My Cat is a Dog, and other assaults on Objective Reality
Setting: The office of the famous carbohydrate industrialist-turned psychotherapist, Dr. Little Red Hen
Characters: Dr. Little Red Hen, Pinky the cat, Squirts the parakeet
Dr. Hen ushers the patients into her comfortable and stylishly-appointed office.
Dr. Little Red Hen: Welcome, welcome. Have a seat. There’s Kleenexes on the table there, and the toilet is down the hall. Don’t ask for snacks or water. I’m not your momma.
Pinky the Cat: (in a forced baritone voice) Thank you ma’am. (charges at the parakeet) Woof, woof!
Squirts the Parakeet: Aaaauuuuggh! (defecates violently in the doorway of the office)
DLRH: What the hell? (points a wing at Pinky the Cat) You sit the hell down. (turns to Squirts) You, go get some towels and clean up this mess. Holy s***!
StP: Oh, Dr. Hen, I’m so sorry, but whenever I get stressed, my sphincter dilates, and, well, this happens.
DLRH: Well, Squirts, you know I’m not a medical doctor, correct, and this looks like a medical issue to me.
StP: Yes, I do. But I believe my sphincter is loose due to years of emotional abuse from my family.
DLRH: Okay, okay. Just clean up the mess, and we’ll talk. And you! (turns to the cat), what the hell do you think you’re doing, barking at the parakeet?
PtC: Well, Dr. Hen, in my trans-species process from a cat to a dog, there are a few things I would like to hash out with you.
DLRH: God, help me. Have you been reading Vanity Fair?
PtC: Why yes, how did you know? (the parakeet returns)
DLRH: Okay, let’s get started. First, suicide check. Does anyone here want to harm themselves or others?
PtC: Of course not. I’m exuberant over my realization that I’m a dog living in a cat’s body.
StP: Well, Dr. Hen, I would like to peck the eyes out of this little boy who comes by my cage everyday, stares at me, and screams “BOO!” just to watch me freak out.
DLRH: Not to worry, Squirts, given the chance, I’d peck out the little bastard’s eyes too.
StP: And…sometimes, Dr. Hen, I would like to escape, you know. But I realize that if I leave my cage to live in the treetops that I will soon become lunch for a crow or a falcon. I’m realistic that way. But sometimes I think that would be better than the emotional horror I live with everyday.
PtC: Emotional horror? EMOTIONAL HORROR!!! You have no idea, you pathetic bird! I have lived my entire life as a dog in a cat’s body. You talk about emotional horror. (Squirts begins to sob)
DLRH: Look me in the eye, cat. My office has rules. No outbursts are allowed. I’m in charge here.
PtC: Dr. Hen, all I’m trying to say is that the emotional horror I have endured is inescapable as well, as long, that is…as I live as a cat. You see, from the time I was a kitten, I felt I was a dog. I liked to hang with the dogs. I played with dog chew toys. I secretly dressed up in doggie outfits. I mean, what cat likes to be dressed up at all?
DLRH: Hmm…you’ve got a point there. You are an UNUSUAL cat.
PtC: I’m not a cat. I’M NOT A CAT! That’s the point!
PtC: Butt out bird, this is about my pain. (Squirts the parakeet sobs even louder)
DLRH: Shut up cat. One more outburst and I will force your sphincter to accommodate my designer boot. Okay, Squirts, tell me what you’re feeling right now.
StP: Well, Dr. Hen, I don’t feel loved. Sometimes I think my family just keeps me around as a decoration. When I try to chirp or sing, they yell at me. When I cling to the bars of my cage and bob up and down, trying to get someone’s attention, they throw stuff at me, stuff like beer cans and cigarette butts.
DLRH: Oh my goodness, you poor thing!
StP: I’ve tried to endure it all with dignity, you know, be a good parakeet, the best parakeet I can be…
PtC: Endure? ENDURE!!! You have no idea what it means to endure! Look at me! Look at this abomination. (points to his body) What do you see?
StP: A…white kitty?
DLRH: (under her breath) A prancing asshole?
PtC: You see a cat, right? Well, inside, I’m a dog. I’ve always been a dog. I’m not a little white kitty. I’m a St. Bernard! But nobody believes me when I tell them. Nobody understands. They’re all haters. This…THIS is suffering!
DLRH: (addressed Squirts the parakeet) You have suffered because of the insensitivity–cruelty really–of others, correct?
StP: Yes, ma’am, I have. I’ve tried to be tough, you know. But my little heart is so broken. I really just want someone to love me, and listen to my songs without screaming at me, or throwing crap at my cage.
DLRH: And you cat, you say you suffer because you’re a dog living in a cat’s body?
PtC: Absolutely! There are thousands…MILLIONS like me, who were born into the wrong body, the wrong sex, the wrong species!!!
DLRH: But cats purr, and you purr.
PtC: That’s a low growl. And look at this, I drool. Dogs drool!
DLRH: That’s not drool, you idiot. You just hacked up a furball on my Basari rug! Buugaaawk!
PtC: And I’m attracted to other dogs! You can’t deny my same-species attraction! Love defines everything!
PtC: That’s right. I’m a dog, a majestic St. Bernard. And I’m in love with this fine Miniature Doberman Pincer, Champ is his name.
StP: But pinky, you’re a tomcat.
PtC: No I’m not. I keep telling you, I’m NOT A CAT! I’m a magnificent female St. Bernard. Why do you hate me? All I want is to be recognized as the dog I really am. All I want is for my love of Champ to be accepted.
StP: I’m a little confused. So you’re a female dog living in a male cat’s body, who loves a male dog?
PtC: Well, not exactly. Champ, the Miniature Doberman Pincer, looks like a goat on the outside. See, Champ, like me, was born into the wrong body. Poor thing, he was born in the body of a nanny goat. And when sweet, sweet Champ the minpin tells people that he’s NOT a nanny goat, nobody will believe him! All we want is to be married, like normal dogs!
DLRH: (making notes) So, cat…you little, white, tomcat, you’re saying that you’re a female St. Bernard living in a male cat’s body who wants to marry a male miniature Doberman living in a female goat’s body. Doesn’t that make you an interspecies, transgendered, heterosexual homosexual?
PtC: Yes, YES! Now you see.
DLRH: But you’re a tomcat and Champ is a nanny goat, so, although you love each other and live together, you can’t be married.
PtC: You’re a filthy bigot!
DLRH: And, if you’re of the same sex, you can’t be married because God instituted marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the perpetuation and happiness of the species.
PtC: You homophobe!
DLRH: AND…you’re a cat, you’re not a dog. The objective, immutable reality is that you are a cat, down to your DNA you are a cat. No amount of “feeling” or “longing” or “wishing” will make you a dog. No matter how many dupes play your insane game and pretend that you are a dog because you sooo, sooooo want to be a dog, you ARE NOT a dog, and will NEVER BE a dog.
PtC: (wails) Haters! Haters, all! This is intolerable!
DRLH: Uh, hu. You know what’s intolerable, cat? I’ll tell you. People–animals–like you who are so confused, so unhappy and in denial, that they hate their own reality and try to alter it through the kinds of social engineering contortions you are now displaying. You know what else is intolerable? All the grown-ups who play pretend that something is real when it’s not, who pretend marriage is something it’s not, who pretend a man can be a woman or a woman can be a man, or a cat can be a dog. That’s intolerable. And I’m frankly sick of idiots like you who try to force people like me, and Squirts here, to play your stupid game. And when we don’t buy into your pathetic, phony, psychological construct, you call us haters, and bigots and homophobes. Well guess what, CAT, you little white, pathetic tomcat, I’m not playing pretend with you.
DLRH: When you’re willing to deal with the truth–and stop this game of trying to alter the reality of who you are, and what your true identity is–then I will take you as a patient. Only when you are honest about what makes you unhappy and confused, will I take you as a patient. I’m done with you for now. You can use the litter box down the hall. Oh, and for starters, here’s a prescription for 100 mg of Catnip per day. Take it faithfully. It will calm you down, help you accept your true catness. Now get your little, white tomcat ass out of my office. (Pinky the cat pouts and whines momentarily, then leaves the room)
PtC: (under his breath) Hatersssss
DLRH: So, Squirts the parakeet, what’s next for you?
StP: Well, Dr. Hen. My life truly is intolerable. But the sad reality is that I have no freedom in that cage. I can try to be a good, kind bird, but my options are limited. I was thinking that if I could be an iguana in a cage, maybe life would be easier. Iguanas, you see, and reptiles in general, aren’t terribly self-aware, so they aren’t as subject to emotional abuse and cruelty since they don’t really have emotions. I’ve often thought…if I could only be an iguana in my cage, I would be happy.
DLRH: Go on…you’re doing great.
StP: But a parakeet becoming an iguana? That would just be playing pretend. It wouldn’t be real. And it might feel good for a day or two to pretend that I’m an emotionless iguana, sitting in my cage, not feeling the abuse and neglect and insults and terror, but, in the end, my sad reality would be the same, and I would have only delayed finding a true solution to my problems.
DLRH: Good bird. Have you crapped yourself since the idiot cat barked at you?
StP: Well…no, I haven’t, as a matter of fact.
DLRH: So, your dilated sphincter is not a problem when you feel safe, loved?
StP: Seems so.
DLRH: I’ll tell you what, I could use a little help around the house. Do you cook?
StP: (perks up, fluffs out his chest feathers) Oh yes! I make excellent soups and stews. I really love comfort food.
DLRH: Good. I have a spare room, complete with cable and a private bath. If you cook for me and keep your sphincter tight, you can live here.
StP: (Begins to weep) Really?
DLRH: Yes, really.
StP: For reals?
DLRH: For reals. You can live with me Squirts, and that’s not pretend.
By Marjorie Haun 6/7/15