Letter To Furball

by K. O. Ecland


Published June 2006

Here, I'll put this letter by the dish of Tender Vittles so you'll be sure to see it.

First off, let's come to an understanding. I didn't ask for you and I didn't particularly want you. But since nobody else seems to want you, either, I guess I'm elected. I wonder what goes through someone's mind to drop off a runt like you and expect it to survive. Just a kitten. My neighbor says you can't be much over five, maybe six weeks old.

What I should do is take you down to the pound and let them put you out of your misery. I may look like an easy mark, but don't go pushing me. It's just that it was getting dark and you were dogging my steps out in the front yard. And the way you made that hamburger scrap disappear. I guess you haven't had any hamburger in a while, have you? Or maybe anything else. Just don't go getting swell-headed about it. I would have done that for anybody under those conditions.

Look you, sprawled out on my robe. Not a worry in the world. It doesn't bother you that I have to run around the place in my shorts, does it? If this were winter and this were Minnesota, I'd be freezing because of you. Tomorrow morning I want my robe back.

It's also obvious you don't care much about what you've cost me. Do you know the price of kitty litter? And that plastic dishpan? Or cat food? Good grief. I could eat for a week on what that stuff costs ! And I sure hope nobody I know saw me buying that stuffed gizmo with a jingle bell on it. That'd be hard to explain. Then I hear there are shots too. I don't suppose you've had any of those, have you?

I know. You think you're cute, don't you? Well, I've got news for you. You're one of the ugliest critters God ever dreamed up. Look at you. I ought to put a mirror next to the food dish, only that would fall under cruelty to animals, I suppose. What's this bit with one blue eye and one green one? That won't get you any ribbons. And that tennis-ball sized stomach you've got now. Haven't you heard what happens to those who overeat? And your ears are twice what they should be. I'll bet you'd get great TV reception.

Incidentally, where's all the feline grace I've heard so much about? Watching you cavort around the place is like watching a Dixie cup in a windstorm. You act like you've got one too many legs. Jumping from the couch, you act as if you expect a parachute to open.

Stand advised that I'm onto all your tricks. So you know how to untie my shoelaces, so big deal. So you fit in my sneakers. Cute. A size 10-D kitten. I'll alert the media. Just don't think you can buy your way around here with all that purring, either. Learn to do the dishes and then maybe I'll consider keeping you.

But, maybe I'll hang onto you for a few days, maybe over the weekend. Looks like it might rain some. Besides, it's been too quiet lately. I'll see if I can't find some sucker dumb enough to want the ugliest kitten in the world. If not, then it's off to the pound you go. I have better things to do with my time then keep tabs on a ball of white fur with a grease spot on his back ... wonder how we're going to get that off ?

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. There's a bunch of ground rules you're going to have to bone up on, and I can't over stress their importance if you expect to get along.

For openers, stay out of my stuff. I know all those piles of paper are tempting playgrounds, but you've got your tail and your jingle bell toy. Besides, editors would never understand about those perforations around the edges of my stories. The desk also is off limits. I know you can't reach it now, but just in case you should happen to be around here for awhile and increase your range, remember that - no desk, ok? And while your at it, stay off the piano, too. I don't need anything around here that plays better than I do.

Second, you've got the sandbox mastered, so you're not as dumb as you look. Direct that same animal intelligence toward the drapes and sofa arms.

Next, no picky eating, OK? You learn to eat what I eat, and that doesn't imply I'm about to try Meow Mix.

And keep those goofy eyes of yours open. No biting on the power cords, squeezing in between the thermal windows, trying to ride my feet. You apparently don't learn much from experience. After I got your foot earlier, I never heard so much noise from such a small package before.

There's the basic rule book, Max. Max? That just now came to me and, boy, it fits you to a T. You remind me of an old sign painter I once knew who had white tufts of hair screwing out from behind his ears just like you. I once read somewhere that all animals are born with names and that some people instinctively stumble across the right ones. You're another Max if ever I saw one. When I call "Max!" I want to see some action, OK? I want to see some fur move.

We'll see how you take to riding in the van. It'll be nice to have something for a change that doesn't slobber all over the windows. I guess I can rig up a sandbox in the back without too much strain.

Read and initial this, Max. Then maybe I'll let you hang around for a month or two. Who knows? With any luck, we'll win an ugly cat contest some day and you can pay me back for all the kitty litter and shots and jingle bell toys, OK?


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