Managing Humans: an Owner’s Guide for Cats

Bathrooms

Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

Doors

Do not allow any closed doors in any room. To get door open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an “outside” door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito season.

Chairs and Rugs

If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If there is no Oriental rug, shag is good. When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so it is as long as a humans bare foot.

Hampering

If one of your humans is engaged in some activity and the other is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called “helping,” otherwise known as ?hampering.” Following are the rules for hampering

When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted.

For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book, unless you can lie across the book itself.

For paperwork, lie on the work in the most appropriate manner so as to obscure as much of the work as possible or at least, pretend to doze, but every so often reach out and slap the pencil or pen.

For people paying bills or working on income taxes or Christmas cards, keep in mind the aim: to hamper! First, sit on the paper being worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of the table. When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the papers, scattering them to the best of your ability. After being removed for the second time, push pens, pencils, and erasers off the table, one at a time.

When a human is holding the newspaper in front of him/her, be sure to jump on the back of the paper. Humans love to jump.

When human is working at computer, jump up on desk, walk across keyboard, bat at mouse pointer on screen and then lay in human’s lap across arms, hampering typing in progress.

Walking

As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of the human, especially on stairs, when they have something in their arms, in the dark, and when they first get up in the morning. This will help their coordination skills.

Bedtime

Always sleep on the human at night so he/she cannot move around.

Litter Box

When using the litter box, be sure to kick as much litter out of the box as possible. Humans love the feel of kitty litter between their toes.

Hiding

Every now and then, hide in a place where the humans cannot find you. Do not come out for three to four hours under any circumstances. This will cause the humans to panic (which they love) thinking that you have run away or are lost. Once you do come out, the humans will cover you with love and kisses and you will probably get a treat.

Wake Up

Humans like to sleep past dawn. To get them up and out, first howl and then walk on them. If that doesn?t work, imagine a litter box in the middle of the bed and make a deposit.

One Last Thought

Whenever possible, get close to a human, especially their face, turn around, and present your butt to them. Humans love this, so do it often. And don’t forget guests.

Travelin’ Music

I drove from Hilton Head, SC, to Atlanta today via Macon, GA. As I cruised through Statesboro on the way to Macon, I gave in to nostalgia and listened to the Allman Brothers (Fillmore Sessions). In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Whipping Post, and Mountain Jam combine fire and beauty that still knocks me out. It’s a damn shame that Duane Allman was killed on a motorcycle in 1971 soon after these recordings, just as the band was emerging as a musical force. After his death, they were just another good Southern rock band He was in a class with Eric Clapton – listen to them together on Layla and Other Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos.

For those unfamiliar with classic rock, the Allman Brothers opened their live performances with Statesboro Blues and the band’s label was Capricorn Records, which was located in Macon, GA.

Senators Will Punish China for Stealing Jobs

Last week legislation was introduced in the Senate (SB.1586) to add a 27.5% tariff to Chinese goods unless they allow their currency to float.

Below are some excerpts from John Mauldin’s Weekly E-Letter Thoughts from the Frontline describing why this is a bad idea. My concerns are in bold.

This is bi-partisan idiocy of the first order, sponsored by three Democrats (Senators Schumer, Bayh, and Durbin) and three Republicans (Senators Bunning, Graham, and Dole). It is legislation like this that sometimes makes me despair for the future of the Republic. It is pandering of the worst sort.

Exactly what is this evil thing that the Chinese have done to warrant the attention of the Senate?

First, they fixed their exchange rate in 1994, and have not changed it since. How sinister to want a stable currency by fixing it to the dollar.

Second, they sell us goods at a price not only less than we can find elsewhere, but at one which we freely agree to pay. No nuclear threat. No economic blackmail. A simple free market transaction. In short, the Chinese are behaving like capitalists. (But are their markets open to our exports?)

Third, they have taken the dollars we have given them and actually had the temerity to invest it in US government treasuries, rather than buying our companies and real estate. They actually seem to trust the Fed a lot more than many of my readers.

Last year, over $56 billion dollars was invested by non-Chinese companies (mostly Western) into China to outsource manufacturing. Their exports have tripled to $365 billion in less than ten years. Over two-thirds of that is because of foreign investment. How dare they create economic conditions which force companies all over the world to invest tens of billions? Using competitive advantage is clearly something that only western nations can do in the eyes of these senators.

What’s a Senator to do? We have to show we care. Let’s blame someone besides ourselves. Instead of getting rid of laws which hinder job growth, capital formation and entrepreneurs, let’s see if we can destroy the economy of the world.

In 1930, two well-meaning US legislators named Smoot and Hawley persuaded Republican President Hoover to pass the Smoot-Hawley Act, which raised tariffs on foreign goods in order to protect American jobs. It started a world-wide trade war and turned a normal business cycle recession into a world-wide depression and led to the ripe conditions for WW II. The law of unintended consequences was never more harmful. Protecting a few American jobs ultimately cost millions of lives, both American and all over the world.

What does such action say to third world countries that are coming to the next round of free trade talks in Cancun? Are we for free trade or not? Is free trade with the US ok, as long as you are not too successful? Is it OK for everyone else to change, just as long as the US does not have to? That it is ok to be protectionist when it is local jobs? (Can we inspect all the goods being imported, or, are we giving terrorists an easy way to get weapons of mass destruction into our country?)

The steel tariffs that Bush ’43 passed last year have cost the US far more jobs than the few thousand they have saved. US citizens pay far more for cars and other items which contain steel than the few dollars we get in tariff income. You do not mess with the free market without cost.

What these senators also are saying is that they want the US consumer to pay more for their foreign goods. They want prices to rise and life-styles to diminish. They want to protect their voters from the forces of change. Why don’t we outlaw tractors? We could create lots of jobs if we had to plow fields behind a mule. Let’s legislate no more change in the US.

Today, we read in the Financial Times that foreign countries now own 46% of US foreign debt not owned by the Fed. The US trade deficit over the next two years will be over $1 trillion dollars, so foreign debt holding must rise to even greater proportion. The “good news” is that since the US federal deficit seems to be rising faster than our trade deficit, there will be plenty of US treasury bonds for the Chinese and the rest of Asia to buy.

The Lonely Cat Blues

Ann left on a trip this afternoon. She tried to hide the packing of her luggage as long as possible, but Scooter spotted it and began to get depressed. Luggage means he?s soon going to be left alone for long days and nights, with only the occasional visit by the cat sitter to interrupt his troubled sleep and lonesome howling. When we return from trips, Scooter is hoarse from pouring out his sadness to the sky. Even though I didn?t go on the trip, Scooter was listless for many hours.

Cleveland Amory, in his must-read book for the cat person The Cat and the Curmudgeon, describes how he and his famous white cat Polar Bear go on a trip.

When I am going away I always take care not to pack the night before and let Polar Bear see the suitcase and therefore give him less time to be, as he always is, when he sees it, first cross, then mad, and finally furious. Even if he is going with me I do this, because, unlike some of the more fortunate members of the cat-owned fraternity, I am not at liberty to bring out his carrier and show him he is going, too ? for the simple reason that wherever I am going is not going to be where he wants to go, for the even simpler reason that he never wants to go anywhere.

So, as usual, quickly and invariably forgetting something, I packed the very morning of our trip, coaxed Polar Bear with a grip of iron into the carrier, and took off for the airport. To say he was better than on previous trips would not be true. Neither would it be true to say he was worse. He seemed worse, but that was only because I had purposely put out of my mind how bad he had always been before.

Coyote Sighting on Jefferson Township Parkway

Today (9/7/2003) I was riding my mountain bike in a neighborhood on the side of Sweat Mountain (between Roswell and Woodstock) when a coyote crossed the street in front of me. I had just made the loop at the end of Jefferson Township Parkway and was heading back towards Sandy Plains Road.

There are several rolling hills at the bottom of Sweat Mountain. I topped the hill at Township Ct and was cruising down the other side when I heard running in the leaves to my left. The big, sleek coyote came out of the woods and loped across the road to my right, about 60 feet in front of me. A handsome animal, he looked well fed and in the prime of life.

The forests on Little Sweat Mountain, just to the northwest of Sweat Mountain, are being clearcut for a new development. (We fought it but the developers prevailed.) We’ve got deer grazing in our neighborhood now — we live about 4 miles from Little Sweat Mountain. Deer and coyotes are trying to adapt to loss of habitat by moving into neighborhoods. It will be an uneasy adjustment for the critters and the neighborhoods.