OKIE IN EXILE — Is Cat Physics Broken?

Bobby Neal Winters
Bobby Winters

You may recall that over the course of time I have developed an intricate theory of cat physics. It is a very detailed theory, but it developed initially out of the phenomenon that my family always has three cats. If one of our cats passed away, another cat would turn up from nowhere to take its place to maintain the number three. If an extra cat turned up when we already had three, then something untoward would happen to one of the cats we already had to reduce the number back to three again.

This phenomenon was stable for years. It did require a little fudging from time to time. We would have an extra cat around for a while, but would then discover that it belonged to the Lady Violist who lived on the corner.

This caused me to discover a phenomenon I call cat-sharing and to posit the existence of the cat-e-cule (analogous to the molecule) wherein a number of houses can share cats amongst themselves in the same way atoms in a molecule share electrons. In this way, the movement of cats from house to house would allow a greater total number of cats to be supported than could be supported by the houses individually.

Last summer, this beautiful, beautiful theory appeared to be shattered. It was like James Taylor’s Flying Machine, in pieces on the ground.

This disaster was presaged by the appearance of Goldie. Goldie at the time was a female kitten no larger than a brick — a brick wrapped in barbed wire as it were; such was her personality. It was clear from the first that she would be an outdoor cat. (Her later tendency towards weaponized flatulence confirmed this.) While her battles at the beginning with our outdoor Toms were uncertain, nevertheless she persisted.

I thought we should’ve named her Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but by then she had already been Christened as Goldie.

By my theory of cat physics, one of my cats should have died or disappeared. For a while, we thought it would be Mischief because she began to shed fur and throw up a lot. Indeed, if she had continued to throw up on my stuff (always MY stuff), cat physics may have received a little artificial help. Thank goodness, her health rallied, but cat physics remained shattered.

I couldn’t call upon the cat-e-cule to save cat physics, because the dear Lady Violist had passed-away. What could be done?

I had no answer until last night.

Last night a racoon roughly the size and shape of a beanbag chair turned up eating cat food at our kitchen door. The creature was of such size that all of our outdoor cats — even the ferocious Goldie — yielded their food without complaint or even remark.

Seeing this odd creature, I could find no explanation for its existence. Then in the night, it came to me. I had an explanation that covered everything and saved cat physics on top of that.

Last summer, shortly before Goldie arrived, our dog Charlie had passed away. Typically, conservation laws of the dog world and cat world do not interact, but our region was in an odd state. The loss of our cat-e-cule with the Lady Violist had weakened the barrier between the dog-o-sphere and the cat-o-sphere. This weakened barrier had allowed for the decreasing number of dogs to be compensated for by an increased number of cats.

I had thought this at the time, but I couldn’t account for the extra mass. The theory of such cross-space interactions requires the conservation of both number and mass. The racoon saved the theory because the extra mass was poured out into the rotund racoon. This was possible because racoons span the void between the cat-o-sphere and the dog-o-sphere in a way similar to the way foxes span it.

So my fear of cat physics being broken was unfounded. Indeed, it has emerged from the crisis stronger than ever.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like'' the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook. Search for him by name on YouTube.