Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Bell

The actual bell I now own.
It looked simple enough in the video.

How hard could it be? Only a few items were involved and I already had the cat. 

There’s always a bag of treats in the cabinet and the bell would be here in a few days. I also was in possession of determination, time and just enough crazy so this all made sense. My plan, you see, was to train Buzzy to ring a bell (by himself, with his paw) before I dispensed a cat treat! Pavlov--make way! Here comes “Susan Says…!”

The result of watching way too many adorably hilarious cat videos on youtube, the idea was born. Upon checking Amazon to see if I could inexpensively purchase the most important component of the operation – a counter bell (the kind people impatiently ring in movies,often at the front desk of a hotel, but the clerk is in the back trying to train a cat), the answer was not only of course but which color would you like and, most important, Buzzy is brilliant. 

This was going to be fun.

I would then make my own video with Buzzy ringing away to earn treats and later receive a Pulitzer (or something) for my efforts as well as the adulation of viewers around the globe who would watch the video and say things like “How cute!” and “What a great cat” in the comments section. Glory awaited. I could smell it. Or, was that the litter box?

The bell arrived.

Somehow, I resisted ringing it until I was situated with my “subject” (Buzzy) stomping about in the “testing area” (the kitchen table), already a-twitter over that which he loves more than life itself: Friskies Party Mix, flavor of Wild West Crunch.

Buzzy lives for treats. He would sell me to a traveling circus for a mere handful. 

If I so much as think about opening the door to the cabinet in which they are kept, he will wake from deep slumber and  run --  not unlike a crazed zombie -- into the kitchen and shout until there is a handful before him. 

Forgetting his manners, he will inhale them at the speed of light and beg for more. It’s fascinating and awful and God only knows what’s in those things because they cause well-mannered gentleman like Buzzy to totally lose their dignity. Surely, he’ll understand about the bell and the video and my future fame as a cat trainer.

Hours later, Buzzy is full of treats and sprawled like the Emperor Nero after an orgy. The bell has been rung (by me) so many times that Seth has fled in tears and, oddly, I have developed a strong craving for Chex Mix. Buzzy, however, has yet to ring the bell.

Despite the cat crack that Friskies adds to their product and Buzzy’s ensuing addiction, my cat training prowess (uh, that would be none) and desire for notoriety in the increasingly competitive world of cat videography, he is not interested.This leads me to question the cat in the video.

Who is this shameless cat whore, anyway?

I am no longer "in training."

Maybe it wasn’t even a cat. Maybe it was a monkey .  Or one of those other, popular pets, er, what are they called again? Oh, yes---dogs! Maybe it was a dog wearing a cat suit and it wasn’t even party mix but some sort of dog thing like bacon nuggets….yeah, that’s it. If Buzzy could not be trained, then the whole thing was suspect….a fraud….a sham.

Before drifting off into a treat-induced coma, Buzzy looked at me, slumped in my chair, purple bell taunting me from the corner into which I’d thrown it, empty bags of treats strewn about and then, without so much as a flicked whisker, closed his eyes.  I reached to tickle his round little Wild West Crunch filled belly. 

After all, part of the allure of cats is their untrainability, is it not?

Getting in the car to go buy the biggest bag of Chex Mix they sold at Stop ‘n’ Shop, I heard it. The bell rang, just once. Chances are it was Seth who had emerged from his hiding place and not the bloated cat I had just tried to make act, well, not like a cat at all. I never asked. 
Train me? I don't think so.

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