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A Different Perspective: Cats and dogs and politics — oh my!

Posted: Tuesday, Feb 5th, 2013

With only six days until the most important election since the Civil War about to occur, you’re probably about as fed up with politics as I am, which for many of my compatriots is akin to an admission of blasphemy.

No doubt I could harangue you with rants about the worst president in American history, a burgeoning cover-up about the disaster in Benghazi, which now appears to involve moral cowardice by high-level administration officials in denying military assistance to Americans fighting for their lives, or discuss “voodoo economics,” “a ghostly recovery” or the “specter of a looming recession” come the beginning of next year. However, since Halloween is upon us, I think I’ll talk about my cat, Binx.

Last year I told you about how we found a dark clump of black fur under a tree in our yard, with a pair of big dark eyes looking imploringly up at us, with a message something like, “please don’t eat me, and by the way, I’m really cold and hungry.” Binx at that time in mid-October was about five weeks old and fit easily into one hand. We didn’t realize at the time that Mr. Binx was really Miss Binx, but we found out soon enough.

For a good part of the first month or two after we adopted her, Binx made her bed first in my lap, then by my feet and now usually sleeps somewhere in the vicinity of my head, normally after I’ve dozed off and find her nestled at the top of the bed in early morning. She’s also a cat now, instead of a kitten, with all of the opinions of any teenage girl today. She’s shiny, soft and black as coal, totally curious about everything, and recently just learned about Halloween and black cats. We had this heart-to-heart talk about what happens to black cats on Halloween and why going outside isn’t such a good idea; she promptly bolted under the bed and hasn’t been out for a week.

In the meantime, she’s learned a few interesting tricks from her partner in crime, Figaro, our singing tomcat. “Figs,” as we call him, is a chowhound, owns the house and both dogs, and is the most vocal cat I’ve ever known, not that I’ve known a lot of cats being a former “dog person.” One of the favorite tricks both cats have adopted is ambushing the dogs from the top of the couch, waiting patiently for a dog to walk by and then swatting their rump as they pass. Another is to walk up to the dog as they doze, sniff their muzzle and then “wham,” smacking them across the nose. That usually starts a free-for-all in the living room, normally right in the middle of something interesting happening on TV. It’s a pitiful sight to see a 60-pound Lab cowering behind a dining room chair with a 15-pound cat acting like Hercules as he struts across the room.

It will be interesting to see the reaction of all the above as the usual army of trick-or-treaters descends upon our home. When my oldest son, the Corpsman with the Marines in Iraq, was about 3 years old, he loved to open the front door for visitors. On Halloween in 1981, we received our first “guests” ringing a doorbell. I told him not to answer the door, knowing that he wouldn’t like the surprise, but being truly stubborn and loyal to the family motto of “I’ll do it myself,” he opened the door to be greeted by the friendly neighborhood werewolf, whereupon he ran screaming from the room and hid under his bed for a week. It’s probably why he ended up in Iraq with the Marines; he was always looking for some place to feel safe. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Al Fonzi is a retired Army Lt. Colonel and career intelligence officer with more than 30 years of service. He is a self-described conservative and active in several political organizations. Fonzi first moved to Atascadero in 1972.

For the complete article see the 10-31-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-31-2012 paper.

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