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Cat's Eye View

Felix & Pandora

 
Who wouldn't trust faces like these?

Whisper, a lovely calico, world-class investigative reporter and owner of one of the editors at Crescent Blues, graciously consented to interview the feline rulers in the Pauline B. Jones and Jeff Strand households, with interpretations by various editors and diverse other humans.

Whisper: Let's start with a few basic facts -- you know how humans adore those -- and work from there, shall we? Okay, for starters, you own Pauline and your name is Felix and you're an only cat, right?

Felix: Correct. I used to have a brother named Oscar, but he disappeared one day. I suspect foul play. (Pauline replies: Oscar got sick and died, but Felix still doesn't trust us.)

Whisper: Would you mind telling us your age and giving us a word picture of yourself?

I like to taste the corners. I thought Byte Me was quite tasty.

Felix: I'm four and a yellow tabby, with white paws and very tigerish triangular face. My people tell me I'm very handsome, like I didn't already know that. Also, I have an excellent disposition. I'm very gracious to my people, as long as they supply me with treats when I demand them. I'm also very kind. I wake my people in the morning by jumping on their chests and giving a very soft, but insistent meow. Much better than that nasty alarm clock.

Whisper: Humans insist cats have odd and unusual behaviors, do you have any quirks?

Felix: Well, I don't know that I have quirks, but I do like things to be just so. I don't like it when other cats come into my yard. If I can't be in it, then they can't. I puff up and hiss at them and they run away.

Really. I have my people very well trained. One game we like to play, when Miss Pauline goes to bed, I jump into her spot and stay there until she rubs my chin, then gives me a treat to move. As soon as she lays down, I lay in down against her knee, just until she gets really hot. Then I go sleep in splendid solitude in the spare room. I refuse to drink out of a water dish. I like my water dispensed fresh, in the bathtub. I don't like loud noises and try to discourage my people from vacuuming and doing other loud things by withdrawing from their presence. When my people aren't doing what I want, I find that a piercing stare works best. They always crack when I use the stare.

Whisper: As a cat who owns a writer, what do you consider the most irritating habit your person exhibits while writing?

Felix: She completely ignores me, can you imagine that? Sometimes I have to go lay on her keyboard to get her attention. Once I was driven to jump on her back. That got her attention. [Grins.]

Whisper: Is there anything you do to assist your person while she is writing?

Felix: I meow. I rub against her legs. I lay on her papers and purr. Purring is very conducive to good writing. When I can, I lay on her laptop. It's the least I can do for her, poor thing. (She's got a deadline and is looking a bit frazzled, so I try to ask her for treats more often. I know she can use the break.)

Whisper: Do you critique any of your person's work? (I personally check out all the manuscripts sent to my person. If I think they're not good, I shred 'em. If I like the literary effort, then I make a nice nest and sleep on 'em.)

Felix: I try to make sure they are comfortable. The thicker ones are the best for laying on and they are funner to attack. I like to taste the corners. I thought Byte Me was quite tasty.

Whisper: Have you given your person any plot ideas? Do they write a cat based on you? If so, have you demanded a percentage of the profits?

Felix: I've been waiting for her to write a cat into her story and don't understand at all why she hasn't. Nothing she writes could possibly be more interesting than moi. I have helped her with plots. Since her characters must sometimes dispatch other characters, I show her how I do it, only using bugs, not people. I'm not allowed to kill people, though sometimes I stalk her, just to keep her on her toes. Her reflexes aren't too bad, though she doesn't jump as high as she used to.

Just because I am easily portable does NOT mean I have any less of a legitimate claim to the chair in the office

Whisper: What do you think is the worst thing about owning a writer-type person? The best?

Felix: The worse is getting her attention. She doesn't seem to understand that I bite affectionately. The best is when she gets boxes. I don't get outside, so I love it when boxes come to me. They smell so interesting, and there's nothing like sitting in box. Nothing.

Whisper: Any other information you'd like to give?

Felix: Well, if you could write to my people and tell them how important it is to me that I be allowed outside. They seem to think the neighbor's miniature Doberman will eat me for breakfast, but I can take the little mutt. I know I can. He's all bark.

whisper notes: As my last question, I asked Felix what his plans he had for exterminating the annoying mutt next door, but Felix declined to answer on the grounds that it might tend to incriminate him. His eyes definitely gleamed as he said it. Not wanting to blow the plot, I thanked him and wished him a fond farewell.

Although the work of a feline journalist is tedious, it is never boring, especially when I get to interview a fellow writer owner like Pandora, Jeff Strand's long suffering owner. I carefully refrained from taking umbrage, but Jeff was a source of irritation. He constantly interrupted and interjected his own comments (which I have faithfully recorded to show my complete lack of bias).

Whisper: Would you mind telling us your age and something about yourself, Pandora?

Pandora: I'm seven and I…

Jeff Strand: She's long-haired, very dark chocolate-brown (almost black). Spends a significant amount of time unconscious. Pandora is not exactly an over-achiever. She's alternately affectionate, grouchy, terrified of nothing, and completely insane.

Whisper: I would like to ask about your idiosyncrasies, if you have any?

Pandora: I don't believe I have too many…

Jeff Strand (again): She tries to communicate with lizards through the window. She engages in mortal combat with her own foot. Pandora, begs incessantly for food at the dinner table, then decides that it doesn't meet with her high feline standards (this is graphically demonstrated by the "covering-my-poop-in-the-litter-box" sweeping gesture). She has been known to brutally assault marshmallow peeps. Photographs of this vicious act have caused many an innocent marshmallow peep to keel over from sheer fright.

Whisper: Now, I would like to ask you a question your human can't answer. As a cat who owns a writer, what do you consider the most irritating habit your person exhibits while writing?

Pandora: Abuse of his physical strength. Just because I am easily portable does NOT mean I have any less of a legitimate claim to the chair in the office, but that reasonable conclusion consistently eludes him.

Whisper: Is there anything you do to assist your person while he is writing?

Pandora: By sleeping twenty-two hours a day, I demonstrate for him the kind of life one should strive to achieve. I live out this fantasy in his office every day, and thus I help motivate him to write the best book he possibly can, so that he can make enough money to sleep the rest of his life away.

I deny all such activities involving lizards and/or Peeps, especially the yellow chick ones.

Whisper: Do you critique any of your person's work?

Pandora: Actually, I have a much more effective method of indicating dislike for a manuscript, but it's not one to be discussed in polite company. Your shredding idea is a good one, and something I would certainly take into consideration if I still had my CLAWS!

Whisper: Have you given your person any plot ideas? Do they write a cat based on you? If so, have you demanded a percentage of the profits?

Pandora: Apparently my person has included a black cat named "Reverse Snowflake" in both of his Andrew Mayhem novels, which originally flattered me until I discovered the unpleasant light in which this cat is portrayed. Though I'm sure I could get a percentage of the profits, I consider it tainted money and will have nothing to do with it.

Whisper: What do you think is the worst thing about owning a writer-type person? The best?

Pandora: Worst? The smell. Best? They don't shed all over my furniture.

Whisper: Since your human brought up both subjects and it intrigues me, I have to ask: does your communication with the lizards outside your window have anything to do with your vicious behavior towards Peeps?

Pandora: I deny all such activities involving lizards and/or Peeps, especially the yellow chick ones. While my person claims to have photographic evidence of harm coming to Peeps, such materials can be easily faked, and I find it disturbing that my person would propagate such a blatant lie.

Whisper: Thank you very much, Pandora, I wish you luck in dealing with your human and if I can give you any training tips, just ask.

Whisper, a noble calico cat
Patricia Lucas White & Teri Smith, providers of unnecessary editorial assistance

Patricia Lucas White

Click here to return Patricia Lucas White's interview with Pauline Baird Jones and Jeff Strand.