Tails of Bad Habits

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Tails of Bad Habits

TAILS OF BAD HABITS (Book Excerpt)

Jessica Loftus and Jack Murray

Chapter 1  Introduction

 My name is PurSneakity, and I‘m a creature of habit . . . BAD HABITS.

That’s why my so-called owner shouts “Bad Kitty!” all the time. What a fool; he persists in his delusion that he is my owner. Little does he know that I call him “my human” behind his back. Get a clue buddy.

My human always threatens to haul me back to the shelter where he adopted me. Take yesterday, when I knocked his favorite oil painting off the wall. It was an accident; I bet he couldn’t pounce off the fireplace mantle without snagging something. He flew into a blind rage and shoved me into my cat carrier for ten minutes before letting me out. Okay, so I made a slight tear down the middle of the canvas, but come on, haul me back to the shelter over a slight misjudgment?

Just like a common dog, I come a runnin’ every time my human calls me.

I cozy up and warm his feet while he is lying on the couch watching TV. I even reduce myself to playing demeaning games like fetch and beg— how undignified.

Okay, I do all this, so my human supplies me with treats, toys and fun ways to be bad. But let’s get this straight: I’m the boss. I’m the smart one. I’m the alpha. Just watch my human try to find me when I have to go to the vet for a checkup.

I hate to admit this, but my human is right about one thing. I am a creature of bad habits. In my eight months as a kitten, I have acquired enough bad habits to last all nine of my lives. At least, that’s what my littermate, Patience, hisses every time I bite her tail.

Ha! Patience— my human named her that because she has absolutely no patience.

I don’t admit that I am bad, but it is fun to be bad.

Who can resist a catnap on my human’s black wool slacks just back from the cleaners? What’s more fun than clicking off his computer while he is in the middle of paying bills? A fresh salmon filet thawing on the counter can only serve as an invitation to feast.

Then there are times when my bad habits aren’t so bad, like when I have lots of yarn to tangle or my human plays laser light with me.

But soon I fall back into doing something bad again.

How can I help it? Curiosity ailed the cat. New mischiefs always intrigue me. Fortunately, most of them lose their lure after a while. However, some mischiefs turn into bad habits, even when they are no longer any fun— like when I got into a scrap with Ralph, that awful canine living next door. Doesn’t that buffoon realize that I bury his bones in the backyard sandbox . . . before I leave a trail of sand in the house?

One day I had a terrible wake-up call. My playful scratch on my human’s arm resulted in a horribly bloody episode, prompting him to rush to the hospital emergency room.

My littermate, Patience yowled at me, “You did it this time PurSneakity! I warned you. Your bad habits were going to cause some real trouble someday. If something bad happens to our owner, it will be YOUR fault!”

I didn’t even hiss back. I knew Patience was right. As I paced the kitchen floor awaiting my human’s return, I reflected on my life. Being bad was supposed to be fun; I never really meant to hurt anyone.

So I promised Patience and prayed to Our Father, “If my human is okay, I will work on purging my Bad Habits for good,” and I will write a book about it.

Thankfully, my human was okay— he just needed antibiotics.

“You were lucky PurSneakity.” Patience meowed. “You better purge your bad habits.”

In fulfilling my promise to Our Father and Patience, I prepared a list of my bad habits. That list spanned an entire roll of toilet paper, even when I used small paw strokes. My human wasn’t too happy about that mess all over the bathroom floor.

Then I thought, maybe I’ll just focus on my worst habits.

So, I pawed a list of nine bad habits— one for each of my nine lives. And, I came up with the acronym “Bad Habits” to remember them.

Boredom

Addiction

Deception

Hoarding

Anxiety

Bullying

Intolerance

Two-timing

Selfishness

In this book, I share tails (tales about endings) of my bad habits, and how I try to overcome them with the help of my littermate, my human, my purchologist (a human counselor who speaks fluent Meow and specializes in feline issues), and Our Father. At the end of this book, I reveal what all these bad habits have in common.

Photo by Jack Murray