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Sunday, March 21, 1999


Reach out and touch your four-footed friends

Do you ever get the feeling that your cat isn't listening to you? Have you ever tried to find a gift for the dog who has everything? Don't despair. The latest in pet communication is here: greeting cards for cats and dogs.

Lisa Shaw started this business after coming to the stark realization one year that her cats had not received one Christmas card -- in their entire lives! So Lisa set out to do something about it. She created a card company called Litterature, to let the world know that cats celebrate Christmas too.

I have in front of me a 27-page catalog (also available online at www.litterature.com) that includes Christmas cards for cats as well as nonsectarian season's greetings cards (no Kwanzaa cards yet). But Litterature isn't just about Christmas. Armed with a stack of these cards, you'll never be caught unprepared for a cat or dog's special occasion again. You can send a card to congratulate a cat on her new birth(s) or you can send a "missing you" card to your dog. Get-well cards and sympathy cards can be sent from your dog or cat to another dog or cat.

For those times when you have something really special to say to your cat, say it with a card that is blank inside waiting to be filled with your special words. For that dog on your list who has everything, try giving him a surprise birthday party with the Litterature Party Kit. The party kit includes invitations, party favors, cookie cutters and a mug full of treats.

While the Litterature catalog has every type of cat and dog card imaginable, I was a little disappointed that there were no greeting cards for reptiles. You see, I have a large reptile in my living room. I tried to get the landlord to do something about it but he just laughed. "You should be happy to have a sea turtle in your house," he said.

"It would be something of a novelty if the turtle was alive," I said.

"But it came by jet all the way from Manila," my landlord said proudly.

I asked him if he didn't think it was a little cruel. He said, "How could it be cruel? The turtle is dead."

I think some things are OK dead, such as cockroaches. But if you can't put a pin through it, I say it shouldn't be displayed. This turtle deserves an apology. Perhaps a card offering condolences from Urashima-taro.

I wonder who came up with the idea of selling these turtles anyway. I imagine a young boy shining shoes in the streets of Manila. Suddenly it hits him, "I could be selling dead reptiles!" The dead "omiyage" was born.

The sea turtle had occupied the tokonoma in the living room long before I moved in. He sits on a pillow, his head sticking out, ready, as if he is going to come back to life some day and take prisoners. Eventually, I moved the turtle into the storage room where every now and then I hear strange noises.

The other day was the first time I've ever taken the turtle out of the storage room. We had a St. Patrick's Day party and needed something green. Legend has it that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Little did St. Patrick know that he could have simply sold the snakes as dead omiyage to tourists.

At the St. Patrick's Day party we wore green clothes and drank green beer with the green turtle in my living room. That's when I thought it would be nice to have greeting cards for reptiles, because reptiles celebrate St. Patrick's Day too.

I'm sure that someday there will be greeting cards for reptiles. In the meantime, I have the Litterature catalog for all those special dog and cat occasions. Frank, my white kitten, is turning 1 year old this year so I might have a birthday party for her (menu: tuna cookies and kitty "chanko nabe"). Since Frank had never been to a party, I thought she might need a little practice before hosting her own, so I invited her to my St. Patrick's Day party. She had a great time. And she didn't look so bad dyed green either.

E-mail your comments and questions to: amychavez@mailexcite.com

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