4

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 4

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Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) has been working to stop humans from using their names as insults. They have had no luck with submitting a petition or trying to meet with the members of the Human Council. Gregg Bear and Ivan Tiger decide that it is time to consult with a lawyer. (Links to the previous sections are found at the right)

Gregg and Ivan are waiting in the offices of Sharkfin and Sharkfin to meet with the attorney. A well-groomed Siamese cat approached them.

Siamese: Hello, I’m Greta. I’ve been assigned your case.

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Gregg and Ivan looked at each other. Was this some kind of joke? This cat was not going to intimidate a bunch of humans. What was she going to do? Purr loud?

Ivan: Meaning no disrespect….

Greta: You want to know why I’m not a shark, right?

Gregg: Actually, yes. We’ve been trying to get a bunch of humans to listen to us and we wanted someone to get their attention.

Greta: Actually, that’s why they sent me. If you two aren’t going to intimidate them, we certainly won’t.

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Ivan: What do we do?

Greta: First, you have to know what is going to get their attention. What can you do that they can’t ignore? When do you interact with the humans?

Ivan: We see them at the stores and at work. But that’s just the regular humans.

Greta: OK. But they’re all just regular humans.

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Ivan: Some of them are more important. They own things and tell other people what to do.

Gregg: We want to get their attention.

Greta: Then you need to make them understand that their insults are having an impact on their business. You need to tell people to stop using their products until the humans stop insulting you.

Gregg and Ivan left, confused. They had wanted to hire someone to sue the humans. This cat wanted them to educate the humans. They called another ARC meeting.

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Gregg: We met with a lawyer. She said that we need to get the humans to see that we’re important to their business before they’ll listen to us.

Cecile Ferret: I guess that makes sense. They’ve thought they’re better and smarter than us forever.

Joe Iguana: They take us for granted.

Ivan: That’s what the lawyer said.

Ralph: OK. What do we do?

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The animals talked about which businesses they might be able to influence. They decided that they would only do one at first to see if anything happened. The first business they targeted was Adderson’s Shoe Supplies. They posted this message outside shoe stores:

“Please buy a brand other than Adderson’s. Their advertising calls tired, stinky feet “dogs”. We want them to find a different way to sell their product. Thank you. ARC

The signs didn’t work. People still bought the shoes.

Gregg: I don’t think this is a very good idea.

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Joe: I don’t know why we chose shoes. We don’t wear shoes. We should have done food. Food is always good.

Cecile: Did you hear? We made the news!

“Tonight’s local take is the boycott ARC is trying to start against Adderson’s Shoes for slander. It seems the animals are finally tired of being insulted. Good luck!”

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Ivan: Great. We’ll need it.

Cecile: It gets better. Look at this:

Animal call for end to insults spreads. Several areas have picked up on the ARC animals’ quest to end animal name insults. Protest is gaining momentum.

Three months later: Due to grass-roots pressure from their customers, humans included, the Human Council began the process to identify and eliminate institutional animal insults.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

12

Snoops and Kommando: Literary Critics

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Snoops and Kommando here. Mom didn’t notice that there were five Saturdays in August, so she has an extra post to fill. And guess which very talented kitties came to the rescue? That’s right. So here we are. (We get to write more next week since it’s our regular week. Pretty exciting, eh?)

Anyway, we have decided that we would show you just how intelligent cats are. She and the young male human went to a place called Stratford, Ontario on Sunday to see a play called Henry the VIII.

Weird, huh? Seems like they should have seen the first seven Henrys before this one. Apparently, it’s like some of human TV. It really doesn’t matter where you start. It sounded pretty boring (also like most human TV). No cats (or even dogs) in the whole thing.

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But they did bring home one interesting item: Cat Poems, edited by Tynan Kogane. We had high hopes and began reading right away. Humans don’t write many books for cats. We were not impressed.

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Mujer by William Carlos Williams

Oh, Black Persian cat!

was not your life

already cursed with offspring?

we took you for rest to that old

Yankee farm, –so lonely

and with so many field mice

in the long grass—

and you return to us

in this condition–!

Oh, black Persian cat.

So, what’s the deal with this? Cats shouldn’t have kittens? Black Persian cats shouldn’t have kittens? We know there are currently too many kittens. But if no one had kittens, we’d run out of cats.

And what condition is he talking about? Is she pregnant again? Covered with dirt and prickly things? A dead mouse for dinner? We don’t like this poem. Let’s move on.

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She Sights a Bird by Emily Dickinson

She sights a bird – she chuckles—

She flattens—then she crawls—

She runs without the look of feet—

Her eyes increase to Balls—

 

Her jaws stir—twitching—hungry—

Her Teeth can hardly stand—

She leaps, but Robin leaped the first—

Ah, Pussy of the Sand.

 

The hopes so juice ripening—

You almost bathed your Tongue—

When Bliss disclosed a hundred toes—

And fled with every one—

This one starts out pretty good. We’ve all seen birds we want to catch. The cat gets all excited. Then loses the bird. Then something with lots of toes ran away. Who is Bliss? Why does she need one hundred toes? Not only did the poem disappoint us, it ended strange.

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We were going to tell you more poems, but most of them were really long. Or talked about dead cats or about old cats who were getting ready to die. Or were just too weird to even understand.

We decided that what the book needed was some poetry actually written by cats. We came up with a couple of ideas we think they should consider for the next version. They are much easier to understand.

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Mothers Ruin Everything

A mouse wandered out of a hole in the wall.

Two excited kitties raced quickly down the hall.

One came for the kill,

The other, the thrill.

Rats! They lost their prey, who heard his mother call.

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Mothers Ruin Everything – Part 2

The cats saw birds out the window pane.

They tried to get out; it was in vain.

The door they used before

Was shut to the floor.

Mom closed it when it started to rain.

See? Short. To the point. Easy to understand. If they’re going to write a book for cats about poetry, they should write ones that cats can understand them. We’re smart; people just don’t get how to communicate with us.

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

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