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.

 

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22

Have You Hugged Your Stuffie* Today?

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*For some reason, stuffed animals are referred to as stuffies in many places online.

Snoops: Mom read us The Velveteen Rabbit. All about a stuffed rabbit who was loved very much by a little boy. The rabbit told the story. It was pretty good.

Kommando: Yeah. Except for the creepy horse.

Snoops: What creepy horse?

Kommando: The skin-horse. The boy had a dead horse in his bedroom.

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Snoops: Moving right along, it made us wonder what the stuffed animals around here were thinking.

Kommando: We were going to interview them, but they wouldn’t let us.

Snoops: That’s because you tried to eat the tail off the opossum. And you tried to chew on a few others.

Kommando: He has a long tail. It looks like a toy.

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Snoops: So we went to Lexi, our interpreter and dog-around-town.

Kommando: They wouldn’t talk to her either.

Snoops: Apparently dogs tear stuffies to shreds.

Kommando: So we did a survey. The results are below:

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Biggest Fears

  1. Not being adopted
  2. Being chewed up

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Likes

  1. Being cuddled
  2. Sleeping in bed
  3. Clean, fluffy fur

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Dislikes

  1. Drool
  2. Bodily fluids
  3. Washing machines/dryers

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Additional Comments

“If you are going to put us on a shelf, take us off once in a while and fluff our fur. Otherwise we get dusty and don’t feel clean.”

“We really like being hand washed and fluffed dry.”

“Don’t make us sleep on the floor. We get stepped on.”

“Don’t let dogs get near us. They chew on us, rip us up, and don’t have any respect for us.”

“Clean us right away if your child (or you) gets something nasty on us.”

“We don’t like to wear perfume or cologne.”

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“We don’t mind losing our looks if it’s from being loved.”

“Thank you to everyone who takes us home and loves us.”

Snoops: Those all make sense.

Kommando: I guess I should find the opossum and apologize.

 

 

 

18

Animal Playground Forced to Close

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“It seemed like such a good idea at the time, said Marcus Fox. “After all, animal playgrounds have worked in other cities. Why wouldn’t it work here?” Mr. Fox is part owner of the Templeton Animal Park and Fun Fair. He and his partners are shuttering the park at the end of the month due to skyrocketing maintenance and insurance costs.

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We decided to walk around the park ourselves to see if things were really as bad as they sounded. They were. And the cause was easy to understand. Most animal parks are built in developed areas for domesticated animals; usually smaller species. Templeton, to put it politely, is in the middle of nowhere.

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Because of it’s location, the park attracted all types of wildlife. Once the bears took over the swimming pool, the only animals who weren’t afraid to use it were the otters. Apparently pool filters aren’t equipped for bear fur, because they clogged every few days and needed to be replaced. And bears do not like chlorine, so keeping the pool clean required a full-time attendant.

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The moose wanted to try out the skating pond. The problem was that moose are heavy and are known for either breaking through the ice or slipping and not being able to get off by themselves. Either way, they have to be rescued, and that is really expensive.

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Cats are usually a good source of income for the parks. It allows them to go outside and play in a safe environment. But they left once they saw the bears. Apparently bears don’t use parks as much as cats, so it was a significant drop in revenue.

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The beavers were absolutely adorable and loved the park. Until someone realized they were chewing down all the young trees. They were using the wood to create a dam which ended up flooding the meadow. The rabbits and deer didn’t want to visit a park that didn’t have a meadow.

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The small dogs went wild over the merry-go-round running track. But then some of the bigger dogs wanted to try it. One of them got stuck and had to be rescued. The owners wanted to put a size restriction up. But the insurance increase was too much, and they had to close down the ride. The dogs started boycotting the park.

The loss of the dogs was the end of the park. Without the large number of cat and dog memberships found at other parks, there wasn’t enough money to keep things running. Word is that the closure is good news for the wild animals. They thought there were too many restrictions at the park.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

19

Animal Resolutions for 2018

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Greetings furry and non-furry friends. We at Cheeseland have discovered that humans do something called “making New Year’s resolutions” this time of year. We weren’t sure what that meant since most of us track time by food or sun. When we looked it up, it said that humans make promises to themselves to improve something about themselves. It also said that most of these promises were broken in a short period of time.

So that explained the shortage of pizza everyone once in a while. And the strange furniture that appeared with the Christmas tree and then went downstairs. It would make funny noises for a little bit and then make a great bed.

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We weren’t sure that animals needed to make resolutions. After all, most of us are pretty close to perfect the way we are. So we send our renowned cat-on-the-street team to interview various animals to see what they could find out.

As expected, most of the animals had no idea what we were talking about. However, a few decided to think about things that would make the humans happier. Names have been changed to prevent ridicule from friends and family.

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Cliff (cat) – I resolve to not to put anymore mice into the human’s shoes. Unless she starts wearing those tail-crunching high heels again. Or irritates me.

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Beverly (hedgehog) – I resolve to not prick my human anymore. Unless she puts her cold hands on my tummy. Or puts a costume on me.

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Josephine (llama) – I resolve not to spit at people. Unless they get too close. Or do annoying human things, like try to pet me when I’m relaxing.

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Ralph (bear) – I resolve not to try to scare campers. Unless they have really yummy food. Or try to catch my salmon. Or try to camp near my berries.

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Mollie (raccoon) – I resolve not to break into people’s houses. Unless it’s really cold. Or they leave food near an open window or door.

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Max (dog) – I resolve not to chew up the pillows. Unless the humans won’t let me sit on the sofa. Or I get bored.

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Those resolutions all sound reasonable to us. And it will be the humans’ fault if they fail.

Perfect.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

12

 The Kittens’ Woodland Experience

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Brothers Timmy and Tommy were very excited. Their Kitten Scout troop was taking a trip to the woods nearby. They had never been there and were hoping to see bears and wolves and all kinds of wild animals. Their mother tried to explain that they might see raccoons or squirrels, but that their leader would keep them away from anything dangerous.

They were up at dawn on the day of the trip. Oh no! It was raining. A lot. They were afraid the trip was canceled. Sure enough, their mother got a call from the scout master. But the trip wasn’t canceled; it was postponed until the afternoon when the weather was going to be better.

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There were ten kittens on the trip as well as the leader and two mothers. Each mother was responsible for five kittens. Timmy and Tommy were really glad that their mother hadn’t called in time to be one of the chaperones. She would have spent the whole time watching them. It would have been too embarrassing.

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The leader’s name was Mr. Moggie. He was a nice cat, but very easily confused. The kittens liked him because he usually let them do whatever they wanted while he was trying to get organized. Luckily, he was required to bring extra adults along on a trip like this.

When they got to the woods, Mr. Moggie told them to practice their “quiet walking” so the other animals wouldn’t be afraid of them. Being cats, walking quietly should have been natural; as kittens, it was impossible. He didn’t have much luck stopping their chatter either.

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Finally Mr. Moggie decided that he would teach the kittens about the different kinds of scents they could find in the forest. That sounded like fun to the kittens. They gathered around a tree and sniffed. The kittens guessed that it was a dog. Mr. Moggie told them that the scent belonged to a fox.

Next he took them to a pile of droppings. The kittens thought it was disgusting to have to go near it and sniff. They decided that it was some kind of big cat. It was a raccoon. As they went on, the kittens got better at identifying squirrels, rabbits, and woodchucks.

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But after a while they were bored. Mr. Moggie wasn’t sure what to do next. He had planned to show them how to fish in the creek and how to find shelter, but couldn’t decide. He wanted to talk to the mothers about it.

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He told the kittens to play close by while they discussed what would happen next. The kittens ran and chased each other around. Timmy was chasing Tommy when they realized that they had run away from the rest of the group. They headed back when it started to rain again.

As soon as it started to rain, Mr. Moggie told everyone to run out of the woods so they could go home. They raced through the trees. When they got out, Mr. Moggie did a tail count. There were only eight kittens! Timmy and Tommy were still in the forest.

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He panicked. What was he going to tell their mother? Should he go back in and try to find them? Should he take the other kittens home first? Could the lost kittens hear his voice if he yowled?

Meanwhile, Timmy and Tommy found a dry spot to wait out the storm. They weren’t going anywhere until it dried out. Soon they were fast asleep.

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The next thing he knew, Timmy felt a wet nose on his fur. He looked up and saw a huge dog! He started crying and woke his brother. They waited to be eaten.

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The “dog” looked at them in amazement. He had never seen kittens before. He wanted to play. The kittens weren’t sure, but he insisted. They romped around until the kittens were exhausted.

Finally, the “dog’s” mother came looking for him. When the kittens saw her, they were terrified. They hadn’t been playing with a dog. He was a wolf pup.

 

To be continued

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

18

How Dogs Solved the Cat Food Crisis

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Our story so far: It appears that local cats have been getting sick from bad cat food, “Power Cat”. With the help of some German Sheperds at the local distribution center, we have discovered that the food is being manufactured in Guangzhou, China. The labels on the shipping labels were written in Shar-Pei, so we are hoping to follow the trail through our German Sheperd contact in Livingston, Lexi. You can read it here.

Our reporter, Penelope Porcine, talked over the situation with Lexi. There was no point in them trying to go to China to investigate the situation further. Cheeseland’s Asian correspondent, mongoose Riki T. Tavi, wouldn’t be able to help since it would take several weeks to permission to enter the country as a correspondent. He would also need a translator who spoke Shar-Pei. Lexi spoke Shar-Pei, but didn’t have Chinese contacts. They would have to see what she could do through the local Shar-Pei community.

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As luck would have it, there was no local Shar-Pei with ties to China. However, Lexi did learn about an online Shar-Pei community that might be able to help. She explained the situation and asked for help. The first thing she learned was that most Chinese Shar-Pei did not have Internet access. After several days of waiting, Lexi received a message from a Shar-Pei in San Francisco. His extended family included a branch in Guangzhou. He was trying to reach them to see if they could help.

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So Lexi waited again. Finally she received a message from Shar-Pei 2231. Shar-Pei 2231 said that he lived in Guanzhou and had several friends who worked at the cat food plant. He had talked to them and asked what they knew. Shar-Pei 3367 actually worked with the humans. She agreed to help Lexi. (None of the Chinese dogs would speak on the record.)

Shar-Pei 3367 said that the secret ingredient in “Cat Power” was earthworms. The worms had a lot of protein and would make the cats stronger. Each factory had a garden attached where they grew the worms. Humans harvested the worms. As far as she knew, everything they brought in was processed. The worms were turned into a paste and added to the rest of the food mixture.

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Lexi asked about the sanitation procedures at the plant. The worms were rinsed in a vat of water before they were put into the machines. The machines were rinsed daily and sanitized twice a week. She wasn’t sure about inspections for health or safety. Once in a while, humans came in, looked around, and talked to the workers. She wasn’t sure who they were.

Lexi thanked Shar-Pei 3367 for all her help. She and Penelope knew that the problem wasn’t the worms; it was the way they were processed into the food. The ground could be contaminated and the machines were almost certainly full of bacteria. It was time to get the humans involved.

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George, one of our editors, spoke with his original human contact. He told her that we had discovered that the problem with the cat food was almost certainly contamination at the plant in China. He recommended that she ask the government to launch a formal inquiry. She agreed that would be the only solution. In the meantime, she posted messages on every social media site she could think of, telling people not to buy the food. The resulting boycott caused the cat food company to pressure the government into action.

We are happy to report that “Cat Power” is back in the stores. The worms are now grown in sterilized soil in a lab. Strict sanitation procedures have been put in place, and health inspectors send reports to the company every six months.

(We have also hired Lexi as a translator.)

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18

How Dogs Solved the Cat Food Crisis

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We got a very unusual call recently. It was from a human. We almost never hear from humans; most of them assume we are a foreign-language publication. A very nice lady said that some neighborhood cats were very sick. The veterinarian said that it was probably just a virus.

The lady and her friends think it is a new food that they got for their furry friends. It’s supposed to have a special additive that would improve their immune systems. It’s called “Cat Power”. She wanted to know if there was a way for us to check it out. Our editor George said we would see what we could find out.

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We put one of our best reporters, Penelope Porcine, on the case. She discovered that “Cat Power” is sent out by a large distributor in the U.S. There was no information about who actually made the food. She decided to talk to the distributor. The closest distribution center is in the middle of the state.

Penelope drove up to Livingston and found the plant. She called, but only got a recording. She tried to see someone in person (so to speak). There was only one entrance, and it was guarded by a very large German Shepherd. The German Shepherd refused to talk to her. He said he couldn’t speak pig.

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Penelope decided that we needed to find a German Shepherd of our own to help. Not having one on staff, we thought it would be best to recruit one locally. It was a small town; they might even know the guard.

We posted a notice: “Looking for a German Shepherd. Temporary assignment. Must be fluent in several animal languages. The position requires persistence and a persuasive personality. Compensation will be discussed if you are called for an interview.”

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Apparently there is a shortage of positions for German Shepherds in Livingston. We immediately received more than 20 responses. Some of them we could delete right away:

“Speak several dialects: Pekinese, Beagle, and Chow. Have trouble communicating with other species. Once I misunderstood a mynah bird and ate him.”

“Experience speaking with other animals. Would prefer it not be any animals that I might consider as toys. Especially cats or squirrels.”

“I am qualified for your position. Compensation must include both kibble and meats of my choosing.”

We interviewed three candidates. We hired a wonderful dog named Lexi. She has a gentle disposition but is a very determined manner. Lexi speaks flawless pig, cat, mouse and hedgehog as well as a variety of dog dialects.

Penelope explained the situation to Lexi, telling her that we needed to find out where the food came from. Lexi was appalled and thought that humans had to be involved. She promised to call Penelope the next day after she had spoken with the guard.

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The next day Lexi said that she needed to meet with Penelope in person to tell her what the guard had said. Penelope wondered what could be so important that it couldn’t be told over the phone.

When she arrived at the restaurant, Penelope discovered that Lexi had two other German Shepherds with her. She hoped they were friendly. Three large dogs were a little intimidating.

The dogs patrolled inside the plant. The place was full of humans, but none of them had anything to do with making the food. The cans came in huge crates that the humans opened and put on conveyor belts. At the end of the belts were trucks that delivered the “Cat Power” and other foods to the stores.

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Penelope asked if they had any idea where the food came from. One of the dogs, Brutus, said that the crates were written in Shar-Pei. Brutus said that he hoped Shar-Pei’s were only clerks and not actually involved in poisoning anyone.

Penelope thanked Brutus and his friend. She bought dinner in appreciation. They said they had never met such a nice pig. Or any pig, for that matter.

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Later Lexi told Penelope that she had done further research on Shar-Pei’s and discovered that they specialize as guard dogs in Guangzhou, in southern China. She had also learned that there were two factories that made cat food in Guangzhou, both of them owned by the same company.

To be continued

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