KB: Today we are interviewing PKP and Fluffy through their guardian and typist, Beth Hilgartner. These two brilliant cats have mastered survival skills essential to any kitty who wants to get a jump start on achieving dominion over the world (as don’t we all?), internet commerce and politics.
KB: First off, can you tell your future readers a bit about yourselves. How did you come to your home? Who is the alpha in your relationship? What’s your favorite food? Favorite toy? And what does PKP stand for? Well (Fluffy here) we are sisters/litter mates, daughters of a mostly feral barn cat, who came to live with Dana and Colin because the woman who owned the barn where our progenitor lived decided that she didn’t want 8 barn cats. She asked Dana if she would take us in and Dana said yes. Little did we know where that simple yes would take us! PKP is definitely the alpha (she says I’m a rabbit, but then, she’s mean). My favorite food is shrimp, but pizza is a close second. I think PKP would say that her favorite food is dog steak, but even she doesn’t get it very often. Really, it’s probably some kind of wild prey, but she also loves shrimp, tuna, and pizza (extra cheese and no tomato sauce). PKP stands for Princess Killer Pinknose. Emphasis on “Killer.” My favorite toy is a suede catnip mouse Dana’s sister made for us. PKP’s favorite toy is … me. She enjoys chasing me around, threatening Grievous Bodily Harm, and making me make undignified noises.
KB: In Cats in Cyberspace, you relate the harrowing tale of how two resourceful felines deal with the recent economic crisis affecting their home and the quality of care they receive from their staff. Please tell our readers a little about what your crisis was and how you decided to handle it. Our human servitors (PKP here) had to take day jobs because they felt it was necessary to squander their money on things like health insurance and paying the mortgage, instead of on buying cream and tuna for us. We hated having them gone, because they shut us in during the day and weren’t around to provide snacks on demand. So in our efforts to find other distractions, Fluffy discovered the Internet, which we could access using Dana’s computer. I immediately saw the potential for transforming our situation, and we set about to make a killing in the stock market.
KB: Did either of you have any prior educational preparation for your eventual accomplishments? Is there a bibliography in your book that other cats might access to obtain hints about how to do something similar to improve their quality of life? (Fluffy here) We both learned to read because Dana (who is a writer) likes to read aloud when she’s working; I think it helps her get the character’s voices properly. We would sit in her lap and read the words on the screen while she said them. We were also very privileged to have contact with the great feline researcher, Short Tailed Tiger, Killer of Voles — the one whose work established that there was meaning to the mouth noises humans make. Since we could read, we found tons of useful information on the Internet, and were able to research and learn about anything we needed to know. I even found an online phonics course to help another cat, Ginger (whose human servitor had never read to her), how to read. (PKP interjects:) And we all know what a great idea THAT was, Fluffy! (Fluffy responds:) Now, PKP; it really helped keep Ginger from tweaking your tail when you were busy. (PKP:) I still think it would have been simpler if you’d just let me kill her. (Fluffy:) Are you sure you want potential fans to see this part of your personality, PKP? Remember, the public needs to be persuaded, not coerced…
KB: The two-leggeds tend to be simple creatures. Have yours put your investment in them to good use and was your ultimate goal achieved? (Fluffy here) Actually, we’re both quite happy with the way things turned out. There were moments (sometimes even LONG moments) of frustration — TwoFeets can be SO obtuse — but in the end, they’ve embraced the changes we engineered, and our quality of life is significantly improved.
KB: Please tell our readers how they may obtain copies of this fascinating and useful book. Is it available in digital format? How may they obtain a print copy? (Fluffy): Though the first book, Cats in Cyberspace, is out of print, the author, Beth Hilgartner, has hard copies. They may be ordered by sending an email to email@example.com. The cost is $16, which includes shipping and handling. She also has a few copies of PKP For President, also $16 (which includes S/H). She’ll sign them for you (though why you’d want that, instead of my or PKP’s paw print, I can’t say) for free, and if you buy both copies at once, she’ll give you a deal: $30 for the set (includes S/H). I believe there is an e-book version of PKP For President available; you can also order copies of PKP FOR PRESIDENT from the publisher, Brigantine Media — though I’m not sure they still have signed copies. Beth is considering producing audio versions of both books, so if you are interested in that, drop her an email to let her know. The more interest that’s expressed, the higher up the priority list the project moves.
KB: Now, as to the sequel, PKP for President: Did the recent realization by so many humans that they may obtain enlightenment by gazing at pictures of cats on the internet spur your campaign? Did you post cute pictures of yourself as a campaign tactic, PKP? Fluffy, what was your role in the campaign? Pictures? (This is PKP) Are you kidding? NO! I don’t do “cute” and besides, I didn’t want anyone to know I was a cat. Humans are so species-ist. And my foray into politics really did predate Hank The Cat’s. Though he got a lot of attention on Facebook, really all anyone had to do was click “Like.” MY fans had to read my brilliant political analyses and process my fascinating thought; and really, a lot of them appeared to recognize the power of my insights.
(Fluffy:) My job was to keep PKP from eviscerating anyone literally (there was plenty of virtual evisceration on the web. Her slogan: Let’s put the GUTS back in politics!) and to make sure even nosy, inquisitive, persistent humans (like that annoying investigative reporter) didn’t figure out that PKP is a cat. I learned a lot — and I mean more than a boatload! — about mediation, negotiation, and diplomacy (not to mention manipulation) which will stand me in good stead for my next project: exerting the feline touch on foreign policy.
KB:Would it be spoiling the end of the book to tell us whether or not you won your election, PKP? Really? (PKP) Do I look like Obama? Anyway, the humans would never let a cat really be president. (Hank The Cat’s campaign should prove that. Even with his vast popularity and influence for the causes he supports, he’s not a Senator.) But being the eminence grise in the background? THAT I like.
KB: What incentives did you offer volunteers for your campaign? (PKP) All those details were handled by my webmaster, a student at Columbia (who, with typical TwoFeet blindness, had NO idea he was working for a cat). I believe that he funded the entire operation through the sale of bumper stickers, and employed some of his fellow students to produce and distribute them.
KB: A new election is coming up and both of the dominant human sides are acting really silly. Can we expect a cat with real solutions to be on the ballot? In our state, we now vote totally by mail so my brothers and I can confiscate the ballot, vote on behalf of our mom, and return it. She will think she did it and forgot. (Fluffy here:) I think PKP is actually happy with the role she’s carved out for herself, which allows her plenty of influence while preserving her anonymity. I don’t intend to seek elected office, and Ginger… though she has the larger than life attributes and …um… confidence necessary to a politician, let’s just say that Ginger is intent on achieving fame and fortune through another avenue than politics.
KB: Can you tell us a bit about the platform you ran on in your book? How does it differ from a new platform you would sit on as you campaign for this new election? We assume that this time you will run for President of the United States. It’s the office that most needs a sensible cat in charge and a good spring-board for world domination. (PKP:) Basically, my role in the last election was to point out the total idiocy of the economic policies being advocated by the anti-government extremists, and to propose common sense policies that would improve the country’s economy, curb environmental destruction and catastrophic climate change. We ran my campaign as a protest vote — a way for the average voter to choose something other than the lesser of two evils; but even during the campaign I was perfectly aware that I was not a legal candidate for president. My campaign allowed people to voice their dissatisfaction with the electoral process and political “business-as-usual.” Since the election, I am positioned to exert considerable political influence — though frankly, this unbelievably dysfunctional Congress has even my capabilities strained! So even though a sensible cat as president would be a huge improvement over just about ANY TwoFeet candidate, I will not put myself forward. You should know that I am willing to offer my considerable resources and expertise to a candidate willing to take direction. Maybe Elizabeth Warren would be interested…
KB: Thank you for your time and for your very entertaining stories of your adventures. Re the second book. If you run and are elected as POTUS, should you need lobbyists to give a little claw of warning to those in Congress who might oppose your solutions to the nation’s ridiculous problems, or perhaps to pee on their shoes, we would like to volunteer. (Fluffy here:) PKP isn’t very good at sharing — DON’T look at me like that: you know it’s true! — but in my venture into (for lack of a better term) Feline Diplomacy, some volunteer activists might come in very handy. I’ll certainly keep you all in mind! Thank you for inviting us to chat with you and your readership.