29 October 1999
William Gillespie & Ruth Wyman
Cats On the Hill
Washington D.C. AP (Associated Poets) Republican
lawmakers today attempted to repeal Medicat. Medicat, the
well-known feline retirement program, was to be one of many vetrinary
welfare programs to be rolled back this year.
The GOP had believed that Medicat could be
cut without much risk of public outcry. Once again the Republican Congress
underestimated the public caterwaul their slashings would invoke. Legislation
such as Medicat, they found out, not only has nine lives but always
lands on its feet.
Today, minutes before the Medicat vote was to take place, 1,000,000
cats entered the capitol building, overwhelming security, and forcing
many congresspeople - Jesse Helms among the most allergic of them - to
Outside, on Capitol Hill, many influencial feline groups held demonstrations
and distributed literature. Organizations sponsoring the event included
AARC (the American Association of Retired Cats), the influential
Kitty Coalition - a conservative pro-anti-spaying-and-neutering
group whose lobbyists hold considerable influence over the legislature,
and Greenpaws, an environmental activist organization that has
worked to prevent the extinction of many endangered species of bird and
fish. Greenpaws had a stack of petitions with 10,000 pawprints
protesting the rollback of Medicat.
According to CNN (Cat News Network), the demonstration was mostly
peaceful although there were a few isolated catnip-related arrests. C-SPAN
covered the entire demonstration, including the chaos that ensued when
thousands of angry cats, led by the Clinton's own cat Socks, prowled
through the halls of congress, tails fluffed.
Although claws were bared, there were no scratchings reported.
In the end, Republican lawmakers agreed to table the proposed cutback
of Medicat until after the November 2000 elections. Socks
ended the rally by reminding cats everywhere to lobby for feline-supported
Democats in the upcoming elections.
It has been rumored that former television personality Morris,
with running-mate Kitty Dukakis, is planning to campaign for the
37 million American felines receive Medicat.