Schooled by Cats

Teacher’s Pet

New Mexico’s Governor has called out the National Guard; not to deal with a flood, or quell a riot, but to be school teachers.

Since October, the state has had more than 1,000 unfilled teaching positions and COVID-19 is only adding to the shortage. As a result, Governor Lujan Grisham put out the word that the state’s public schools need help teaching the youth in the Land of Enchantment; and the National Guard has answered the call.

Some 100 Guardsmen, who volunteered, have gone through training, along with Grisham, to teach in-class in an effort to avoid remote learning. They join a number of parents and public workers who have also volunteered to teach in schools across the state.

The “real” teachers support the move, so long as it’s not permanent.

A New Mexico National Guard soldier teaching a student math by deducing the proper megatonnage needed to destroy Russia’s Kansk nuclear missile facility. Courtesy: NBC News.

I mentioned this to Chester, our do-nothing cat, for no other purpose than to strike up a conversation.

“If New Mexico needs teachers, why aren’t they asking cats to fill in,” Chester said.

He caught me off guard with that comment. So, I asked the simple question; “why?”

“Because we’re a lot smarter, that’s why,” my temperamental tabby shot back.

“Really, you’re smarter than a person,” I responded.

“Obviously. All courses have an element of cat to them, might as well have a cat teach that stuff,” Chester said.

“Like what,” I asked, not expecting much of an answer.

“Let’s start with math,” my Ptolemy of a cat said. “If three cats eat three mice in three minutes, how long would it take 90 cats to eat 90 mice?”

I just stared at him, waiting to see if he really knew the answer.

“Three, idiot” he exclaimed. “Do you have dog for brains!?”

A National Guard cat teaching at an unidentified New Mexico school, explaining the difference between strategic and tactical battle planning.

“Science question,” my English boarding school teacher cat meowed. “Do cats always land on their feet?”

“Sure,” I weakly replied.

“Believe it or not, no,” countered the Isaac Newton of cats.

“Despite our superior sense of balance, an experiment by the U.S. government in 1947 showed that cats in a weightless environment, don’t always land on their feet. ” Chester lectured. He then showed his AV skills by playing a video to make his point.

“You’re failing, big time,” Chester said dejectedly. “Let’s try history.”

“Who inspired Nikola Tesla to patent the rotating magnetic field and the three-phase system of electric power transmission,” Chester asked, imploring me to get the correct answer.

“No idea,” I honestly responded.

At this point, Chester began to lick himself frantically. The way he does just before he runs around the house in a mad dash for no apparent reason.

“For Bastet’s sake,” Chester wailed. “It was his cat, Mačak.” “Did you pass kindergarten? You have to be acting, no one can be this dumb.”

Nikola Tesla’s cat Mačak, explaining the concept of static electricity to the future Inventors Hall of Fame inductee.

“Speaking of acting, let’s see how much you know about the arts. This is a softball question, so don’t develop a brain cramp thinking too hard about it,” Chester chided.

“Name any famous thespian feline. Any. Just one. A dead rat can do this,” Chester said, like he needed to take some deep breaths from an oxygen mask in order to not lose consciousness for my apparently being so dim-witted.

I held my tongue in the hopes I would witness a cat’s head enter low Earth orbit.

“It doesn’t have to be a real cat,” he whined in the most agitated voice imaginable.

5, 4, 3,2, 1….we have liftoff.

As Chester’s cranium shot past Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites (the ones that haven’t fallen back to earth), I could hear the faint sound of our cat’s voice.

“Felix the Cat, Morris, Sylvester the Cat, Top Cat, Cheshire Cat, Simba, …….”

I contacted Space Force to enquire if they could track Chester. I was told normally they would be happy to, but they were preoccupied with monitoring the Russians.

About an hour later, Chester came back down. A little singed from re-entry, but still white-hot with anger at his pupil (me).

“Simmer down,” I calmly said. “Didn’t you hear me yell Krazy Kat?”

“No,” Chester said, still seething. “But that’s a good one.”

“Any other classes you have in mind for cats to teach these children,” I asked.

“Just gym,” Chester glumly said. “But no cat could stomach how uncoordinated humans are compared to us.

With cats refusing to teach gym class, New Mexico schools have substitute teachers dressing in cat suits. Courtesy: Twitter/@Sigrun_Br

“We don’t have the patience for watching klutzy kids try to climb trees, chase down mice or attempt to jump five to six times their own height. Pathetic wouldn’t begin to properly tell how useless such an exercise in futility that would be.

“They have so little flexibility. They can only lick the bare minimum of their body parts. A cat wouldn’t want to demonstrate how to do that, it would kill those video game addicted brats’ self-esteem.

“Let’s just keep it to the three Rs; ridiculous, revulsive, repugnant.”

Brain Drain

As I was been chastised by Chester for my inability (or refusal) to answer academic cat questions, I had some information to bring him back down off his high horse.

“The way you talk, I feel like I’m hearing the smartest creature on planet Earth,” I said.

“What took you so long to figure that out,” was Chester’s retort. “I know; you’re as dumb as a brick. I feel sorry for the bricks.”

“What makes you so smart,” I inquired.

“My superior and very large brain,” Chester said with pride.

Professor Chester – M.D., Ph.D., Psy.D., D.D.S., Ed.D., J.D. M.S.W., Kibble Sommelier.

“Large,” I asked.

“Yes, large. If it wasn’t for my cranium, my brain would block out the Sun,” the cat genius said.

“Guess what, Brainiac; your cat brain isn’t that big. In fact, it’s shrinking,” I said, anticipating Chester’s reaction.

“Did you get into my supply of catnip,” Chester asked incredulously.

“Cat brains have been shrinking ever since you guys became domesticated,” was my answer.

“What other fantasies did you think of after you hit your head on a rock,” Chester said mockingly.

“That’s a scientific fact,” I shot back. “A research paper by The Royal Society Open Science’s journal, determined that ever since cats came in from the wild and got lazy sitting around the house, your craniums have shrunk ‘significantly’.”

Cranium of Felis catus (not Chester’s). Courtesy: Royal Academy.

“All that means is during our wild period, cat brains would have blocked out the entire galaxy,” Chester said, pleased with his reply.

“By the way, what is the Royal Society Open Science,” the inquisitive cat asked.

“The Royal Society is, by their own words, ‘a fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence’.” I said, hoping that would impress Chester.


“When my cats aren’t happy, I’m not happy. Not because I care about their mood but because I know they’re just sitting there thinking up ways to get even.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley

“A fellowship of people,” the shrewd tabby asked.

“Of course,” I shot back, knowing what Chester’s response would be as soon as the words left my mouth.

“There’s the problem with that so-called journal,” Albert Catstein chortled. “That proves my point that people are morons and you’re example number-one.

“If cats had written that article, they would have clearly noted that our brains used to be so large, they blocked out the entire universe. That’s a lot of brains to lug around every day, so we got smart and down-sized, but only in the proportion of our craniums, not the superior intelligence we have over you.

“I thought you said wild cat brains would have blocked out the entire galaxy, not universe,” I said.

“I was first referring to the wild cats that came into peoples’ homes; the very primitive cats had brains the size of the universe. Look it up, but not in any ‘scientific’ babel written by humans.

“Any other drivel you want to lay on me?”

I wasn’t sure if Chester had another card to play, since he had already gone “universe” size on cat brains

“Yes, but it’s a hypothetical question. Something a summa cum laude cat like yourself should have no problem answering,” I said.

“This should be easy,” my overconfident feline responded.

“If kibble is stored in a strong unopened container and locked in the pantry, how would Chester get his dinner,” I smugly asked.

Silence.

“Is it possible Chester could use his Sun-sized head to melt the door,” I continued.

Chester’s proud demeanor shifted to that of a crushed kitty.

“The correct answer is the moron would do it for Chester,” I said. “And what does that make Chester?”

“Smart enough to get the moron to do the work for him,” Chester said as he re-gained his pride.

“So, where’s my kibble,” Chester asked.

“The moron is on it,” was all I could say.

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