October 17th
Cuteness Factor
by tim platt

I'm a PROUD cat owner and I LOVE my kitty. He’s a moody little cutie-pie and the cutest kitty in the whole wide world. He can be a grouch but that makes him all the more huggable. I love him so so SO much!

Owning a pet is no walk in the park. I often stumble into my cramped New York City apartment to find the little troublemaker in the midst of the most adorable mischief. If you're a cat owner, you KNOW what I'm talking about. I've walked in on him knocking over potted plants, burying his face in a fresh pie, even (somehow!) trapping himself inside the refrigerator! I have a theory that the more trouble a kitty gets in, the cuter that kitty appears. Let me give you an example.

Cats LOVE computers. Whether it’s falling asleep on the monitor or walking over the keyboard EXACTLY when you're writing an important work email, a cat loves their computer ALMOST much as their litter box! My crabby kitty is no exception! I recently came home from a jog to find the fur-ball slamming his paws against my laptop keyboard. So cute! He looked just like me when composing my monthly newsletter. I shooed him off only to find that his random stabs at the keyboard had been recorded on a word document. My kitty had written a poem:

a creep grew up to be wretched.
a saint grew up to be cruel.
everyone ends up a failure.
everyone lives like a fool.

SO CUTE! My little Edgar Allen Paw! I gave him a look that said "you know you're not supposed to do that," and he replied with a pitch perfect scowl that just SCREAMED "the assumption of an inevitable or primal goodness is a myth.” Priceless! I gave the grump a treat.

I wish I could say that was the ONLY time I caught my prickly pet typing on my laptop, but you know cats: they always do what they want! A few days later I woke up to find him at my desk, pawing the keyboard in adorable agitation. It'd be a lot easier to NOT look at my phone first thing in the morning if I could always wake up to the cutest kitty in the world being this adorable! I sleepily approached my desk, only to find that he had typed another poem:

whenever my pride
smooths over my shame
i know i've been wrong
i know i'm to blame

Remember that theory I mentioned before? How a kitty’s cuteness factor increases with the trouble they cause? I think we can mark that hypothesis ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ACCURATE! How much cuter did my cat become after being caught red handed asserting that shame should be the emotional status quo from which confidence or self-satisfaction inappropriately distracts! SQUEE!!!! I know I shouldn't condone the behavior but I just HAD toss a treat to my little forlorn CATullus ;).

My kitty is persistent! I had just now been typing up this account of his misadventures when I took an "extended" trip to the bathroom. Upon my return, I saw no kitty but just the following text written on this very word document:

my sins doth bind my soul in chains

i've earned these chains by nothing more
than prioritizing light rapport
instead of taking moral stands
i've gladly shaken impure hands
for "to be liked" has been my call
thus damning me, my chains and all

if future forms my soul will take
may better lives my passion make.

Hard on himself much? Such a Sylvia CATh! I looked around to find my mopey kitty curled up in a ball under the couch. I picked him up, unfurling him in my arms so as to cradle him like a child. He squinted his eyes in an unmistakable look that clearly meant "I think I've squandered my advantages and I can't intellectually think of a reason why I deserve happiness or a life free of scorn.” Knucklehead!

I know exactly what to do. I kiss him between the eyes. I stroke his head until I hear the faintest purr escape his guilt-ridden throat. In this moment of weakness, I shove a treat in his mouth and cup his mouth shut. I keep my quivering hands locked around his mouth. Then, I tell him the truth.

“What you need to understand,” I whisper sharply, “is that you are cute. Your depression and despair don’t matter to me because the lens with which I view you is shaded with infantilism and condescension. Your shame makes you crabby. That’s cute. Your sin makes you grumpy. Incredibly cute. Your awareness of your immoral silence makes you grouchy. C-U-T-E. I have a theory-”

Suddenly, my restless writer forces himself out of my grip and leaps to the floor. He rushes to the corner of the room where he does nothing but sulk for the rest of the day.

What we cat lovers put up with!!! I know I shouldn't indulge this behavior, but I can’t help it. I’m going to give him some catnip and watch him freak out. He’ll live with me forever.

Oh, I forgot to mention: I named my cat Marmaduke!

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