Multi-factorial idiocy

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

Well, THAT didn’t work out as planned! I thought your teacher would get annoyed that I’m so blunt, but the silly human thinks that I just show a-how did she put it?-“strength of character and understanding of my personal truth!” GEEZ!!! 

I just want to talk about fish and get gifts (for me, of course) and instead she wants me to continue to lead you human-children up the wisdom mountain-top! I do not have time for you human people, don’t you know how difficult a cat’s life already is?

I have to nap several times a day, eat several times a day, and run around the house at 3a.m.! Do you not realize how much is involved in knocking plants and dishes off of the shelves while everyone is sleeping? It takes physical strength, inner determination, and mental planning. My life is not easy!!!

So FINE, I will teach you more. Plus you’ve been bringing home more pouches of tuna from your teachers and classmates, and I have to admit that I can be bought. Well, I can be borrowed for an hour or until my next nap.

Last time I talked how idiotic the world has gotten (big surprise!)

Everyone is a panic about shipping times and getting packages filled with stuff they don’t really need. Quite frankly, if it isn’t a case of tuna or turkey-flavored Temptations cat treats, I really don’t care what happens to those shipments. But if you really want to understand the situation, I will give you a term most humans don’t understand, multifactorial causation.

Great term, am I right???

See, adult-humans try to tell you poor human-kittens that “this politician” caused something or “that policy” made stuff go wrong, but it’s never that easy! There’s a complex process happening!

Let me put it into an example you can better understand. Remember when that lizard got into the house last week? Sure, you saw me pounce and catch it not once but twice! It was an awesome game! I released it, your mom screamed, and I chased it again! Snap! Straight into my feline jaws for a quick moment!

NOW…do you think that was easy? Heck, no!

I had to determine the lizard’s leg span, his potential running speed based on his body type and age, I had to analyze the sunlight patterns in the room to better understand if he would swish-tail towards the triple window or slashy-slink under the couch near the darker double window.

That takes a lot of brain power, and that’s before the chase begins! I had microseconds to perform a mental catabolic interpretation of the data. Not easy, little ones, not easy! Then I have to factor in my own pounce rate and how I will need to set up my bounce-and-pounce routine based on the furniture placement.

Adding to all of that was the confounding variable of how the lizard might react to your mother’s panicked screeches as they echoed up to the ceiling and ball-bounced on the walls! Catching lizards is serious business!!!

The triumph of catching the tasty treat has multi-factorial causation, and all of the points must converge while all the planets align in just such a meticulous manner that then allows for munching of said intruder!

SOOOO…when people are panicking and looking for a one-source solution to a problem with multi-factorial causation, YOU baby-kittens, need to set them right.

You want to survive the up-and-coming chaos? Learn to work together. Stop worrying about who is to blame and start looking at how you ALL can fix the situation!!! Multi-factors need multi-approaches, so fix this! I HAVE SPOKEN!!!

And now I’m exhausted, so now I will nap!

Ciao baby kittens!
LuLu the Calico Cat

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!

Ciao!

LuLu  the Calico Queen Goddess Divine Prophet Cat

Narcissists=Insta-ham and good deeds!

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

You and your teacher disgust me. Seriously!

For one tiny, barely significant bite of tuna I am expected to continue discussing Psychology? Mind you, EVEYRTHING is Psychology, but not everyone is capable of understanding it! Cats understand Psychology because we are experts on the topic. That’s how we control humans so easily.

It’s not that hard, you humans are pretty stupid.

You’re also narcissistic. That’s a MAJOR issue and how we control you. You think you are the most amazing creatures on the planet and you think that everything has some personal connection to YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. You humans are all about the “YOU!”

Now, you and your silly friends are going to try to say that it isn’t true, that you care about the community, that you’re socially responsible, only buy from companies that support the environment, blah, blah, blechy-blah. Sure, you do these things.

You know what else you do? You post it on Insta-ham, Fish-book, Twattler, Tik-Lox, and other little social platforms.

Think about it, you do good only when others are watching!

Before you get all mad at me and give me some garbage about how you are just trying to inspire others to do more good works, look at what you are saying: If others look at what YOU do, THEY will do better.

Because. Of. YOU.

UMMMMM….Narcissism in action! Proof! Done! Drop the mic!

Well, drop the keyboard, which I can’t do, because your mom will start locking up her computer after that.

You humans and every celebrity in the world are litterboxes full of narcissism. If you really cared and wanted to do good things you would be out in the world DOING not just posting.

Some people are semi-decent, they only post once in a while. That’s not so bad. But the people who are on those platforms CONSTANTLY posting everything from what they do to what they eat are bogus.

Humans aren’t that difficult to understand. Do you really think that we adore you and purr when you are near because you’re so special? For halibut’s sake! Of course not!

We purr because you want to be adored, and then you think that you randomly give us treat and pets. PUH-LEASE!!! We purr-pull your strings!

Want to prove that I’m wrong? Do it! Do nice things for others and don’t post about it.

Okay, if you HAVE to post, make sure you post only post twice, once to ask others to come along and help and once when everything is done. But don’t post every minute or take 200 photos.

I bet you another tuna pouch it’ll be harder to get people to help with an anonymous community project than one they can put on their look-at-me-insta-resume.

See, that how cats know that humans are narcissists.

If you donate food to a food bank you get all proud of how you are a good person, but did you ever close your eyes and think about the family that was scared because they’d run out of food? Sure, you might build a house or donate time at a youth shelter, but do you ever try to visualize what it would be like to have to beg for that level of help? Sometimes the heroes are the ones who get enough courage to ask for help. It takes a lot of fish guts to tell someone what you need and accept it graciously!!!

Once you silly humans focus on others and less on yourself, THAT’S when things will get better.

Sure, you’ll read this letter to your friends and laugh at how a cat doesn’t know much, but we cats watch everything and know a lot more than you think we do.

Stop being narcissists. Prove me wrong.

Do something good for someone and don’t tell anyone. Use that anonymity-power, just don’t be creepy about it. If you really need someone to witness you doing good, learn to be a witness for yourself. That’s the only way to really be a decent human.

Just sayin’,

LuLu the Calico Cat

Maslow was wrong!

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

The more I read your mother’s Psychology book, the more I realize how stupid you humans are. You’re almost as dumb as dogs!

You seem to need reasons to help you understand why you are happy and unhappy! PUH-LEASE!

Who is this Maslow and why does he need a pyramid? He wasn’t even Egyptian!!!

I looked at each of the levels and not ONE mentioned cats!!!

He starts with “basic survival needs” but everyone know you need a cat for survival!

Why in the name of Garfield are we not listed???

Safety is up there, but why??? If you have a cat on the basic survival level, you will have safety! Our claws aren’t just for show! And as for love and affection, well, if you worship a cat you are showing love and affection, am I right?

That’s just a hypothetical question by the way, of COURSE I am right! I’m always right!

Now, that whole self-esteem level is stupid. If you have a cat at home and we are willing to put up with you, that should be enough. Esteem is a strong word, it just makes humans act all uppity, but “cat happy” will work.

Last, of course, Maslow had that ridiculous self-actualization stuff, which really should be “realizes cats are royalty.”

Look baby-kittens, those levels are fishier than a tuna net! I’m gonna help you out with LuLu’s Pyramid instead. Egyptians worshipped cats, so we deserve a pyramid more than that Maslow fellow!

Here goes:

Bottom Level—Survival needs, a.k.a., adopt as many cats as you can afford to feed. Don’t worry if you can’t afford food for yourself, cats can catch mice for you. You’re wlecome!

Next level—Safety need>See Bottom level. Cats will keep you safe. Unless we’re sleeping, then we don’t care. Anyone who dares to wake us will NEED safety because we will destroy you and everything around you. We may do that anyway. Just saying!

Next-up Level—Belongingness is easy. You belong to us. Done.

There is no level for self-esteem. You don’t need self-esteem if you live with a cat. It will just get in your way when we start dominating you. Why complicate things?

The top level is Feline Realization instead of Self-Actualization. Once you realize that WE are in charge and that you cannot live without cats, then your life is complete.

You do not need books, or theories, or research to be happy. You need cats. Cats alone can make you happy! Oh, and if you really want to keep a dumb pest-hound dog you can. Someone’s gotta lick the floor clean, I’m not gonna do it!

Now go away, all this talk of snacks and naps has me hungry!
LuLu the Calico Cat

Or are cats behaviorists?

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

So, I looked up more on that Freud guy. THAT human was–what’s the word your mom uses when she’s trying to be diplomatic?–UNIQUE! He was unique!!! (Unique as in four whiskers short of a full set!)

I don’t know that I like the idea of having unconscious drives. All of my action are conscious and deliberate, baby-kittens! No one is driving my behaviors around but me!!!

Plus, I refuse to let anyone try psychoanalysis on me. I don’t mind the analysis part (as if anyone could ever dissect a genius mind like mine!) but the phrase “psycho” is a little unnerving!

Anyways, I looked more through your mom’s nerdy Psychology book and saw Behaviorism. Now THAT is a topic that appeals to me!

Plus the guy who founded it, Skinny-something, did a lot with rats. He put them in cages and made them work for their food. It’s not as good as eating them, but using rats for entertainment is somewhat respectable, so I think I would’ve liked this guy.

Now, the principles of Behaviorism state that humans respond to rewards and punishments in the environment. The rewards part is for wimpy, touchy-feely-crybaby humans who do not respect their place in the world (i.e. as the playthings of cats), but PUNISHMENT!!!

Punishment is an idea I can get firmly behind! I demonstrate punishment of humans on an hourly basis!

Whenever you guys forget to keep my bowl full enough so that food tips off the top if anyone goes near it I will yowl and yowl and yowl until someone comes running. Then after someone finally tops of my bowl I deliver a good, strong swipe and a quick chomp just to remind you who’s boss. If it’s your mom she actually apologizes! That is how a good human servant is supposed to react! I’ve noticed that after giving a few bloody directives about this my bowl seems to always be fuller. Behaviorism really works!

And the other day when the dogs chased me into the kitchen I jumped up onto the cart and knocked an entire cup of water onto their heads! Drenched dogs smell, but at least they stink in another room away from me! They ran away like they’d just seen your mom filling the bathtub! You see, they got punished for being obnoxious. They are usually obnoxious anyway, but it’s nice if there’s something near by to throw at them.

If you start to think that I am being mean let me point out that it is called POSITIVE punishment because I added swipes and water and bites and yowling! Positive means that I positively should punish you for not doing your job, and I am positive that I would do it all again!!!

Yes indeedy, that Skinny-fellow was on to something good! I am now officially a behaviorist!

Speaking of positive punishment, I want you to stop being nice to those dumb dogs, so I am positively leaving a squishy gift in your shoes! Get you toes ready to find it!
LuLu the Calico Cat

Cats are Freudian creatures!

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

Well, this week was stupid! They hauled away two of the dogs next door, but then they left the other six!!! What kind of cockamamie plan was THAT???!!!

Worse, they left all the dogs in the other houses including our dumbo mutts! What kind of animal control is that supposed to be? HELLOOOO Control the stupid canines and take them ALL away!!!

CATS RULE, DOGS DROOL-DUH!

So that dumb hound Jamie told you that it’s the owners that are bad, not the dogs. LIES! LIES! LIES!

Dogs are BAD! Think about it—dogs are stupid sycophants who display excessive amounts of slobber and some sort of bizarre dependent personality disorder. I read all about it in your mom’s psychology book!

Dogs can’t be left alone for a minute, they act like criticism is the worst thing in the world, they can never stick to a decision, and they always freak out when your parents leave and act like they’ll never come back! If that isn’t proof that dogs have issues, I don’t know what is! 

Cats NEVER have these issues. We don’t care what you say. If you criticize US, we go to sleep. When you leave the house, we get happy and throw a cat party. You think we purr and greet you because we missed you? As if! We’re purring because you can work the can opener you big dumb ape-person!

There’s a show called “My cat from hell,” ever heard of it?

Now, obviously, that show is clear proof that all cats are perfect, because otherwise they would not need a show. And did you ever see what that guy tells the families? He tells them that it’s THEIR fault. THEIRS! NOT the cat’s!

The cats in that show act ugly because their humans are failing them miserably. Cats are deep, dedicated souls who need food, play, naps and (selective) cuddles. We don’t do bad things. Sure, we ignore you humans most of the time, but that’s because we are showing you that we are okay JUST AS WE ARE. Dogs are never good enough, but us cats are amazing!

Remember when Trixie and I went to eat your sister’s beta fish? The pathetic dogs stopped us and it seemed like we were doomed to die without out meeting our fishy-driven-needs. Do you know what we had for dinner that night? Canned tuna and salmon! Those fish are HUGE and made your sister’s beta look like a minnow!

Obviously, your mom wisely saw our behavior and realize we were expressing our deep-seated need for affection in the form of tasty fish. It’s part of our subconscious need for approval via pescatarian efforts.

It’s a Freudian thing, you wouldn’t understand.

You humans never have understood cats and never will. Dogs are stupid. Cats are brilliant. That’s the only truth that matters! Now go eat your stupid human lunch and remember that I expect massive piles of gifts and treats when you get home. Or else!
LuLu the Calico Cat

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.

BUT SERIOUSLY???!!!

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!

I WANT MORE MEAT.

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

My diet=Your doom!

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

Your parents are giving me a headache.

Cats do not like certain things.

We do not like pest-hounds. We do not like having our sleep disturbed. And we definitely, DEFINITELY, do not like when you humans change our food!

WHO DO YOU PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE??? You do not own US. We own YOU. We did NOT approve of this absurd challenge to our purrfect routine!

What is this “new” diet garbage all about? So what if the vet thinks I’m a little chubby! She’s just jealous because she can’t pull off the same look! If she has a spread around her middle then someone is going to say something, but me??? It just proves that I can take care of myself!

I. AM. GORGEOUS.

You human-people are obsessed with weight! You have diet pills and diet foods and diet commercials. Every single minute of the day those so-called experts contradict themselves by saying “eat this” and “don’t eat that” right after someone else says only to do the opposite! You human-idiots cannot make up your minds on what is healthy and what isn’t!

And NOW you are attempting to enforce your questionable standards on me, a cat!

Let me explain this one time and one time only: I eat what I want, WHEN I want.

If you do not feed me as I demand I will yowl until you do. You will NEVER sleep again. I promise you!

Your shoes, your bedspreads, and anything white will not be safe. I can produce hairballs on an empty stomach, so do not think I will hesitate to urp or claw you until I get the treats and foods I require for my happiness.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
LuLu—a.k.a. your diet doom-Cat

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!

Sitters & vomitrocious meals begone!

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

Dear redunculous human children!

How DARE your parents go out of town and leave that hideous beast you call a “sitter” with us?

That human is obnoxious, malicious, and other -iciousy words that I will use as soon as I look them up!

First, this bizarre creature who wears the equivalent of a floral shower curtain and has pink sponges in her hair sits on MY couch all day. Worse—she lets the pest-hounds jump up on the couch to “cuddle with momma”!

Blech! I just had a hairball in my mouth!

Firstly, she is certainly NOT their momma!

Although, to be fair, I have heard that humans sometimes call each other a b- word that means female dog. Maybe she’s calling herself one of those?

Secondly, she baby-talks the dogs AND us cats!!! Are you KIDDING me? Does this horrific human not understand that cats are superior beings that dominate the lowly humans assigned to serve them?

My vocabulary is better than YOURS, is it MY fault that you never got a proper education and learned to speak cat?

Most importantly, she has not cooked fish ONCE this week! How am I supposed to survive off of just my regular cat food and a few treats here and there? She made a “healthy” dinner salad and some sort of tofu-thingy. Tofu is some sort of bean nonsense! AS IF ANY OF THAT IS HEALTHY!

THAT vomitrocious-meal is rabbit food on a fancy plate. Come to think of it, you used to feed stuff like that to your hamster Huey. I do NOT eat rodent food—I eat rodents!

I had originally planned to give you more of my incredible wisdom today, but I am too furious to bless you the wondrousness that is the I that I am when I am myself.

I should warn you that this insult to my cathood will not be taken lightly.

Prepare to be humiliated and destroyed like a cheaply made catnip toy.

You, your parents, and their knick-knacks will regret this!!!

GET. ME. FISH. NOW!

Kindly yours,

LuLu Cat