Cats Under Fire

Burn Kitty Burn

On special occasions during the winter, like Christmas and New Year’s, we light a log in the fireplace. Chester is enthralled with the flames and will sit for long periods of time staring at it. If he’s thinking how he might be able to light a fire himself, he can learn from his fellow cats in South Korea.

Chester chilling by the fireplace.

It appears that South Korean felines are pyromaniacs. According to officials in that country, cats have been responsible for more than a hundred house fires over the past three years.

But why?

According to a statement from the Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Department, cats accidently switched-on electric stoves by hitting buttons on the appliances. When the stoves over-heated, the houses caught fire. Half of these accidents occurred when the cats’ owners were out of their homes.

I talked to Chester about this and as usual, he didn’t think these incendiary incidents were “accidents”, but a reaction to something cats in South Korea don’t like.

“Let me hear your theory on this one,” I asked my uncertified arson investigator of a cat.

“It’s pretty simple,” Chester retorted in that voice which makes you feel like you’re not smart enough to see the obvious.

“Think about it, they eat cats and dogs over there; not that I care about the dog part,” Chester said matter-of-factly. “These cats would like to turn the tables and cook up some human Bulgogi (fire meat). So, they turn on the stove when no one is looking and wait for flambé a la human to sizzle. If they’re not getting a meal out of it, burning down the house is a good second option. Sounds like a great plot for Squid Game.

“But I would be curious how many fires dogs start in Korea. Since that wasn’t mentioned in the tale you told, I can only assume they’re too stupid to know how to do it,” Chester concluded.

“The American Humane organization said over 1,000 house fires are started by pets in this country each year,” I said.

“I bet few if any were started by idiot dogs,” Chester said with disdain.

“They just said pets, no breakdown on how many fires were started by each species” I said. “Maybe most of those fires were started by other animals, not cats or dogs. You think rabbits, ferrets or hamsters could pull that off?”

With that, Chester fell over laughing hysterically.

“That’s funny,” Chester said, pulling himself together. “Remember, cats are psychopaths. We know how to handle such situations with professional aplomb and not getting caught. When we’re done doing whatever it is we shouldn’t be doing; we bat our eyes, look innocent, give a few adorable meows and rub up against a human’s leg. All is forgiven. It never fails.”

“So, when you do that; bat your eyes, look innocent, give a few cute meows and rub up against my leg, I should assume you’ve done something wrong,” I asked our cat as if I was cross-examining a witness in a murder trial.

“No comment,” the shrewd tabby responded. “And what’s for dinner?”

I wanted to say cat, but I didn’t need to find out if Chester could turn on our stove.

“Chicken,” I said and left it at that.

Klepto Kitty: A Love Story

kleptomania noun – klep·​to·​ma·​nia | \ ˌklep-tə-ˈmā-nē-ə  , -nyə \ Definition of kleptomaniaa persistent neurotic impulse to steal especially without economic motive


Chester knows a thing or two about stealing. Before we got him, he did 8 months at Cattica State Penitentiary in New York for swiping high-end kibble. So, when I told him about a kleptomaniac kiwi kitty from New Zealand who has a knack for stealing anything not nailed down, our cat’s pointy ears perked up.

“Do tell,” Chester purred.

So, I told him about Keith the cat.

“Keith has brought home, ‘a corrections officer’s shirt, ladies’ swimsuits, entire washing lines with pegs attached, the local tradie’s (trade & services employee) steel-toed boots, bras, shoes and live eels, according to the website, Stuff,” I said. “But the topper was when Keith delivered a bong and a bag of white powder to his owners, Ginny and David Rumbold, who live outside the country’s South Island city of Christchurch.”

Keith with one of his pieces of stolen property. Courtesy: John Kirk-Anderson/Stuff

“We’ve been playing a bit of cat and mouse with this prolific offender.,” a police official told the website. “Of particular concern is Keith’s latest find – an implement used to smoke cannabis. We’ll be seizing the implement and speaking to Keith about where he’s acquired it from.”

Unfortunately for the police, this cat is no stool pigeon.

“That’s my boy,” Chester said lovingly. He’s a great example of all the best qualities of being a cat. He knows what he wants and keeps his yap shut. Makes me nostalgic for the good old days when I did that high-end kibble job.”

“But you got caught,” I said.

“Yeah, but it was fun,” Chester retorted.

“Keith does his cat burglary at night, and having black fur is perfect camouflage for pussy pilfering,” I noted.

“He’s also one strong feline,” I continued. “After repeatedly stealing a construction worker’s boots, the owner placed weights in them. Keith still was able to drag the booty back home.”

“I wonder what his workout routine is,” Chester said in awe.

“Despite overwhelming evidence of his crime spree, the only punishment Keith has received is home detention and that didn’t work out for the Rumbolds,” I said, as Chester leaned forward in anticipation. “After returning home one day, they saw that Keith had de-decorated their Christmas tree.”

“This guy has style,” Chester said in admiration. “That’s making great use of your time when your detained but the authorities. I wish I had thought of the tree bit when the guards had a Christmas fir at Cattica; though they most likely would have added a few more months to my sentence. Anyway, just genius on Keith’s part.

“You have to applaud a cat who doesn’t hide the evidence and says ‘what are you going to do about it.’ He goes back out and steals the goods again. Such panache! Can you shoot him a note on my behalf asking for an autographed picture? Make it out to, ‘your biggest fan, Cattica Chester.'”

I understood Chester’s kinship in crime with New Zealand’s number-one feline crook, but I wasn’t going to feed into Chester’s lawless fantasies. I didn’t reach out for Keith’s paw print or photo.

But I have to admit, Cattica Chester is a pretty cool nickname for our tabby.

One thought on “Cats Under Fire

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