Cat Contract


Because y’know… I was just standing there when this cat offered to sell itself to me. I felt a little weird about it. Yeah. But that didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to consider it. It’s not like it was a stray or anything like that. It certainly didn’t look like it was. It was in a carrier and everything. It sat in there peering out casually, offering to sell itself to me. Seemed like a perfectly rational decision. Seemed like a perfectly rational thing to do if it were, in fact, rational. I knew full well that cats didn’t talk or anything like that. But I was OK with it. And it offered itself for $20. I figured it wasn’t really that big a deal; if anything, it would be an interesting story. So I reached into my wallet and pulled out the $20. And I handed it to the cat. The cat pawed the $20 and put it in the far corner of the carrier. I figured, you know, if I came to a position where I really needed the money, I could just reach in and take it. Empty out the cat and just take the $20 back. Simple as that. So I was off. With this cat in the carrier. This cat which was now mine.

It was a big surprise for the kids. Suddenly we’ve got a cat. My wife seemed OK with it. She’d been meaning to get a new cat for a while. I would’ve expected my story about how I picked it up to be a little bit more interesting to them. I guess they probably just had a thought I was joking about it. Which is totally understandable. I mean… I can completely identify with the idea that they would think that I was just joking about that. Because one simply isn’t serious about that sort of thing, are they?

When the kids were off doing their schoolwork and my wife was reading in bed, the cat got my attention. I went in to meet with it. I didn’t expect the scam I got; though honestly, it wasn’t a scam exactly. But the cat wasn’t really playing fair. Not that I would ever expect a feline to play fair. They are inherently selfish creatures. Not that that’s a judgment call or anything like that. It’s just that cats don’t happen to be… traditionally social. And so they can be very selfish. I kind of respect that about them.

Anyway, the cat had explained to me that he kind of liked the placement and everything. He was perfectly willing to stay. I had bought him, but I only had bought him “on spec.” I hadn’t contractually specified that I would buy him forever anything like that. Or even until he died. All nine times or whatever. The agreement was that I would buy him. And own him. Nothing ever specified for how long. So it was at the cat’s discretion as to when it was that I would no longer own him. I guess that made a lot of sense. There was no agreement beyond the basic transaction.

And so there were negotiations. The cat had a contract drawn up. I felt as though I was very shrewd in my dealings with the cat. The negotiation went extremely well. I had gotten quite a bit out of it. However, it seemed kind of strange to be paying it on a regular basis and agreeing to all of those other things that I’d agreed to. Again, I sort of figured that went with it being a cat and everything that none of the contract with the hold up in a court of law. But I didn’t want to push it.

With the contract signed everything was quite cool. I felt very good about the deal. The kids liked playing with the cat. The cat seemed to like playing with the kids. However, it didn’t talk to them the way it talked to me. It didn’t talk to my wife the way you talk to me. I had this fifty page contract with this pet that only considered itself to be on speaking terms with me. And it’s not like it’s and of the contract was completely unreasonable or anything like that. The cat did what it needed to do and in exchange I gave it what it wanted. Kind of weird watching a cat curl up into someone’s lap due to a contractual obligation, but it seemed as sincere as any pet when it was purring or whatever.

Honestly everything seemed very clear and rational. Everything seemed very solid. Very down to earth. Every now and again the cat and I would have a very businesslike exchange. Maybe we talked politics for a little bit. And then it would go back to doing what cats do with my kids and my wife and so on.

There was nothing in the contract that specifically said that I had to live with my family. Or that they had to live with me. I suspect that the cat felt as though it was unable to keep up with his usual business due to the constant time constraints of playing with the kids and having the kids play with him. So it set-up a few fake profiles and accounts on social media. Before long it managed to convince my wife that I was cheating on her with younger woman. It had paid close attention to the idiosyncrasies of my writing style and was able to deftly fabricate fictional affairs that I was purportedly having with a few other women. Actually, I kind of respect the way the cat wrote very intricate details into things that felt totally believable. E-mails and those instant messages and things like that; all very believable. A part of me half-wished the women in question really existed. There were moments where I kind of wondered if I might have been losing it on some level. Cats don’t really talk, do they?

Filed under Fiction on March 8th, 2019