15

Felines and Friends Academy Elections

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Bella Bear: I am so mad!

Daphne Bear: What’s wrong?

Bella: Those stupid cats think they run everything.

Daphne: Anything in particular? Or is this just a generalized rant?

Bella: The Student Council has decided that the end-of-the year trip should be to the State Park.

Daphne: What’s wrong with that?

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Bella: Nothing, I guess. But the games are all about running, and jumping, and catching mice.

Daphne: They won’t care if we don’t participate.

Bella: I know. But what about the rest of us? The squirrels don’t want to chase mice. They’re cousins or something. In fact, we used to have mice in school. Until the cats made too many jokes about lunchtime.

Daphne: That was in extremely poor taste.

Bella: And what about the other animals? Sheep don’t chase mice, and neither do goats. It’s ridiculous.

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Daphne: All right. What are you going to do about it?

Bella: What do you mean? They’re in charge. What they say, goes.

Daphne: Have you told them how you feel? Do you have better ideas for the games?

Bella thought for a few minutes.

Bella: I guess I don’t. It’s hard to think of things that everyone can do. But they should think of some things that don’t only appeal to cats.

Daphne: If you’re that upset, you should talk to them. They seem like nice kitties.

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Bella: I don’t know. They intimidate me.

Daphne (laughing): Seriously? You’re, like, 10 times as big as they are.

Bella: But they always hang around in a group. It’s like they’re in a gang.

Daphne: You’re being ridiculous. They won’t hurt you. They’re kitties, not ogres.

Bella (sighing): I guess you’re right.

Bella got up her nerve and went to see the cats on the Student Council. The leader was Cherie, a beautiful Maine Coon.

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Cherie: Hi Bella. What’s up?

Bella: I was wondering if we could talk about the picnic?

Cherie: Of course.

Bella: It’s just that the games all seem to be cat-centric. The rest of us won’t have anything to do. It happens a lot around here. We can study cat dialects, but there aren’t any classes to learn bear or anything else. And most of the music classes are cat music. We need more diversity.

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Cherie: I understand what you’re saying, Bella. But this school was started by cats, for cats. There are a lot more cats. We don’t intentionally leave you out. But we don’t know anything about bears, or most other animals.

Bella: Almost every animal in student government is a cat. And all of the leadership.

Cherie: That’s not our fault. The only animals that ran for offices were cats.

Bella: Oh, that’s right. I forgot about that.

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Jasmine Calico: If you’re so interested in changing things, you should run for office. The elections for next year are coming up.

Bella: Oh, no. I couldn’t do that.

Jasmine: Then you can’t complain about what we do. We work hard to do what we think is best for the students. If you don’t think we’re doing a good job, then try to change things. You won’t get anywhere just by complaining.

The other cats nodded in agreement. None of them looked angry or intimidating. In fact, they looked like they thought they were giving her good advice. Bella thanked them and left.

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Bella: I am so frustrated. Those cats are so arrogant!

Daphne: What now?

Bella: Would you believe that they said the whole thing is my fault?

Daphne: Really? Why would they say that?

Bella: They said that if I wanted to change things, I should run for office.

Daphne: So they won’t change the games?

Bella: I forgot to ask them about that.

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Daphne: What did you talk about?

Bella: I told them that the school is too cat-centric, and that some of the other animals needed to be considered when important decisions are made.

Daphne: That sounds reasonable.

Bella: I thought so. But then they told me that they’re cats, and they think like cats. If I wanted things to change, I needed to get involved.

Daphne: Were they mean about it?

Bella: No. But they’re in charge, they need to change things.

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Daphne: They told you they think like cats. If you want them to think like bears, or sheep, or whatever, you need to teach them. We don’t think like cats.

Bella: I guess. But I can’t run. No one will vote for me.

Daphne: Why not? You’re passionate about it.

Bella: I don’t know what to say.

Daphne: You’ll think of something. Do you want things to change or not?

Bella: I need to think about it.

Next week: Will Bella have enough confidence to run for office?

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

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4

Cat Forum: Party Treats

Kommando: Did we tell them that our human sister is getting married in October?

Snoops: I think so.

Kommando: Did we tell them that we’re going to help?

Snoops: I don’t remember.

Kommando: Let’s tell them what we’re gonna do.

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Snoops: What are we going to do? You mean the present?

Kommando: Of course not. She might read this and it would ruin the surprise.

Snoops: It’s a good thing she doesn’t live here. It’s hard to keep that sort of thing secret.

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Kommando: No. We’re going to help with the food at her party before the wedding.

Snoops: You mean that thing they call a shower, even though there’s no water?

Kommando: Yeah. Humans are weird, but I wasn’t going to help if there was real water.

Snoops: Did you find any good recipes?

Kommando: I thought so. There were all kinds of things called mousses. I thought it was a typo for mouses. It’s not. People make mousses out of all kinds of stuff. Most of it’s pretty disgusting.

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Snoops: That’s like when we found out that tomato goat cheese spread was tomato goat-cheese spread, not tomato goat cheese-spread. I was pretty disappointed. I thought all I was going to have to do was pick the tomatoes off the goat.

Kommando: There is not a single recipe out there with mouse as the main ingredient. And very little tuna. There is some salmon.

Snoops: Well, maybe we could try the tuna ones.

Kommando: I don’t think so. They mix it with stuff like mustard and lemon juice. One of them even said to use chickpeas.

Snoops: I don’t know what a chickpea is, but it must be some kind of vegetable. Peas are those little rounds things we can chase around.

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Kommando: That’s the other thing. Humans put vegetables into almost all of their party foods.

Snoops: I guess that’s to make them feel better about the cake.

Kommando: They even ruin cheese with nuts and beer and wine and stuff.

Snoops: EWWWW. Maybe this is going to be harder than we thought.

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Kommando: I had an idea. You know how much humans like pizza?

Snoops: Yeah. But they don’t sell mouse pizza.

Kommando: I know that. But we get cheese pizza and put the mice on ourselves.

Snoops: That might work. And cold catnip tea. It will be purr-fect.

 

Pictures courtesy of Google Images (except us of course – tell Mom we want some pictures that don’t make us look like we sleep all the time, but not when we’re eating or bathing or using the litter box – maybe while we’re on bird patrol or mouse patrol)

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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9

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