Editor’s Note: The Family Furball

Reader's Digest Editor-in-Chief, Liz Vaccariello shares with you the story of her adorable cat.

Did you ever see a grown man walk a cat?

Liz VaccarielloPhotographed by Melanie Dunea/CPILiz Vaccariello

I have, and it’s the darnedest thing, both funny and sweet.

You see, Dad couldn’t deprive Festes, his beloved Maine coon cat, the fresh air, green expanse, and outdoor smells of our backyard. Yet he dared not let Festes risk a run-in with the fox who lived in the woods.

My parents had let earlier cats venture freely onto the back patio. The idea was to train Rufus, Samantha P, or Lucy to stay close by shaking a can of coins whenever they ventured near the edge. Anyone who has tried to train a cat knows how well this strategy works. (It didn’t.)

In the evenings, sometimes they showed up to the back sliding-glass door with a prize. We applauded because, until we did, the cat wouldn’t drop the mouse or chipmunk wisely playing dead.

Festes brought out our protective instincts. He looked like a warrior but had a meow like a bath toy. This was the cat who would sleep on Dad’s bed through the end, keeping watch, purring and knowing. The size of a raccoon, he was a significant presence with a heart of mush. Just like his dad.

Steve Vaccariello Steve Vaccariello

Thus, the evening constitutional was born. Festes—showing the same spirit of cooperation with which he entered the cat carrier for a trip to the vet—allowed my father to attach the leash. Then around the yard they’d go. Cars stopped. Schoolboys pointed. Some sight they were.

Enjoy our cover story, “50 Things Your Vet Won’t Tell You.” Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person (we’re both at Reader’s Digest), the story is full of stuff you need to know—and didn’t know you needed to know—about your family furball.

What it doesn’t tell you (because it doesn’t have to) is how much you’ll love each other.

-Liz, @LizVacc, [email protected]

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.