Yes, a year after the very first cat poem excerpts appeared online comes I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats, courtesy of Chronicle Books. Divided by such highly scientifically determined sections as “Family,” “Work,” “Play,” and “Existence,” ICPOT (as it is known among people with a love for abbreviations and who don’t want to blow all 140 characters in their tweets on one title) provides an unrivaled glimpse into the psychological forces that inform a cat’s understanding of–and approach to–such key elements of daily living as laptop keyboards, teetering stemware, unprotected sushi, pills wrapped in food, closed bathroom doors, and jamming yourself into the smallest cardboard box possible, among the countless other trials and triumphs that inform a cat’s life. No other book will show you what a cat is thinking. No other book will so clearly illustrate how cats can secure a literary agent and publishing deal. No other book is perfect for sharing with friends, family, fellow cat lovers or with your very own feline companion only for your cat to say, “Where are my royalties?”
New York Times Bestseller
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
Denver Post Bestseller
Seattle Times Bestseller
Boston Globe Bestseller
Amazon Top 100 Bestseller
Barnes & Noble Top 100 Bestseller
Questions for Francesco Marciuliano (if that is indeed how one spells that name):
So why a book of cat-penned poems?
You might as well ask “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why do fools fall in love?” or “What’s this on my back? Is it a pimple? Is it a bug bite? I try to look at it in the mirror but the angle’s all wrong.” While I can only offer brief answers to the above three question (one over wavelength to the fourth, hard lemonade, and someone hot-glued a Lego minifig head to your skin), I can say a book of cat-written poems was inevitable. After all, what cat owner hasn’t looked at their pet and wondered, “What are you thinking?” Or what non-cat person hasn’t looked at their friend’s cat and wondered “What are you plotting?” Or what non-cat person who doesn’t have a cat or even any friends with cats hasn’t thought, “I need more cats and friends.” Well, now those three classic personality types (as defined by the “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Exam: Cat-Administered Edition”) can finally find out what goes through a cat’s mind when they shatter your possessions, chase after nothing, and take that first whiff of catnip.
Have you always been a cat person?
The moment I was born I was greeted by Bettina, an absolutely sweet Siamese my parents had received as a wedding gift and who would be my very first pet. Of course, how a cat had managed to sneak into a hospital to greet me at my birth–much less don curiously fitting scrubs and cut the umbilical cord–remains a mystery to me to this day. (Especially when you consider that this was before Photoshop, when forging the necessary ID would have been difficult for a human, much less anyone without opposable thumbs). Over the the years my family also regularly fed and cared for countless feral cats, at one point taking care of as many as 12 at once (a number I’m sure was not discussed at all by our neighbors) and who went by such names as “Fluffy,” “Other Fluffy,” “Didn’t We Already Name a Cat Fluffy?” “Charlie,” (in fact two named “Charlie,” both female), “Snowball” (but no “Napolean”), “Rainbow” (two different-colored eyes that I tried to name “Bowie”), “Calico” (take a guess) and “Hobbes” (because that had to happen eventually).
What can you tell a dog person about being a cat person?
Let me start by saying my affections are not exclusive to cats. Growing up I had an exceedingly, extraordinarily kind, caring, and charismatic dog named “Panda” (for whom the sequel dog poem book is dedicated to). In fact, I’ve always been confused how battle lines were ever first drawn between these two types of pet owners, though I think the main difference lies in how dog people and cat people speak of their pets. Dog people will commence any discussion of their cuddly companion with effusive, ebullient praise and conclude by taking their loved one by the furry jowls and exclaiming, “Who’s a good dog?! Who’s a good dog?! YOU’RE a good dog!” Cat people, though, will often start their anecdotes with a long, exasperated sigh and conclude by showing a photo of their cat somehow simultaneously tangled up in both the Christmas tree lights and track lighting, noting, “It was my own fault for ever going to the bathroom.”
Who is the book dedicated to?
The book is dedicated to the memory of my two beautiful, loving, life-saving cats, Boris and Natasha, who were always there for me as I stumbled out of college (and as an unofficial med student) and through adulthood, and whose memories continue to brighten my day even as I miss them greatly. Found as brother and sister at a veterinary clinic in New York City at eight weeks of age (which with backtracking gave them the birthday of May 15, 1993), the two were indeed named after characters from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, though when one person asked if I had named them after Tolstoy’s characters, I immediately said, “Oh, of course.” Boris and Natasha could not have had more different personalities, they could not have been a more perfect team, and I could not imagine a life in which they did not play a most crucial and cuddly role.
Why did you get two cats?
I had always wanted to get two cats so that they would never be wanting for company when left alone in the apartment, an odd wish given that at the time I almost never left the apartment. Having graduated college with an eye on being a syndicated cartoonist—which is akin to stating as your career objective “professional hot air balloonist” or “falconer/pearl diver”—I was relentlessly unemployed. Couple that with a then inability to be around more than two people without apologizing for bothering everyone and you have someone who spent most of his days inside reading and sketching comic strip submissions that can best be described as “Family Circus, but with more hemorrhaging.” In truth, I think I wanted to get two cats because I knew eventually there would come a time in which both would look at me, realize what an absolute mess I was as a conversationalist and companion, shake their heads, and then say to one another, “Perhaps we should talk in the other room.”
Can having a cat serve as trial run for having a baby?
I assume we’re talking in terms of “caring for” and not actual “birthing of.” Though perhaps I am not the right person to ask, since as of this writing I do not have any children. I would very much love to be a dad but due to reasons both somewhat unexpected and subconsciously undermining that has yet to be the case. People have always told me “You would be great with kids” which I think is another way of saying “You think like a kid” and I fear is actually a way of saying, “That aside, I’d give it about five minutes in your care before my kid was snatched by condors.” All that aside, though, while people often adopt dogs as a prelude to having for a baby, I’m not positive that very approach works well with cats, since rarely does a baby not require attention for 16 straight hours only to then get up, knock a glass of a table, and return to its spot as if to say. “I think I’ve made my feelings plain.” (By the way, some of you may notice the photo of the adorable kitten to the right is from Cats Quote Charlie Sheen, which started the whole cat phenomenon on this site.)
Well, then could cats serve as doctors?
I’m glad you asked! Here are several pertinent reasons why reaching out to a feline physician may not be the most prudent approach when requiring medical attention. That said, I do wish to put to bed the common misconception that while dogs would immediately come to one’s rescue in times of emotional or physical distress, a cat would simply greet the sight of their owner spontaneously combusting with “Well, will you look at that.” In fact, many cats can be trained to dial emergency numbers if said button was slathered in chicken and liver and would be more than quick and willing to gently and lovingly pat out the flames with their paw.
How can I learn more about you, the author?
Aww, how kind of you to hypothetically ask. There’s always the About the Author page on this very site. Or you can read excerpts from my upcoming, unpublished, unsolicited memoir. Or you can find out what my possessions think of me. Or you can read my Conversations with My Dad. Or you can see how I would write my comic strip Sally Forth under the influence of an exceptionally high fever. Or if you’d like a more peculiar look, there is, well, this. Or I could have avoided all this nonsense by simply, succinctly answered, “I’m doing well, thank you. Health is fine, I just had a particularly tasty sandwich, and I think with another six or seven years of practice I may finally learn how to whistle. But more importantly, how are you?” Or you could just look at my photo and wonder not only why I always look completely startled and bewildered when someone takes my picture, but also if I secretly fear cameras will take away my soul.
Have you written any other books?
I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats is my very first book, thus allowing me the feeling of accomplishment that can only come from having your very published tome prominently feature a reference to urine in its title. I have, though, created several coffee table books that alas will never, ever grace your living room table, all of which can be seen here and here and also here and look over here and because I don’t know when to give up even here. Or you can read my completely useless guide to Comic Strip Writing 101. But I should note that I do have another book coming out next year–also by the wonderful people at Chronicle Books–and that one is free of any nods to threatened piddling in its title.
I have a cat! Can I show you pictures of my cat?
Of course you can! Send a photo of your erudite and discerning kitty reading the book to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post it on this page, on the home page, in Facebook, and through Twitter. Plus, I would love it if you could post your photo through the customer share link at the the I Could Pee on This Amazon page. Maybe the cats could even form a book club. Of course, the main point of book clubs seems to be to get drunk on margaritas and the last thing I want to encourage is sloshed kitties. So instead I suggest you put on some Vivaldi, sit with your favorite feline on a handsomely distressed leather reading chair, and try to prevent your cat from biting the pages.