They’d Strangle Us

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(Cartoonist’s note: this post appeared, in it’s entirety, 10 years ago. Most of you will have not seen it or will have forgotten it. Those of you who do remember, I applaud you and fear you a little.)
Normally, Ludwig the cat doesn’t speak or think out loud in Arlo and Janis. On whimsical occasions such as April Fools Day or a metaphysical exploration of Arlo and Janis as stage play with the characters as hired actors, he has been allowed to talk. Routinely, he just says “meow” and such, but I do stretch things a bit by allowing him to express himself with body language and facial expressions which, to me, seem more like caricature of true cat behavior than anthropomorphous indulgence. I do this, because it seems right. That shows what I know. If I let the cat talk, I’d probably be rich.
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24 thoughts on “They’d Strangle Us”

  1. The retro is not out of character for a cat. And the cat owned can figure out what is wanted by watching actions such as Ludwig grabbing for the doorknob.

    And while the talking Ludwig on Christmas Eve is fun, it’s more special by its rarity. I like him the way he is.

  2. If the door had a lever instead of a knob, Luddie could/would let himself out. Yes, I’m speaking from experience 🙂

  3. I also tease my cats about opposable thumbs, especially the couple of them that know how a doorknob works but that simply don’t have the anatomy to perfect the skill.
    RuthAnne – When I lived in a house with a lever type latch on the front door screen my cats would team up to escape. The tall, smart cat, ‘Nudder Black Cat, would stand up and press the latch while another would push at the door. The door would open just enough for the lower cat to squeeze through but by the time ‘Nudder had dropped back to all 4s the door would have sprung closed. Sometimes everyone except ‘Nudder would get out this way while the only one able to actually open the door would still be stuck indoors. Of course, I’d then let him out, or wrangle the others in, as the situation warranted.

  4. Bryan – Ours was also a screen door. It had a wide ledge next to it and Al would get on that, reach over, and push on the lever. The door would pop open but did not spring closed, so he had no problem getting out or even coming back in if we weren’t around to close the door. We told him he was letting in too many mosquitoes but he didn’t seem to care 🙂

  5. Maybe it’s time for Ludwig to have his own cartoon, where he can talk.

    And on the subject of cats with opposable thumbs, google ‘cravendale cats with thumbs advert’ and look at the video (2011).

  6. Never change, Ludwig!

    “allowing him to express himself with body language and facial expressions”

    Funny. Milady Webworker just came in from the porch, amazed at how expressive cats can be in communicating. This one indicted she didn’t want to be fed inside – by staying outside. Then, Milady set the bowl on a porch chair (where this cat sometimes likes it) but the cat just looked over at some low bricks (up off the ground means fewer ants). Moved the bowl and she chowed down.

    And we swear one of the other cats has learned to approximate saying “yogurt.” Spoiled and dangerous!

  7. I actually remember this strip extremely well, although the fact that it appeared fifteen years ago boggles me. It seems much more recent than that.

  8. Ruth Ann
    We have 2 that will open the back door to get in.
    Or hang at the window and look in.

    All have ways of letting us know when they want out but one has a loud
    cry that sounds like YOUT! and a different one for treats.

    But like Arlo said the other day – sometimes the idioms get you.

  9. Alf was an e enormous mackerel tabby with huge paws. Alf could open doors and was large enough to reach any knobs. We had to lock doors and windows. He could open a patio door.

  10. In the 1930’s and ’40s we all slept with our windows open, even through the winter. A neighbor’s pretty little grey Maltese was put outdoors for the nights, and she learned to climb a grapevine to our “ell” roof and then into my bedroom. She would sleep on the foot of my bed all night and leave when she heard my father coming to wake me for school and close the window.
    I think our own cat Jimmy was put outside at night also — I don’t know what he was doing while all this was going on.

  11. No fear here, either—I don’t remember it. But I appreciate the integrity with Luddie (or is it Luddy or something?). It’s why I never read certain other cartoons where an animal talks, though they make more money, likely.

    Love the line ears—

  12. c xp:

    Merci! Scrolled backward a few week’s worth. Now I know how another favorite cartoonist’s style has matured.

    A current BSU biologist and her husband, and also a former room & board girl [now pushing 70] would appreciate Brooke’s insight into parochial schools. The latter told me, when she was living w/ us in the ’60s, that, as soon as school let out, the girls would tuck the tops of their skirts into their waistbands to show more leg. Vive la difference!

    Peace,

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