The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 29, 2013

There’s more than one way to skin a role model

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Cats are trying to take over the world.

They’ve already conquered the Internet. You can’t swing a dead, ah, marmot without hitting a cat video online these days.

Felines are becoming stars of the world wide interweb.

There’s Anakin the two-legged cat, who has adapted quite nicely despite being born with no pelvis or back legs.

There is sad cat, named Henri, who is French.

There is two-faced cat, Venus, whose visage is half black and half orange, and who has one blue and one green eye.

There’s Oskar, the poor kitty born without eyes who was featured in an online video showing him playing with a toy ball with a bell inside.

There’s mad cat, Colonel Meow, whose expression makes him look chronically cantankerous.

There’s even a cross-eyed cat, Spangles, whose owners like to dress him up in all sorts of fun hats and costumes and post photos of him on the Web.

Perhaps most famous of all is grumpy cat, Tard, whose constant frown has made him an Internet sensation.

Cats even have their own social network, Catmoji, which is being called the Facebook for cats.

What could a cat possibly have to share? “Washing my butt with my tongue, again.”

One New Zealand man is no fan of Internet felines, or of kitties of any stripe, in fact. He wants to eliminate pet cats in order to save wild birds.

Gareth Morgan has begun a campaign called “Cats To Go,” with the slogan “That little ball of fluff you own is a natural-born killer.”

Morgan doesn’t advocate owners doing away with their current kitties (though the website does mention that as an option), just not replacing them when they die.

The movement hasn’t caught on in this country, but it soon might.

The authors of a study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications estimate cats are responsible for the deaths of between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 and 20.7 billion mammals annually in the United States.

Stray and feral cats are the worst offenders, the authors say, but pet cats also played a role.

This seems only to support the long-held notion that cats are out to get us.

At any given moment, I am in danger. I can be sitting at the breakfast table, eating my oatmeal and perusing the morning paper, minding my own business, when all of a sudden our black butterball will sink his claws into my knee from his hidden perch on a nearby chair.

I can be getting ready in the morning, buttoning my shirt and planning my day, when a black paw will snake out from underneath the bed, and bam, claws are buried in my foot.

In the evening, stretched out in my recliner, our troubled tabby will leap into my lap, a seemingly loving move, but then as he turns around and around he will step in just the wrong place, if you catch my drift, resulting in paroxysms of male-specific agony.

At any given instant, I may find myself bleeding from one or more wounds inflicted by their razor-sharp talons, employed all in the name of play.

And they are no respecters of privacy.

I often shower under the watchful gaze of our tabby peeking around the shower curtain, while the black furball waits until I am drying off before gazing balefully at my unclad form.

I swear they are laughing at me.

I’m not quite sure why they hate me so. I feed them, pet them, amuse them, pick up after them and clean up their foul leavings. I wish someone would do the same for me. Oh, sorry, dear, of course you do.

But even their toys aren’t safe. I came home the other day to find a particularly gruesome scene, the corpse of a stuffed toy mouse that had been eviscerated, its batten bowels littering the carpet nearby. I fear I may be next.

And now I read another study that says it is my fault.

A study by Italian scientists found cats become so much a part of the family that they begin to emulate us.

Our cats watch us and begin to emulate us.

Our cats are lazy, timid, arrogant, nervous, self-absorbed, mischievous, sneaky, aloof, excitable, moody gluttons who demand attention, but only on their own terms.

Oh my God. I guess Charles Barkley was wrong.

I am a role model.

Except for the whole tongue butt-washing thing. I refuse to take credit for that.



Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.