13

Humans in Cheeseland

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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.

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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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21

Homeowners’ Association Monthly Meeting

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Forest Glenn is an upper middle class subdivision with a diverse multi-species population. Before moving in, residents must sign a contract agreeing to be governed by the decisions of the Homeowners’ Association.

Please find below the minutes from the August 1, Forest Glenn Homeowners’ Association Monthly Meeting.

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm. Approximately 30 homes were represented at the meeting.

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Horace Hogg, president of the Association, reminded everyone that the pool would be closed for the season following the annual Labor Day party. He wants everyone to be courteous in the dish they bring to the event. We do not want a repeat of last year when one of the guests saw a relative being eaten by other guests.

Halloween is coming. A reminder to residents: no decorations are allowed that flash, light up, or are offensive to other residents. Therefore, witches and pumpkins are acceptable, but no negative portrayals of cats or bats.

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Decorations are limited to the porch and front of the house. Real blood is prohibited due to health concerns.

There have been violations of several Association policies during the past month. If residents have not corrected the problem by the end of August, fees will be assessed.

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Grass must be no higher than 1 inch – Beau Bison, Shelley Sheep. Lack of appetite is not an acceptable reason for non-compliance.

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No lawn ornaments – Dolly Deer, Joe Jaguar, Bob Beaver. Lawn ornaments include (but are not limited to) gnomes, flamingos, and wooden “Welcome” signs.

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No buildings except a house and garage – Alan Aardvark. Buildings include sheds, tree houses and permanent play houses for your children.

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One flag may be displayed per house and no flags larger than 2 feet by 3 feet displayed from the front of the house – Edgar Eagle, Larry Lion. Flags include national flags, state flags, school flags, college flags, and club membership flags. Homemade flags are discouraged. Flagpoles are prohibited.

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Political signs are not allowed on lawns – Delilah Donkey, Edgar Elephant. These signs are considered lawn ornaments, and particularly tacky ones. No one cares who you are voting for.

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Only shrub fences – Tommy Tortoise. Any other material would ruin the natural beauty of the subdivision. If residents were allowed to use materials of their choosing, we would be faced with the possibility of something cheap and tacky. You know we can’t trust everyone’s taste.

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Quiet time between midnight and 6 am – Billy Bat, Harold Hyena. Nocturnal animals are welcome in the neighborhood, but must abide by association rules. Additionally, parties which last past midnight must be moved into the home. Vehicles with loud engines may not be used during the quiet period.

Some reminders for fall:

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Do not burn your leaves. They may be used for mulch or saved in the backyard for burrowing relatives to use during the winter. The Association will collect unwanted leaves for the less fortunate.

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All plants must be trimmed back to no more than a foot tall before the snow falls. You are welcome to eat them yourselves or share with a friend. We will provide names of plant trimmers upon request. You may add small branches to your mulch or leaf pile if you wish.

If you are expecting relatives for the winter, fees are due to be paid no later than October 15. As usual, group rates are available.

The meeting adjourned at 9 pm. The next meeting will be September 5.

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23

Cat Forum: Interview with Spike

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. Today we are interviewing Spike from Spike the Scottish Black Cat. He is extremely photogenic (like the vast majority of us) as you will see when you visit his blog. He is also a great ambassador to other cats on WordPress; we have met several new friends through him.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Mum brought me home from The Cats Protection when I was 8 weeks old. I was nervous going in the noisy thing humans call a car. Mum cuddled me all the way so I felt safe in mum’s arms.

 

We saw the pictures of you in the snow. Isn’t that awfully cold on your tummy?

I have a skin problem. I have medication for it. When it flares up my body especially my paws can become so hot. That’s why I love the snow it’s purrfect for cooling me down.

Spike is a really tough name. Do you have a cuddly side?

The people at The Cats Protection gave me my name. When I was born the fur on the top of my head stood up like a Spike. I can be cuddly on my terms.

What is your favorite thing to do?

Nowadays I love to sleep, eat and go out in my garden. Not forgetting to sniff my catnip bushes which are getting bigger every day.

The only things we know about Scottish treats are for humans (shortbread and scones). Nothing for cats. Do you have a favorite local treat?

Fish yummy. Fresh from the fishing boats then brought to the fish market. Prawn, tuna, Salmon. My mouth watering thinking about all that lovely fresh fish.

 

Does your human treat you well (respond to your every need in a timely manner)?

My human adores me. I have my meals when I choose and a nice brush once a day. Then play time but usually mum gets tired out before me. I have 4 beds so I can choose whatever one I want and she makes me catnip toys.

What do you like to do with your human?

I love to be out in the garden with mum. I have fun playing hide and seek and playing with my wand toys. I sometimes sit on mum’s bed and she will put on relaxing music for me it makes me so relaxed.

Horatio Hedgehog always wants us to ask European cats if they know any hedgehogs. Have you ever met one?

Yes I met a hedgehog, only the one but he was gone the next day. I was very curious about this strange looking creature. I tried to paw him but it didn’t feel nice a bit prickly.

Do you have friends in the neighborhood or are they pretty much all snobs?

There is wee ginger Craig next door he had a brother who got killed up on the road. Then along came Andy a friend for Graig but he wandered away and the roaring monster got him too. So it’s just Craig who I put up with as he’s just a youngster. Saying that a white kitten appears in my garden I think to steal my catnip. No snobs here.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I’m now 11 and have enjoyed my life with my mum. I hope I have many years left. I like just being on my own as I get 100% attention.

 

We really enjoyed talking with Spike and hope you’ll go see him.

(His mum broke her arm, so we hope she’s better. We know humans can’t properly cuddle with those things on their arms.)

43

Cat Forum: Interview with Kosmo

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. Welcome to Cat Forum. We have a  very special guest this month: Kosmo, who comes all the way from Finland. We didn’t know where Finland is, so we had to look it up. It is a LONG way from Michigan. And he speaks really good American cat (which is a good thing, since we didn’t even know there was a Finnish cat language.) Kosmo appears in the blog Photofinland with a lot of really cool pictures. In fact, Horatio Hedgehog convinced us to put a second link further down when Kosmo talks about the hedgehogs he knows.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 My name is Kosmo and I live in the western part of Finland. I am about Four years old. I don´t remember much of my childhood, but one day when I was walking around hungry and tired, I heard humans talking in one yard. So I walked there, a woman was sitting on the steps and I walked straight to her lap. She asked me if I am hungry, and then I knew I will live in this house forever.

Kosmo´s mom: We tried to find Kosmo´s home with no result, nobody had seen him earlier. Kosmo had been a home cat, because he was used to living inside.

Kosmo’s Mom is also an extremely talented photographer

Your humans seem to really love the outdoors. Do you get to help them with their projects?

Not much, because at first I was really afraid to go out, because of my past, somebody had left me out. Dad took me out at first in his lap, then in a leash, and now after three years effort I walk well in a leash. I have my own path and I walk it with Dad twice a day.

You may know that we live with Horatio Hedgehog. Have you ever met one?

Oh yes! Hedgehogs are living in my yard. In a most peaceful corner in my yard is a place for hedgehogs to hibernate. Dad has made two small houses for them and then covered the houses with dry leaves and branches. In our blog are photos of one house and hedgehogs.

It looks really snowy and cold there (and dark). Do you get extra snuggles this time of year?

Yes, my humans like to snuggle with me, because I am snoring really loud, and they love it.

Do you live with other creatures (furry or non-furry) aside from your adult humans?

 No, just we three together. One cat girl comes every day to eat here. She is waiting outside the door, then I invite her to come in to eat. We know where her home is, but our food is better, I think. I just watch her eat, maybe some days we are playing together.

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

 Snuggling, of course, daily brushing, playing “running around like crazies”, and my walks outside with Dad.

What’s your favorite way to play?

Pawball is the number one.

Are there special Finnish treats that you get? Maybe something fishy?

This is really embarrassing, but I am afraid of fish. When I was new here, my humans had real, tiny fishes for me, I and ran away under the bed.

Do you have good cat TV (window viewing) there?

I have two great cat TV’s and lots of birds.

Is there anything you would like to add?

 This interview in your blog is a great honour to me , thank you!

Horatio here. Kosmo really is a good guy – for a cat. If you get to Finland, you should definitely look him up.

 

18

The 2018 Supper Bowl

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The resident male human (Cat’s husband) loves to watch American football. He watches it all fall, but at the end of the year there seems to be a lot of “bowls”. Watching with him, we noticed something strange. The winner of the Rose Bowl didn’t get a bowl of roses (or even a bowl), the winner of the Orange Bowl didn’t get oranges, and some of the bowl were for gifts that didn’t even make sense. (Who’d want a weed-eater as a prize?)

It seems that the biggest game of all is this weekend. They call it the Super Bowl. What’s so super about it? Apparently it shows who has the best football team in the country. But they still don’t win a bowl. Instead, they get really big rings. You can’t eat out of a ring.

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So we decided that we needed to sponsor our own bowl, The Supper Bowl. And guess what the winners get? Silver bowls with their names engraved on them and a year’s supply of their favorite food (funded by an anonymous donor.)

We had to make a few adjustments to the game. Since few animals are bipedal, runners can carry the ball in either their hands or their mouths. Unless the game is between two bipedal teams, passing is not allowed. Finally, field goals are not allowed because of the difference in animal heights.

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After an 8-game playoff, the contenders in the inaugural Supper Bowl are the Lions and the Bison. It’s a classic match-up of speed and brawn. We’ll see if the Lions’ stealth is any match for the brute strength of the Bison.

Now, on to the game with our commentators, Biff and Zoomer:

Zoomer: Well, here we go. The Lions are kicking off to the Bison. That was some kick. The Bison ball carrier starts slowly, but now he picks up speed.

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Biff: Oh my goodness. That Lion defense is pretty impressive. Two go for the legs and one jumps up in front of him. There’s no gain.

(Two more attempts and the Bisons turn the ball over to the Lions.)

Biff: Now we’ll see how good that Bison defense really is. The Lion runner takes off but has no where to go. No gain.  Running through the Bison line is not going to work for the Lions.

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Zoomer: There he goes again. He sees a little daylight around the end and runs for it. The Bison line is slow to react. Touchdown! The Lions lead 6-0.

Biff: OK, now the Bison need to make sure that they come back strong.

Zoomer: Oh no! two of the Bison players have collided. This is not good. They need to be helped off the field.

Biff: The offense is already down players from previous injuries. They’re going to have to put in rookies.

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(seesaw)

(As expected, the series doesn’t go well for the Bison and they don’t score. Things go back and forth for most of the game. The defenses manage to keep either team from scoring until late in the game.)

Biff: Well, this is it for the Bison. If they don’t score here, they’re out of time.

Zoomer: Right you are. Here we go. The Bison form a group around their runner. They move as one. The Lions have no choice but to move out of their way. It looks like we’re headed to overtime.

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(The teams take a break to discuss their strategy. Whoever scores first wins the game.)

Zoomer: Since the Bison had the ball first in the game, the Lions will get it first in overtime.

Biff: Rumor has it that the Lions have been practicing a trick play. If it’s true, now’s the time to use it.

Zoomer: We’re back on the field. The Lions have the ball. The carrier goes to the left instead of straight ahead and runs into his own player.

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Biff: No! He didn’t run into him. He gave him the ball. The Bison look confused. The new runner passes the ball to a third Lion. He takes advantage of the confusion in the Bison defensive line. He leaps over two Bison who are wandering around and heads for the end zone.

Zoomer: And the Lions win the Supper Bowl!

Biff: Let’s go down to the field to talk to the victors.

(Fortunately for fans everywhere, the teams have disappeared into their respective locker rooms and are not available for interviews. The Supper Bowl will be presented the next day at a banquet.)

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Alert readers should have guessed the outcome. We are based in Michigan, home of the Detroit Lions.

All 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.

 

9

Lone Hedgehog in a Cat-centric World

Greetings. It’s Horatio Hedgehog here. I want to share with you a rather unsettling experience I had recently while roaming the Internet. (Mom says this is an example of why I shouldn’t spend so much time on the computer.)

I decided to tour WordPress looking for fellow hedgehogs to befriend. It gets to be a bit boring talking to cats all the time. I figured there’d be a bunch of us. After all, we are rather cute.

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I found one, and he sounds like a pretty decent fellow. He is Hank the Hedgehog over at Living a Beautiful Life. He gets a lot more space on his blog than I do on mine, but I think he speaks well for us hedgehogs. And it appears that he doesn’t have to compete with two self-centered felines. (No offense, Snoops and Kommando Kitty, but you do love the limelight.)

  

The thing is, he was the only other hedgehog I could find. I used to know Alice, but she doesn’t blog anymore. It’s a shame; she was a real cutie. Where are the other hedgehogs? Snoops says it’s because cats rule the Internet. I told her she was crazy.

Then I looked for cats on WordPress. Good Grief! They are everywhere. Big cats, little cats, fluffy cats, sleek cats, real cats, cartoon cats, talking cats, posing cats, on and on. Why on earth are there so many cats? I live with two and they’re OK, but I wouldn’t want a herd of them.

I thought I would check the big Internet. That was really disturbing. It looks like we are pretty widespread (Europe, Asia, Africa). But some of those people think we’re a delicacy. That means they eat us!!

Can you believe that during the 1980’s Britain introduced “hedgehog-flavour” crisps (they’re like American potato chips)?  They didn’t actually contain hedgehog, but still. Have they also tried “badger-flavour”?

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I went on to look for cats. I’m sure you guessed it. The place is overrun with them. On Google, my search for hedgehog brought back 76.4 million responses which I thought was a lot. But there were 2.25 billion for cats. Not a mention of food or medicine. Mom said cats had their bad days a few hundred years ago. That didn’t make me feel any better. Maybe I should start a hedgehog advocacy group.

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Apparently we African pygmies are the only ones who keep humans. Life for us is a lot easier. My humans give me food and water. And waxworms. Yummm. Waxworms are the best. And I think we’re the only ones who get to write blogs.

I guess cats are OK. Not everybody can be a hedgehog.

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Bittersweet Note: Snoops and Kommando wanted to thank Phoebe and her family at 15andmeowing for the cat-astic toys they sent (and a coloring book for Mom). Sadly Phoebe lost her battle with kidney disease this week and is no longer with us. We will miss her.