Do you like boxes of shit in your house? Get a cat.

We have three cats, one of which is an incredibly spoiled Siamese named Jesse:

He's pretty awesome, and he jumps up and drapes himself over my shoulders and rides around. We also have two other "lesser cats" that were here long before him. Unfortunately, he hates the idea that they even exist, and we're constantly breaking up fights.

Periodically, my wife will talk about getting another Siamese kitten, and my usual response to that is, "Three cats is my absolute limit. When we're down to two, we'll think about it."

So the other night, we were sitting on the couch and she started talking about it again...so I just sat there and stared at the other two cats sleeping in front of the wood stove. Finally, she said, "What are you doing?"

"Oh nothing," I said, distractedly. "Just trying to figure out which one of the other cats I'm going to have to kill."

Fast forward to the next day. I'm working from home, and sitting on the couch with the computer on my lap, and my wife is at work. Maggie, one of the two 14-year-old cats, is standing behind the wood stove and suddenly starts hacking on a hairball. She finally coughs it up, and then just... falls over. Like someone tipped over a statue of a cat. She's lying there, not moving. I run over and drag her out into the open and try to stand her up. She falls over again. I feel like I'm trying to balance a bike that doesn't have a kickstand. All I can think is, "Shit! This fucking cat is going to die, and my wife's going to think I killed it." I immediately call her at work, to throw off any suspicion, should worst come to worst.

"Hey, um...I think something's wrong with Maggie," I said.

"What do you mean?" she replied.

"She just... kind of... fell over," I said, warily.

"What do you mean, she fell over?" she asked, alarmed.

"Hang on," I said, and put the phone down.

I tried again to stand the cat up, and this time she stayed up. She was shaking like a leaf, but she wasn't falling over and that was a decided improvement.

I picking up the phone again. "I thought she was gonna die, but now I don't think so," I said. "Maybe. It could go either way. She looks a little weird. Stoned. Shaking a lot."

I started to feel like I was constructing a shitty alibi or something, so I wrapped it up.

"I'm not sure why I called," I said. "Don't worry about it, she's probably fine."

I could tell she didn't believe me, but she hung up anyway, since she was at work.

I turned my attention back to Maggie, who was now lying down in one of the cat beds, looking a little tired, but pretty much normal.

"You just have to last until she gets home from work," I said, pointing my finger at her. "Don't fuck me over."

It turned out she was fine, and still is.

I'm pretty sure I got punk'd by my cat.


ps - if you get a chance, check out my buddy Glen's blog here. He's trying to convince me to do a book reading with him at a local bookstore. I'm a little apprehensive about it, but if I did do it, which story or stories from my book do you guys think I should read?


  1. a friend of mine told me "If dogs had thumbs they'd get you a beer. If cats had thumbs they'd steal your car". i'm thinkin' you got punkd...

  2. Uh, I have 5 cats...

    My boyfriends mom passed away and we inherited her cats. She rescued them left and right, and ended up with SIX. One was 22 and finally passed away in december. At LEAST we lived in the middle of nowhere and they're all outdoor cats and shit and piss outside during the spring summer & fall.. but still. I would NEVER ask for this many animals, ever. Plus your cat looks kinda disabled with the crossed eyes, no offense to the kitty.. siamese cats are so dumb, they will climb up your shirt to attack something non-existant. But hey, not any more disabled than any other cat.. i think..

  3. ScarlettO11:27 PM

    We have 4 cats (and 2 kids - trust me, the cats are easier) - and my husband lives in fear that one of the cats will simply drop dead while I'm gone. Because of course I'll blame him.

    Dogs have owners, cats have staff. :-)

    Thanks for the chuckle about the box of shit. Is there anything in the world that smells worse than cat shit? If so, I don't want to go anywhere near it.

  4. HAHAHAHA! Your poor wife! I can just imagine how she felt. That is one smart cat you've got there. (I kind of have to agree with EricaM, though...)

  5. Anonymous1:51 AM

    I suspect this is what happened to your cat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasovagal_response

  6. Hahaha!! The photo of your Siamese cracked me up. C'mon, that cat is crazy as shit looking.

    Great post, that was funnier than the cat photo.

    "This fucking cat is going to die, and my wife's going to think I killed it." LMFAO!!

  7. I hope your cat Maggie is feeling better now :) Next time though if you're really worried call the vet first. My sister called me when her dog started vomiting blood and not the vet which was perplexing, especially since I lived interstate.

  8. Valgal9:01 AM

    I've had several siamese cats. One time we were sitting around the fire (a gas fire with no cover) and someone said "what is that behind the fire"? It was the cat. In the fire place. BEHIND the fire.

  9. "Shit! This fucking cat is going to die, and my wife's going to think I killed it."
    If I spit any more coffee on my keyboard....I'm gonna have to stop reading your blog at work!

    I used to have two crazy Siamese cats that used to climb in behind the wood stove. When the stove got really hot they would eventually be driven out...singed fur & whiskers and all....now I have a Bengal.

  10. Do the reading!!! "Gearheads" is my favorite. I've printed it and passed it along many times. It's PERFECT for reading aloud.

  11. Surely that's not the FIRST time you've been tricked by pussy.

  12. p.s. Johnny, read the one where your brother [can't remember which one; and I haven't got the book at work] got really messed up from riding your bikes down a steep hill (even hid a broken arm from your mom, or so it seemed).

    You know which one I mean?

  13. You changed the picture! It is a pretty kitty.

  14. I have a cat named Maggie too! This sounds like something she would do...

  15. kristina2:51 PM

    At one point, my now gone spouse had collected 9 (the number went up and down a bit, but I think the average at any one time was 7). I was fine with 2, and was even OK when we managed to acquire a third, since he was a runty stray, but it's taken years to "get rid" of most of them.

    Funny thing, I've even felt bad when something's happened to then or I've had to take them in to get the needle cause they were not well and were too old to continue.

    I still have 3 of the fricken' things, but only one of which occasionally uses the box. Stupid cats.

  16. ArizonaDi3:04 PM

    Two cats per person is the limit...so you're one short ;)

    Please do the reading - a) the listeners will totally enjoy it and b) think of the stories you'll get from that experience!

    The revenge of the fort is my fave.

  17. We have four feline fur children, and they punk me on a regular basis. Especially when one of us is alone in the house, usually late at night. All four can be passed out on the bed, and suddenly they all sit up and look at the door like something is coming down the hall. I KNOW they're trying to punk me, but every single time I get up to check, and when I get back, one of them has gotten into the warm spot I just vacated. Bastards.

    Go, do the reading. Nobody knows your material like you do. If I lived anywhere close, I'd attend in a heartbeat.


  18. Anonymous9:44 PM

    I got 4 black ones, since we live in southern California my sweet husband built them a wonderful playground with wood and chicken wire. Yep we got ramps and posts and they don't go off wandering they have access into the house via window kitty door. It works out great and we don't have a litter in the house. We have them in the enclosure.

  19. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Well, cats are easier than kids. Have you ever changed a diarrhea diaper at 3 in the morning? Hmmm, I wonder if one can train a baby to use a litter box?

  20. I LOVE IT.
    I agree... you were punked by your cat. Ella, now 13, routinely does that to catsitters when I am away. She has hidden so well in the house that they have thought they lost her. Cats can read your mind.

  21. Khriscinda12:07 AM

    Punk'd by your Kitty...Classic! I have two cats, one of which you've seen a pic of, the other will be 18 this year. Three cats was my limit but now that I'm down to two, I think that'll be my new limit.

    As far as stories from your book, all of them made me laugh out loud. A couple of my faves are Dog Days of Summer and Stench, Flies and Animal Crackers. Although any story you read will have the crowd roaring with laughter. Wish I could be there!

  22. Daisy, that's why I lock my car.

    Erica, what do they do in the winter? This guy isn't dumb. He's pretty sly. He plays fetch, even.

    Scarlett, have you ever been in the room when the vet expresses your cat's anal glands? The answer is obviously no. :)

    KC, my wife will hunt you down if you make fun of her cat, even though he looks sorta special.

    Anon, I'll bet you're right. It was like she fainted.


    Bee, it was on my list, but the way it was going I figured she was either done for, or she'd stabilize and I could bring her in. Luckily neither was necessary.

    Val, I'm not sure what it is with Siamese and fire, but they seem to like it against their best interests.

    Cdn, those are cool cats. Is he large?

    Beck, thanks for the suggestion. That one might be a good one!

    Ed, you are correct, sir.

    YFA, I don't remember that one?

    KC, I did not. ;)

    Jenna, is yours named after a washed up hooker? Ours is.

    Kristina, that's just nuts!

    Arizona, thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to screen them for any F-bombs.

    Di, do they ever just stare at the wall, like something's coming through it in 5 seconds? That freaks me out.

    Anon, that's awesome. It's like a cat habitrail!

    Anon2, no I have not. And I have no desire to, thank you.

    Laura, I think you're right.

  23. I was thinking seizure until I saw anon's comment. I think he nailed it.

  24. Anonymous2:42 AM

    You must do the reading. Now, as to which story, I would be ill-placed to suggest one; I think the choice is for you to make: take the one(s) which will best bring out your storytelling talent.
    We have three cats here as well. One 7-year old king of the house and two young'nes. It keeps us busy. I do have a friend, however, who is a certified "crazy cat lady", with about 30 on her property and a dozen inside the house. She and her husband take great care of them. And she's also a great storyteller who does not take s**t from anyone.

  25. Johnny, go with the 'fort revenge' story. It's a winner..

  26. Ah hahahaha! JV - your post was funny, but Ed's comment wins for brightening up my morning. :)

  27. Read more than one if you have the time. "My First Suit" is a great one and features Mom, so that's my vote!

  28. He said I have about 10-15 minutes...so I can probably muddle through a few. And when I'm nervous, I talk fast so I could probably read half the book in the allotted time

  29. Just remember, when you are reading for an audience you can not read too slow. The slower the better.

    If you're too nervous to read slow, pass out copies of the stories to audience members so they can at least follow along with you.


  30. I agree. The cat totally fooled you, but it's better that it didn't die. How likely is it that, after making a comment about which cat to kill, your wife would believe the cat simply "fell over"?

  31. Definitely do the reading! I laughed until I cried reading about the fish your brother electrocuted.

    From a woman who accidentally poisoned her own cat, only to have it live and as some weird result of the poisoning, have to eat 5 times its weight in cat food every day, yes, you were punk'd by your cat.

  32. this was hysterical. I can definitely relate to the box full of shit and the wakeup call of my cat throwing up hairballs. They make the most godawful sound when they barf.

  33. You don't like the smells of NYC, but you're willing to put up with cat crap - literally and figuratively. :)

  34. Ha, Adam, good point. But you'd be amazed at the lengths I go to in order to avoid the stink. I actually built a negative pressure room in the basement that vents to the outside just for the litter boxes. My wife scoops them every day. That was part of the deal.

  35. Anonymous2:04 PM

    Johnny - I vote "Stench, Flies and Animal Crackers" and/or the story about shopping for your suit and dismantling the mannequin. They make me laugh even after multiple reads.

    P.S. You were punk'd!

  36. Anonymous4:17 PM

    I used to like cats. No more. Not after being attacked twice within 10 minutes one night by my rescued kitten. It was the ER two days later, thank you very much.
    Peace <3

  37. Cats are the perfect pet. I want one. To bad Im allergic.

  38. @Adam...back in the day when everyone used to walk their dogs in Central Park (before the pooper scooper laws) the sidewalks of said park was full of landmines....dog shit landmines. The smell was horrendous. I remember it vividly even now, which is why I have a cat. The smell of dog turds is enough to make me vomit. Not even cat shit comes close. At least they cover theirs, dogs leave it out in the open for everyone to see, and for other dogs to munch on...

  39. OMG! I feel your pain. We have 4 cats. (I swear, we started out normal people. . . ) anyway, my 5 y/o daughter wants a kitten. As 4 cats is already too many, I tell her no. She says "What if one dies? Can I get a kitten?"

    I said "Maybe"

    So now, every few weeks, she asks me which one is going to die first so she can get her kitten!

  40. cla, keep an eye on her. That's all I'm saying.

  41. Anonymous4:38 PM

    We have a Siamese too, looks very similar to the pic you posted. HIs name is Earl, and he's a rescue cat. IF anything, cats are great fun to mess with. ;o)

  42. For the reading, you HAVE to do either a Mom story (e.g., the speed bump one always cracks me up...and I'm up to the animal park one which made me almost pee my pants last time I read it), or a Markie/Snitch story like bending trees.

    I don't often LOL at movies, stories, TV shows, etc. Damnyouautocorrect.com does it to me as does your blog. I definitely think you need to do a reading.

  43. @TravelingMom,

    OMG - you NAILED it. This blog and DYAC are good for a change of underwear! I have to seriously limit my DYAC viewing, as I'm prone to staying up way too late and scaring the dog with bursts of hysterical laughter. JV's stories have had the same effect...and they're (slightly) safer for reading to the kids! :-)

  44. By the way, I am *not* a cat person, but if I had to have one it would be a Siamese. Seems like they have the best personalities. JV, I like your litter box solution. An alternative would be toilet training - I know two people whose kitties do their thing on the actual john!

  45. OH my Gosh. Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus just showed up in a Jeopardy question. Hah.

  46. Thanks for the story suggestions, everyone. I'm leaning towards doing the bookstore thing. I'll do you all a favor and not record it. Erica, what was the question?

    Rider, I'm not down with that. I don't want to be running for the bathroom and find out the cat's in there reading cat weekly or something.

  47. The question had to do with some actress in the movie and another role she played.. which is surprising because it sounds like they'd be all D list movie stars.

    I'd come to a bookstore reading of yours but I guarantee your version of upstate, NY and mine is different. I literally live an hour from Canada. Well, I am a few hours away right now but within 2 weeks I'll be back to being neighbors with Fort Drum. Like, hearing their bugle in the morning neighbors...

    For some reason 90% of NY'ers think they're upstate.. eh, I don't think so.

    I vote for your damn JC Penny suit story with your mom. I don't think I've laughed so hard in at least 5 years, that story is classic.

  48. my upstate is about 2 hours south of Plattsburgh. Near lake george

  49. I realize I'm late to the party here, but first let me say that getting punk'd by your cat is totally AWESOME! My husband won't let me get one and now I know why. If you're still undecided about what to read at the book reading I would recommend The Second Time (the picture of Doug as he approaches the Instrument of Death is priceless). And (if only they gave you a projector) The Artist Formerly Known As is (for me) one of the funniest parts of the book! Good luck!!!

  50. Anonymous10:10 PM

    Not being a cat person at all, I thought I'd grow to like one if I had it from a tiny kitten. So I paid $450 for one and gave it to my husband for his birthday, since he really likes them. I know now that after this guy dies of old age, there will NEVER be another cat here. I HATE the box of shit. It can be scrubbed after every use and I will still smell it. It's probably just in my head, but I swear I can always smell cat crap. I hate cleaning it and dry heave every day while doing it. I don't think I'll ever get used to it. Also, cats like to get up on things, which is disgusting. I mean, they were just walking in a box of shit! And then walking on a counter! And for those that don't have litterboxes because their cats go outside, cats that go outside are INFESTED with parasites that they do shed out their asses onto beds, tables, wherever they sit. They eat mice and birds that are infested, so the only way to be sure your cat is parasite-free would be to de-worm it every day, which would kill the cat, or just not let it outside. People say, "Oh my cat doesn't go on the counters," but they just don't SEE them go up there. Cats do it because they can, and their hearing is good enough that they are unlikely to get caught. Mine is in his kennel any time I'm not present, like nighttime, or outside doing chores, etc. I just can't risk it! I dislike the litterbox and sneakiness of cats enough to never get another one!

  51. Anon, you make a lot of good points. Pets in general are pretty disgusting when you think about it.