Ask Ambrose – “Help! My cat’s a bastard!”

Cat Has Bad Hygiene Habits

Dear Ambrose,

I was horrified the other day to find out that my cat has been using my toothbrush to clean his own teeth. My girlfriend tells me that she has known about this for weeks but that she has been afraid to speak up because if I tell the cat to not use my toothbrush he might resort to using hers! I have nothing against cats but am uncomfortable with letting one use my toothbrush. I know cats can be very sensitive animals so I am afraid to bring up the matter lest he take offence or think that I am some sort of bigot. I am at a loss as to what to do. Please help.

Cats Gross Me Out

San Fernando Valley, California

cat uses my toothbrush
Dear Cats Gross Me Out,

Luckily the answer to your problem is an easy one – you must let your cat keep your current toothbrush and simply buy yourself a new one (a new toothbrush, not a new cat.) This new toothbrush must be hidden from sight, just in case your cat’s behavior is some kind of bizarre territorial thing rather than an innocent mistake. A good place to hide your new brush would be inside a ceramic toilet tank as most cats have difficulty lifting the heavy lid – if you do not have a ceramic tank you must go out and buy one. In the unlikely event that your cat somehow finds your new brush you may want to switch to an electric toothbrush – when your cat turns it on and it starts making that weird whirring noise he will probably run out of the bathroom all the way into another state, which will make it very difficult for him to access your bathroom.

Hoping I have been of help,



Cat’s Eating Habits Annoy Owner


Dear Ambrose,

My cat eats all the pizza. When I have friends over and we order pizza he lurks under the couch until we open the box, then jumps out and very quickly eats all the pizza while giving us all blank looks. He then nonchalantly curls up in the box and goes to sleep as if pretending that nothing has happened. He does this not only when my friends and I are home but also when I am at work and he has the house all to himself. He has gone so far as to order in and then charge it to my credit card, though to his credit he usually pays for the pizza boy’s tip from his own allowance. What can I do about my pizza-loving puss?

Missing My Pizza,

Detroit, Michigan

cat sleeping pizza box
Dear Missing My Pizza,

Since part of your cat’s strategy is to hide under the couch, the best solution to  your problem is to stay away from said furniture. Try eating the pizza in the kitchen, but only after having checked under the couch to make sure the cat is there rather than under the kitchen table. By the time the cat figures out what is going on it will be too late. He will no doubt be chagrined but you can mollify him by dipping the leftover crusts in ketchup and offering them to him. If the cat catches on and this tactic stops being effective you and your friends may have to take more extreme measures by eating your pizza while floating on a raft made from large air mattresses placed in the middle of your swimming pool. As everyone knows, cats hate water and not even pizza will make one of them take a dunking. If you do not have a pool you can still use this strategy by substituting a bathtub for the swimming pool, though this may get a bit crowded depending on how many friends you have and how big your bathtub is.

Hoping I have been of help,



Caterwauling Cat Causes Consternation

Dear Ambrose,

Recently my cat Sisley has developed an unpleasant habit of sneaking into the bathroom late at night, climbing up onto the toilet as if it were some sort of stage and then singing very loudly. This would be problematic even if he had a good voice but he is almost tone deaf and his chiaroscuro has too much scuro and not enough chiaro. In the picture I have enclosed he is performing Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” at around 3am and at 143 decibels, which according to the Encyclopedia Britannica is at the same level of noise as artillery fire. Although his version is slightly better than the original it is still very irritating and nobody in the building could get any sleep that night. Please help.

Owner of Gaga Cat

Boston, Massachusetts


toilet cat singing at 3am
Dear Owner of Gaga Cat,

I fear there is no effective way to make a singing cat shut up, not without doing the kind of thing that will end up getting you a featured role on one of those Animal Planet shows about The Humane Society. The news is not all bad, though, as you can always try to change your cat’s musical tastes. For example, you could start playing some Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin around your house. This may make your cat more likely to emulate some of these classic crooners rather than the more sleep-depriving music he is currently into, and I’m sure we can all agree that a cat singing “Sway” or “The Summer Wind” at 3am is preferable by far to him yelling about a “Bad Romance” or his “disco stick.” Whatever you do, do not allow your cat to listen to death metal, as a cat singing songs such as “At Midnight I Will Eat Your Entrails” is likely to give one of your elderly neighbors a heart attack.

Hoping I have been of help,



Cat Shows Troubling Antisocial Tendencies

Dear Ambrose,

My cat Felix has recently been assassinating the neighbors. It started a few weeks ago when he began chasing after Mormons with a baseball bat, then he progressed to throwing rocks at the postman, and now things have deteriorated to the point where every day at around 6 pm he sits at the window with his automatic rifle, cackling in an evil manner and shooting down the neighbors as they come home from work. Not only is his unexpected behavior having a negative impact on my social standing in the community but every time he kills someone I am the one who has to clean up the blood off the concrete and my knees are starting to get chafed. Please help.

Bugged By Bastard Cat


kitten with gun
Dear Bugged By Bastard Cat,

I fear the behaviors you describe indicate that your cat has gone beyond the realm of mere bastardry into that of actual psychopathy. If you do not get him some help soon, Felix may turn out to the world’s most prolific cat serial killer. This could have a serious impact not only on Felix’s chances of not being gassed by the authorities but could also have a seriously detrimental effect on your own life – nobody wants to be known as the guy who owned the feline world’s answer to Charles Whitman. I see several courses of action that may be able to help you. The most obvious is to sit him down and tell him in a stern voice, “Killing people is bad! Bad!” Try this several times a week for about a month and see if the killing stops. If it does not it may be advisable to try putting some valium or Thorazine in his daily bowl of milk. Another possible course of action is to redirect your kitty’s murderous impulses back towards a cat’s natural prey, namely mice and birds. This is best done gradually by persuading some of the local birds to dress up as office workers and then tricking your cat into thinking they are humans – this can be achieved by getting the birds to stand around inanely blabbing into their mobile phones or staring blankly at their email inboxes. Once Felix has become accustomed to shooting the faux-human birds his natural instincts should kick in and he should start to kill regular, non-fancy-dress-type feathered critters.  If none of these methods work, you may need to have him lobotomized, something which can be achieved with the aid of chloroform and an electric drill. If you do not have chloroform and an electric drill you can just sit him down in front of a marathon screening of all eight seasons of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” I realize this last measure may seem a little extreme, but it’s either your cat’s brain or your standing in the community — it’s up to you.

Hoping I have been of help,



How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse

We all know from things like The Walking Dead that the world being taken over by zombies is just a matter of time, but what precisely can you do to ensure that you and your loved ones will make it through such an event? Having spent much time researching the subject of zombies and their related apocalypses, I have learned quite a few things which should, when the day comes, help my readers to stay out of some undead bastard’s gut…

The first thing to remember is that deep down zombies are just like everyone else – they are people like you and me, except that they smell even worse. Other than that, they are regular folks – they have dreams, hopes and ambitions just like the rest of humanity. The main difference lies in the fact that a zombie’s primary ambition is to feast on your flesh without even going to the trouble of cooking and garnishing it. For this reason, it is best not to date, marry, or otherwise hang out with a zombie – if a cool-looking zombie says to you, “Hey, dude, come on over to my pad and let’s chillax for a while,” do not accept the invitation as this line is merely a devious ploy often used by predators such as zombies and hipsters. But what do you do when the zombies don’t see things your way and insist on initiating some sort of hunger-driven contact? In other words, how do you keep yourself from being eaten by one of these shambling piles of rotting meat?

The first tactic in avoiding the undead is to run, preferably in a direction away from the zombies. As zombies are notoriously slow this tactic works well for most people especially if, before running for it, you point off to the zombie’s side and yell excitedly “Hey, isn’t that a big fat guy over there?” Being as slow of brain as they are of limb, the zombies will turn in the direction of the non-existent fat man, giving you an extra head start. This tactic works well for most, but is of limited use to such groups as the elderly, dwarves, and the morbidly obese. These people would be better off riding cars or even golf carts in such situations. If you are prepping for a zombie apocalypse but do not have a car, golf carts can be purchased quite cheaply on outlets such as eBay and can easily be stored in the living room.

(Speaking of dwarves, these little people are always handy in such situations as they can easily be thrown to the zombies as a distraction. While the zombies are busy with their bite-sized snack, you can make your getaway. For this reason, no zombie prepper’s bug out kit is truly complete without at least one dwarf. Dwarves can be purchased from army surplus stores, which is where would-be recruits are sent when they are too short to make it into the army.)

But back to transport. As vital as these things are, don’t let the possession of a car or golf cart lull you into a dangerously false sense of security – surprising as it seems, a not uncommon element of a zombie apocalypse is that a significant number of people find themselves carjacked by zombies. Being both slow and lazy, the average zombie would rather ride than walk, so if you see one of them heading for your car door, trust me, they ain’t about to ask if they can wash your windshield. Soon as they shuffle your way, you peel that sucker out of there. And if for some reason you can’t get the car moving, for example you may be stuck behind the kind of massive pile-up that often occurs in these scenarios, just get out and run – you have only one life, but you can always steal another car later.

If you somehow find yourself deprived of your vehicle, have no more dwarves to throw, and are too lazy to run, there are other tactics you can try. You can, for example, stand very still and hope that the zombies will mistake you for a lamppost or a trash can. This tactic has been known to work for the more drab amongst us, but is not recommended for those fond of wearing bright colors as they may be mistaken for candy canes or unusually large gummy bears. A more certain tactic, but one useful only when threatened by the brain-eating subspecies of zombie, is to wear a t-shirt reading “I Heart Fox News.” As it is well known that Fox viewers have no brains, the brain-eating variety of zombie will leave you alone and go looking for some nerd instead. If your particular region is plagued by the kind of zombie that regards any part of the human body the way Oprah regards a bear claw, then you may want to try dressing up like a carrot. As these zombies are strictly meat eaters they will be inclined to avoid you. If you are accosted by an especially stupid zombie – for example, one wearing a Fox News t-shirt – you could try to remind them of their mistake by saying in a loud and distinct voice, “Me carrot! You carnivore! Savvy?”

But what if, despite your best efforts, you can’t escape and are forced into a confrontation with a rancid, moldering flesh-muncher? This is where weapons come in handy. As everyone knows, the best way to stop a zombie is to blow its head off. This is best done with a shotgun as its spread will allow even your severely myopic grandmother to hit the target. Other types of guns such as Glocks, M16s and rocket launchers will also do a good job, but regardless of which type of gun you use, you must always check first to see if the gun is loaded – going into a zombie fight with an unloaded gun can have undesirable consequences. But what if you are stuck without a gun, what can you do then? The best course of action is to steal yourself some sticks of dynamite – unattended construction sites are always a good bet. When a zombie comes after you, light the fuse, shove the stick of dynamite into the zombie’s mouth, then run away before the zombie’s head explodes. As the debris from such an explosion can fall over quite a wide area it may be a good idea to open up an umbrella just before you start running.

It logically follows that if blowing a moaning shambler’s head off will stop him in his tracks, so will destroying the brain by smashing in the skull or separating the head from the body. For the first, baseball bats are quite adequate but hockey sticks do a much better job –  being blade-shaped objects they will cleave right into that zombie noggin like it was an over-ripe watermelon on a hot summer’s day. For the second, you will have to resort to something like a meat cleaver or, best of all, a samurai sword. If using the latter, you must not give in to the temptation to go into a lot of stylized, chop-socky type moves to impress the zombie before you send his head spinning through the air, as many zombies will find such displays culturally insensitive and may take offence.

All this talk of cleavings brings me to the second (or is it the third?) best way to stop a zombie – namely dismemberment. If a zombie is in several pieces, it will pose little threat as all it will be able to do is make its various body parts jump around comically. For the dismembering of a walker a medium-sized, and therefore portable, chainsaw is best, though if the zombie is in a very advanced state of decomposition even a weed whacker will do. As you can imagine, this is a rather messy way of getting things done and a raincoat and a pair of goggles are strongly recommended.

But as is usually the case, the best way to deal with an apocalypse is to avoid it in the first place. The obvious way to do this in the case of a zombie apocalypse is to minimize the number of dead people in the ground. The best method here is to make sure everyone makes it clear to their friends and relatives that when they finally kick the bucket they are to be cremated instead of buried – no matter how hell-bent a pile of ashes may be on eating you alive, it will pose little risk and can easily be dispatched using a common, everyday vacuum cleaner. As for those who have a religious objection to being incinerated, all I can say is that they must eat well, brush regularly, and try very, very hard to not die. I realize this means they won’t be going to an eternal paradise any time soon, but we all have to make sacrifices for the common good. Not only that, but if you turn up at the pearly gates with your neighbor’s giblets handing out of your mouth, you ain’t gettin’ in – trust me.


What I Had For Lunch

Today I decided to go out for lunch – most days I just stay home and eat TV dinners straight from the freezer. It’s a bit hard on the teeth but saves me a great deal of cooking time.

Being an adventurous sort, I opted to try out a new establishment in downtown Providence, namely “Cornelius’ Cornucopia of Exotic Crap.” Perhaps the name of the establishment should have served as a warning, but hunger has a way of dulling the intellect even in the best of circumstances, and today I was also suffering from a severe hangover due to having the previous night imbibed an entire case of Dr Snelling’s Cough Elixir.

I was greeted at the door of the establishment by the owner himself, a cheerful, smallish man with a receding hairline and steel-rimmed glasses. My host gave the impression of being a former accountant who had, during a mid-life crisis, decided to quit his job and finally fulfill his lifelong ambition – which in Cornelius’ case seems to be the spreading of trichinosis to as many members of the dining public as possible.

First up on the menu was a Southeast African dish – “Ostrich Muchawa Kimanda” which is apparently Swahili for “Ostrich Egg Termite Omelet.” This culinary offering might have been acceptable had some of the termites not still been alive and had the eggs been fully cooked. Worse yet, as I was timorously considering taking that first bite an angry ostrich burst into the restaurant and tried to garrote me with a piece of piano wire. Had not my hardy host repelled the animal by showing it a picture of Miley Cyrus’ tongue, this might very well have been my last supper. As it is, during the struggle I cunningly managed to knock the dish to the floor, prompting Cornelius to bring out the next item on his sinister smorgasbord.

Yet another African dish, this one went by the colorful name of “Kitu Wajinga Watu Wepe Kula” which I suspect translates roughly as “Thing Eaten Only By Foolish White People.” This pudding-like mélange consists of fermented bat’s blood mixed with a combination of cashews, raisins, Mopani caterpillars and just a sprinkling of cinnamon. The caterpillars seemed to be of the hairy, spiny variety but that didn’t bother me – the cinnamon was another story altogether. After asking Cornelius to remove the repulsive condiment from the dish, I took a deep breath and dove straight in. Surprisingly, the thing was actually quite tasty, though I did have to spend several minutes picking out caterpillar spines from my teeth and I found the whole concoction rather light and unsatisfying.

Deciding to tempt fate yet again I closed my eyes, jabbed my finger into the menu and this time found myself in South America. Soon, out came Cornelius with “Tarántulas Fritas En Salsa De Cerebros De Ovejas” which my host assured me did not translate as “Bits of Black Rubber Covered in Glue,” but instead denoted the far more appetizing “Stir-Fried Tarantulas In Sheep’s Brains Sauce.” I must say that the tarantulas were nice and crispy and tasted somewhat like fried chicken skin, but the brains turned out to be a bad idea. Not only did I make a fool of myself by grinning at Cornelius while uttering the word “Braaaaiiiins,” a reference that he clearly did not understand and which I was too embarrassed to explain, but the runny, curd-like substance kept reminding me of cat vomit, so after a few legs and a couple of thoraxes I sent the dish back and asked for yet another heaping helping of weirdness.

This time it was the continent of Asia that was to threaten my sanity. I was, my host promised, in for a real treat, for the next dish would be a delightfully exotic-sounding Chinese delicacy by the name of “Yang Tao Qu”. When  the dish arrived I found it to be half of a skinned and lightly boiled sheep’s head, split down the middle and placed face up on a platter. Head cheese I’ve heard of, but this was a step too far for an animal lover such as myself, and it didn’t help to have that single, solitary eye looking at me remonstratively as if about to utter the Chinese equivalent of the much dreaded phrase, “J’accuse!” To add to my woes,  my unwelcome observer was festooned with maggots – live ones! Barely had Cornelius assured me that this was a customary part of the dish when the squirmy little bastards all stood up and started singing the Chinese anthem “March of the Volunteers”! For several seconds I sat with my mouth agape, but when they got to the bit about “Arise! Arise!” I decided to follow their advice, shoved a C-Note in Cornelius’ hot little hand and got the hell out of there, fleeing with the alacrity of one who has suddenly found himself trapped inside a Bunuel movie.

I still faced the problem of an empty stomach, but having been put off the more exotic dishes I decided that more familiar fare was in order. After much thought I opted to patronize an obscure little chain called McDonald’s (or was it McDougal’s?) It was here that I purchased a bizarrerie called a Big Mac, which seems to consist of two pieces of old shoe leather jammed between three slices of moldy sponge extracted from a couch they found dumped on the sidewalk. Added to this dubious combination is what appears to be small slivers of lettuce mixed into a thick white substance vaguely reminiscent of a new born baby’s vomit. Being still ravenous, I leaped in and scarfed the whole thing down in one massive and prodigious bite. Thirty seconds later I was in a nearby alley “doing the heave” and ruining a perfectly good pair of shoes. All of which goes to show that, when it comes to lunch, it’s better the devil you don’t know.


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