Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Feline Anti-Literacy Brigade, Part 1

If you already know me, it's hardly news if I tell you I'm a cat person. I luuuurve the furry little beasties. There's just something about the way they move, the way they caper about, the way they snooze in anatomically impossible positions ... they're just so cute, and I can't resist them. (Within reason, of course. Although my other half insists he is the only thing standing between me and a life as a crazy old cat lady with two dozen cats, I do have limits. "Can't resist them" usually means stopping to pet a friendly cat, not bringing them home.)

So we have three cats in our household, and they provide endless hours of amusement and possibilities for procrastination. In fact, they often take an active role in preventing me from writing or even reading. I jokingly (?) call these incidents part of their "Feline Anti-Literacy Campaign." The reason they wage this campaign is obvious: I, the Lady with Wondrous, Opposable, Cat-Food-Can-Opening Thumbs, should not be spending my time on anything other than their entertainment.

Meet Clio, leader of the Feline Anti-Literacy Brigade. Actually, I should have known what she was capable of when we brought her and her sister home as kittens in the summer of 2002. She earned her name with her first anti-literacy efforts. I was proofreading galleys of a history reference at the time, and the new kitten spent so much time crawling over them and the computer desk that I decided to name her after the Greek muse of history, Clio.

As you can see from the photo at the top of my blog, Clio's usual modus operandi is to sit on my lap while I'm at the computer desk. It's a very simple and effective technique. Sitting on my lap means I can't pull out my keyboard drawer; neither can I reach my hands into the keyboard drawer. Thus, I cannot type, and my hands are free to gratify her need for a belly rub. Of course, she does not want me to capture photographic evidence of her anti-literacy efforts, which is why my poor camera endured the savage attack documented here.

Clio's other anti-literacy techniques include: chirping on the floor (an irresistible invitation to play); vomiting on the carpet (an irresistible invitation to steam-clean); and producing incredibly foul smells (an irresistible invitation to scoop the cat box). I turned the table on her efforts, though; a few years back she was stationed in her usual anti-literacy post, on my lap, when she released an incredibly foul smell. My anti-muse had struck! But in so doing, she inspired my poetic muse. Within a few minutes, I had the following stanza:

You come to sit upon my lap
To find a comfy place to nap.
Nothing’s softer than your fur
Nothing’s sweeter than your purr
Rumbling from your little heart,
Why, then, o Kitty, must you fart?

Four more stanzas soon followed; Boy recited the poem, complete with whoopie-cushion sound effects, for his third-grade class; and I was off to the poetic races. I now have over 20 "Poopy Poems," as I like to call them, on topics such as scooping the cat box, watching the cat barf, and enduring the cat chewing my hair.

So take that, Clio! You may entice me away from the computer have me wrapped around your little paws, but you can't squelch my creativity.

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