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Monday, December 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 20.0° F  Overcast
The Daily
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Tell All: Cat on a leash
What are my neighbors up to?

Dear Tell All: My neighbors, a couple in their 80s, will put a leash on their cat and slowly walk it from their house down to the corner and back, even in the middle of the winter. It's kind of creepy. Why do they do that? Cats shouldn't be on leashes.

The Dog Catcher

Dear Dog Catcher: When I get questions like this, I not only think outside the box; I also like to peek in all the other boxes just to see what ideas I can find. In a tiny box tipped on its side in the corner I found this one: I'm really, really hoping that your neighbors are blind and that they're being led around by their seeing-eye cat.

Wouldn't that be cool? You never hear of seeing-eye cats, probably because they're too independent. They wouldn't put up with it. They'd be like, "You want to go to the post office? Well I want some catnip. So hang on! I'm drivin'." Your neighbors' cat is probably dragging his owners around in circles just to pay them back for all the times they dangled that stupid stuffed mouse in front of his face.

Since your neighbors walk their cat in winter, perhaps he's a sled cat in training, part of the first attempt to cross Antarctica by cat-sled. Of course, it would take 67 cats to pull one explorer. You'd need another sled just to carry all their litter boxes...which would require more cats...and more litter boxes...and more sleds. The thing grows exponentially until your head hurts. Otherwise, you know, I'm sure someone would have gone to the South Pole via cat-sled by now.

The obvious explanation is that your neighbors' cat has been declawed and they're worried that it would be defenseless if they let it out on its own. So they're just giving it some exercise. But that's kind of a boring answer, which is why I went rooting around in all those boxes.

For what it's worth, I think cats are a whole lot smarter than they let on. You can see it in the way they sit scheming all day. When they finally figure out how to use the can opener, we're all screwed.

Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or email

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