Humor Non-Fiction posted February 18, 2015

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A pet's vision

No Brother of Mine

by Spiritual Echo

Although our lives are far more interesting when we're not stuck in prison for months on end, the winter forces us to behave like family. It gives me lots of time to take inventory of our motley crew.

No matter what HRH (Her Royal Highness) tells other humans, Tony is not my brother, nor my choice of a suitable companion, when it comes right down to it. There was a time when I shared my existence with Suzy, a perfectly respectable two-ton dog.

Suzy had manners, and knew her place in the hierarchy, providing ample amusement by shredding letters to vent her fury when the mailman stuck his hand through the slot in the door. Another trick that especially entertained me; she used to chase her tail. Stupid dog! Weimaraners don't have tails, courtesy of some butcher that amputated the accessory before she arrived. Still, it was a hoot and infinitely more interesting than Tony.

First of all, Tony is just plain ugly. Sure, I hear people talk about his beautiful eyes, but he is drab grey, and he has this unnerving and ridiculous habit of starting a conversation whenever someone comes into the house. He is the feline version of a terrier--a yapper. No matter how many times I warn the idiot, he seems to think people want to hear his opinion. If they understood the drivel that comes out of his mouth, they wouldn't be impressed. I think his education came to a fearsome halt right after he graduated litter-training. He's just plain dumb. Heads up, visitors, when the kid is saying 'mew, mew, mew,' what he is really saying is ME! ME! ME! He's totally self-centred and has no official status in this house.

A few years back, okay, so maybe it is going on an even dozen, he came for a wee visit, while TRP (The Royal Prince, sometimes referred to as Michael by the mother of the heir-apparent,) moved households. I was there. I am a witness. He clearly stated the cat was here for a 'visit.' The visit has never come to an end. Therefore, Tony continues to be subject to the rules of any other house guest--MINE!

I am a beautiful cat, though my petite frame did expand somewhat after the hysterectomy. HRH calls me Katy, though I prefer Katherine. At nineteen, I am the oldest surviving pet--ha-ha--me a pet? But if it pleases the mistress, I am not averse to her endearments.

Common folks refer to me as a tabby, a truly pedestrian adjective to describe my silky, tiger-striped fur. My white paws are continually bright as I spend an exceedingly long time grooming, a chore entirely due to HRH's penchant for puffing smoke like a dysfunctional wood stove. You've heard of the dangers of inhaling second-hand smoke. Do you have any idea how disgusting second-hand lick tastes?

Over the years, the mistress and I have worked out our relationship. It's not always easy to keep up with her antics and make adjustments to her choice of lifestyle, but she has settled into a wooded forest in a palace I quite enjoy. The estate is rampant with chipmunks and rabbits and she spends many summer days on the deck with her black box.

I find it odd that she spends so much time with an inanimate object. Her fingers are constantly moving across the buttons that I assume is the face of the creature, but it does not respond. At least I reward her with the occasional purr, but that black thing does nothing. It is strange behaviour, and it has progressed to what I can only describe as a hypnotic trance.

I've been with the mistress since her bikini days. I've seen it all! Red hair, blonde and now it's getting grey. Now and then she gets frightened by the person that lives in the mirror and turns her hair into another colour. I don't think she likes the woman in the mirror. I used to wonder why she never decided to change the colour of my fur, but perhaps she knew better than to mess with perfection. It's quite a tragedy, her decline, that is. 

Tony and I used to have the house to ourselves for most of the day. For years I took my role in the pecking order seriously, trying to train the idiot on basic etiquette, but he preferred spending his time licking his balls--yes, he really is that stupid.  He doesn't know they went bye-bye. He continues to be a hopeless cause. I only acquiesced, stopped my efforts to educate him after he completed the course on table manners. Once he learned to let me eat first--every time--I eased up on the training. Even that victory cost me an esteemed privilege. HRH noticed Tony's patient stance, sitting while I dined--the required three-foot distance from the bowl. She actually praised the feline. What about me? I ran the boot camp. Damn! She stopped putting down separate dishes. Now, if I do go back for leftovers, his stink is all over the dish.

The mistress doesn't leave the house very often any more. I've gotten used to her full-time presence. Mostly, she has obeyed my agenda, but at times I wish she'd give me a break. I am now on full alert--twenty-four hour duty.  I'm getting too old for this crap.

Before this sudden change in HRH's schedule, I paid scant interest to Tony, my main focus being the manor mistress, but I fear my end is drawing near. Tony is no substitute for my psychic relationship with Her Majesty. I am torn. Shall I attempt to cram my knowledge through Tony's stainless-steel skull, or should I intensify my communication with HRH and try to convince her to invite a canine into the residence as my replacement progam? It would be great pay-back for the brat who has been giving me indigestion for more than a decade.

Nineteen years is a long time to live with a human being without forming a bond. Maybe because she shows me the respect I deserve, it's easy to be her conduit, the absorber and translator of the highs and lows she's endured. I know when she is suffering, more than the flesh and blood humans she calls family. I'm tuned in and will give her the tactile companionship she needs, sometimes just to get through the day.

We do communicate, not in that drivel Tony spews. Ours is a telepathic language. I let her know when I've had it with the commercial cat food and inevitably she pulls out smoked salmon from the freezer. It works for me, for the most part. Canned tuna is a poor substitute, but she's a little slow in that department.  Tuna is NOT smoked salmon, Lady!  She's also a little sloppy with the cat box. Not that she's negligent, oh no, just ever since she got the fancy state-of-the-art self cleaning Cat Genie, she sometimes forgets to change the chemicals. They run out, you know. But I've trained her well. I only have to scratch at her pant leg to let her know she's fallen down in her duties.

Did I mention that Tony is an idiot? He doesn't even bother reminding the queen when she forgets. He just takes it upon himself to piss in a plant if the box goes into hibernation mode. What do you want from a stray?

When I'm in the mood, I sometimes chat with Tony. Winter boredom makes those of us who have to suffer blizzards a little desperate for distractions.

Last week he had the audacity to hiss at me and insult my parentage, calling me a feral cat as if it was an insult. How the hairball can think an asphalt birth, as his was, and dumpster-diving for food can compete with my birth in a majestic forest and my exceptional hunting skills, is beyond me. As I mentioned, Tony is no brother of mine. The thought is repugnant.

I watch the queen from morning to night, but a new thought crossed my mind today as I watched her shake white pellets from a bottle into the palm of her hand. She too is close to the end of her journey. Perhaps we can leave together. It would be sweet justice to leave Tony to his own devices.


A Pet's View: My Owner Revealed contest entry


The Cat Genie is a self-cleaning litter box, hooked up to the house plumbing. It clears away poop, washes and blow dries the litter four times per day. And yes, it is expensive--but so worth it.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Linda Engel at

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