When You Run For Office, Carry Kitty Snacks

Julie R. Neidlinger

As election season heats up, I'm going to tell you a story of politics and cats.

My friend's father ran for a state political office, and won. We were talking about her help in the final door-to-door campaign push shortly before the election, and, strangely enough, most of her stories of trodding the campaign trail seemed to involve cats.

Armed with campaign literature one day, my friend, her father, and another fellow who was also running for office headed out on a door-to-door mission. They each had a short talk prepared, not wanting to take up too much time but surely providing information about their political stance.

All was going well as my friend approached the house of an elderly woman, who cracked open the door after hearing my friend knock.

“Hello,” my friend said. She told the woman her name and took a deep breath, readying for the speech. “My father is running for…uh, is it OK if your cat gets out?”

A cat had darted out the cracked door just as she was about to get her speech going, zipping into the freedom of the open yard.

“Oh no!” the elderly woman cried.

My friend quickly set the campaign materials on the step. “Don't worry. I'll get him for you,” she said. She walked cautiously towards the cat. “Here, kitty kitty.”

The cat bolted, just as she was about in reach. Closing in a second time, my friend stretched out her hand. “C'mere, kitty kitty.”

Again, sensing the end of its freedom, the cat bounded away. The elderly woman looked on from her front door, concern growing on her face. With a half tip-toe, my friend slid toward the wayward cat. “Here kitty-puss. Here kitty.”

The cat, curious as is their lot, paused. My friend snatched the animal and held it safely as she walked back to the elderly woman framed in the door way. “Nice one!” the woman said, and held the cat as my friend proceeded on with her brief speech.

A few houses down, my friend stood in shock as a door opened and a young woman, decked out in dramatic makeup, a long black wig, and a plastic crown of snakes, stood in front of her.

“Uh, I'm going to a party,” the young woman said, a bit embarrassed. Halloween was a few days off.

My friend introduced herself and began to talk to the woman. A darting movement near her feet caught her eye. Another cat. “Um, your cat just got out!”

“What?!” The young woman leapt from the doorway and out onto the lawn. Chasing the cat around the yard in the ever-darkening twilight, my friend could here her call out “Come here you brat. Get over here!”

My friend said she felt silly and guilty. The Elvira look-alike was zipping around the year, finally leaping into a shadowed area of shrubbery. Moments later, the squalling sound of an unhappy cat rang out, quickly followed by a triumphant “I got it!”

My friend proceeded on with her speech.

When her route was finished, she headed back to the meeting place her father and friend had agreed upon. The three canvassers compared notes, and my friend told of her cat adventures. Her father mentioned that at one house, the woman had insisted he come in and see her new kittens, asking if he would like to take one with him. The third fellow listened in silence, then began shaking his head.

“I might've lost us a few votes back there,” he said. “Three cats got out of this one fellow's house, and I only managed to catch two.”

Moral of the story?

If you're going door-to-door for a political campaign, bring the handouts, the flyers, the bumper stickers, and the kitty snacks.