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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, November 6

Cat People

There are people people, dog people, and cat people. From what I’ve seen of most people, we’d rather be cat people, especially now in light of our impending presidential election. “Impending.” That’s a frighteningly appropriate adjective. It just screams for the following noun—“DOOM!” What an odd predicament we’re now in: Trump wins and there aren’t enough checks and balances to keep this unbalanced man in check; Hillary wins and we may find ourselves so deep in debt we can never climb out. We won’t know which doom we’ll face until we get this simply awful election over with.

Meanwhile, back to cat people versus dog people. Dogs are wonderful companions—bright, cheerful, loving. But they also require a lot of attention, once or twice daily potty walks, mutual hugs of affection when they meet you at the door, regular pats on the back when they’ve been good boys and girls. Cats, on the other hand, want attention or affection when they I want it, not when we want it. They never need to be walked or directed to place and time for potty stops. They go whenever they want to and kick up as much litter as they can just to keep their slaves on their toes. Garfield knows what I’m talking about. The tv announcer interviewing a cat person asks, “What would it be like if cats ruled the world?” Garfield shrugs and says, “If?” Another time he hears a phone pollster asking Jon, “How many cats do you own?” Another Garfield shrug and he thinks, “Nobody owns a cat.” Garfield is the epitome of what I call “Cattitude.”

We share our home with three boys—Tiger, Tuffy, and Charlie. We don’t own them nor do they own us, although they all act like they do. Now that I’m no longer golfing and Rosalie no longer volunteering at the cat shelter two days a week, we seem to be around our boys much more than in the past. They now assume we’re all part of a social network that daily follows a ritualized pattern. We go to bed around 10:00 p.m. every evening and the boys all come in the bedroom to say goodnight. When the bedside light goes off, they all leave us to tend to their evening activities—a last time bite of hard food, a drink of water, a final pee or poop and an energetic kicking of litter. Then they spend a few hours out on the back patio watching rabbits in the moonlight or dried leaves skittering across the yard. At exactly 3:30, Charlie comes in to remind me with an index-finger claw in my back that it’s time for me to get up to go to the bathroom, where he will accompany me to eat the dozen hard kitty treats we put on the counter for him. After he leaves, around 4:00, Tiger will come in to sleep with us for an hour or two. And just as daylight appears, Tuffy will come in to demand our attention with head ducking under sleeping hands, saying, “Wake up! Wake up! I want to play!” It’s all part of our kitty ritual. Now that we’re together almost 24 hours a day, we’ve become so socialized and they’ve become such individual people. Tuffy is the boy playing with a deck with a few cards missing, his eyes almost always looking up to see whatever might be flying by—a miniscule insect, an imaginary bird, a light reflection from my watch. Tiger is far and away the brightest of the three, playing soccer with one of his many plastic balls, kicking them with front or back feet back and forth from one side of our coffee table to the other, playing fetch with a ball thrown down our bedroom hall, going for it, then strutting back with it in his mouth to drop it at our feet for another found of fetch. He’ll do this six or seven times before he tires of the game. Charlie, our handsome tuxedo cat, keeps himself aloof from most of the tumbling fights Tuffy and Tiger engage in, but now and then we’ll see him pick up a ball or mouse and carry it around for a bit until he sees us watching him. Then he drops the toy in embarrassment at being caught acting like a little kid. Our house is littered with small cat toys; our screened-in back patio is filled with a variety of cat furniture for them to lounge on as they watch the rabbits and birds and occasional coyotes that come through our back yard. Charlie is the aristocrat of our three boys. We call him “Tippy Toes” because he’s so cautious when he steps across the patio door threshold.

Are we cat people? You bet. And all those dummies out there who are neither cat nor dog people, they don’t know what they’re missing.
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