The Adventures Of Milo And Jesus, or, The Five People You Meet In Cat Heaven

It's shocking how little effort was required to find this.

GateHouse — The boy has gotten up twice tonight so far, unable to sleep due to concerns that Cat Heaven and People Heaven are entirely separate places.

But before we discuss how I’ve managed to defuse the situation with some serious ninja-level Ghost-Cat Fathering Awesomeness, a little background:

My son would very much like to get a pet, specifically a cat, which he has judged far superior to a dog based on both slobber volume and evidence provided by the film “The Adventures of Milo and Otis,” which, in his defense, makes a pretty compelling case. But sadly, Dad is allergic to cats — not, mind you, in the way that makes Dad a little snuffly, but in the way that makes his esophagus constrict like he’s being Force-choked by Vader for saying something snippy about his big stupid battle station with the gaping security problems. Believe me, if it was just a matter of knocking back some sinus pills to ensure my son’s joy I’d pop them like Rush Limbaugh on prom night, but I’m stuck.

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That said, unlike many of the things that come to dominate my son’s time (yeah I said it, NASCAR), I can identify the precise origin of the Cat Heaven mystery. Like most tiny humans, the boy tends to save his more pressing philosophical and spiritual questions for the very end of bedtime, after the books have been read and the teeth have been brushed and the lights have been turned out, because he knows that if he keeps talking Mom and Dad will stick around, because Mom and Dad are predictable like that, and because my son’s day, like that of all 6-year-olds, is maybe 70-75% filled with shockingly effective manipulative tactics.

Pictured: Basically every day in Cat Heaven

Moreover, there’s apparently a book in his first-grade classroom that ends with an ostensibly fictional depiction of cats enjoying whatever it is cats enjoy in Cat Heaven, which I suppose includes auto-replenishing litter boxes and a never-ending supply of fat, listless Jerrys and all the elderly widows you could dream of.

And it is this book, this Cat Heaven book, which I will immediately demand the school corporation ban just as soon as I get some closure on this “Bridge To Terabithia” business, that has caused my 6-year-old grave concerns about the nature of the afterlife, the impermanence of people and things and the possibility of constructing maybe a bus system to safely shuttle people to and from Cat Heaven. Actually, I think we left it at a high-speed train. (I suggested a catamaran — hah? HAH? — but that actually made him more upset, understandably.)

Now, when you are 34 years old, this is not a problem that comes up an awful lot; being not terrifically inclined to any of the top 10 or 12 religions, I’d never really considered the possibility that the afterlife would be filed by animal type, like some sort of ethereal cloud-zoo (albeit one with probably like the best dolphin show EVER — they could probably could like play Mah-Jongg up there with the flippers while hitting the volleyball-on-a-strong with their adorable noses and letting their angel-trainers waterski behind them).

This clip art lies. Squirrels are filthy.

But now that I think about it, I kind of hope it is, partly because that appeals to my  organizing tendencies, but also because, really, who wants a glorious eternal foreverlife filled with monkeys and millipedes and those gibbons with the weird faces and do not even get me started on squirrels, you little inexcusable chippy little disease-filled scrub brushes OH YES, I WILL SEE YOU IN THE PURE FIERY EMBRACE OF HELL, SQUIRRELS.

Anyway, as I was saying, sort of, when you’re on solo bedtime duty for the evening, and you are not exactly in possession of a sprawling theological knowledge base, and you are faced with a tearing-up six-year-old concerned that there is an unfathomably distant world populated entirely by cats wondering where their masters are and what the hell they’re supposed to do for string for the next million years, you do the only thing you can do: lie indiscriminately.

And this is what I did; I conjured myself up a tremendous tale about the entry requirements for Cat Heaven, assuring my son that I could produce proof, perhaps in the form of a map that I need to Photoshop immediately, that there’s at least a nice two-lane highway between Cat Heaven and People Heaven. (I did, however, refrain from pointing out my own personal belief that no cats would be remotely allowed in any Heaven I’d want any part of, and that they could just as well be shuttled to some sort of Vermin Limbo for all I care, with their fur all over everything making my eyes develop this weird red film-like thing that makes it exceedingly difficult to blink.) The story was a majestic thing, beautiful really, and now that I think about it, I think I’m onto some sort of serious Harry Potter-style kids’ book phenomenon here. Eight words: “The Five People You Meet In Cat Heaven.” Patent pending, you vultures.

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About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

6 responses to “The Adventures Of Milo And Jesus, or, The Five People You Meet In Cat Heaven

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