Come Back as a Kitty Cat

Title: Cat Got Your Life? Image-drawing: Head of a Blue Kitty with black eyes peaks sideways.I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I could come back as any animal after my death, it would be a kitty cat. As a writer, I’m at home throughout the day and able to observe my cat, Olaf, as he goes about his life. It’s not much of a life but, damn, does he have it good. Too good. It’s sickening looking at someone every day who has it better than you do.

When I get up in the morning I have a “to do” list. Most of the time it’s stuff I don’t want to “to do.” Clean the kitchen, write something, pay some bills, make that phone call where I know I’ll be on hold pushing buttons and screaming verbal prompts into the phone that are never heard correctly. C not P, you stupid lady! Okay, let’s try this again… Cats have one thing on their “to do” list which is “whatever I feel like today.” Even if my cat could use his little paws to make one of these dreadful phone calls for say, not paying his vet bill, he would get me to do the dirty work. Probably pull the old “circle and rub my leg” routine that has served him so well in the past.

The pesky kitty also has a “to do” list for me too. It is the same every day. Feed me is always number one. The non-stop meow whining makes that quite evident. This is one reason why being a cat is enticing. Could you imagine every time you were hungry all you had to do was go up to someone in your house and just keep annoyingly meowing until they fixed you a plate of something? Then have the audacity to not even leave a tip. Even employees at Starbucks who get paid to do their jobs set out a tip jar.

That’s the thing that’s intriguing about being cat. Their attitude stinks and, let’s face it, who of us would not like to go around with a pissy attitude and no repercussions. As a matter-of-fact, the felines are rewarded for their lousy “the world revolves around me” demeanor. Humans wind up fired or divorced. A cat ends up with a full belly and a nap.

It makes sense that the word “me” is in the sound “meow.” A cat has three things on his mind, “me, me, me.” Their faces even look like royalty, which is perhaps why they demand to be treated as such. If my cat is in the mood for a petting he will just jump on my lap. Doesn’t ask permission. Doesn’t ask if I mind. Has no fear of a lawsuit. It’s just “pet me” time. I always tell him I have things to do. I have a “to do” list, you pet leaching beast! The words mean nothing as they fall on deaf, furry ears. I know he understands me but he knows having his needs met is the most important thing to accomplish right this minute. It takes place over feeding starving children in third world countries or the fire on the stove.

My cat has only three jobs in life; eat; use the litter box; and sleep. Once in a while he’ll catch a lost bug in the house, but even that’s not a sure thing. I’ve seen him go up to crickets and smell them then walk away. I’m like, Is that all you got? Come on, I just petted you for an hour. Who knows what he would do with a mouse… probably get a card game going.

I’ll look around my messy house with looming headaches and tedious tasks dancing in my brain trying to get myself in order and figure out a game plan for the day, then I look across the room at this balled-up lump of cat solemnly asleep. He’s been like that all morning. He looks up at me, blinks a few times then goes back to sleep as envy and disdain rage within me. I want to do that, you lazy fleabag! How did you get that job? He just proudly sits there, grinning, believing he invented the catnap. My kitty has an extra benefit. He is what I would consider an alarm clock cat. Every morning, at the same time, the habitual monster leaps on me and wakes me up, just like an alarm clock. I just have to make sure I wind up his tail at night. And when he jumps on my chest he’s got three settings; meow, purr and scratch your

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 eyes out.

I often wonder why I have a cat. They shed everywhere. They’re always hungry. And litter box duty is meant for kids looking for an allowance. My furniture has become a scratching post used to sharpen their claws which are later used to draw blood on my hand when a playful belly rub turns ugly. When guests notice my ripped up fabric on the couch, I tell them it’s the new style and rage Montgomery Ward is touting. I look at this fluffy creature and often ask myself, what are you bringing to the table? From my point of view, this appears to be a one-way street. Do something. Lick the dirt off the floor.

Learn how to trade options. At least put your squeaky toys back where ya got ‘em. The creature usually looks back at me, yawns, as if to say, what’s it to ya? Then flops on his back, wanting a belly rub. Is it starting to make sense why I wouldn’t mind coming back as a cat? A dog will at least bark if a burglar is breaking into your house. A cat will lead the intruder to his food bowl and then, after it gets fed, probably point out where the jewelry is. All signs tell me they are worthless, but I just can’t pull myself to open that front door and say, go! There’s a whole world out there waiting for you. Go get a job, get married and sit on some couch and drink your troubles away like the rest of us. But I can’t. I don’t think he’d make it out there. Not with the terrorists, cat jugglers and the Jehovah Witnesses.

I once saw a cat in a commercial walking on their owner’s back giving a sweet knead massage. Now that feline has a purpose in life. I looked at my cat, pointed to the TV and said, You see that!? That’s what good kitties do! He snarled an irritated meow, and I went to the kitchen and fetched him a Salmon Whiskas treat to calm him down. The rest of the night I stewed in my guilt for making, what I thought, was a perfectly reasonable observation.

How did a kitty get so much power? It is mind-boggling. Maybe there’s some PETA school out there that kittens attend and learn how to get whatever they want. My little bundle of fur has certainly mastered all the tricks. He sits there and stares at me with big cute eyes waiting for me to buckle under his demands… and I do! He has trained me well. I’ll give him that. I least I draw the line at bathing him by licking his hairy back. I have some dignity left I tell myself as I scoop the litter box. As he rolls on the floor without a care in the world, it becomes evident the beast has a hold on me. Maybe I just feel the love. Maybe I just need something to squeeze. Maybe he’s subconsciously teaching me to care about someone other than me. No matter what it is, he’s hit pay dirt. Free rent and board. No worries. Day naps and catnip. And, the infamous belly rubs. When do I get mine? I want my day in the sun. (Hold on, Olaf. Let me finish this article. I’ll feed you in a minute.) A-yi-yi. (I said, hold on.) Arghhh.

Yes, if I come back, I want to be a cat.

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by Jeff Charlebois

Cartoon Image of Jeff with a mic next to his book, "Life is a Funny Thing".

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