Coconut has largest house mammal as pet

Burt's Eye View

We have a cat. Rather, my wife has a pet.

The cat has me.

Last night, I sat in my easy chair watching wildlife on Animal Planet when our all-white, barely-more-than-a-kitten named Coconut issued an order.

“Ah, listen to her cute little meow,” Terry said.

There was nothing cute or little about it. Coconut’s eyes blazed holes at the closed door. She turned and blazed away at me. And meowed again.

“Right.” I wriggled from chair and opened the door. “Sorry for making you wait.”

Coconut zipped away in a streak of white without the courtesy of a thank you.

On TV, a skinny lady not much more than 5 feet tall cooed. A 10-foot-tall, 13,000-pound elephant lifted its foot and presented it to the lady. The largest land mammal in the world cheerfully took direction from the tiny lady.

And I, the largest land mammal in our household, take direction — not cheerfully — from an 8-pound, whiskered queen.

Coconut cuddles with my wife. Coconut loves, adores and cherishes Terry.

The cat’s only use for me is to open doors and cans of cat food. After that — dismissed!

I’ve never had a pet. That would imply that I was in charge. I never am.

I had no problem with 800- and 1,000-pound cows, which as a skinny, half-grown kid, I showed at the county fair. Dad taught me early that once I showed the cow who was boss, I could lead her anywhere. I did. Easily. Cows ate out of the palm of my hand.

But a tiny little kitty cat … not so much.

Years ago, when another cat lived under my roof, I’d come home from work to find her curled up in my favorite chair. I’d glower across the room as I tried to get comfortable in a straight-backed torture seat. “Why does she have to steal MY chair?”

“Why do you let her?” my wife asked. “You could pick her up and move her.”

I’m not allowed. The cat said so.

Back when we had the eagerness that is a dog, he would wake me up at 3 in the morning so that we could go chase raccoons or squirrels or shadows or something. Every time, I’d grumble out of bed, get the leash and go. The only thing darker than the night were my thoughts while the panting canine enthusiastically investigated every scent in the yard.

“You told me you had to go,” I muttered.

The dog paused between sniffs. “Are you crazy? Who’d needs a bathroom at this time of night? But man, are you getting a whiff of this delightful odor? Possums, for sure.”

The dog NEVER woke up my wife. If I was on a trip, the dog slept. All night. But never when I was home. Because I was its pet.

This is why fish are my favorite. They don’t stare at me when I’m eating. They don’t bark when someone comes to the door. They don’t shred my newspaper. They don’t get me out of bed at night to open doors. They just swim serenely and smile at me. Except for the one who’d curl its little fish lip, jerk a fin toward the surface and snarl, “Let’s get some flakes in here already. I thought I’d trained you better than that.”

I don’t have pets. They have me.

— Tell Cole to sit up, roll ever and beg at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.


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