by David D. Horowitz.

Sit, stay, good human. I know my litter box—or, excuse me, your litter box, which you so generously offer me—contains a mess. And though I concealed the mess, well, there’s still an odor. And I understand this week I ripped stuffing from the velvet, square-armed upholstered chair you love, when you’ve been insisting I use the carpeted scratching post you placed beside the couch. And you didn’t seem grateful for the sparrow, freshly killed, I delivered yesterday morning to the WELCOME mat. And then I left smelly stains on the bed of my grey felt cat cave: the expensive one you bought last week. Yes, that cat cave.

So, yesterday night, after I leapt onto the kitchen counter and spilled your bowl of hot noodle soup, you decided I needed a bath. I think you meant well, but I could sense you weren’t happy when you muttered: “Next time I give Clawdia a bath, I’m wearing a suit of armor.” Well, I don’t like big pools of water, and you scared me! Just let me clean myself. I like doing it, and I won’t have to shred your forearm to make my point. I like to purr, not hiss and yowl, but a cat’s a cat. Sorry about your forearm.

And, yes, I heard you holler this morning with all those envelopes in your hand: “Too many damned bills! Bills, bills, bills!” And then you glared at me and barked, “And your organic, grain-free salmon-venison kibble costs a fortune!” My breeding and sophistication, good human, reflect well on your household. I’m sure your friends appreciate the cool-cat element of our home. I let them pet me—even your insufferable friend who flicks my ears and imitates my hissing. I’ve endured him when many would have clawed his nose off. But I remain loyal and restrained. So, sit, stay, good human. I know you’re not happy with me. But you know I make our place special. And I put up with a lot, too!

Now, you probably assume every time I rub against your leg, I’m angling for a payoff: a handful of my organic turkey-lentil chew treats; a bowl of water; gentle rubbing under my neck; to be let on to the balcony; a day in kitty day care; my favorite chew toy—the indestructible tan dragon! Sure, I’m not bashful about hints. But, you know, human: I also want to say I really like you. I like that you try to learn about my sensitivities. I appreciate that you’re always there for me. So, I have learned not only to ingratiate, manipulate, and intimidate: I’ve also learned to reciprocate. Yes, call it “love,” if you want.

Now, what is it you’re saying: “Why is there so much damned fur all over the carpet?! Clawdia’s shedding.” Another mess I made, but, as I said, a cat’s a cat. Shedding happens! Shredding your forearm? Maybe I could improve there. So, stay, good human. Be a little more patient. This is a team effort. Feed me, and let me decorate the furniture and scamper about—and I’ll keep our house cute, more fun! I’ll defend you from sparrows and dragons and velveteen mice. It’s a win/win for us! I love you, good human!


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