You probably already know Bubbles.
You probably already know he’s a sweet soul with a potty mouth who steals shopping carts and sells them back to grocery stores. You know he lives in Sunnyvale Trailer Park in a toolshed and often gets roped into Ricky and Julian’s harebrained money-making schemes, usually involving robbery, guns, marijuana, or some combination thereof.
If you know all that, you probably also know that Bubbles—a character on the popular mockumentary television series Trailer Park Boys—loves cats more than anything.
The Newfoundland Screech Comedy Festival will be taking over the city for one week this month, and “The Ricky, Julian and Bubbles Community Service Variety Show” will be the big show kicking things off.
Since this happened to be The Scope’s Pet Issue, Elling Lien decided to call up Bubbles and pick his brain about the show, and about his cats.
So you’re coming to Newfoundland?
Yes sir! Yuh, that’s what they’re telling me. June 10th.
So what is the “Community Service Variety Show” about?
Well, Ricky got us in trouble back at the trailer park and we went to, you know, see the judge, and he was going to put us in jail, and I pleaded with him not to do that because I hate jail. So he decided he’d sentence us to community service. He said, if we did these shows around the country, whatnot, these little variety shows would count towards our hours. So that’s going to knock two hours off our time there, that show in Newfoundland, so I’m looking forward to that.
What happens in the show?
Well, I worked out a deal with the judge, and I told him we’d do a puppet show saying that drugs and liquor were bad, so that’s sort of what we’re supposed to do. But Ricky sort of has a hard time saying that, because he loves liquor and dope, so the first few shows didn’t go so well. It’s hard to get Ricky to get on board, you know?…
I built three puppets, and we’re all trying to work them. Ricky doesn’t know how to work the puppet though, that’s one problem. It’s hard for him to say liquor and drugs are bad too, so we’ll have to give it another shot and see how it goes.
How about you? Do you have a hard time saying that?
Well, no, I can say whatever I need to say if it’ll keep me from going to jail. I can say liquor and drugs are bad all day. I still like to have them every now and again, but…
Well Bubbles, since I have you on the phone, we’re doing a special issue on pets, and since you’re pretty much an expert on cats… kitties… I thought I’d ask you for some specific cat care advice.
How are your cats doing these days?
Well, they’re all right. There’s the odd one who gets in the garbage or whatever. They get the shits usually, but I mean, they’re pretty good really.
They get in the garbage?
Well, you know, it’s inevitable. Somebody throws a bag of garbage to the curb, or whatever, without putting it in a bin, and the next thing you know one of the kitties is in there licking old wrappers off things and drinking garbage juice. They’re inevitably gonna get the shits from that, right? I try to keep them away from that as much as I can, but it’s not easy.
How do you nurse them back to health after they’ve been drinking garbage juice?
Well, at that point, you know, make sure they’ve got good food and lots of liquids and stuff, and you just get their bellies… give them a good, oh, hour and a half session of tickly-wickly, or whatever.
What’s your best technique for petting a cat? How do you start and how do you proceed?
Oh it depends on the kitty, first of all. Some kitties like belly rubs, and other kitties like chin work and behind the ear work, so it’s really dependent on the kitty. I prefer kitties that like belly work, cuz I like to get right in there and scratch their bellies, get their bellies. Because that’s what makes them purr, usually, the most. If they’re that type of kitty.
But some kitties you go near their bellies to do some belly work and they’ll whack you, you know?
Then your hand is gone.
Is there any way to convert a cat that doesn’t like its belly rubbed?
Well, I mean, it’s difficult. It depends on how old it is. If it’s a little kitten, you can just start doin’ it and eventually he goes, you know, “jeez, this is kind of nice” and he chills out. But if it’s an old cat, set in his ways, and he doesn’t like his belly got, I mean, it’s better to just leave him be.
It’s not worth pursuing.
I tried to convert a couple older cats into belly cats, but I lost a few strips off my arms.
So they’re write-offs for belly work.
Kittens are hard to control. I had a cat that was always attacking my feet… scrobbing my feet… Do you have any techniques for getting them to stop?
Well, I’ll tell you right now, the best thing you can do with a kitty that sort of attacks and bites and that stuff, the best thing to do is just go still.
And once he does it for a second, once he realized that you’re not, you know, trying to pull away or fight back, they usually just stop and give up.
It’s when you start yanking your hand out of the way, that’s when they dig right in, and that’s when you get scratched.
So passive resistance is the way…
Yeah, I mean, the best thing to do is just stop dead in your tracks and he’ll probably give you a couple quick nibbles or something, but they don’t hurt. It’s when you start trying to yank your hand or foot away that’s when it gets dicey and you get scratched up.
Do you use any home remedies for dealing with cat scratches? Because they always get a little irritated…
Yeah, sometimes. You know, I use regular old Polysporin or something like that. There was an old guy in the trailer park that used to say, you know, if a cat scratches you, you gotta piss on it.
But I don’t think… I haven’t ever tried that, and I have no interest in trying that!
I think just Polysporin or something like that seems to work the best.
You gotta wonder what they put in that stuff then.
Some kind of magical magic juice or something. I don’t know.
How do you keep a cat from unrolling toilet paper in your bathroom?
Oh, the easiest thing there is to just put an elastic around your toilet paper.
Because if you keep it hanging there, they’re not going to stop themselves. That’s just good fun for them. Pulling that down, seeing it spin. You know, if I was a kitty I’d like to do that too. So just put an elastic around it and it’s problem solved.
How about bathing a cat? What’s your advice for that?
Well, it depends again on the cat, right? Some cats, not many, but you get the odd one that doesn’t mind water, but generally they don’t understand water, I think is what it is. They can’t wrap their little kitty brains around what it is, you know, it moves around, it feels weird, so they just avoid it.
But bathing them? I don’t know. Most of my kitties get cleaned out in the rain or whatever.
Or they clean themselves maybe…? But after they get in the garbage…
Cleaning them in the tub, I don’t think it’s really necessary. You definitely don’t want to wash them with a hose or a high pressure spray or anything like that. That’s a bad idea.
Clumpable, or non-clumpable?
Oh, I think clumpable…
Clumpable, but unscented, because they don’t like perfumes or stuff like that.
Can you keep cats from getting on the tables? I know some people use water guns to try and train them. Or loud sounds.
Yeah, I mean, I don’t think any of that works. I mean, you can give ‘em a little squirt on the arse or something, just to freak them out, and if they make the connection that any time they jump up there they get squirted on the arse, that might work, but I’ve never really bothered.
My kitties are free-range kitties, so if they want to jump on the table I just let em.
So you’re saying that would probably work with me. If I jumped up there and got squirted I’d make the association…
Yeah! But then again, there’s the odd kitty that likes it.
You’re right. Some of them just lie down and take it.
Click here to listen. (7 mins)
How often should a person change cat litter?
As often as you possibly can. After every time they go is the best, because if you think about it, you know… you just have to think like a kitty. You know, nobody likes to go to the bathroom when… you know… it’s already been used. Who likes to do that? Nobody. So cats don’t either. You know. So you gotta clean it at least once a day, or after every time they’re in there, that’s ideal, and then they come back and they’re like “oh, I don’t know where my poop went! It used to be there, but it’s gone now.”
“Anyway, I’m gonna use this again.”
I know some people who’ve had cats, you leave the litter for a few days and the cat gets upset. How do you deal with a cat that’s upset like that?
Well, in that case, if you left the litter box there for three days and you haven’t done anything and he goes and poops on the floor, then really it’s the person’s fault.
You know? The cat doesn’t know any better. He’s like, “that’s where I do my poop and now it’s ruined! And no one’s fixin it for me here, so I’m just gonna go find a new place to do my poopin’.”
I’ve heard that some people have spiteful cats that if the person is away for the whole day, or on into the night, then they poop on the bed, or pee on the bed or something…
Oh yeah, kitties will do that too. They sort of run the show, you know, and they’ll teach you lessons.
“Oh! You’re gonna leave me all day, are ya? Well, I’m gonna poop on your pillow! Then we’ll talk. See what you think about that!”
Does this happen to you often?
Oh no, they don’t do that to me, cuz I’m always pretty much with them, and I take good care of them; clean their litter box and things like that. So, of all my kitties, there’s no real spiteful one in there, but I’ve heard of some that will do that.
“Oh, you didn’t feed me on time? How ‘bout I piss in your shoes?”
You know, that type of thing.
I have a really philosophical question now. Why do you think people have pets?
Well, as far as kitties go, it’s just the best thing you can have, because they’re just little furry, cuddly, awesome little guys, and they don’t judge ya if, you know, your eyes don’t work that great or whatever. They don’t tease ya or make fun of ya. And they’re just there, you know, to dole out the love. I think, probably, that’s why people keep going back for them, you know. Kitties. People love kitties.
Dogs… Now, dogs…
Yeah, I was going to ask you about dogs.
…shittin’ all over the place. Some people do enjoy dogs.
So you’ve never had a dog.
Oh, I’ve had the odd dog layin’ around. I’m not mean to dogs, I just really don’t enjoy them as much as kitties.
And monkeys! I don’t get why people have those. Dirty little bastards. Dirty-assed little monkeys. I hate monkeys.
How’s Vince the Pince doing? I saw him on a video on YouTube [Bubbles sings “Kitties Are So Nice” at www.tinyurl.com/qqrly7]
Oh, Vince, he’s a top-shelf kitty. I mean, you don’t get kitties like that every day. He’s a one in a million kitty.
Does he really have no bones in his feet?
Yuh, it’s one foot there. His right foot. He’s got no bones, he’s got two furry toes. It looks like a little lobster claw on him there.
He’s still on the go?
Oh yeah, he’s 100%.
What’s he like to do?
Vince? Oh, he’s not a real active kitty. He likes to just lay there and purr, you know. You can just… You can do anything with him. I wear him around my neck like a fur, and he goes to sleep while I’m doin stuff around the shed, he’s just hanging out on my neck there, sleepin’. I mean… I had him appraised, he’s worth about 200 grand, that kitty.
Really! Does he lay golden eggs or something?
Oh, no, he’s just so badass, they appraised him… I mean, I kind of appraised him. I was going to start a cat appraisal business, but no one really wants to see cats appraised. I would appraise him at 2-300 grand without even starting to negotiation process.
With the economy going like it is, have you ever considered selling him?
Oh, no, I’d never… You couldn’t… You could offer me 20 million and I wouldn’t sell him for that. I’m just sayin’ what he’d be worth if somebody had him and they didn’t want him any more, and then there’d be a nice family gonna take him, they’d have to pay a good 2-300 grand for him.
I heard one time you were saved from a burning car by cats… Over the winter there was a fire in a house here in St. John’s, and they were alerted by a cat meowing in the other room. They were saved by a cat too.
Oh yeah, kitties know what’s up, right?
Yeah, I crashed a car. It rolled over and I was knocked unconscious and the car was on fire. It was Vince, actually, that saved me. He came in and started licking my face and jabbing me with his paw, and he started tugging on my collar and woke me up and dragged me right out of there.
Well, I was helping myself along with one arm, but he was pulling me out like the Littlest Hobo would have done, or something! I bet you Vince could outsmart The Littlest.
Cats are just amazing things. No one can even really describe how great pets are.
Oh that’s right, you know, I’d much rather hang out with my kitties than do lots of things. They’re one of my greatest joys in life, just hanging out with my kitties. You know.
Well, Bubbles, thanks for this.
All right, thank you. I’ll see you over there in Newfoundland!
Looking forward to it.
Bubbles (Mike Smith), along with co-stars Ricky (Robb Wells) and Julian (John Paul Tremblay) will present The Trailer Park Boys Community Service Variety Show at Holy Heart Theatre on Wednesday, June 10 at 8pm. For ticket info, please call 579-3378 or check out newscreechcomedyfest.com