Cat Calls

By Amy Chavez
For The Bali Times

Last week I taught you how to teach your pet English. With a week of lessons under your belt, I imagine you are communicating quite well and are ready for your next strategy. So today, I would like to move into technology for pets – specifically, cellphones for cats. Cats are a market that has been a long overlooked for wireless technology.

If you think cats aren’t smart enough to have cellphones, think again. Intelligence has never been a requirement.

And wouldn’t an iPhone make the perfect Christmas present to reward your cat for her diligent English study? And since the new iPhone is also an iPod, you could download English programs for her to listen to while she sleeps. But if you can’t afford an iPhone, any cellphone will do. The important thing is to allow your cat to communicate.

I realized that cats need cellphones when I called home and left a message on the answering machine for my cat. “Frank, hello kitty,” I said, “I can’t come home until late tonight, so go ahead and have dinner without me. Serve yourself from the cat-food bag.” Then it occurred to me that she might not be near the answering machine to hear my message. And if she was listening, she was probably wondering why I was hiding inside the answering machine.

Anyone who has a cat knows that cats are far too lazy to answer telephones. However, if there was a cellphone around their neck, they’d be inclined to answer it because cats like to push buttons. Cats are very good at suddenly changing the TV channel, if you leave the remote lying on the floor, for example.

Cats would love to receive calls, too, because cats like sounds. Imagine the melodies cats would choose for their phone’s ring. The theme song to Felix the Cat, or the TV jingle to their favorite brand of cat food. Or how about, “Garfield! Where’s my chocolate doughnut?!”

The new iPhones have so many features, I’m sure there is one for cats, probably called the Fe-line that would offer information especially for cats:

“Welcome to the Fe-line. For general information about cat owners, press 1; for cat fights, press 2; for Bali veterinarians, press 3; for fashionable collars and leads, press 4; for cleaner litter boxes, press 5; for home delivery of fish sticks, press 6. For the Hello Kitty catalog, press 7; For curiosity that won’t kill you, press 8; to order the just-released unauthorized biography of Pavlov’s cat, press 9.

The new iPhone probably even has a special helpline for cats. “Welcome to the iPhone helpline for cats. For information on birthing, press 1; for multiple births, press 2; To talk with Dr. Doolittle, press 3; For death and skinning, push 4; To donate your pelt to science, press 5; Roadkill, press 6; Fleas and ticks, press 7; for help with compulsive behavior such as running across the street every time a car comes, press 8; Cats with no tails, press 9.”

If the iPhone added a special shopping number targeted to cats, they’d sell lots of niche products that only cats would buy, such as paper bags to crawl into, doors that open up into small spaces and shelves made specially to hang from high places.

Furthermore, cellphones are a great way for cats all over the world to communicate with each other. Since the world is quickly becoming a global village, and cats all speak the same language, they should be able to get in touch with their ancestors. Persian cats could call Persia; Siamese cats could call Thailand. And with international roaming, you cats could take their own vacations and still keep in touch with you.

And who wouldn’t want to receive a call from their cat? Imagine being out at dinner with friends when suddenly your cellphone starts ringing. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say, just once, “Excuse me, I have to take this call. It’s my cat.”

So the next time you come home and your cat gives you the cold shoulder, maybe she just needs more attention. She needs a cellphone. It’s a sign that she’s ready to talk to you.

But if you start getting international phone bills and charges for home-delivery of fish sticks, don’t blame me.

Amy, who needs every one of her nine lives, is at

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