Friday, April 8, 2011
Why Cats Don't Litigate (Or, at any rate, not well)
So, we have an extra cat, a beautiful tortoiseshell cat who, I swear, I did not let into the apartment. La Caterina claims that she didn't either, but all I know is one day I came home from work and heard this little creature's plaintive cry of "peep! peep!" coming from inside the house. And sure enough, she was there. Really, that's her. On my table. Reedin' mah paper.
So, she's slowly winning over the other cats, but observing the horde at feeding time, I now understand why cats would not, for all their admitted wiliness and intelligence, make good litigators. They do not understand what an experienced litigator friend and I have come to call "the Schmuck Rule." (Except we use a harsher term. In English). As in, "don't be the schmuck." By which I mean that it's every bit as important to convince the trier of fact or law that she or he wants to rule in your favor as it is to convince her that she can rule in your favor. So--don't be the schmuck.
Alas, most of our cats haven't learned that lesson. Oh, Giles, the benevolent, kindly watcher-cat has, and Elvis who is just too nice to be admitted to the NKA (Naughty Kitten Association) or even the less hard edged ANK. But the rest will crowd her out at the food bowls, and one (a feline version of Anthony Ainley) tries to bully her. They are, in short, the schmuck. And sure enough, I give our "newest little treasure" (as our landlord rather archly called her) extra treats and snuggles to make her feel welcome.
And teh boycott isn't working anyway; where Giles and Elvis lead, the others will, eventually, follow.