They say that, after a while, people and their pets begin to look alike. I don’t know about looking like my pets, but I know that I/we have begun to act like our cats, and the cats, sadly, have become like humans.
Experts say that cats don’t talk to each other the way people do. They have many different meows and other sounds to express wants, needs and feelings. Two or more cats may make sequential sounds, but it’s not conversation.
I can make a low-pitched rumble in the back of my throat that sounds very much like purring. For reasons not known to me, it is called ‘vocal fry.’ About 30% of people do it at the end of words in normal speech. The Kardashian females are especially noted for it. When a cat purrs at me, I can purr back, and we’re both contented.
When the son comes home in the morning, Mica jumps into his lap, digs his claws into tough denim pants, and demands his whapping and scratching. If son is distracted by food, drink or newspaper, Mica soon yowls to remind him that attention is missing. The son says he’s learned to read and time these outbursts. Just as the cat opens his mouth, the son meows loudly at him. He says the look of confusion is precious. Wait, what??! I was gonna say that.
I have some mild allergies that sometimes make me sneeze – never once, always at least twice, usually three, occasionally four, at least twice, five in a row. If Mica is in the room, or awake and able to hear me, after each and every sneeze, he lightly meows. The recovering Catholic wife insists that he is blessing me. As if I needed blessing, or the cat is authorized to do it. I think he’s just telling me to keep the noise down, to protect his sensitive ears.
Each of our cats has a different time and place where they demand attention. With Tonka, it’s often as I recline my easy chair for my afternoon nap. Suddenly I have the equivalent of an 18-pound building block on my chest, wanting to snuggle in – try to breathe, try to breathe. No wonder superstitious mediaeval peasants thought that cats ‘sucked the life out of babies.’ It’s known as positional asphyxia.
In the winter, the air in the house is so dry that we got half-inch-long sparks off doorknobs, so we installed a humidifier in the hall, outside the bedrooms. It had push-button controls on the upper surface.
As we accumulated cats, we found that they will jump up, and pad around on a humidifier, even when it’s running. Waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of a cat-induced, speed #10, oncoming tornado is a real adventure.
We eventually bought a new humidifier, with touch-screen controls at a 45° angle on the front edge. When cats jump down from something, they slide their front paws over the front edge…. And here comes the tornado again! We’ve gone two winters now without running it. A few electric sparks are not as much of a shock as that.
All of my cats demand attention at certain times, but Contessa (my little ‘Missy’), is the one who hangs out in the computer room with me while I’m working, or trying to. She’s also the one with the sharpest claws. My arms finally reached the point shown above, before I learned to use peripheral vision to notice her coming. I saw a blog-post the other day. All it was, was a photo of an arm, scratched worse than mine, with the caption, “Why yes, I do own a cat. Why do you ask?”
Now, a gentle paw slap as she tries to grab, my attention and my arm, is enough to make her sit back on the floor. Most females don’t want my hands anywhere near them, but when she’s in a ‘pet me’ mood, she demands them all over her. After 5 long years, she’s even finally taken to lying on her side on the floor at my feet, so that I can rub her tummy – a sign of trust.
Other trust signs are the long, slow, two-eyed blink, and lifting their tail and showing you their butt. They have to trust you enough to take their eyes off you, and the exposed rump not only means that they’re temporarily defenceless, but there are scent glands, which we can’t smell, but which they use to identify themselves to others.
catacomb – beauty salon for felines
catalyst – cat’s inclination after too much catnip
or – a feline who really makes things happen
catatonic – party fare for cats substituting milk for gin
catechism – manual for turning your doubting tomcat into a true believer
catsup – dinner party for fat cats (catered, of course)
catamaran – a cruise boat for kitties
catastrophe – four felines and a decorated Christmas tree
catapult – what felines apparently use to get into your lap….when you least expect it
Catalan – a Spanish gato
catamount – wherever your kitty climbs up, to sleep
catfish – be sure to put the lid back on the aquarium