Leave Argyle to Grandma — Fluffy’s Fine Au Naturale

At the risk of being branded a crazed cat lady, I’ll confess: Anything involving those lethargic lumps of fluff I’ve called pets all my life is of great fascination to me.

So when I came across this online scandal starring an especially press-worthy kitty, I was all ears. Turns out a couple from Boston thought it’d be funny to include their furry “son” on a census, identifying the animal as Sal Esposito.

Though the pair explicitly stated Sal’s status as a non-Homo sapien (read: cat), that minor detail still slid under the rug of the Suffolk courthouse, and the feline was summoned to jury duty. Then, when the Espositos attempted to disqualify the feline, the jury commissioner decided the housecat still had to show.

Without trying to stereotype, I’ll be frank: Anyone who fills out a census and includes the names of his or her pets is a freak. One can safely assume that Mrs. E knew the pet police wouldn’t come pounding on her door had she not included little Sal — but she had to list the smallest family member anyway.

As a cat enthusiast who’s owned a geriatric, obese Siamese monster for 14 years, I nonetheless must distance myself from the likes of Mrs. E. Prematurely aging your cat by naming him after an old Italian dude is one thing (Sal, please pass the prunes), but bringing the troublemaker to the courthouse, as if he’d otherwise get arrested? Listen, Lady — I know you love Sal, but he is not your son. Nor does he give a crap about human justice.

Admittedly, my family isn’t much better. I’ve witnessed human-feline interaction evolve from a simple pet-and-purr exchange to my mom asking my sister if she wouldn’t mind sleeping on the couch because Spanky was used to taking her bed. See, Mom didn’t want the change of environs to excite poor Spank into a heart attack.

Now our bedrooms are hand-me-down lounges for the exclusive breeding of fleas. Cool. Thanks, Mom.

Cat lovers everywhere cater to their companions like children, but kicking your firstborn onto the couch for a kitty’s sake? Too much. There’s a reason that Garfield and Jon Arbuckle could never talk shit on Odie to each other: There’s a respected division between species.

My mom and Mrs. E have crossed the line. And they’re not alone. Take a walk in your neighborhood on a breezy Sunday, and you can bet your bottom dollar that at least one visored Betty will be walking a sweater-cozied bulldog named Horace, with whom she will be having a full-fledged conversation.

I can only hope that womankind will revert back to the good days, when best-friend cats were distanced to the appropriate middle ground: beloved playthings, but clear-cut inferiors (sorry, PETA). But as Mrs. E has demonstrated, America is only becoming more pet obsessed. Any attempt to undo Paris Hilton damage on pet relations would be futile. It’s 2010, baby, and what Fluffy wants, Fluffy gets.

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