The Chester Chronicles Blog

A Do-Nothing Cat

Cattus Semper Dormientes

The Story

Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

Mark Twain

Have paws – will sleep

“If cats could write history, their history would be mostly about cats.”

Eugen Weber

Chester dictating a message for Genifer to type.

Cat Therapy

February, 2020 – My youngest daughter, Lily, was in need of a pet, at least to visit one.

We had lost our beloved Emma, the orange and white tabby of 18 years, the previous November.

When my daughters were young, my wife had told her best friend, Donna, she was thinking about getting them a pet, like a gerbil. That horrified Donna who had another idea.

Emma, the as yet unnamed feline was delivered to Connecticut from Long Island via the ferry by Donna. She was accompanied by her mother and cat accoutrements. They said hello, then goodbye and immediately got back in their car for their trip home.

This left my wife alone with a stray cat who quickly made himself at home.

When my wife brought our daughters back to the house, the cat ran up to them and quickly made new friends. Lily and her older sister Grace asked if they could keep the cat. Genifer said yes and they all started to cry for joy.

The girls named the cat Emma Pumpkinseed.

Emmy had a great personality, more like a dog than a feline. I took the cat for its first check-up, told the vet the name of our new pet and he responded by saying we should name him Elmo, not Emma. We didn’t know it, but Emma had previously been neutered.

Genifer made me swear not to tell the girls the true sex of the cat for fear of traumatizing them. I didn’t think that would happen, but I played along with our secret for several years.

Emma went out in a blaze of glory.

When Grace and Lily did learn the truth, they didn’t go into shock and the anticipated crisis never materialized. They just went back to playing with Emma.

Lily, Grace, Genifer and I had a wonderful 17 years with Emma. We all shed tears when we had to put her down. Based on when we got “her”, he was probably pushing 20.

Now, three months after that sad day, it was clear to Genifer, that Lily needed a cat fix.


Before Valentine’s Day 2020, they took a road trip to New Haven, Connecticut to visit the Mew Haven Cat Cafe. Simple concept, buy some coffee and visit a room full of cats who were not caffeinated.

After a while, my wife noticed that Lily wasn’t with her. She found her sitting in an alcove with a cat circling our daughter and then laying on her lap, purring very loud. One look from Lily to Genifer was all it took to get hooked. They weren’t there to get a cat, just to see them. But when an animal picks you and not the other way around, the connection is so much stronger.

“You didn’t save a cat. A cat saved you.”

Kendare Blake

The cat, called Cedar by the establishment, had just pulled off the feline version of three-card monte. He reeled in his mark, and scored. Every cat knows a good purr always suckers in the humans.

Genifer began to fill out the adoption papers.

Bring Home the Baby

Upon returning home, I was told the story of what had occurred at the Mew Haven Cafe. I wasn’t surprised, but before Cedar was going to move in with us, I was granted the courtesy of seeing the hustler for myself.

Now a few days after Valentine’s Day, Genifer, Grace, Lily and I were off to see Cedar. I knew before I got in the car, we were coming home with an additional passenger.

Chester (aka Cedar) has his first photo taken by Lily at Mew Haven Cat Cafe.

We bought some coffee and moved next door to the area where the cats were hanging out. Lily found Cedar, a one-year-old tabby with black and dark gray markings plus a very long tail. A handsome male who wasn’t afraid to show off his card-shark skills in re-connecting with his mark. I was wise to the cat’s game, but how could I say no after seeing the joy on Lily’s face.

My wife completed filling out the forms from the original visit and handed over the money to cover the cost of shots, neutering and the chip that was implanted in Cedar in case the cat went missing.

The four humans and the cat got in the car for the ride home, but someone was about to get a name change.


I asked Lily the obvious question, “What are you naming your cat?” She and Grace had anticipated their parents’ capitulation and decided that Chester would be the tabby’s new name. It was a good choice; we all liked the sound of it.

The Naming of Cats by T.S. Eliot from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

“The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter, It isn’t just one of your holiday games; You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES. First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily, Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James, Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey – All of them sensible everyday names. There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter, Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames: Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter – But all of them sensible everyday names. But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular, A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified, Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular, Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride? Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum, Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat, Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum – Names that never belong to more than one cat. But above and beyond there’s still one name left over, And that is the name that you never will guess; The name that no human research can discover – But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess. When you notice a cat in profound meditation, The reason, I tell you, is always the same: His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name: His ineffable effable Effanineffable Deep and inscrutable singular Name.”

I’ll bet the house Chester isn’t calling himself Effanineffable or Bombalurina. More likely Kibbleicious than Quaxo or Coricopat.

If he does know his name, he’s keeping it a secret. Anyway, he lives a simple life and has a simple name, Chester, and that’s just fine with us.

Damaged Goods

As we started our drive back home, Chester began meowing in a way that didn’t sound like a happy cat. Wasn’t this his decision to make a future with our family? The answer was an emphatic yes, yet something was wrong.

When we got home, Chester hid under the sofa, and when he did come out to explore his new surroundings, was very lethargic. He was also bleeding from the nose.

My wife called the vet.

The last time we had been to the vet, it was to put down our cat of 18 years, Emma. Now it was to find out what was wrong with Chester and keep him alive. Having your new pet die within the first week of ownership wasn’t going to go over well on a number of levels.

Genifer and Lily took our new family member to the animal doctor. The physician examined Chester and determined he had pneumonia and was incensed that the cat would have been handed over to us in such a condition. Chester wasn’t ill when Genifer and Lily first met him. They got the medicines and instructions on how to get Chester healthy again and came home.

My wife is from New Jersey. I’ve learned many times you don’t cross a Jersey girl. Genifer is sugar and spice and everything nice, until she’s not. That happens when I say or do something stupid, which is an attribute I excel at. She can also direct her ire at someone in the outside world who does the same. On this occasion she focused her displeasure at the people who had Chester before us.

To her credit, my wife was stern but diplomatic in explaining the condition of the feline that was handed over to us. It wasn’t like she had to complain about a dead parrot; nevertheless, we had accrued a nice bill for the vet and medicine to wean Chester back to health.

The good folks at the Mew Haven Cafe at first said they would take the cat back, but that wasn’t going to happen. Instead, they agreed to pay for the medical bills. This decision avoided the usual Jersey suggestion of a ride to the Pine Barrens, a location that some people mysteriously don’t return from.


When we got Chester, we didn’t know he was part rooster. Around 4 a.m. he would come upstairs where we were blissfully sleeping and begin to meow. His voice started softly in adagio, but when there was no reaction from us, he amped up the volume and shifted to presto. This was not music to our ears. Chester’s motives where to announce his presence and get fed.

Message received.

At first, we thought his act was cute, then annoying and finally enraging. People need their Zzzs too. If they don’t get the right amount of sleep, they can suffer sleep deprivation and that can lead to an early death. In this case that could be ours or the cat’s.

A solution was needed, and fast.


We never thought of Chester as a tubby tabby, but our vet said he was overweight. His orders were to feed the cat twice a day with a prescribed amount of food. Chester didn’t like that and some of the things he said can’t be printed.

With Chester being placed on the Alcatraz diet (his words, not ours), 4 a.m. would get a whole lot worse for the people. Death metal was going to sound like a lullaby compared to what Chester had planned.

What to do?

Chester in stir. The prisoner demands his kibble.

The quick fix was to provide Chester with an extra meal given to him in the basement. Doctor’s orders were trumped by our need for undisturbed sleep.

Chester was provided some extra kibble along with his water bowl and litter box for which he dutifully followed us downstairs. He was pleased to get more chow. We went upstairs and locked the door to keep him confined for the night.

Turns out Chester can wolf down kibble faster than Usain Bolt can run the 100 meters. No sooner were we out of the basement, he had finished eating and was at the top of the stairs meowing to be let out. When that didn’t happen, a paw came from under the door with claws extended. It looked like a scene from a horror movie.

Give Chester his props, when motivated, he learns quickly. On the second night of the new world order, he went downstairs following his new rations, ate them and then stayed in stir without raising a fuss.

In the following days, Chester would bolt to the basement following anyone who went downstairs to get something. We had to tell him, “Not yet, Chester.” He was so eager to get more food, he looked forward to a night in solitary.

And when it was time for the people to go to sleep, not a creature was stirring, not even a cat.

Stair Master

For an aloof animal, Chester does have his moments where he wants to be noticed. Sometimes it’s when we come home. He’ll move to the center of the room and flop on the rug, extending himself as far as he can go. You now have the option to give him a belly, back or neck rub. This is done for his pleasure, not ours and is in line with every other aspect of Chester’s life.

But when he really wants your attention, he has this annoying habit of laying across a step as you’re trying to ascend or descend those very stairs. Why? I’ll let you decide with the most logical possibilities.


News flash! Cats like to sleep, except Chester does so in strange positions that don’t seem possible or comfortable. Most of the photos we’ve taken of him are when he’s asleep and contorted. Sometimes he sleeps with his eyes open which is spooky. This both amuses and amazes us. If Chester wasn’t so lazy, he could audition for Cirque du Soleil. I’m sure they’d hire him for some artsy cat dream bit.

Role Playing

Chester has specific roles for the four of us. At the top of the hierarchy is Lily. She’s the reason Chester joined our family and has the cat’s loyalty, as far as a feline can be loyal. When Lily comes home from work, Chester runs to the door to greet her. When she’s laying on the couch, Chester lies on top of her to snuggle. When it’s time for bed, Lily is the one who brings his food, water and litter box to the basement, with Chester compliantly following her.

Sleeping beauties.

My wife is a close second in Chester’s world. In the morning when Genifer is stretching on the rug, Chester comes over to stretch with her. When my wife is grading papers on that same rug, Chester is there to help too. And when she’s sitting on her chair in the den, Chester is quick to jump in her lap, make himself comfortable, give loud purrs before falling dead asleep. Sometimes my wife will join him for a catnap.

Chester wasn’t quite sure about me. In the beginning, he was only friendly when I was the one feeding him in the morning. He put on the usual charm when a cat is hungry; purrs, walking around rubbing my legs with his tail high in the air. As soon as I gave him his meal, I was a distant memory. Outside of that, Chester kept a healthy distance away from me.

To change Chester’s standoffishness, I needed to get more involved. That’s when I became his play pal. We had plenty of things for him to be entertained with that were left over from our previous cat, Emma. But the magical instrument of fun for Chester was the wire cat toy. A simple concept, a wiggly wire with several pieces of rolled up paper on the end, but when you moved it around the floor, he went nuts. You could make him run in circles at warp speed as if he were chasing his tail, or move it over the furniture where he looks like he’s participating in a parkour contest.

Wire cat toy spin-o-rama fun.

He also likes to be chased around the house. He enjoys running under the kitchen table where he will stay just out of reach. If you walk away, he will run by you with a sideways gait and his tail curled like a question mark so you can pursue him again.

Most of the floors downstairs aren’t covered by rugs. When the chase begins, because of his long nails, Chester runs in place for a couple of seconds before he gains traction to run away. He also skids when trying to corner from room to room. When this happens, I call him Cartoon Kitty as he looks like a character from Looney Tunes.

Later I pretend to be scared of Chester and he will chase me. That includes playing the banister game. After I walk to the bottom of the stairs, he will come down to where he hides behind the balusters. I reach through to try and touch him, but he bobs and weaves like a boxer, just staying outside of my jabs. He then counters and tries to hit me, sans claws. He too can’t lay a paw on me.

A dangerous game (for me) is the curtain fight. Chester will hide behind the drapes to the sliding doors, then I try to grab him through the fabric. Chester counters by reaching under the cloth with claws extended trying to get back at me. I’ve shed more blood doing this than when I played high school football.

Through play, we developed a closer bond, not like the ones he has for Lily and Genifer, but it was better than before. So now I’m both a girl dad and cat dad.

As for Grace, before she moved into her own home, she wanted to have a relationship with Chester like the one she had with Emma, which was very close. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Chester doesn’t like her. This despite how Grace took care of Chester when he first came home and was sick. Anytime Grace wanted to pet or hold him, he ran away. Time hasn’t changed his view. When Grace comes over to visit from her recently purchased home, he still hightails it

Grace wants a pet badly and a dog is in her future. My advice to Grace – pay attention to the stairs when you visit next time. Chester has an opinion on dogs.

Can’t wait for her first stopover with the canine.

History Doesn’t Repeat Itself

Some 12,000 years ago, wild cats (Felis Silvestris Lybica) and humans began to establish a relationship. At that time, thanks to the development of agriculture, people started to settle down in an area historically referred to as the Fertile Crescent, what we now call the Middle East. Communities had a surplus of grain to hold for future use. These grain stores became targets of rodents which was a big problem for societies, but was a boon for the cats who had access to an abundance of Rodentia tartare.

Into towns came the wild cats for a constant supply of easy to catch meals. People were so grateful for the arrival of the mousers, they brought them into their homes, and voila, Felis Silvestris became Felis Domesticus. Cats were held in such high regard by the Egyptians, the animals were deified as the goddess, Bastet. Other civilizations also looked upon the domesticated animals in a similar fashion. This historical fawning over felines is why today’s house cat thinks the world revolves around them.

That brings us to Chester. Like his ancestors, Chester feels strongly about his self-importance in our home. To convince him otherwise would be like trying to find an ending to pi. But unlike the long lineage of Felis Domesticus, Chester is not a hunter. He pretends to be, but he’s not.

Chester is a house cat (Piger Domus Cattus). His idea of the hunt is no different than a person who thinks they’re a great musician while playing air guitar. It’s an act that allows him to live briefly in his kitty fantasy world as the great stalker and killer of small creatures.

“The phrase ‘domestic cat’ is an oxymoron.”

Mark Twain

Indoors, Chester has all the moves of a hunter. He gets into the classic cat crouch, twerks his rear, wags his tail and makes chattering war cries, just before his imaginary leap onto the helpless prey.

The Far Side by Gary Larson – © Andrew McMeel Universal

When we bring Chester outside onto our backyard deck, the one place we allow him to go alfresco, he is clueless. Many a time has a chipmunk scurried by our big game hunter and he either doesn’t see the critter, or just stares at it.

Where’s the crouch? Where’s the twerk? Where’s the pounce? What happened to thousands of years of predatory instinct? Yawn.

If you put a chipmunk in front of his face, he wouldn’t catch it. That’s a fact, because it’s what Genifer did.

One day, a chipmunk was walking on the railing of the deck when it spotted Chester and froze in its tracks. Of course, Chester didn’t see the rodent, but the humans did. Genifer implored the tabby to attack and make our family proud. This went on for several minutes before my wife couldn’t take it anymore. She went over to Chester, picked him up, and dropped him on the railing a few inches from the intruder.

Off the railing flew the chipmunk, off the railing flew Chester; and then….

Chester’s cat cred is kaput.


I wasn’t totally truthful about Chester’s hunting abilities. There is one living thing he excels at catching, the lawn.

Chester is a grass addict and we are not here to help his craving. No sooner had his paws hit the ground, he stopped going after the chipmunk who had run under the deck. Instead, he looked puzzled and was more interested in the grass. The faux hunter went back onto the veranda, cowering under a chair while we scolded him for his failure to be a real cat.

Lily and I were howling, as was the chipmunk.

There were no other felines to see what had happened, saving him the embarrassment at the loss of his cat street cred. Except gossip travels in our neighborhood. The chipmunk starts talking to his brethren, they pass it on to the squirrels and finally the pack rats with bushy tails yell down from the trees to the cats. Next thing you know, there’s a cluster of felines laughing their whiskers off in front of our home like a clan of hyenas.

At that point I don’t care about Chester’s feelings; I’m putting a “for sale” sign in front of our domicile to start a new life, incognito of course. Pitcairn Island is sounding better by the moment.

Chester’s fantasy.

If Chester is trying to disguise his intentions for a grass fix, he will wander slowly to the steps or the railing acting as if nothing is going on; akin to someone walking around a museum checking out the art. Then he lunges for the grass. Other times he takes off like he’s chasing a chipmunk, but as previously noted, he slams on the brakes, taking as many bites as he can before we scramble to chase him back into the house. It happens so often; all we have to do is open the screen door and he runs inside. He knows what he did, but he can’t help himself. There will be plenty more opportunities.

In fairness to Chester, we’ve had a lot of rain this year and the lawn is considered one of the better vintages by cats in Connecticut. Grass Spectator magazine (Chester has a subscription) rated it between 95-100, its top grade. C’est manifique!

If we let Chester have his way, I might not have to mow the lawn anymore. But the consequences to his digestive system would result in a tapestry of vomit that will kill the qi in the feng shui of our home.


No, Chester doesn’t have COVID-19; but his personality has been shaped by it. It was only a few weeks after he arrived in our home that the country shut down and we pretty much stayed in our house. That meant there was no interaction with other people or pets and the isolation only reinforced his scaredy cat temperament.

Getty Images

Eventually we formed a pod with our next-door neighbors. Our socializing was restricted to our yards and homes. When they came over, Chester kept his distance. If one of their daughters brought their dog over, distance turned to hiding.

As time passed, Chester would wander in the vicinity of humans and canines, but not too close. He was content to watch the action from a safe distance in case somebody got to close and he had to fly up the stairs to hide under a bed.

“For a man to truly understand rejection, he must first be ignored by a cat.”


Our other next-door neighbors have a boxer dog. There have been a couple of occasions where Grace or Lily thought it would be a good idea for Chester to make friends. As they approached the fence that the dog was behind, she would get excited and wag her stub of a tail. Clearly the canine was looking forward to making acquaintances. Meanwhile, Chester would be laser focused on the pooch until he felt the journey had gone too far. At that point, he would bolt out of the arms of whoever was holding him and jet propel himself back to the deck, sitting by the screen door to be let inside.

Poor dog had the look of a jilted playmate. Chester had the look of, “what were you thinking?”

Gas Attack

In 1925 the Geneva Protocol was signed by members of the League of Nations banning the use of chemical weapons following World War I. As a cat, Chester did not, has not, and will not agree to this. Too bad for our family.

For a cuddly, cute and small animal, Chester discharges the foulest stench when he uses his litter box. The results of his defecations are more in line with major chemical spills, than that of a fastidious cat.

He begins the process by serenading the house with meow yelps as if he’s been forced to watch Ishtar for the 100th time. Then, when he’s done doing his business, what follows is similar to that which occurred in the trenches of the Great War. The gas creeps silently out of the bathroom and envelops us.

When this happens, we open the window to the lavatory and close the door as fast as we can. Behind the door we can hear the air scream for mercy.

While the humans suffer, Chester is happy as he can be. The tabby does joyful wind sprints from the kitchen to the family room and back; freed of the evil that was inside him. How nice of him to share Hades with us.

I’m guessing synthetic catnip plays a role in this diabolical creation.

Eventually, someone has to go in there to save humanity. My wife, Genifer, is usually the brave one who enters the danger zone, much like a bomb disposal expert examining a suspicious package. She does this old school style; that is, no bomb or hazmat suit. After disarming the weapon of mass destruction, she wraps it in a plastic bag and places it inside a bomb containment chamber, more commonly known as the garbage can in the garage.

If the Medal of Honor were given to civilians, Genifer would have a roomful of them.

So overwhelming is Chester’s filthiness, we’ve been approached by several nation states seeking either the formula for his discharge, or the outright purchase of our pet in their attempt at becoming a global super power. As a proud American, I will not do this; at least until I hear what the U.S. military is willing to offer first.

God bless America!

What’s In a Name

Chester doesn’t respond to his name or anything else we call him. Instead, it’s specific sounds. The sound of the top coming off a container of kibble or a tin of cat food, the sound of the slider to the deck widening as he runs thinking he’s going outside; or any window opening, so he can sit on the sill and watch the goings on around our home.

That hasn’t prevented us from coming up with nicknames for our cat.

Using the T.S. Eliot guide to naming cats, here’s a breakdown of what we call our pet.

Sensible NamePeculiar NamesChester’s Name for Himself
ChesterChester Buster Boy
Cartoon Kitty
Crazy Cat
Fur Ball
Handsome Boy
Handsome Prince
Bowling Pin
Squish Beans
Belly Boy
Little Friend
Chester A. Cat
Chester’s noms d’affection.

This list is sure to grow.

Chester A. Cat is one of my nicknames for our pet. Why? I like obscure things, people and events. Chester A. Arthur fits that bill. He became the 21st President of the United States following the assassination of James A. Garfield in 1881. In a particularly bad period of political cronyism, his greatest accomplishment was signing the Pendleton Civil Service Act which made the promotion of federal employees based on merit, not patronage.

But what stands out the most for me about Arthur, is that he had by far the greatest mutton chops of any president. Chester A. Cat apparently is also a great admirer of Arthur and recently wore mutton chops for Halloween. Sadly, for our Chester, no one was handing out kibble. Since chocolate can be fatal to felines, we had to take away all of his Kit Kat bars.

Hard Time

I was curious about Chester’s past before he joined our family. We didn’t get much background from the Mew Haven Cat Cafe so I did some digging. For a virtuous looking cat, turns out Chester was a juvenile delinquent.

Before he arrived in New Haven, Chester had a darker life. Chester, aka “Ceder” was a cat burglar. He also went by the aliases; Wicked Whiskers, Cockeyed Kitty and Big Pussy (Chester is a big Sopranos fan). Despite his angelic appearance, back in the day, he was one cat you didn’t want to cross. Not like the scaredy cat I see today.

In 2019, Chester used a catapult for a smash and scratch break in at the Cat on the Corner gift shop in Catskill, New York. Once inside, he knew right where to go; a locked display case in the rear containing high-end kibble. Chester had been casing the business for a few days. Using a cat’s paw tool, he pried open the cabinet and made off with several bags of Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Solution Cat Food at $90 a pop.

“Guilt isn’t in cat vocabulary.”

Helen Brown

Chester wasn’t about to eat diet cat food, but he knew he could make a killing for its resale value on the street. There were plenty of fat cats who could afford to feed their habits or simply lose weight, and Chester was going to take advantage of that.

But Chester’s carefully planned heist was done in by some sloppiness on his part. First, in his excitement at scoring a big haul, Chester coughed up a fur ball, leaving incriminating DNA evidence at the scene of the crime. Second, Chester forgot the cardinal rule of cat burglary; wear a dog mask. Four surveillance cameras manufactured by Cat’s Eye Security captured his every move in the store.

It didn’t take animal control officers long to arrest the truculent tabby and even less time for a jury to find him guilty. Despite his age and first conviction, the judge sentenced him to 8 months at Cattica, the state prison for hardened cats located in Cattaraugus County, New York, 45 miles southwest of its more famous sister facility, Attica.

To survive at Cattica, Chester wormed his way into the good graces of both the cons and the guards. The resourceful tabby became the prison scrounger, or in cat lingo, the mouser. If you needed something, Chester could get it from the outside. Kibble, scratching posts, cat toys, birds, rodents and a host of medicines from morphine, gabapentin and amitriptyline. But these were only gateway drugs to the holy grail of cat psychodelia, synthetic catnip.

Chester, then known as Cedar, did hard time at Cattica.

For a cut of the profits, the guards looked the other way. Besides, a prison full of pliant cats doped up on synthetic catnip was a peaceful prison. Something the British knew in their dealings with China in the 18th and 19th centuries. When Chester’s sentence was served, he left Cattica with a wad of cash, synthetic catnip, some personality changes and the open road.

What he did next, I couldn’t determine. Despite the vast amount of information available on the internet, Chester’s trail went cold. I suppose he licked it all away on queens and drugs. Anyhow, I heard Chester was found in a stupor walking aimlessly around New Haven. There were more rumors he wound up at the Mew Haven Cat Cafe for “rehabilitation.” Next thing you know, Chester goes from being a tom to a gib and having Narcotics Anonymous sessions with the other cats.

Neutering and losing his cathood didn’t stop Chester from working his next flimflam, the roping in of my daughter Lily to be her pet (covered previously). It’s worked out well for him; he has the run of our home and no other cats to compete with. That means he doesn’t have to take his cat naps with one eye open or share his food, like he did in prison. It’s a good life for him.

Chester showing off the knowledge he gained in the big house.

But now that I know more about Chester’s past, sometimes I sleep with one eye open. That’s because I’ve seen him open doors and cabinets; a skill he obviously learned at Cattica. He might even have been educated on how to make a shiv.

On second thought, I just won’t sleep.

String Theory

I was playing around on the computer one day in the basement when Chester came downstairs with a question. “What’s your belief in the origin of the universe?”, he asked. I was surprised, since he usually only wanted to discuss kibble, wire cat toy and the NFL.

I gave it a moment’s thought. It was a profound question; not as weighty as why the Jets keep losing, but still important.

Monotheists believe that the universe was created by God out of nothing. Many in the scientific community subscribe to the Big Bang Theory, that the universe began as a single point and kaboom! This theory gets some support from monotheists as jibing with their belief in the creation.

Now we know where Michio Kaku got his ideas from.

I told Chester I wasn’t sure, but I do believe there has always been a universe, and not some absolute starting point which is counter to my Christian upbringing. It’s more in line with Stephen Hawking and James Hartle’s “no-boundary” proposal; because we all think alike.

Except Chester.

He believes in string theory. Not the string theory conceptualized in the 1980s by Robert Brandenberger and Cumrun Vafa, which suggests that the universe began as a tightly wound string; and well, you lose me after that.

Chester’s string theory has similar characteristics of the Big Bang and other string theories. The universe started as a tightly packed ball of string, then unraveled releasing everything there is throughout space. He refers to it as the Big Fluff. Simple but believable.

A visual rendering of Chester’s “Big Fluff” string theory on the creation of the universe.

I asked him how he came to this revelation. Chester meowed, “Catnip, synthetic catnip.”

I had never heard of synthetic catnip, so I asked my Hunter S. Thompson of a cat where he got it from. “A Mexican drug cartel,” he whispered.

Chester explained that synthetic catnip could expand the minds of cats in ways that were beyond human comprehension. The only comparison I could think of were the CIA led LSD experiments that began in the 1950s.

“The smart cat doesn’t let on that he is.”

H.G. Frommer

To bring home this point, Chester showed me the proprietary mathematical equations he came up with to support his version of string theory. Because it hasn’t been peer reviewed yet, I can’t show it to you. But believe me, it’s impressive.

On a lark, I sent a hard copy of Chester’s work via snail mail to Brandenberger, who is a professor at McGill University in Montreal. I figured it was worth the stamps. I emphasized that I wasn’t on hallucinogens and that Chester was a closet genius masquerading as a simple house cat. I didn’t mention the synthetic catnip.

My expectations were either no response, or a sarcastic retort noting the long-term harmful effects of using psychedelic pharmaceuticals.

Human composed string theory equation, shot down by Chester.

Months later I received a letter from Brandenberger; next-day delivery no less. Instead of a derisive reply, he was outright exuberant. Floored by what he saw, Brandenberger forwarded the work to his string theory buddy, Vafa, a professor at Harvard.

Clearly Chester showed these two theoretical physicists they had some big holes shot into their work. A concept now only worthy of the litter box. As Chester purred to me, “Their theory unraveled. ”

Brandenberger and Vafa are now recalculating their work with the assistance of synthetic catnip.

I expect nothing less than a Nobel for Chester. That will get his cat cred back, if only cats knew what a Nobel Prize is.

And yes, we have jumped the shark.