When I walked into the room, Shilo, our German shepherd, was reading The New York Times.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t let Shilo read it because pretty soon she’ll be drinking lattes, eating scones and signing up for health insurance, but I believe in the power of the well-rounded house pet.
Besides, she likes Maureen Dowd.
“Aha, I knew it,” Shilo said and put down the newspaper.
“What did you know?” I asked Shilo.
“That cats are sneaky and they’re bad for you,” Shilo said.
“Hey, wait a minute,” said Peanut Butter, one of our cats. He stopped to turn off the TV. He was watching Fox News Channel. “Who says cats are sneaky and bad for you?”
“The New York Times,” Shilo said proudly.
“Oh, the lamestream media. I should have known,” Peanut Butter said.
“No, it’s true. Someone did a scientific study,” Shilo said.
“Oh, scientists. What do they know?” Peanut Butter said.
It turns out that Shilo had been reading a story about the hidden dangers of cat bites. The story said that while dog bites “can tear flesh and break bones,” the bites are fairly easy to clean, which means they’re less likely to become infected.
Cat bites, while less dramatic, can cause serious problems if left untreated. The story said cat bites usually affect the hand and wind up injecting bacteria into tendons and bones. Here’s how Dr. Brian T. Carlsen, a hand surgeon at the Mayo Clinic and one of the authors of the study, described what can happen once a cat injects bacteria via a bite.
“Once it’s in there, it can grow quite rapidly in fluid-filled spaces that don’t have blood circulation, and surgery is often required.”
After I read that part of the story aloud to Peanut Butter, the room was quiet for a second. Then Peanut Butter spoke.
“That’s right,” he said. “We bad.”
“You’re not bad, you’re sneaky,” Shilo said. “Look, when you get bitten by a dog, you know you’ve been bitten. Getting bitten by a cat is like electing Ted Cruz to the Senate. You’re thinking, ‘What could go wrong?’”
“You’ve got to quit reading The New York Times,” Peanut Butter hissed.
“The point is, cats are too chicken to hurt someone themselves,” Shilo said. “They bite and wait for the infection to do the real work.”
I wanted to point out to Shilo that she just said that cats are chicken, but I didn’t want to get in the way of the discussion.
“That’s not the point,” Peanut Butter said. “Here is the point: Don’t mess with cats.”
“Ha!” Shilo said.
“Oh yeah?” Peanut Butter said. “I have two words for you, ‘Bob’ and ‘Costas.’”
I wanted to point out to Peanut Butter that Bob Costas is actually a name and not really two separate words, but I figured having a talking cat was enough.
“What about Bob Costas?” I asked.
“Well, let’s just say that a certain sportscaster wanted to force a certain cat to go to Russia with him, so the cat bit him in the hand,” Peanut Butter said.
“Wait, are you saying Bob’s cat gave him pinkeye?” Shilo said.
“That’s right. We bad,” is all Peanut Butter said.
“See what I mean?” Shilo said. “Because of a sneaky, hand-biting cat, America doesn’t have to listen to Bob Costas introduce hundreds of heartwarming stories about athletes we’ve never heard of before and probably will never hear of again.”
Shilo paused for a second to consider what she had just said, and then she continued.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this,” she said to Peanut Butter. “But thank you.”
“I’ll pass the word,” Peanut Butter said, and then he turned the TV back on. Fox News was running a story suggesting that the Affordable Care Act was the reason Shaun White didn’t win an Olympic medal.
“Aha! I knew it,” he said.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.