Cat With Books
Posted on April 11, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 34 Comments
Zeus sits among the books I have received in the last week or so and does not judge me for not having put up a new “Just Arrived” piece. He does judge me for having so many books on my side table that he cannot lie down, however. My punishment will undoubtedly come in the night, when the Paw of Vengeance inserts itself into my left nostril whilst I sleep. It is a fair sentence.
Zeus is looking at the 20 degrees colder and rainy day that was forcast yesterday. I think we all agree that colder and rainy-er sucks. Whether you’re a cat or not.
He may not actually punish you about the sleeping arrangement, Cats have great memories and punish you for prior transgressions in a completely random and non-linear fashion… be very afraid!
So what happens when you tell Zeus that your the master of the house and he should just go find somewhere else to park his lazy furry butt?
He needs a lesson from one of my cats, who finds moving books to the floor in order to have more room on the shelf No Problem At All. You just bite into the spine to get it out of the stack, then use paws to push it off said shelf.
My not entirely unfounded suspicion (I lived together with a cat for a long time) is that this would result in painfully shredded skin.
The cat maybe smarter than me. But I wonder some things:
1. Do you read all these books?
2. Do you keep all the books you receive, the ones you like or only the ones you critique?
( PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT TRYING TO ASK FOR ANY. Just want to know.)
Blainesgirl@2 – A human is the master of the house? You must be mistaken.
Adrienne@3 – Yikes. I’m glad my cat’s haven’t figured that out yet. (And I hope my 2-year old will eventually grow out of doing it.)
How do you keep your cats from scratching your books? Or do they scratch them? Mine scratch everything except the scratching posts.
Fair? Hell, it would be downright merciful of him to only take your nostril.
What’s for sale in that flyer?
And any cat owner, no matter how often she or he tries to forget, knows Where the Paw of Vengeance has been.
Several years ago, I was confused to find my bookshelves in disarray with books tipped over, on the floor, etc. It turns out my chubby kitty was trying to sleep on top of the books. He’d pull a couple over to make a hole, then squash himself along the tops. The hint was all the kitty fur in the binding.
I think the terrible burden of creating the “Books Received” posts has clearly become untenable for your busy schedule. It is clear that the only possible solution to this utter disaster is that all books you are sent should instead be sent to me; I will endeavor to be slightly more timely in posting a picture of them. I live nowhere near Ohio, I wouldn’t forward the books after receiving them, I don’t have time to read the books I’ve already got, and the people sending you books have no conceivable reason to instead send me books – but other than these trivialities, I can see no objection to my thoroughly reasonable plan. Well, there is one other issue:I have no cat to sit on the books. That may be the fatal flaw that undermines my scheme. And until I mentioned that last, it looked like I had come up with such an optimal way to address the lack of “books received” posts …
Blainesgirl@2: The lazy furry butt is the master of the house. One of them, anyway. The hierarchy in any cat-bearing home is:
human giving noms
human with laser pointer
human giving petting/scratching
It’s a long way to the bottom. Take it from one who’s been there.
“Paw of Vengeance” is the name of my Cat Stevens/Slayer mashup cover band.
I remember years ago Spider Robinson wrote a column on the horrors of being a book reviewer as the books just would not stop coming and he’d forgotten the magic word or something.
Is the Paw of Vengeance anything like the Stark Fist Of Removal?
Pensive Cat is pensive.
well at least he isn’t nomming on the books. My cats like to chew on my hardcovers. And sleep on them. Scalzi-oriented vengeance is fine, Zeus, just don’t hurt the books!
He doesn’t just knock the books off the desk and make room for himself? You’re a lucky man, John.
@6 and @12: I have to disagree; the human runs the house in my abode. Of course, it’s a lot easier for me, since there’s only one of each. He can yowl all he likes, but I have the opposable thumbs, the keys, and the money. He’s pointy at five of his six ends, but I’m a lot bigger. His main leverage is looking so damn cute.
There is no problem here, only patience artfully disguised.
Zeus can stretch out underneath that narrow windowsill … and with one flick-kick of his back legs, push those pesky books over and onto the floor.
–E@18: …the human runs the house in my abode.
And the executive officer of a naval vessel runs the ship. But the Captain is in command.
At least you only get the paw of vengance. When we offend one of our cats, we wake up to little brown presents that she has left all over the house. Usually in a place that we’re guaranteed to step in a groggy, half-conscious, just awakened state.
I just thought of something I’ve been trying to figure out for a few years. It seems to me I read a short story a long, long time ago. A comet passed overhead or the voice of God was heard or something. After that people could hear the thoughts of their pets. Needless to say it didn’t turn out well.
So. Does anyone know if that’s an actual story or am I imagining it?
He is handsome! (Also, I had a dog named Zeus, a while back.)
My cat loves to lay on whatever I’m reading (or writing). She thinks books are pillows. It’s a strange habit.
A.J. : I am not mistaken, I am deluded. There’s a difference. But I think it is still a good question. I’m always interested in the animals responses.
Bill@22 – Sounds like you maybe remembering “Into Your Tent I’ll Creep” a short story by Eric Frank Russell.
I might take the “Paw of Vengeance” in the nostril vs. the “Marimba Solo on the Venetian Blinds” at 3 am… gotta think about that one.
@Stephen T: Thanks for the tip. I’ll look into it!
My feline jurisprudence is a bit rusty. Does the Paw of Vengeance include the claw or is that the Paw of Retribution and Early Morning Wakening?
Rule # 1: No Killing of Innocent Bystanders
I love it!
Aww… no Chang who is not that Chang decree?
*Seeing as how chang/not chang isn’t present to offer a critique, I shall make an attempt*
Oh, Great Scalzi! What an almost acceptable picture of TempCat Zeus! Even more impressive, you’ve correctly judged that he is disappointed in you and your stack of books. Not only are these novels blocking her Designated Napping Space, they also are blocking the shot. Had you simply moved the books prior to taking the photo, you would have pleased not only TempCat Zeus, but also the Official Unofficial Zeus Fan Club.
Given this glaring error, I must refrain from granting you the Official Unofficial Zeus Fan Club Seal of Approval. Your consolation prize, as you have correctly surmised, will be the Paw of Nasal Blockage, presented by TempCat Zeus.
@22, i’m sure there is a Damon knight Story along those lines, but Pamela Sargent wrote a short called ‘out of place’ which is in the Magicat anthology.
Better watch out, Chang /=/ Chang, Tim O’Shenko may be working on staging a coup at the Executive Committee. Remember: the cats (particularly Her Shimmering Radiance) are irreplaceable; you are not. Let the revolution begin! ;-)
Yes, like #5, I wonder why they send them to you? You surely do not have time to read them all.