Inclement Comportment & Deportment
On a lazy rainy day, I was sitting in my favorite chair in the family room trying to do a crossword puzzle. I’m pretty good at them too, with the exception of not knowing the answers coupled with my horrific spelling. Chester was laying on the sofa reading the latest issue of Modern Cat Magazine. He says he enjoys it for the articles, but I catch him starring at the centerfold and other provocative photos.
As is often the case, I was stuck on a clue. I asked Chester, “What’s a six-letter word starting with ‘T’ that means, hybrid offspring of two large cats.” His response surprised me, not for getting the solution correct, but for how he said it. “Tigons!” he meowed as loud as he could. “How stupid are you? Everyone knows the answer to that!”
This wasn’t the first time Chester had gotten uppity with me. But I was tired of it. I reminded him he could still be stuck sulking at the Mew Haven Cat Cafe if my daughter Lily hadn’t asked to bring him home as our pet.
“Oh yeah” he snarled. “You think it’s easy being cute all day for the few pieces of kibble you feed me?” Chester said, failing to mention he sleeps most of the day. “I should unionize!”
I could envision our tabby strutting up and down the sidewalk in front of our home, his tail somehow holding up a picket sign proclaiming “unfair labor practices.” Then the media shows up and we are portrayed as cat abusers. We become pariahs in our neighborhood and even worse, social media.; the modern version of public drawing and quartering.
I wasn’t going to let that happen, so I started looking at obedience schools for cats. They looked promising, but I felt Chester required more fine tuning than what they offered. How about a good old fashioned finishing school? Not the ones offered for cats, they were no different than the feline obedience schools. I’m talking the real deal, the courses offered to people.
Finishing schools were big in the 1800s for young ladies to improve their social graces in the pursuit of landing a husband. Chester didn’t need to be betrothed to another cat, but he did need a lot of work on his comportment and deportment.
Since the classic finishing school was tailored for females, I didn’t think that would work for Chester. It wasn’t important for him to learn how to arrange a tea table or how to set the silverware for a formal dinner. I searched on my phone for ‘finishing schools for men’ and got a hit from a place called, British Butler Institute. Besides teaching the skills needed to be a top-notch butler, they also had a certified finishing school for male cats. Eureka!
The B.I.I. had an impressive curriculum, many of which I thought Chester could use.
- How to attract the cat of your dreams (Chester is the cat of his dreams)
- Building relationships (how to stop running away from strangers)
- Career success strategies (getting more kibble)
- Winning image. Personal presentation (proper licking)
- Dress for success (fur only, don’t even think about putting clothes on Chester)
- Communication essentials. Meet and greet (raised tail, batting your eyes, proper meowing)
- Voice clinic (get that wussy meow volume raised)
- Confident conversation (purr what you prefer)
- Polished language skills (furthering getting more kibble)
- Body language (keeping your claws retracted)
- First impressions mastery (don’t make licking your ass the first thing someone sees)
- Polished movements and deportment (head rubbing and nose touching)
- Dining etiquette (stop hoovering your food in 10 seconds and try using a fork)
- Understanding the nature of self-confidence (letting Chester catch the wire cat toy)
- Finesse and savoir faire (good luck)
- Entertainment essentials (wire cat toy, mouse stuffed with catnip, scratching post, etc.)
- Domestic skills. Creating order and giving you essential valet skills that will impress and give you the skills to take charge of your life (flop on floor for scratches and rubs; don’t meow about people’s private and sensitive information)
- Cat’s issues in the modern world. Finding solutions (possible responsibility of felines for developing COVID-19 in a Chinese bio lab, inflation impact on kibble prices and other alternatives)
The B.I.I. offered our bumptious cat all the essentials to improve his demeanor. I just had two major issues with a common theme; money. One, I won’t spend £2799 ($3759) for the three-day course. Second, I wasn’t shelling out the money to fly him to England. They did offer some online courses, but not what Chester would find useful.
Then I gave it more thought. Was this really the right path to go down? The more I reflected, I didn’t think it was. I figured Chester had already been to finishing school at Cattica State Penitentiary in New York, for the time he served stealing high-end dietary kibble. Those learned skills were how to survive both in prison and on the outside. What more could a feline need.
I felt foolish thinking our Samuel Gompers of a cat had to be refined with proper comportment, deportment and all that other stuff. So, we have a house cat with an attitude, I can think of worse things. Also, if we got Chester to change his personality and mannerisms, he wouldn’t be Chester.
I continued with my crossword puzzle, but it wasn’t long before I needed more help from Chester. “What’s the only living cats that belong to the Acinonyx genus? Eight letters, starts with C, ends with an S,” I asked. Chester looked up from his magazine and purred, “In your case, the word is clueless, but the correct answer is Cheetahs.”
I wrote down the answer and said to Chester, “you deserve a nap.” When I looked over to the sofa, he was already snoring.