first published November, 2009
Small Brown Books is pleased to announce that the famous Nuns of New Monastery have published their first book, a guide to selecting and raising cats, titled, The Science of Raising a Kitteh.
“We have been rescuing, raising, and training cats for 20 years now,” said Mother Columba, abbess of the monastery. “We felt it was time we shared our vast knowledge with the world at large, and made a little green.”
Your intrepid editor was able to score an exclusive interview with the nuns, who tend to be rather reclusive and when not praying or emptying litter boxes like to sleep in sunny nooks just inside the monastery windows.
According to the blrb on the back of the book, which your intrepid editor was only able to skim before the interview, the book teaches you:
- how to choose a kitteh
- handling your kitteh’s first night at home
- successful litterbox-training
- the futility of a consistent schedule
- general care of your kitteh
- preliminary obedience work
- visual and vocal communication with your puss
- basic obedience training
- ways to cope with common kitteh problems
“So tell me,” said our intrepid editor, “is it really possible to train a cat? They don’t care what you want. They don’t care what you think.”
“That is a common misperception,” said Mother Columba. “In point of fact, they can be highly motivated, given the right motivation.”
“What works?” asked OIE.
“Small food tidbits laced with catnip,” was the reply.
“Is that ethical?” asked OIE.
“Works for us,” said Mother Columba.
“Is outrage!” came a familiar voice.
“Father Vasiliy, what are you doing here?” asked OIE.
“Saying, ‘is outrage,’ what is it looking like I am doing?” said Father Vasiliy.
“I can see there is no point in pursuing that direction of conversation,” said our OIE. “What is an outrage, Father Vasiliy?”
“Was it nuns raising cats in Nineteenth Century Russia? No, it was not.”
“Thank you, Father Vasiliy, for that insightful observation,” snarked our intrepid editor.
“Is no problem,” said Father Vasiliy.
“Do you find that raising cats helps your spiritual life?” asked OIE.
“Oh yes, immensely. They teach us a lot about God, and about ourselves,” said Mother Columba.
“Like loyalty and unconditional love?” asked OIE.
“No, they’re not very good at teaching that,” said Mother Columba. “They teach us not to think of ourselves too highly, and to love all of God’s creatures no matter how aggravating. Also carpet cleaning, and upholstery repair.”
“So how do you keep the cat from wandering off and taking a nap in the middle of training?” asked OIE.
“That secret we have not yet discovered,” said Mother Columba, yawning embarassedly and doing her best to hide it. “Nevertheless we are able to teach the cats many things, such as how to come when called, how to go out or come into the monastery on command, and how to cross themselves.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“That was a joke,” said the Abbess.
“Whew,” said OIE. “Now that you’ve published this book, what do you plan to do next?”
“We are busy writing our next book,” said Mother Columba. “Our working title is, Cats as Draft Animals, and Other Amazing Uses for Cats.”
“Surely you’re joking,” said OIE.
“You’ll have to wait and read the book,” said Mother Columba.
Copyright © 2009-2012 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.