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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lessons learned from Mac the cat

By Charles Memminger

The company that makes "Emery Cat," that cat-scratching board sold on TV, should expand their line of products to household furniture that cats will refuse to tear up. My wife bought an Emery Cat and it is now officially the only thing in the house that our kitty, Mac, refuses to scratch.

The Emery Cat is the latest product marketed by the company that has introduced the world to pillows made of buckwheat husks, upside-down tomato growers, 423 gadgets to improve your abs, a plastic brush thingy that allegedly turns you into a professional house painter and a mini-neck-plunger that allows you to do chin pushups to slim your neck. The TV commercial claims Emery Cat, which apparently is made of honeycombed Kevlar and looks like a little footbridge you might find in a Japanese garden, will trim your cat's nails while the creature scratches it. In theory, it's a good idea. Anyone who has ever tried to trim a cat's nails knows that is like trying to sharpen lawnmower blades while the machine is running.

So a gizmo that entices the cat to scratch it instead of your Louis XVI sofa while trimming its nails is a good idea. In theory. But you know what Yogi Berra said: "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice, there is."

Ironically, which is to say, insanely, the Emery Cat board has become the only thing in the house that our cat Mac will NOT scratch. In fact, he won't go near it. He'll walk three feet out of his way to avoid it. He treats the Emery Cat board like it's an improvised explosive device about to blow up. We even tried putting catnip on the board, as suggested by the directions, but Mac apparently feels the way about catnip the way Gene Simmons feels about marijuana and booze: He won't touch the stuff.

That's why I think the company that makes Emery Cat should expand into the furniture business and make the Emery Chair, Emery Couch, Emery Table and, while they are at it, Emery Curtains, because our bedroom curtains look like they've been through a wood chipper.

I wouldn't feel so bad except my wife paid $24 for the blasted thing. It used to be that you could only get these weird products by ordering them on TV. The commercials even bragged "Not available in stores!" Ha! Now there are "As Seen On TV" stores at every mall that sell every gizmo, gadget and gewgaw advertised on TV. The difference is that instead of getting two Emery Cats for $19 you only get one at the mall for $24. I guess you pay extra for the convenience of not having the item delivered to your door.

The commercial says Emery Cat is "the fun new kitty scratcher that grooms cats' claws while they play." Right now Mac is "playing" with the leg of a table that has been in the family for five generations.

I'll say one thing, he's got good taste.