Monthly Archives: November 2014

Why Kittens Suck

Ok, perhaps a bit harsh. I’ve owned probably a dozen cats, and one, Jerome David, was the coolest animal I ever met. Six claws per, could catch anything that moved. I saw him swat a fly out of the air. Broke his leg in a fall once and never meowed a whimper. Tough motherfucker.

But still. They’re furry little Hitlers.

Cats are all about cats. They’re fine if you take a month-long cruise. They bathe themselves. Dogs would rather you not leave the couch. Dogs prefer to stink, preferably in your bed, preferably like a dead frog (I had a beagle once, Snooper, who rolled around so much in one he smelled like Kermit’s corpse). The only way dogs are gonna get clean is if you clean them. And they’d prefer you start with their asses. That’s it. Scratch it like you mean it.

We in the media love to debate numbers, quantify the lord of the domestics. And more people own cats than dogs (apparently they have a problem picking up excrement. Prisses.).

But here’s all the evidence necessary to prove dogs are better than cats: our own definitions. Ask yourself: If your pet got irradiated like the Hulk and was suddenly as big to you as you once were to it, would you rather have a dog or cat? SashulkSure, you’d probably get killed by both. But a dog murder would likely be accidental: fatal flattening from asking one to sit; blunt force trauma from a wagging tail; drowning by slobber; flatulence overdose.

A cat would slowly disembowel you, drag you into the house and leave you under the bed covers, a horse-head’s warning to all humans that you’ll pay for putting me in that goddamn hat.

And ask a cat lover what’s so great about Abbie the Tabbie, and you’ll get: She comes when you call; greets you at the door; can be walked; loves people. She even does tricks! Watch. Sit, Abbie. Abbie, sit. Sit, Abbie! SIT! ABBIE!

In other words: she’s dog-like (except for the fuck-off gaze a cat will give you when you try to teach it a trick). Feliners will even say, ‘It’s just like a dog.’

But if you have to say something is like something else, is it all that? You never hear a dog’s landlord say: ‘She’s just like a cat.’

Same with fish (the food, not the “pet”). How many times has someone offered you a taste of their scrod, noting parenthetically, ‘Try it, it’s great. It doesn’t taste fishy.’ No one will ever offer you a bite of steak and say, ‘Try it, it’s great. It doesn’t taste beefy.’

All right, perhaps there’s no need for strident dispute, at least over the four-legged, not the gilled. Truth is, rarely have I met an animal that doesn’t eclipse humans in behavior. I once tried to enter my Labrador Retriever Larry in California’s gubernatorial election recall. I was convinced that Larry would  land more votes than the miscreants who entered the race, which included a porn star, Carrot Top and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Larry’s grinning face, lolling tongue surely would have landed at least a million votes from the SPCA alone. His poster already had a tagline: “This race has gone to the dogs. Let’s give it to the real one.”

Alas, California law at the time required you be a state resident at least seven years, and Larry was but six. I could find no provision that required the governor be human.

If nothing else, no animal would send a bill to filibuster. Swat away, Jerome David, swat away.

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The Fleeting

Teddy is the Golden Retriever. All love and bravery and foolhardy energysotaut it seems as if it will break him in two. I got him after the divorce; he’s been at my side through much. Maybe he’s seen more; some jerk ran over him and broke his leg. Never stopped. Teddy has steel rods up and down his right front leg. Never complains. I do. I don’t know if they’ll ever catch the human flotsam who did it — a witness says he was in a newer BMW that never slowed — but I sure hope god is a dog.

Esme is the Boston Terrier. She came later. All brains and cunning and snoringlove. She will literally sleep in your lap for hours. I’ve timed it.

When their favorite toy, the plastic bone, goes into the pool, Teddy dives headfirst, temperature be damned. He grabs the bone, hoists it over the water as if it were electronic. Swims his pride to the side of the pool, where Esme waits and takes it, brings it to my feet. This is not a grudging relationship at all. i believe they love each other. They just bring their own strengths to the table.

One day, toy goes in, lands on a raft. Teddy dives in, scrambles on the raft to the toy like my love depends on his speed. Toy drops off, plunk, begins floating to Esme, patient at pool’s edge.

Teddy is frantic. Rolls off. Faster to swim than paddle this human contraption. Splashing and panting and seeming to grin. But the bone, it appears, will reach Esme first. So patient, she is.

Near the edge. Esme leans, opens her tiny mouth, which somehow can carry a toy nearly as large as she. Like Michael Phelps, Teddy lunges at the final moment, dives his head into the froth, straining to out-muzzle Esme. Somehow, he does. He splashes victorious, heads to the shallow end, where Esme trots to take the toy, to exact her patient revenge.

But there’s something to that sprint, isn’t there? To lunging and splashing and grinning even when it seemsjustoutofreach. Teddy will have that toy perhaps 30 seconds. So what? He could care less. Better to have dived headfirst, hold that beloved even for a second, yes?

Sometimes I envy what those hounds live every day.

To the little victories, however fleeting.


My precious

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The Possession Of Teddy And Esme

Just in time for Halloween, the latest trailer from the minds of…well, they have minds. Kinda.



The head shots

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