It seemed like a good idea at first.

I was browsing Amazon a few months ago and an item caught my attention: a cat collar that could, supposedly, translate cat talk to English.

I’m naturally a skeptic, and for obvious reasons I didn’t think this thing was even going to work. It seemed silly, and cats’ vocal acoustics didn’t sound like something that would translate well.

Despite this, and the suspicious fact that this high-tech, state of the art device only cost $9.99 plus shipping and handling, I went through with the purchase. Worst case scenario? It doesn’t work and I’m out a few dollars.

A few days later, I received the distinctive Amazon box on my doorstep. I pulled the device out of the box, and tried to find my cat.

I grabbed the cat food bag, gave it a shake, and sure enough, he comes strolling along and it was go time. I poured his food in the dish, and when he was thoroughly distracted, I made my move.

Two trips to the hospital and $700 of medical bills later, I got the collar on. At this point I was doubtful this deal was really going to pay off, but I’m not one to see the checkered line and not finish the race.

At first, nothing happened. The cat meowed, but no translation came through. I double checked the package and that’s about when I noticed the big sticker on the side that said batteries were not included.

One more trip to the hospital, an official statement to the police and $200 worth of tranquilizers later, I had those batteries in the collar.

His first words were not kind, nor publishable in a family-friendly paper such as the Aitkin Age, but I was far too excited about the collar actually working to pay much mind. Besides, he sounded like Morgan Freeman.

After that angry bit, the cat did finally settle down, and it wasn’t long before we became engaged in debate over neurophysiology and the like.

Soon enough, intellectual conversation became a norm between us. For a two-year-old cat, his grasp of science was fascinating, unsettling at times. He insisted on watching the Discovery Channel non-stop, and became aggressive when I suggested otherwise.

The conflict, however, peaked only a couple weeks ago. I came home after an especially long day at the office, and felt like watching a good comedy TV show to unwind. The cat was displeased with my taste of humor and we began arguing.

Fast forward, I had him in a choke-hold in my front yard, and the house was on fire. It didn’t take long for law enforcement to respond to the curious situation, and soon we both landed in Crow Wing County Jail.

Since then, the cat and I have gone our separate ways. Last I heard he was pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at Berkeley.

(Fictional story.)

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