Cats


Ben  does  it  again.  Sh*t.


Copyright  ©2012




FOREWORD


Things cat owners should get their naughty pets to say:

My poop is not food.
I will not jump on my humanís full bladder at 4:30 AM.
I will not barf up a hairball on the sofa.
The cat food is already dead. I donít need to kill it by swatting it.
I am not deaf.
I will not poop on the bed when my human goes out of town.
I will not sharpen my claws on my humanís bossís leg.
If I beg for food I will eat it.
I will not torture and kill prey in the house.
The drapes are not climbing ropes.
I will not leap onto my seated humanís genital region.
Walking around with cockatiel feathers in my mouth is not funny.


ďWhat?Ē I hear you wail. ďHow can you write a book about cats, Ben? You donít even own one!Ē Thatís true, but has ignorance ever stopped me from writing before? I wrote a book about raising children, and I donít have any. I wrote a book about food, and I eat gruel. I wrote a book about intimate relationships, and Iím divorced. So donít be surprised if my next book is about couth.

This was a difficult book for me to write because I am a dog lover. I donít hate cats, but they have never appealed to me, probably because I got bitten by a few in my youth. Dogs are so much more fun and playful. I mean, you can roughhouse with a dog and grab its head and push it around, and it will absolutely love it; whereas you light one match under a cat and it gets upset.

Perhaps I prefer dogs because I just want a stupid animal to make me feel good about myself by being subservient and slobbering all over me and showing me how intelligent I am by comparison. (My ex-wife felt the same way, which is why she married me.) Another reason I like dogs better is that theyíre more human-like: they easily show emotions such as joy, remorse, excitement and boredom. Cats just stare off into space, like aliens longing to return home.

Dogs make us feel good because they are sycophantic morons that hope to get rewards by doing what theyíre told (the same reason God loves His followers). Cats, on the other hand, know that they have much more grace and self-esteem than we have, so they do absolutely nothing for us unless it also benefits them, like politicians except not as dirty.

I am not proud about loving dogs, because dog lovers can be more bizarre than cat lovers. Some dog owners dress their pets in ridiculous outfits. Others enter them in dog shows which, to put it nicely, are silly exhibitions where people from the planet Xenopholon deify their panting, pooping pets and enter them in competitions with incomprehensible rules that enable the most peculiar canines to win trophies. I once saw a picture of a Pekingese that won Best of Show. Its owner, who apparently had received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, foofed the dogís hair out from its body so far that the animal appeared to be three times its actual size. It looked almost as ridiculous as Don King.

There are more pet cats in the U.S. than pet dogs. However, more households have dogs than have cats. This is because there are more multi-cat households than multi-dog households. For example, a friend of mine has five cats. Whenever I visit, these animals rub against me, jump in my lap, or stare at me. I havenít seen so many annoying pussies since the Clinton administration.

Lots of English words and expressions were inspired by cats: cathouse, fat cat, catty, cat-oí-nine-tails, catcall, cat and mouse, caterwaul, cattail, catís cradle, catwalk, catís-eye, catlike, catfish, pussycat, pussywillow, pussyfoot, let the cat out of the bag, cat got your tongue, curiosity killed the cat, catgut, catnap, catty corner, catís meow, catís pajamas, more than one way to skin a cat. Of course, when I think of cats, words like ďviciousĒ and ďsociopathicĒ come to mind.

One thing I donít like about cats is that Iím allergic to them. Iíve read that itís not the fur that makes people react, but the saliva, which cats use to clean themselves. You can get allergy shots in order to supposedly build up immunity, but I donít see how that will help. To me, injecting people with the very substance that makes them itch and sneeze is like feeding sugar to diabetics.

Okay, now that Iíve set the tone for a negative, invective tirade (which pretty much describes all my other books), sit back and try to enjoy yet another waste of several hours.




Chapter 1

THE  HISTORY  OF  THE  CAT


Cat haikus



You never feed me.
Perhaps Iíll sleep on your face.
Then that will show you.

The rule for today:
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.

Weíre almost equals.
I purr to show I love you.
Want to smell my butt?

Grace personified.
I leap into the window.
I meant to do that.

Wanna go outside.
Oh, no! Help! I got outside!
Let me back inside!

Oh no! My owner
has been trapped by newspaper.
Cat to the rescue!

Litter box not there.
You must have moved it again.
Iíll crap in the sink.


The word cat probably comes from the Nubian word kadis, which traveled along trade routes in the early centuries A.D. and led to several countriesí words for cat: katt (Sweden), katze (Germany), kat (Holland, Denmark), kot (Poland), kots (Russia), gatto (Italy), gato (Portugal, Spain), and chicken with lobster sauce (China).

Several cultures have worshipped cats, probably because their staring eyes captivate people (the same reason that snakes have been both worshipped and feared). Cats have been used in many pagan rituals. Theyíve also been thought to have healing powers; their eyes, livers, fat, blood, placenta and even feces have been mixed into potions. Can you believe that shit?

Ancient Egypt revered cats so much that the penalty for killing one was death. (Today the punishment, at least among my buddies, would be to have someone buy you your next beer.) When a cat died, its owners would mourn and shave off their eyebrows in order to show respect. Then the animal was buried in a special cat cemetery. Imagine the funeral service: a bunch of people standing around a little hole, motionless, with no eyebrows, looking like clothing store mannequins.

Interestingly, the Jews have historically ignored cats, possibly because they were enslaved by the Egyptians and decided not to develop ties with an animal that their slavemasters revered. In the mostly Jewish neighborhood I grew up in, I canít recall one Jewish family that owned cats. Meanwhile several of the goyim had cats, some of which bit me. (I am referring to the cats.)

Cats prospered in Europe until the 1400s when Pope Innocent VII, in a display of the kind of love and understanding we have come to expect from the Catholic Church, declared an inquisition against cats because he didnít like the fact that they were being worshipped almost as much as he was. He called them witches and had millions of them burned, scalded, beaten and crucified. Many thousands of cat owners were murdered also. Why? The reasoning Ė which should be obvious to everyone, including the severely retarded Ė was that if a cat is a witch, then its owner must also be a witch. Thank God for Catholicism, because it has brought us so much oppression, bigotry, war and pederasty that we would otherwise have missed.

In China, not only are cats kept as good luck charms, but the older and uglier they are, the more luck they are thought to bring. Wouldnít it be great if that were true of people? Nah, because if it were, then in order to get good luck youíd have to marry Janet Reno.

For centuries cats have been our allies in the fight against vermin (Iím referring to rodents, not Bernie Madoff). They have been used in granaries, barns, homes and ships (the latter of which helped spread cats to many lands). About 1000 years ago cats were responsible for ridding Japan of a serious rodent problem. In the 1600s cats helped rid London of the rodents that caused an outbreak of bubonic plague that killed half the city. However, the Catholic Church continued to persecute cats because of their use in pagan rituals, which is like persecuting Louis Pasteur for being Protestant.




Chapter 2

GETTING  (OR  NOT  GETTING)  A  CAT


Adam and Eve said, ďLord, we are lonesome.Ē And God said, ďI will create a companion that will be with you forever. Regardless of how selfish or unlovable you may be, this companion will accept you as you are.Ē And God created a new animal called ďDogĒ. And it was a good animal. And Adam and Eve were comforted. And God was pleased. After a while, an angel came to the Lord and said, ďLord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. Because of Dog, they believe they are worthy of adoration.Ē And God said, ďI will create a companion who will be with them forever and who will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration.Ē And God created a new animal called ďCatĒ. And Cat would not obey them. And Adam and Eve learned humility. And they were greatly improved. And God was pleased. And Dog was happy. And Cat didnít give a shit one way or the other.


Cats can be good companions. In fact, Iím cat-sitting for a friend right now. He (the cat) is mildly friendly and is keeping me company as I type this. The only problem is that he sometimes jumps on my keybopkjoi9t7et2ard.

A lot of people are allergic to cats. I am, and thatís why I can never own one. I refuse to live with anything that will block my sinuses and thereby render me unable to taste beer. Sure, modern medicine has allergy shots that can desensitize almost anyone to almost any allergen, but Iím not going to subject myself to that. I get enough shots already with my heroin addiction.

Cats are good mousers. This is a valid reason for getting one. Many times Iíve lived in a barn and thought, ďGee, it sure would be nice to have a hairy, disobedient animal around here that poops in a box and makes me sneeze!Ē In case youíre wondering, I was being sarcastic. Why put up with the smell, mess, expense and inconvenience of housing an animal to do a job that could be done with a trap and a piece of cheese?

Mousers are more efficient if theyíre fed regularly. They enjoy the sport of catching rodents, so they donít need to be hungry, and a well-fed cat has lots of energy for the hunt. Often they donít kill the prey right away: they bat it around and bite it for a while before killing it. They might even toss it around after itís dead. Just goes to show how sick and sadistic these animals are.

Cats are not good for little kids. An abrupt motion might make them scratch or bite because cats are more easily upset than dogs are, just like women are more easily upset than men are. (If youíre a woman, that statement probably upset you. Which proves my point.)

In The Complete Idiotís Guide to Dog Care I implored my readers (all three of them) to avoid pet stores when looking for a pet. This applies to cats as well as dogs. Just as there are puppy mills, there are kitten mills (catteries), and the teenager working in your local pet store will have no idea where the animals came from. Plus, pet store animals are ridiculously expensive. Also, never buy a cat from a private individual, because he/she could be a ďbuncherĒ, who gathers companion animals for resale, perhaps by answering ďfree to good homeĒ ads. A pedigree animal will have registration, but if the papers were forged, how would you know? There are plenty of strays and unwanted kittens that you can get for free.

Your local Animal Control will have felines that need homes. As with dogs, most impounded cats are eventually destroyed (while useless people are given free food, housing, welfare, and jobs in Congress). Paying hundreds of dollars for a pet store animal instead of rescuing an impounded animal just adds to pet storesí business. But the general population wonít go to the pound rather than a pet store any more than they will exercise or read a book instead of flicking through the cable channels or flocking to the movie theater or video store. This why I hate people. In fact, I hate people so much that Iím thinking of sending the GOP a donation.

Many impounded animals are not destroyed but are given to laboratories. This is forbidden by law in at least 14 states, including Maryland. Most of the experiments performed on these poor creatures are funded with your tax dollars. Impounded cats are preferred over feral cats because theyíre easier to work with: former companion animals are more trusting.

Cats shed. They might shed lightly throughout the year, or more at some times of the year than others. Iíve found that the biggest influence on cat shedding is the color of your clothing. For example, a black cat sitting on your lap will shed a lot more if youíre wearing white pants than if youíre wearing black pants; similarly, a white cat will shed more on black pants than on white pants.

Some people have told me, ďYou should get a cat because theyíre low maintenance.Ē Yeah, well so are fish. I prefer dogs. Sure, dogs are high maintenance, but thatís the price you pay for such a versatile, friendly animal. Take kids for instance. They give you more emotional rewards than any other animal, but they are among the highest-maintenance creatures on the planet, second only to Paris Hilton.

A new cat will explore every nook and cranny of its new domicile. Itís looking for places of refuge, lurking dangers, etc. By the way, whatís the difference between a nook and a cranny?

Itís nearly impossible to train a cat, so if you want an obedient animal, get a dog or a mail-order bride. A dog, like a man, can be trained to do things he would never do on his own, such as listen and bathe. Cats, on the other paw, will do whatever they want, so thereís no use trying to verbally persuade them to do anything other than what they already intend to do. Sort of like my marriage. No matter how much I yelled or what our therapist advised, my ex-wife was undeterred, and I just accepted it until the day she left me, turning me into a lonely, pathetic shell of my former self. Not that Iím bitter.

This is not to say that you canít have any control over a cat. You just need to use bribes or force (which is pretty much how to get people to do anything). For example, use a water gun to stop a cat from doing something bad. This way you will not get blamed, and the animal wonít be afraid of you. However, I tried this with my last girlfriend, and it didnít work.

Another way to get a cat to cease bad behavior is to grab it by the scruff of the neck. I donít recommend this, though, unless you want your arm to look like it was stroked by Freddie Krueger. If a cat does shred your arm, I recommend aspirin. Not for you but for the cat Ė aspirin is poisonous to cats.

To get a cat to come to you, use a food reward Ė it will then associate your calling its name with food. It wonít come to you because it loves you; it will come to you for the material payoff, like Anna Nicole Smith except more intelligent. And a lot less annoying.

Cats do occasionally need to be cuddled and played with, so you can get affection from a cat, but not nearly as much as you can get from a dog. No matter how much I think about it I cannot fathom why some affection-starved people get cats instead of dogs. You know the stereotype about single women getting cats? If a lonely woman wants to fill the manless void in her life, then a dog is the perfect companion because it is just like a man: it will chase other women, mess up the house, not clean up after itself, not talk to her, and stick its face in her crotch.

My ex-wife loves cats, which are independent, donít listen, donít come when you call, like to stay out all night, and when they come home they like to be stroked and fed. Of course, this is how I was during our marriage, and she complained.

If women love cats, thatís fine. What I donít like is the double standard. If a cat jumps on a woman, heís cute; if I do it, Iím an asshole.

There are many cat breeds, such as Abyssinian, Siamese, Tabby, Korat, Balinese, Persian, Manx, Birman, Himalayan, Burmese, Russian Blue, Sphinx (hairless), Turkish and Egyptian, to name just some of them. I did some reading and learned about many of their characteristics, but as far as Iím concerned theyíre all cats so I took their descriptions with a grain of salt. In fact, here is a table of stated characteristics and what they really mean:

CharacteristicMeans
high-spiriteddangerous
loves kidsas a side dish
playfulwould love to use your eye as a toy
independentdisplays all the warmth of F. Lee Bailey
devotedto making your life a living hell
activewill stalk and attack you
lovingleaves scent and fur all over you
volatilehand shredder
boldyouíll wake up one day with its fangs in your neck

A few breeds stand out. Birmans are strongly fixated on humans. Himalayans have long coats. Persians (formerly Angoras) are very placid; they also have small faces and big heads Ė the Charlie Brown of cats. Siamese have cries that are very annoying, like Fran Drescher.

I recommend a mix because they live longer due to hybrid vigor. Plus theyíre less expensive. Purebred cats can cost hundreds of dollars. Thatís a lot of money to pay for an animal just to have it annoy and inconvenience me. I donít need that kind of financial burden and aggravation Ė I already date.




Chapter 3

GENERAL  INFORMATION


Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should just relax and get used to the idea.


Books tell you to teach a cat its name. Yeah, right. Like they give a shit. How many cats come when you call them? How many cats do anything you tell them to? For example, I have never known a cat to get down off the dinner table when I told it to. However, a cattle prod works quite well.

A catís body has 230 bones. Contrast this with the human body, which has 206. The exception to this rule is Madonna Ė she usually has 207 bones in her, and occasionally 208.

Cats are part of the animal kingdom, which is the highest of seven levels of categories into which living things are classified. Underneath kingdom are phylum, class, order, family, genus, and finally species, which you already knew unless you went to public school. Cats are in the vertebrate phylum, which includes all animals with backbones (animals without backbones include starfish, worms, and the French). Cats belong to the mammal class (non-mammals include birds as well as cold-blooded animals such as snakes and Rush Limbaugh). Cats are in the carnivore order, which includes all mammals that kill their prey, such as wolves and O.J. Simpson. Cats are in the family Felidae, the genus Felis, and species catus, but unfortunately I am unable to find anything funny to say about those.

Cats spend about 20 hours a day sleeping and napping. That might sound like a lot, but some animals sleep even more. For example, the koala sleeps a whopping 22 hours a day, which is almost as much as Al Gore. Okay, that was uncalled for. I know itís not right to make fun of someone just because he has the personality of a mollusk, but itís not like this book is ever gonna be read by him. Or anyone.

Donít bother buying a cat bed. No matter how elaborate a sleeping surface you provide, a cat will sleep wherever it damn well pleases. You can buy a $150 cat bed with a cushy pad and beautifully embroidered pillows, and Fluffy will sleep on the couch. Or your bed. Or the newspaper. Actually newspaper makes great bedding: it doesnít house fleas, and itís disposable.

The odor of the catnip plant seems to excite most cats sexually while soothing their nervous systems. I wish there were a plant that did this for humans. Then I wouldnít have minded the 473 plants that various women have put in my house. In fact, Iíd have actually watered them instead of happily watching them die. Think about it, women: imagine your significant other actually going out of his way to take care of your ďhumannipĒ plants. Itíd be a godsend, as long as you donít mind his having affairs with shrubbery.

Anyway, cats love to roll in catnip and lick it off their fur. Catnip causes even male cats to act like females in heat, possibly by persuading the animalís hypothalamus that it is a female. So get some catnip and watch your pet turn into Courtney Love.

Cats love to be outdoors. Weather does not seem to deter them. Keeping a cat confined indoors for its entire life is cruel. It will be much happier if it can come and go as it pleases. Cats are also nocturnal animals, so they want to roam at night. I donít blame them. My happiest years were spent in college, partying until 2, 3 or 4 in the morning, sometimes even until the sun came up. Now look at me. I go to bed before most middle schoolers. In fact, if I went to school with them, theyíd beat me up for being such a dweeb.

Contrary to popular belief, a cat can be walked on a leash. In fact, some jurisdictions have cat leash laws. If you use a leash, I suggest attaching it to a harness, as the cat might slip out of a collar.

A cat lover is called an ailurophile. That sounds like a bad word, as in, ďDonít let your children play with him Ė heís an admitted ailurophile!Ē But thatís silly. Being a cat lover doesnít make you a child molester, unless youíre also a priest.

If youíre transporting your cat in an automobile, I suggest using a carrier, because having a cat jump on your head while youíre driving can be very dangerous. Buy the carrier and have the cat get used to it at least a few weeks before you transport him in it. Put a blanket or towel in there, feed him his favorite food inside it, and praise him when he enters it. Cats donít get carsick so yours wonít throw up in transport, unless it sees a picture of Regis Philbin.

The average life expectancy for a cat is 14 years, but some live a lot longer. The oldest cat on record lived to be 36 years old. That would be like you or I living to be about 200. Well, I guess if I didnít have to work or do chores or pay taxes I could survive well into triple digits. In reality, however, Iíll be lucky to get Social Security. Of course, so will you.

Indoor cats live longer because theyíre not as exposed to perils such as diseases, parasites, cars, dogs, wild animals, cat fights, traps, poisons, and Ozzy Osbourne.

A group of cats is called a clutter or a clowder. Really. Lots of animals have unexpected words that describe a group of them. For example: A trip of goats. A knot of toads. A murder of crows. A bale of turtles. There are also special words that describe groups of people: A suit of lawyers. A smarm of game show hosts. A mass of Catholics. A stream of urologists.

Cat brains have been studied more than the brains of any other animal. Large sums of your tax dollars have gone into this research. In fact, lots of your tax dollars get spent on many types of data gathering. Whenever you see a news blurb like, ďA $24 million study has determined that lack of rainfall causes drought,Ē donít you wonder why it cost so much to learn that information? Well, here is a breakdown of the expenditures incurred in a typical $24 million study:

Anyway, it has been discovered that the cat brain is very similar to the human brain. Well, the female human brain, anyway. Women are very much like cats: clean, fastidious, often aloof, and frequently annoyed by lesser creatures such as dogs and men. Men, on the other hand, are very much like dogs: crude, dirty animals that eat just about anything and who think nothing of peeing on trees.

You might wonder how a brain as tiny as that of a cat can be similar to a human brain. Well, remember that size doesnít matter. A tiny brain can be very intelligent and a huge brain can be stupid. In fact, the largest human brain on record belonged to an idiot (I think it was Mike Tyson).

Now, I do not advocate the use of live cats for brain or any other kinds of tests. Lots of animals Ė many of them dogs and cats stolen right out of ownersí yards Ė are used for painful experiments. For example, soaps, shampoos and cosmetics are squirted into rabbitsí eyes. And you know what? The products injure the animalsí eyes but the products are sold anyway. You donít believe me? Rub deodorant or splash aftershave in your eye. Go ahead. Iíll wait. That hurt, didnít it? As if you actually did it. These bogus animal tests are nothing more than senseless protocols completed in order to get funding. Plus, animalsí chemistry is different from ours. Why not test on humans? Murderers, rapists, child molesters and televangelists would be perfect specimens for having toiletries rubbed in their eyes or injected into their bodies. And we could fund this research by featuring the experiments on Pay-Per-View.

By the way, an AVID chip or tattoo (the ownerís social security number or other code is tattooed on one of the rear inner thighs) can help you retrieve a lost or stolen animal. People steal pets to sell to research laboratories, but many labs will not buy a chipped or tattooed animal.

Cats have few moods: sleepy, playful, hungry, contented, fearful, angry and horny. In this way they are very similar to men.

You can tell what kind of mood a cat is in by its body language. For example, a tail held high usually indicates a contented cat. A tail thatís lashing back and forth, or body hair standing on end, usually indicates fear or anger. Additionally, an angry cat will draw its ears back, arch its back, and/or hiss. Of course, these are the same things my dates do when I ask for sex.

Cats hear way better than we do. Theyíre especially sensitive to high-pitched sounds, and this helps them locate small rodents. Their hearing range even surpasses that of dogs. But theyíre not sensitive to low frequencies. This is probably why they donít hear anything I say. On the plus side, they also canít hear my foot approaching their ass.

Sight is very important to cats (in contrast to dogs, who live mostly by smell, which is why theyíre always smelling everything). Cats are colorblind and donít focus too well on stationary objects, but they see moving objects very well. They also have excellent night vision. In darkness, the pupils expand to let in more light. In the daytime, the pupils contract into slits. This makes a cat look like Michael Jackson at the end of the Thriller video. Remember that? He had ghoulish yellow, vertically slitted eyes and you heard Vincent Price laughing in an echo chamber. Earlier in the video Jackson became one of the living dead Ė a zombie with a pasty, freaky appearance. Actually he looked more human in the video than he did in real life.

Catsí eyes have nerve cells that transmit to the brain sounds that the ears canít perceive. Thatís how even blind cats can catch flies.

A catís eyes do not move freely in their sockets, so it has to turn its head in order to see in different directions, much like an owl. This is why the animal always appears cold and staring, like John Kerry but with more facial expression.

Using its whiskers, a cat can tell if an opening is wide enough to get through. Its sense of touch is so well developed that it can pick up the slightest change in air pressure, so it doesnít even have to touch an object to know itís there.

A cat uses its nose as a thermometer, and this helps it prevent burning its nose and mouth. Dogs arenít that smart. If I give my dog something hot, heíll snarf it up, drop it, and immediately pick it up again, as though it will have cooled off during those five milliseconds. Heíll repeat this idiocy five or six times, his stupidity matched only by his tolerance for pain.

Cats smell better than we do. Well, better than I do, anyway. No, I mean their olfactory perception is better than ours. However, itís not as good as that of dogs, but the two cannot be fairly compared because each sense of smell serves a different purpose. Dogs are carrion feeders, so they very easily pick up putrid odors such rotting flesh, feces, Dick Cheney, etc. Cats are not carrion feeders, so they do not enjoy the smell of carrion. Furthermore, they enjoy the scents of certain flowers (e.g., catnip), whereas dogs are indifferent to floral scents.

At the roof of a catís mouth is the Jacobsonís organ, a small pouch lined with receptor cells, like a snake has (a snake flicks its tongue to pick up airborne particles, which it sends to the Jacobsonís organ for analysis). This organís olfactory cells are connected to a different part of the brain from those of the nose. When a cat receives a new, subtle or interesting smell, such as the urine of a female in heat, in order to enable the odor particles to reach the Jacobsonís organ it raises its head, opens its mouth, and draws back its lips. Experts call this weird grimace the flehmen reaction. I call it the I canít believe people actually watch Survivor reaction.

Never pick a cat up by the scruff of the neck. You might have seen a mother carrying its kittens this way, but that does not give you license to do it. Unless you really hate cats.

Cats have speed and jumping ability. Powerful hind leg muscles enable a cat to jump several times its own body length. This is one of the ways in which I envy cats. Aside from not having to do anything but lie around scratching and licking themselves, they can jump up onto counters and possibly even refrigerators, while I can barely reach up to adjust my showerhead.

Cats are also sure-footed. Their fore legs swing in, so their front paws walk the same line. This enables them to walk along very thin objects such as fence tops and window sills.

A cat has a few sweat glands on its body, but they seem to be for excreting impurities, not for temperature regulation. There are true sweat glands on the footpads. Good thing cats donít wear shoes.

A cat has several glands that it uses to leave its scent: perioral glands (along the lips), temporal glands (sides of the forehead), caudal glands (along the tail) and anal glands (slightly below the anus). The animal smears secretions on objects with these glands. This is why Iím not emotionally moved when a cat rubs up against me: it is merely using me as a fence post.

Cats have 19 pairs of chromosomes, which is fewer than the number found in humans (23) but more than the number found in George W. Bush (8).

Your cat might walk around the house frequently. This is because cats patrol their territory, like cops patrolling their beat, except without coffee and donuts.

You might want to install a cat door so your cat can enter and leave the house without your having to open a door each time. Itís a nice convenience but the downside is that it will allow other cats to enter, as well as any animal thin enough to fit through it: raccoons, skunks, Calista Flockhart, etc.




Chapter 4

DIET


Whatís the definition of a 900-pound cat? A pussy that eats you.


In nature, rodents (including rabbits and rats) constitute the largest portion of a catís diet, followed by insects and then birds (cats arenít very good at catching birds). Therefore a diet of rodents would be perfect, but you probably donít have any vermin in your house (unless you live with Trent Lott). However, you can serve your cat food that has rodents in it, like Whoppers and Big Macs. Barring that, read cat food packaging and look for food whose nutrient ratios come as close as possible to: 15% protein, 10% fat, and 1% carbohydrate.

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not finicky. Rather, they are spoiled. Spineless cat owners cater to their petsí every desire, so no wonder theyíre particular about what they eat. Children, husbands and wives also become fastidious whiners if theyíre pampered. Give your cat a variety of food Ė this will prevent finickiness. Otherwise when you place a bowl of food in front of your cat, the following conversation might ensue:

Cat:ďMeow.Ē (I hate this.)
You:ďWhatís the matter? Donít you like your food?Ē
Cat:ďMeow.Ē (I just told you I hate it. Are you deaf?)
You:ďCímon, eat the nice food.Ē
Cat:ďMeow.Ē (Iíd rather eat a lizard.)
You:ďYou have to eat, you know.Ē
Cat:ďMeow.Ē (Your Achilles tendon is looking good right about now.)

Give your cat dry food. Canned food causes gingivitis. It also smells bad. Dry food has more than three times as much nutrition (canned food is 75% water; dry food is only 15% water). Also, the taste and consistency of canned food can cause cats to overeat. Remember, cats can get fat just like humans can. The fattest cat on record weighed 43 pounds. Can you imagine having such a roly-poly ball of hair in your house? Itíd be like living with Al Sharpton.

Leave the dry food out so the cat is never famished, doesnít eat too much or too fast (and then puke), and doesnít bother you for food. A cat will not overeat dry food.

A dry diet requires more water. Make sure there is always a dish of fresh water near the food.

Never disturb a cat while itís eating. For that matter, donít disturb me while Iím eating.

Whenever I see cat food commercials, it reminds me of how great we have it. There is so much food in this country that we actually buy special food for our pets instead of just throwing them our scraps or letting them catch their own meals. Advertising companies put our pets on a pedestal. For example, ďYour cat is very important to you. So important that youíll pay top dollar for tiny cans of animal by-products instead of helping homeless people who live right outside your apartment building. Thatís why you should feed your feline friend Urina Cat Chow.Ē And so millions of people, many of them single women, line up at pet stores and supermarkets to overpay for canned livestock entrails with hard-earned money that could be better spent on cosmetics and facelifts.

Iíve heard of nutjobs who feed their cats vegetarian cat food. Vegetarian food! For a carnivore! What the hell are they thinking? Thatís like feeding meat to a deer. Or tofu to Oprah.

Catsí molars do not grind, but cut like scissors. Hence cats donít chew, but tear pieces off a carcass and swallow them whole. These pieces get digested by the animalís gastric juices, which are much stronger than ours. However, they cannot digest feathers, hair or bones, which is lucky for you because you get to enjoy having your pet regurgitate these items on your carpet.

If you give your cat human food, do not feed it starchy foods (potatoes, corn, rice, bread, crackers) or sweets (candy, fruit). Only meats, fish, eggs, and organ meats are acceptable. Meat should be de-boned and chopped up. Otherwise the bones can damage the intestinal lining, causing internal bleeding. Raw meat is preferable to cooked, unless itís pork. Pork must be cooked because it can give your cat trichinosis, which can be fatal.

You know how stupid dogs are, the way they eat random stuff off the ground? Well, cats are the same way. For example, many cats readily drink from algae-laden water, then get diarrhea. We might consider them stupid for doing this, but weíre no smarter. I mean, we know that Mexican food will give us the shits, but we eat it anyway. We know that alcohol depletes us of vitamins and destroys brain cells, but we drink it anyway. We know that politicians are liars and crooks, but we elect them anyway. We also get married.

There are a lot of other outdoor hazards that a cat can get into. It can ingest rat poison, slug bait, insecticides or anti-freeze. It can drown in someoneís pool, or get hit by a car, or be killed by a dog. In fact, I donít even go out anymore; I remain safe and sound in my natural habitat: in front of a computer, writing unpublishable illiterature while drinking several beers.

Cats sometimes eat grass. This might be because grass supplies folic acid (which is lacking in cooked meats), or it could be a digestive aid, but itís mostly for giving the animal something to throw up on your Oriental rug.

Some plants are toxic to cats. Tough. If a carnivore is stupid enough to eat a plant and it dies, thatís natural selection.

Milk is good but some cats are lactose intolerant. Whatís up with that? I mean, a lactose intolerant cat is like a Kennedy that doesnít drink.




Chapter 5

WASTE


If cats could talk, they wouldnít.


One of the convenient things about cats is that you donít have to walk them. They actually do their business inside your home. Wait! Come back! They do their business in a litter box: a wide, flat box filled with a substance called cat litter, which looks suspiciously like dry cat food. Urine soaks into it, and cats instinctively bury their turds in it. Good thing too. Have you ever smelled cat feces? That stuff is offal! On more than one occasion I have walked by a litter box and encountered a smell so foul that its nauseating effect could be rivaled only by a Kenny G concert.

Your cat (or kitten) might not know right away that the litter box is its toilet, so place it in there after eating, playing or napping, and encourage it to poop, perhaps by showing it a picture of Howard Stern. Once the animal has done its ďbusinessĒ in there, it will feel comfortable about using the litter box in the future.

A bored, unhappy, fearful or lonely cat might go Number One or Number Two where itís not supposed to. Imagine if we did that every time we were in a bad mood:

Curator:ďHey! Youíre urinating on the Mona Lisa!Ē
Me:ďIím bored.Ē
Curator:ďOh, okay.Ē

The litter box should be kept in a private place, not only so the cat can have privacy, but also because it stinks. I canít believe that people actually keep cat urine and excrement in their home Ė the same place where they eat, have sex, and raise children. And people call me weird just because I walk around naked. At work.

Scoop the turds out every day, and change the litter twice a week. DO NOT THROW THE TURDS IN A WASTEBASKET! Were you born in a barn or something? Hell, Jesus was born in a barn and even he didnít keep cat shit in the house. Of course, he never had a girlfriend either. But Iíve gotten off track. Cat turds should be either flushed down the toilet or tossed outside, perhaps into your asshole neighborís yard.

Cats can be trained to use a toilet (which is more than I can say for half my fraternity). I saw it on TV once. A cat sat on the seat, pooped, then turned around and flushed. And you thought there was nothing good on television.




Chapter 6

MEDICAL  CARE


Man:ďSorry, maíam, I ran over your cat, but I can replace it.Ē
Woman:ďWell, hurry up Ė thereís a mouse in the kitchen!Ē


Cats can get all sorts of parasites. For example, there are platyhelminthes (flatworms) such as tapeworms, and aschelminthes (roundworms) such as hookworms. Tapeworm eggs are ingested by fleas, which in turn are eaten by the cat at it cleans itself, and the eggs hatch inside the animal. Hookworm eggs can also be ingested, or they can hatch and then enter their host either via ingestion or by boring through the skin. In the latter case, they can travel via a blood or lymph vessel to the lungs. The animal coughs them up and swallows the sputum, which carries the worms to the small intestine. Many worms attach to the intestinal mucosa and do nothing but eat, reproduce, and cause irritation, kind of like Jesse Jackson. Worms are more harmful to kittens than to cats, causing emaciation, vomiting, loss of appetite, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, and/or the appearance of a haw (third eyelid). Have your kitten wormed at 3-4 months of age. ďWormedĒ means ďde-wormedĒ, like ďpittedĒ means ďde-pittedĒ. Is that stupid or what?

There are also external parasites such as fleas, lice, ticks, mites, and ringworm (a fungus). The main symptom is undue scratching. Ear mites also cause a crusty coating in the ears and vigorous head shaking or rubbing. Ticks can cause Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (Rickettsia rickettsii). Cats get fewer ticks than dogs do because they are smaller, so they have less surface area; and they clean themselves more often and more thoroughly. Lice spend their entire life on their host. Eggs, called nits, are laid and attached to the fur. In 7-10 days, each louse hatches in its adult form, only smaller. All external parasites can be eradicated with medications from your vet. Donít bother with the stuff in pet stores Ė none of that stuff works. Only prescription medications work. If any of the off-the-shelf products worked, theyíd be prescription too, because the medical community likes to lock up the good medicine and charge lots of money for it.

Vaccinations are a must. Diseases such as feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), feline leukemia virus (FeLV), rabies (rhabdovirus) and tetanus can be vaccinated against, but if your cat gets these diseases, there is no cure. There are two kinds of rabies: excitative (or furious), and dumb. The former is more common. Both kinds cause a change in temperament and pupil dilation. About three days later the cat becomes nervous and, if itís excitative rabies, irritable and aggressive. Eventually the jaw drops, the cat salivates uncontrollably, and paralysis sets in, followed by death. Feline infectious enteritis (FIE) is probably the worst disease cats can get. It is an extremely infectious viral condition with a very high mortality rate. The virus has been known to survive on surfaces at room temperature for months. The incubation period is 4-5 days, during which the cat shows no symptoms. After that, the animal develops a fever, its fur stands on end, it will not eat or drink, and it might vomit. Death can occur within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Thankfully there is a vaccine for it. However, not every disease can be vaccinated against. For example, there is no vaccine for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which is like AIDS.

Ask your vet which vaccinations your cat needs, and when. Remember, just because veterinarians work on animals, that doesnít mean they arenít as good medical practitioners as doctors are. Veterinarians are every bit as skilled and knowledgeable (which isnít saying much given the number of quack doctors). In fact, some people who flunk out of veterinary school enroll in medical school and become physicians. This is where HMOs get their providers.

If you have to give your cat medicine, see if it comes in a form that the animal will eat (e.g., a tasty chewable). Liquid form is another possibility Ė you can administer it with a dropper. Try to avoid pills. However, if thatís the only form a medicine comes in, see the Appendix for how to give a cat a pill.

Cats can get some of the same types of illnesses we do. For example, eczema can be caused by a hormonal imbalance or an allergy (perhaps to a flea collar). It shows up as small scaly spots that the cat licks and bites until itís raw. Cystitis is a bacterial infection or small stones in the bladder. An afflicted cat will visit its litter box frequently, straining but only peeing a little, like me when my prostate is acting up.

An injured cat might bite if you pick it up, due to pain, disorientation or fear. Wrap it in a blanket or jacket first.

How do you know if your cat is sick or injured? Well, has it stopped bathing itself or rubbing against you? Is it having trouble eating? Does it seem lethargic? These could be signs of illness. Touch the animal all over; when you touch an injured part, the cat will pull away or meow. Check the animalís gums Ė they should be pale, not red. Check its respiration, which should be 20-30 breaths per minute; and pulse, which should be 100-130. You can take a catís pulse from a femoral artery on the inside of the thigh. You can also take a personís pulse this way, but I donít recommend it. I mean, letís say someone is lying unconscious on the sidewalk, and you rush over to help. Your hands have no business inside that personís pants unless youíre a senator.

You can take your catís temperature by sticking a thermometer up its ass, but this can be dangerous. However, if youíre a daredevil or you have a death wish, the temperature should be 100Ė102.5įF. By the way, you know what the difference is between an oral thermometer and a rectal thermometer? The taste.

Here is a table of feline medical crises and what emergency medical care you can give, but keep in mind that in every case you should bring the animal to the vet because it might need antibiotics, steroids or surgery.

CrisisWhat you can do
Burn or scaldCool with water, cover with clean cloth
ElectrocutionKeep cat warm: wrap in blanket, or rub
Insect stingRemove stinger if possible
DrowningLay cat on table with head hanging over edge. Rub body while allowing water to drain from mouth.
Profuse bleedingApply pressure
FractureMove cat gently onto tray, towel or blanket, cover with blanket, and transport to vet
PoisoningKeep cat warm and feed Universal Antidote (two parts powdered charcoal (or crushed charcoal dog biscuits), one part Milk of Magnesia, and one part tannic acid (or strong tea))

If the cat is not breathing, you can attempt to get it breathing again by one of these two methods:

  1. Lay the cat on it side, press its chest for 4 seconds, release for 4 seconds, and repeat.
  2. Grab the cat by its hind legs with its head down, and swing it in a half circle. (And all these years Iíve been doing that just for fun!)




Chapter 7

DENTAL  CARE


Why cats are better than children:

You donít have to lie awake nights wondering how youíre going to finance your kittenís college education.
No one will question your abilities to function normally at your job when they hear you just got a kitten.
You only have to change a litter box twice a week.


Kittens start getting their 2nd teeth at 3-4 months of age, and all of them are in by 8 months.

Adult cats have 30 teeth, except in West Virginia where they have 11. Cats typically have 12 incisors, 10 premolars, 4 molars and 4 canines. This shows how ridiculous medical professionals can be: they actually use the word ďcanineĒ to describe cat teeth.

Older cats can get periodontitis, which can cause tooth loss or infections. Have bad teeth extracted; a veterinarian will have to do this under anesthesia (that is, the cat will have to be under anesthesia, not the vet).

As I mentioned earlier, canned food causes gingivitis. Dry food is much better for teeth, not only because itís less promoting of gingivitis, but also because it exercises the animalís jaws and the connective tissue that keeps the teeth in their sockets.

You can brush your catís teeth. I have always brushed my dogsí teeth, but having been bitten by several cats, I donít think Iíll ever perform feline dental care. Let the frigginí little hairballís teeth rot. Keeping a catís teeth healthy would be like selling arms to Iraq, and who would do that? (I mean, besides France.)

If you brush your catís teeth, use a soft, small toothbrush. There are special cat toothpastes on the market that come in flavors that cats like, such as chicken, fish, and ass.




Chapter 8

GROOMING


Rules of cat behavior:
  1. When your owner opens the door for you, remain half in the doorway and think about several things. This is particularly important during cold weather and mosquito season.
  2. After dinner, when you are walking on the table among the dishes, act surprised and hurt when scolded.
  3. When rubbing against humansí legs, be sure to choose fabric colors that are in great contrast to yours. For example, white furred cats should select a fine black wool.
  4. Find guests who hate cats, and sit in their laps. If your breath has a fishy cat food odor, so much the better.
  5. If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug.
  6. After accidentally knocking over a lamp, walk away quietly knowing that the dog will get blamed.
  7. Follow guests into the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything in there Ė just sit and stare.


Check your catís ears for wax and other debris. Clean with a moist (but not saturated) cotton swab. Dark brown gritty material inside the ears could indicate ear mites. Have your veterinarian check it out because prescription eardrops are required for getting rid of these pests.

For the most part, cats groom themselves. Their tongues have horny papillae, which are conical protrusions that turn the tongue into a fine comb so it can remove dirt, bugs, oil, skin flakes, etc from the fur. A cat swallows hair in the process of grooming itself, often causing hairballs to form in the stomach. Normally it will vomit them up. If not thrown up, a hairball can go into the intestines and cause constipation or even a blockage. If that happens, give the animal a laxative or Mexican food.

Even though cats ďcombĒ their fur with their tongue, you can benefit your feline companion by brushing or combing it. In addition to helping remove dead hair and debris, brushing stimulates circulation. A short-haired cat should be brushed lightly and thoroughly, head to tail, with a moderately stiff bristle brush. For long-haired cats, use a blunt metal comb. If the coat is very greasy, work some grooming powder in with your fingers before combing Ė it will absorb some of the grease.

Because cats groom themselves, they generally do not need baths. Good thing, too. I mean, have you ever tried to force a cat into a tub of water? Itís like trying to push Rosie OíDonnell into a Jenny Craig meeting.

Actually Iíve read that cats can enjoy baths. (Of course, Iíve also read that love lasts forever.) The key is to use warm water. A double sink is an ideal place to do it; if you donít have one, try two buckets. Fill each side of the sink about ¼ of the way with warm water, ladle it over the cat to soak its fur, and apply cat shampoo (available at your local pet shop). Work it in well with a massaging motion. Avoid the animalís face. You might have to hold its scruff while you do this in order to keep it from jumping out. Put the cat in the other side of the sink for rinsing. Drain and add fresh water to the 1st side of the sink so you can transfer the cat to it when the water in the 2nd side gets soapy. Keep rinsing until you get all the shampoo out. Dry the animal with a towel. Some cats will also tolerate a hair dryer. Afterward, the cat will lick its hair into place.

A cat that has just finished licking its hair into place might not want to be petted. This might sound odd until you remember that many women are the same way. God forbid you should mess up the hairstyle she just spent $100 on.




Chapter 9

CLAWS


Cat facts that owners must accept:

Cat does not need you.
Cat is your master.
Cat will shit on your bed to remind you of fact #2.
Cat will shred your couch.
Cat hates you.


As anyone who has ever been scratched by a cat knows, cats have very sharp claws. Why anyone would want to live with such dangerous beasts is beyond me. The only time I want to be scratched is when Iím making love to a hand model. Actually I almost do that regularly. I hope you have no idea what Iím talking about.

Cats can extend or retract their front claws at will. They keep their claws retracted most of the time, and extend them only when necessary, such as when they jump in your lap while youíre wearing nice pants or pantyhose.

A cat doesnít have to be upset in order to scratch. A contented cat might knead its paws and thereby scratch you. This is a primal activity that goes back to birth when the suckling kitten kneads its motherís nipple in order to draw out more milk.

Catsí sharp claws enable them to climb tree trunks. However, they are often unable to get down. And you thought cats were smart.

You can protect your furniture from being scratched by spraying it with cat repellent, but that doesnít always work. You can sit there with a spray bottle and mist the cat with water when it scratches furniture, but that requires you to spend time waiting Ė time that you donít have unless youíre a pathetic no-life like me who obviously has plenty of time to write this sort of gibberish.

You can clip the animalís claws, but this can be hazardous to your health. Cat claws have a quick, just like dog nails do. If you look at a claw closely, youíll see a pigmented part that extends part of the way. Like the pulp inside a tooth, the quick has a nerve and blood supply. Cutting this part will cause great pain for both the animal and you as it bites and scratches like a floozy in a bar fight.

Use a cat claw clipper specially designed for the purpose. Hold each toe between your thumb and forefinger. Locate the quick (the claw should be translucent), and cut just below it. Then wash the lacerations on your face.

A much safer and more convenient way to deal with claws is to have them removed. This procedure Ė called an onychectomy Ė involves amputation of the first joints of the front paws. This is okay if you keep your cat indoors all the time. Donít send a declawed cat outdoors where there are other cats that might attack it. Would you walk in downtown Los Angeles without a gun? I rest my case.

If you choose to do nothing about your catís claws (i.e., youíre an imbecile), provide it with a wooden scratching post, unless you want the vicious little hairball to turn your furniture into spaghetti. Cats like to strop their claws on tree trunks, and for this reason the post should be upright. A scratching post keeps the animalís claws in shape: it keeps the muscles and tendons that control the claws in good condition, and removes the outer layer of keratin when it gets worn (thus sharpening the claws). This maximizes the amount of blood the animal draws when it scratches you. Post scratching is also good exercise for the whole body. Make sure the post is sturdy and tall enough for the cat to stand and reach its paws up. Put a toy on top so the cat has to reach for it.




Chapter 10

SPAYING  /  NEUTERING


Why do women rub their eyes in the morning? Because they have no balls to scratch.


42% of cats are homeless. 9% of cats in shelters will find homes. And yet people still pay good money for pet store or breeder cats. I wonít bother trying to convince you to get a rescue animal instead of feeding the breeding industry, because youíre gonna do what youíre gonna do. People who pay retail for animals tend to be the same sort of conforming, uncreative, TV-addicted American slobs who shop at Walmart and drink Coke/Pepsi/Budweiser. But of course Iím the asshole just for pointing that out.

Spaying should be done at 5-6 months, and neutering at 5-12 months. Itís a simple operation, and costs well under $100. And considering how much you pay for cable and your cell phone every month, you canít use cost as an excuse not to spay or neuter, you cheap Jew.

There are reasons for neutering and spaying other than birth control. Altered animals are nicer, and they form a closer bond with their owners. Hormones bring out the worst in cats, just like with people. Think about it. Little kids are innocent and nice. Old people are wise and docile. But teenagers and adults speed and cut others off in traffic, argue, swear, fight and steal. Also, unneutered male cats have pungent-smelling urine and they will spray it as a territorial marker. Iím glad we live in a society where we erect walls and fences and hire surveyors to mark our territory. Can you imagine what it would be like if neighbors were always peeing on their property lines? I mean, youíd look out your window and see a guy taking a leak right there on the lawn. Itíd be like college all over again.

Interestingly, unneutered male cats donít lift a leg and pee like dogs do; they back up to an object and pee backwards. That impresses me. Iíve tried it, and believe me itís not easy.

A neutered male usually doesnít spray, but he might spray when he feels that his position in the household is threatened, e.g., if a new cat arrives. He might even poop in a conspicuous area. As revolting as that sounds, itís practical. I mean, think of all the violence that could be prevented if we simply pooped when someone pissed us off instead of hitting or shooting or suing them. Itíd let them know that weíre angry and perhaps cause them to leave the area out of disgust. I tried it once. Unfortunately I was in my car at the time.

Neutered males are more content and less aggressive. They grow bigger and often have a nicer coat. Neutering also prevents the head from developing a jowled shape. Basically neutering tames and emasculates the animal, like marriage but much cheaper and less painful.

So, what are the consequences of not altering your cat? An unneutered male (called a tom) will stray and fight with other cats, and possibly wail through the night. An unspayed female (called a queen) will go into heat a lot, and if confined, might pee or poop in the house (possibly spraying furniture and walls) and become difficult to handle.

For more information, contact the Friends of Animals spay/neuter hotline at 800-631-2212.

We could solve many of the worldís problems if only weíd spay and neuter people, but we donít alter humans, even welfare moms with seven kids. This is because the Constitution promises us life, liberty, and unlimited procreation even if millions of other peopleís tax money must be spent feeding and housing an exploding indigent population so that they can live in squalor and die young.

One more thing: contrary to popular belief, castrated animals do not become fat and lazy. Look at Lance Armstrong. Cancer caused the loss of one testicle and significant damage to the other, and he has won numerous Tours de France. (Incidentally, he was almost stripped of his titles because a random search of his hotel room found three substances that are banned in France: toothpaste, deodorant and soap.)




Chapter 11

REPRODUCTION


I developed a fool-proof method of birth control: I let women get to know me.


Queens can enter puberty any time between 4 and 15 months of age, but they tend to come into breeding season early in their first spring regardless of the month in which they were born. A queen in estrus rolls on the floor, cries, and presents herself by lying on her elbows, knees and toes. Itís like a Madonna video. This lasts about a week, but can be as few as three or as many as fifteen days, and can happen several times a year. So unless you want your home to be a perpetual sorority party, get your queen spayed.

Toms enter puberty at 8-12 months of age. They are always ready to mate. Typical guys.

So, when is the best time to mate? During a Hugh Grant movie after a few beers. No, wait, weíre talking about cats here. I suppose whenever they feel like doing it they should. I mean, thereís never a bad time to get pussy.

The male mounts the female and grabs the loose skin of her scruff (behind her neck) in his mouth. Then, after ejaculation, he lets go and runs away, like Bill Clinton only much more polite. He runs off because after coitus the queen will turn to attack him, probably because he didnít buy her dinner first. Often they will mate again in a short while, and perhaps several times in a single day. This is one of the areas where I envy cats. When I mate, Iím so tired that Iím not ready to do it again until the next gubernatorial election.

The female makes a lot of noise when the male withdraws after sex. The penis has lots of small barbs that rub or scratch against her, but it is still unknown whether the cry is one of pain or of pleasure. I suppose it depends on whether sheís a Republican or a Democrat.

Ovulation occurs as a result of copulation; it does not happen on its own, as it does with humans. Wouldnít it be great if a woman didnít ovulate until she shtupped? Then all these wives who are trying to get pregnant wouldnít have to pull their husbands away from the playoffs because the thermometer tells them theyíre ovulating, and sex could once again be the spontaneous, perverted bout of sweaty fornication that God intended it to be.

Provide a ďkittening boxĒ for the expectant mother: a cardboard box, 20 inches long, with a hole in the side large enough for her to go in and out. The box should have a top. Place paper towels in there for soft, disposable bedding.

After 57-70 days of gestation, an average of four kittens are born, usually at night, all blind and deaf initially (their eyes will open in 2-12 days). It might take several hours to deliver them all, and an hour or so might elapse between each kitten.

By the way, the world record for cat reproduction is held by a queen that gave birth to 420 kittens during her 17-year life. She had no incentive to stop reproducing because she was on welfare.

The unique smells of the birthing process are very important to newborns. Do not change the bedding except that which is soiled because a change of environment can be stressful. Also, do not interfere with the mother and her kittens. If you do she will resent it, and she will carry the kittens in and out of the box, possibly injuring them.

Kittens are each born encased in a membrane. Sometimes it breaks during the birthing process, and sometimes the mother has to bite it. If neither occurs, you must break it and free the kittenís head or else it will suffocate. The mother usually bites off the umbilical cord and eats the placenta. A lot of people find this disgusting. Of course, these same people eat at Taco Bell. The placenta contains nourishment as well as hormones that aid in starting lactation. The mother will lick each kitten, not merely to clean it, but also to stimulate its circulation and nervous system.

Now, if you think the motherís eating the placenta and umbilical cord is disgusting, get this: for the first 2 weeks the kittens cannot urinate or defecate on their own, so she licks their genital regions in order to stimulate urination and defecation, and she swallows the waste products. Thatís horrible! The only thing more disgusting than that is Linda Tripp.




Chapter 12

KITTENHOOD


Signs your kitty might be planning to kill you:

You wake up to find a birdís head in your bed.
Droppings in litter box spell out ďREDRUMĒ.
Has taken a sudden interest in the wood chipper.
Instead of dead birds, leaves cartons of Marlboros on your doorstep.
Ball of yarn playfully tied into a hangmanís noose.
Now sharpens claws on your carís brake lines.


Donít separate kittens from their mother for at least eight weeks because they need to nurse. Also, early separation is a trauma that can lead to lifelong disposition problems. This applies to all mammals. For example, breast-fed babies usually turn out better than bottle-fed babies. How do I know this? Well, I was bottle-fed, and look how I turned out.

Kittens might have any of a number of deformities. Some, like extra toes, are harmless, but others, like a cleft palate, indicate euthanasia. A potbelly could indicate worms Ė have the animal checked.

A kitten will miss its littermates, so even if it was weaned properly, it will still need lots of love from you. Also, handling kittens makes them more accepting of humans later on. 4-8 weeks of age is a critical time for this. In addition to handling them, groom them so they will be more receptive to grooming when theyíre older.

If you decide to get a kitten, get two. This way they can play with each other and sleep adorably with their paws around each otherís necks. I tried this with various girlfriends but for some reason not a single one of them felt comfortable sleeping with my hands around her throat.

The sooner you bring kittens together the better, because the older an animal gets, the longer it takes to accept a new companion. The same goes for people. I was 40 when I got married and I never really accepted my wife, which is why weíre divorced. Now Iím so lonely that Iím almost as miserable as I was when I was married.

Kittens have tiny stomachs, so they need frequent meals. As I mentioned earlier, dry food is preferable, so you can simply leave a bowl of dry food out and avoid the inconvenience and smell of opening cans and spooning food out every few hours.

Donít let a young kitten out of the house. If you do, it could get into trouble or become lost, eventually getting kidnapped and used for kitty porn.




Chapter 13

PLAY


Cats know how we feel. They donít give a shit, but they know.


The most intelligent animals play the most (e.g., primates, whales, dolphins, felines, canines). Play is not as important to lower animals (e.g., reptiles, crustaceans, lawyers). Play deprivation bothers cats. If your feline friend stalks or pounces on you, it probably isnít getting enough play. This is why two cats are better than one Ė they can play with each other.

Bored or jealous cats might self-mutilate, plucking out hair or chewing or licking areas until theyíre raw and bleeding. If you find this hard to believe, then look at what we do to ourselves when weíre bored or jealous: we yell, obsess, drink, take drugs, become violent, and get married.

Cats enjoy a nice box with holes in the sides and toys in it. They love to climb in and play. There are lots of kinds of toys you can buy, but a ball of crumpled paper can be just as entertaining. You can have $100 worth of toys on the floor and your pet will chase the piece of junk mail that missed the wastebasket. Itís like when you buy your child an expensive gift and he ends up playing with the box.

Domestic cats still have the hunting instinct, and always will in our lifetimes because our society canít erase millions of years of evolution.* You can help satisfy this instinct with a ball of string or a catnip-stuffed toy.

* If youíre a religious fundamentalist, change that sentence to: God gave cats a hunting instinct because He loves to aggravate us (which is the same reason He gave women a desire to communicate and men a desire for quiet).

Contrary to popular belief, not all cats are hydrophobic. Some cats like to play with water, or even swim. Ah yes, thereís nothing like a wet pussy.




Appendix


HOW  TO  GIVE  A  CAT  A  PILL

(I did not make this up.)

  1. Pick up cat and cradle in crook of arm. Position forefinger and thumb on either side of catís mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
  2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in crook of arm and repeat step 1.
  3. Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.
  4. Take new pill from foil wrap. Cradle cat in arm while holding rear paws tightly. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with forefinger. Hold mouth shut for count of ten.
  5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe.
  6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees. Hold front and rear paws. Ignore growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly while forcing mouth open. Drop pill down throat. Rub throat vigorously.
  7. Retrieve cat from curtain rod. Get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set aside for gluing later.
  8. Wrap cat in large towel. Get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible. Put pill in end of straw, force mouth open and blow into straw.
  9. Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans. Drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply bandage to spouseís forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
  10. Retrieve cat from neighborís shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door, leaving head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.
  11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw T-shirt away and fetch new one.
  12. Call fire department to retrieve cat from telephone pole.
  13. Tie catís front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Find heavy-duty pruning gloves in shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of filet mignon. Hold head vertically and pour two pints of water down throat.
  14. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.


HOW  TO  GIVE  A  DOG  A  PILL

  1. Wrap it in bacon.




AFTERWORD



As you can tell from the pathetically small size of this book (and this book isnít the only thing of mine thatís pathetically small), I donít know much about cats. Of course, I donít know much about anything, but that doesnít stop me from writing book after useless book and then distributing them the way the government hands out welfare checks.

The bottom line is that I shouldnít quit my day job. Some people would call me a loser. Well, if you call someone with no girlfriend, ten extra pounds, a drinking problem and seven arrests a loser, then yes, I suppose by those standards Iím a loser. But if a productive career, a nice personality, community involvement and respect from others make one a winner, then Iím still a loser because I have none of those.