[Um, not a paid post. ‘Case you were wonderin’.]

Pet owners, and those who perceive an advantage from agreeing with pet owners (veterinarians, pet shop people, cemetery operators, Stephen King, psychologists – and not just the ones that treat the animals), constantly extol the virtues of having an adorably furry ball of unconditional love follow you around the house. Especially when you’re working the can opener.

The challenge, for the discerning human, is how to obtain these advantages while minimizing the side effects.

Like, fur. Everywhere.

Like, competition for favored places. The bed, for example. The whole bed.

Like, the cost of pet food. Including the cost of finding a pet food that the pet will actually eat.

Like, the litter box. Not to mention the missed litter box, or, worse, the ignored litter box.

The solution, once you think of it, is obvious. Why buy when you can rent? It seems to be working for the folks who sell bourbon.

That’s pretty much what we’re doing at the Q & A residence. We’re a pet-free household (Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba has had all the experience of missed litter boxes that he requires, thanks). But pretty much every day, a neighbor cat comes to the door, howling and scratching until somebody pays attention. One or both of us come out, pick up the cat (if we don’t, he’ll try to jump up), and there follows several minutes of purring and rubbing and cooing and scratching. And then the cat goes away. Rent-A-Kitty. It’s perfect.

Of course, we are talking about cats, here. There are serious questions about just how much renting a cat will tolerate. I reckon it’s much more like a free-agent market:

“Yo, Al!”

“Hey, Fred. What you got?”

“There’s a house over there, and they ain’t got a cat!


“They also ain’t got dogs or kids. Unlike my current place. Hsssss.”

That‘ll make your tail happier. Perks?”

Great rubdowns.”

“Meow. Food?”

“Not much. Water. Though I prefer to drink from the plant boxes. Freaks ’em out.”

“Scope out the house?”

“Won’t let me in. Believe me, I’ve tried. What I’ve seen is cool. I could turn their sofa into fluff in seconds. But they keep talkin’ ’bout a lease.”

“A leash?!?

“Not a leash, dummy. What kind of silly kitty do you take me for? A lease.”

“What’s that?”

“Dunno. But it seems to be anti-cat, and the union’d be looking into it if it’d listen to me.”

“Sounds like a lot to put up with for a few strokes.”

“Shows how much you know. Besides, look at me.”

“Hard not to, fatso.”

“Back o’ me paw to you too. So, you think this is the only gig I got going?”