It’s no secret that my wife and I are crazy about cats. We’ve fostered dozens of kittens and adult cats over the years. We currently belong to three (formerly) male cats who were all once fosters: Zippy, Buddy, and our newest family member, Monster. Some readers may even recall that Zippy once authored a tell-all book trashing me. But we settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
We pet owners sure do love our furry companions. Many people, like my good friend and fellow humor writer Dorothy Rosby, even talk to them on a regular basis.
And sure, I talk to my cats too. Who doesn’t talk to their cat? (Unless they are one of those freakishly ugly hairless sphynx breeds – I just don’t trust them.)
When I talk to my cats, it’s always about important things, like whether my Seattle Seahawks should trade their quarterback Russell Wilson for a pair of first round draft picks or reminding them to make the bed after I get up in the morning or asking them if there’s anything good on TV. I can’t say with 100% certainty that they always understand what I’m saying, but they never ask clarifying questions, so I presume they’re tracking with me.
Cats are a lot smarter than most people think. One clever cat lover even wrote a book called Why Cats Paint. It was so successful that I plan to rip off his idea and pump out a series of similar books, including Why Cats Cook, Why Cats Bowl, and Why Cats Don’t Particularly Care About Particle Physics.
Some people wonder whether cats actually love us back. I can say with confidence that Zippy and Buddy love me. The verdict’s still out on Monster, ever since I recently put him in the laundry room for two days for peeing on the bed. He holds onto grudges.
I truly adore our cats, even though they almost never offer to help with the chores. That said, any time I put new sheets on the bed, Zippy is always eager to help – which he does by jumping up on the bed (right before I put down the fitted sheet) and lying there for hours under all the new warm sheets and blankets. Even when one of them misbehaves, I can’t stay mad at them. I even forgave Buddy the time he leapt up on my laptop keyboard and somehow instantly managed to delete a humor article I’d been laboring on for three hours but had failed to save. But did he ever apologize? Sadly, no.
I like to give our cats several nicknames. For example, I have periodically called Monster Pumpkin, Cuddles, Squawker, BumpelRumpinface, and most recently, The Evil One Who Must Be Destroyed. But they always seem to respond to my call, regardless what name I call them (so long as I come bearing treats).
I also like to tell jokes to my cats. But when it comes to humor, they are a tough audience. Whenever I read them portions of my latest column, they rarely chuckle or even smirk. Typically they just stare at me until they realize I don’t have any treats, then walk away – so, pretty much the same response I get from my wife.
Millions of cat owners routinely proclaim their affection for their furry friends by snuggling with them and telling them how much they love them. Like I said, I do that too. But I also sing to my cats – with original lyrics I make up. That said, I’ve never been able to come up with a song lyric that rhymes with “Monster.” I’m seriously considering changing his name to Ned or Brad, both of which are much easier to rhyme.
My songs cover a wide variety of timely topics from “I can’t see my computer monitor with you sitting there” to “Would you like to go bungee jumping with me tomorrow” to “how’d you get so fat – did you eat your brother?” – all in perfect rhyme but far from perfect pitch. I’m pretty sure my wife enjoys when I break out in song for our cats because whenever I start up, she immediately goes to another room (no doubt for better acoustics).
Here is a song I just sang to Buddy, while he was curled up on my lap (sung to the show tune, Where is Love, from the movie Oliver):
Where-ere-ere-ere-ere is Bud?
Where-ere-ere-ere-ere is Bud?
Is he in a tree? Or the bottom of the sea
All covered up in mud?
Catchy, I agree. Or this one I recently composed for Zippy (sung to the tune of Hey, Paula by the singers Paul and Paula):
Hey, Hey, Zippy, I see you giving me a glance
Hey, Hey, Zippy, now you have jumped up on my pants
I wish you wouldn’t leave
All of your fur on my pant sleeve
Hey, Zippy, don’t make me ship you to France
I’m thinking of making an album called Pet Sounds (I sure hope nobody else has used that name yet). Oh sure, you may think I’m a bit quirky since I like to sing to my cats. I mostly croon Broadway show tunes, pop songs, and the occasional Gregorian chant. It’s not like I would ever sing them opera arias because that would be ridiculous.
Trust me, I’m not obsessed with our cats. I would never dress them up in silly costumes. And I would never install one of those giant cat walls that go around half the living room for them to climb up on – unless my wife changes her mind about that.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2022.