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Copy about cats
by Asa Butcher
Issue 16
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This issue's theme of 'copycat' has inspired me to write about a different kind of cat; the domesticated tabby. I became a reluctant cat owner almost two years ago after finally giving in to my wife's continual persistence that we should have all our possessions covered in hair. However, we have many possessions and one cat just couldn't do the job fast enough, so we adopted two brothers, Del and Dave.

Born in July and given to us three months later, we were not to learn how effective they are at shedding fur until the following summer when we had tumbleweeds of the stuff blowing across our laminated floors - I almost fed one of the larger balls of fur one day. In a moment of desperation, I decided it would be faster to abandon the brush and simply vacuum the excess hair from their bodies…now they are scared of the vacuum cleaner.

Our two black and white fuzz monkeys provided us with the practice needed to take care of a baby, which was born nine months later and, coincidentally, on the same day as the cats' birthday. They helped me overcome my personal gross factor when it comes to dealing with poo and taught me a smidge of patience when it comes to repairing the damage they accidentally cause to my belongings, although I did get some revenge when we took them to be neutered.

My parents never allowed any pets in the house, plus they are bird lovers and have a slight grudge against the murdering felines…oh yeah, my mum is allergic too…so when my wife got her way and two cats entered my daily life I was forced to overcome many prejudices. I must admit that there is a Zen-like element to watching two kittens playing together, exploring new places and getting into trouble, so it didn't take long for them to find a place in my heart.

We decided that Del and Dave would be house cats and not be allowed to roam the neighbourhood slaughtering the wildlife and defecating in other people's gardens, so we invested in an elaborate multi-level cat tree that has now become their sanctuary from our eleven-month-old daughter's curious fingers. Her arrival has also meant that many of their favourite toys have been packed away because babies seem to view the world as a free-for-all buffet.

There were many foreboding stories about cats and babies told to us while my wife was pregnant, including the one where the cat chooses the cot to sleep, but we are currently more worried about the cats. Curiosity did not kill the cat, it was the fact that a baby suddenly appeared from thin air and made a grab for their tail or decided that their food looks far tastier than the mush Mummy serves.

Cat food has been problematic over the past few months with both animals becoming increasingly fussy over what is in their bowl. Okay, it doesn't look like a mouse, it doesn't smell like a mouse and it is curiously still for a mouse, so you can't blame them for turning their noses up at mealtime, but we do blame them. These creatures sniff poo in the litter tray and lick their arses clean, but they refuse the expensive chicken cat food…I just don't get it.

I have heard many people say that if they were an animal they would love to be a cat, well I don't agree. Have you ever tried to wash yourself with your tongue? I would choose a sponge any day, while the whole hairball saga is just too tiresome. I do have to begrudgingly admit that the stroking cats enjoy would not be refused if offered to me one evening, plus it is sweet the way that Del sleeps on my chest at night; I just wish he would point his tail away from my face.

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