Cereal killers are NOT what you’d think!

A cat typing at a computer.
Letter by Claire McElvaney
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

Another day, another lesson! So, I heard your mom was giving a special lecture on cereal killers and I went to see what kinds of cereal are involved. I wondered if she was talking about froot loops, or cheerios, or raisin bran, or the oat n’goats stuff your dad likes? Is there a meat cereal? I would dive into a big bowl of chicken chips, beef bonanza, or salmon snacks, are those a thing? If you’re killing it, it’s probably delicious. UMMMM…NOPE!

Do you know what your mom was looking at because there were NO bowls of cereal involved! It was all dead bodies, buckets of blood and body parts, and people with creepy eyes! I mean, I know they were just photos, but some of those folks made my tail bristle!

I get that she likes to talk about why people do stuff. That’s part of your mom’s Psychology schtick, am I right? She looks at people’s brains and behaviors and tries to figure them out. Okay, that’s not so bad. But this stuff? Crazy!

Look baby-kittens, I think that is a human mistake that you humans all try to make. You all look for what prompts someone to kill cereal. (I still don’t get how bowls of grains figure into this.) Whether it’s the just-world hippopotamus (your mom said hypothesis, but that’s not a real word, so I’m pretty sure it’s hippopotamus) where folks look for a reason that bad things happen or some type of brain abnormality that makes humans more aggressive, you humans all have to have a “why.”

Bad news kiddos, there isn’t always a reason. Sometimes bad things and bad people just happen. There are bad cats and dogs too. Not many (well, not many bad cats, dogs on the other paw…), but once in a while you have an animal whose brain is one fish short of a full pond. Not every awful moment in life can be prevented. I also heard that some kids at school got kind of violent and it was scary. Everyone kept asking if they could have done more. Maybe they could, maybe they couldn’t, but here’s a different question: Do you want to think the best of everybody or the worst of everybody?

Bullies and bad guys are gonna exist, but friends and good people are gonna exist too. How do you know who is which? You don’t, at least not at first. You have to wait and see what they do.

See, it doesn’t matter what their past is like, it matters what they choose their present to be.

Sometimes, kids and adults have a lot of bad stuff happen to them, like when you were bullied. That was really awful. But you didn’t let it stop you from being decent and standing up for others. Why not? Because there is more to being human—even for you—than just living through good and bad experiences.

Human minds and hearts work together in rough situations and the human actively chooses the next steps. You both chose good steps because you (although it kills me to admit it) have good minds and good hearts (except for loving that fart-factory you call a dog). Other people choose bad steps because their minds and hearts just don’t work together well. Trust your gut (NOT your dog’s gut! Yuck!) and if you feel uncomfortable walk away from that person. If you give them a chance and they betray you, well, you know for the future not to trust them.

You’ll learn over time when to trust and when not to trust. And if you trust wisely, you’ll never have to look at breakfast bowls filled with body parts. (Seriously, you have GOT to talk to your mom about this!!!)

Okay, I’m done being nice to you now. I need a nap. Go fetch me a fish.

Your favorite feline,

LuLu the Calico Cat

P.S. If your teacher doesn’t like the topic this week that’s her problem. Do you see me with a new pouch of tuna? No, you do not! No tuna means that I get to pick the topic! So there!

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