It has been quite a challenge to train the pair of humans entrusted to us by the cat goddess Bast (All Praise Her Sacred Whiskers). Alas, it has fallen to me to bear most of the burden. Pixel is of little help, being thoroughly convinced she is a princess and quite above dealing with anyone not of royal blood. I hold no such silly notions about myself, of course. To do so would not be fitting for a Great Lion of the Serengeti. I alone have had the unending task of teaching them to perform their duties as both domestic servants and amusing playthings. It has not been easy.
The female is lazy. There is no kinder way to put it. If left to herself she will sleep until the sun is up, and indeed even later on the weekends. She is not a self-starter, not at all. Every single day, without fail, I must roust her from bed and oversee the morning rituals. If not micromanaged every moment she will forget her most basic duties, and when she does perform them it is often in a slovenly and halfhearted manner. She must be reminded to feed us; she must be cajoled into providing us with our morning entertainment; and never once, mind you, has she remembered to ritually cover our uneaten prey as Bast (All Praise Her Sacred Whiskers) commands. To make matters worse she is unreliable. Most mornings she darts out of the house, without permission, gets lost, and does not find her way home until almost dark. As if these faults were not bad enough, she is often surly and seems unaware of her status as a servant to felines. What is most maddening is her feigned inability to comprehend even the most straightforward instructions. I will never believe that as long as we have owned her she still cannot understand our commands even when painstakingly conveyed in the simplest terms possible. You ask for pets and get treats; you ask for catnip and get a window opened. No one is that dumb.
Another matter is her careless disregard for the constant danger we are in. She doesn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of the threats surrounding us: interloper kitties of all sorts, raving mad squirrels, sinister possums, thieving coon bandits, and an unnerving assortment of bloodthirsty murder birds. The Serengeti Plain (Blackhawk Blvd. district) is in fact more like a jungle. This perilous situation demands round-the-clock vigilance; even “princess” Pixel understands this and is willing to lend a paw – but the female acts as if we lived in some sort of utopian amusement park populated by benign Disney characters – she actually feeds this rabble (who, by the way, then proceed to poop shamelessly wherever they feel the urge and then just walk or fly away – the savages). Why can’t she get it? We are at war - 24/7/365! Whenever not occupied by the unavoidable necessities of feline existence, such as sleep, contemplation, grooming, and ninja training, you will find me standing vigilant watch lest the barbaric un-neutered hordes overrun us. I do not do this because it is fun, to the contrary, it is demanding and dangerous – I do it because, as a Great Lion, who has been blessed with unparalleled courage and valor, it is my duty. So when my infallible senses detect the approach of a treacherous foe, creeping to attack or rob us in the wee hours, and I sound battle stations, I expect all hands to spring to their posts – not roll over in bed and mumble “Oh Maxie” (even the little “princess” has been guilty of this).
This brings us to the securing of our borders. No kingdom can be safe unless its borders are well marked and regularly patrolled. This is so fundamental that, again, even decadent little Pixel understands it. The female also seems to grasp it and when she finds her way home in the evening is willing – after a few blunt reminders – to open the door and even assist in scouting the neighborhood, though she is most unobservant and at time seems oblivious to even the most obvious evidence of trespass (I sometimes doubt whether she even has a sense of smell). However in spite of her apparent willingness to help, she almost invariably manages to interfere with the mission. As a Great Lion it is I - not Pixel, and certainly not a simple-minded servant girl - who must determine the regions to be patrolled. She refuses to accept the fact I know more about these matters, and habitually blunders about and tries to prevent my exploring the most intriguing locations. But it gets worse. It is not uncommon during the course reconnoitering for me to come face to face with mortal danger. Danger goes with being a Great Lion. I do not shrink from it – in fact I crave it and seek it out. I do however sometimes find it necessary to retire from confrontation with it to my private lair under the bed in order to assess the situation and develop a plan of attack (in addition to being ferocious and courageous I am also a wily strategist - I don’t mean to boast - it’s all a part of being a Great Lion, you see) and yet the female seems to find some perverse humor in this; as if she thinks I am running away and hiding. Well, as I stated before, she has but little insight into the ways of Great Lions.
Then there is the matter of the male. I suppose it’s not fair to criticize too much as it is not his fault he is an imbecile. To the contrary, he is to be pitied. He has not been able to learn much of anything and spends much of his time staring blankly at pieces of paper, not even aware that his feline masters are in the room. He can, with some effort, be induced to play simple games, and when bitten has a not unpleasant flavor. While this sounds cruel it must be remembered that, being backward, he cannot feel pain as normal humans do. I use him as training aid when practicing my hunting. Perhaps if I had more time to spend with him he could be taught some other useful skill, but the truth is he isn’t around much. It seems he is even more inept at navigation than the female. Every two or three weeks he leaves the house and is unable to find his way back for sometimes as long as two months. When he does return he usually arrives on the door step in the middle of the night looking scruffy, haggard, and generally bedraggled; as if drug in by – well, a cat. He will then proceed to sleep for two whole days – I haven’t the heart to wake him – then will sit and once more stare at pieces of paper for a couple of weeks before wandering off again; a sad case indeed, but quite beyond hope.
Then there is Pixel. First let me say that for whatever else she is – Pixel is no princess. Diva? Perhaps. Narcissist? Without a doubt – but princess? Decidedly not. She is also, let’s not forget, an IK. It was I, the goddess Bast (All Praise Her Sacred Whiskers) chose to rescue from poverty when I was but a kit and give dominion over this house and these humans. I have often pondered the reason for the Great Cat’s divine judgment in this. I can only conclude it was either my beauty or my fearlessness which prompted her – perhaps it was both – the wisdom of the gods is not subject to mortal understanding, even by Great Lions. The point is; I was here first. It was only after I had succeeded in more-or-less domesticating the humans and establishing territorial boundaries that Pixel arrived on the scene looking and acting like the lowest form of alley cat. She had failed to make much progress with her assigned human and it seems probable Bast (All Praise Her Sacred Whiskers) had sent her to me in order that she might study at the paws of a Great Lion and gain from my wisdom and experience. Pixel, needless to say, has never seen it this way. From the beginning she has conducted herself as if she and not I that were in charge. She has tried to monopolize the use of the female and done nothing at all to rehabilitate the male; She has laid exclusive claim to several locations the house – my house, mind you; and most exasperating of all, she simply chooses to ignore and all rituals and customs laid down by me. Her disrespect does not stop with me. She shows not the slightest reverence for Bast (All Praise Her Sacred Whiskers) or Her hallowed commandments. She skips the ritual covering of the prey; She pays no heed to the time honored doctrine of Tom Cat dominance; like an un-neutered savage she ignores the instructions of Bast (All Praise Her Sacred Whiskers) forbidding the eating of unpackaged food and dines solely on the revolting flesh of dead chickens; and most disgusting of all, she does even follow orthodox litter box ritual. I fear for her soul.
In addition to her lack of respect for authority and tradition and her shocking irreverence she is more than a bit odd. If were not for her physical shape (she says she is “cobby” but that just means fat) I would have difficulty telling she was a cat. Other than sleep – she is lazier than the female, if that is possible – she has no interest in cat things at all. She refuses to frolic, play, and generally be frisky; she says ninja training is silly, her sole combat tactic being frontal assault, where she charges the foe with a certifiably demented shriek, often as not completely spoiling my carefully planed and professionally executed stealth attack; she has no interest in string – think about that for a moment; the most endlessly fascinating thing on earth – all cats agree – and she could care less. All she does care about besides the aforementioned sleep is the dot and the litter box thing the humans use, and concerning those two subjects she displays an obsession that is – well, positively dog like. She cannot even hold a conversation without working the topic around to one or the other. If you say “I found my old scrunchy ball under the bed this morning” she’ll respond with “That’s so nice for you, Max, and by the way did you see what the dot did last night”. Or you might casually remark “Isn’t this a curious bug I found in the yard yesterday” only to have her say “Not so curious as the poop disappearer which the humans use”. Give it a rest! The dot is fine, as far as it goes, but it has no flavor and you can’t get a claw or tooth in it, so of what use is it; and as far the “poop disappearer”, as she calls it, well I just don’t think it proper to have discussion about such things. Where the human’s poop goes is of no interest to me – even thinking about things like that, quite frankly, makes me want to gaak. Then there is her condescending attitude toward – well everyone, but most especially me. She claims she has been to college yet she cannot solve even an elementary mouse in a boot problem. Her grammar is atrocious, though her use of profanity is expert (some of the latter, I ashamed to say, has rubbed off on me; but this is to be expected even from a Great Lion when his patience is tried daily by one as course as Pixel). She actually boasts of her early life where she consorted with un-neutered strays and lived out of doors, yet she calls me – the descendant of a long and distinguished line of landed gentry – a hick farm cat. In short she – who should be appreciative of the chance to acquire knowledge and cultivate sophistication from being allowed by divine providence to consort with a bona fide Great Lion – would rather sleep, chase that stupid dot, and think about how the humans poop. Princess, indeed.
These are some of the difficulties and strains, which I, as a Great Lion must cope with. I hope I have not given the impression that I am discontented with my lives and those I share them with. Nothing could be less true. I care greatly for the female. She has her faults but at heart she is good. When she performs the ritual bedtime chant, for instance; then it is hard to remember the vexation she has caused during the day. The male may not be of much use but he does his best and that is something. I worry what would become of him if he didn’t have me to take care of him. He is my burden, but also my friend, I bear him ungrudgingly, as a Great Lion should, and in this way I serve my Goddess. As for Pixel sometimes, though not very often, she does act almost, if not like a princess, at least like a fellow cat, and I would a lonely Lion without her. The lives of a Great Lion are not always easy, but like string they are always entertaining, especially when tied to the right friends.
Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles