Soapbox warning! Bad owners = Bad dogs

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

The cats are sleeping so I got another chance to write to you! I’m sorry your mom & dad got sick, well, sort of… I like when they stay home all day! It’s awesome to get the extra cuddle time!

I think we need to talk, because yesterday while you were at school it got CRAZY!!!

The neighbors’ husky dogs got out again and attacked some cats and that nice dalmation puppy across the street. The huskies have gotten out every day for the last two weeks and had been chasing everyone’s pets. They even hopped fences and went after other dogs in their own backyards!

Your mom wouldn’t take us for walks because the huskies had already tried to get at us through the windows. It wasn’t too bad because your mom & dad played with us in the backyard, but I missed all the smells!

Yesterday the huskies were roaming and trying to go after every animal outside. A bunch of people told the neighbors that their dogs were out again, but they acted like they didn’t care.  

First the huskies tore through the outdoor cat hut and killed one of the cats down the road. They also bit the other cats inside, but most of them should be okay. Then the huskies chased and bit my puppy friend while she and her family were on a walk. Some people saw it happen and were outside shaking and crying. It was scary and awful and should never have happened.

The animal control people came and then all of these sheriff cars came. The cats’ owners were over yelling at the huskies’ owners and the huskies’ owners were yelling at the cat owners. It got really bad really quick!

It was NUTS! I couldn’t stop barking at them through the window even when your mom gave me peanut butter!
Then, when I thought it would calm down, Animal Control took the dogs! Shouldn’t they take the owners instead???

I try to bark and be friendly like I should, but this makes me growly mad! Your mom was VERY upset!

The owners never walked their dogs, they never played with their dogs, and they never cuddled their dogs. They didn’t care that their dogs were biting at everybody and scaring them and never tried to keep them at their home.

Remember the five seconds that I got out once? Your mom, your dad, and your Aunt Maureen all ran out to get me. I thought we were having a great game until your mom used her scary voice! (I ran back double-quick! I HATE that voice!)

See, you’re not supposed to run wild when you live in a neighborhood because there are kids, and cars, and things that might hurt you. Your mom and dad and auntie were trying to keep me safe. That’s what the neighbors with the huskies should have done!

Your mom and the other neighbors tried to be friendly, talk to the family, and even ask the authorities for help. But no! No one did anything until the dogs hurt one of my buddies!!!

The owners should go to the pound, not the dogs! Dogs get bored! Seriously!

I never get bored because you play with me and I have a huge box of stuffed cuddle toys and squeaky things. Your mom and dad talk to me and run around with me. Plus, when the thunder starts and I get scared your mom gives me special treats and lets me cuddle with her on the bed. Always.

I’m not scared as much because you guys take care of me.

Those dogs were always outside, even in thunder, lightning, and fireworks. I know some people say that dogs shouldn’t be treated like family, but we ARE family. We protect you because you are part of our pack, just like you protect us because we’re part of your family!  

I think that everyone blaming the dogs is wrong. Blame the owners instead!

Okay, the huskies weren’t nice, but I don’t think they ever the chance to learn how to behave! I think that it’s the owners who messed up, because they should have given the dogs love, and playtime, and gone and taken care of them when they were scared.

You know how your mom gives me treats when I let her tell me to sit and lie down and stuff? I like that! I’m super good at showing her how I listen! The neighbors should have done that too. It’s kind of nice to know what’s expected, am I right?

Now everyone is sad and nobody wins. I feel a little guilty, but now that the huskies are at the pound your mom, dad, and all the neighbors are able to go on walks again. Your mom and dad took us out this morning and it was perfect! I enjoyed the new smells and got to find the old ones too!

Best of all, no one chased us back to the house or tried to bite us. We just got walk like we used to do.

I know you’re really young and stuff, but when you’re a grownup don’t forget: dogs are family too. Some treats, ear rubs, and nice words are good. I don’t even mind that you baby talk to me! I like the fact that pick me up and carry me around! (Why does your mom say I’m too heavy? I only weigh 68 pounds, so she weighs a LOT more than me!)

Anyway, when you get home, you can give me extra cuddles to get over this. Plus, bacon, always bacon!

I’m glad you’re my family!

Jamie the Spaniel


New diet=Chicken stealing!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

YES I stole the chicken off the table! NO I don’t care (too much!)

I didn’t like getting yelled at, and I didn’t like when they took it away before I could munch it all.


Your mom THREW IT AWAY!!! All that beautiful bones and gristle, GONE!

If she wasn’t gonna eat it, why couldn’t I have it? I didn’t mind the carpet threads and a little dirt—it’s just more chewy that way!

I don’t like this new diet thing! I want more food! Why doe we have to diet? Why does it have the word die in it? That doesn’t seem like a good thing!

YOU don’t have to diet! I saw you get your regular lunch!!! I want regular lunch!!!

I like the rice and the lamb and stuff, but the green beans and sweet potatoes are weird. Could you cook them in bacon? Everything’s better when it is cooked in bacon, right?

There should be a LOT more meat! The cats get LOTS of meat, but we don’t! WHY?

What is this “balance” your mom keeps talking about, and who cares??? If it doesn’t have meat, it doesn’t matter!

So I’m a little gassy and my butt squeaks! Everyone’s butt squeaks, mine just squeaks a bit more! The old food was FINE!!!

Maybe we should try a new vet! The old one could be jealous or something! No one ever takes her for a walk, and all she does is give shots. She never gets to play with the dogs who come in; she just touches us in weird places and talks to our peoples. No wonder she’s miserable!

So YES I am going to start hunting whatever dinner is on the table! If the cats get to be jerks, so do I!


But I don’t want you to be mad! Why couldn’t I have some of your dinner? Why can’t I beg at the table? How am I supposed to get more food???

I don’t think this diet thing is good AT ALL. I’m starting to sound mean like the cats! HELP!!!

Jamie Spaniel

For happiness, be like me!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

I sure hope you get this letter!

Someone changed the password on your mom’s laptop right after the eight cases of tuna cans showed up, so it’s been hard for me to get a chance to write. Fortunately your uncle called so your mom stepped away and left it open for me.

Apparently your mom & dad thought they’d been “hacked” or something so they changed all their passwords. I thought they knew it was LuLu–she’s always hacking something up! But your mom still works on her laptop when LuLu is around, so I don’t think she gets what happened. She’ll figure it out when they get the box of cat toys next week! I hope you like lasers & robot mice!

I noticed your mom and dad are looking up “healthy eating”, “mindfulness”, and other junk meant to make humans happy. WHY?  

Happiness is about petting dogs, rolling on the grass, and sitting in the sunshine. I think you people make it too complicated.

Everyone thinks I’m dumb, but I’m not! Dogs are all very smart, even us dumb ones!

We’re happy when you rub our bellies, we’re happy when you give us treats, we’re happy when you tell us we’re pretty, and we’re happy just to sit with you and look at your eyes.

You humans have to have cars, video games, and stuff, stuff, and more stuff! You’re so busy getting new stuff that you never even take the time to break in the old stuff! How can you possibly be happy going from one thing to the next thing without first settling in and getting some chewiness in with what’s around you?

Okay, YES, I seem excited when you bring me new toys, but my old chew bone is my favorite! It reminds me of home, and home is YOU. So long as I have YOU, I’m always going to be happy!

Maybe it’s time to stop reading books and listening to “podcats” thingys. Be like me instead! You won’t regret it!

I love you both and hope you will come home soon. This belly won’t rub itself!
Jamie the Spaniel
PS Be careful, LuLu was looking up how to fill a syringe with cyanide & peanut butter. That can’t be good!

REAL family loves your smells!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Olivia,

I can’t decide if I’m happy or sad today. It was very exciting having your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins come to visit, but it was kind of exhausting too.

How come family makes everyone mad, sad, and glad all at once?

Your mom said she was happy to see them, but she looked happy when they left too! How does that make any sense?

Before your crazy-loud relatives got here, your mom and dad were running around like cats who fell in a full bathtub! They were cleaning stuff and fixing switches—ALL of my favorite smells are gone!

Your mom cooked a lot more than usual (that part was nice!), but she didn’t drop food for me like she usually does. I didn’t like that part at all!

She washed every blanket and every cushion and then made me stay off of them. I like clean stuff too!!!

I’d take out all my toys to play with them, and she would pick them up and put them in a basket. What gives???

Then, before everybody arrived, she ran into the bathroom, put that silly paint stuff on her face, and changed into a fancy dress. She looked a lot less comfortable than she did in her yoga pants!

Shouldn’t family love you the way you are? Shouldn’t your smells and your toys and your treats be important to them? Shouldn’t they understand that you need some room on the couch?

Is it any wonder I got a little gassy when I got a little excited with everyone here? They acted like my farts smelled bad, but, for the record, your aunt’s perfume smelled like someone rolled a skunk in roses! I know my smells, and that perfume she kept spraying had skunk in it for sure!

It was nice to get extra belly rubs and more people to play with, but it was wrong to pretend the house is always clean. It’s never clean, and I like it that way!

Now that they’re gone, will you please drop some food for me?
Love from your REAL family,

Are clothes a drug?

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Olivia,

Why are humans so weird about clothes? Why aren’t they proud of their fur? They pluck their fur, wax their fur, and shave their fur! Why not just let the fur grow longer? Then you wouldn’t have to wear clothes at all!

Your mom gets CRAZY over clothing! She has you wear different clothes for school, different clothes for bed, different clothes for play, different clothes if your grandparents are coming, and different clothes for the beach. It’s too much!

You spend so much time changing clothes that you barely get to spend time with me! It’s not fair, I already have to share you and your brother with school, why can’t you just wear your own fur and be done with it?

Before you say I’m wrong, I’m not! Your mom spent HOURS cleaning out her closet. She put a bunch of stuff in donate bags, looked at the empty(ish) closet and said it looked better. THEN she went and bought MORE CLOTHES! It doesn’t make any sense!

Clothes and shoes are taking over our house! There’s shoes on the stairs, shoes in the living room, shoes by the back door, and even shoes under the dining table where I store my tennis balls! When I tried to help your mom get rid of these crazy shoe-rabbits by eating your mom’s tennis shoes the other night she got upset!

How does that make any sense? How is her “favorite pair” any different than the ones she put in the donate bag?

OOH! Do you think your mom has an addiction? Is this an issue and you just didn’t want to tell me?

I saw something about addiction when your mom and dad were watching television. Every time the person quit their drugs they still went back and got more. Are clothes a drug?

WAIT! Am I on drugs? Your mom has to give me thunder chews every time a storm is coming, and I take a heartworm medicine every month. And I get excited ‘cuz they’re like extra treats and they make me feel good! Am I addicted too?

I don’t want to be addicted! I don’t want to wear clothes! I love my fur! This is not good at all!

Come home soon, and bring bacon!

Death ramps and fish friends

Dear Ethan,

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

I’m very glad you are going to school today. I wasn’t able to get any of my naps yesterday. When your stupid dog was running around outside the house it wasn’t so bad, but when she started playing inside the house—YEESH! I may have to hide all of her squeaky toys.

The ramp you built to exercise Jamie on isn’t big enough or tall enough. I can see in my head a ramp that is a thousand feet high, eighty feet wide, with a mat of sharp poisoned spikes underneath.

Jamie would climb the seven hundred steps to the top. Then, she would have ten seconds to put on her parachute and run across the ramp before the whole thing explodes.

Mind you, it’s probably impossible for a dumb dog to put on a parachute or even pull the rip cord to release the parachute. She’d probably fall on the poisoned spikes at the bottom. But hey, it’s a great trick!

Why don’t you make two death ramps—one for Jamie and one for Babbie? That way we get rid of both Pests at one time. You’ve got to admit you’re tempted, right?

I’ve been thinking about your mom’s birthday. It’s in March, right? I’m pretty sure she wants several cases of tuna and a half-dozen raw fish. If you’re smart you’ll get her some fish now and put them in your closet (on the floor would be best). I’ll help you hide them. You can trust me, I’m a cat.

By the way, I am offended that your parents felt the need to make a locking grid-lid for your sister’s fishbowl.

Can I help it if that stupid beta fish keeps trying to get out? I wasn’t trying to eat him so much as scare him. After all, if he knows my jaws of death are waiting, he wouldn’t try to get out of his bowl, now would he?

I do not appreciate that your parents do not trust me. I would be outraged, but it’s naptime again. Just check your shoes before you put them on. I have a hairball with your name on it.

Your sneaky hungry feline friend,

LuLu the Cat

Burned steaks are delicious!

Dear Olivia,

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Your brother built a ramp for me! Did you see it? It’s fantastic! It makes your ears flap when you run and jump off of it! Heaven! You HAVE to try it!

Plus, every time I did a trick I got a treat. Yesterday was the perfect day—almost.

I wasn’t thrilled about getting a bath. I like playing in water. I love the way water feels, and I love the wonderful smell I give off when I’m wet. But baths are a little like torture.

I’m not supposed to play in the water or splash it around. I’m expected to stand there and get shampooed, but I don’t get to have any fun. What good is all that water if you’re not going to splash it? Your mom has GOT to get her priorities straight.

Still, your mom was probably still upset because the deck caught on fire. Your dad was grilling steaks while I was running up and down the ramp. I made it very clear to your dad that Babbie and I wanted steaks too, but he actually made us move away from the grill!

I started to go back to the ramp but Babbie started her I’m-a-Jack-Russell-so-I-hop routine. This means somethings wrong. Or that someone has food. It just depends. I looked back and saw this weird black ring starting around the bottom where it touched the wood.

I tried to paw your dad to show him, but he told me to go away. I pawed at him again and whined. He rubbed my ears and told me I was a pretty girl. I am, but that’s not what I wanted. Then your mom came out and asked what was burning. It got funny after that.

Your dad was running for water. He came back with the hose spraying but he slipped and water went everywhere! Babbie and I kept pawing at your mom and barking. We were trying to jump at her to keep her safe. She was trying to grab us saying she needed us away from the flames. Your brother was yelling that the house was on fire.

It was craziness!

Your dad finally got the fire put out and your mom ordered pizza. They threw out the steaks! I mean, sure, they were black and smokey, but they probably still tasted okay! Your mom and dad are weird. They don’t understand meat. Or baths. It’s kind of sad.

Your mom said she is going to put a plant where the fire burned a hole in the deck so that no one knows it’s a burned spot. I know. Anyone with a nose is gonna know. You can still smell the crispiness.

I’m off to play with my squeaky toy. It annoys LuLu, so it’s my favorite hobby.

Have fun at school!


Fight the Fish Conglomerate!

Dear Ethan, you ignorant monkey-brained Philistine. HOW. DARE. YOU.

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

WHY is there a fish in this house that is, to quote your equally ignorant monkey-minded mother, “Not for eating”?!!!!! Have you lost your tuna-soaked mind?!!!

FISH ARE FOR FOOD. No bones about it, even though there are bones in fish. We eat fish or else fish will eat us. Have you never seen Shark Week on television? It’s very simple, so even YOU should understand it.

All of us cats are taught from the beginning that we have a sacred duty to protect the world from fish. Fish look innocent, HAH!

You’ve heard the phrase that looks can be deceiving, but as my cat friends will tell you, looks are LIES. No one is scared of a tiny fish like that stupid beta fish your sister calls Tommy. He just looks like a little bit of an appetizer in a bowl, right? WRONG. Dead wrong.

He is part of the larger fish conglomerate that aims to take over the world. Don’t believe me?

Fact: 71% of the Earth is water.
Also fact: Fish live and breathe in water.

Also another fact: Humans can’t breathe in water.

Naïve humans like your mom buy fish for pets. Not wise! Now there is more water in the house because so-called pet fish have to have bowls or tanks.

Human families (like yours) feed the fish and so that those fish become bigger and bigger. The human families even buy bigger bowls and bigger tanks so that the “pet” fish have more room.

And boy, do those fish take advantage of the situation!

FISH ARE SPIES. Fiends. Reprobates.

Fish let humans feed and indulge them; all of the while, the fish are documenting every human move. They pass that data on to the bigger fish, who use the information to victimize other humans. Humans just like you. Think carefully. How do sharks always seem to know when it is spring break and humans will be at the beach on holiday?

Are you really so gullible that you believe that sharks just randomly show up for a human snack?

No, my dear, ignoramous-child. House-fish have found a way to communicate with ocean-fish, i.e. sharks, and this spy-collaborative has already started to push their plan for world domination.

More water in more fish bowls and tanks means that slowly, subtly, quietly, more and more of the Earth is becoming a fish habitat. It is that sinister, and that simple.

You must eat fish before they eat you.

And THAT is why I was trying to take your sister’s fish from his bowl. Sure, he looks delicious, but I was trying to protect you, despite what everyone seemed to be thinking. You’re welcome. I will go upstairs after I finish this letter (and your sister goes to sleep) and chomp Tommy the fish into submission.

I am glad that you can finally understand that feeding fish to cats is humankind’s only hope for salvation. Tomorrow we can go to the aquarium and deal with all of the fish-spies there.

 Enjoy your day, monkey-child!
LuLu Cat, your hero

Stupid Sylvester Wanna-Bes!

NOT GOOD! NOT GOOD! NOT GOOD! Why did you let your mom buy a fish no one wants to eat? What were you thinking???

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

WAIT. Babbie says letters have to start with Dear.

So, Dear Olivia,

What were you thinking? Why did you let your mom buy a pet fish? Why the heck is it called a pet when it has no fur, swims in a bowl, and you can’t touch it? How the heck do you pet a fish? Do you know what I have been through since last night???

First, your mom brings in this blacky-bluey beta fish. LuLu and Trixie FLEW from the top of the stairs to look! The cats thought it was a snack for them!

So then your mom puts the fish in a bowl and hands it to your sister and told her happy birthday. Is her birthday going to be his death day? The cats sure think so!

Your sister named the fish Tommy! Tommy-what kind of name is that for a fish?

Your sister put Tommy’s bowl next to her bed. She was giggling and laughing about her new friend like it was the best thing ever. She was singing to that stupid fish and telling him he was her new best friend. What am I, chopped Alpo?

LuLu and Trixie (those darn cats!) started to creep up the stairs. They did this weird thing where they stretched out their paws, reached up to the next steps, and then pattered up quickly. Then they would get to the next step and freeze. Then they made weird ick-ick noises, and their paws would go out as they did that slow stretchy-quick pattery thing.

Step to step to step. Ick stretch. Ick stretch. Ick stretch. I could tell this was not a good thing, so I followed. They were so focused on getting to the fish, they never even noticed. I can be sneaky when I want to be. Well, sort of.

Like furry, silky slinkys those crazy calico cats melted up the stairs and around the corner to your sister’s room. While she was singing, they were reaching.

Their paws reached up and I did the only thing I could do. I ran in and snapped at them. UGH! Talk about drama!

They fell to the floor and rolled around crying like they were scared of me.They acted like I had hurt them or something! Stupid Sylvester-Cat-wannabes!

Your mom ran in and made me go downstairs. I growled at the cats and your mom got scary-mad. I hate when she does that. She bat-flapped her arms to shoo me down the stairs and told me not to be mean to the cats. AS IF!

So now, on top of Porch Pirates and delivery people trying to invade our house I’m gonna have to guard a stupid fish! A FISH! The worst part is that everyone is now made at ME because they think I attacked the cats! I HATE THIS!!!

Please, please, please, you have got to warn them! That fish does not have a chance against two hungry cats! Help me save Tommy! And remember, if it doesn’t have fur and you can’t touch it, it’s not a pet!

Love & exhaustion,


Finally, FISH!!!

My dearest, darlingest Ethan!

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Oh, happy, happy day! You glorious human monkey-child, I had no idea how much you love me!!!

I confess, I was disheartened, downtrodden, and distressed to discover that dogs getting shots meant something other than simply shooting them, sigh…But THIS makes up for it!

A fish! An actual fish in a bowl just for me! Oh Great Garfield, this is FANTASTIC!

Your deluded dog friends seem to think that the fish will be a pet. AS IF! Dogs just do not understand. Fish. Are. Food.

Everyone knows this! Your parents eat tuna and salmon and tilapia and shrimp–they get it! They do not eat these often enough, mind you, but at least a couple of times a week there is pescatarian deliciousness waiting for me!

Now, we must address an important question (or two!) Why will it have a name? Your silly sibling says that you are naming the fish Tommy. Why would you name it anything other than Lunch, or, perhaps, Dinner?

Also, why do you need a special bowl for this meal? I think your parents may have misunderstood how this works. You buy fresh fish. You eat fresh fish. On rare, RARE occasions, you might want to waste time and cook the fish. You do NOT give it room and board! Unless–

Are they waiting so they can fatten it up? I guess that might be reasonable, but wouldn’t it make more sense to simply buy a larger fish? Your parents said it is a beta fish. How many pounds are betas? I looked online, but clearly I found the wrong information, because this fish looked small. The article also said it was “not for consumption” which is just ridiculous. ALL fish are for consumption!

Regardless of what happens, I am looking forward to finally having live fish to eat! The ones your parents get at market are delicious, but they are dead. I am anticipating a lot more flavor in a lively and delicious creature! I shall watch the special bowl and prepare myself for a frenzied feast!

Thank you for finally doing this! Just a quick reminder that one fish is not enough–we will need a LOT more!

Your new best friend (depending on how this fish tastes!)