How To Talk Your Friend Out of Wrapping His Cat’s Feet in Tinfoil

It’s strange what open-ended, splintered memories your brain holds on to.

We were 11. Our friend Shawn had this thing about putting tinfoil boots on his cat. He’d talk about it more often than one would expect, to the point where you realized, He’s not fucken kidding. He really wants to put tinfoil boots on his cat.

Chuck was the cat in question, and he was a beast all the way around: grossly overweight with a bulbous head and squinty eyes, he defied what Siamese cats are supposed to be. He was old and slow and clumsy, which made him hapless, which is why I think Shawn wanted to put tinfoil boots on him: because the chances of him being able to do so were very high while simultaneously having almost no chance of getting injured himself.

Everyone thought Shawn was weird bird, even weirder when he started talking about cutting short whatever we were doing so ‘we’ could go home and put tinfoil boots on Chuck. It was all uncomfortable small talk until the day he invited us over for some casual Commodore 64 video games, and, as it turned out, to watch him ensnare Chuck and finally put aluminum booties on him.

When we walked in the house, Sean was in the living room — his mother off at work — and Chuck was on the couch. Chuck, having the metabolism of a potato and the IQ to match, was lazing about obliviously while Shawn cut small swaths of tinfoil from a roll of Reynolds Wrap. Shawn barely looked up at us. Chuck blinked lethargically at a throw pillow, completely unaware.

“Hey guys.”

“Hi Shawn,” I said. “Um, what are you doing?”

“Finally gonna put booties on Chuckles here.”

The three of us — me, Russ and Tom — stared at him. Tom finally spoke, “Dude, we’re here to play Bruce Lee. We don’t want to put tinfoil on Chuck.”

Shawn looked up from his tinfoil and pile of rubber bands. “Oh come on. Consider it science.”

“Or consider it mean,” I said. It seemed to me that putting tinfoil boots on a cat with likely cardiac problems was not a good idea.

“Nah,” Shawn said, expertly sidestepping the issue.

Then Russ asked what none of us probably would have thought to: “Once you get the tinfoil on Chuck, what are you gonna do?”

Sean had the answer in his mental ammunition chamber and didn’t miss a beat. “Gonna put him on the kitchen floor, turn on the vacuum and see if he freaks. If he does, he won’t be able to run, and that will be hiiillllaaaarious.”

None of us were vets or cat whisperers, but we were pretty sure if you put an overweight 14 year old Siamese cat on a linoleum floor and hit the vacuum while said cat was wearing tinfoil booties rubberbanded around his legs, yeah, we were thinking, he’ll probably freak. If you’re a 14 year old overweight cat, freaking probably leads to not being alive anymore.

The exact mechanics of the debate that ensued are unimportant, but in the end sanity prevailed: the tinfoil was thrown away, the vacuum stayed in the closet, Chuck didn’t Code Blue in front of sink, and Shawn didn’t go to juvy. Shawn did seem slightly defeated, but later came around to admit that it wasn’t a good idea after all. “Cats are pretty uptight,” Sean concluded, authoritatively. Mr. Animal Fucken Planet.

We let the issue rest after Shawn closed the topic with this. We all thought it best not to upset whatever balance his hormones found that made him temporarily stable. We’re pretty sure Chuck appreciated it too.

We didn’t do much with Shawn after that.

Regarding My Stupid Bengal Cat

You guys, I can’t tell you how often I catch my stupid Bengal cat looking exactly like this.

It’s his busted face. You see it when he’s in the process of being a top-shelf asshole, which is, by my math, every minute he’s not sleeping or licking the poo from his paws. He’s so invested in being a dick his tiny cat brain forgets to rearrange his face into something resembling cat nobility. So I’ll come home, hear some grunting in the dining room, grab the camera (for possible insurance photos), and just leap in and snap. Boom, busted.

After two years of me playing Amateur Cat Whisperer, he doesn’t even care. He just stares at me with this ridiculous face and goes, “Yeah? What? What are you going to do about it? The female human likes me. You don’t matter, jackass.”

And he’s right.

So when we buy our cats (yes, plural, but please don’t ask) a ten-dollar cardboard box that we could find for free at any Costco, what does he do? First, let’s start with what he’s supposed to do: SIT IN IT AND ACT LIKE THE CATS YOU SEE IN CAT FOOD COMMERCIALS. What does he really do, almost immediately? Start biting the edges, ripping off little pieces, and spitting them on the carpet.

He SPITS. And you can HEAR IT. Rip chew rip chew THWOCK. That happens before the sound of ten dollars going up in smoke.

So I yell at him. I make sharp, loud noises so he gets startled and stops. But his dicky little amygdala is so honed, so advanced in fight or flight decision making, he know’s there’s no real threat. He completely ignores me. Until I feign getting up from the couch. Then he finally pays attention and I get – YOU GUESSED IT.

That’s just one ten dollar example.

We have another cat, one who’s jerk gene isn’t totally dominant, who’s the cat version of Bob Marley: he just wants to kick back, man, and enjoy everything. Music and colors are everywhere, dude. This cat was born with the following belief, which he holds dear to this very day: The world is a great place. Everyone is nice. Nothing bad can ever happen to me. Here, rub my belly. I love you. Food would be nice.

The jerk cat knows this other cat is gullible. Way gullible. Gullible and trusting to the point where if he had to pass a cat test to keep his cathood, he’d fail and be demoted to frog or something. So when the Happy Cat is sitting around, blindly trusting every atom in the universe, the Jerk Cat will come up to him, meow lightly, and start cleaning him. And they will lay together. And they will have a little conversation.

JERK CAT: Hey. Meow and shit. Mind if I sit down and clean you?

HAPPY CAT: Sure! I’d love that! I love you! This is great! Heck yeah!

JC: Excellent. (Starts cleaning HC)

HC: Omigosh this is amazing! I mean, aaammmaazing. You are cleaning me! I love this! This feels great! My face doesn’t smell weird anymore! Thank you!

JC: Don’t mention it.

And then, there’s a subtle change. Jerk Cat goes from cleaning, to little nibbles, to full-on biting anything within his striking distance: neck, ears, paws – name it. And despite this happening nearly every single night, Happy Cat is all, “Wha? What’s this? You are licking me so hard it hurts, man! I mean, you just bit what’s left of my scrotum! Seriously! BUT I STILL TOTALLY LOVE YOU.

I will see this, get up and thwart natural selection. Instead of letting dickhead theater play out, I will stop the passive-aggressive-cleaning-turned-cat-cagematch, and Happy Cat will, for a brief second, realize things aren’t copasetic and bolt into another room. That leaves Jerk Cat, who sits in one place frozen and stares at me, as if he previously was invisible and I just somehow found a way to see what he’s doing.

And it’ll come again:

The moral of the story: I have one cat, a Bengal, cheap. Inquire at counter.

(modified cp)

Speaking of DPR Connect

They have the most in-depth review of the iPhone 5 from a photography standpoint that I’ve seen. Don’t miss it.

Also: check out their feature in which Dean Holland shoots his second honeymoon with the iPhone — leaving his big-gun DSLR at home. As a photographer who gets the howling fantods at the mere thought of this, I find it a fascinating — and surprising — experiment.