Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: Too dignified for silly cat tricks

By AMY NEWMARK, Chicken Soup for the Soul | 8/4/2014

The old debate — dogs versus cats — usually boils down to preferences for one set of stereotypes or the other. Do you want a guileless, affectionate companion, or a coy, self-possessed partner? It’s curious how often these notions turn out to be true, as Morna Murphy Martell showed in a funny story, “The Audition,” published in our book about surprising things our cats do.

Whenever Morna called her cat Bette’s name, Bette climbed onto the refrigerator and did a headstand before toppling into Morna’s arms. Morna’s friend Ken was so impressed with the trick that he arranged an audition for Bette to be on David Letterman’s stupid pet tricks segment.

The old debate — dogs versus cats — usually boils down to preferences for one set of stereotypes or the other. Do you want a guileless, affectionate companion, or a coy, self-possessed partner? It’s curious how often these notions turn out to be true, as Morna Murphy Martell showed in a funny story, “The Audition,” published in our book about surprising things our cats do.

Whenever Morna called her cat Bette’s name, Bette climbed onto the refrigerator and did a headstand before toppling into Morna’s arms. Morna’s friend Ken was so impressed with the trick that he arranged an audition for Bette to be on David Letterman’s stupid pet tricks segment.

But things didn’t go well at the studio. Morna placed Bette on an upright piano (filling in for the refrigerator) and called her name. But Bette just jumped down, looking bored. This went on for 15 minutes with no success. “That’s our problem with cats,” the casting director said. “They’ll do it at home every time, but in the studio they refuse.”

A few nights later, Morna flipped on the TV and saw a bulldog dressed as a cowboy doing a silly routine on Letterman’s show. Just then, Bette jumped onto the table and looked at Morna. “In contrast to the ridiculous dog, she looked proud,” Morna wrote. The scene made her wonder: “Bette, why don’t cats do stupid pet tricks?” She thought she saw the answer in Bette’s eyes: “No self-respecting cat would sacrifice dignity for fame and fortune, not even for David Letterman!”

Syndicated by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, online at www.chickensoup.com

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