Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cats and Secret Service Culture

Cats and Secret Service Culture

By Meg Curtis

Does your cat mind his own business?  My cat Chopin decided from the beginning that my business means HIS business—and he means business.  Forgive me for using the same word four times in two lines, but this tuxedo cat could teach the Office of Homeland Security their entire business in just a night or two.

That’s exactly how long it takes him to secure my dwelling.  Since he took over, not so much as a gnat walks into this place without Chopin’s prompt notification.  He found one securing a foothold on the wall, and called my attention to this invisible invader immediately.  He signals by waving his white-tipped tail as he simultaneously digs into the molding.

Please notice the advantage that Chopin brings to the practice of his profession.  He doesn’t demand prostitutes.  He accepts the rule they can’t hang out here.  He doesn’t drink alcohol.  He lives onsite, and NEVER charges for airline passage.  He doesn’t fly—unless leaping from  counter to refrigerator counts.  He accepts Purina Fancy Feast as pay, and never complains. 

On the other hand, his coverage of security here shows a remarkable resemblance to the weaknesses of his human counterparts in the US Secret Service.  He’s not secret about his activities.  In fact, you can find him any time you want—getting into trouble.  He hangs out with my dog, and snatches any items not cemented to the counter as a treat for his buddy.

Chopin’s criminal history began with a light bulb.  I awoke to the sound of squeaking teeth on glass.  EEk!  That sound shivered my nervous system!  I turned to look for the source: The dog lay next to me working on his claim to a bright idea.  The more he gnawed, the more I wondered.  He couldn’t have climbed the shelves.  Some scavenger gave that dog a light bulb!

Chopin continues to scavenge through the trash.  He’s not out for garbage—just for plastic that crinkles when he carries it around like an extraordinary mouse, by the tail, of course. He could care less what I place in the trash unless it provides a toy he knows he shouldn’t request.  Then, he thinks economy:  Wouldn’t his tribe serve best where they ask for least?    

Should we call this behavior “Secret Service Culture”?  The two of them work hand-in-glove.  First, the cat identified the stopper in the garbage disposal as a trophy which the dog could chew without killing himself.  Second, the cat stole that stopper every stupid time I turned my back.  Third, the dog wouldn’t return this new benefit of his profession without a fight.

I restrained the dog, applying his choke collar.  I grabbed that stopper and secured it in a drawer which the cat can’t open.  There, I have also secured the dog’s talking ball toy, which won’t shut up until it’s still as a mouse which the cat hasn’t discovered—yet. Taken together, these two toys supply more than enough provocations for incidents which might draw neighbors’ attention.

Chopin’s latest trick involves chocolate—another South American no-no for creatures treated like pets.  He and the dog immediately dive into the groceries, which they check for poison the minute I drag the bags inside the door.  The cat waits until I place the chocolate milk containers on the counter.  Then he attempts to remove the caps—until I secure the contraband in the refrigerator, the Forbidden Land.

So, I know from experience that Secret Service Agents need supervision.  They’re dynamite on the enemy—when the enemy isn’t THEM.  All their skills mean that, at any moment, they can turn into double agents.  They can blackmail me for treats.  If I don’t supply them, you don’t have to worry about prostitutes.  Cats and dogs themselves will raise the roof!

Believe me, Janet Napolitano receives my sympathy in grappling with scandals involving US Security agents in the Homeland or God-knows-elsewhere.  Nevertheless, she doesn’t need to pay two-legged rascals when four-legged security experts go begging at Rescue Missions.  The latter work nearly for free, and know how to be ashamed of themselves.

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