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We're outsourcing the cat

As the economy slumps and rising energy costs are reflected in higher prices for many domestic items, the You Don’t Say home office finds it necessary to weigh some difficult choices if it is to remain competitive in this challenging business environment.

One area with promising prospects of cost containment and/or reduction is feline staffing. Scout has been a valued member of the team for 10 years, but the costs of kibble and litter add to overhead in our operations, not to speak of the labor involved in dealing with all the shedding on the red chair.

The same costs in India are a fraction of the U.S. costs, and so You Don’t Say, having offered Scout a generous separation package, is contracting for feline support with a firm in Chennai. Billi, the new cat, will be available 24-7 on closed-circuit television, providing many of the feline support services we previously enjoyed. Watching a cat sleep for 75 percent of the day on television is much the same as watching one across the room, and the cost savings are substantial.

And you, the reader, will enjoy uninterrupted service from You Don’t Say, at the same level of quality that it has been our pleasure to offer you since December 2005. We value your patronage and hope that you will return to this site often.


Posted by John McIntyre at 9:45 AM | | Comments (5)


With these last two, off-topic posts, this has suddenly become my favorite blog. LOLL!

Sad to say, there is truth to this ... NPR had a story the other day about how animal shelters are seeing more animals that are abandoned as owners run into financial difficulties. :-(

As a longtime adopter of homeless neighborhood cats, this post made me smile. I only allow one to sleep inside at night — the one I actually own — but the others know when and where to be at chowtime. I spend three times as much on IAMS as I did at this time last year, but I've balanced my budget by eliminating 30 percent of my far less satisfying outsourced dinners with humans. (Especially at our favorite local Indian restaurant.)

Just don't start talking about outsourcing the spouse, John ...

I'm intrigued.

For years, it was the aging dog, his toenails clicking on the hardwood at 4:00 AM, rousing me from sound sleep. Get up or clean up were my choices. It wasn't his fault that for several years I haven't been able to get back to sleep at that hour. Poor Blaze had lost his sight, his hearing and his ability to get up to go out before it was too late. Selfishly I looked forward to the nights following his last meals, six consecutive Thanksgiving dinners with all the touches, followed by a last nap at the vet’s office.

Now, the cat has taken over for Blaze. My wife has always rescued cats and Nike came from a humane woman who had, by my experience upon entering her home/rescue shelter, learned to breathe in an oxygen free environment. On our first date, I told my wife how much I liked cats. I characterized them as “fun to kick”.

Nike's hypothyroidism is under control with the help of twice a day medications. He sleeps endlessly and is undisturbed by the family activities going on two feet away from his favorite slumber spot. Oh, he wakes up to beg for whatever the humans are eating, but is otherwise undisturbable. Even the clanging of pots and pans such as occurred on the New Year’s Eves of my childhood gets no more than a perturbed raise of the head and a look that could kill through half-opened eyes.

I, on the other hand, am still susceptible to the 4:00 AM call of the wild as supplied by a domesticated animal. Now it is incessant, plaintive mewing accompanied by affectionate palpation of my bladder, which brings me from my dreams. We tried closing the bedroom door, but really like the flow of fresh air that an open door brings.
Some mornings I go to the door and he rushes into the hall in anticipation of company. Whoosh. The closed door doesn't please him, but sometimes I can get back to sleep. Other days he twists and turns, rubbing his fur on my legs as a stand, receiving the other relief that will permit to service the feline’s needs.

On the mornings when he wins, I am, all too often, finding food dishes with good quality, prescription (treatment for a bladder) contents. Sometimes he wants the dry food, topped with a dash of water, and other times he seeks the canned, refrigerated food. Recently, he seems to want company, nothing more.

Yes, the idea of outsourcing the family pet holds my interest. We can turn on the computer when we have the need for visual stimulation and turn it off when the urge has passed.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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