OKIE IN EXILE — Is Cat Physics Damaged?

Bobby Neal Winters
| morning sun

You may recall that over time I developed a complicated theory of cat physics. It’s a very detailed theory, but it originally arose from the phenomenon that my family always has three cats. When one of our cats died, another cat would appear out of nowhere to take its place and hold number three. If an extra cat showed up when we already had three, then something unpleasant would happen to one of the cats that we had to reduce back to three.

This phenomenon was stable for years. It required a little fudging from time to time. We’d have an extra cat around for a while, but then we’d find it belonged to the Lady Violist who lived on the corner.

This led me to discover a phenomenon I call cat sharing and posit the existence of the cat-e-cule (analogous to the molecule), where a number of houses can share cats with one another, much like atoms in a molecule Share electrons. In this manner, the movement of cats from house to house would allow a greater total number of cats to be supported than could be supported by the houses individually.

Last summer that beautiful, beautiful theory seemed to be broken. It was like James Taylor’s flying machine, in pieces on the ground.

That catastrophe was foretold by the appearance of Goldie. Goldie was a female kitten at the time, no bigger than a brick – a brick wrapped in barbed wire, so to speak; such was her personality. It was clear from the start that she would be an outdoor cat. (Her later tendency towards gun-protected gas confirmed this.) While her struggles with our outdoor toms were uncertain at the beginning, she insisted nonetheless.

I thought we should have called her Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but by that point she had already been baptized a Goldie.

According to my theory of cat physics, one of my cats should have died or disappeared. For a while we thought it was nonsense because she started shedding fur and vomiting a lot. In fact, if she had continued to vomit over my things (always MY things) cat physics might have received a little artificial help. Thank goodness her health recovered, but cat physics remained shaken.

I couldn’t call the cat to save cat physics because the dear violist had died. What could be done

I didn’t have an answer until last night.

Last night a raccoon appeared on our kitchen door, roughly the size and shape of a beanbag chair, eating cat food. The creature was so large that all of our cats outdoors – even the wild Goldie – gave up their food without complaint or comment.

When I saw this strange creature, I couldn’t find any explanation for its existence. Then in the night it came to me. I had a statement that covered everything and also saved cat physics.

Last summer, just before Goldie arrived, our dog Charlie died. The canine and cat world conservation laws don’t usually interact, but our region was in an odd state. The loss of our cat-e-cule with the Lady Violist had weakened the barrier between the Dog-o-Sphere and the Cat-o-Sphere. This weakened barrier had made it possible to compensate for the decreasing number of dogs by increasing the number of cats.

I thought so at the time, but I couldn’t explain the extra bulk. The theory of such space-spanning interactions requires the conservation of number and mass. The raccoon saved the theory because the extra mass was poured into the plump raccoon. This was possible because raccoons span the void between the Cat-O-Sphere and the Dog-O-Sphere in a similar way as foxes do.

My fear that cat physics would be broken was unfounded. Indeed, it has emerged from the crisis stronger than ever.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like” the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook. Find him by name on YouTube.