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You Heard It Here First: Your Cat is About to Attack

Ken Fuson

Des Moines Register

March 24, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]



I don't want to alarm anyone, but it seems pretty clear to me that the animal kingdom has decided to attack us.

(By "us," I am referring to human beings, which rules out Fox's Bill O'Reilly. I don't really mean this. I'm just hoping O'Reilly will mention me during his opening-segment diatribe. It's all part my secret plan to go national.)

Anyway, my first inkling that something was amiss in the Human vs. Every Other Animal Species sweepstakes came this fall, when I noticed that you could not drive more than a mile on an Iowa highway without seeing a deer carcass.

At first, I thought, "How dumb can a deer be? Don't they know the difference between a busy highway and a quiet forest?"

And then I thought, "It's a deer, you idiot. They don't know about highways."

And then I thought, "You probably shouldn't be sharing these ignorant debates with yourself in the newspaper. People might begin to worry."

I figured the deer were innocent until I saw several reports that they seemed to be "attacking" vehicles, by waiting until a car happened along and then running full speed into it.

Which is why I, for the first time, actually cheered for the hunters during the most recent deer season and proposed that they be allowed to use machine guns.

My sympathy for Bambi ended about the time that Bambi lunged in front of my car late at night. I don't remember Bambi offering to clean my pants.

That unpleasant image leads us to our next example of, "When Animals Attack Iowans."

For much of the winter, Des Moines served as the Crow Capital of the World. (New city motto: "Welcome to Des Moines. Don't look up.")

Half the sidewalks in town were covered with so many crow droppings that they resembled a Jackson Pollock painting.

These birds knew exactly what they were doing. I left my car parked on a street for five minutes and found, "Surrender, Funny Boy" written on my windshield and it wasn't in ink.

I haven't seen the crows lately. They probably moved to Waukee like everyone else. The big question is: What is behind these strange occurrences?

I blame the monkeys at the Great Ape Trust.

OK, they're not really monkeys. They're bonobos, which is French for "very large monkeys."

Just what the heck is going on out there? And, more importantly, why do I insist on wanting to type it as Grape Ate Trust? Poor concentration skills or first signs of a brain tumor?

Like many of you, I was intrigued when Des Moines businessman Ted Townsend invested several million dollars on a 230-acre sanctuary for bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Give him credit for originality. It beats another hog lot.

In the beginning, I found it charming that the bonobos had cute names like Kanzi, Panbanisha, Matata and Nyota, although I kept confusing those names with those of the McCaughey septuplets.

And, yes, it was amusing when Sen. Tom Harkin visited the facility, and the creatures immediately signed a petition to impeach the president.

But I've watched enough bad movies to understand what's really going on: The apes are telling the other animals to attack us.

Their plan: First conquer Des Moines, then the world.

Hey, the Great Ape researchers keep telling us how intelligent these animals are.

For example, they apparently are able to communicate with humans, sending messages like this:

TELL...TED...TOWNSEND...TO...WRITE...ANOTHER... CHECK."

And:

"THE...RESEARCHERS... DESERVE...A...JACUZZI...."

And:

"QUIT...FEEDING...US... BANANAS...OR...WE'LL...HAVE ...THE...CROWS...KILL...YOU."

The fact is, I think the apes are so incredibly smart that they are participating in one of history's greatest scams.

During the day, they tease the researchers by showing that they've learned another simple phrase, like "pizza delivery." At night, they send out complicated telepathic instructions to crow and deer on how to release all the animals in the Blank Park Zoo.

I know how troubling this all sounds, so I promise to stay on top of the story. The last thing we need is for your pet cats to scratch your eyes out as you sleep.

Look at 'em. You know they want to.