Lileks: Yelling obscenities at cats isn't very laid back

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 24, 2012 - 6:55 PM

Yes, there's another survey that touts the Twin Cities as the Best Place for Something. No, I'm not going to devote a column to it again, because there are important issues to discuss.

Like the War on Cat Shouters.

Actually, the stories are connected. The survey, done by some group I've never heard of, determined we were the least stressful city in the country. (The most stressful was a place in Florida, I think, but since they took the phone survey during a tornado, the results might be skewed.)

Fine. So we're laid-back. Or we cope well. Or the city's been dissolving Ambien pills the size of tractor tires in the water supply. Whatever.

But the same day I heard about that survey, I read a WCCO story about a Chaska fellow ticketed for yelling obscenities at his cat. So it's obvious not everyone is handling things well.

You may think: It's come to this in our PC world? You can't yell at an animal? What's next: Shutting down the meat-packing industry because it qualifies as "pig bullying"?

Relax. He was ticketed for making a ruckus that disturbed the neighbors in the apartment building.

Well. Two thoughts.

1. There is no point to yelling at a cat. The beast cannot glean the gist of your pith. He cannot ascertain the nub of your peroration.

Even if you have crafted an elegant and ironclad logical argument against his using his claws on your silk boxers, especially while you are in them, the fundamental point will be lost.

Yelling at a cat is like frightening squirrels with flashcards. They may react. It doesn't meant they grasp that 2+2 = 4.

2. What was the line that made neighbors think something was amiss?

Studies show that owning a pet actually reduces stress, which makes the fellow's fit all the more mysterious. Maybe that's the secret to our status as America's Calmest City: After a day of smiling and being nice, we go home, shut the door and yell at our animals, just to vent.

Doesn't work for me. My dog's deaf. But how about a strongly worded letter every now and then?

Sure. Last week I drew a frowny-face on a Post-It note and put it in the hamster's cage.

He knows why. He knows.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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