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.

Human Naiveté

After leaving the vet’s office, our human drove one teenager to work, one to the library, and then went to the post office, the UPS Store, and Lowes. Then she put her grocery list back into her purse, saying, “This will just have to wait another day.”

Our other teenager looked at the dashboard and said, “I can’t wait to get my driver’s license.”

Tired, our human sighed, “Really, why?”

“Oh man, just to have independence.” He smiled and said wistfully, “You know, that feeling of being free.”

I glanced at my human. Then we laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Salem’s Advice on Dating

I was picking through my treats for something nice to give to this cute feline I know when Salem interrupts.

“You’re not going to get a girl like that. Look, you’re too much of a gentleman.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re too nice. You compliment them, you give them your treats, that kind of thing. Chicks dig the bad boy.”

“I can be a bad boy. Remember last week when I used the litterbox and totally didn’t cover?”

“Oh yeah, we almost had to call animal control on that one,” he rolls his eyes. “Look, you have to be tough. Dangerous. They want to feel safe. You know, like you can protect them from dogs and spiders, things like that.” He waves his paw and looks around.

“Suki…? Where’d you go?”


Suki Math

As I’m furiously writing down calculations, Salem asks me, “What are you doing?”

“I’m taking the number of sprints I’ve done this morning, then subtracting the number of naps I’ve had today, and adding the number of times you asked me a dumb question. Whatever answer I get is the number of treats I allow myself to eat.”

Salem eyes the pile of treats next to me and smiles, “You’re welcome.”

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.”