It’s that time of the year again, friends, when his Highness makes his interests widely known. In the haze of a post-Halloween morning, his Highness reminds us of what he has not-so-patiently been waiting to receive: the gifts of hallow’s harvest, pumpkin guts and leftover caramel dip.
The caramel makes sense at least. Cats love milk after all. His Highness yowls and screams and clamors for caramel — the melted kind, the solid kind, any kind. He gobbles it up faster than the speed of light, making funny faces when it gets stuck to the roof of his mouth, licking at his little vampire teeth (fashionably dressed for Halloween year-round).
The pumpkin, however, was a surprise. No one expected his Highness to enjoy the slippery and misshapen offerings of a cracked-open pumpkin. But it is fitting for royalty to have broad tastes, and evidently cold pumpkin is a delicacy for his Highness. His subjects are happily surprised by this, since pumpkin is much better for him than caramel. (Just remember to cook it…cooked, unseasoned pumpkin is safe for cats.)
He dreads to hear it, but the “d” word, diet, is around the corner again. (It is fitting for royalty to be pudgy, too, he would like to add, but for some reason the humans are not convinced of this as much as he is.) So for now his Highness will be doing a lot of screaming for caramel…and hopefully the humans will forget to take him for his next weigh-in at the vet!
My girl is still working on the Writing Outtakes series. I don’t know how she manages to keep on going, but I suppose she hasn’t run out of ideas. And I know how inspiring we cats can be to someone like her.
Day 2 of the creativity residency. Marmalade has trouble with puppy Snow and tries to tell his boy Matteo who is distracted by Ali.
*Please note: The Viscount is played by a different doll even though his voice and clothes are the same.
Well, my dear subjects, it has been a while since you heard directly from me, your royal feline emperor. I have missed writing letters to you and sharing my wonderous life one-on-one.
Summer was relatively smooth sailing in my kingdom this year, aside from the usual hiccups with Dog. I found that Dog’s belongings are actually of much use to me, something I can benefit from at his expense: his beds, his pillows, sometimes even his toys. Although the beginning of my relationship with Dog was tenuous, he has turned out to be an excellently naive and unquestioning subject. As this summer closed, I took great pride in the knowledge that I, as emperor, had fully survived the coup attempted by Dog last year. My rule and my power seemed to be going ever upwards, with humans and Dog alike deferring to me.
But then another creature came, another invader of sorts. Something unlike anything I had ever encountered before–something that vaguely reminded me of a rat, but not enough to be certain. Small, black and white, with kicking, thumping feet and weird little teeth constantly gnashing. A pet rabbit, the humans said. Abandoned at the park and needing medicine and food.
Dog was ushered out of the room, but I in all my regal demure-ness, was allowed to remain to supervise and observe. Dog whined and moaned outside the closed door, and I smiled smugly to myself. The humans did a similar routine as they did with Dog so many months ago when he was small: blankets, towels, food and water, and many checks between the two of them. Then they began making many phone calls. I was relieved to know this stranger was not going to stay forever the way Dog did.
So far, Rabbit has kept to himself, content to stay in the room the humans cordoned off for him. He does not seem to be interested in taking power, gaining territory, or staging a coup. In fact, he does not seem to be interested in much at all except disgusting green food. When he had first arrived, I had hoped that perhaps his rations would be interesting, something to supplement my dog food tithes with. Sadly, the humans keep giving him the most unpalatable things, vegetables and the like. Dog’s food is better.
Dog is more tormented by this visitor than I am. Once I saw what little of a threat Rabbit was, I was completely at ease, and have since forgotten about his existence most of the time. Dog, on the other hand, has been desperate to get into the room. He says he just wants to say hi, but for some reason — perhaps the wildness in his eyes, or his drool — this seems rather implausible. Whatever his true intentions are, it’s no concern of mine. Rabbit doesn’t bother me and that is all that matters. The humans have assured me that Rabbit will get a family of his own soon. In the meantime, he will stay with us in his own private hotel — out of sight, out of mind for me, and well out of reach of Dog.
Until my next missive,
Note from Julius’ human: Before finding this abandoned rabbit, I didn’t know how common it was for people to dump rabbits in parks. Unfortunately, this is extremely common,especially in the months after Easter. Many people buy rabbits on a whim around that time of year without realizing the commitment required to properly care for this kind of animal. There are so many abandoned rabbits in the US that they are often euthanized immediately if they are surrendered to a shelter because there is simply not enough space to house them all. Because of this, we are holding onto this little guy until we can find him a new home. Please take careful consideration before adopting a rabbit (and any pet, for that matter). The ones abandoned outside often die very unpleasant deaths.
People that hate cats will come back as mice in their next life. —Faith Resnick
The universe has a way of dealing out its form of justice. It figures if you hate cats, you deserve to be reincarnated as their prey.
There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats. —Anonymous
Cats are attracted to intelligent beings. That’s one reason they choose the humans they do. They want to be around other beings who can be just as intelligent as they are. Cats want to be understood and allowed to be themselves. They give us the same opportunity to be ourselves too.
Nothing gets past his Highness. Well, almost nothing. (There was one time where he slept through his human making a tuna salad…a shameful day that we will not speak of again…)
Among his many imperial duties is that of chief inspector, that is, he must thoroughly inspect everything that passes across his royal countertops. Food, glass, ceramic, plastic — whatever comes into or out of the kitchen must pass the emperor’s inspection. Bottles must be sniffed, foreign objects tapped, and water sampled. A taste test here or there never hurt anyone either. Sometimes Dog tries to take on this role, but chief inspection has always been, and always will be, the rightful role of the emperor.
Being countertop inspector is a demanding job. Countless hours spent walking up and down the lengths of the kitchen, checking the sink and the stove, performing quality checks on leftovers and fallen crumbs, doing inventory counts inside cabinets and open drawers, sitting for hours on top of the fridge watching traffic as it passes by underneath.
Sometimes things are not up to par — when something doesn’t pass inspection, the problem must be solved quickly and effectively. One swoop of the regal paw and the problem is ended on the tile three feet below. The humans still express their skepticism, but one day they will learn that the emperor’s judgment is always final and just.
Traitorous mugs and cups must meet their rightful condemnation on the floor. Useless plastic bottles must be cleared away. And unpalatable fruits and vegetables must yield to his emperor’s carnivorous preferences, flung with skillful claws into the kitchen sink. Always at the ready, the emperor is proud of his countertops, never letting so much as an ant miss his discerning eye.
One day, the humans will realize how fortunate they are to have a tireless countertop inspector like Julius, keeping them safe from dangerous ceramics and keeping the counters clean.
Summer is the height of his highness’s annual hunting season, during which he goes on many thrilling and exciting expeditions around the house. Valiant and brave, every year Emperor Julius adds more insects and creepy-crawlies to his victory count. And usually it is a good year, giving him many stories that he can brag about by the fireplace come winter.
His highness has honed his hunting skills over the years, learning when exactly to leap at the glass windows. He knows how to tear down blinds at just the right moment, how to swat at dust bunnies with elegance, and how to stare into space at night in just the right way to scare the humans when they’re home alone.
His tastes have also evolved with time and experience. He now knows not to bother with most bugs, saving his energy for the juiciest and best. Dog can take care of the boring, plebeian daily fare…pill bugs, june bugs, house flies, the average spider just trying to mind its own business in a quiet corner. Ticks and mosquitoes are the humans’ department. The truly dangerous ones — wasps, though they buzz so delightfully — the humans can deal with too.
His highness saves his razor-sharp claws for just the right catch: the challenge, the speed, the temptation of none other than the fruit fly.
Stealthy and quiet, this adversary poses a delightful challenge. He has to stay on his toes, all four paws at the ready. Sight and precision is essential here, all the more so in dim evening light. He must leap, track, and wait, eyes dilated to their full murderous potential. Humans and Dog watch him in awe, amazed by his predatory dance. How he leaps! How he bounds! The fruit fly is just within his royal reach!
Sometimes the blinds come with him. Sometimes the curtain. Sometimes mementos on the mantle. But thankfully his Highness always walks away unscathed, ready to hunt another day.
As he curls up in his window-bed, he sharpens his claws and dreams of the next time. One day, the fruit fly will be his. Until then, he naps.