This cat of mine couldn't catch a fly on his best day

August 15, 1997

News travels fast in a small town, and by noon I had word that a loud crash had been heard resounding from within my residence.

Most people who have been blessed with normal lives would think "my heavens, what if a burglar has jimmied into my home and is at this minute ransacking the house and do I go home, do I call the police" and so on.

But for me, only one word wafted slowly across my mind, hanging menacingly like a threatening, black, unseeded stormcloud:


Bubba, the world's most passive-aggressive cat.

I ignored the entreaties of co-workers to return home, so for most of the afternoon the matter was pushed from my mind.


The matter was instantly pulled back onto my mind that evening when I opened the door.

The forensic evidence all pointed to one conclusion; no need for fiber or DNA samples here, even Dennis Fung could have figured this one out.

The contents of my house included paintings askew, vases knocked over, CDs on the floor, one carefree fly buzzing lazily around the living room and one thoroughly exhausted cat.

Of all the destructive, disastrous and idiotic things that Bubba has ever done, this ranked somewhere in the middle.

He can't catch flies and he knows he can't catch flies and he knows he looks ridiculous trying to catch flies, but does this stop him?

While I'm on the subject, two other things he does drive me nuts: He'll hoist his hind leg straight in the air like the Statue of Liberty so he can lick his stomach. Then something will distract him and he stops licking his stomach, but he forgets to put his leg down. Ten minutes later he's still lying there on the floor staring vacantly into the distance with his foot in the air. When I shower him with ridicule and abuse he just looks at me like I'm weird for not having my leg in the air.

The other annoying thing, and all cats do this and I believe it strikes at the heart of basic feline psychosis, is the way he looks out the window.

You know the pose, lying parallel on the sill, tail wrapped back to front, paws tucked under, head cocked 90 degrees, just staring out the window. For hours. And hours. Without moving a whisker. Waiting. Waiting for action.

I used to feel so sorry for Bubba because he would spend so many fruitless hours in the window - nothing would ever seem to happen, not even a pedestrian passing.

But then I happened to notice something. Whenever something of interest did by chance occur, Bubba, in accordance with the Prime Directive of cats never to be impressed by anything, would turn his head and refuse to watch.

It was like he spent all his time in the window waiting for something interesting to happen so he could prove to the world that he wasn't interested in it.

He's deathly scared of anyone catching him watching. A fight or something will break out and you know it's killing him not to watch, but he will turn his head away from the action and yawn as if something as mundane as a knifing couldn't possibly be on his plane of what passes for entertainment.

This pomposity from an animal that wears his fur to the bone chasing flies.

I, however, being a creature of far superior intellect, rolled up a newspaper and took after the fly myself.

Twenty minutes later the fly was still breathing, although not breathing as heavily as I was. And in flailing after the pest, I suddenly noticed that I myself had knocked a couple paintings off plumb, sent a vase flying and scattered some CDs.

I looked up at Bubba to see if he was happy now. But of course he wasn't watching.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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