When good cats go bad: Waiting for Tabitha's fall


It is little wonder that a public and media starved for good news made so much of Tabitha the cat, who was lost in the cargo hold of a Boeing 747 for 12 days and flew 30,000 miles before being rescued.

Carol Ann Timmel, the 3-year-old cat's owner, found the animal with the aid of a psychic after the airline and a professional animal rescue company failed in their searches.

Timmel filed a lawsuit to force the airline to ground the plane so she could conduct her own search.

The New York Post published a large picture of Tabitha's sibling, Pandora, after a psychic said that, if readers stared into Pandora's eyes, Tabitha would be found.

Shortly thereafter, psychic Christa Carl pinpointed the cat's location and Timmel was allowed to search the plane.

"She was exactly where the psychic said she was," Timmel reported to scores of reporters and dozens of camera crews on Tuesday.

Tabitha had lost 2 of her 8 pounds but was otherwise unharmed by her adventure.

But is the media willing to let this story go after only 12 days?

I wonder.

Peter Jennings: We interrupt our regularly scheduled news for this bulletin -- a White Ford Bronco driven by Al Cowlings and carrying Tabitha the cat is proceeding down the Los Angeles freeway! Cowlings says Tabitha is demanding $10,000, a passport and three catnip mice.

Barbara Walters: Another hero falls, Peter. Is society to blame or is the media? Or both? Or neither? A two-hour ABC special with Alan Dershowitz and Marlin Perkins follows.

Peter Jennings: I understand we have a hook-up with the Ford Bronco! Mr. Cowlings, can you hear me?

Al Cowlings: If I ever get my hands on Kato, he is meat!

Peter Jennings: Al, is Tabitha armed?

Al Cowlings: Tabitha has an Uzi submachine gun and 200 rounds of ammunition, Peter, but she has been declawed.

Barbara Walters: Al? Al? Can I ask Tabitha what kind of tree she would like to be?

Al Cowlings: She says all interview requests must be made through her agent and accompanied by a certified check, Barbara. And one other thing. . . .

Barbara Walters: Yes? Yes?

Al Cowlings: Tomorrow we're going to Disneyland!


Larry King: Tonight -- what happens when the cheering stops? Elsie the Cow and Charlie Tuna talk about what life is like after the public turns its back on animal stars!

Elsie the Cow: I used to be on top, Larry. I used to be huge. But what happens? Elmer invents a glue and now he's collecting royalties while I'm chewing my cud in Wisconsin. Tell me society treats males and females the same way!

Charlie Tuna: You think you had it bad? What was my reward supposed to be? Trying to bite a hook? Any fish with half a brain tries to avoid biting a hook, but Starfish makes me try to impale myself week after week. You think Chicken of the Sea made the mermaid do that? No way. She had it soft, baby!

Larry King: Tomorrow -- what was Tabitha doing in that luggage compartment? Looking for O. J.'s knife? Bob Dole and Connie Francis take your calls!


Oprah: The Lost Kitty Diet! Tabitha loses one quarter of her body weight in just 12 days -- and you can, too! Plus a complete beauty makeover! Tabitha gets eyeliner and a wax job!


Rush Limbaugh: Maybe that nitwit in the White House could use Tabitha's psychic to find a foreign policy! What do you think, ditto-heads?

Audience: Yeahhhhhhhhhh!

Rush Limbaugh: Is this feli-Nazi somehow tied up with Vince Foster's suicide? Or was it murder? Or both? And can I make up whatever I want because this is a free country?

Audience: Yeahhhhhhhhhh!

Rush Limbaugh: Staring into a cat's eyes in a newspaper! Ridiculous! Idiotic! How stupid do they think the American people are?

Audience: Yeahhhhhhhhhh!

Rush Limbaugh: Stare into my eyes. You are getting sleepy. You have no will of your own. You will do whatever I say because you are spineless, mindless, ditto-heads. You will buy my next book. You will buy my next book. You will buy my next book.

Audience: Yeahhhhhhhhhh!

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