The Small Cat Who Watches The Big Ones

By Bill Hall

I was nestled in my comfy recliner with my regulation large winter cat for a comforter, watching the Lions and the Raiders play football, when I noticed something odd about the cat:

He paid more attention to the game when the Lions were on offense. I had never realized he liked football at all, let alone one team more than another. After all, he's just a cat with the usual cat IQ of 12. He doesn't know a football from a watermelon.

He knows dinner from hunger. He knows a meat loaf from a brick. He knows small quantities of cat food from large quantities of cat food. He knows inside the house from outside the house and visits each repeatedly. He knows nap time from the other 20 minutes of the day. But Sterling doesn't know football.

Or so I thought. Granted, since we bought the recliner, he has been quick to join me on his favorite kind of furniture the kind that is as overstuffed as he is.

Indeed, he uses that chair when I don't. I guess he is one of those people who believes in individual chair ownership a chair assigned exclusively to one member of the family. I didn't remember that concept until a friend, seeing the new recliner in our family room, asked me, "Is that your chair?"

"Yes," I told her. "I am the co-owner of that chair."

"No," she said. "Is that YOUR chair?"

She pointed out that it is not uncommon for families to get a chair for the father of the family, for instance. Thereafter, that is his place, his space, his realm. And woe be to the wife, child, cat, dog or unwary daughter's boyfriend who presumes to occupy it when he isn't looking.

But that isn't called a chair. That is called a throne. We don't do that at our house, and not just because thrones are undemocratic. They are also boring.

Who likes to spend his life in the same chair day after day? We spend our weekends and evenings chair hopping. It puts some excitement in your life, deciding whether to sit in the chair on the left tonight, or on the sofa or even on the floor if you feel like it.

Some people climb mountains and drive race cars and jump off cliffs at the end of bungee cords. We chair hop. And if that isn't excitement enough, we sit and work the foot-lift handle on the recliner. Sure, I know that's more excitement than most people could stand but it keeps us young.

However, Sterling differs with the democratic ideal of common chairs. He believes that recliner is HIS chair. And so it is most of the hours of the day. But on occasion, when the thrill of moving from one end of the couch to the other is starting to go stale, I try that recliner. Then Sterling must move. And he does on top of me. But on a winter night of televised football, that's agreeable. You need a comforter of some sort. A large, hairy cat will do.

It was in that position, watching the game from beneath Sterling, that I noticed he was paying attention to the Detroit Lions and turning his back on the Los Angeles Raiders.

Finally, it dawned on me: Lions are big cats. That was his team up there on the screen.

Raiders are pirates human beings, naked apes. It was a football game between humans and cats. So of course, he was rooting for the Lions. He couldn't have enjoyed it more if the Lions had been playing the Falcons the cats going after the birds.

And he would feel the same if the Bengals were playing the Eagles. Cats beating up on birds; that's Sterling's kind of game.

But in truth, he probably would have been rooting against the Raiders even if they had been playing those other people teams the Giants or the 49ers or the Patriots because, the blunt truth is, the Raiders are a slob team. They are well known as a graceless, unsportsmanlike collection of violent vulgarians who with the frequent help of blind officials defeat the Seattle Seahawks, even though the Seahawks are the best and most deserving team in football.

Sterling would never root for a slob team. A king with his own reclining throne does not root for slobs.

Especially when that throne is so classy that it is upholstered with Sterling's own bearded person.



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