Secret Cat!
More secret than other cats! (which is an achievement)
Secret Cat!
He lives in the shadows! (other cats merely rent in the shadows)
Secret Cat!
An assassin for hire! (if you can afford his fee)
Secret Cat!
You can’t prove he exists (better men than you have tried)
Secret Cat!
He holds back the darkness of the universe! (behold it not for it bring madness)
Secret Cat!
He opposes Public Domain Dog at every turn! (intellectual property is a cornerstone of society)
Secret Cat!
Learn about his adventures once a week (but don’t tell anybody)
Secret Cat!
If you see him on the street, keep walking! (he is not your friend)
Secret Cat!
He holds the reins of the very globe! (don’t test him on this)
Secret Cat!
You may pet his back, but not his belly! (never his belly)
Secret Cat!
Too many secrets! (too many secrets)
too many secrets
too many secrets
too many secrets
too many secrets

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Rex growled at the sliding glass door. “Look at them out there. Running around like they own the place.”

The birdfeeders visible through it were host to a pair of fat orange squirrels who seemed content to laze about eating seeds when it suited them. “They’re mocking us, and they know we know.” Tiger seemed at ease, but the violent herky-jerky movements of his tail belied this.

If there was one thing cats and dogs could agree on, it’s that squirrels were a bad thing.

Rex kept his throat at a low rumble. “I tell you, if I was out there…”

“If you were out there, you’d make a lot of noise, tree them, and they’d sit there smirking until you went inside.” Tiger had seen it a hundred times before.

Tiger continued: “If I were out there, I’d stalk one and murder it and leave it where all could see.”

“And that’s why you’re not allowed out.” Rex well remembered what had happened when the dead squirrel had appeared in the master suite.

“Because I’m too good.” Tiger did take a lot of pride in being the only confirmed squirrelslayer in the household.

“Because you’re too dishonorable.” Rex found the idea of sneaking distasteful; battle was to be joined head-on.

“Keep telling yourself that.”

“Fine, I will.” Rex kept glaring ouside. “Still, I’d love to know what they’re plotting.”

Out in the garden, the squirrels each had one eye on the glassed-in predators. One rolled over with a lazy chirp: “Our plan is working.”

“Yes, brother.” The other twitched his tail rapidly. “They’re so preoccupied with us, they’ll never see it coming.”

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Zombie cats, or zats, are the third most common form of zombified animal (after zogs and zice, respectively). They are driven by compulsion to slaughter the living and eat their flesh, but as normal living cats exhibit the same behaviors, it’s less noticible.

As with all post-necrotic beings, zats need a steady stream of living tissue to sustain their unlife. Unlike normal cats, this craving cannot be sated with canned food or butcher meat. Experts recommend a supply of feeder pets, available at most well-stocked pet stores, fed to the zat at a rate of 1-2 per day. Outside zats will hunt small rodents naturally but if left unchecked will not consume all of them, leading many to rise from the grave as zice.

Post-necrosis can be caught from zats but it is rare as the retro-prion has to mutate to infect them. Avoiding bites and scratches is still advised, and de-fanging and de-clawing are commonplace for that reason. Zats still have enough unholy strength to crush feeder mice in their toothless maws in most cases.

Like all post-necrotics, zats are suceptible to rot. To maintain your zat in peak condition, experts recomment a thorough wipedown with formaldehyde every 12 hours and a longer immersion in embalming chemicals once per week. Most local funeral homes will provide these materials for a fee.

Since these intensive standards of care are equivalent to those lavished on most living felines, zats are among the most popular post-necrotic pets. With proper care, they will enjoy unlife for up to a decade before they finally disintegrate.

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“I’ll be blunt, sir. Starting in 1952, we began placing the brains of specially trained cats into homo sapiens bodies tank-grown for that purpose.”

“Why would we ever do such a thing?”

“We needed agents who could be trained but were also capable of independent thought and deviousness and utter amorality. Experiments with natural-born humans ended badly since they were incapable of being trained, and dogs trained well but could not be taught amorality and were incapable of improvisation.”

“Hm. That’s not exactly what I had in mind when you said ‘classified’ but so be it. Why is this an issue? Was the program a success?”

“A smashing success, sir. Some of our best agents came from project Catmatter, though they all invariably went rogue.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“Well, one of our former agents is the current premier of Russia. And we just elected another President of the United States.”

“My God.”

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“I have heard the two-legs talking,” purred the cat in a voice both soft and satisfied. “You are to be taken to a great pride-leader of theirs as a prize and curiosity.”

“It matters not,” replied the Huia male, gently rubbing his thick beak against the dark plumage of his mate, “as long as we are together.”

“Oh, you will be,” said the cat, shifting her balance slightly as the ship bobbed amid light waves. “The two-legs will stuff you with sawdust and wires, side by side. I have heard of it from toms in port.”

“As long as we are together,” the female huia said. She cooed softly and returned her mate’s gesture with her long beak like a curved needle.”

“Bah, such mawkishness is no kind of sport,” snarled the cat. “No wonder your kind is rare enough to be a curiosity.” She turned to the next cage in the ship’s hold. “What about you, owl?” she said. “How does it feel to be among the last of your kind, taken from your home to be stuffed by a pride of two-legs?”

“Ah..ahah..AHAHAHAHAHA!” one of the owls cackled. “Hehehehe…you want to have a bit of sport with us, two-legs, is that it? Maybe agree to, heh, open our cages and let you end our misery early? AHAHAHAHA!”

“And why not?” said the cat, speaking the patois common to predators in a low and mewling voice. “A quick snap…I would do it clean. You’d die a warrior’s death. Who knows, you and your queen there might even best me and fly away to safety.”

“Ahahaha…AHAHAHA!” cackled the female laughing owl. “We’ve heard things as well, you know. There was a sort of…ahahaha…little bird that once lived not far from where we did. Killed by cats they were, all of them! And do you know what the two-legs did in return? They killed the cats, all of them!” The owls chortled together.

“So…ahaha…so you see, cat, we may be bound for a stuffing, but you’re surely not” the male cackled. “Eat one feather of ours or our amorous fellow-passengers and the two-legs will snuff you out like a blind cricket!”

The cat hissed and snarled in return. But, recognizing the futility of the gesture, it turned and sulked out of sight.

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Did you know that every 15 seconds a librarian intellectually starves to death and their library is demolished to make way for a parking lot? Hi, I’m Russell Strathy, and I’m here to talk to you about what you can do today, right now, to help a struggling librarian.

Did you know that for just a few dollars a day you can feed a librarian, like Ms. Smythe here, nourishing books? Or how your simple donations can help a librarian like Mr. Whittaker get the periodicals and microfilm he needs to do his job? Or that, for one day’s coffee money, you could aid a librarian like Ms. Carruthers here to support her 70 cats?

Since 1983, the Charitable Librarian’s Fund has helped librarians, both public and private, with books, periodicals, microforms, and desperately needed cat care. Many librarians around the world still need your help and through the Charitable Librarian’s Fund, you can reach out to one of them through a daily gift of less than the cost of a cup of the expensive fair-trade Stubb’s Coffee (which many libraries now sell to make ends meet).

The good that your coffee money can do for a librarian is worth more than you can imagine; call the toll-free number on your screen right now to learn more about the CLF and becoming a sponsor. You can exchange emails with your sponsored librarian, listen to them grouse about patrons and budget cuts and cats, and experience firsthand the progress you helped make possible. You’ll also receive a copy of the CLF newsletter which explains why your help is needed and offers additional benefits, like information about CLF charitable works and a cat-of-the-month centerfold.

Call now: there is truly no obligation and we will send you all the information you need for you to make your decision. Please, call now, and with a little love your spare change can start to change the life of a librarian forever.

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The black-billed gull bobbed its head nervously. “I see your children attempting to sneak up on me,” it squawked. “You know that the ancient and unwritten law both our kinds follow demands that a messenger not be accosted.”

A slight twitching of the matriarch’s ears and the younger cats withdrew into the bushes. “Speak, then, that we may satisfy the old ways and have our repast of you.”

“I come on behalf of the wrens,” the gull said. “They bade me speak to Tibbles, which I can only assume is you.”

“That is a name bestowed upon me unbidden,” the matriarch hissed. “You will not use it.”

“What am I to call you, then?”

“My true name is of our secret tongue and not for your ears,” the cat said. “You need not address me by name to deliver what paltry tidings you bring.”

“Very well.” The gull spread its wings. “My brothers, the wrens, have lived on this isle of Takapourewa from time immemorial. The rats chased their forefathers from Aotearoa after the arrival of man, and this is the last outpost of their kind. They are simple, trusting, and guileless, with no defense against those such as yourself as they cannot fly. They believe and practice total nonviolence against all but the insects they eat.”

“You tell me nothing I do not already know,” the matriarch cat said.

“The flightless wrens of Takapourewa have, in council, decided that their commitment to nonviolence overrides all, up to and including their lives and those of their children. They will not take steps to secure themselves against your predations.”

Purring the matriarch cat nodded in approval. “Then you bring us glad tidings! Thank you, messenger. You may depart this once with your life.”

“That is not the extent of my tidings, o cat,” the gull said. “The elder of the wrens bade me come, as one of a tribe who has known their kind for aeons and for whom flight offers a modicum of protection. They ask that you and your children cease your slaughter of their kind and allow them to live in peace.”

“Does our elder brother the lion live in peace with the gazelle? Does the wolf live in peace with the cat? That is not the way of our kind nor of any other kind.” The matriarch bent to casually lick her paw. “Your friends ask the impossible and we have no power to grant their request.”

The gull bobbed its head. “The wrens feared as much. They bade me tell you that, if your numbers continue to explode with the slaughter of wrens, when their kind is gone, your children will starve.”

“The weak ones, perhaps, but the strong and worthy will find other prey.”

“They foresaw that answer as well. The wrens bade me say one thing more. They have noticed that the humans have become interestied in them, in their rarity as the last of their kind. Even now they collect wrens as curiosities for display, and humans the world over ask for wrens of their own that they might study them.” The gull cocked its head. “If you exterminate them, the humans will be angry. You more than anyone must know what that anger can mean.”

Its last statement gave the matriarch pause. Her ears flattened for a moment before resuming their erect posture. “It is a risk we will assume,” she said at length.

“I am saddened to hear so, but I will bear your reply to the wrens,” the gull said. It launched itself into the air before the hidden cats nearby could pounce.

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Wilma loped after the intruder, baying, while Fred scaled to his favorite perch with a yowl and watched the ensuing chase with eyes shining in the semi-darkness. I had quick thoughts of trying to nudge Wilma back behind the kiddie gate, lest the intruder be carrying rabies or some other nasty cocktail of diseases, but she put the lie to her 16 years on earth with a surprisingly energetic pursuit. It was all I could do to follow armed with a broom.

The strange dog, for its part, seemed equal parts terrified and purposeful. While zigzagging across my living room, upsetting furniture and bunching up rugs, it nevertheless made straight for the kitchen. I lost sight of it for a moment, but when the dog reemerged, still tailed stubbornly by Wilma, I saw that it had a boneless chicken breast–one I’d set out to thaw for dinner–in its mouth.

It was only when the intruder made its escape, through Wilma’s doggie door, that I understood how it had gotten inside in the first place. I was able to slide the lock into place before my geriatridog chased the interloping hound outside, but, seized by intense indignation at having my house invaded and my pets threatened, I went through the large door, still clutching my broom, seconds later. It was a bright night out and the streetlights were on; I expected to see the dog running for the treeline across the street and 500 yards away.

Instead I caught a glimpse of a small, pale child in a pool of streetlamp light.

It glanced over its shoulder, and I could see my chicken breast defiantly clamped between rows of square white teeth. Eyes shone vividly in the twilight, and a moment later the figure vanished behind my garbage cans.