Jewish World Review June 18, 2003 / 18 Sivan, 5763

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Cats, TV not a good mix | Signaling that the decline of civilization is complete, a new show called "Meow TV" is coming to a cable station near you.

Billed as being for cats "and the people they tolerate," "Meow TV" debuted Friday on the Oxygen network, presumably named because it is watched by people whose brains don't get enough.

Cats and their owners can watch segments called "Cat Yoga" and "Cat Haiku." Here are some suggested haikus that the show's producers are free to use in coming weeks:

People watching cats On TV with their own cats Need to get a life. A cat on TV Is better than a real cat Video kitty litter Your cat ignores you And you feed the stupid thing TV will help how?

The obvious question here is: Why would a cat stop doing whatever it was doing -- shredding the drapes comes immediately to mind, or perhaps coughing up a hairball on your pillow -- to watch animated cats on TV doing Pilates or reciting Japanese poetry? My guess is that "Meow TV" simply plays into the hands -- or paws, if you will -- of cats that will wait until their owner is completely engrossed in the "House Cat Shopping Network" segment before it sneaks off and eats the parakeet. (The recurring videos of squirrels and fish dancing on the screen are unlikely to curb the cat's natural predatory instincts and may, indeed, make them worse. After a few segments of "Meow TV," you may learn, to your dismay, that little Fluffy is less interested in curling up in your lap and more interested in leaping atop your head and sinking its claws into your neck vein.)

If "Meow TV" succeeds, and this being America, I see absolutely no reason why it should not, it will lead to the inevitable spin-offs, including but by no means limited to "Bow-Wow TV" (30 minutes of two or more dogs walking around in a circle sniffing each other's butts), "EEK! TV" (aimed at people who keep rodents for pets; the first half of the program will show a red-faced man poking around under a couch with a yardstick while a censor bleeps out the expletives; the second half will offer various interment alternatives, including the ever-popular "burial at sea": "We commit Mickey to the briny deep. Godspeed!" (FLUSH!)) and "Help! I'm Being Devoured Head-First by My Pet Python!-TV," which is pretty much self-explanatory.

If humans and cats insist on interacting in ways that involve television, they should simply watch some old Tweety and Sylvester cartoons on Cartoon Network. These morality plays teach cats important lessons, namely that if they get out of line and mess with the bird, an anvil will drop on their heads or they will be punched by a large bulldog.

You will also notice that there is no mention of yoga or haikus, because that would only confuse the cat, which as we've seen can be a dangerous thing.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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