Greeting Cards For Cats And Norwegians

By Bill Hall

I was looking for a greeting card to send to a friend who likes cats when I had this wonderfully original idea that everybody else thought of first.

I decided I would send a card from our cats to the friend.

I would have to do it for them because they have weird little pudgy hands that don't work right.

And they're short. They can't just walk into the card store, grab a card and take it to the counter.

And even if they could, they wouldn't be able to pay for it because cats don't work. They live off others.

Me, for instance. That's why I was buying the card for our cats because they are deadbeats who don't work.

To complicate matters and contrary to the mythology, they aren't smart. Neither are dogs. We have such a pathetic need for friends, even in this crowded society, that we must elevate the intelligence of animals in our imaginations to the point where they are some kind of intellectual equal who can carry on some kind of contrived conversation in some bizarre language.

(If cats are so smart, how come, after all these generations among us, they haven't learned English? The French did. The Germans did. The Italians did. The Vietnamese did. And some of the Norwegians.) Not only are people mistaken to overestimate the intelligence of cats but that is a bigoted way to choose friends. Why does a friend have to be an intellectual equal for you to value his friendship? None of mine are my equal especially the ones in the state legislature but I enjoy talking to them just the same.

Suffice it to say, when it comes to a cat sending a greeting card to someone, the cat needs a lot of help. In fact, to this day, the cats in question don't know they sent anyone a card. They don't know much of anything. Cats know two things dish full and dish empty.

So of course, it was not really their card I was sending. It was my little joke that two cats were sending a card to my friend. You might think that goes without saying, but if you do, you have never met one of those guys who thinks he can carry on an intelligent conversation with a cat. He can't. Nobody can. However, I will concede that a cat is as smart as a person who actually thinks he can carry on an intelligent conversation with one.

When I entered the card store, I figured I would buy some general ''I love you'' card and send it to my friend from our cats, cleverly adapting a human card to an animal use. But then I saw something that boggled my mind:

They had a pet section an entire collection of cards specifically for dogs and cats and parakeets to send to their owners and friends of the owners. I kid you not. There was no need to convert a human card to a pet purpose. They even had cards from pets to pets, including cards for a dog to send to a cat and a cat to send to a dog. Those were not big movers, of course.

They have cards for every person, every animal and every purpose. I didn't notice but I wouldn't be suprised if they have a card for some car nut to send to his new Yugo: "I go for you because Yugo for me."

They also have cards in a wide variety of other languages to send to people from those cultures. If you know someone who is French or Russian or Italian or a university vice president, you can send him greetings in his own language, if you're bored with English.

They even had a greeting card to send to Norwegians, if you can believe that. Frankly, I find it easier to believe that they have cards for cats or even parakeets than that there would be any market for Norwegian cards. Why would anyone want to send cards to Norwegians? It would be taken as a friendly gesture. They would start coming by your house and drinking all your coffee.

At least a cat won't come by and drink all your coffee. Cats and Norwegians both like fish but they don't both like coffee.

In fact, you can send a cat a card and it won't do anything because a cat can't read. Besides, it doesn't have the right kind of hands to hold a coffee cup.



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