Cat with Three Names
Chapter 3 - Name Three, Smart Cat
I have two of my three names now and my third name is coming up. You will never guess what else was in store for me. It happened this way. My owner Mrs. L. is a Resource Specialist. That means she teaches exceptional children. She and Mr. L. also host and produce a television program on a Community Access station-KSAR Channel 6. They are on lots of other stations too and they also have a great WEB site (www.readroom.com). I like to sit and watch them work on the WEB site in their office in the evenings. They keyboard, scan pictures for the show, e-mail, and talk about stories they think the children who watch the program might like. It is very interesting to lie on the carpet in the office when they are working.
Now here’s the funny part of the story. Mr. L. owns a company called Saratoga Knowledge Systems. The company sort of sponsors the TV show. A long time ago when he first started the company it was some kind of a catalogue order thing. Their logo was-guess what? A cat! Get it? Cat-catalogue? Their logo was Simon, the old cat. A picture of his face was on the stationary and all that stuff. So, one day, I was playing with a pencil on the floor in the office. I was rolling it around with my paw. Bill, the older brother, thought it was so cute he took my picture. The family is always taking pictures and they have them up all over the house. Mrs. L. (who really knows her cats, let me tell you) looked at me playing with the pencil and said, "You know, Missy Mousy is so smart I think she could pick up that pencil and write us a letter if she was in the mood."
"Well," said Mr. L., "I don’t know about that, but she can play fetch just like Sammy, she comes when she is called, and she loves to read the newspaper, play computer, and talk on the telephone, so she must be a pretty smart cat."
"Hey, Smart Cat," called Bill. "How do you like your new name?"
Well, I didn’t like it, I loved it! I went up to Bill and rubbed his ankle in my special way and he picked me up and told me what a good kitty I was. He sat down with his drawing pad right then and there and drew my picture in black ink on thick white paper. Bill is quite a good artist and in no time at all, there I was. It was a picture that looked just exactly like me except for one thing-I had on a pair of glasses. The little glasses were hooked over my ears and rested on my nose. I looked like a professor reading a book! It was simply fantastic. Me, a little runty kitty with too much fur and a bad hip. I was the logo for our company, Saratoga Knowledge systems.
Mr. L. took one look at it and declared that not only would it be the new logo for the company but that he would start to use it on all of the stuff for the TV show as well. And he did. He had the drawing made larger, signed by Bill and framed to hang in his office. He had it made smaller and put on cards, stationary, and all of the things sent to publishers and printers and authors and I don’t know who all else. He put it on the WEB site as well. I was everywhere!
As if that were not enough, next I was actually on the TV show. I guess I have Sam the Dog to thank for it. Mrs. L. read a dog story on her show one week and had Sam as a guest. He sat at her feet the whole show just like he does at home. He did all of his tricks like shake hands, roll over, and speak right on cue. Everybody thought he was soooo cute. Honestly, I mean really! Not that I don’t like Sam. Of course, but what a display!
I might tell you, Mrs. L. has some pretty sharp kids watching her show. Right away a child asked her about a kitty show since she had a dog show. She was ready for that. She had already scheduled a story about a cat who lived in London. His name was Horatio. Not a girl kitty, but I guess you can’t have it all. She wanted me to be on the show too. I would be the guest star the way Sammy had . She had a kitty puppet on the show named Purrrcilla, but that was not the real thing, you know.
I always know when it is a day to "shoot" the show. Mr. L. comes home early and there is a great to do while stuff is loaded in the car. Off they go and they don’t come back ‘til late at night. Sam said he really had fun when he went. The camera crew petted him and gave him treats and everyone said what a good and smart dog he was. I do love him, but sometimes he really is a bit of a sap.
The very next week, though, my turn was to come. Everything was loaded in the car including my favorite toy-a battery operated ball with a long imitation fuzzy tail. All right, I know it is a battery operated ball with an imitation fuzzy tail, but it rolls across the floor in a way that makes it really fun to chase. I just can’t resist it. It’s really fun to play with; like a dog chasing a car. The dog isn’t going to catch the stupid car, but it is fun to try.
Last but not least, they got out my carry case and put ME in the car. Within what seemed like a very short time, there I was at the actual TV studio. I was trying to be above it all, but it really was quite exciting. I had watched "The Reading Room" on TV before-I watched when Sam was on-but I had no idea how it was all done. There were three camera people, a microphone guy, a beautiful lady director, two people at these huge computers, and a young girl who helped out with all the set-up stuff.
It took a long time to get it all ready, but when it was done they put my box down on the table in the middle of the stage and "Bang!" the show started. I heard Mrs. L say my name and tell about the story of "Horatio" then she opened the door to my carry box.
If you know anything about cats, you know what happened next. Curiosity is one of my best features. I leaped off the table and started to explore. The cameras kept right on rolling even when I hid behind the heavy curtains. Well, Poor Mrs. L. had to just go on with the story, and every once in awhile I would run past or pop out my head. I didn’t mean to ruin things, of course, but I guess I did. What a guest shot that was. So much for my short career as a TV star.
Just when I was thinking I was bored with this whole thing, it happened. The chief camera man, Edgar they called him, put my toy down on the floor of the studio. The ball started to roll around and I just couldn’t stop myself. I came out from behind the curtains and started to run after it. The beautiful lady director spotted me right away. I heard her shout for camera three and I heard the theme song start to play. Well, a star was born as we say in show biz.
I leaped on the ball, pushed it with my hind feet, tried to bite it, and slapped it with my paw. I jumped right on top of it and it rolled out from under me. Very un-catlike of course, but I heard everyone say, "Ahhhhh, how cute!"
Well, that was all it took. Cats are really kind of ham actors, you know, and I really did my play toy thing. I enjoyed it too. I hadn’t had so much fun since I spent a morning playing in an empty grocery bag on the kitchen floor. I’ll tell you, this was right up there with knocking bottom ornaments off the Christmas tree. What a time I was having chasing that rolling ball with the fuzzy tail. All the while, Edgar was rolling the camera and I was being broadcast on TV.
When they finally went off the air, all in all I was on for about two minutes, everybody started to cheer and clap. I pretended to be above it all. Cats have to be aloof, you know. It was close a close thing though. If I had been a dog I think I would have barked and wet little drips and run around in circles or some other totally undignified thing. As it was, I turned my back and walked back under the big curtains so they had to look for me when it was time to go home.
My third name, Smart Car, really stuck now. Bill, the older brother, had done that great drawing that they used on the stationary and stuff, but now I was on T-shirts too. The shirts were sent to pre-schools and lots of other places that watched the show. They were given to guests on the show, and the whole TV crew had them too. Scott, one of the camera crew, wears his all of the time.
So, boys and girls, That is my story. It is about how a little runty kitty that no one wanted, became a TV personality. It really is about a lot more than that too. Often when Mrs. L. reads a story on her show, she will say that it is a story that is more than it appears to be. She means that it is a story with a moral.
You know, like in "Little Red Riding Hood." That is not just about a little girl who goes to Grandma’s house, it is also about not talking to strangers, and taking the path your mom told you to take or you might get into trouble. My story is like that too. It is about loving and caring for a kitty of your own and understanding how to care for a pet, but there is even more.
It is about not giving up, liking yourself, and doing what you feel is the right thing. Mrs. L. tells her TV children that they are very special but she also says that they should not just believe that because she says so. They should look for the good things they have inside themselves and be proud of what they can do. She says that the worst thing of all is not to try. You know, I think she is right. Don’t you?