Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bureaucracy or Bust

Recently, we developed a bit of a cat problem. We went from no cats to ten cats. It wasn’t on purpose.

My theory is that animal lovers think they want animals and then they actually get one or two or ten, and it’s trickier than it looks on TV—what with the fleas, and the claws, and the rabies and all. Too tender hearted to take their unwanted pets to the pound, they bring them to the nice country lady’s house and dump them. They have to pass Osceola Animal Control to do it, and before you can say, “Hello kitty,” there are feral cats living in the chimney and the chicken coop—possibly the dryer vent.

Then we have to trap them with hotdogs on strings and take them to the pound. It sucks. I’d like to figure out who the cat dumpers are and leave my horse on their front lawn.

My husband got stuck having to take a litter of five identical black kittens into the special bureaucracy invented for the control of other people’s cats.

“Please tell me,” the nice bureaucratic lady began, “that you weren’t scratched by any of these darling, perfectly healthy kittens. We can adopt them out right away, unless of course, you were scratched or bitten.” She may have winked.

My husband, honest and good and brave, told the truth, of course.

“Yes! I got scratched. See?” he displayed a four-inch scratch on his left wrist.

“Which one scratched you?”

“The black one.” Sherwood can be a real joker sometimes.

She groaned. “Oh no, then we have to quarantine them all for ten days.” A bright, shiny light glittered in her bureaucratic eye. “Let’s do this. Let’s say that the one that scratched you got away. Now then, did any of these cats scratch or bite you?”

“Yes,” Sherwood said. “See?” He showed her his wrist again.

“No. No. No. Okay, one more time. Did any of these perfectly healthy cats, the ones that didn’t run away, unlike the one that scratched you, did any of these cats scratch or bite you.”

She winked again broadly, hopefully.

This wink did it. He caught on.

“No, I put gloves on after the,” he said, squashing one eye closed back to her, “black one that scratched me ran away.”

She made him fill out a paper about the fabricated, escaped black cat. The health department sent my husband a letter encouraging him to speak with his doctor about the possibility that he might now have rabies. But Sherwood knew that it was really fictional rabies from an invisible black cat, so we aren’t too worried.

Except to say, that this new fangled desire for more governmental rules, regulations, bureaucracies, and departments is danged confusing. I’m not sure that we’re slick enough to take proper advantage of the system or the story telling involved.   

Linda (Scat) Zern

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