My cats owe me two thousand dollars.

Steve Silverman’s SLIDESHOW, 18 September 2009

Cats and Technology, by Bonnie Gillespie

My cats owe me two thousand dollars.

And I’m not talking about the food (which is high-end Science Diet, because the market brands give the boy kitty bladder infections) or the water (which comes from a high-end waterfall-style fountain dispenser because everyone is too cool to drink still water from a bowl) or the litter (which is the crystal kind, because no one likes the little foot-shaped sand clumps the other kind makes) or the shots or the upkeep or the expenses involved when one of ’em decides to chew through an electrical cord, frying her gums.

No, no. This is about jealousy.

My cats have systematically been killing off my technology because it’s the only thing in the house my husband and I spend more time with than them. Not just them. Technology is the only thing my husband and I spend more time with than each other. Hi, honey.

Now, I’m not a cat person.

I know. How is a person with three cats not a cat person?

Well, Archie and his sister were my mom’s cats. My mom passed away when they were 18 months old. I offered to bring them home with me after Mom’s funeral, but my sweetheart of a stepdad said he wanted to keep them because–even though he was not a cat person–he knew that having them around would remind him of Mom, who loved them so much, and whom he loved so much.

Exactly two months later, my stepdad boarded a Delta jet with two kitty carriers as his luggage. I am not a cat person. I am a cat inheritor.

Don’t AWW. Remember. These bitches owe me two grand.

Oh, but you saw three cats before, didn’t you?

Doesn’t having three cats make you a cat person, Bon?

No. It makes me both a cat inheritor and a cat rescuer.

See, a few years ago, we visited friends in Orange County. We knew their cat had just had kittens and the whole drive down there, I said to my husband, “I’m not coming home with a kitten. I am not coming home with a kitten. I AM NOT coming home with a kitten.”

Well, while there, I learned that these folks are so very pro-life that they actually refuse to fix their pets, because if it’s the Lord’s will, they will reproduce.

I know.

Then I saw their toddler walking around carrying this kitten by her tail. Her sad, broken tail.

And I was *this close* to coming home with a kitten. But no. My logic won out.

And then someone opened the champagne. And I came home with a kitty. It was my birthday after all.

Don’t AWW! I’m telling you! She is the most evil of them all!

Her name is Thwok. T-H-W-O-K. Thwok. That is the sound she makes when she hits the wall, running at full speed. Which she continues to do. At age five. (She’s not very bright.)

She fancies herself a marvelous hunter. Here she is hunting a bug on the ceiling from the shelves of demo reels. This photo was taken moments before she plummeted to my husband’s desk below, killing his laptop. $1500.

Here she is enjoying her bed, our former duplex laser printer. She loved this bed because it was warm and because she learned how to push a certain button and start up a reprint of the last print job. Duplex. Meaning the page would shoot out once, then suck back in (giving great “chase” material) and then emerge again. Until she chased one too many pages back into the machine. $500.

We had to get rid of our comm center because the whole fax machine, answering machine thing became a way for Thwok to terrorize the elder kitties. Well, they tortured each other. They’d all run across the buttons in the middle of the night, playing messages, playing our outgoing greeting, erasing our messages, changing our greeting. Upgrade to internal voicemail and faxing? $350.

Now, their torture of each other could be worse.

You can AWW at that one. They’re not my cats. My friends Jodi and Shon have to worry about the plumbing bill for this little incident.

We had to upgrade to a flat-screen monitor. $300.

My laptop. $1700.

Where are we now? $4350? Yeah. Forget what I said about my cats owing me two thousand dollars. This is getting serious.

What caused this rant to become a slideshow is a status update I posted a couple of weeks back at the good ol’ Facebook. I mentioned that one of my cats had learned how to TiVo. I know this because I was home, Keith was at a meeting, and suddenly a show neither of us watches was being recorded. I texted him. “We’re TiVo’ing NCIS why?” The reply came, “Because you think Mark Harmon is sexy?” “Nope. Try again.”

Neither of us had set this show up to record. Damn cats. Theories on the Facebook abounded about what these pussies were getting out of CBS. Still, their programming choices–however crappy–didn’t cost me anything. Now, if they had deleted an episode of America’s Next Top Model, we’d be dealing with stuffed and mounted domestic animals at this point. But it did get me thinking about the technology in our lives they have killed.

Most recently, my backup drive.

A one-terabyte external hard drive that backed up my daily goodies and–more importantly–that recently became the archive home for years of my casting files, writing files, books and columns, all of it. Because, “Hey, technology is a good thing and this is a safe place for my data. It’s all here in one, safe place. Let’s wipe this stuff off the daily-use computers. All of it.”

See this little cable here? It’s short. It connects the external hard drive to my laptop. And unlike the breakaway power cable on the MacBook, when this cable gets run into by a maniac Maine Coon chasing one of his fellow felines around the house, it actually snaps the attached hard drive to the floor.

The device is under warranty. We can send it back and get a new one. For free. The data recovery, however, is not covered. That’s $2000.

But now that I’m doing the math, I realize my cats actually owe me more like $6350.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you three



spirited cats and a trunk filled with broken gadgets. These items will be available on eBay for the low opening bid of six grand, starting tomorrow. Thank you for your consideration, and happy bidding!

Posted by bonnie at September 19, 2009 12:00 PM


Maybe you aren’t a cat person, but you are sucker for a cute and fuzzy face.

Posted by: Heather at September 19, 2009 12:30 PM


Posted by: Kari at September 19, 2009 1:17 PM

AWESOME! LOL. Those Felines are such rascals. I had no idea! What a story. I have even more love and respect for your family. “Bless Your Hearts” as my grandma always said.

Posted by: Lori G at September 19, 2009 1:27 PM

LMAO. That was totally hilarious. And you tell those cute cuddly kitties to stay away from ANTM. Happy cuddling with the kitties.

Posted by: Tamika RS at September 20, 2009 11:35 PM

Heather–Especially Keith’s!

Kari–Thank you. 🙂

Lori–“Rascals” is totally the right word!

Tamika–There would’ve been shaved, bald, “Ty-Overed” kitties, had they killed off my ANTM episodes. 🙂 Love you! XO

Posted by: Bon at September 20, 2009 11:44 PM

LOL! So awesome 🙂 You and Travis will have tons to talk about (he is not a cat person, unlike me)

Posted by: Regina at September 21, 2009 11:03 PM

Bonnie, I LOVE cats, can’t have any where we live. I lost my Mr. Puggles of 8 years to liver disease last summer. Anytime you need a cat sitter, let me know!! I’d do it for free just to spend the time with them. They’re all gorgeous.

Take care,

Norma Jean

Posted by: Norma Jean at September 24, 2009 9:40 AM

I think I got off cheap with the thyriod treatment for Greyson 🙂 Thankfully he doesn’t like electronics — just nip.

Posted by: Laura at September 24, 2009 7:45 PM

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