. . . Wednesday November 10, 2004

My Cat’s Television Addiction

A recent study indicated that toddlers who watch a significant amount of television often end up with attention deficit problems. Such studies have left a lot of parents feeling guilty.

This all leaves me in a terrible moral spot. For I’ve done something much, much worse than using the television as a live-in babysitter for kids.

I turned my cat into a TV addict.

Those who know me well will be the most surprised that I let this happen. It’s not that I don’t watch a lot of television (would you even trust me if I didn’t?). It’s that I am the ultimate cat caretaker. My cats eat human-grade, organic, all-natural foods hammered into delightful shapes by world renown artisans. Before taking any risk of endangering their precious paws, I hit the web and researched kitty litters for at least 1000 man hours. They sleep on European designer kitty mattresses and drink from handheld champagne glasses while perched atop my shoulder.

That was all a part of the responsibility I felt I had undertaken when I welcomed Mister Winters and his half-brother Little Man into my home. After all, Winty (the Michael Jordan of cats) came to us following a victorious run as a Tonkinese Grand Champion. His picture is still on the letterhead and the business cards of the breeder who raised him.

I knowingly took on the responsibility that I knew came along with rooming with this young, perfectly-coated and undefeated feline prince.

And now, he is a television addict with an attention deficit disorder.

It all started innocently enough. After seeing an infomercial for a DVD that was created to entertain cats, I bought a copy. I wrongly assumed that Mister Winters (who is, if nothing else, more a of Masterpiece Theater kind of guy) was above such pedestrian nonsense as watching birds and squirrels. As you can see from the photo below, I was wrong:

And now I can’t stop it. Last night we watched Shrek 2 and Mister Winters became obsessed with what he perceived as a threat coming from the direction of Puss ‘n Boots. Winty meows incessantly when I turn the TV off. He is bored, jittery and unfocused when it comes to such pursuits as chasing a ball of yarn or pawing at an artificial mouse. And, maybe I’m being paranoid, but I’m seeing subtle signs that Mister Winters may even have developed a bit of a drinking problem.

And that’s not the worst of it. Not only does he love TV and have attention deficit disorder and a drinking problem; I’m pretty sure that his favorite actor is Jim Belushi.

Maybe that’s ultimately my punishement for turning a grand champion into a catnip-sniffing, television-watching couch potato. Every week until Mister Winters is cured, I’ll have to watch the latest episode of According to Jim.

Concentration is important!