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Cat Communication

As John notes, living with cats means that you must listen to them.

Sox is the most vocal of my “roommates” with a clear tenor powered by a heavily muscled chest. This is usually heard after he has been subjected to some indignity by Ringo, and is usually following by a noticeable thud as he projects his mass towards a gray streak.

His mid-volume voice accompanied by a snagging extended claw in your clothing indicates that it is time to cease and desist from whatever foolish thing you were engaged in to provide suitable scratching behind his ears, between his shoulders, and a thorough tummy rub.

He reserves his whispering voice for emergencies. You feel his bulk slam onto the mattress at the foot of the bed, but he creeps toward the head of the bed to locate any exposed body part. He then produces a barely audible mewling, as if he were a dying kitten, and lightly touches exposed skin with a velvet paw. This sounds like something you can ignore, but it is not. The sound of this voice slams into the brain stem of the female cats and if you don’t act immediately they will leap onto the bed with claws extended ready to do battle with something. They erupt into battle cries and people on the street will surely believe that murder is occurring.

You have no choice but to get up and add food to the not empty bowl, or replace the water. You will be rewarded by his taking two or three nibbles and a quick lap of water before he flops over to return to sleep.

6 comments

1 andante { 06.08.06 at 1:36 pm }

I spotted a “unique” cat toy in the grocery store today; if Blogger ever gets itself straightened out, I’ll post it.

My cats aren’t very subtle….when I feel a furry bulk slam into my foot, I know it’s time to scratch Randy’s head. Trouble prefers to get in my face with that amazing laser-stare.

Neither tactic should ever be ignored.

2 larkohio { 06.08.06 at 1:38 pm }

I love my cats. Some communications are non-verbal. When Penelope, my tiny black and white girl, finds her food dish is distressingly low, (the famine is coming, the famine is coming!) she just sits and stares at me, and says with her eyes, “How dare you let the food dish get low!”

3 Steve Bates { 06.08.06 at 2:05 pm }

Stella’s cat Tabitha is extremely vocal, especially for an elderly cat. Often she settles in atop Stella when the latter is on the phone to me, and meows loudly (Tabitha, not Stella) to Stella and, probably unknowingly, to me. Unlike Samantha, who is friendly but self-sufficient (unless the food and/or water bowls are low), Tabitha will not be denied the attention she craves. And if you remove her from your lap, you’d best do it quickly, before she protests and extends a few claws.

4 Mustang Bobby { 06.08.06 at 6:08 pm }

We had Siamese cats when I was a kid, so they were extremely vocal by nature. In fact, when I first heard a “regular” cat, I wondered why it had such a wimpy “miau.”

Snowball is very quiet and acquiescent. Feed him a little cotton and he’s your friend for life.

5 Keith { 06.08.06 at 7:33 pm }

Lucy is very quiet, at least until Rupert decides to swat at er tail or play a little too rpugh then it’s all hisses. Rupert on the other hand will talk a mile a minute, and usually does as I’m getting out of the shower. I swear, he’s polishing his rhetorical style for when he runs for president.

6 Bryan { 06.08.06 at 8:08 pm }

Remember, Andante, you run a “family blog”, so be careful about “toys”.

Lark, my grandmother’s cat, who was a tabby tom in spite of being named Minerva, used the “laser stare”. Gram used to say that’s why he was named Minerva, for her gram who stared like that when she disapproved of something.

Steve, I have to stand up slowly to clear my lap without losing blood.

Bobby, Siamese are noted for being vocal. Snowball is the vision most people have when they first get a cat, missing the reality that they are independent.

Keith, Paula Poundstone has a wicked routine about her cats and the shower to the effect that they are warning her about the water, but she refuses to listen.