It was never meant to be

Here at A Labor of Like, I often receive letters from readers looking for guidance through these dark times.   I was rummaging through the Labor of Like shred pile mailbag, and I thought I would share a few of them with you.  (Kids, letters are like hard-copy emails, but you print them out before sending them.  Ask your parents.)

Dear Labor of Like,
My cat Snooky Bear (pictured above) has been aloof recently, and just stares out the window most of the day. Does he still love me?

Desparate for Affection

Dear Desperate,

Labor of Like

Dear Labor of Like,
My other cat Commodore Schmidlapp gazes up longingly at me whenever I’m holding an open can of tuna, and likes to dress for dinner. Surely this is a sign of love!

cat in tie

Desperate for Affection

Dear Desperate,
     No, it is not.

Labor of Like

Dear Labor of Like,
What about my other cats Blinky, Chubby Bunny, Duster, Killmouski, Miss Sassy, Skamper, Wiggles, Bonk, Fuzilla, Mr. Krinkle, Ms. Bibbler, CheezeWheel, No-Go, Lil Taker, Put-Put, and Turtle?


Desperate for Affection

Dear Desperate,
No.  Especially not Killmouski.

Labor of Like

The question “Does my cat love me?” has vexed many people who anthropomorphize cats, and often causes great emotional turmoil. So rather than just keep answering “No”, I decided to consult with Science, which has recently conducted studies on emotional attachment in cats.

“No, your cat doesn’t love you,” Science responded in an e-mail.

Researchers at the University of Lincoln have concluded that cats, unlike dogs, do not need humans to feel protected. For example, when a cat feels threatened, it responds by clawing your eyes out. Dachshunds, on the other hand, are shaped like bratwurst, and have roughly the same defensive capabilities as bratwurst, and so are more dependent on humans.

Before cat lovers start despairing about their aloof pets, however, animal behaviourologists said they should take the finding as a compliment. If cats stay, it means they really just want to study you as part of their plot to take over the world.

To find out if cats needed their owner to feel secure the researchers observed how 20 cats reacted when they were placed in an unfamiliar environment together with their owner, with a stranger, or on their own.

The cats who were left alone mostly mated with each other, because we forgot to spay or neuter them. If anybody would like a free kitten, please contact Daniel Mills at the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences and Cat Nursery.

The cats left with a stranger immediately perceived that the stranger didn’t like cats because he was allergic to them. All 20 cats proceeded to sit on his lap at the same time. He is expected to make a full recovery.

The cats left with their owner spent their time scratching the furniture, throwing up on the carpeting, and knocking fragile stuff off of shelves.

In 1892, noted catologist Rudyard Kipling performed experiments to see whether cats really do walk by themselves. In one such experiment, Kipling held 137 cats, one at a time, to see what would happen. In each case, the cat tore deep gouges into his arms until he dropped it, then walked away without assistance. When the scars healed, Kipling gave up studying cats and went back to writing.

Although the researchers say cats can still develop bonds with, and affection for their owners, the new study shows that the researchers are lying to avoid the wrath of crazy cat owners.

However, cat psychic Celia Haddon, author of How to Read Your Cat’s Mind and Cat Owners Will Believe Anything, said, “This study shows cats do not need humans to feel safe.  Cats won’t live in an unhappy home, they’ll just walk out.  My sister’s ex-husband was the same way.”

One more letter:

Dear Labor of Like,
Enclosed is a picture of me with my henchmen Felix and Leo. I dress them like cats, and they bring me broken xylophone parts. Do they love me?


Selina in Gotham

Dear Selina,
No, they do not love you, because you dress them like cats and call them Leo and Felix, when their real names are Jacques and Ralph. I on the other hand love you with a fiery passion for the ages, and would not mind having you curl up in my lap. Or the other way around.

Labor of Like (or whatever you want to call me)

Rise of the Planet of the Cats


As I have always suspected, the Internet of Everything is a massive Rube Goldberg-style conspiracy by cats to get more milk.  This process seems overly complicated, but perhaps that’s why cats on the Internet seem to be so grumpy.

In the future, humans who lack pouring skills will be relegated to giving orders to coffee makers and telling our cars when to look for parking spaces.  I’m not sure how exactly this serves our feline overlords, but at least it means I’ll have coffee and a place to park after the Siamese Apocalypse.

Eats monsters and leaves

While perusing this week’s TV Guide, my eyes were drawn to the title of an upcoming Animal Planet “documentary”: Man Eating Zombie Cats.

I have no idea what this is ostensibly about.  All I know is that the first thought that went through my mind was of a 3-minute YouTube video of a reluctant hero in a world gone mad who tries to protect his loved ones from the undead feline apocalypse by consuming them, and the image of a man sitting at a table with a knife, fork, and napkin being offered a platter with some sort of flame-broiled animal on it.

I doubt the Animal Planet version would live up to my expectations.

(Disclaimer: I lack every conceivable talent required to create such a video.)

Who let the cats in?

In catpitalism news, Britain’s first cat café, where felines can enjoy a saucer of warm milk in the company of several humans, officially opened its doors this week. The café, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in London’s fashionable Tabby District, is … Continue reading

Cats like us

In feline primatology news, cat researchers have determined that your human sees cats as small, furry humans. Professor Gadget McWhiskers of the Siamese Institute in Persia, who spent two years embedded with a human colony, or “family”, discovered that many … Continue reading

Using the tools at hand

People in olden times (yore) were weird.

I don’t mean the goofy costumes.  People today wear goofy clothes.  There are people in Anaheim and Orlando who are actually paid to wear Goofy costumes.

No, I’m talking (of course) about their system of weights and measures.

Take for example, the observation, “You can’t swing a cat without hitting X.”  This statement is meant to convey a sense of ubiquity.  Obviously, X is so common, or so close, that any feline-wielding fool could find one.  But why on Earth would the standard be one outstretched cat-length?  Not only does swinging a cat seem cruel to the cat, it’s likely to result in a fair amount of damage to the swinger.  And it’s an awful lot of effort to determine that something is within 5 feet of you (assuming a 36″ sleeve length and a 24″ long cat being held by the tail).

Moreover, how does something like this get started?  What was that first conversation like? Continue reading

Cat Gone

Our neighborhood cat passed away.  He belonged to a former neighbor who moved away a few years ago, and left him in the care of another neighbor further up the street.  He was the friendliest outdoor cat I have ever seen.  Whenever I would get home from work, as I walked from the car to the mailbox to the front door, he would come racing out of nowhere and the game would be afoot (I was playing with a handicap of 2, since he had that many more feet than I did).  The rules of the game were simple.  If he got up on the railing next to the front door before I got the door open, I had to stop and pet him.  If I got the door open first, I got to get on with my life.  Mostly, I stopped to pet the cat.

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with cats.  I grew up with cats in the house my whole life.  They’re beautiful animals (well, the short-haired ones are — long-haired cats look like throw pillows with sharp claws).  My parents always had Siamese cats.  During most of my formative years, we had 2 Siamese cats named Sidney and Newton.  Siamese cats tend to bond with a single person, and shy away from most others.  Sidney bonded with my sister, and Newton with my dad, so the cats were not always underfoot.

I didn’t have pets in college, or when I lived in apartments after college, but when I bought my house, I decided that I would get a cat.  (I never considered a dog.  Too needy.  This joke I heard somewhere has a kernel of truth: Dogs think, “Wow!  My owner bathes me and feeds me and walks me!  He must be God!”, while cats think “Wow! My owner feeds me and plays with me and changes my litter box!  I must be God!”)  Cats are like babies.  You input food, water, and affection, and they produce noise, waste products, and cuteness.  Cats are better than babies because you can leave them for the weekend with food, water, and a clean litter box, and nobody will put you in jail.  Babies are better than cats, because eventually they outgrow their cat behavior. Continue reading