An erstwhile friend who is both politically savvy and a bit of a provocateur wants it known that he has had it up to here with politics.

An erstwhile friend who is both politically savvy and a bit of a provocateur wants it known that he has had it up to here with politics.

"We pay their salaries, and all they do is fight like dogs and cats," he declared. "Our country is being led by backbiting curs who do nothing but bicker. Even when they try to work together, it invariably turns into a hissing cat fight.

"They ought to be wearing muzzles," he added.

"A bunch of drooling idiots, all of 'em."

Nor was he finished provoking.

"But it could be worse," he concluded with a catty grin. "They could also be attorneys or journalists."

Naturally, I could not let the pejorative comparison go unchallenged. Not even during this, the silly season of politics.

"I'll have you know that our pooches Waldo and Harpo do not fight with each other or with our nine cats," I countered. "They are civilized creatures who coexist without a snarl. They could give Congress lessons on communicating and compromising."

That may have been laying it on a little thick, but hey, he had verbally attacked some of my best buddies.

Comparing pooches to politicians or cats to candidates is unwarranted. The furry fellows deserve better.

As for my friends in the form of attorneys, politicians and fellow journalists, I figure they can defend themselves. Besides, he may be on to something there.

Now it is true that Harpo tends to drool when he is gnawing on some bone of contention. But an idiot? Definitely not.

When 100-pound Waldo makes a great escape with his leash in tow, the bigger Harpo runs him down, grabs the leash and pulls the escapee back to us. He's a born leader, a problem-solving, take-charge kind of guy.

All our creatures are salvaged souls whose parentage is a bit iffy. The orphans have papers, albeit they are old MTs used to collect litter when the critters were little fellows.

Now, the vigilant reader would be numerically correct to observe that we only had eight cats when I last wrote of them earlier this year. The focus was on the passing of Granny, the senior stateswoman among our feline congress.

But since then Maureen has adopted a wee kitten whose feral mom was recently run over on the mean streets of Medford. The kitten was one of two survivors huddled together near a fence while mewing forlornly at the sight of their mother's dead body on the street. Another adopter took his sibling.

Admittedly, I was none too keen about increasing our cat herd. In D.C., I suppose that would be akin to upping our national debt.

But my opposition to housing another cat was overruled by his extremely sad tail, er, tale, of woe.

Besides, my wife promised I could name the furry little fellow with bat-like ears who has what looks like a gray cape pulled over his white body. He also has a gray mask that stops just below his eyes, ala Batman.

"Meet Batman, the Caped Crusader," I announced as I held him aloft.

"You gotta be kidding," the wife said, sighing.

Yet she acquiesced, knowing that, as Robert Service wrote, a promise made is a debt unpaid.

However, insisting that the Batman moniker is goofy, she prefers the nom de guerre of "CC" for the little Caped Crusader.

But let's get back to the body politic.

Unlike their biped counterparts, the animals in our midst have figured out how to work together to further their furry cause. If they don't like the food, they all fast until we replace it with decent grub. Smart.

And they know how to play nice. When Mouse, a tortoise shell feline named because of her diminutive stature, plops down on a big doggy bed to take a nap, Waldo and Harpo don't shove the little cat aside. They sleep with only their heads on the edge of the bed while she snoozes away.

In a sense, they were all elected to their posts since they were chosen out of the thousands of homeless pets out there.

Unlike some political animals, they don't fib and they can't be bought, although they have been known to be enticed with a morsel.

They all earn their keep. The cats are constantly patrolling for mice while the mutts keep an eye out for larger fierce creatures.

At the risk of anthropomorphizing, they seem appreciative of their lot in life.

They do periodically tend to sniff each other's posteriors for reasons I have yet to discern. Or care to know.

But at least our cats and dogs don't fight like a pack of politicians.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or email him at