I came in from the garage the other day to hear the Nordic Warrior Queen talking on the phone. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I could tell it was our daughter, and something big was going down.
Jimmy (she hates it when I call her that) had brought her cat in to the vet. No, don’t panic, they told her. Smelly Cat is fine. A little gas is a perfectly normal thing. Yes, even if the smell makes the baby cry. Nothing to worry about, really.
The diagnosis? She needed her teeth cleaned (the cat, not my daughter). Oh, and the vet was suggesting better food. No more Meow Mix.
I didn’t mean to butt into their conversation, but come on: special cat food? Really? “Give me the phone, dear,” I said.
“Don’t get me wrong,” I explained. “I like cats. When I was a kid, I had a cat too. Mr. Sparky. And when Mr. Sparky needed food, my Mom took me to the grocery store and we spent about two seconds picking out the cat food: Purina Cat Food, dry, in a fifty-pound bag. That was all they carried, and it lasted a year, at least.”
Sometimes that bag of cat food lasted longer than the cat.
“Sure, Dad. And when you were a kid, you walked uphill to school. Both ways. Barefoot. In the snow. Right?” She’s always been a smartass.
Ignoring her tone, I continued. “But not anymore,” I said. “Today, Purina makes Griller’s Blend, Seafood Sensations, Surf and Turf, Country Style, Classic Pate’, Gravy Sensations, Prime Filets, Savory Shreds, Tasty Treasures, Meaty Bits, Senior Diet, and Flaked, in Beef, Cheese, Chicken, Egg, Giblets, Lamb, Liver, Ocean Fish, Poultry, Rice, Salmon, Sardines, Seafood, Tuna, Turkey, and Whitefish flavors.”
I guess cats don’t like pork.
“And that’s just one manufacturer.” Boy, I was really ramping up now. “Multiply dozens of cat food makers x hundreds of cat food versions x every meat in the animal kingdom (except pork) and you come up with 1,392, 508 possible combinations. All this for an animal that licks its butt, and pukes hairballs.”
She listened patiently to my ranting. “Wow, Dad. You really did your homework.”
“Okay, whatever,” I finally said, defeated. “Forget about the cat food. What’s this about the cat’s teeth?”
“She has to have them cleaned.”
I said nothing.
She got defensive over my silence. “So what? How would you like to go years without brushing your teeth?”
“And what’s that going to cost?” I had to ask.
WHAT! “Three-hundred bucks? For what?”
“Well, they have to anaesthetize her first. And they have special toothpaste for cats. You can’t just use Crest, you know.”
“The Captain’s got a pair of pliers out in the garage, right? Why not just pull the cat’s teeth and buy my granddaughter some new shoes with all the money you save?”
“Real nice, Dad. Can I talk to Mom now?”
I wasn’t done. “The cat only cost fifty-bucks in the first place.” I should know, since I bought the damned thing. “For three-hundred bucks, you can get a new cat every two years, and never have to worry about cleaning their teeth.”
I handed the phone back to my wife and went downstairs to the garage.
That’s when I realized the Sister Wife’s cat—the Arctic Wooly Übercat—had heard the whole thing. Oh, shit. There is was, blocking the door with its enormous bulk, waiting for me.
Just get a new cat, is that it? Pull its TEETH?
My bowels turned to water at the sight of the Übercat’s sharp teeth, its steely eyes and fierce claws. “C’mon. It was just a joke. Can I go outside? Please?”
It glared at me for a few long, fear-filled moments before finally turning away, its mighty tail pointing high into the air. I’ll be waiting for you, asshole. When you least expect it, I’ll be ready, and then…
“What? What is it?”
Better hide the pliers, human. I’m coming for you.
And with that final word of warning, the Übercat glanced back at me, arrogantly, and smiled its toothy, feline grin. Sleep tight…HUMAN, that look said, and stepped into its litterbox.