Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cat Products That REALLY Work (Yeah, right!)

A couple days ago, I was hanging out with Steve’s female while she was reading the Sunday New York Times Magazine and I couldn’t help but notice an ad for a sofa with the pledge “Constructed to Last for Generations.” Now, admittedly, this sofa looked very nice and well-built, but “last for generations?” Oh, please! I could shred this entire sofa in a matter of hours without even straining myself! So “last for generations”… well, maybe if you’re talking about gnat generations. But if you’re talking human or cat generations, forget it.

During the course of watching TV with Steve and his female, I’ve seen numerous commercials for a variety of products that are “guaranteed to work,” but would, in fact, revolutionize mankind – and in some instances, cat-kind – if they actually did. To entice humans to try these products, many commercials include “But wait, there’s more!” where they “give” you accessories or an extra item or something like that. Regardless of the hype, most of these products fail to perform as advertised, break quickly, or are just plain junk to begin with. Here are a few cat-related products that have been advertised on TV and are “guaranteed to work.” (I’m not mentioning the names of the products or the manufacturers because we can’t afford to get sued)...

First is a revolutionary new cat scratcher that sits on the floor and is supposed to be irresistible to us felines… it’s scented with catnip (big whoop). This is a clever little gadget, but completely unacceptable to any cat that wants a truly good scratch. It’s far too small to allow you to stretch and get your back into it while scratching, and besides, who wants to use this sad little thing when there’s a perfectly good couch close at paw. And furthermore, as I said in my second book, The World Is STILL Your Litter Box, scratching posts are for sissies… real cats ALWAYS use the couch.

Then there’s a cleaning product that’s “guaranteed” to remove pet hair from upholstery. Well, like most pet hair removal products, this one uses a sticky sheet to pick up the fur and dander, but what they don’t show you on TV is that after about two swipes, the sticky sheet is so full of fur that it’s no longer sticky and you have to replace it. So, yes, around 500 sticky sheets and a whole lot of work later, you’ve got a couch that’s free of pet hair… until one of us loving creatures gets back up there and negates all your labors in about two seconds.

Lastly, we’ve got an item that’s supposed to stop us cats from shedding. Supposedly, this doodad removes fur trapped in a cat’s undercoat before it falls out. Well, if you believe that, I’ve got some swampland in Florida I’d like to sell you. The simple fact is that when we kitties get to shedding, especially in the spring when we blow off our winter coats, there’s not a de-shedding tool in the world that can stem the tide (or the fur).

So remember TV-watching humans, if you see a commercial for a cat product that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Still, you never know when they might come up with something that really does work, so… well, probably not.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Les Chats de France

Late last fall, Steve and his female made their third visit to France…yes, they are incorrigible Francophiles. This time, they spent a few days in Normandy before going to Paris, and as always, they made sure to stop, pet and photograph every chat (that’s “cat” in French) they encountered. And when Steve and the female come home from France, I always love to hear about all the chats they met and, of course, look at the photos.

In the collage above (click on it to enlarge), the top left photo was taken in Beuvron-en-Auge, a well-preserved 17th Century village in Normandy, and the chat Steve is petting had only three legs. Despite this handicap, the chat had no trouble prancing over to the table and meowing for a café-au-lait, preferably without the café-au.

The top right photo was also taken in Beuvron-en-Auge and shows that all cats – wherever they live and whatever they are called – love tummy rubs! And yes, this chat did grab and bite Steve’s arm. Some things are the same all over.

The bottom left photo was taken in the Marais district of Paris, near the Hotel de Sens. The Marais is a very popular area for humans and kitties, and this particular chat was only too happy to have a nice hind-end rub (yes, that oh-so-sensitive spot above the tail knows no international boundaries).

The last photo shows a very nice white chat (my astral twin) in Montorgueil, a pedestrian area in the center of Paris that is famous for its fish, meat and produce markets. This lucky chat actually lives in one of the markets and gets to nap on whatever food he wants. How franciase is that?

So that's my little travelogue. I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos and meeting my kitty amis (that’s “friends” in French) who live in Paris and Normandy. Vive le chats!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shapewear... WTF?

In my first book, The World Is Your Litter Box, I astutely stated that females can be tricky… you never quite know what they’re up to. Well, ever since I wrote those famous words, I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours trying to figure out Steve’s female and some of the strange things she does.

For example, in the morning, she goes into the bathroom looking a bit bedraggled from sleep (don’t we all when we first wake up), but when she comes out, seemingly hours later, she looks fresh, fluffed and buffed. How does she do it? I’ve done a little snooping around in her bathroom when she’s not home and found all kinds of mysterious objects like powders, strange brushes, pencils and other odd-looking tools, and little plastic containers of something called makeup… but still, how does she take all this stuff and make herself look good? Talk about a flummoxing enigma for cats!

Then just the other day, I was poking around in a drawer of the female’s dresser (inadvertently but conveniently left open for my rummaging pleasure) and I found an unusual item of clothing with the name “Shapewear.” This underwear-type item seemed to be made out of some kind of rubbery substance similar to the stinger the female shoots at me when I misbehave (Note from Steve… the stinger is actually a small rubber band). Naturally, my first thought was “What could the female possibly be up to with this?” So, the next morning, I lurked around the bedroom while the female was getting dressed, and to my amazement, when she pulled on the Shapewear, it completely changed the size and dimensions of her hind end! Madre de dios! Clearly this is some new kind of civil engineering marvel they’ve come up with for females, but how does it work? Is there no end to the complexity and wonder of products designed to enhance the female mystique?

Well, fellow cat, I’m going to get to the bottom of all this and find out what’s up with this Shapewear invention and the science behind it. Meanwhile, I have just one question for the manufacturers of Shapewear… do you make Shapewear for rotund cats such as myself?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Anger and Violence in America

As readers of this blog know, I usually keep things pretty light and humorous and leave the heavy stuff to others. But today, after the horrible shooting incident in Tucson over the weekend, I don’t feel very much like smiling or, in my case, purring.

By this time, I’m sure everyone knows the details of the story… six people dead including a nine-year-old girl, several people wounded, and a U.S. Congressperson in critical condition with a head injury. But what makes me saddest of all is the undercurrent of anger, violence and general mean-spiritedness that seems to have permeated our culture in the USA, and is, in my opinion, a major reason for tragedies like this one. And it’s not just the usual suspects of talk radio and TV “news”…you’ll find loads of unbridled anger and nastiness in our music, our reality TV shows, our computer games, and all over the Internet. And when you combine this roiling undercurrent with a populace that’s armed to the teeth… well, it makes you wish humans would be more like cats. Sure we kitties disagree and fight from time to time, but we always manage to settle our differences with our own claws and teeth instead of weaponry. And most of the time, we manage to be pretty sweet.

So how about it humans? If we cats can rein in our anger and keep our tempers in check most of the time, certainly you can too. Hey, I like mayhem in movies and screeching “real” housewives on TV as much as the next fellow, but perhaps we should take a step back and think about what all this is doing to us as a society. Surely we can do much, much better. Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the shooting incident in Tucson, and to their families and friends.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wave of the Future

Over the holiday season, a very interesting phenomenon occurred in the publishing and bookselling industry, which, as an author cat, I follow very closely. Barnes & Noble reported that for the first time ever, the sales of ebooks surpassed the sales of hard copy books on its online bookstore. Barnes & Noble also indicated that customers downloaded around one million books on Christmas day alone, and both Barnes and Noble and Amazon are reporting mega sales of their respective e-readers, the Nook and the Kindle.

What this means to yours truly is that anyone in the world, wherever they may be, can go online, download The World Is STILL Your Litter Box, and be reading it in a matter of minutes. Talk about wave of the future! Unfortunately, my first book, The World Is Your Litter Box, is not yet available as an ebook… but you can help. Simply click on the Amazon link for the book, go to “Tell the Publisher,” and click on “I’d like to read this book on Kindle.” On the Barnes & Noble link for the book, click on “Tell the publisher you want this in Nookbook format.” If enough cats and cat lovers do this, maybe both of my books will soon be available as ebooks and my plan for kitty world domination will enter the digital age! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

A quick note: The Barnes & Noble link for the paperback version of The World Is STILL Your Litter Box says that the book is not available for the Nook. This is NOT TRUE, and the error is being corrected. You can order The World Is STILL Your Litter Box for the Nook here.

And while I’m shamelessly plugging my books for the first time in 2011, let me humbly remind you that if you have a book store gift certificate left over from the holidays… well, I think you get the picture!