Purry Duty: Boston Cat Ordered to Serve as Juror

"You mean this isn't the jury box?"


So according to this article from the Telegraph newspaper, a Boston cat recently was called to do jury duty. It turns out "Tabby Sal" had been listed on the family's census submission, under Pets, but it appears that with today's anti-discrimination policies, our government is willing to take practically anyone able to serve. 

Thumbs are not a prerequisite.

Having received the summons, the feline's owner suggested that Tabby Sal's presence on the jury was possibly superfluous, given the prospective juror's "inability to speak and understand English." The article doesn't say whether this was enough to exempt the cat from his duties as an American citizen.

Now, my own kittens both do understand English, but they are not fluent, native speakers. 

As far as I can tell, their grasp of the language is pretty much limited to:
  • Their own names
  • "food" 
  • "no" 
  • "nice" 
  • "no" 
  • "good" 
  • "no" 
  • "stay" 
  • "no" 
  • "fer Pete's sake, Harry, what the hell are ya doin'?"
  • "no" 
  • "down" 
  • "no" 
  • "treat" and
  • "not for kitties"

Also "no." But that particular word appears harder for their ears to register and process than words like "food" or "treat."

If these are, however, the words being used in an important court case, my furred friends Alice and Harry would probably be able to turn in a decent, honest verdict-- at least one as good as the average human-American who watches a lot of daytime television.

I mean, I figure most of us-- myself included-- can speak almost no Cat. So, being bilingual, the kittens are already our linguistic superiors. Plus, their day jobs consist mainly of self-employed in-home perimeter security patrol and REM processing. This makes their schedules flexible, so getting off work to participate in a trial isn't too difficult.

Only drawback would be for a lengthy trial. 

In which case, the jury box had just better have some litter in it.

13 comments:

Karen said...

Yes, our cats get 'treat' and 'RUN, Vacuum Cleaner!!!!' but the rest of the language is a mystery to them. Especially 'no', which to them means...yes! yes! good kitty! do it again!!!! so I guess they DO know English, as long as you realize what you are saying is not what they are hearing...which is pretty par for the course with human beings too, now that I think about it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Karen- Alice does recognize "no" for what it is. But whether she chooses to hear it depends on mood. But she's also pretty sharp. She looks up so attentively whenever I address her by name, it's a little unnerving sometimes.

Harry doesn't care much about anything. He's fully kitteny.

cmk said...

My cat FULLY understands EVERY word I speak to her--she just doesn't care. :D

ReformingGeek said...

At least cats could maintain a stoic facial expression confusing the attorneys.

Jaffer said...

To some ears, 'No' is like the pure tone that Tinnitus patients are so used to.

Jenn Thorson said...

CMK- They have their own agendas. In fact, I think I found one of those agendas, written in a shaky hand in the soap scum of my tub.

Reforming Geek- It's true. I often think their deadpan would be good for card sharping, as well.

Jaffer- I think it can also be like the "waaah, waahh waaaah" of Charlie Brown's teacher on Peanuts.

Linda Jenkinson said...

I can see it now. The cat jumps out of the jury box, licks the defendant and says, "Mew! Not-milky!"

Jenn Thorson said...

Heh, Linda- You managed to make the final cat/courtoom pun I was searching for but couldn't find. :) I knew there had to be something-- Thank you!

HumorSmith said...

"Hairball your honor!"

"I object."

"To what?"

"Juror # 3 is working on his toe jam and repeatedly rubbing his hand over his body."

"So?"

"Well, I'm afraid my client is licked before we start."

"Stop caterwauling and get back to the case."

"Your honor, my client absolutely did not rob anyone at Governor Shorthair's Fancy Feast last night."

"But..."

"But...your honor?"

"He was convicted last year in the case of the purrloined letter."

"A poe choice of precedent, your honor."

"What's Obama got to do with this?"

Jenn Thorson said...

Humorsmith- You know, it's disturbing when the comments section is way funnier than my original post....

And I like it. :)

Though I am now picturing Tom Cruise as a defense lawyer with cat ears.

meleah rebeccah said...

Okay - this post was very funny, and Humor Smith's comment is also just as hilarious. I'm not even going to try to top that one!

injaynesworld said...

Ditto what Meleah said. I'd heard about this on the news, but your take on it is priceless.

Boom Boom Larew said...

Humor Smith for the conviction!