I have a very bad cat.
His name is Eli.
He lives in the unfinished half of my basement, and I don’t let him out much.
Because he pees.
He’s a pee-er.
A cat who pees.
All over the house. It’s maddening. And gross. So, he doesn’t get the run of the house anymore.
He’s very naughty.
And I’m the only person he loves in the world. So, I can’t give him to anyone.
Because he’ll just swat at them and hiss.
He is a very, very bad cat.
But he’s my cat. And he’s super cute when he’s not going “Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”
Eli is not a good boy.
But he’s also not the worst cat in the world.
Disney’s Biggest Mistake, Ever (Including Aladdin 2: Return of Jafar)
He goes by so many names. But I don’t care what you call him, so long as you acknowledge the truth.
Pete is the WORST CAT EVER.
He’s a big, fat, mean idiot. And in the spirit of Safer Internet Day, which is supposed to help reduce the digital bullying quotient for 24 hours, I guess, this seems like a good time to shed light on what an asshole Pete “the cat” really is.
After some exhaustive research, which primarily (okay, only) involved looking at the Disney character’s Wikipedia page, I discovered that Pete “the cat” is Disney’s oldest character.
So, let’s all give Disney a huge round of applause for becoming the gold standard in creating magic for children, despite such a huge misstep right from the get-go.
Pete “the cat” was created in 1925. People who think he actually looks like a cat *COUGHAUSSACOUGH* will be very surprised to learn (if Wikipedia is correct—and isn’t it ALWAYS!?!?) that Pete “the cat” was originally designed as a bear.
Pete “the bear” makes sense. Because he’s a big, fat, mean idiot.
But after Mickey Mouse was created in 1928, the folks at Disney (perhaps Walt, himself) decided to make Pete a “cat” in order to be a more sensible villain for Mickey.
I noticed just how much Pete sucked a few years ago when my son started watching Disney Junior’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Only parents of young children will be able to appreciate this total mockery of educational programming.
In every episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the gang of Disney characters we all know and love (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, etc.) discover a problem.
They have a little friend named Toodles. Toodles is a handy robot toolbox that will show up with four tools to help the gang solve problems. The idea is to help young children troubleshoot when they have a problem to solve.
I get it.
And it’s a good lesson.
Except in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, they teach the children horrible and dangerous lessons.
I wish I’d been smart enough to write down all the instances of this, because I’m totally going off memory here.
My favorite example is the episode where the group has lost a bunch of sheep. They spend the entire half-hour show hunting for all of them.
Inside a storage facility, one of the lost sheep found its way into a cardboard box on a very high shelf.
Nevermind how it got there. Mickey & Co. need to get it down!
“Oh, Toooooooodles!!!!” everyone yells in unison to summon their little robot friend with the solution to their problem.
Remember—the goal here is to teach pre-school aged kids how to solve problems.
I don’t remember what the tool options were to reach this very high shelf to pull down the box with a sheep that very likely weighed at least 25 pounds.
But I remember what wasn’t there.
Something sensible like a functioning staircase. Or a sturdy ladder.
You know what the right tool was for the job, according to these show creators, who apparently want children and sheep to fall and hurt themselves?
One of the characters—maybe Donald, who’s just bad-ass enough to pull this off sans pants—jumped eight feet in the air to retrieve a box with a live, heavy sheep in it.
Remember when all those kids were dying on rides at Disney World six or seven years ago?
I’m not one for conspiracy theories. But it’s totally possible that Disney wants to kill children.
But I don’t want to believe it. Because I love Disney. And Disney World.
Sometimes, during a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode, Mickey & Co. will be on a journey. Following a path to a place they must get to in order to solve the problem of the day.
And you know what that sick bastard Pete “the cat” does?
He tries to muddle their plans like a big, fat, mean idiot.
Typically, they’ll all be walking along a trail and that’s when they’ll come upon a stand that Pete will have built in the middle of the trail.
And that’s when Pete will hustle them for a toll.
They don’t have money in Mickey’s world.
But they usually have something even more valuable like beans or marbles.
Pete: “Where do you think you’re going Mickey the Mouse?”
Mickey: (Totally good-natured, and not pissed and annoyed like me.) “Hey-ya Pete! We’re on a very important mission to save a cancer patient’s life or get food for a starving child or find Pluto’s lost rubber ball!”
Pete: “Well, that will be six beans.”
I would have told Pete to eat the biggest piece of shit in the forest and walked my group right around him. There is strength in numbers, even when dealing with a gargantuan menace like Pete. But Mickey is a pacifist.
Mickey: “Golly gee, Pete. I’m not sure we have six beans!”
And then all the characters empty their pockets. Inevitably, Goofy has some extra beans in his smelly boot or stored in his hat. And then we all practice counting the beans together for that no-good Pete “the cat.”
“1-2-3-4-5 and 6! We counted six beans! Great job, everybody!” Mickey says.
Then they just hand the beans over to Pete, without even bitching about the totally unfair tax.
1. The group loses a very important source of protein.
2. Pete gets away with bullying and isn’t in any way punished for slowing down the important mission.
3. Your children don’t learn how to problem-solve OR stand up to bullies.
Teach Your Kids What Pete Really Is
I asked my five-year-old this morning: “Who is the worst Disney character in the world?”
He didn’t even hesitate.
“Pete,” he said.
I gave him a high-five.
“Yep. Pete. He’s a big, fat, stupid idiot,” I said.
He just looked at me without smiling because he’s not supposed to talk like that or call people names.
Pete “the cat” is a very bad character. Creatively, and in terms of his behavior.
We owe it to our children to protect them from his horribleness.
Fortunately, my son has mostly outgrown Disney Junior shows. Now, we’re watching really responsible shows for older children that involve fighting and behavior much more cruel than Pete hustling for beans.
But at least I’m less pissed.
And you can be, too.
I’m going to go home tonight and pet that very bad cat named Eli.
I’ll scratch his head and he’ll meow, meow, meow.
If I let him out, he’ll probably pee on something.
Because he’s a very bad cat.
Because he pees.
He’s a pee-er.
A cat who pees.
But he doesn’t look like a bear.
He looks like a cat.
A cute one.
And his name’s not Pete.
Ensuring he’s not the worst cat in the world.
But he’s close.