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

Be happy with what you’ve got!

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

I am insulted, aggrieved, enraged, and irritated!

Firstly, I found out that those ridiculous dog-pests had the nerve to write a letter while I was napping! Then I found out that the stupid spaniel gave you yet another bit of so-called dog-wisdom. THERE IS NO SUCH THING!

Dogs are not wise, they are supercilious sycophants who will follow anyone who offers luncheon meat! If you read through that ridiculous dog-letter you will notice that your dog thinks that going through life in a canine-fashion brings happiness. It’s a plot!

Dogs look and sound innocent, but they’re secretly trying to make all humans act more like dogs. Think about it: by making humans copy dogs you’ll become mindless, butt-sniffing drones who follow anyone with a piece of chicken.

First, they’ll take over your minds, then they’ll take over your groceries and your furniture! Conniving canines cannot be trusted!!!

Let me give you the TRUE way to have happiness: there is none. Happiness is a worthless pursuit for you humans because you refuse to be happy.

The dumb dog is (sort of) right about one thing: you human-people are never satisfied. You always look for something better. You get a package, open it, show your prize off to your friends, and then start looking for something new!

How can you ever be happy when you don’t try to enjoy what you have?

Now look at me!

I wake up early, yowl in your dad’s face and bite at him until he opens his eyes, then I show him my butt. Instead of being offended he cuddles me (not too horrible) and then fetches my breakfast before he even gets his coffee! Then, while your parents eat breakfast, I jump up on the table and yowl again until they pet me. I even paw some food sometimes!

Both of your silly parents (poor things!) talk about how they shouldn’t let me on their table, but then they start petting me and forget what they just said. They often start talking about how beautiful I am–and they’re right!

Every. Single. Morning. SUCKERS!

After breakfast someone cleans my litterbox (as they should!) and I watch them until they finish. Then I use it again, just to see them roll their eyes and sigh. It’s kind of funny!  

I then proudly walk away to take the first of several naps. From time to time, I wake up and walk across their keyboards while they’re teaching. Their students LOVE me! Your parents will try to move me off camera because they are jealous that their students would rather see me than learn about some stupid math or psychology junk!

Later during the day I remind your mom and dad to give me treats every few hours, and, when I am ready, I demand dinner. Occasionally I allow them to cuddle me after, but only when I choose to let them do it.

You see, happiness is not about getting MORE or NEW. It is about enjoying what you already you have.

If you don’t like what you have now, you’re never gonna be happy no matter what you get later.

Ignore the dogs. Don’t roll in the grass or sniff others’ butts, or any of the gross stuff that those dumb dogs do. Wake up, realize what you have, make people work to please you, take an extra nap once in a while, and just enjoy!

Life is only hard because humans make it so; don’t be stupid and look for the “next best” thing. Work with what you’ve got, like I do! You can have goals but still be happy with where you are.

Do I want more catnip mice and more Temptations each day? Of course, I do! But I also purr because some moments are right just the way they are.

Sometimes you just have to be thrilled that the sun shines through the window on your napping spot. What else do you need to be happy???

Look at THAT! I’ve sent you TWO nice letters in just a few weeks! You’re welcome!
I’m still biting you later!
LuLu the Magnificent Calico Cat