Meowism

What to make of a picture book where cats wait on death's door while humans hump like rabbits?

The cover of Jennifer McKnight-Trontz's Hang in There!—depicting a kitten hanging from a tree branch with a frightened look on its face—tells you everything you need to know about the author's apparent anti-feline bias. No fewer than 11 photos feature kittens on the brink of death, most hanging from a tree limb or rope. Of all other animals depicted in McKnight-Trontz's hodgepodge assemblage of '70s Hallmark card kitsch, only a raccoon and a koala are shown to be in similarly dire straits.

In fairness, there is a photo of a monkey hanging from a tree by one arm. But monkeys have been known to climb trees for sport with some regularity. Either way, it's obvious that McKnight-Trontz is more of a dog and pony person. One of the equine photos she's included in her pictography shows three stallions running through a lush field with a rainbow in the background. In McKnight-Trontz's world, the horse is the essence of vitality, when in reality (this being the world of competitive Thoroughbred racing) horses are remarkably fragile—if powerful— creatures, euthanized for the slightest of injuries. And the closest a canine comes to peril is a photo of a beagle with a hot water bottle on his head. We feel your pain, buddy, but the cats have got it way worse.

Despite such inconsistencies, the book comes close to succeeding as a time capsule— until it introduces a handful of photos of humans frolicking in nature, trying to get laid. There's a guy leading a woman through a field of dandelions, ostensibly to get laid. Ditto a hairy bloke leading a barefoot brunette through a field into the woods, where they will undoubtedly set to laying. There's also a half-naked couple strolling along an ocean beach—post-lay, no doubt. Then there's a guy jumping for joy in the middle of a field full of tall grass, celebrating a first-rate lay.

What to make of a book where cats wait on death's door while humans hump like rabbits? Meowism, say we.

If you would like your deceased pet to be considered for this space, please send a high-resolution 4-by-6 photo and brief description of his or her life to petcemetery@seattleweekly.com.

 
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