Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Cat's Meow

We have a menagerie of animals.  At least, that's what my hubby tends to think.  In fact, we only have two cats and two dogs.  Nowhere near a menagerie, in my opinion.  Maybe it's the quality not quantity  that makes it feel like a petting zoo.  For example, our oldest cat, Sparky, has enough personality and character for three cats.  On a bad day, a herd of cats.  We call him our "chatty Cathy" because he has so very much to say and just LOVES to share it.  Maytag is our little shy flower.  She invites you in for a petting session and ends it abruptly, without warning to the "stroker" but degloving your hand or impaling your legs, depending on her mood.  Her growl is really worse than her bite though.  Our mini bulldog, Nipper, is neurotic.  She seems to suffer from every mental illness known to mankind, dog-kind, and possibly, alien-kind.  She is severely agoraphobic, overly nervous of everything and seems to suffer from chronic depression.  On her good days, she can make your face hurt from laughing so much.  On her bad days, you cannot get her out her crate except to leave the downstairs area of the home.  It's then she makes a mad dash for the living room carpet, where she just has to do her business.  Outside, you see, is simply too frightening.  Thaddeus is our mutt.  Maybe not the sharpest tool in the shed, but his happy-go-lucky personality is quite infectious.  It's hard not to watch him run outside in the yard and not feel the joy he is experiencing in that moment.  So you see, we seem to be a Special place for special animals.  Not that I mind overly.  Each little soul brings their own unique blend to our family which adds to the flavor (and sadly, sometimes, aroma) of our home.

But it's the cat's meow I want to discuss today.  You see, our "chatty Cathy", Sparky, really does talk.  He shows inflection and tone.  Each meow has a definite meaning to him, and over time we have come to learn what some of them mean.  The one I most dread is the "Look what I got, Mom!" meow.  That accompanies some poor critter (usually, still alive) that he has dragged in from the wooded area behind our house to introduce to his family.  Usually, his new friend is not all the happy about being introduced to the rest of us, and Sparky is often perplexed by our seeming, lack of hospitality.  His intention never seems to kill his little friends.  He brings them in and then plops them down and leaves them.  Trying to get them out becomes my problem again.  Thaddeus, always "mommy's little helper" is always eager to show the lost soul the door.  One just needs to keep an eye on him so that he doesn't eat the little guest in his enthusiasm.  I did say, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, didn't I?  Another meow we are quite familiar with is the, "helllllloooooo, where are you?" meow.  This one is given when he has wondered off to find himself a cozy nap spot and in his discombobulated-just-woken-up-state, has no idea where he is, who he is, or where his family are.  He keeps meowing, with applicable, "helllooooo" tone until someone answers him.  Depending on how long it took for the reply to come in, you may be treated to the "how rude!" tone, which never ceases to amuse us.  Yes, it really sounds like he is disgusted with us.    Then there's the "Foghorn Leghorn" meow.  It's just a loud, drawn out meow that he seems to enjoy using whenever he feels he is being ignored and wants attention immediately.  By that he means, you need to stop doing whatever, immediately, locate him (why else would he be going through the trouble of using the foghorn?) and begin petting!  Should you ignore the Foghorn then you get the "How Rude!".    When it comes to food, Sparky is not particularly patient or polite.  Bear in mind that his idea of feeding times seem to vary from our idea of feeding time.  He seems to be of the opinion that he is a big, growing boy, and therefore, needs extra snacks (preferably, late at night) to sustain his handsome self.  After all, everyone knows that napping is an extremely exhausting pastime, and Mr Sparky spends a lot of time and energy indulging in napping!  Just recently, anytime any one of the family are any where near the counter where the cat feeder is, he jumps up and sticks his rather large self under your nose.  Too bad if you were trying to fix yourself a sandwich, or even more fun, a drink.  You'll just have to enjoy your cheese, tomato, ham and mayo with a splash of cat hair.   Should you make the mistake of wandering into the kitchen, for any reason at all, he emerges, like Houdini, out of thin air and begins the weave of death around your legs.  You know, the one where cats weave in and out your legs at strategic points so as to aid your unscheduled, close up,  floor inspection.  Mr Sparky also seems to think that our Special place for special animals, provides 24/7 doorman service.  It's the one service he really likes to utilize.  Usually at 3 in the morning.  Sometimes midnight, too.  Again, if you're a bit slow getting to the door for him, you are given the "how rude!" meow with the very infamous tail twitch, which we have come to understand, is his way of giving the figurative, bird.

With all the talking he does, I have often wondered why he doesn't try talking to Nipper about her potty habits.  That would be really useful.  Maybe things get lost in translation from meow to bark ....

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