Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Catting around


It’s come to this: Fresno Bee readers have been reduced to dueling cat allegories on the Letters to the Editor page. On one side: a “totally clueless” and lazy black cat named Obama. On the other: a cat named Dubya that “disregards the expert advice on what’s happening in the next block” and listens to his friends the “neocats.” (I am not making this up.)

I often rely on local blog Gustav’s Groupie to point out some of the more inane letters published in the pages of The Bee, and the highly readable Adam alerted me to the weirdness of the first letter, which I’ll print in its entirety after the break. Was the writer going for a strained racial metaphor here? When he muses that the only way to stop a cat is to shoot it, which isn’t permissible within city limits, is he slyly lamenting that killing our political leaders is illegal? Or are we just reading too much into tortured prose?

Then, in Thursday’s paper, Rodney Austin responded with his “Dubya” set-up, which I’ll also reprint after the break. His literary feline creation, whose color is not specified, is stubborn, thick-headed, mean and likes to torture mice.

I guess politics really is a catfight.

Photo credit:

Letter No. 1:

This is in response to Loran Hugh Parker’s recent opinion [letter April 27] that we need to license cats. First, I am neither a cat person nor a cat expert. Second, and most importantly, it would be easier to braid their whiskers into cute designs than it would be to manage the travels of cats.

I have two cats, or more succinctly, they have us — Alley Cat and Obama. Obama is a solid black, totally clueless cat that would starve if Alley Cat didn’t show him where the food and water is put. He’s pretty, but he’s also irrelevant to any discussion on cats, as he simply lays around on my convertible top.

I feed and care for these two feline freeloaders, but would not want to license them, nor would doing so automatically curb their behavior. They’re cats!

Cats travel, go poop, attempt to bury it and they make an irritating noise when they don’t get their way, rather like my children used to do.

There is only one way to stop them from behaving like cats, but shooting is against the law within the city limits, so deal with it!

D.J. Coates


Letter No. 2:

I know of a cat that D.J. Coates might like better than his adopted cat, Obama [letter April 30].

The cat answers to the name Dubya. A majority of the neighbors say he’s a stupid cat, although I disagree. He disregards the expert advice on what’s happening in the next block and listens, instead, to his friends, the neocats. As a result, he gets into backyards and starts fights.

The neocats are very secretive, hiding themselves and stuff they find strewn around the neighborhood behind bushes. The neocats jab their paws at insects and mice and watch them squirm.

When I’m in the house minding my own business with other consenting adults, the neocats can be heard shrieking outside my window. Does Dubya seem like a cat you’d love to own? It seems that these days, he’s finding fewer and fewer places to hang out.

Mr. Coates mentioned that the other cat (color not revealed) is called Alley Cat. Is that short for Allegory? And secondly, are all the black cats in his neighborhood lazy, clueless freeloaders, or just his?

Rodney Austin

Responses to "Catting around"

Jamie says:

I have been thoroughly amused by the cat letters, but quite frankly surprised that such an establishment as the Fresno Bee would print them at all.

lattlay fattfoy says:

Well, one thing that’s left out of these letters is the fact that cat scat is toxic. In humans, it can cause toxoplasmosis, a dangerous disease for children. It’s also quite toxic to puppies, which, like young children, tend to put just about anything in their mouths.

Cat lovers also tend to be quite cavalier about the demise of American songbirds due to an overpopulation of cats. What one will usually hear from them is, “well, that’s just their nature.” Bullocks, keep your pet on your property or in your house.

While it may be illegal to shoot cats, it’s completely legal to trap them and take them for what hopefully will be disposal at the SPCA. That’s what I do. Cat traps are inexpensive and available online. I have helped to significantly reduce the cat nuisance in my neighborhood. It was funny to see a cat lover post a warning on a utility pole near my house about a “cat trapper.”
Rather made me proud, it did.

adam says:

Hey Donald, thanks for the link love.

It seems clear that Rodney Austin took it the way I did, but it’s a tough one and D.J. could simply be a terrible writer instead of merely hiding behind his allegory.

adam says:

Funny. Yet another person who believes all outdoor cats are owned.

All the dogs that run around loose, also owned.