Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
TITLE: Cat Chat Tonight
By Karen Wilber
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Good evening, Bob.
As you know, anthropomorphism is a growing problem for household pets. Owners feel a need to ascribe human characteristics to their pets, and we cats bear the brunt of misdirected attributes. Miss Misty, I’d like to start with you. How has anthropomorphism affected your life?
My owner, she thinks I think I’m something special, like I have this superior attitude. But it’s not that way at all. My owner, she’s all, “Oooh, you’re such a little duchess”. And I’m like, “Hey, I’m starvin’ here. Could you hurry up with the cat food? I gotta eat and go wash somethin’.”
Well, if you don’t mind me saying so Misty, you do have a haughty look about you.
Look, I’m just a regular brown tabby, like you. But I’ve got this prominent M-stripe on my forehead that looks like raised eyebrows. So shoot me, OK? So, anyway, one time I get this speck of lint in my eye and I’m trying to blink it out and my owner’s all “Oooh aren’t we all high and mighty. Look at the queen.” Lady, I’m going blind, for cryin’ out loud.
Thank you, Misty. Let’s bring in Mr. Puddy Winkums. Are you there Mr. Winkums?
Please, call me Wink.
Certainly, Wink. What are your thoughts as to the source of the problem?
In my estimation, the root of the anthropomorphic problem lies in the appellations chosen by our owners. In my case, the name Mr. Puddy Winkums, is an affliction. I’m fluent in 7 languages. I’m a published author, under a pseudonym of course: no one’s going to buy a book on foreign policy by ‘Mr. Puddy Winkums’ now are they? But my owner won’t even let me out of the house!
Chairman Meow, your take on the subject?
Hey man, I’m just here for the food. My owners named me after this communist dude, like that’s so cute. They think, because I’m a Siamese, I’m supposed to be all mysterious and wise. Hey, whatever gets me through the day, you know? They think I’m meditating? I’m dozing off, man.
So where does the blame lie? Wink?
I blame the literary world for perpetuating these stereotypes, beginning with that Aesop fellow. Lately, there’s Mrs. Braun and those of her ilk. After she read one of the “Cat Who” mysteries, my owner actually said, “C’mon Mr. Winkums, solve a little mystery, and I’ll give you a nice treat” Solve a murder? I wouldn’t even know where to start. That’s simply not my forte.
Dude, you should try actually being a Siamese. Every time I knock something off a shelf my owners analyze it for clues. Man, they don’t even know anyone who’s been murdered. And like wouldn’t people see Mr. Qwilleran and his cats coming and leave town before they got bumped off?
My owner’s all like, “Oooh, crime solving cats!” Doesn’t she realize those are fictional characters?
My point exactly, Misty.
Thank you, panel. We’re going to go to commercial now so that we can groom our nether regions. Back in a few.
We’re back and we have a caller on the line: Fred from Tacoma, Washington. Good evening Fred.
Thank you. What is your question or comment for the panel?
Well put. Panel, should cats be allowed to just be cats? Anyone? Chairman?
I totally agree dude! I’m a house cat. You’re a house cat. Live and let live, man.
And what’s with all the prissy cats eating out of fancy dishes on TV? My owner’s all “Oooh, I should get that for the duchess.” I don’t really care what you put in my dish, I mean just a few minutes ago I was washing my...
But, shouldn’t we embrace these roles in the interest of getting more treats or perhaps a softer cushion? Wink?
I disagree, Bob. However, it appears we have no choice. As long as writers keep churning out these anthropomorphic tales, our owners will project human qualities on every twitch of a whisker.
Thank you, panel. That’s it for tonight. Join us tomorrow when we’ll discuss shedding: Which color clothing to sleep on to show off your best work. Good night.
Apologies to Lilian Jackson Braun, author of “The Cat Who....” mysteries featuring Jim Qwilleran, Koko and Yum Yum. I love your books; my cats’ opinions are unknown.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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