Answer Your Cats' Questions Day
(An earlier version of this article appeared at Bubblews.com on February 11, 2014; it has since been removed.)
I've written several articles in the form of hypothetical conversations with cats. Some were serious discussions of cat care and how different cats react to various things humans do, and some, like this one, were just goofy. There is in fact a holiday called "Answer Your Cats' Questions Day." It's supposed to be observed on January 22. The cats are the resident cat family at the Cat Sanctuary; I'm sure that Ivy's first question and final comment are accurately translated from her communicative behavior but about the other questions I can't say...
Ivy: Do we have any more of those little flat tins of fish?
PK: No. You ate the last ones last night.
Irene: Why don't we have those things more often? We all like them. We like a share of human food, but we really like fish.
PK: In your great-grandmother's time, all the cats who lived here had those treats for dinner almost every night, and had kibble for breakfast, because our human friends bought treats for them. But now the treats cost twice as much as they used to, and what our human friends buy for you is kibble.
Heather: Why do the treats cost twice as much?
PK: They come from far away from here. Some poor laborers had to mix the fish scraps, meat scraps, and grain meal and can them in little flat tins. Other humans had to give the laborers money to do this. A few years ago, some humans called Congress made them give the laborers more money. After that the cost of almost every kind of food has been higher. Lots of things cost twice as much as they used to.
Irene: So the laborers get twice as much money now?
PK: Not even close. The humans called manufacturers have other ways to spend the extra money. They have to pay for more regulation these days. And of course they keep more money for themselves every year. For the humans who work in corporations, earning only as much money this year as they earned last year is a terrible embarrassment.
Ivy: Do all those other humans get more money when our friends buy more treats?
PK: Of course they do. They used to get one or two dollars every day from us. Now they get on average one or two dollars every month.
Heather: Humans like to make things complicated, don't they? Would we get more treats if the laborers, the manufacturers, and the Congress asked for only the same amount of money?
PK: I'm sure you would.
Heather: And then the laborers, the manufacturers, and the Congress would get more money?
PK: Probably they would.
Ivy: Are those other humans stupid?
PK: I think it's more that they're greedy...but yes, I suppose they are. Every time the minimum wage goes up, the laborers act as if they thought they were better off because they were getting more money. Then after a year or two the cost of things goes up and the laborers have to do without more things than they did before. But all the costs don't change at once, so the laborers don't seem to notice or learn.
Irene: Where do you and our other human friends fit into this? Are you like laborers? Do you get more money?
PK: No. People who work directly for their customers don't get minimum wages. We have to do without even more things than the laborers. This is considered fair because no one else is telling us what to do.
Heather: Well, have you got any chicken?
PK: Only corn meal.
Ivy: Then go in and bake us some corn pone, already!
Image Credit » Photo of Ivy by Priscilla King