Belling the Cat

Spring is here! The days are warm, the birdfeeders are out, and I’m enjoying the company of songbirds who build their seasonal homes beneath my awning.

Except that the neighbor’s cat keeps coming here and killing them.

I. HATE. THAT. CAT.

I got one of those live animal traps, the kind you use for coons and foxes. My plan is to trap the cat and tie a cowbell around its neck. Maybe step on its tail a few times.

Two weeks later, the trap is still empty. Seriously, eff that cat.

There’s an episode of Tom and Jerry where a pair of mice are trying to bell a cat. Jerry the Mouse attempts to tie a bell on the cat’s neck while the cat is asleep; the cat wakes up and mauls him. Baby Mouse takes a different tack: He wraps a bell in a gift box with a bow, presents it to the cat, and the cat is so delighted by the gift that he puts the bell on himself, never realizing its underlying purpose.

Isn’t that what Google and Facebook and friends are doing? If the government demanded unfettered access to our private lives, there would be massive outrage. Instead, the tech behemoths present us with Free Email, Free Photo Albums, Free Cloud Storage, and we tie the bells around our own necks. We never intended to carry always-on location-tracking devices, but who can resist a Free Map service?

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth — and that’s exactly how you end up with the Greek army inside your city walls.

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