt went downstairs to talk to John and Josie Mouse. He explained what had happened at the meeting and told them that they would have to leave.

Matt: I’m really sorry this happened. If that mouse hadn’t made such a fuss, no one would have known. But we’ll get kicked out if they verify that we have boarders.

John: I understand. It’s not your fault. You’ve been more than kind. We’ll get our things together and go.

Matt: Do you know where you’ll go?

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John: Not really. Probably into the fields for a bit so we can think it through.

They shook paws and Matt left.

John: I told you not to let that moron stay here. Look at what he’s done! We don’t have a home and Matt and Sandy are in trouble.

Josie: I’m sure Mortimer didn’t cause trouble intentionally.

Mortimer comes in.

Mortimer: I can’t believe you live in this neighborhood. They didn’t care that cats come around at all hours disturbing us.

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John: Of course there are cats around, you idiot. We live with cats! Or rather we did, until you moved in. Now we’re homeless.

Mortimer: What do you mean, homeless?

Josie: Matt and Sandy Manx let us live here as a favor. They aren’t supposed to have non-family members stay for more than a few days.

Mortimer: Well, you’re better off without them. These animals are rude and thoughtless.

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John: You didn’t have any right to go to that meeting. We’re going to have to live outside. Are you happy that your sister will be living a field because of you?

Josie starts to cry. She had always been a house mouse and now she was going to have to live in a field.

Mortimer: I’m sorry, Josie. I guess I didn’t think it through very well. I haven’t been getting much sleep lately.

John: A lot of good that does her. We’d better pack.

Mortimer: I’ll fix it. Just give me a little time.

Next week: find out what Mortimer has in mind.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

18

Feral Purrfessional – Part 5

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech where she will study providing medical care to the feral cat population. She has bonded well with her roommate. Elise and her father spent Thanksgiving with the Kittys. They are coming back for Christmas. You can read the beginning of the story here.

Katie: I can’t believe it’s already the end of the semester. It seems like we just got here.

Elise: I know. We’ll be getting our first grades in a couple of weeks.

Katie: Yeah, just in time for Christmas. Great timing.

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Elise: I don’t know why you care. You have gotten the top grade in everything.

Katie: I know. But the school’s paying for everything, and it makes me nervous.

Elise: Let’s talk about Christmas break. I can’t believe your mom is going to put up with me and my dad for a whole week. It’ll be just like having a real family.

Katie: Be careful what you wish for. My mother can be a little overwhelming.

Elise: Well, I think it’s going to be fun.

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Before they know it, finals are over and it’s time to go home for the holidays. Edgar has bought the tickets for the train, and they settle in for the ride. Edgar seems to be in a particularly good mood. He even buys the girls mousicles as a snack.

Katie: Professor Khatt, thank you so much for buying my ticket. I’m sure my mother appreciates that she didn’t have to spend the money.

Edgar: I was glad to do it. After all, your mother is going to let us stay with you for most of the holiday break.

Katie: I think she enjoys having people to cook for and fuss over.

Edgar: She is a very nice lady. She has been very kind.

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Rose meets them at the station. She hugs them all and talks about all the decorating and baking she has been doing. When they get to the house, it smells wonderful.

Edgar: Rose, I want to thank you again for inviting Elise and me here for the holidays. I think she’s tired of spending all her time with me.

Elise (hugging him): Daddy, I love spending time with you.

Edgar: I know that. But it’s nice to be somewhere with all these decorations and food. And more cats.

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Elise: That’s true. Your house is beautiful, Mrs. Kitty.

Rose: Thank you. I really enjoy this time of year. Everything’s so sparkly and bright.

Edgar pulls out several boxes in Christmas paper.

Edgar: Do you ladies exchange gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas?

Rose: Edgar! You shouldn’t have bought us anything!

Edgar: I couldn’t come here without something for the kittens. As long as I was shopping for the kittens, I decided to get something for everyone.

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The kittens surround Edgar, looking at the packages and purring.

Rose: We generally open everything Christmas morning, after Santa Claws has come.

Edgar: Sounds good. I forgot that Santa Claws would be coming here. Elise has been too old for a while.

The next night is Christmas Eve. They sit in the living room and talk about past Christmases and tell stories. Finally, they go to bed. It seems like they just get to sleep when the kittens start meowing.

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Muffin: Get up! Santa Claws has been here!

Fluffs: And you should see all the stuff he brought!

Edgar: You must have been very good kittens.

Fluffs: It’s hard sometimes.

Edgar laughs, and they all go downstairs. The kittens are right. The front room is full of kitty toys and treats.

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Elise: Wow! Santa Claws never brought me this much stuff!

Edgar (teasing): Well, I guess you weren’t this good.

The girls exchange gifts with each other, Rose and Edgar. They ooh and aah over everything. There are only two gifts left. They are from Edgar to Katie and Rose. Edgar picks up Katie’s and gives it to her. He also hands her an envelope.

Edgar: Read the letter first.

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Katie reads the letter and squeals.

Mama: Katie! What does it say?

Katie: It’s from the Dean at Animal Tech. She says that since I have the highest grades in the class, I get to study with Maria Meowska.

Edgar: Maria is a former student who runs a feral clinic near the school. The first-year student with the best grades in her first semester gets to work with her at the clinic. There’s very little paws-on experience, but the student learns at lot.

Elise: Katie, that’s paw-some! My roommate is a star!

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Katie: I can’t believe this! It’s so exciting! Thank you Professor Khatt!

Edgar: That’s not my gift. The letter is from the school.

He hands her a package. When she opens it, she squeals again.

Image result for cats with stethoscope

Katie: It’s my own stethoscope and examination tools! Thank you!

Rose: Those look awfully expensive.

Edgar: We can’t have our intern looking like she had to beg for her equipment. Besides, I get a faculty discount. (He grins.)

Finally, Edgar gives Rose her present. He watches nervously while she opens it.

Rose: Oh, my goodness! It’s a necklace with a heart on it. Edgar, you spent too much money.

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Edgar: Nothing is too much for you. Will you come north and marry me?

Rose looks at him and starts to cry. Edgar looks scared.

Rose: Of course, I will.

Epilogue: Rose and Edgar were married a few weeks later. She and the kittens moved into Edgar’s house. Katie graduated with honors. She and Elise joined Maria’s feral clinic and expanded it to offer services to the entire area around the school.

Image result for and they all lived happily ever after

30

Cat Forum: Surviving Back to School

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. If you live with small (or not so small) human children, you may have noticed that they are not around as much as usual. That’s because they have gone off to “school”.

Humans are a little odd in the way they teach their children (among other things). Instead of teaching them how to survive in the world, they send them to “school” to learn “facts” and “socialization”. And they only do it for part of the year. Very strange.

Anyway, life around the house changes when school begins. We’re going to talk about some of those changes and how they may affect you.

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Getting up Early – Your young human will probably start getting up earlier than usual.

Downside – They will use some loud noise to wake up. It’s called an alarm, and it makes an awful sound to wake the small human. You will not enjoy it. Also, you will lose your warm sleeping companion.

Upside – You get the warm bed to yourself.

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Buses – Your young human may take a “bus” to school. They are yellow. An alligator friend of ours refers to them as a can of people.

Downside – Young humans rarely are ready for the bus. They run around the house looking for things. There may be yelling. And buses make a very loud noise when they stop.

Upside – None

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Backpacks, Books, Shoes – Humans need a lot of stuff to go to school.

Downside – They will probably leave their stuff all over the house. You will either need to walk around it or over it. Often the adult humans will yell at them to put their stuff away. (School seems to cause a lot of yelling.)

Upside – Some of the stuff is really comfy to lay on. In particular, backpacks and books are good for relaxing. The shoes can be used as containers for gift mice.

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Pencils, Pens, Crayons – School also requires a lot of stuff to write with.

Downside – Crayons taste awful. Pens can leak ink onto your paws. Sometimes humans get cranky if you play with them.

Upside – It’s a lot of fun to bat any of them around and watch them roll. If you’re lucky, the small human may play with you.

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Lunch – A lot of small humans take food to school. An adult human usually makes a lunch.

Downside – The humans will spend a lot of time in the kitchen totally ignoring you. Some of the food is really icky, like celery. And they won’t let you give a sniff test to make sure the food is good.

Upside – Once in a while, you may get a piece of the meat that’s going on the sandwich. Don’t be fooled if they offer you peanut butter – it does not taste like butter.

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Gym Clothes – Sometimes the schools make the small humans exercise. They wear special clothes for exercise.

Downside – When these clothes come home, they smell terrible.

Upside – None. Avoid them.

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Baths – Parents make children bathe more often for school.

Downside – Small children don’t always want to bathe. (Disgusting, isn’t it?) There may be yelling (again). If you like to be in the bathroom, you may get dragged into the water.

Upside – Less chance of sticky fingers in your fur.

As you can see, school doesn’t really do much for us cats. In exchange for having a quieter house for a few hours a day, we get more yelling and running around for the rest of the time.

We highly recommend that you find a nice, quiet spot and ignore them all.

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