But what about yours?
Maybe you are having trouble with it?
Well, I'm here to help!
In the packet there is a really nice letter, from the Director of the Bureau, that says, among other things:
1. We need your help to count every Cat in the United States by providing basic information about all the Felines living in your home.
There is some debate as to whether Government Kitty Counters should also check every back alley, and dumpster, abandoned building, or beach cliff bush, and any other place Feral Cats, alone, or in Colonies, may be found.
I am of the opinion that, no, they should not, and the simplest reason, among the many there no doubt are, is that there are so many, thanks in part to Human neglect, that they would not complete the count until it was time for the NEXT Census, in 2020!
What are your thoughts, for, and against?
2. Your Answers to the Census are important because the results are used to decide the number of Cats each State Representative to Congress can have around their offices.
The amount of money the Rep can spend on the upkeep of those Cats also depends on these answers, as they use the money for kibble, litter, treats, medical bills, stroller, and Cat Tower repairs, among other things.
Now, I don't know about you, but I have my doubts about this.
In all my life I have never read about the Representatives, and Senators, in my Districts, having Cats in the office, or seen evidence on film, however I believe my Rep lives with Kitties in her home, and there was, a few years back, a famous Cat who roamed the streets of Sacramento, the capitol of California.
It also says the info won't be made public for 72 Human years, and then for genealogical, and other types of hysterical research purposes.
That first part is important, and no doubt comes as a great relief to Cats everywhere, especially with regards to Vishus Deers.
It is important because there are now brand new sitings of a particular kind of Vishus Deer recently discovered in the Continental United States, as reported by the ever vigilant Meowers From Missouri, who explain the danger as they see it, and even link to a video that, in my opinion, needs more analysis from the experts, such as Jack of All Shades, and Shadows, who has written one of the most definitive Educational Pamphlets you can find on the subject of Vishsus Deer, and Skeezix, writer on the Catster Cat/Kitten Blog, who founded The Vishus Deer Nayburhood Watch Group on Catster, before we allow panic to set in.
As for the 2nd part, the operative words are "Human years", not Cat years, which means that you, your Kittens, most of your GrandKittens, and even some of your Great-GrandKittens, will be hanging out at Rainbow Bridge by then. ;-D
The Census Bureau estimates that it will take the average Cat a week to fill out the Census, including time out for Playtime, Bird Watching, Kibble, Litter Box Breaks, and the all important Snoozing, and Napping.
They helpfully allow you to Hiss, and Yowl, in writing, or by e-mail, if you consider this estimate to be overly optimistic, or something of a burden, so look closely for that information, and don't throw it away, in case you might wish to eventually take advantage of your Catstitutional Rights to Express Yourself.
Now, with all the Instructions out of the way, it's time to get to the questions themselves, all 10 of them.
Don't ask me why they didn't just stop at 9...there's some things even I can't fathom about the workings of agencies of the United States Government! ;-D
The Census Bureau is very helpful in that they give you the choice of 2 languages, Felinese, and English.
Question 1 takes some explaining before you can even attempt to answer it, as do the other questions, but doesn't rival Question 9 in complexity.
It begins by explaining that The Kitty Counters MUST complete their task by April Fool's Day 2010, which is more than appropriate if you ask me.
Just sayin', is all! ;-D
You must count all the Cats, including Kittens, who live, and sleep, in your home most of the time.
The Kitty Counters also count Felines in Institutions, and other places, so... do not count any Family Cat who might be at the Vet, or Animal Control, on April 1st 2010.
Do not count any Family Cat currently serving in the Armed Services, or the Cause of Science and Medical Research.
Leave these Cats off the form, even if they will return to live with you, or they may be counted twice.
If there is a Cat living with you, who has no permanent place to stay, on April 1, 2010, then it's OK to count that Cat so that they are not missed by the Census.
After taking all this into consideration you answer this question: How many Cats were living, or staying, in your home on April 1, 2010?
This may cause a problem, if your Human is a Crazy Cat Lady, or Man...because there is no way to list more than 99 Cats as an answer, and the Census Booklet only covers personal info for no more than that.
Question 2 asks you if there were any ADDITIONAL Cats not included in Question 1, such as a new litter of kittens, relatives from out of town, non-relatives, or Cats just passing through, or none at all.
Question 3 asks if the place you live in is owned by your Human, or You (Hey, it happens! If your Human goes to Rainbow Bridge before you, and leaves the place to you in their will.), and if there is a Mortgage, or Home Equity Loan (Ask your Human about that if you don't have a clue.), or if the place is a Rental, or even Occupied W/O Payment of Rent.
Question 4 asks for your Phone Number in case they can't, for the life of them, understand your answers.
Since many Cats are passionate practitioners of "Don't Call me, I'll Call You"...and you can't, lawfully, ignore the question...list the Home Phone Number of your Human.
Question 5 asks you for your name.
With this one just use the one you respond to most as your Human probably uses cute little pet names, or names that aren't so cute (For those moments when you cough up a hairball, or present them with a Mousie valiantly defeated in Combat!), in addition to the name they gave you on your Gotcha Day, and it can all be so damn confusing to keep track of. ;-D
Question 6 wants to know your Sex.
This DOES NOT mean how many times you go into Heat each year!
They want to know if you are a Male, or Female.
This one's easy for Sphynx's. ;-D
If you are not sure, because you are one of those really hairy breeds of Cat...Have your Human get you a Lion Cut...You willl be doing your country a service, and look real cool for weeks afterward!
Trust me. ;-D
Question 7 wants to know your Age, and Date of Birth.
Your age in Human years, not Cat Years.
If you don't know either with any certainty...guess. ;-D
They want you to answer BOTH Question 8, and Question 9, because, well, because they are the Government, and believe they need to know these answers even more than all the others.
Question 8 asks if you are of Shelter/Rescue, or Feral, Birth, or neither of these.
Why the Government needs to know this, and doesn't want to know if you were born in a nice, loving, home is not explained.
Question 9 asks what Breed you are.
The list, from A to Z, is 9 pages long!
Why? Because they break things down into Short, Medium, and Long Hair...for all Breeds that HAVE hair, that is.
The good news is that they also have a choice that reads SOME OTHER BREED.
IF, like me, you are an, um, "Opinionated Pussycat", then you may want to consider answering simply, truthfully, and legally...FELIS CATUS. ;-D
Question 10 asks if you sometime live somewhere else, such as with your Human at College, or at a seasonal residence, or serve in the Military, or for some other reason.
If you are an only Cat then you are done!
See? That isn't so hard to do!
If you live with a Crazy Cat Person, then...May The Ceiling Cat help you, because I sure can't! ;-D
***UPDATE - 3/24/10***
Thank You Skeezix!
Mr. Catster, Himself, has kindly helped to spread the word on The Cat's Meow Blog, and said some nice things about me, and this blog, in the bargain! ;-D