Friday, January 9, 2009

T.H.E. Cat

Some of you older hipsters may remember a TV show from 1966 titled T.H.E. Cat. It starred Robert Loggia as Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat, ex-circus acrobat/ex-cat burglar turned professional bodyguard. He wore black turtlenecks ("beatnik," not beat wardrobe), drove a black 'Vette, swooned the ladies, and hung out at a cafe called Casa del Gato (House of the Cat). Great character actor R.G. Armstrong was in it as a recurring character. R.G.'s a very beat actor. I think he only had one hand in the show (reminiscent of The Fugitive?).

It was a favorite show of mine. Hey, I was 14! Robert Loggia continues to be a sought-after actor, and he's 80! I guess I had good taste in actors way back when.

The above ramble was brought to you courtesy of a tangential thought process related to cats. I was thinking about my two cats, Karma and Emma. Karma is cool. He loves to sit in my lap, sleeps next to me every night, lets me rub his belly, tolerates being held upside down, and I could go on. Emma, on the other hand, is deranged. She's aloof, flighty, shits on the rug, and hisses at the slightest provocation.

What's the difference? Emma was a rescue. I raised Karma from kittenhood.

Which got me thinking. As I say on Day 72 of The Beat Handbook, I think you can tell a lot about a person by their attitude toward cats:

...if a person doesn’t like cats, they are not beat. Period. In fact, I distrust anyone who claims to hate cats. They are either lying or they have some deep psychological trauma preventing them from seeing the truth: cats are cool. And no, that is not a reference to a song by the band Squeeze.

But that's too generic. The Karma/Emma situation got me thinking that you can tell a lot about a person by their cat's personality - but only if they raised the cat from kittenhood.

Psycho cat = psycho owner.

I have some experience with this from my past. It's not worth going into, but trust me: there's something here.

So when you're getting to know someone, ask them if they like cats. If they say no, call it off. If they say yes, find out if they have one. If they have one, ask them if they got the cat as a kitten. If they did, pay close attention to the cat's personality as a bellwether for the owner's true nature. I was going to call this the C.A.T. (Cat Attitude Test), and that reminded me of T.H.E. Cat. So there's the connection.

Anyway, ignore this advice at your will, but don't say you weren't warned.

Remember, Jack and Papa both loved cats!

By the way, the cat on Hemingway's table looks like Emma. Hmmm....

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