Cat Scratch Weekly

               Sam was an average city alley cat who happened to fall asleep one hazy, autumn afternoon in the back of a truck filled with straw.  Since that day, Sam made his home in a small country town with a wonderful human named Miss Lucy.  

It seemed as though every cat in town had something going on.   Merlin promoted sorcerous mouse-catching (whatever that was).  In Sam’s opinion, it appeared Merlin just scared the living daylights out of mice while Sam found it most entertaining to play with them. Einstein, a white cat with a huge square noggin, held weekly discussions on the value of rational thinking instead of being enslaved to feelings and intuition. Sam was all intuition and following his gut, which made him a horrible student. There were hundreds of other cats—all marking their territory and offering their exclusive services—and, of course, there was the famous Clara-Bell, who was editor-in-chief of Cat Scratch Weekly, and some black cat named Patanjali about whom everyone had an opinion.   

               Sam was stretching in the sunshine one early summer afternoon when Clara Bell tapped him on the shoulder. “I’m running my annual special edition of Cat Scratch Weekly at the change of seasons, Sam. It includes profiles and two or three special articles. What is your profile?”

               “My profile?” Sam swatted dandelion seeds into the air and watched the wind carry them into the fields. 

                Clara Bell pulled a pencil from behind her eye and poised it to the paper.  Her round, green eyes were wide with expectation.

               “Hmmm….” Sam scratched his ear. He blew at one of the fuzzy seeds dangling above his nose. “Mouse-catcher, I suppose.”

               “Nope, not available. I can’t have two mouse catchers.  What else you got?”

               Sam scratched the other ear.  He thought, and he thought. “What about the fun cat?”

               “It’s not a business profile, and it’s boring. I’m not wasting ink on a boring profile.” Clara Bell replied.  She had written Sam’s name on the paper and underlined his name several times.

               “Tree Climbing expert?”


               “How about City Survival Instructor?”

               Clara Bell began to write and then paused. Her tiny, pink nose bunched, and her lips puckered. “I’m just not feeling it, Sam.  Who needs city survival here? It’s not relevant. You need something interesting about country cats. Something with a little kick.”

               “Kick?  Why does my profile need kick?”

               “Because that’s what sells Cat Scratch Weekly.  If you don’t have an interesting profile, no one will buy Cat Scratch Weekly. So what am I supposed to write? ‘Sam Cat.  City transplant. Spends days chasing dandelions and adding to the weed problem, which becomes a pesticide problem, ultimately leading to more health issues for the cat population. And by the way, he’s a mouse catcher and a tree climber.’ Are you falling asleep, Sam?  I am.”

“At least I’m not digging in trash cans.” He replied.

Clara Bell frowned and tapped her pencil against his nose. “I want interesting! I want something fascinating about Alley Cat Sam.  Once a year, the Who’s Who of Country Cats are showcased in my magazine. Do something other cats want to read about, and I’ll report it.”

               Sam jumped to his feet. “So what you’re saying is I have to be a trouble maker like Napoleon, or brilliant like Einstein?”—

               “It’s business, Sam.  You gotta’ stand out. That’s all.  Do something no one else is doing.  Be a trendsetter.” And with those words, Clara Bell spun on her paw pads, tail in the air, and strutted towards Einstein’s abode.