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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: Cat Chat Tonight
By Karen Wilber
05/17/08


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Good evening and welcome to Cat Chat Tonight. I’m your host, Bob Katt. This evening we’ll be examining the issue of anthropomorphism. My guests tonight are Miss Misty Malloy of St. Louis, Missouri; Chairman Meow of Escondido, California; and, live via satellite, Mr. Puddy Winkums of Seminole, Florida. Good evening, guests.

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.

Meow.

Thank you. What is your question or comment for the panel?

Meow. Meow.

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.


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This article has been read 701 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Leigh MacKelvey05/22/08
I laughed out loud! this was humorous and enjoyable. Great idea. I'm wondering if there should be quotation marks or something to distinguish the speakers? But each if their voices were written so distinctly that I was able to tell them apart! Loved it!
Joanne Sher 05/22/08
What fun - and what incredibly wonderful characterization of each feline - from the name to the mannerisms to the speech. LOVE the Siamese especially.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/24/08
Very creative--masterfully done. I loved it.
Dee Yoder 05/25/08
Cat Chat Tonight: what a hoot! I love the feline characterizations in this story-it is a delight to read! (A break to clean their nether regions-LOL!)
Gregory Kane05/26/08
Hats off for creativity – fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
Isn’t there something wonderfully convoluted about using the anthropomorphic medium of a human chat show to decry anthropomorphism? Deliciously crazy.
Jan Ackerson 05/28/08
Oh, Karen, this is an absolute MASTERPIECE!
Betty Castleberry05/28/08
This was FUN! I loved it. You did a great job of giving each cat its own personality. Very well done.
Debbie Wistrom05/29/08
I'm grinning like the cat who ate the canary oops......
can I be your friend? I needed a lift today, my mood has been bleak at best and now I'm much better. I Love You! So glad you didn't go for normal!!!!!!!!!
Betsy Markman05/29/08
Still grinning...
Joshua Janoski05/29/08
Congratulations on placing 27th overall with this entry, Karen!