If you have ever lived with a cat, you will have noticed that cat linguistics is quite complex. There’s the range to express basic emotions as well as some subtle tones that take studying. I try to stay away from the bad side of a cat discussion. I used to make the mistake of cat yodeling with Stanley, and if I didn’t pay attention he went right for my face. Sounds cruel? He didn’t seem to mind; he kept coming back for me. In retrospect, that doesn’t mean much and am glad that I haven’t had a cat that would get mad enough to yodel. You probably can find Cat Yodeling on YouTube.
This afternoon, I was in my office in the basement writing or babbling; sometimes I can’t tell the difference. I hear a meow from the other room. Yang is asking for attention. It does help to be able to distinguish cat accents. Ying and Yang may have shared a mother, but their meows are not even close. Well, except for when the meow becomes a yowl. This afternoon’s meow meant she wanted my attention. I don’t think I meow very well, but I do well enough to hold a conversation. This afternoon it took me less than two volleys to get up and out of my chair; mostly my quickness was due to being so surprised that she was even talking to me, yet alone wanting me to give her attention.
The attention I gave to her earlier was not wanted and definitely not appreciated. Devon the Vet called to say that she could come earlier than scheduled, which meant I needed to make sure the cats were in containable quarters. Yang and her sister Ying (Yes, I couldn’t spell when I got them) were due for their leukemia vaccine. Getting poked in the thigh is bad enough, but the cats had to sequestered in the bathrooms until Devon arrived. I couldn’t even put them together in one bath room as that can’t stand each other and that would have brought on more stress. I got lucky that Devon was not that far away and came one I gave her the “Cats are in the bag” signal.
In my thirty-three years of living with cats, Devon has been caring for them. In that time, I have learned a lot about cats and their adept hiding abilities. Actually, with cats it’s beyond that. My cats have always known when Devon is coming. They hear her voice on the telephone. They know the sound of her car. The probably even recognize her oft barefooted tread. I wouldn’t put it past cats that they even read the appointment on the calendar; they always know the precision moment when to skeedaddle, to vanish into the wind; one second they are there, and the next they are incognito. Incatnito?
In preparation for a visit from Devon, I’ll systematically eliminate all exits to the outside. It used to be easier when there was a door to close the cat door, but Abby the Labby Number did some renovation and remodeling when she no longer could fit through the opening; she did her best to expand the opening. She took off the cat door frame. She somehow peeled the linoleum that went part way up the wall. Dog splash guard. If I hadn’t come home to free the penned up pup, she would have made it through the sheet rock.
Even after blocking all doors, and I knew they are in the house it would take me forever to find them. Marco Polo sometimes worked, but just because I could hear them meow, it didn’t translate into finding. Cats tend to win at Hide and Go Seek. That way they never have to be It. Cat’s make lousy Its until It’s All About Them.
Cats hide where I least would think they would be. Spaces so small that fleas would feel crowded. I’ll always remember trying to pry a cat or two out from the insides of a dryer; it’s like they can turn their bones into Jelly yet withstand such force.
Ying and Yang don’t like to be carried. I tended to carry all of my other kittens around more, but these guys lost out on that cuddling. I try to love on them in my arms and they do tolerate it for a short amount of time, but typically all of my interaction with them are when they choose to be on my lap on on my bed.
Yang was the first cat I looked for. She rarely moves from the back of the green comfy chair. She started talking to me immediately as I scooped her up in my arms. As we heading toward the basement bathroom, her meows intensified, punctuated with a few claws attached to my skin. Going into the bathroom is never a good thing in this household. It means that either Devon is coming or they need a cut or abscess washed. Yang was no longer having a good day.
I left Yang yelling profanities at me while I searched Ying. The bad news: Ying was outside. The good news: Ying tends to come when I call her.
It only took me a few minutes of calling Ying and making a funny sound before she showed up. Maybe she was expecting a dog walk, but I had left the dogs inside. With so much space, I had to make my approach slow; any false moves, Ying would be off like a shot. It’s always a good sign when Ying starts to roll on the ground. Instead of just giving her belly rubs, I gently picked her up. She started to get suspicious when we approached the house, but didn’t start to dig in until we turned the corner to bathroom number two. She spit every feline F Bomb she could throw in my direction.
I’ve not seen Ying since this afternoon’s horrific experience, but she’ll probably stop ignoring me by this evening when I go to bed. Cats are, after all, creatures of habit.
When Yang called out to me this evening, I was so happy. It was hard for me, perhaps not as hard for her, but listening to the cats in distress isn’t easy. I try to tell them that some things can’t be helped, but perhaps my English language doesn’t translate. What did translate was the next fifteen minutes of pure bliss as Yang communicated her love for me with purrs, whistles, and even a little bit of cat slobbers. I had no room to protest after what I had put her through.
The things we do to express our love.