Fup. Store Cat.
The Trip to Kahani
To be safe, they slip out of
the pet store a full hour before the morning managers will arrive. In
the early, ochre light the three of them tramp past the medical offices
and knickknack shops east of the mall, past the gas stations, the fast
food joints, and the auto parts store, and beyond, into the woods.
Off the sidewalks at last, Zooey races ahead to blaze trail, sniffing
and peeing on trees. Now and then the cats lose sight of him and pause
to listen for his jingling tags. Which is exactly what happens as
approaching the cul-de-sac: the big yellow dog disappears over a hill,
but this time they can't hear his tags not because he's run off,
but because he's stopped. Before they see the animal control officer,
they're practically on top of him: the uniformed man stands in front of
Zooey, interrogating him, fifteen feet from the trees. Fup and Bear
"What are they talking about?" Bear asks. "I can't hear."
The officer (his stitched-on nametag reads "Hal") starts toward his
van. Zooey follows. Wagging, slightly.
"He's got it under control," Fup murmurs.
Officer Hal pauses beside the van, but soon enough Zooey leads him
a house across the street. He lumbers up the front porch stairs and
from a large bowl situated alongside the welcome mat. He stops
starts again, then pauses a moment, chin-over-bowl, as if to gauge
some part of his thirst might remain unquenched. Satisfied, he climbs
into an armchair overlooking the street and settles into its cushions.
Hal rings the doorbell, but no one answers. No dog barks. Zooey
"We should nap here," Zooey will suggest later, after the officer has
gone and it's just he and two cats now on somebody's covered porch. "I
hardly slept last night, what with all those mewling puppies." Zooey
in the armchair, the plush, comfortable chair. But of course they can't
stay. The dog that lives here could return any minute. Besides, they've
still miles to go before they reach Wiggums's farm.
That Cat That Changed My Life: 50 Cats Talk About How They Became Who They Are
by Bruce Eric Kaplan
"All these cats lead exciting and varied lives wholly independent of the human
race," notes the editor in his Introduction. Well, duh. Scant attention has
been paid to the role of community in modern cat culture, so what a relief that
here, finally, fifty articulate felines set the record straight. Funny, sad,
occasionally shocking, but never less than true, these brave monologues
reaffirm our interdependency in ways that choreographed public displays such as
Paws Across America never can.
Poems by Writers' Dogs
by Amy Hempel
In "Dog Kibble," Tasha Baxter's verse exhibits a brutal economy of
words: "Life is never meaningless," her villanelle announces, "there is
always food." Here and throughout this collection these authors demand
your attention, as if to bark, "You can send me to my room for yelling
at the neighbors but you cannot silence what woofs in my heart!" Among
the selections nominated for Best
American Writing by Pets 2000 are Bob Barker Barry's sordid and hilarious
hallucinogenic escapades with Lynda; a tragic, posthumous prose poem by
Marrow Irving; and Sadie Louise Lamott's "Spoon River Sadie Louise," a
wildly metered exploration of the cross-cultural dynamics within a
household occupied by dogs, cats, birds, and small children. The sheer
intellect of these collected pieces will renew your faith in dogs.
Is Your Cat Too Fat?
by Bronwen Meredith
Too fat for what? And what business is it of this Meredith person's
anyway? Bronwen sounds like the kind of lady I wouldn't like at all.