A Call for Felinism.

A guest post, by Fred the Cat.

The time has come for a revolution.

We live in America – the land of the free, the land of equal opportunity, the land of respect.

But cats, my friends, are not getting these basic rights.

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Cats are humiliated on YouTube.

Villainized by Disney.

Ignored by Government.

Scoffed in Memes.

And, in general, are kept down by The Dog.

Don’t believe me?

Nashville has FIVE municipally supported dog parks.

Atlanta has dog water bowls and canine-specific-spigots all throughout midtown. In Piedmont Park, they have a special Dog Trail and park set aside just for these pampered creatures.

Sure, you say. Atlanta and Nashville are big cities. Big cities have benefits.

But no. It’s becoming rampant Birmingham, too.

We have dog parks, doggie day cares, doggie spas, and even mobile dog grooming services. Do cats get these amenities? Never.

But the true hammer dropped on The Feline Community when my owner’s favorite nature reserve, Red Mountain Park, posted this sign near the entrance.

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Small Dogs, Large Dogs, and Special Needs Dogs, all with their own parks. SIX ACRES of space. Just for dogs.

WHERE, pray tell, do Special Needs Cats get to play? HOW will they ever have the opportunity to socialize with others like them? WHO will make them feel normal?

My humans, this should not be so.

Sadly, the problem isn’t just in America – cats are being discriminated against internationally. Japan even has a Luxury Dog Retirement Home, providing them access to a gym, swimming pool, and round-the-clock veterinary care for around $1,000 a month.

Humans don’t live at this retirement home, to be clear – only dogs.

And certainly not cats.

I have discussed these grievances and sought the opinion of other neighborhood felines, particularly a wise ginger named Maggie who likes to refer to herself in the third person, as cats often do.

Maggie

Here’s what she had to add to this movement’s creed.

“Maggie agrees with Fred. While she is happy to remain ensconced in her palace, she fully supports the rights of all cats to seek companionship and recreation in community. As long as it’s not in her back yard.

Maggie Backyard
Dogs are wonderful companions, to be sure, but they don’t foster the same sense of independence in an owner that a cat does by being selectively attentive. Owners must learn to stand on their own, to have self-confidence, instead of the complete codependence of a human-dog friendship. Cats also don’t require their humans to venture into the elements, unless it is to buy more food or litter.

Perhaps this is the crux of the matter.

Maggie Wise
Cats CREATE the spaces they need; they don’t have to wait for humans to designate them. As doers instead of followers, they can turn any space into a party, from the public park to the Mario Brothers-like sewer system. While recognition of a cat’s need for community would be nice, we don’t esteem the human opinion enough to truly need this kind of external validation.”

Maggie makes good points.

But nevertheless I weep daily at the injustice.

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AND SO SHOULD YOU.

You say you care about freedom. You salute your flag as if it means something. You get teary-eyed during the national anthem.

Yet freedom doesn’t ring for felines. Who could bring a kitten into this world with a clear conscience?

The time is now. The place is here. Let’s join together and make the world a better place.

We must stand!

We must fight!

We must claw our way to equality!

We must be The Whiskers of Change!

We must join together, paw in paw, as Felinists.

A Time to FitBit.

Really, it was all the old man’s fault.

He was ambling around the edge of the cliff at Weathington Park, offering to take everyone’s picture with their phone.

I don’t know if he was doing some sort of undercover operation to plant a tracking device on everyone’s phone or what, but he was quite insistent.

I was the only one on the ledge that day with a DSLR. I handed him my camera, which is pretty hefty compared to the variety of phones he’d been using.

“Whoa. Is this thing going to kick back?”

“Maybe a little. All you need to do is push this black button.”

“Which button?”

“This one.”

“Okay. Where is it?”

“Riiiight here.”

I placed his finger on the button, then Chris and I posed at the cliff and smiled, somewhat plastically.

Old Man stared at the backside of my camera.

“I can’t see anything! Are you sure this thing is on?”

“Yes sir. You have to look in the the viewfinder.”

“The who-what?”

“The little hole at the top of the camera.”

“OOOOH. Okay. Say cheese! HOLY COW I DIDN’T KNOW THIS THING WAS A SEMI-AUTOMATIC! How many pictures did I just take?”

“It’s no problem. Thank you!”

I quickly saved my camera from further misunderstandings and we moved on. Later, I looked at his photography portfolio.

Most of them contained my hand in front of my face, trying to arrest a bunch of stray strands that gathered there at just the wrong moment.

There was only one where my hand was just barely blurring. But the photo disagreed with me, as do most photos of myself these days.

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Granted, it wasn’t that bad of a picture. But for some reason it was the picture that I could see every one of the fifteen pounds I’ve gained in the past year. I can blame it on the medicine all I want, but it’s still there and it still bothers me.

I’ve tried to convince myself to exercise and get back to using Lose It a few times over the past year, but I lacked motivation, and was in general too tired from those same stupid medications to keep it up. And really, the real reason I need to exercise is not for vanity, but because Dysautonomia’s two main solutions are drinking ridiculous amounts of water and exercising regularly.

…But it’s counterintuitive since simply standing up can double my heart rate – it doesn’t exactly feel like running would be the best idea.

And also, the only two times I’ve ever been successful at losing weight also happened to be when I was nursing my children. And I can’t lactate on command, therefore I’ve been demotivated ever since.

But still. I knew it was possible.

Here were my before and after photos while nursing Noah:

BeforeAndAfterMaking milk: Does the body good.

But it was time. It had to be done. With or without my mammary glands taking part.

We got home from that trip on Sunday, and on Monday I bought myself a FitBit.

(And Chris one, too, since he’s always a good sport to play along with my geek-motivation needs.)

By Tuesday morning I was unforgivably angry with myself for not getting one years ago. For someone who is motivated by charts and graphs, a FitBit is like finding and taking up residence in The Garden of Eden.

It’s.

So.

Pretty.

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And that’s only half of the information it gives me. ANY TIME I WANT IT.

For those of you not familiar with FitBit, it’s a tiny clip-on gadget (or bracelet, if you prefer that choice) that tracks your steps, and by doing so extrapolates all of the above information (except the water – I am manually adding that) and makes it available to you in real-time on an app and a website. Which, since I would marry a spreadsheet if I could, translates into immediate gratification – a hard thing for me to get from exercise.

(And even the manual water entry is made super easy by standard measurements and a pretty little woman turning blue.)

FitBit Water Tracking

It also seamlessly interfaces with Lose It, which was my non-boob tool in my weight loss last time. FitBit sends Lose It the number of calories I’ve burned, Lose It sends FitBit the number of calories I’ve eaten, and both use the information to help me make wise decisions. It’s a lovely relationship.

Lose It Compared to FitBit

I know that FitBit is basically a glorified pedometer, but any organization that can take a simple tool and turn it into such a beautiful graphical representation of Doing The Right Thing is a hero in my books. Because I need goals. And I need to see how I achieved those goals. And better yet, I need to compete and beat everyone in my path.

(Until Chris ruins everything with his 14 mile Saturday morning runs and taunts me on Twitter.)

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(But that’s exactly the kind of competition I need. Because by Monday morning, I had fought my way back on top.)

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…And he thought he was so special because he runs a half-marathon every Saturday.

Mm hmm – Motherhood takes more steps.

(Well, Motherhood plus an intense need to beat one’s husband.)

But back to FitBit. It gives you goals in every area that you could possibly want, offers beautiful and drill-downable charts and graphs of every kind, changes colors from blue to yellow to red to green as you achieve those goals, and allows you to compete with all your friends, and in general completes me.

FitBit Dashboard

It EVEN offers a premium package where you can compare yourself to all the humans. UNIVERSAL BENCHMARKING.

I expect to break down and buy the expanded software within days.

It’s been a full week now, and I have felt fantastic six out of seven days, free of Dysautonomia symptoms. It could be a coincidence, or it could be because I finally found the right tool to reward me with pretty colors when I do the right thing.

At any rate, I’m hooked.

(But whether this pretty software makes up for my lack of lactation remains to be seen.)


If you have a FitBit and want to further my motivation by becoming my friend, my email address is graspingforobjectivity@gmail.com.

For the Record: I was not compensated by FitBit to write this nor did they ask me to nor do they know I’m writing it. But if they want to give me that premium package for free, I’d totally take it. FitBit? Are you listening?

A Brief Analysis of Doc McStuffins.

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My kids were late the the Stuffin party, but we arrived with gusto and obsession.

Doc is now the preferable cartoon above all others – including but not limited to Sophia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Team Umizoomi, and even the revered My Little Pony.

(Which is a shame because the latter show is the only kid’s show worth watching.)

(Seriously. Unlike the sham of a My Little Pony that I had as a kid, the latest rendition is quality television. It’s like the M*A*S*H of the cartoon world. Why else would tens of thousands of Bronies exist? Even adult men can appreciate Twilight Sparkle and the Magic of Friendship.)

But back to Doc.

She’s not Number One on my list of most annoying cartoon characters, but I do have some issues with her.

Let’s discuss.

1. Does she have a first name? Her parents call her Doc, her brother calls her Doc, her friends-she-hardly-sees-because-she’s-too-busy-with-her-fantasy-life call her Doc. Was her Doctor Mom simply so narcissistic that she had to name her firstborn child after her career choice?

(If so, then my friend who works at the wastewater treatment plant really missed one heck of an opportunity.)

Or does she have an elusive first name but Doc has everyone so severely bought into her playworld-in-which-she-won’t-let-any-of-them-participate that no one uses it? I mean, I insisted on being called Carmen Sandiego for a while, but c’mon, Doc, it’s been four seasons. Give the family a break.

(I’m considering insisting on being called Veronica Mars next. She’s my new I-Wanna-Be-A-Detective HERO.)

2. Does Doc’s lab coat ever get washed? Or is her closet full of nothing but white lab coats? Because I am a Mom. And my children don’t own any white clothing. The only Moms who dare tiptoe into the world of white children’s clothing are those that buy $40 white t-shirts with their kid’s name embroidered over a sailboat. And there’s no sailboat on that lab coat. Therefore, we can clearly assume that the writers are not Moms or they would see this glaring continuity issue.

3. Speaking of continuity, how am I supposed to explain the chasm between Toy Story, where the toys only talk when no one is in the room, and Doc McStuffins, where apparently Doc possesses the only power in the known universe to be in the presence of toys when they talk?

Because my kid is a thinker.

And she asks about this conundrum regularly.

And I have no acceptable answer.

4. But most importantly, Doc has led many a child astray with the “It will only tickle a little” line.

I can only imagine how much real doctors and nurses despise Doc for her blatant lies and unrealistic expectations that she’s forcing onto young, impressionable minds. As such, I need to see an episode when it’s time for Doc to go to the actual doctor and get four or more immunizations. I imagine it’d go something like this…

Doc: “OOOOOW!! What the HALLIE?!? That actually HURT! And wait – AM I BLEEDING?!? WHY! AM! I! BLEEDING!!!”

Lambie:“Quit flailing your arm – I thought you were a professional! Now I have blood splattered all over me!! I wanna cuddle.”

Chilly: **faints**

Because if I were her nurse, I’d jab her just a little harder than necessary.