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Perspective: Cats And Careers

Dimitris Vetsikas

It is said that humans are the only mammals who have a conscious sense of possibility. I've always hated that word since my parents threatened to change my legal name to Goofy, after the Disney dog, unless I made the best possible grade in long division. But without conscious possibility there can be no such thing as a career. If dogs don't have that sense, they can't have careers. I recall many Hollywood dogs, such as Lassie and Bullet, Roy Rogers' German Shepherd who got him out of scrapes every week, but I don't recall them ever signing contracts with their paws. And without a contract, you can't have a career, right?

The only exception I know is that of my late cat Franklin. Frank was a professional fighter, having it out incessantly with Molly the cat next door, Tiger the cat down the street, and with many squirrels and even possums and badgers. I took Frank to the vet many times. Then we moved to North Carolina, and Frank never fought again. He stayed indoors. He retired. He never mentioned the word "career" to me, but I think he knew he had had one and decided to move south as an old soldier who enjoyed a well-deserved rest. I miss Franklin. He was a career cat.

I’m Tom McBride, and that’s my Perspective.

Tom McBride is co-author of the annual Beloit College Mindset List. He is a specialist in Shakespeare. For 42 years he taught at Beloit, where he won an award for excellence in teaching. He also coordinated the Mackey Distinguished Writers' Program and the First Year Initiatives Program.