Beware the Cat!

Back in May, we spent some time talking about what professions would be open to cats, and especially to cats with thumbs. It turns out we forgot one: Evil Genius.

We see evil villains in the movies who dote on their feline companions. The film makers tell us that it’s a humanizing trait: it allows us to establish a connection with the villain and see him as more than just “evil”. “He loves his cat,” we think at some subconscious level, “so he can’t be all bad.”

The evidence is mounting, however, that those evil villains aren’t evil at all, but simply misled. That’s right, tricked into doing bad at the paws of their “loyal” feline companions. From the cat’s perspective, it’s the perfect crime. If the plot succeeds, the cat reaps the benefits, but if it fails, it’s the human who takes the rap. The cat moves on to find another stooge to front its next scheme.

Evidence? Oh, yes, there’s evidence. Consider:

Norm Lopez” of Sacramento, California has nearly 3,000 Facebook friends and what the newspapers are reporting as “a fervent, almost cult-like following in the community.” His picture appears on band t-shirts, and people stretch their commutes to visit (worship?) him. And what has he done to inspire this devoted following? He’s fat. So fat that he was recently hauled off to an animal shelter when a stranger thought he was pregnant. Shelter workers recognized him from his Facebook page and returned him to his home.

The Cult of Norm is comparatively innocent. As best I can tell, Norm causes no harm to anyone, being content to bask in the adulation of his followers–and bathe in the street.

Much less innocent is an anonymous cat in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who cleverly drove his human front man to assault his wife. The cat allegedly repeatedly scratched the furniture, driving the man to accuse his wife of adultery before hitting her and threatening to kill her. The human has been arraigned on charges of harassment and making terroristic threats (remember our discussion of how vague the definition of “terrorism” is? Apparently threatening to kill one person can be a terroristic act. But I digress.) The cat apparently remains in the family home, presumably continuing its plans to shred all of the furniture in the house.

The Bethlehem cat was subtle. A cat in Connellsville, some 250 miles away was far less so. The unnamed feline allegedly lured one James Anthony Shroyer into a life of crime. Following the cat’s instructions, Shroyer stole a car, drove it to a nearby bank, and used a plastic gun to rob the bank bank of over $1,500. He then fled in the stolen car and–again following the cat’s instructions–rammed the pursuing police car. Shroyer received a 2 1/2 to 5 year prison sentence and is required to pay restitution to the bank, as well as undergo a mental health assessment. The cat remains at large, and no reports of its further nefarious activities are available.

Now, you may think you’re safe if you don’t live in Pennsylvania. After all, Norm is comparatively harmless. And maybe you’re right. Or perhaps not. Consider the tale of Norris, a feline resident of Bedminster, Bristol. Not content to work through a human front, Norris has gone on a one-cat crime spree, putting the “cat” back into “cat burgler”. He’s accumulated a pile of shirts, slippers, bath mats, and underwear, turning his poor, traumatized humans into accomplices and forcing them to send letters around the neighborhood urging people to come claim their possessions. And yet Norris still continues his depredations, secure in the knowledge that the public blames his parents, not him.

So ask yourself whether you know what your “loyal” feline companions are doing all day while you’re at work. Are they really just sleeping in the sunlight and knocking chachkas off the shelves, or are they even now planning to set you up to take the fall if their plans for world domination go wrong?