Colin, the Cat's Meow

We tawt we taw a puddy tat!

That Colin Powell, he's a top cat. We're not kidding. He nabbed the Cat of the Year award from the Cat Fanciers Association. (Who knew such a thing existed, but come to find out it's been around since 1906.) Hey, this is a big deal: Colin Powell, a champion of the Bombay breed, beat out 22,700 cats after being judged 290 times for this title. Despite the facts that it's Friday the 13th and Colin Powell is a black cat, Colin Powell the diplomat will be meeting and posing -- meow -- with this famed feline this afternoon. Now that takes guts, but the pic is for the cover of the CFA 2005 Yearbook, so it's for a good cause.

However, if something spooky occurs around 2:45 p.m. today, you'll know why.

Rising to the Bait

It seemed innocent enough. President Bush went fishing on the Outdoor Life Network's "Fishing With Roland Martin" in an episode that aired last week. You know, bonding with the people.

But Dubya took a smaller fish from the end of his line and threw it on the deck of the boat for his rambunctious Scottie to flip-flop around with. "This is a Barney fish," Bush said at the time. "I always like to get a little one for Barney. He likes to play with them."

Uh-oh. Outrage. The folks at PETA are quite sensitive to such matters, you know. "We've been inundated with calls," the animal rights group's William Rivas-Rivas tells us. "People are outraged." Especially PETA prez (and reformed angler) Ingrid Newkirk. Of course she has dashed off a letter to Prez Bush asking that he "recognize that fish are sentient" and amend his ways because "a fish isn't some sort of animated toy." True.

Remember, she admonishes, "a fish has feelings."

Problem Solved

So, you're an adult store in Bethesda's upscale-restaurant and family-friendly Woodmont Triangle and your parking gets taken away. Whaddya do? Get with the times and get valet parking, of course. Now when you drive in next Saturday for the loverwear party at Night Dreams -- "you know, it's like a Tupperware party," owner Brenda Long tells us (starring, in person, Penthouse's Pet of the Year, Victoria Zdrok) -- you can just roll up and throw your keys and five bucks to the valet and stroll inside hassle-free.

Noted . . .

* John Mellencamp isn't the only one who fights authority and authority always wins. Tom Sizemore does too. He's in trouble with the law. Again. The Hollywood bad boy -- and Heidi Fleiss's flame before she charged him with assault and won -- was arrested when his probation officers found a "controlled substance" during a random visit.

* Speaking of trouble, Lindsay Lohan's dad, Michael Lohan, collapsed in a Nassau County, N.Y., courtroom yesterday after complaining of chest pains. The teen queen's father was enmeshed in a legal conference, answering assault charges, as well. He's said to be in stable condition at Winthrop Hospital. He's due back in court in September.

* And on a happier front, "Kevin Arnold" from "The Wonder Years" got married last week. Fred Savage, 33, and childhood pal Jennifer Stone, 28, wed in Los Angeles.

. . . and Quoted

"When you're around, suddenly people start seeing me as a softie, all warm and fuzzy."

-- Dick Cheney, teasing his old pal Don Rumsfeld during a gathering for the 30th anniversary of Gerald Ford's swearing-in, as reported by the New York Daily News.

-- Compiled by Anne Schroeder

from staff and wire reports

The Reliable Source will return Tuesday.

Colin Powell, meet Colin Powell. The diplomat and the "Cat of the Year 2004" will meet today when they team up at a photo shoot.