Hello, my name is Mr. Vinégar and I am employed at Globes and Maps Inc., Once one of the most renowned maps and globe makers in the world. It has been going through a difficult period because of the internet and other new-fangled technological nonsense.
As the idea man it has been my job to reverse this tsunami. Some of my efforts, such as creating a map of Brazil on coffee cups, have been successful, others such as printing maps of Mount Everest on coat hangers have not.
For some time I searched for a companion to ease me through these difficult periods. One morning, just over two years ago as I was leaving for work I saw a large tabby cat outside my screen door. (I later discovered that his name was Prince). As soon as I opened the door he strolled inside and began sniffing in the corners, looking into the cabinets as if he was making a report for the landlord. Then he sat on the steps leading to the loft and allowed me to scratch his neck. Seemingly satisfied, he walked out into the sunshine and disappeared.
Prince’s behavior confirmed that I should get a cat. They cleaned themselves, were mostly quiet, I hate noisy anythings, ate relatively little and could entertain themselves for hours with a paper bag.
So, a few days later I went to a nearby city shelter. The noise was unbelievable. Yapping, barking dogs, shrieking parrots, a neighing pony and even a grunting pig all fought for my attention. The pimply-faced female volunteer led me into the cat section, two small rooms filled with numerous wire cages. The second I set foot in the room every cat, no matter its size, age or color, rushed to the front of its cage and pressing its nose against the wire mesh mewed and howled in a shameless pleading manner.
It was so nauseating that I was about to leave when I noticed a kitten, orange in color with white paws and ears that were better suited to a bat, sitting quietly in the middle of its cage. It seemed shell-shocked, which was not surprising considering the surroundings. I bent down and spoke to it. It barely moved. I poked my finger through a hole in the wire. The kitten stuck out a pink tongue and licked it. I immediately asked the volunteer, Has it had its shots? Oh, yes, she replied. It’s been neutered, too. Well, I said, no wonder it’s catatonic. The volunteer assured me the operation had taken place over a week ago and that the kitten had long since recovered. May I hold him? I asked.
The volunteer took the kitten out of its cage and put it in my hands. I held it up to the light to look in its eyes – the eyes can tell you whether it would pee in the wrong places – but they seemed lacking in any hidden agenda. Then I noticed it was purring. He likes you, said the volunteer. I cradled the kitten against my chest and the purring got louder. He’s a sweet little fellow. He won’t get much bigger, will he? Not much, the volunteer assured me. And he’ll be easy to control? Oh, yes, said the worker. Very well, I said. I’ll take him. It was only when I got home that I remembered Prince’s visit. I must have passed the inspection.
Now I’ll give Jonesy a turn…
“He who feeds me daily,” or “Mr. V” as I have come to call him, has asked me to contribute to the blog he is writing. At first I thought a blog was something I threw up last week and even after he explained what it was I wasn’t so sure. Cats have very short memories – otherwise how could we gobble down cans of “REAL SALMON and CRABMEAT IN SAUCE” day after day after day and still think it’s delicious. But after sleeping on it I decided I had better go ahead otherwise the facts would get so twisted I wouldn’t recognize myself. So here goes.
I vaguely remember being born in a cardboard box under a bed. I think there were five of us but as I was blind for the first couple of weeks there could have been six. Or ten. Who knows? Who cares? All I know is that whenever it was my turn to get some milk my mom would say, too late, and go off leaving me with my mouth open and my stomach empty. One day, the box was put in a car and we were driven away. The car stopped, the box was put by the side of the road and the car disappeared. People came by and oogled us and then, just like that, one of us was gone. And then another. Soon I was the only one left. I was there for hours. It could have been days. I was so hungry I didn’t even have the strength to whine and I had become good at whining. Then someone took me to a shelter.
That place was crazy. People don’t know that a cat’s hearing is TEN TIMES more sensitive than theirs and since I have big ears I was in agony. I was put in a special place – we’ll talk about that later – and then I was returned to my cage. I was surrounded by cages full of other cats and kittens. There was fresh food every day and my litter box was kept clean. There was nothing else to do but groom, eat, groom, sleep, groom, poop, and then groom some more. I thought, I could get used to this.
Then the door opened and one of the workers came in with someone trailing behind them. All the cats and kittens immediately ran to the front of their cages and yelled, TAKE ME! TAKE ME! TAKE ME! I didn’t know if I was supposed to do that or not so I just sat there. All of a sudden I saw a pair of eyes staring at me. It was not one the workers but an old man with not much hair, wrinkled lines on his face and a nose like one of those screechy birds I saw when I came in. He stuck his finger though a hole in the wire and wiggled it about. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do so I didn’t do anything. The other cats screamed, DON’T JUST SIT THERE. DO SOMETHING! The only thing I could think to do was to lick his finger. So I did. It tasted yucky. The man pulled his finger out. The cats groaned, OH NO! YOU’VE BLOWN IT! Blown what? I thought. I got so flustered that I was about to shout, TAKE ME! TAKE ME! when the worker unlocked the cage. I was so surprised I peed myself. She lifted me out and put me in the man’s hands. The other cats all shouted, PURR! PURR! FOR GOD’S SAKE, PURR! So I did. I PURRRRRED. The man held me up to his face and I cranked the purring up a notch. Then he cradled me against his chest. I was surprised because it was warmer than I expected. The man said something to the worker and she closed the cage – without me in it. YOU’RE IN! The other kittens shouted. I licked the hand again and the man tickled my neck! I thought, I could get used to this, too. Then the man followed the worker out the room. YOU LUCKY SON-OF-A-GUN! The cats shouted as my new master carried me out of there.