It has been suggested, and more than once, that I’m a crazy cat lady-to-be; that I will probably own twenty cats (or more accurately they will own me) or more when I am old and alone. Frankly, I don’t think that will ever happen, but I admit to being a cat person.
In fact, at any time in the past, the maximum number of cats that lived under my roof was three, and the third one was a stray picked up by our cat-sitter when we were away on vacation. In other words, when we left, we had two cats and when we returned, there was another one living in our home. The cat-sitter left, leaving us with an extra cat. Why she never took the one with her when she left or decided that it was a good idea to add a cat to our household without asking our permission, I will never know (but I digress).
In my lifetime, I have only had six or seven cats. Most have lived long lives averaging seventeen years (Bearcat lived to be nearly twenty-two years of age). Right now, we are owned by one cat, Flash Toebiter, who joined our household a few months after Bear died. More about her after this brief digression:
There is a rather recent addition to the cat litter product line. First, there was regular cat litter (grainy and absorbent, which is great for oil spills); then came the much improved clump-type litter that could be flushed as the urine formed a self-contained ball; then the clump-type was improved even further by including odor-reducing pellets. The newest addition is the lightweight litter, which is featured in commercials as people tossing it to their friends and neighbors, who catch it easily. Described as half the weight, (and it is), but (what isn’t mentioned), it’s almost twice the price of the brand’s heavier counterpart. Someday when I can’t lift the heavier product, maybe I’ll upgrade, but for now, I’ll continue to lift weights.
Back to Flash, who, as a kitten, was raised with two dogs: a black lab and a beagle. She and the beagle, Callie, were a matched set of black, brown, and white fur, and that’s how we ended up with this calico cat. Sadly, Callie is long gone, but Flash lives on and has become quite a good dog. Believe it or not, she usually comes when she is called, and has fetched her toys (unlike Callie who looked at us like, you expect me to go get the ball?). She is a good companion, sitting with us…well, not so much at four-thirty in the morning when she awakens me with demands to be petted.
How do I know she wants to be petted, or any of her other wishes? She talks. She has quite a vocabulary. The most obvious words are as follows: now, out, no, and mom. She also can chatter as well as grumble when displeased. Lest you now stamp certifiable crazy cat lady on my curriculum vitae, my husband Rob acknowledges that Flash says “Mom.” Although I previously thought one of her meows sounded like Mom, Rob asked me one day if I heard her saying it. Actually, he said, “Did the cat just call you Mom?”
Recently, the neighbor lent me a short book by Lynn Allison called How to Talk to Your Cat and Get It to do What You Want. There were invaluable tips to get cats to behave better. But more than that, the text discussed how vocal cats can be. That they have quite a few different sounds including a couple diphthongs and at least one triphthong. So it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that she has figured out rudimentary speech. Puss-in-Boots learned to speak; why not Flash?
Flash is nearly sixteen years old, which means she is now older (in cat years) than either Rob or me; however, I expect she’ll be around for a few more. She still acts like a kitten, racing around up and down the stairs (hence her first name). She is a bit of a nip-head (only rarely does this pharmacist allow Flash to indulge in catnip), but that is the worst of her habits. Moreover, she is litter box trained; what more can be said? Oh yeah, she finally is willing to sit on my lap (after all almost fifteen years).