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A deluxe apartment in the sky

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:08 a.m. CDT

Christine sat nervously on the couch as a look of concern washed over her face. Finally, a question rolled off her lips. She wanted to know if I wanted a free Kitty Castle for our cats.

While she had me at the word “free,” no sweeter words in combination of one another have ever been said by Christine than Kitty and Castle, including the words “I do.”

Did I want a Kitty Castle? Of course I did!

Cats outnumber humans by a 2 to 1 ratio at my household. That means if they had even a modicum of intelligence or interest in tactical martial arts, and maybe a few opposable thumbs, it would have been Murderville for the both of us some time ago.

I try to keep my four cats happy. At night I relegate them into the so-called Cat Room, which is actually two rooms consisting of the laundry room and the entryway to the deck. I use to buy them nice things, but now I know better. Want a cat to destroy some item like a cat toy? Put catnip inside of it. My cats open up such toys like they are performing an autopsy, and afterward the communal disembowelment usually gets underway.

The most lavish thing I ever poured money into for my cats was this bungalow-like structure that consisted of a series of very comfortable hanging cat hammocks. The durable plastic structure now stands as a grotesque skeleton of the item it once was.

Toward the end, the cats started vomiting on the hammocks. This was confusing (why would you vomit on your own bed?) and interesting — the mesh hammocks only served to strain the partially digested cat food and created two separate messes.

Comfort is a serious concern to me as a pet owner. Sleeping on the cold metal of a washer or dryer seems uncomfortable, and it should because I tried it once in college. But before you go accusing me as some inhumane cat owner, I want to remind you my cats have two rooms to themselves at night.

If you have a child, I am venturing to guess you didn’t give him or her two rooms.

Here lately I have been constructing makeshift play and rest areas for my cats out of cardboard boxes and lining them with cozy towels (that they can regurgitate their food upon). It suits my kitty conscious just knowing they are as pleased as humanly possible.

Do I want a Kitty Castle? Darn tooting I do!

As I came to learn, Christine’s friend, Kassandra, was looking to get rid of the aforementioned Kitty Castle. Some lady gave it to her and now she wanted to return the favor. For all I knew this Kitty Castle was cursed, but I wouldn’t have cared even if it was.

What is a Kitty Castle? Do you mean aside from sheer bliss? It’s the only thing that has ever pacified my ferocious pride of felines. Constructed of wood and carpet, it stands 4 feet in the air and has four different levels consisting of platforms and tubes. It lives up to its billing. It is indeed a castle for kitties.

When we revealed the structure to the cats their collective reaction was contrary to what I thought it would be, which was simply ignoring it. Instead, what I witnessed was glorious. The cats stormed the castle walls and quickly began relishing in their newfound spoils of war.

Flea jumped to the tip-top and began eating food that had mysteriously survived the trip. Mugato climbed the back of the structure like a squirrel, nestled into the third level platform and rolled around like a seal. The most expeditious of the crew, Thumper, carved out his own personal playground in a carpeted tube as he batted his claws at imaginary foes. Lucy perched herself on the ground level, stoically eyeballing a pouch of muffin mix in the pantry.

Last week they were all sleeping in cardboard boxes like hobo kitties.

This week they are lounging around in a Kitty Castle.

My cats are moving on up, to the eastside.

To a deluxe castle in the sky.

To contact Will E. Sanders email him at wille@willesanders.com. To learn more about Will E. Sanders, to read past columns or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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