Discussing politics with cats

This must happen to everybody. You’re sitting at your computer, working, and a cat climbs into your lap.

“Hi, I need ear scratching please,” says the cat.

So you pull one hand from the keyboard and start scratching. Purring commences and the little furry head lazily turns to the multiple screens. And you know what comes next. Yup, politics.

“Who is that guy with a cat on his head?” asks the suddenly curious feline.

“Umm, that’s the president.”

“Why is a cat sitting on his head? Is he cold a lot? Wait, is that my old buddy Teddy from litter-box school?”

“Well, no, that’s his hair. Litter-box school? You went to school for — never mind.” The cat climbs out of the lap and over the keyboard to view the screen more closely.

“No way, that’s a yellow cat on his head.” So you switch to a photo showing his hair blowing around in order to prove it’s hair.

“Wow, that poor cat is getting blown all over!” exclaims the now disturbed feline.

“Really, that’s not a cat, it’s just the guy’s hair. Well maybe a hairpiece,” you venture, trying to calm things down. The cat stares a little longer and climbs back into your lap.

“More scratching please.” Typing one-handed is slow. But purring can lower your blood pressure.

You’re sitting on the couch with an iPad in your lap when a large cat jumps onto the couch, slides into your lap, dislodging the iPad, and looks up at you.

“Some full-body petting please.” So you move the iPad over, switch it to CNN and proceed to stroke the cat from head to tail and loud purring commences. After a bit the cat turns to the news.

“Why does that man look so angry?”

“Oh, that’s the president’s spokesman and he’s talking to reporters,” you explain trying to get the concept of a press conference across.

“But why is he so mad? He keeps yelling at those people every time they ask a question. By the way, scratch under my chin please.” So you scratch the chin and the purring resumes.

“Well, some people think he’s angry because he doesn’t like what he’s told to say.”

“By who? Who tells him what to say?”

“The president, you know the guy with the cat on his head?”

“Why doesn’t the president talk then? Why make the guy so upset? And why is he chewing so much gum?”

“Well the president is too busy to talk all the time and they worry that he might say the wrong thing if he tried.”

“And he probably has to hold still so the cat stays on his head too.” Right. Cat logic.

You’re at the kitchen table having lunch and watching MSNBC and a cat jumps into the chair beside you. The cat looks at your sandwich and then at you. “You going to eat that whole thing?”

“Well, yeah that’s why I made it.”

“OK, just checking. I mean, I don’t want you to overeat. It’s not healthy you know.”

“This from the guy who inhaled breakfast and barfed it on the carpet. Thanks for your concern.”

The cat looks up at the screen inquisitively. “Why are those people arguing with each other. They’re all talking at the same time and you can’t understand anything. It sounds like a cat fight I saw yesterday by the library.”

“Those are members of Congress from different parties arguing over health-care reform. They have different opinions. The guy at the desk is a newsman and he’s trying to calm them down.”

“Parties? Yeah, they must be drunk to be shouting like that. If he wants to calm them down, can’t he just shoot them with a dart or something or maybe slip them a Valium? Worked for my Aunt Maude after she got fixed.”

“No, political parties. Groups of people who have different philosophies. The ones on the right think everyone should have easy access to health care and the other ones think they should make tons of money.”

“What does one thing have to do with the other? If you’re sick you go to the people vet, right?”

“We do, but not everyone can afford to without insurance.”

“Insurance? Do we have insurance for the vet?”

“No, but we can get it if we want to spend a lot of money.”

“Oh, so the insurance companies get rich but people get healthy?”

“Not really.”

“You know; you people make no sense at all. And why is that one guy so red in the face? Does he need a vet?”

“That’s Mitch McConnell and yeah, he definitely needs a doctor of some sort.”

“So, you done with that sandwich?” And you pick the chicken out and give it to the cat as he makes far more sense than the TV.

Editor’s note: Michael Seinberg says he talks politics with all four of the family cats regularly. He hasn’t finished a sandwich in months.