Extreme Vetting - for Cats
“Hey, so-called cat. I want to talk to you,” I called out to Cat.
“You talkin’ to ME?” Cat growled from the upstairs guest room, where he was curled up in a pool of sunlight that splashed across the bed.
“I am talking to you,” I said.
“Well, don’t,” he said. “I’m busy. Go do something useful, like bark at the pleasant lady who delivers the mail, or at that old guy who shuffles along the sidewalk in front of the house with a walker, or whatever it is that brave and bold dogs do.”
“And where do you get off calling me a ‘so-called cat?’ “ Cat said.
Sometimes it’s so easy to get Cat to take the bait.
“I wanted to see whether it bothered you to be called a ‘so-called cat,’ just like President Trump called the federal judge, who temporarily halted his immigration ban, a ‘so-called judge,’" I said.
Cat’s tail was twitching, thumping on the cover of the bed, a dangerous sign, meaning that he could be getting ready to whatever it is that cats do – swat one of my soft, velvety ears? Thump. Thump. Trump. Trump. TRUMP!
The immigration order was really getting on my nerves, the more I heard about it on NPR. It just didn't seem very American. I wondered whether Cat was feeling any regrets about the election, since I suspected that he was pretty taken with Trump during the campaign. Did it bother Cat that thousands of people’s lives were turned upside down? And what the next step might be? And the step after that? Until America turned into an entirely different kind of country.
BUT EXTREME VETTING? Trump said he needed to stop immigration for just a little while, so that he could develop an extreme vetting program.
He said it would help "keep America safe," and I guess, just like you, it's hard for me to argue that's not a good thing.
But in my case, I didn't really know what extreme vetting might be, exactly. After all, I'm just a dog. It's all I can do to deal with Cat, who is a friend and sometimes not.
SPEAKING OF CAT, I should mention that the cover of the guest bed gets disgustingly filthy whenever Cat lies on it, and then the Nice One has to wash it, although she never seems to complain, which I guess can be explained by the fact that she is the Nice One.
Cats have a reputation for being “very clean,” which is something I absolutely have never understood. Number One – Cats are, in fact, filthy, loathsome creatures, who like to scare sweet. gentle dogs like me. And Number Two – While they are perpetually licking themselves, cats actually are swallowing tons and tons of cat fur, which they then will throw up at inconvenient times and places in the form of hairballs.
This is in contrast to dogs, who are unfairly criticized by dog haters. Have you noticed that since the election, there seems to have been an increase in disparaging things being said about dogs, comments like: “Who would want something in your house that sheds all over the place?”
Of course, dogs shed. Even I shed. Number One – Shedding is a very normal and wonderful part of dogs’ lives and the lives of those who love them. And Number Two - the fur that I shed from my nearly pure white coat, which is one of my most admired characteristics that constantly draws compliments when I go for walks with the Grouchy One - that fur is very easy to clean up; it comes right off most carpets with a few effortless strokes of the vacuum cleaner. Unlike disgusting cat hair.
I WONDERED if President Trump might want to do something about cats. Had he considered a temporary ban on all intrastate and interstate travel by cats, in order to develop a system of extreme vetting for cats, which also might help keep America - if not safer, at least cleaner?
As I mentioned, I wasn't sure what extreme vetting of cats would entail. But I knew about regular vetting.
That's when Our Humans take me and Cat to see the vet, who tries to keep us healthy. The vet sticks things into us and cuts our nails and feels our stomachs, takes our temperatures, and looks into our ears (yuk), and stuffs pills down our gullets.
So. I assumed extreme vetting would just be more of that sort of thing, but with a bigger bill (if that’s possible). And what's to object about that?
“WHY DID you call me a ‘so-called cat?” Cat said, breaking my train of thought.
“I told you,” I said. “I wanted to know how you would feel if the president called you a ‘so-called cat.’ “
“Well, he wouldn’t, would he?” Cat said. “First of all, I am a cat, not sort-of-a-cat. And what’s more, I’m a cat named ‘Cat,’ so even if I weren’t a cat, I would still be a ‘Cat.’ What do you think of that, Ms. Sheds-Like-Crazy?”
Then a chilling thought: if Trump issued an executive order banning travel by cats, Cat wouldn't be allowed to leave our house, like in my favorite daydream, where he runs away. Then, I'd be stuck with Cat, a cat with a low opinion of dogs. He would be here “temporarily,” which in Trumpspeak, meant forever.
Perhaps, I thought, that wouldn’t be such a bad outcome. I guess that I’d miss Cat if he ever did leave. (Please don't let him know that I said that).
You wonder if Trump has thought about all of this as he develops his immigration and other programs: How you can do one thing, and that leads to something you didn't expect, and pretty soon, it's a great big mess.
I’m sure he has considered this. After all, he’s the president. How could he not?