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Sammy's Shelf
August 2013:
Niceness and cats? What total nonsense!

When I pawed open The Ministry of Niceness (Egmont Press. ISBN: 9781405258432) and began reading, my immediate response was, 'What's this about niceness and cats? Someone has made a terrible mistake here.'

I kept reading and sure enough, this little picture book was all about a very nice, yellow cat whose exemplary behavior transformed a community of cool, vain felines into a clutch of kitties who went around hugging everyone. Oh, pleeeese! Get real!

In the Land of the Cats described here, the coolest cats ran the town and the Ministry of Coolness made all the laws. Niceness had no value in this land but that didn't stop Nice Cat from going around the place with a smile (I'd call it a stupid grin) on his face. The other cats (all blue for some odd reason) were very rude to the smiling idiot. That didnít stop him, though, from paying his peers compliments and flashing his pearly whites wherever he went.

Naturally, this steady dose of civil behavior eventually made everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside. All the cool cats began emulating Nice Cat and by the story's end, the Ministry of Niceness had replaced Coolness. Even more astounding was the fact that laws were not necessary any more because everyone was being so nice!

Well, that's a sweet idea but let's get real. That's not the way cats behave. I've tried to be nice to some of the cats in my neighborhood and let me tell you, they didn't return my gestures of friendship. Here these interlopers were marking my backyard and acting like this was their turf when obviously they were trespassing.

Did I get catty about it? No! I didn't throw a hissy fit, arch my back, flatten my ears or crouch down in the attack position. On the contrary, I just gazed at the furry marauder and offered a little hospitality.

'Sample the water from my special bowl,' I said. 'You're welcome to chase a few lizards or lounge in the shade under the orchid plants where it's nice and cool.'

Was my graciousness accepted? Of course not! Before you could screech 'Great greasy hairballs!', the fur was flying and the caterwauling could be heard a block away.

So much for the noble experiment. The Ministry of Niceness my Aunt Maudy! This sweet story about spreading happiness, joy and loveliness is nothing but fiction. In the real world where I live the coolest and the biggest, nastiest cats are at the top of the scratching post!
Sammy shares living quarters with Bob Walch. Not only does Bob provide the basic essentials for this loquacious feline but he occasionally offers editorial assistance. Find more of the Maine Coon's musings at
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