Wait, What?

Salem elbows me, “Meeeow. Take a look at her.” He points his paw to a sleek-looking Persian sitting in the yard. “I may have to go turn on the old charm.”

I wave him off, “She’s out of your league.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, to start with, she’s wearing a rhinestone collar.” I point at his scruffy bare neck, “You don’t even own a collar.”

“No, but I can win her over with a dizzying display of power and strength by beating up another animal in front of her.”

“And how do you propose to make that happen?”

He smiles at me, “Stand still.”

He Ain’t Heavy, He Ain’t My Brother

I look at my little brother Salem, and in a low voice, I say, “You know, brother, together we have survived adoption, a death in the family, screaming sticky toddlers, the great Friskies famine of 2020, illnesses, vet visits, and dog chases.”

Visibly touched, he smiles at me and nods.

I place my paw on his shoulder and add, “I accidentally peed on the human’s new rug this morning…”

He looks me square in the eyes and says, “Mister, I’ve never seen you before in my life,” and walks away.

Here We Go…

I’m sitting with my little brother Salem when he holds up his front leg and licks it, “I injured my leg saving that stupid chipmunk again. Oh, the battle wounds I have…”

“Ah,” I nod, trying not to encourage him.

He holds up his right paw and points to a missing patch of fur on his butt, “And this is from a two-year-old’s red sucker one fateful Halloween night.”

I look down at my soft, clean paws and wince.

He continues gloating and slowly thrusts his head at me, “This nick in my ear is from a nasty fight with a stray in the alley last year.”

I can’t take it anymore, and before I can contain myself, I shove my face in his and point to a chipped tooth, “Well, get a load of this!”

He grins. “You tripped on your way to the food bowl, huh?”

“Damn it.”

I lower my head and walk away, whispering, “It still hurt, you know.”

Charity Begins at Home

My brother, Salem, and I have the typical, complicated sibling relationship that comes from being born of the same litter of kittens. He pushes and shoves to get the lion’s share of milk and I, in turn, lay with my butt on his face while he sleeps. Like I said, a typical sibling relationship.

As we have grown, we’ve both learned important life lessons from each other. He has taught me how to wake our human for breakfast at 5 a.m. by knocking her shit off the nightstand, and I taught him all about the beauty of a good catnip high.

Being brothers, we have had our share of scrapes, as well. In our younger days, he would hold my tail to my face exclaiming, “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?” and I would pretend to eat his birthday cake, sending him into a fury. We have fought over things like sunbeams and the “good” spot on the sofa as, well as whose turn it is to scare the dog.

We are much older now, and even though I feel as though I have gleaned all the useful knowledge I can from him, he still fancies himself as my tutor. Every now and then, he will toss out a bit of dating advice or whatnot. I smile and try to accept it with the love in which it was offered. From time to time, I reciprocate with guidance like these crickets are crunchier, that squirrel is too chatty, and watch out for small humans with lollipops. Our days are now filled with naps more than anything else.

Today, as Salem and I are watching an alley cat walk by our window, he elbows me, “Watch this.”

I glance over, and he taps on the glass and winks at her. She smiles back, exposing a mouth full of missing teeth and one slightly yellow, broken one.

“And…” I ask, bewildered.

“Notice how I made her day? I call it ‘throwing the uglies a bone.’” He smiles at me proudly, “It works for the aesthetically less pleasing as well as the financially unfortunate,” referring to the recent spike in homeless felines around our neighborhood.

He puffs out his chest, “See. I treat them like they’re as good as me. It does my heart good.” And he looks out, admiring the effects of his good deed.

 I nod. “Does it work with the intellectually challenged ones as well?”

“Oh, the idiots?” he says nodding, still pleased with himself. “Yes. Yes, it does.”

I turn and pat the top of his head, tousling his fur, “That’s marvelous, little buddy. Thanks for teaching me something.” Then I wink at him.

Boredom and Brothers

I’m lounging in the sunroom when boredom sets in. I glance around and see my little brother Salem playing with his stick toy, so I let out a very soft rumble.

Salem’s eyes dart in my direction, so I stare straight ahead as though I don’t notice him. Then, I let out another faint purr.

Salem’s head swivels toward me, “Stop that!”

“Stop what?” I ask.

“Stop purring. You’re doing it just to annoy me.”

I blink my eyes, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not making a sound.”

Salem looks at our sister Sasha, “Do you hear that?”

“What?” she says.

“Suki’s purring so only I can hear it, just to annoy me. Look, you can see the fur on his chest vibrating!”

Sasha stares at us both for a minute, shakes her head, and walks away, “Sorry, but I don’t hear anything.”

I smile at Salem…and purr.

A second later finds me sprinting through the house, tail puffed, and Salem following close behind. It ends with me hiding under the sofa and Salem sitting next to it making sure I can’t leave. So I lay down…….

and purr.

Suki’s Thoughts on Marriage

Salem and I are watching our humans bicker. It happens from time to time. It’s usually about whose turn it is to fill the sugar container or make the coffee. You know, important stuff like that.

Salem paws me, “You know they have a big anniversary coming up, right?”

I watch my human clip her toenails on the sofa while my other human watches a rapid succession of war flicks and wonder, “Why do you think they’ve stayed together all these years?”

“I can’t say for sure, but I think she’s waiting him out just to get in the last word.”

The Heart of Darkness in Sharing a Bathroom

I stumble out of the litterbox gasping for air and exclaiming, “The horror. The horror.”

Salem gives me the stink eye.

“I need my own litterbox. We can’t share anymore. It’s killing me.”

“What are you talking about? I’m a delight to share with. I cover at least half of the time and I rarely kick out more than two or three clumps a week.”

“Are you kidding me? Every time I have to go in, it’s like a death march. And let’s not even talk about the odors emanating from there.”

“Well, there’s your mistake: You’re not supposed to breathe while you go.” Salem shakes his head, “Amateur.”

“I’m not going to be able to erase the images from my mind. I think I need a sedative.” I rub my eyes and glance around, “Where’s the nearest sunbeam?”

“Don’t be such a baby.” He waves a paw at me and burps.

“Ugh, what have you been eating?”

“I don’t know. I found it on teenager’s floor.”

“Well, now I know why the humans have been wearing masks lately.” I hold my nose and leave in search of a sunbeam. Only rest can save me now.

Ah, Sweet Revenge

When I woke from my nap yesterday, Salem was sitting on my chest and holding my tail to my face and saying, “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?”

So, I decided to get my revenge today.

Right before bedtime, when Salem was at his most exhausted, I looked at him and slowly shook my head. Then I whispered, “The vet called about you today. They are calling back tomorrow to discuss it in more detail.”

Sleep on that, tail boy!

Take That

“I don’t feel so well.” I hold my tummy and lay out in front of Salem.

He ignores me and continues napping, so I let out a louder moan, “Ohhh, I said I don’t feel so well. I ate too many Friskies treats.”

Salem opens one eye, looks at me as though I am annoying him, and goes back to sleep.

“You are so selfish! Don’t you care that I don’t feel well?”

I’m not selfish. You are. I’m trying to sleep. and your tummy ache doesn’t have anything to do with me.”

“That just shows what you know! It was your treats I ate.”

And the Beat Goes On

Salem and I are watching our neighbor, a yellow Labrador, playing outside with his human when Salem scoffs, “He thinks he’s so cool. I bet he has fleas.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Look, his human throws a frisbee and he catches it in his mouth.” Salem rolls his eyes.

“That is kind of cool.”

“Big deal. Remember that time I swallowed a piece of yarn and pooped it out in knots?”

“Yeah,” I stammer, “you got that going for you.”

We sit and watch them play for awhile.

Finally, I look at him and say, “You know, if you practice and work at it, I bet you could learn to catch a frisbee in your mouth, too.”

“No, thanks. It’s a lot easier to make fun of him.”

Only Brothers Would Understand

Salem has been anxiously watching the mailman all week. “What are you waiting for anyway?” I ask.

“I saved up my paw points for months and ordered a pair of super special x-ray glasses. You can see right through fur with them!”

“That doesn’t sound possible.” I scratch my head.

“Wait and see.” Just then, the mail arrived through the slot. Salem paws through it and rips open a large envelope.

“It’s here!” He hurriedly puts on a pair of black-rimmed glasses and stares at me, grinning.

“Do they work? Can you see anything?”

He squints his eyes, moves his head from side to side, and says, “Ah, fascinating!”

“What? What do you see?”

“I can see all of your bones. They’re gross.” He smiles.

“You can not! Let me try.”

“I can so! And no, your eyes aren’t sophisticated enough to see this. You have to look through them in a certain way.”

He grins, “You have big bones!”

“I do not!” He spends the rest of the day parading around the house in those stupid glasses, acting all superior. After lunch, he looks at me, “I can see what you ate!”

“Argh!!!!”

Later, when he’s not looking, I put on the glasses. I don’t see any difference. Maybe I’m not wearing them correctly. I hold up my paw. No bones. Just a furry paw. That dunderhead. He must be making it all up.

Unless there really is a trick to seeing with them. Damn it!

The Tippy Toe Trot

I’m sitting with Salem and Sasha. We are discussing the best method for approaching this cute feline that’s standing in our yard. She’s chatting with a squirrel and she’s breathtaking.

“You should just tiptoe up to them, slow and quiet like, and join in their conversation. Like you were there the whole time.” Sasha smiles at me.

“I don’t know,” I flounder, unable to commit.

“No, no. Don’t listen to her. You have to walk up with swagger. Walk fast and hard and swing that tail,” Salem says.

I start to take a small step when Sasha says, “Tiptoe slow.”

“No, walk fast,” Salem counters, raising his voice.

“Tiptoe!” Sasha yells.

“Run!” Salem screams.

I get nervous and end up doing both at the same time, kind of a running tip toe. Three steps in, I fall flat on my face.

Salem grins, “Yep. That got her attention.”

Salem is a Suck-Up

I’m napping in the living room when I hear our human walk into the kitchen. Salem and I hop up at the same time and trot in after her. Time to wrangle some treats. I sit patiently by my food dish. There’s no need to beg. She’ll get the hint.

Salem walks over, purring like a freaking 18-wheeler, and starts rubbing against her legs.

I glare at him, “Really? You’re such a suck-up.”

He throws me a grin. Geez, whatever, that won’t work. She’s too smart for that crap. Then her hand reaches down and pets him. Well, la tee freaking da. “Big deal, you didn’t get any…” then she gives him a treat. Oh my God! I wish you would just die already. Death by hairball. You think you’re such a big deal because she pets you all the time. I only let her pet me when I feel like it. It’s a choice, asshole! I throw him my “I hate you” eyes and start to flip him my paw when …clink, clink, a treat drops into my bowl.

“Look, a treat.” I smile and eat my Friskies. Now, what was I doing?

Being Five Again

When my brother, Salem, pushes my buttons, I immediately revert back into my five-year-old self. Sensing that this same phenomenon must be happening to him, I decide to use it to my advantage.

Salem has a third date with Tabby today. A third! It kind of annoys me. So when she comes over to see him, I say “Hi” in my most mature and polite voice.

Salem struts up and throws out a, “Hey,” all casual like, as though he had no previous plans with her, and this is all spur of the moment. I cringe inside. So, while they are talking, I stick my paw out and just ever so slightly touch him.

He cuts his eyes at me but continues his conversation unfazed. A second later, I slowly extend my paw and just barely graze his fur with the tip of my claw. His lips tighten, and he throws me another warning look. You know, the one that says, “I will tear your head off if you do it again.”

So, I do it again.

This time he loses it. A minute later, he’s sitting on my chest and holding my bottom paws to my nose and sneering, “Smell it! Smell those dirty paws!” I smile.

Then I glance over at Tabby, who is standing there, eyes bulging and mouth hanging open at the sight of her date: five-year-old Salem. That’s when I know my work here is done.

God, I love being a sibling.

The Six Degrees of Suki

I see my little brother Salem heading for the water dish, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

He pauses in front of the dish, “Why? What’s wrong?”

I smile and launch into my spiel, “Well, earlier, my tummy wasn’t feeling good, so I went to the litter box. After that, I, of course, cleaned up. But that left my mouth dry and parched, so I drank some water. So, if you drink that water, it’s basically like you…”

Salem holds his paw up, “Stop. I beg of you not to finish that sentence.”

He turns his head to the side and dry heaves, “You’re a horrible brother, do you know that?”

I smile and trot away, “I know.”

Salem’s Big Move

My little brother Salem has a date with the Tabby down the street today. He’s been bragging about it all week.

When she arrived at the door, I waited close by to see him in action. He was smooth, I must admit. He managed to stand in a way that oddly highlighted his flexed muscles. I bent over to try it myself and pulled a hamstring.

He complimented her fur and whiskers. She giggled. Really?

He leaned in to sniff her, and instead, let out a loud and thunderous burp, right in her face. I pulled another hamstring, laughing.

It was the highlight of my week. The best part is, I now have a story to tell at every gathering EVER until I die. I began imagining all the people I would tell this to and the reactions I would get. I would suddenly become the life of the party. I could milk this story for years. I might even manage a date or two myself out of it.

The next time Salem teases me about my little pudge, I’ll say, “Oh yeah, well, at least I didn’t burp in my date’s face!” Take that. Or when he beats me at Catopoly, I will add, “Maybe I should just burp on you!” Burn.

Oh, the possibilities are endless. What I’ve learned from all this is that the phrase “This too shall pass” doesn’t apply to family.

You Have To Love Brothers

I’m in the living room with my little brother Salem when I see the Maine Coon from next door walking up to the window. I mention this to Salem, and he frantically starts looking around for a place to hide.

“What’s wrong?”

“I can’t go out with her again! She’s nuts. Just go along with me, okay?”

The Maine Coon walks up, and Salem flops to the floor and closes his eyes.

So, of course, I invite her inside. I throw a paw toward Salem, “He’s not feeling very well.” She looks over and frowns.

Then, being the good big brother that I am, I bend over and wipe his nose with a tissue, “I think it’s time for somebody’s suppository.”

What the Calico Thought

The beautiful calico down the street stopped by today to chat.

Bored, we decide to watch Salem scarf down all the food in his dish, a magnificent feat he accomplishes in under thirty seconds. Then he lifts his head and smiles at us, Meow Mix running down his chin.

The calico points a paw, “So that’s your little brother?”

“Yep,” I reply.

She just stares at him, “The resemblance is uncanny.”