The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 25, 2013

MICHELE M. BENDER | Pearl’s ident-kitty theft

JOHNSTOWN — I love my name, Pearl. My human, Denise, bloomed as a ’60s flower child. She could have called me “Moonglow,” “Chablis” or (gag) “Snowball.”

 But she named me after the late Janis Joplin because I have poise, class and beauty. And since my last column, I celebrated a birthday. I’m no longer a kitten. I’m a whole cat now!

My first column ran April 14. Michele needed a “paws,” and believed I had enough talent and cat-itude to help her out. We were dumbfounded when a strange cat’s picture appeared with that column.

Many humans fall prey to “identity theft.” Treacherous swindlers seize their personal information to steal their assets.

I fell victim to “ident-kitty theft.”

We determined that an unscrupulous cat sneaked into Michele’s work area, stole my photo, and substituted her own. What some critters won’t do for their 15 minutes of fame! It was a cat-astrophe!

Look at my picture. This is the real Pearl Trautman!

Finding the perp wasn’t easy. Very few cats pursue careers in law enforcement. (Most prefer burglary.) We had to rely on animal crime fighters. McGruff, the crime dog, assigned CatWoman to supervise the CSI investigation. She analyzed drool, collected paw prints and interviewed suspects.

Potentially crooked cats were summoned for a furry feline lineup. I watched through the one-way glass as the shady group skulked in.

“Number 2, nose to the left!” ordered McGruff. “Num­ber 5, no wagging permitted!”

Our local magistrate arraigned the criminal. The charlatan cat opted for a bench verdict because of jury of peers couldn’t be assembled. Do you know what humans will do to avoid jury duty? Cats are waaay worse! Trust me.

The smartest cat on Earth, McCavity, adjudicated the proceedings. Trial was held May 10 in and for the County of Cambria.

The judge convicted the impostor of “Ident-kitty theft in the first degree.” She was sentenced to a week of confinement in Michele’s neighbor Brittany’s rec room.

Brittany’s 3 dogs – Tori the corgi, Willow the giant schnauzer and Chloe the Airedale – generously volunteered to act as corrections officers for the duration.

The impostor will submit to a regimen of “sensitivity training.” She must watch eight hours of “Benji” movies daily and listen to the Barking Dogs’ rendition of “Jingle Bells” for six hours a day.

The whole ordeal left me distraught. Denise took me to my vet, who ordered “kitty downers” to calm me.

Thanks to Michele for al­lowing me to borrow her column to expose this injustice.

I hope to write again in the fall, maybe … Michele says I have a flair for this.

Have a “mew-sical summer.” I’ll keep you in my “purrs.”  

Michele Mikesic Bender is a Johnstown resident and a member of The Tribune-Democrat’s Readership Advisory Committee.

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