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Celebrity cat surprises owner with legal demands

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Cooper Aloysius Weaver, the author's original family pet, is asserting his publicity rights, Joe Weaver explains.
Cooper Aloysius Weaver, the author's original family pet, is asserting his publicity rights, Joe Weaver explains.
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A lot of you have written to me and told me how much you enjoy the columns about the cats. 

Cooper appreciates it greatly, but is a little peeved to have to share the spotlight with Eevee and Severus. For as long as this column has been written, the cat columns have been solely about Cooper. Last summer, our younger daughter moved back home, bringing with her a pair of cats. They were a bonded pair, so we certainly could not refuse their entry into our home. 

The transition was relatively smooth and the three cats seem to get along just fine. Severus and Cooper are both boys. Eevee is a girl. There is no hanky-panky between either of the boys and the girl. They look at her more like a mother figure, which is kinda goofy since they are all about the same age. 

The other day, we received in the mail a certified letter from an attorney who stated in rather simple and direct words that he represents Cooper Aloysius Weaver. I’m not used to getting certified letters from attorneys and I am especially not used to getting certified letters from lawyers who represent felines. 

I don’t know if the lawyer is a person or a cat, but I have never seen a lawyer who was a cat. A jackass or two, perhaps a weasel and, of course, your generic legal eagle. Never a cat, though. 

In legalese, you know, a lot of “party of the first part” and “party of the second part” nonsense, Cooper informed us if he was going to be mentioned in the column, we would need to consult his agent and arrange adequate compensation for his time and energy. 

I scoffed at the “time and energy” part because he doesn’t really care what time it is and has the energy of one of those old cast-iron doorstops.

Detailed was a schedule of fees for what Cooper would do and not do. He requested that his own Facebook page be updated as normal, but if we wanted to post any pictures of him on any other social media platforms, we had the option to pay per picture or purchase a contract that would allow us to use a certain number of photos within a specific period. 

He requested that if he was required to interact with any houseguests, 24 hours notice is required and there should be no private photography. 

Touching was allowed, but restricted to the top of the head and under the chin. Anywhere else was unauthorized. 

A little dumbfounded, I had never heard of this attorney or this supposed agent. With a little research, I managed to find the telephone number for Cooper’s agent and immediately placed a call.

“Talent Management, this is Marsha. Please hold.”

Having nothing else to do, I held. The hold music was “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters. Of course it was. What else could it be? The Carpenters were correct. This was just the beginning. 

The hold music changed to “Cat’s In The Cradle,” “Stray Cat Strut” and “Eye of the Tiger.” I was beginning to notice a theme here. 

“Talent Management, this is Marsha. Thanks for holding. How may I direct your call?”

“May I please speak with Morris Katz?” 

“I’m sorry, Mr. Katz is out today. Something about a flea dip. I can send you to his voicemail.”

“No, thank you, Marsha. Have a nice day.” I said, and hung up.

So, folks, here we are. I would love to provide another Cooper column, but I have been legally blocked. I might just write about the other cats until Cooper gets off his high horse. We’ll see what the future holds. Eevee and Severus are just as interesting, I assure you. 

Cooper will be back in the column sooner than you think. I’ve looked over the papers his attorney has sent me. Something about a “hidden claws” in the contract.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

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