The newly arrived probe to Mars has returned irrefutable evidence that the red planet is populated with approximately 27 million 3-month-old kittens.
These "kittens" do not give birth and do not die, but are locked in a state of eternal kittenhood. Of course, without further investigation, scientists are reluctant to call the chirpy little creatures kittens.
"Just because they look like kittens and act like kittens is no reason to assume they are kittens," said one researcher. "A football is a brown thing that bounces around on grass, but it would be wrong to call it a puppy."
Scientists at first were skeptical that a kitten-type being could exist in the rare Martian atmosphere. As a test, two Earth kittens were put in a chamber that simulated the Martian air. The diary of this experiment is fascinating:
6:02 AM: Kittens appear to sleep. 7:02 AM: Kitten wakes, darts from one end of the cage to another for no apparent reason. 7:14 AM: Kitten runs up wall of cage, leaps onto other kitten for no apparent reason. 7:22 AM: Kitten lies on back and punches other kitten for no apparent reason. 7:30 AM: Kitten leaps, stops, darts left, abruptly stops, climbs wall, clings for two seconds, falls on head; darts right for no apparent reason. 7:51 AM: Kitten parses first sentence of daily newspaper that is at bottom of chamber.
With the exception of the parsing, all behavior is typical of Earth kitten behavior. The parsing activity, which was done with a small ball-point pen, was an anomaly.
Modern kitten theory suggests several explanations for the kittens' existence on Mars. The first, put forward by Dr. Patricia Krieger of the Hey You Bub Institute, suggests that kittens occur both everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. In other words, we see evidence that kittens exist, but when you try to measure them, they are gone, usually at the top of drapes. Another theory, put forward by Dr. Charles Wesler and his Uncle Ted, suggests that any universe where round things exist, from theoretical spheres to ping-pong balls, necessarily implies the existence of a Mover/Kitten. The scientific world has responded by saying that the notion of this Mover/Kitten is not a concern of legitimate research and should be relegated to the pseudo-scientific world. The pseudo-scientific world has responded by saying that it needs at least three endorsements from independent crackpots before anything can truly be called "pseudo."
Some have suggested that the hostility of the Martian climate should be enough to seriously set back the long-term prospects of any species. However, the weakness of Martian gravity is a bonus for felines. They are able to leap almost three times as high as they can on Earth. They can climb twice as far up a carpet-covered post, and a ball with a bell in it will roll almost three times as far. This is at least equal to the distance that a mature poodle can roll a ball with its nose.
Even though there could be a big market on Earth for eternal kittens, most scientists agree that the human race should not pursue further involvement with the kittens. There are those, however, who believe that, having discovered these creatures, it is now our responsibility to "amuse" them.
Dr. Enos Mowbrey and his wife/cousin, Jane, both researchers at the Chicago Junebug Institute for Animal Studies, argue that the kittens could be properly amused by four miles of ball string cut into 14-inch segments. The cost of such venture would be:
Four miles of string: 135 dollars
Segments of string: 8 dollars
Manned Mars probe to deliver string and jingle it: 6 trillion dollars.
Currently, the only scheme for raising this money is a proposal to change Rhode Island into a casino.
Kitten theory, along with modern string theory, are embryonic notions at best. There is still much to be pursued, including exploration for similar life on other planets. When asked what other heavenly bodies might be conducive to kittens or, say farm life such as baby chicks, Dr. Joseph "Old" MacDonald enthused, "E-I,