In November 2011 I attempted NaNoWriMo, writing a non-fiction book of cat stories based on a lifetime of loving and being owned by cats. I never reached 10,000 words, but I did write some amusing chapters. I came across these stories a few days ago, and thought it would be fun to publish them here on the LPB in honor of Caturday. Enjoy! This week's, I risk permanently alienating people who previously thought I am normal by admitting some of the things that come out of my mouth when I talk to cats.
In a lifetime of living with cats, I’ve learned to be careful just who I share my cat-speak with. Fortunately, most of my friends are very pro-animal, or, if they’re not big animal people themselves, they respect that I am and indulge my craziness a little. I really don’t think I could be friends with anyone who actively hated animals, and I certainly couldn’t marry a man who wanted nothing to do with my cats. “The cats and I—we’re a package deal,” I often joke when I talk about dating. “Three for one—a bargain!”
Bargain or no, whoever I end up with will have to be okay with my cat-speak—it’s not a habit that is broken easily, and it’s not a habit I particularly want to break.
In my family, there is near-constant talk of Tuna Time and the Sweet Spot, two very popular things among the feline population in this house. Tuna Time, of course, is that special time of day when each cat is served a portion of canned cat food (it’s not always tuna but can also be chicken, liver, turkey or any sea creature). The Sweet Spot is the comfortable spot on the back of the couch under a reading lamp, which is very good for “cooking one’s goose” on a cold day.
Our cats do “whiz-bangs and poo-poo-pah-doos” in their litter boxes, and then they go back to their nee-neez or night-night on the back of the couch. We recognize the distinction between Millie being a “party girl from Chico” and Harley being a “potty putty” who follows me into the bathroom every time nature calls.
Our cats have lovely names but rarely get called the same thing twice in a row. Millie (full name: Millennium Joy) is Millie Vanilli, Millie Joyful, or Millikins. Harley Dude has become Harlow, Harlot, Doodlebug, and has even been asked—more than once—“Whatcha doodlin’, Doodlebug?”
Bella Blue is a Bellarina, or Bell-boo. Duchess quickly became Duckie, though Mom also likes calling her Fancy because of her long hair. Together, they are the Kindergatos, the Terrible Torties, or Bella-Blue-and-Duchess-Too.
Our cats are hussies, harlots and fuzzy floozies. They have “feets” and “stri-ped” tails. Duchess is particularly known for her “toe floof” and Harley for his 24-pack abs (he thinks he has a six-pack). The words “one-point-six and two-point-one!” can send Mom and I into fits of cooing as we reminisce about how cute our Kindergatos were when they came home with us.
We’re fond of quoting The Music Man around here, modifying it to suit our purpose: “Yes, we’ve got trouble, right here in Lincoln City. Trouble with a capital T, which rhymes with D, which stands for Doodlebug!” This one is used often. It’s also not uncommon for the following conversation to occur in my bathroom when I get out of the shower:
Me: Are you talkin’ to me?
Me: Are you talkin’ to meeeee?!
I never claimed that any of us were sane.
The bottom line is that we have a mini-pride of cats in this family that respond to our nonsense with purrs and slow blinks (the feline body language equivalent of a kiss), and no one has tried running away from home yet, even when they are “snorgled” on the tummy by a cat mom who gets a little obnoxious from time to time.