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Take 5: Or, Our Cats Are Tougher Than Eastern Cats

Issue: Earlier this month, a declawed, 10-year-old, orange-and-white tabby named Jack chased a black bear up a tree in a leafy suburb – twice. Then the cat's owner called him off and the bear departed.

Question: Are New Jersey pets tougher than Spokane area pussycats?

Tongue firmly cheeked, Paul Turner/Slice sez "No" for following five reasons:

1. Our cats live near grizzly country. Anytime they are going to take on a bear, they have to first ask themselves if it might be ursus arctos horribilis.

2. New Jersey cats might affect a mobbed-up "Sopranos" swagger, but some of our cats are descended from the animal companions of Old West gunfighters and muleskinners.

3. Our felines live every day with the potential of seeing the occasional moose, eagle, coyote or mountain lion. A timid black bear isn't apt to turn them into fraidy cats.

4. New Jersey cats might be able to hum Bruce Springsteen songs, but our cats know a few Bing Crosby tunes. Um, OK, maybe that's one for the other side.

5. Northwestern cats understand that people, not bears, are the source of all of life's problems (give or take a few bowls of tuna).

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Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.