14

April the Giraffe: Motherhood Suits Her

You might remember us introducing you to April, the pregnant giraffe, back in March. We asked several animals for advice on motherhood and the media. Since then, April has had her baby, and is thriving as a mother. Below is what she had to say when we caught up with her.

Tell us about your son.

His name is Tajiri, which means means hope and confidence in Swahili. My favorite keepers, Allysa and Corey, picked it out. I guess it fits him. He is full of energy and loves to entertain the humans who come to see us.

Has some of the craziness stopped now that you have given birth?

Oh my goodness, no it has been a zoo around here. Oh I made a joke…any way, the humans who watched my butt for 2 months are traveling here to the park to see us. It has been a good thing for my Jordan. He loves us animals so much. This has allowed him to do things he never dreamed of being able to do.

Are you still streaming video and all?

Where can people find it? Yes we are live every day from 4 pm to 8 pm. Our public missed us so much we put the live feed back up. Jordan also goes live to teach about the other animals he has here. The link can be found on the Animal Adventure Park website and Facebook page.

Your baby looked so big when he was born (compared to kittens), how big was he?

He was 5 ft 9 in and weighed almost 150 lbs. He is now 4 months old and is 8 ft tall and weighs 300 lbs. He is a fast growing boy.

What do baby giraffes eat? Does he get treats from the humans? 

Giraffe calves nurse from their moms, but they also sample the hay and feed that the adults eat. Tajiri is starting to take carrots from the humans who come to visit. They make such a fuss over him.

How does he get along with the vet and other humans he sees regularly?

He is learning the right way to behave around humans. He does sometimes act out though, and Allysa has had to scoot out of the way. She is so patient and loves us. She works with Tajiri daily, teaching him to move where she wants him to go and to tolerate human touch.

What types of things do giraffe moms teach their children?

Since we are in the care of humans our job is made easy. We do most things by instinct though. Humans say we have a VERY short attention span so we are always learning and exploring our habitat. Food is our biggest motivation….we love romaine lettuce and carrots.

Do you like showing him off to the humans?

I don’t mind sharing the limelight with him. I trust my humans so I let them in with us right away. He is famous now so Oliver, his Daddy, and I accept that he will get as much attention as we do. He is just so darned cute.

Would you like to have another baby?

I wouldn’t mind having more babies. I’m only 14 and in the care of my humans I could live til my mid 20s or more. Jordan said I had an easy time and am a good mom, so maybe there will be more….stay tuned…it will probably be Giraffe watch 2020…

Is there anything you would like to add?

I guess I don’t understand all the excitement I caused, but I am very glad it has done so much for the Park. All of the attention it has brought to the conservation of Giraffes has been great too.

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11

Clarice Kitten and the Dangerous Noms

Image result for kitten litter

 

Tom and Kate lived in a nice section of the forest with a group of other cats. There were humans close by, but otherwise the location was perfect. Lots of food and a clear stream. One day, they had a litter of kittens.

They were typical kittens, playful and curious. One kitten in particular, Clarice, was into everything. One day, she ran home, all excited.

Clarice: Guess what! I discovered a different kind of food!

Kate: Really dear? And what is that?

Clarice: I’m not sure. But it’s really yummy!

Kate: Why don’t you show me this food. Maybe I’ll know what it is.

Image result for house in woods

Clarice led Kate to where she had found the food. It was at the edge of the woods near a house. She pointed to an old log.

Clarice: It came from under there.

Kate: What did it look like?

Clarice: It was small and furry. It had a long tail and sharp teeth.

Since that described the majority of the food Kate had been teaching Clarice to catch, the description wasn’t very helpful.

Kate: I guess I’ll have to see one to let you know. But you need to find one closer to home. This is too close to the humans. They might see you.

Image result for kitten with human

Clarice: What’s wrong with that? Will they hurt me?

Kate: You’re such a beautiful kitten, they might want you to live with them instead of here with us.

Clarice didn’t understand why her mother would care about that. Of course Clarice would never leave her family. Then she heard a strange sound. Her mother became fully alert.

Human: Oh look. The pretty kitty came back! And she brought a friend! Wait right there and I’ll bring you a treat.

Kate was horrified. She had been right. Clarice had gone too close to the humans, and now the woman had seen both of them. Before she could tell Clarice to run, the woman was back.

Image result for cat running

Woman: Here kitty, kitty. You must be hungry. Look at the tasty noms I brought you.

Kate was offended. How dare that woman imply that she let her kittens go hungry. But Clarice was fascinated.

Clarice: Mama, what’s a nom? Maybe it’s one of the animals I caught earlier. Let’s go see.

Kate: Clarice! Run!

Kate raced back into the woods. Clarice was confused, but ran after her. When they reached home, Kate finally stopped to explain.

Kate: Clarice, you can’t ever go back there. Noms are what humans call the food they use to try to catch cats.

Clarice: Why would they want to catch cats?

Kate: I’m not sure, but we’ve lost a few neighbors that way. And they particularly like kittens.

Image result for kitten eating cat food

Clarice went to bed soon after the conversation. She had nightmares about humans chasing her. In the morning, she vowed to never go near the humans again.

But soon her curiosity got the better of her and she went to the edge of the forest. After a couple of days, the woman saw her again. The next day, there was a bowl of food just out of the forest. Clarice tried it. It was delicious. She ran home.

Clarice: Mama! Mama! I knew you were wrong!

Kate: Clarice! What are you talking about?

Clarice: The human! She left food out and it was delicious. And she didn’t come near me.

Kate: I told you not to go near the humans.

Clarice: It’s OK. She won’t hurt me.

Image result for kittens

A few days later, Kate heard a terrible yowling and crying. She ran to the edge of the woods in time to see the human pick up a cage with Clarice in it. She watched in horror as Clarice was carried into the house. All night, the cats could hear Clarice crying.

In the morning, Kate watched as the human carried Clarice’s cage and put it in some kind of machine. The human got in too, and they disappeared. Kate sat there for hours wondering where they had taken her kitten.

Finally, the machine returned. Kate was relieved to find out that the woman had brought Clarice back. Clarice was still crying, but she sounded tired. Kate ran back to the other cats, determined to find a way to rescue her kitten.

Image result for kitten in cage

Kate: They still have Clarice. We have to save her.

Tom: How are we supposed to do that?

Kate: I don’t know. But we have to do something. Let’s ask Frank. He knows a lot about humans. He can help us.

Kate and Tom found Tom, and Kate explained what has happened to Clarice. Frank listened with a worried expression.

Frank: That’s terrible. You know, the humans think they know more than we do about what is best for our kittens. Let’s go see what we can do.

Image result for cat pawing at screen door

To be continued…

(Ed. note – Cat Forum with Alberto from Feline Opines was supposed to run next week. However, Clarice’s story turned out to be longer than we expected. Not to worry. Alberto will get his full say in two weeks – August 19)

all pictures courtesy of Google Images

6

Piranhas are Not Good Neighbors – Part 2

To find the first part of the story, look here.

Image result for capybara

Dave and Christine took their daughter Sara to the Emergency Room to make sure there were no serious injuries. Once they cleaned up her fur, there wasn’t too much damage. One cut that needed a couple of stitches was about it.

Once they were home and Sara was in bed, Dave and Christine started talking about Buzz.

Dave: The man is a nightmare. The piranhas are bad enough. But he’s helping the humans destroy capybara land. He’s an embarrassment to our species. I’m going to talk to the lawyers tomorrow to see what we can do.

Image result for wild capybara

Christine: All those poor capybaras. I wonder what’s happening to them.

Dave (sarcastically): Don’t ask Buzz. He’s probably selling them to tourists as pets.

Christine: Don’t even joke about that.

The next morning, Christine and her friends got together to talk and watch their children play. Of course, the main topic was Buzz.

Priscilla: How is Sara? She looked pretty scared last night.

Christine: She’s fine. Of course, she’s not happy that they had to shave her fur to put in the stitches. I told her it would grow back, but I don’t think she believes me.

Image result for wild capybara

Sue (giggling): Did you smell him yesterday? I couldn’t imagine what he had gotten into his fur. I took him aside and told him that he might want to wash it off. I was trying to be discreet. Do you know what he said?

(They shook their heads.)

Sue: He said it was called cologne. He got it from a human. Then he asked me if I had noticed that his fur was extra shiny. He said there was something called gel in it. I think he wants to be human.

(They all laughed. Then they heard a soft voice behind them.)

Babette: Excuse me.

Image result for wild capybara

Christine (embarrassed): Babette! How nice of you to stop by.

Babette: Please call me Julie. I hate that name. Anyway, I wanted to see how Sara was doing. I brought her a ball. I feel terrible about what happened last night. I told Frank those fish were an awful idea.

(Christine took the ball and smiled at Julie.)

Christine: It’s OK. Men get strange ideas sometimes.

Julie: Well, I hope his humans enjoy the fish stew I sent over. Those piranhas won’t be bothering anyone else.

Image result for fish stew

(The women laughed.)

Darlene: Isn’t Buzz going to be angry?

Julie: I don’t care anymore. I don’t even recognize the capybara I fell in love with. He was so sweet and loving. He wouldn’t hurt a flea.

Christine: So what happened?

Julie: He went to one of those seminars that teach you how to make millions as a salesman. He decided that was what he was meant to do. Unfortunately it was run by a logging company. He fell in with a bad bunch of humans, and that was it.

Image result for sales seminars

Priscilla: I’m so sorry.

Julie: That’s OK. I just wish he’d never started all this. I can’t make him see that the money isn’t that important.

Priscilla: Doesn’t it bother him that he’s hurting his own kind?

Julie: He was really torn up about it at the beginning. But now he spends so much time with the humans that he doesn’t even think about it. I wish I could destroy that company and move back near my friends in Coconut Shores.

(She starts to cry. Sue tries to comfort her.)

Sue: Hmmm. I was an accountant before I had Charlie. I wonder what would happen if Buzzco had its books audited. Who’s in charge of his recordkeeping?

Image result for wild capybara

Julie: I used to do it, but since he started making so much money he won’t let anyone else touch the accounts.

Sue: I thought that might be the case. Let me talk to some friends.

(Later that night, Christine and Dave were talking.)

Christine: Did you talk to the lawyer?

Dave: Yeah. There’s not really anything we can do. Apparently everything Buzzco does is legal, if unethical. And it’s not illegal to be a slimeball.

Image result for slimy

Christine: I think Sue has an idea. She’s going to try to get his financial records audited. Julie says he won’t let anyone else look at them.

Dave: Julie? You mean Babette?

Christine: She wants to be Julie and move back home. She’s very sweet and totally fed up with Buzz. She wants Frank back.

Dave: Is she sure she wants him?

Christine: Apparently he was a nice guy before he got rich. I almost forgot – she turned his piranhas into stew and sent it to his human friends.

Dave (laughing): I guess she is all right. We can wait to see if Sue’s right.

Related image

One day, Dave saw Buzz down by the water.

Dave: So Buzz, how’s life in the fast lane?

Buzz: Not so good.

Dave: What’s wrong?

Buzz: I’m losing my company. Buzzco’s history.

Dave (trying to hide his excitement): What happened?

Buzz: Turns out it wasn’t such a good idea to do my own accounting.  Apparently capybaras aren’t allowed to keep their money in human banks. Some stupid tax rule. The taxes I owe to the humans wiped out the company. Julie was right – I never should have trusted them.

Dave: So what are you going to do?

Buzz: We’re going back to Coconut Cove. My brother has a construction company. Guess I’m back to being Frank.

Dave: How’s Julie with all this?

Image result for capybara

Frank: She’s thrilled. She’s been missing her old friends. She even told me what happened to the piranhas. I never really believed that someone took them because they were jealous.

The capybaras threw a wonderful going-away party. They all promised to keep in touch. And they laugh when they hear a bee buzzing.

Image result for honeybee

15

Cat Forum: Interview with Abby

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We have a special treat for you today. We are interviewing Abby. She is a dog who owns a human Cat knows. We weren’t sure what to expect.

(Remember: If it looks like this, we are talking to each other)

Kommando: I have never met a dog.

Snoops: My only experience was in the shelter I lived in for a little while before I found my forever home here. I really didn’t like the dogs there. They smelled weird and barked all the time. Apparently they smell better when they live with a human. I don’t know about the barking.

 

this-is-me

We’ve never had a dog on here before. How do you feel about cats?

I’m excited to be the first dog on here, thank you for inviting me. As for cats, I’m not sure what a cat is. I’ve never met one. If they are smaller than me, I’m OK with them.

(Wow. Her mom sure has let her lead a sheltered life. She has no idea how pawsome we are.)

my-little-friends

How many humans do you live with? Which one do you own?

I live with my adopted Mom and her family. There are two big humans who I don’t get along with. When I was a baby I did my business on their bed. I was sorry but I didn’t know any better. (sometimes I poop in their shoes now cause I know they don’t like me….I’m not sorry)…..There are a bunch of little humans that I love though so it’s OK. They love me and leave snacks for me all over the house. I love to run around sniffing until I find them. I’ve heard they have a game called hide and seek, maybe that’s what it is.

Anyway, my Mom and I kinda own each other.  I came to live with her after she lost her own Mom, (she went to live somewhere called Heaven, I think it’s over the Rainbow Bridge). We helped each other not be lonely, now I really hate being alone, it makes me sad and I cry.

There is another human, his name is Cody, he loves me too and helped keep me company. He moved to another house though. When he visits I get so excited. I love him as much as I love my Mom. He lets me kiss his face until he can’t breathe and he laughs and laughs. I miss him.

(Wow. She sounds just like us. We hate it when all the humans are gone. This Cody person sounds like he could be a cat person. The treats all over the house thing sounds really good. We need to tell Mom.)

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

Mom works at night so we sleep a lot. I love to snuggle under the covers and keep her warm. I have sudden bursts of energy and run laps down the long hallway. It makes everyone smile so I like that too.

me-and-mom

(Wow. Sleeping all the time. Maybe we could make her an honorary cat.)

We heard that you moved here from the South. Do you miss it?

I was so little when I came to Michigan that I don’t remember what it was like in the south. I hear it is warm though so maybe that’s why I don’t like the cold wet stuff that always falls around here. Mom says it’s because I’m spoiled. If I am it’s her fault. I just don’t like the feeling when my feet get wet.

(Her mom’s crazy. No one likes that stuff. Especially the slippery kind.)

Do you get to go outside a lot? Can you come back in when you want?

I mostly go outside to do my business, do cats do that too? I have to wait for someone to open the doors for me to come back in. I’m pretty smart but can’t open the doors myself.

When we go out just to play, Mom keeps me on a long leash. Sometimes I escape when the door is open and I get so excited that I run away. I don’t mean to. It just smells so different out there. One time I ran down the road across from our house. It made Mom mad so she went inside the house…That scared me so I started back home. I was so glad to see her when she came back outside that I went right to her when she called me. I wish I could remember to do that every time…she gave me special treats.

(Someone needs to tell her about litter boxes. Do they make them for dogs?)

We have something called cat TV. It’s what we see out the window. It can be birds or squirrels or rabbits or whatever. Is there something similar for dogs?

Wow, I sit on the back of the couch watching the same thing. That’s cat TV? Maybe I’m a cat. I see strange humans out there and I growl and puff the hair on my back up so they will be afraid of me. There are birds and rabbits out there. I growl at them too, but I don’t think they can hear me because they don’t run away. I must not be very scary.

dog-tv

(Guess dogs aren’t very scary. Or the animals know dogs won’t eat them. Maybe cats could get closer if we used dog cologne.)

We’ve heard that dogs are rather flexible about what they eat. Do you have a favorite food?

Mom feeds me kibble, but shares her food with me too. I will eat just about anything but my favorite is this sticky stuff called peanut butter. It sticks to the roof of my mouth but it tastes so good I don’t care. The humans will use it to trick you into taking medicine, so you have to be careful. Oh and I love cheese. I hear the noise the wrapper makes and come running to get a bite.

Dogs are social animals, right? Do you get to see a lot of other dogs or other types of animals?

I was never around other animals when I was small. Mom says that’s why I am afraid of other dogs; I never learned to play with them. When dogs come to visit it makes me very nervous. I try to be nice, but get overwhelmed when they try to play. Sometimes I bite them and we fight but if they would leave me and my humans alone I would be OK. Mom calls these visitors her 4 legged grandkids. Does that make them my nieces and nephews?

my-neice-and-nephew

meeting-the-horses

When we camp out, at my human Grandparents house, I watch out the window for strange four legged animals. Recently I was watching these really big dogs at the house next door. I wasn’t growling at them so Mom took me to meet them. She said they are called horses. I got brave and touched noses with them. They smell funny.

(Those dogs are all huge. I’m glad Cat’s friend didn’t have one of those for us to interview.)

What’s the best part about where you live? Is there anything you don’t like?

There is a big puddle of water behind our house that the little humans play in. I try to join them but they splash me, and I get scared. It smells funny and there are things living in there that must really like being wet because they never come out. I try to catch them but they are too fast.

I really don’t like to be alone. When Mom goes to work, I sit on the stairs and cry. I’m not allowed upstairs, where the other humans, live unless Mom is with me.  I don’t know the rules and I get in trouble. I would stop if they would teach me, but like I said before, they don’t like me much.

(Those upstairs people sound really mean. We should teach Abby how to sleep while her Mom is gone. It works really well for us.)

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I hope I was able to answer your questions about dogs. I am not a normal dog though. I was brought to my human before I learned how to act like a dog. Some humans think I’m special in the bad way. My Mom just loves me anyway and that’s what matters.

I want to thank you again for asking me to be your guest. I have to say, I think I may like cats if I ever get the chance to spend some time with them. Maybe my humans will get one for to learn from.

(This dog is OK. If they’re all like this, maybe we should stop making fun of them.)

me-watching-big-dogs

 

7

No Hippopotamus for Christmas

Image result for hippos

 

Editors: Before Christmas, Cat kept singing a stupid song about wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas

Apparently she was only kidding, or the other humans had more common sense, because there were no animals under the tree. Don’t get us wrong. You know we’re all about animals here in Cheeseland. But most of the animals work from their native habitat, and we weren’t sure there is enough space here for a hippo.

We wanted to do some research and asked R. Tavi, our Asian correspondent, to take a trip to Africa.

Image result for kenya

I went to Kenya to speak with Nala, an East African hippopotamus. I first thing I noticed was that hippos are really big.

Tavi: Good morning Nala

Nala: Good morning. Don’t bother asking. I weigh 1,200 pounds. I don’ know why everyone is so interested in my weight. I have a big skeleton. In fact it runs in the family, the hippo family. We’re big animals. My husband weighs 2,000 pounds. Get over it.

Tavi: I apologize. I just don’t get around large animals much. I live in India. We have elephants, but that’s about it.

Image result for asian elephant

Nala (huffily): Then you should have seen someone bigger than me.

Tavi (trying to change the subject): So what do hippos generally eat?

Nala: You want to find out why I’m so big? For your information, we hippos live on salad. I have never touched meat. And I don’t eat sugar. I’m not fat. It’s just genetics.

Tavi: I apologize. I obviously have offended you. Perhaps we could start over.

Nala: I suppose that might work.

Tavi: How do you spend your days?

Nala: It’s pretty hot here. I like to be submerged in the water most of day. There is excellent eating in the lake. Once in a while I go over there. (Points at some yams growing in a field.) I love yams.

Image result for african yams

Tavi: Doesn’t the farmer object to you raiding his field?

Nala: What do you mean “raiding”? If he didn’t want hippos in his field, he shouldn’t have planted so close to the lake.

Tavi: So it’s an amicable relationship.

Nala: Not really. I’d really be just as happy if he would just go away. Then I wouldn’t have to try to kill him every time he comes after me.

Tavi is beginning to wonder if there was anything they could talk about that wouldn’t upset the hippo.

Tavi: What do you like to do for fun?

Nala (giggling): My favorite is to fling dung at people and other animals.

Tavi: It doesn’t sound like you’re very fond of humans.

Nala (growling): I hate humans! They bring their stupid boats into our lakes and try to take pictures of us. It serves them right when we tip over their boats and kill them. They’re lucky we’re not carnivores.

Image result for hippos and boats

Tavi: I suppose you’re right. You’re very fond of living here, aren’t you?

Nala: It’s a wonderful place. Cool water, good food, warm sun.

Tavi: I don’t suppose you’d be interested in traveling, would you?

Nala: Never. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Tavi: Thank you for your time. I wish you well.

Nala: Thank you.

Tavi returns home understanding why hippos have a reputation for being aggressive. He can’t imagine why Cat would want to bring one home.

Image result for large hippos

All pictures courtesy of Google Images, video from Youtube.

7

Cheeseland News Classified Ads

 

Image result for help wanted sign clipart   Help Wanted

Dam Builders. We are looking for some strong beavers who don’t mind working hard for the community. We are building dens for beavers left homeless by the recent storms. Must have good dental hygiene. We provide temporary housing. Potential long-term position for the right candidate.

Guard for senior mouse village. Must be alert and flexible in ability to respond to a variety of dangers. Experience preferred. No carnivores please.

Locksmith. Looking for someone who can make our house child-proof. Particularly young, blonde females. Something easy to use with paws. Must not be afraid of the woods or large bears.

 

Image result for for sale sign clipart  For Sale

Cat door. We have finally trained the humans to let us in and out on demand. Some damage from dog trying to squeeze through. Newer model. Both entrance and exit functional.

Empty nest. Perfect for those couples who were surprised to find out that they need a permanent abode for the season. Secluded location, safe distance from the ground. Furnished with rabbit fur and dryer fluff. No leaks. Sheltered from the rain.

Running wheel. Husband wanted to run to keep in shape. Ran after girl next door instead. Barely used. You won’t find a better deal.

Sheep’s clothing. Full set, size XXL. Slight smell of wolf should disappear with airing.

 

Image result for heart clipart  Personals

Image result for calico tomcat  Handsome Calico Tom looking for beautiful young kitties seeking fun and adventure. Weight proportional to bone structure. Not looking for an exclusive relationship.

Image result for brown bear  Lonely Male Brown Bear looking for ongoing relationship with a kindred spirit. Someone who likes long walks in the woods and long naps together. Ideally you will also love fishing and tree climbing. Not interested in an aggressive partner. No taste for humans.

Image result for gray squirrel  Female Gray Squirrel looking for foraging partner. Someone to gather nuts with and play chase around the woods. Must have good memory. Potential winter nest for the right guy.

 

Image result for money clipart   Business Opportunities

Perfect opportunity for feline entrepreneurs. Get in on the ground floor of Catnip Unlimited. Develop your own field of specially developed, extra-potent catnip. Easy to grow, easy to sell. Franchise opportunities available in many locations. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Potential franchisees will be subject to a background check for history of addiction.

Always wanted your own humans but didn’t know what to look for? Try time-sharing with other animals. You can buy into this unique arrangement for a small down payment. See whether you like living alone with humans, with of other species, or fellow animals of your own species. Our humans have been carefully chosen for their ability to get along with a variety of animals.

Are you tired of your food and belongings smelling of human? Need some extra money for the holidays? Become a Human No sales agent. Practically sells itself. Comes in a variety of scents. Will remove even the most pungent smells. Makes your home smell like home again.

5

Presidential Debate – Invasive Species

In honor of Super Tuesday tomorrow, we are presenting our first debate. The topic is immigration reform.

Moderator: Welcome to our first debate of the election season. We’re honored to have you with us. The format of the debate is that I will ask a question of one of the candidates who will then answer the question. The other candidates will be given the opportunity to respond. No hissing, spitting, biting, or eating. We do not want the voter to confuse us with the Republicans or Democrats.

Let me introduce you to the candidates:

  Charles Scruffikan from Detroit, MI

  Edward “Biff” Kellingham III from Braintree, MA

  Creamsicle from Los Angeles CA

  Jaime Tiggs from Washington, DC

(polite applause)

Moderator: Mr. Kellingham, let’s start with you. How do you feel about the country’s immigration policy?

(Biff looks confused.)

Biff: Would you mind clarifying the question?

Moderator: Are you in favor of allowing foreigners into this country, either illegally or legally?

(Biff still looks confused.)

Biff: Where would they be coming from?

Moderator: Mainly Central America and the Middle East.

Biff: Oh, OK. You’re talking about Chihuahuas and Caucasian Mountain Dogs. That type of thing. I’m definitely against it. We already have way too many dogs here.

(The other cats nod vigorously. Now the moderator looks confused.)

Moderator: No, I meant people.

Creamsicle: I don’t mean to interrupt, but you mean that we would have to decide one by one who gets to come into the country? I mean, how else would we know if they are cat people?

Biff: I agree with Creamsicle. There is no way that the immigration question can be about people.

Charles: I think I know what the humans are talking about. We have zebra mussels invading the Great Lakes. I definitely think we should get rid of them and not allow any more in. They impact the fish population.

Biff (nodding): That makes sense. My favorite trout is getting hard to find. Some other breeds have invaded the water and bred with them.

Creamsicle: And those fish that walk out of the water. They’re really creepy.

Jaime: In Florida, my home state, boa constrictors have invaded the swamps. They eat anything around them. They’ve even killed a couple of alligators.

(The other cats look horrified.)

Jaime: Not only that. There’s all kinds of plants that are coming in from somewhere and killing off the natives. Pretty soon it won’t even look like the Everglades.

Biff: And there are all those plants and trees the rich people imported that are taking over the East Coast.

Creamsicle: And the West Coast.

Charles: We have purple loosestrife taking over all the land it can get.

Jaime: And kudzu is all over the South.

Moderator: I think we can all agree that those are problems. But what about the people?

(The cats stop talking and look at him.)

Jaime: Obviously the humans are going to have to figure that out. We’ll be much too busy.

(The others nod.)

Biff: I heard that if you stand still too long, the kudzu will grow over you.

Charles: I think we’ve handled this question. What’s next?

Moderator (shaking his head): I think we’re done for today. Remember to prep for the next debate. We’ll be talking about the budget.

(More applause and the lights are turned off.)

Biff: Anyone interested in a nice bowl of cream? It’s on me.

Creamsicle: Ooooh, yummy!

(The cats all walk off together talking and laughing.)

Ed. Note: Exit polls show a great deal of indecision about who won the debate. The only comments were on the candidates’ looks and speaking voices.