You have to understand, my wife and I have a lot of cats. The number varies, but rarely drops below ten. These cats have a very complicated social arrangement and when one goes and another arrives, it takes awhile for the new arrangement to work itself out.
Right now, we’re at the stage where blood-curling screams wake us in the middle of the night and several cats will chase each other around the house for a while. I want an uninterrupted night's sleep so badly that I poked around on the web and came across some information on Cat Whispering.
So I tried it. I’ve lived with cats all my life, and until yesterday I didn’t know cats can flip you off. I knew that they can look at you like you’re a worthless speck of filth, but they actually flipped me off.
Their disgust with my whispering attempts ended when they got hungry. Then it was the “nice kitty, rub your ankles” act. They can’t whisper, but the know all about conditioning. They send the two cutest ones to do the figure eights around my ankles and in five minutes the food is being dished up.
Of course, if they could open the cans, I would be out on my ass. They haven’t figured that one out yet, although I’m pretty certain those polydactyl cats are a cat research project to breed offspring that are able to open cans.
Bags? Bags are no problem. Once I got distracted and left an unopened twenty pound bag of cat food on the floor leaning against a kitchen cabinet while I went to pick up my wife at work. I was gone about twenty minutes. When we got home, the bag was lying on the floor. There were claw marks on the bottom corners of the bag. Two cats must have gabbed the corners and dragged the bag onto the floor. In the exact center of bag at the top, a neat slash had torn the bag open right down the center. Two parallel cuts across the top and bottom had opened the bag like a chest in an autopsy. The flaps were folded back and the cats had spread food over the floor and were munching away.
So we switched to cans. And we swore to never take in a polydactyl cat.
This worked for a while, but then four cats developed food allergies. They began losing fur on their bellies, thighs, and tails. So we did the only reasonable thing. We conducted a six-month food trial to determine what they were allergic to. They were all allergic to different things. When we isolated what we could feed safely feed all of them we were left with Kumquats and Quiona, which wasn’t as bad as it sounds, because it turns out that Purina makes Kumquat and Quinoa cat food.
So I go to the pet store, park next to the owner’s Jaguar my monthly cat food and treats bill is paying for, and I ask about Purina Kumquat and Quiona cat food. He says he’s got some in the back. A few minutes later he comes out with a 20 pound bag of Purina Cat Chow. Written in red marker is “Kumquat and Quinoa.”
“How many do you need?” he asks.
I tell him I need three, but that’s not the issue right now. “Why is Kumquat and Quiona written in red on a regular Purina Cat Chow bag?”
“What’d you mean?” he says.
I said,”Look at it. Somebody wrote ‘Kumquat and Quiona’ on that Purina Cat Chow bag.”
So he looked at the bag and said, “Well, sure. At the plant. It’s somebody’s job. This is a special order mix.They use regular bags and write ‘Kumquat and Quiona’ on the bag. It’s a special order. From Tangiers. Best Kumquats in the world are from Tangiers. What? You need three?”
Now I’m intrigued. “What about the Quiona?” I ask.
“I’ll be honest with you,” he says. “It’s only so-so. But the Kumquats make up for it. Best Kumquats in the world are from Tangiers.”
Then I notice that the price of $29.75 is crossed out and $43.50 in written in red marker. “Whoa. Hold on there,” I said. “Why is this stuff so expensive?”
“Well, you know, it’s a special order. Kumquat and Quiona. Kumquat’s from Tangiers. Best in the world.”
“I guess,” I said, “but it still seems kinda high.”
“Well, I mean, Tangiers is way, um, way over, ahh, you know, there.” He waved two fingers in a direction I think was NorthWest.
“But the price printed on the bag is crossed out and the higher price is written over in red marker.”
“Like I said, it’s a special order. That’s the Purina special order pricing system.”
“A red marker?”
“Or blue sometimes, yeah. I’m almost positive these bags are hand-labelled in Tangiers by Tangerines. Very rare these bags. You can sell the empty bags on eBay to Purina collectors.”
So what could I do? The cats had allergies and this was the food they needed. While the owner went to get two more bags, I used my phone to transfer some money into my checking account from my mom’s nursing home account. Then I made a note to transfer her to a cheaper place. I'm sure they've fixed up that one that was on the news last year.
I loaded up the food, tossed in a dozen catnip stuffed toy mice and nine batteries for the laser pointer. Mom will understand. She had three cats in a one bedroom apartment when she had me.