Shows You How
In this space, Sarah Walker offers excellent and specific instructions for essential activities in your everyday life, such as bullfighting and performing tracheotomies. These lessons will improve your standard of living by one hundred percent. She accepts your thanks and says you’re welcome, it’s the least she can do for being blessed with such knowledge.
How to Cat-Sit.
BY SARAH WALKER
First, spot a mouse in your house. Then admit to yourself that it was a rat. Keep calm. Assure yourself that most rats are kindly rodents who have families, sophisticated culinary tastes and wear waistcoats from time to time. Then call the police.
After the police send a SWAT team to your house, realize that you’re not talking about an informant but an actual animal rat, and after embarrassed apologies all around, call your friends who have two cats. Ever so casually suggest that you borrow them for a week. Do not mention the rat. This will work out quite nicely because your friends are going out of town and will be very grateful for your offer. They’ll assume that you must be part of a Pay it Forward scheme.
When your friends come over with the cats do your best impression of someone who likes cats.
When your friends leave, after they thank you profusely and you say, “It’s my pleasure, they are so cute!”: Stop smiling, look the cats dead in the eyes and say, “I don’t like you and you don’t like me. But you’re natural hunters—nay, killers, and you’ve been coddled like little furry princes for too long. Oh, you have a mini water fountain at home? Good for you, here’s a medal that says ‘I don’t give a shit.’ Now do what you were born to do and get me a fucking rat!” Then take their cat paws and make them high five.
When you go to bed that night realize that there is no door to your bedroom. This becomes immediately obvious when the cats decide to explore the upper third of your bed, specifically your head area. No matter how many times you toss them off the bed, they do not get the point that maybe they have a job to do in other parts of the house, like catch the other annoying nocturnal beasts that live there. Explain to them that if they showed as much interest in catching rats as they do in your face, everyone would be a lot happier. They will not understand because they are stupid assholes.
In the morning, lay in bed for longer than you normally would because the cats are sleeping on your legs, and despite the fact that they kept you up all night, you feel some weird moral obligation not to wake them because you are their benevolent caretaker. Also you are afraid that you might find a decapitated rat in your bathtub. Or maybe it’s in the kitchen with its intestines spilling out on the linoleum. Or maybe it’s just a pile of blood and guts and fur in the living room. You’re scared, but excited.
Slowly slide your legs out so as not to disturb the cats and peek around, steeling yourself for a bloodbath. Check every room. There is no carnage. What the fuck.
Wake the cats by yelling, “What the fuck, cats??” Again, they pretend not to understand why you are upset, or don’t care, because they are haughty dickheads.
Threaten not to serve the cats their precious Fancy Feast if they don’t come up with some goddamn results. Say, “It’ll be all dry food all the time in this household if everyone doesn’t pull their weight!” Realize you are a crazy cat lady. But not in the way where you like cats, in the way where you hate cats. Because they are pointy-eared simpletons.
Open the window to let in some air and watch in slow motion as one of the cats lifts his stupid paw against the screen, which comes loose and almost sends both screen and cat tumbling two stories below. Consider that it would be bad to let the cats die on your watch. Despite the fact that they don’t even use their tails to express happiness. Probably because they’re miserable asshats.
Watch a movie and allow them to snuggle up against you. Let them close their eyes and purr like they’re trying to be affectionate or something. Fucking dumb animals.
Sleep at your brother’s house for the next week.
When your friends come to pick the cats up, say that you loved having them and that they are definitely not useless morons who can’t keep a fucking hair on their body and couldn’t catch a cold if they tried. Listen politely as your friends say how on vacation they in turn paid your cat-sitting forward by helping a stranger who turned out to be dangerous. Be sympathetic but know in your heart that that’s not your fault. And what’s a few bumps and scratches anyway. Their cats certainly scratched you.
When they leave, stuff all the holes in your house full of steel wool and remember if you want something done, you do it yourself.
by Kelly Link (1/23/2003)
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