Cat o’ nine TALES

My neighbor and friend, Phil Harnden, is a sly guy. He’s the founder and executive director of GardenShare, a Quaker, soft-spoken and hard-working. But he’s sneaky. Oh, yeah. Ya gotta watch out for those quiet types.

The first message arrived a few weeks ago:


All-natural mother seeks to reduce carbon pawprint through placement of herself and locally grown son in green, feline-friendly family. Well-behaved, sweet, and playful pair desires transition from free-range lifestyle to sustainable, loving home where they can find “sense of place” and read Wendell Berry. Son already has kitten vaccinations and wishes to remain with mother “until job market clarifies.” Both support world peace, Obama, and NPR. Quiet and companionable; no tea-partying.

Inquiries welcome. Contact:

Phil Harnden
860 Maple Ridge Road
Richville NY 13681
(315) 347-3778

Clever, eh? A week later, this:

For Immediate Release


A study released today has found that the presence of cats in a home creates wealth and slows the aging process for the homeowners.

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Current Issues, followed 100 junior high students into adulthood. All participants grew up in homes with cats.

Researchers found that the income of these students rose dramatically as they entered adulthood, from as little as $5 a week to well over $25,000 a year. The study also found that, even after ten years, participants were still significantly younger than their parents. Some remained less than half the age of their grandparents well into their 20s.

A spokesperson for the AARP underlined the importance of these findings. “This is a really big deal,” said Joseph P. Aarp. “It means everyone should have at least one cat in their home.”

Coincidentally, two cats with age-reversing, wealth-creating skills are available right now for adoption. Singly or as a team, this pair will arrive with a dynamic plan to put more bucks in your bank and to give your skin that warm, healthy glow it once had. Guaranteed.

Call now. Operators are standing by.
Phil Harnden

The following week, this arrived:
“I’ve been to the ashram; I’ve run with the boys; I’ve said goodbye to the last of my children (yes, my dear son found his own home last week). Now I’m ready to move my life in a new direction——preferably, toward you. I want to transform my maturity, balance, and harmony into devotion to you and your (warm, cozy) home. My needs are simple, my wants are few. I feel a need to eat sensuously, to pray quietly, and to love you deeply for the rest of my life. Please call my agent today.”

Honey at Prayer

The latest installment in the Honey tale arrived today:

WASHINGTON, D.C.  President Barack Obama today announced a new $30 billion “Cats for Clunkers” economic stimulus program, modeled after last year’s popular “Cash for Clunkers” car exchange.

“I’m sick and tired of seeing hard-earned taxpayer money being spread far and wide on so-called economic stimulus,” the President said, after Air Force One made a surprise landing in DeKalb, New York. “THIS $30 billion is all going to ONE person–the lucky guy or gal who adopts this cat.”

Administration officials confirmed that the person who adopts the selected cat–a tortoise-shell female who is registered Independent–will receive all $30 billion.

The program already appears to have garnered widespread support in Congress, after Republican members were assured that the chosen cat has an authentic U.S. birth certificate.

“It’s the Right thing to do,” said Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell.

“Adopt Honey and I’ll give you $30 billion.”
How about it? Want to adopt Honey? If you contact Phil, be sure to tell him he has to  keep writing a weekly “press release” about something…and don’t forget to ask for your $30 billion.


8 Comments on “Cat o’ nine TALES”

  1. Valerie says:

    I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear about the fate of Honey.

  2. Pete Klein says:

    I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear who get the $30 billion.
    If you heard it on NPR, it must be the cat’s meow.

  3. Martha Foley says:

    Is that the same Valerie who sent me a six-photo essay from the cat her son brought back from college, pleading to be rescued from the other big, mean cats in his new household?

    Yes, we adopted him, after Val convinced us to “try him out” for a weekend. I’d adopt Honey, except we already have another “extra” cat in residence…did the president say $30 BILLION?

  4. Valerie says:

    Oh, you saw through my disguise, Martha. But you’re a happy, complete family now, aren’t you?

  5. Jody Tosti says:

    So, Ellen? Is Honey your newest family member? What great writing, Phil!!

  6. Donna Smith-Raymond says:

    Completely delightful to read. . . especially today!

  7. Esther says:

    Although I will admit she is a honey of a kat, the only katz I am interested in raising are already grown and gone.

  8. The next time I read a blog,

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