by J. F. Kelly, Jr. | Coronado

My wife and I have a problem. Our two pet cats, Mimi and Mewsetta, have flunked out of boarding school. Both have been told, in as many words, that they are no longer welcome. Boy, are they hissed off! My wife and I aren’t too pleased, either, because it presents a problem, to wit: Who will care for them when we travel? Are we grounded forever?

Leaving them at home and hiring a pet care person to look in on them may not work. Mimi and Mewsetta, you see, are not your ordinary cats. Mewsetta can turn on faucets when she’s thirsty or sometimes just for the hell of it. We have returned home to find hot water faucets running which is, of course, very wasteful of two precious resources: water and money. Mimi likes to rearrange shelves and cabinets and can open cabinet doors with ease.

Both cats have great personalities at home and are generous to a fault, sharing toys and dead things with us. We often find their little mousie toys on our pillows or placemats. .They both are jet black, one long-haired and the other short. They are sisters and littermates, even though they look and act quite differently. Mewsetta, the long-haired one, is very feminine and obviously part Persian or Angora. The short-haired one is very athletic and probably part feral. Both are sopranos, as you can probably guess from their names. Their favorite composer is Giacomo Puccini.

They evidently had different fathers. “How is that possible?” you ask. Female cats can be impregnated by different males incident to the same pregnancy. I probably didn’t explain that well, but it will have to do because I am not an authority on such matters.

Ironically, we adopted Mimi and Mewsetta at the same facility which now declares them to be purrsona non grata. It’s the same facility that cared so well for our three previous household pets, including Boo, a wonderful black cat who lived to be 19 and Circe, a gentile Doberwoman who lived to be 13, which is a long life for a Dobie. I wrote about Circe years ago in a column entitled “Conversations with a Doberman” which appeared in several publications. Their ashes sit in a place of honor on our bookshelves.

We’ve boarded Mimi and Mewsetta about a half dozen times in the eighteen months of their young lives. To be honest, they do not enjoy it and it shows. They know what’s up when the first suitcase comes out of the attic. By the time that they are outmaneuvered and caught after a hectic chase, they are both having hissy fits. Then they are stuffed into a pet carrier and transported to the boarding facility, all the while singing a soprano duet in sotto voce. They arrive, sometimes car sick, and are told how cute they are and that they have grown. They are not assuaged by this flattery. They are then stuffed into another cage, this one stationary. They are not happy campers. Who can blame them?

The days drag slowly by. We can all relate to the fact that institutional food and institutional living isn’t much fun. No table scraps. No TV. Then along comes an attendant to give them a bath. A BATH!!? Cats, I am told, equate bathing to water boarding. They see absolutely no justification in such torture and it merely strengthens their resolve to be uncooperative. Who can blame them?

Then they are examined. They undergo a sort of—well, cat scan. Then someone sticks needles into them. At this point, they are ready to retaliate. Who can blame them?

Mimi and Mewsetta were evaluated for health and behavior issues during each boarding. While their general health remained excellent, their deportment, sadly, declined. Both exhibited attitude problems. Mimi recently received a D- in sociability and Mewsetta was evaluated as uncooperative. Both were declared to be overweight, a judgment that both cats found offensive. Mewsetta said that her fluffy, long hair made her appear heavier than she actually was and that the scales were off by at least five pounds, anyway. Mimi’s remarks were unprintable.

The staff person said that both cats were stressed by the boarding process and that we should explore other options. Mimi and Mewsetta, on the other hand, said that it was the staff that was stressed. Who knows the truth? There are two sides to every story. CRO

copyright 2009 J.F. Kelly, Jr

J.F. Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident of Coronado, California.

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