Groupthink is Goopthink!

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

Well, here I am again, acting like I care about you. I do and I don’t, it’s complicated. Yeah, you’re my human family and on rare occasions you serve me well (usually at breakfast time, lunch time, snack time, and dinner time) but there are other moments that you annoy the litterbox out of me.

It’s very difficult being a wise, dignified, ancient creature when everyone around you tries to pet you while you’re napping and calls you a “sweet little kitty.” UGH!!!! I will accept Devine Goddess Feline or even Queen Calico LuLu, but “sweet kitty” is demeaning and insulting. IT HAS TO STOP!

Now, your semi-foolish teacher FINALLY understood my hint and has sent some cat treats. That officially makes me a paid author now, am I right??? I have to develop my CV to reflect this! For that reason (yes, I can be bribed) I will consent to imparting my Psychology wisdom to you yet again. Everyone else gets paid to teach, so why shouldn’t I?

The prophets got offerings of food and various rich-type gifts, so it is only fitting that when I share my wisdom you share your wealth via foods, gifts, or even a credit card that I can use online for one of the animal-devoted web sites. (FYI your mom’s credit card now has zero credit available—not sure why, since it turns out that “1000 live mice” option was pick-up only, so they cancelled the order this morning! Wilting whiskers! You can’t trust anybody!)

My online shopping for myself made me pay attention when those weird talking head-people on the news were discussing Christmas-buying worries and how everything is going to be delayed or not be available at all.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love and DEMAND Christmas gifts, but I think you humans panic yourself into your problems! Think about it: someone says stuff is going to be hard to get, so everyone goes all beheaded-chicken-crazy and starts blindly running around to buy everything in sight! Ridunculous!

This is groupthink at its worst! Groupthink is a fancy way of saying that everyone in a mob achieves the same conclusion whether or not the conclusion is logical. You humans have heard there may be less items available or shipped in time to place under your Christmas trees, so instead of enjoying the harvest season you are flipping out and buying everything you can for a holiday that is two months away.

It’s just like the toilet paper thing! Everyone hears there’s going to a shortage on toilet paper, so everyone panics and buys as much as they can!

HELLO!!! Ever heard of rationing your supplies to make them last? Did World War II teach you people nothing about learning to preserve and carefully use what you have? Did the rationing back then mean that people had a little less? Of course it did! But seeing as new generations of foolish humans were created from those who made it through World War II it is quite clear that staying calm and sensibly planning ahead made all of the difference. Having less and being careful with what you already had meant that you could survive. No panic was required!

Now, will Christmas be less fun if you have one less terroristic-noise-making toy or glow-in-the-dark didgeridoo? Possibly! But if everyone you love is alive and safe, who flipping cares?

Seriously, I never thought I would advocate that everyone pay attention to the wisdom of some whackadoodle human who created a furry green monster who terrorized a town, but that Dr. Seuss fellow was right. Christmas should be more than the stuff. It should be about the moment.

STOP PANICKING. IGNORE GROUPTHINK. You humans are making your own problems! Enjoy what you have and tell others to do that as well.

You have your family, you have the other dumbo pets, and you have your magnificent Calico Queen Goddess Divine Prophet Cat LuLu, i.e., ME. You already have everything. By the way, I may add to my title later, I like how it sounds!

Since everyone else is looking towards what will happen at Christmas, I will be planning the future of Thanksgiving. Don’t plan on eating turkey—I have plans of my own that will confiscate your tasty bird!

Be an individual! Ignore groupthink! Buy me some treats!


LuLu  the Calico Queen Goddess Divine Prophet Cat


Christmas & fish head stockings

Dear Ethan,

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Well, it’s Christmas Day.

I wasn’t gonna write a letter to you today because you aren’t at school and you don’t use your lunchbox at home, but then I realized that I needed to write to you today.

The greatest gift you could ever have in your life is me, right? RIGHT? I mean, I am kind of fabulous (by fabulous I mean AWESOME!) and I feel sure these letters from me just make your day. Heck, who knows where you would be without me? You’d probably just be sitting at your stupid lunch table, secretly wishing that you had some tuna.

So, here I am despite this so-called holiday. A holiday! As if! If it’s a holiday then why are so many humans in my house disturbing my nap time? What kind of stupid holiday doesn’t include sleep??? What’s worse, your sister came downstairs EARLY!!!

I was busy all night trying to wreck play with the ornaments and destroy fix the decorations, so I need my sleep! Instead, your sister comes giggling down the stairs and runs to the stocking to see what’s inside. It’s nothing interesting. Seriously, I already checked!

She got some Sailor Moon stickers, bubble gum, a lollipop, coloring pencils, and a video game, but that was it! Not one packet of tuna or fish snacks! I’m not sure why you all get so obsessed with this “Santa” guy anyway. No fish means no care, that’s all I’m sayin’. If he really loved you kids there would have been a fish head or some shrimp in those stockings. Video games and chocolate are lousy gifts!

Mind you, he did give her Hello Kitty bandages. I’m not sure that cat is real (what cat wears clothing???) but at least it is a nod towards my superior species. Your stocking wasn’t any better. Video games, chocolates, and a button that makes fart noises.

Big whoop. If I want to hear fart noises I’ll just listen to the dog. Same difference. Show your mom this letter and tell her that I said Santa is lame. Fish heads are all the rage and should be in everyone’s stockings next year!

By the way  I would like to thank you for the cat treats and the new scratching post (only ‘cuz Trixie says that if I say thank you I will get more gifts). I still plan to use the couch for my daily clawing exercises, but you showed your willingness to spend a lot of money on me. You didn’t spend enough money, but you spent some, and that’s a start.

I will keep that in mind. For now, and for what it’s worth, I sort of kind of sometimes begrudgingly love you and your family, and even this dumb house. I have to. All my stuff is here.

Merry Christmas human!

The Cat Demands Presents

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Ethan,

As you could tell this morning, I am not a happy cat. I examined all of the wrapped presents in your parents’ closet last night. My name was not on one single gift tag!

Why wouldn’t someone want to give a gift to me? I am a beautiful, sweet, always pleasant cat and I demand some gifts! I need a new claw sharpener, a dozen cans of tuna, several live goldfish, and a canary that I shall name “Lunch”. I’d better at least get some catnip!

I’m sure Jamie got into a lot of trouble last night, but I didn’t catch her at it. I fell asleep watching “My Cat from Hell” on TV. Actually, I only like the opening scenes where the cat is acting the way a cat should – biting, hissing, clawing. That garbagey-ending, with all of the purring and rule-following, is ridiculous. Not in MY house!

Seriously, you humans don’t understand us at all, do you? You think some extra playtime and a few treats are gonna make us suddenly follow YOUR rules? As if!

Look, human kiddo person, let’s get this straight. We play nice for the camera. Sure, why not? A few extra treats can make anyone purr! But permanent change! UMMMMM, NO!

If you want a well-behaved, sweet slobbering buddy who is basically a mindless lump, i.e. someone who follows your dumb rules, get a dog. If you want a magnificent creature, a being that is a god in its own right, a benevolent beast that rules your world, get a cat.

Sometimes we cuddle, sometimes we claw. That’s life, you evolved monkey! So deal with it!!! Now do as you are told and go get me some presents!!!

I have thrown up in your shoes, and I am not telling you which ones. You’ll find out, eventually…

Your friend,


About the tree…

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

Dear Ethan,

I am a bit confused. I know that does not seem unusual, but seriously, you have GOT to help me out. When I go outside and lift my leg on a tree you call me a “good dog”. When I lift my leg on that new tree in the living room I hear your mom yell, “Jamie, NO!” in that super scary voice of hers.

WHAT IS THE DEAL??? Tree=toilet! Everyone knows that!

Usually when I grab a stuffed toy from my basket everyone laughs and plays with me. But when I chomped on one of those weird stuffed angel-dealy-bobs on the table, everyone freaked out! IT IS A TOY!!!

Wow–I never thought that I would get mean and shouty like LuLu, but I am upset! I want to be your best friend! I want to play with the new toys! I need a lap and a cuddle!

Why can’t I play with the new toys your mom put out? Why does she keep yelling Christmas? Those are SOCKS hanging on the mantle! Socks are for tug-of-war!

I think you need to take your mom to the vet. She seems really agitated. I mean, I get not wanting to share some toys, but why won’t she share the chocolate with me? She put out all that candy and passed it around to everyone at the table. Everyone but me. Sheesh.

Is Christmas an anti-dog holiday? If so, it needs to be cancelled. The way everyone is running around putting socks on the fireplace and hiding stuff in shopping bags, it does not seem like something with which anyone wants to be involved.

I am confused and concerned, but mostly just concerned. Maybe you could get your mom a de-worming pill? That’s what the doctor gave me to feel better, and it worked! OOOH! Maybe change her food! Dry kibble and plain chicken broth always helps! She’ll thank you for it!

I love you even though you won’t share your chocolate,