The idea of training the allegedly untrainable cat has been occurring to a lot of people around the country lately, says animal behaviorist Warren Echstein, who should know. He's the author of the bestselling How to Get Your Cat to Do What You Want, and perhaps more impressively, the resident animal expert on the Regis and Kathie Lee Show. "All of a sudden it's been the rage, people calling themselves cat trainers and behaviorists," Echstein says. "It scares me a little." But Echstein hastens to add he's long favored taking cats outside in harness and leash, partly as a way to combat what he sees as increasing boredom in domesticated catdom. "Look at the average cat's life nowadays," he says. "Eight hours a day watching General Hospital and eight sleeping. If people have a problem with their cat jumping on the kitchen counter or walking on the stove, it's probably because the cat is bored as hell and likes to be up high."
Echstein is adamant that nearly all cats can be trained, provided they're being trained to do things they want to do in the first place. And on that, he and Castaner agree: "If you want to train your cat successfully," Castaner concludes in his training cassette, "you have to look at things from a cat's point of view." Echstein adds: "The most important thing is removing the human ego. Get on the animal's level."
And Buster's level? Who knows? Castaner has already been to Miami's famous Zubi Advertising agency with an idea. They told him they couldn't use Buster right then, but they'd keep him in mind and his pictures on file.
But Castaner can already see it. He can taste it. A beer commercial featuring Buster. A feline Spuds MacKenzie. Here's Buster on a yacht under the brilliant Miami sun. He's surrounded by glamorous, partying women and men. Suddenly, from the shore, he hears the sound of a can of a certain brand of beer, maybe Miller, being popped open. Buster dives off the deck of the yacht into the turquoise water of Biscayne Bay, to the "Eeeks!" and "No Buster!"s of the women. He swims toward shore. A shark approaches, but Buster fearlessly swims on. He comes upon some surfers and catches a ride in on a wave. And finally he's on land, shimmying off the water. Bikinied girls run toward him with ecstatic cries. They have his ice-cold Miller. Close-up of Buster and the beer. Someone pops the top as the camera pulls back to show Buster with his Miller. Surrounded by beach babes.