Home » Creative writing » The Strange One About Kitty

The Strange One About Kitty

Photo by RΓ© Harris

 

It’s said that cats don’t communicate to each other verbally. They meow to us because they notice how we talk to them and what happens when we focus on them that way. Cats find that interesting or advantageous things follow after we speak to them: a treat, a meal, a gentle scratch someplace they can’t reach. They learn to meow to us to ask for what they want or to participate in what we do, and we bask in their desire to fit into our lives, comforted by their hard-won attention.

Kitty will ask for a bowl of food or that I get off the computer and let her sit in my lap. She’ll mew through the window to greet me when I come home, or to show concern when steam precedes me out the bathroom door after a shower. She entreats me through the bedroom door when she thinks I’ve overslept and need to come out and feed her, maybe play. Our conversations then go back and forth, her voice rising and falling on syllables that vary, saying things I’m sure I can follow. I answer, calming her if it’s much too early, or assuring her that I’m on my way and only need a moment or two to dress.

But there are times, an increasing number of times, when Kitty stands or sits in a hallway or a corner of a room, looking up and meowing in an earnest, sometimes agitated voice. As I watch her from a far room or close vantage point I’ve crept to without her notice, she engages something I can’t see. Not a bird teasing her through a window — she chirps at those. Not a bug or insect crawling up a wall so slow that she could bat it down — she doesn’t meow before doing that.

I’ve watched Kitty speak to something that reminds her enough of a human that she wants to talk to it, asking or demanding something I’m powerless to understand, perhaps responding to a provocation I’m unable to hear. At those times, I wonder what that something is. When those moments pass, I work hard to forget the feeling that something shocking is at play, something I don’t want to know.

Avoidance may be the wrong way to go according to Stephen King stories or the kind of movies that glut the market at Halloween, but it’s the best I can do without being privy to the plot.

I wish I really did understand Kitty’s language. I think.

 

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27 thoughts on “The Strange One About Kitty

  1. What a regal face she has. I love her gold eyes! Cats are so good at communicating with us. I worked as a cat behaviorist for a while, their minds are a real mystery. And yeah, my cat is mystefied by showers sometimes too.

    I recommend a book called Your Cat (Hodgkins) for care. But more fitting to this post, a book called When Cats Reigned Like Kings. Written by a very well respected foreign journalist. Just fascinating.

    • On behalf of Kitty, I thank you for the kind words. Does the book you mention explain kitties talking pointedly to things only they can see? If so, I’d love a non-scary explanation. Kitty’s been freaking me out.

      • Ha, some people say cats can see spirits (good ones, I’m sure.). πŸ˜‰

        If you want a behavioral explanation, I could try. Would you be able to get a video of her doing this? Or at least a photo? (Although video would be far more instructive).

  2. What a contented looking kitty. And I like the wood framing around your window. I know that sounds strange, but right now I’m living in a garage with no home, so I notice the things that, to me, speak of home. I used to have a dog that would stand in the hall and stare into a corner and bark. The pragmatic side of me wondered if there was a leak, where wind whistled, or a noise from outside he could hear. But the other side of me enjoyed wondering…as you said, if only we could speak their language.

    • All that wood is original to the house. I’m glad I’m not the only one to see the value of it. A certain person thought nothing of using an electric screw gun to attach something unnecessary to wood at the kitchen window. Then he thought I was crazy when I protested about the ugly holes that were left.

      Anyway, I like your idea of there being a logical “of this world” explanation for Kitty’s behavior, but she does this all over the house and at the darnedest times. She’s a weird one, she is.

    • I don’t love this about Kitty. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but on days that are difficult enough as it is, it really creeps me out when she does this and I can’t figure out why. This behavior kinda bookends with something that used to happen years ago when I looked after a baby boy here. Maybe I should write about that next.

  3. Your tagline for comments is so appropriate for this post, almost as though Kitty had written it.

    Not a cat owner, but I have to confess to talking to cats, and if there is no-one around, making silly mewing noises, and I’m always so pleased to get a reply. I did go after them when next door’s bit me though last year πŸ˜€

    • Kitty used to bite me when she was little, and I’ve wondered what happened to her before she came to live with me that would make her do that. Thank goodness I learned how to lessen that behavior. Now if she would just stop these intense conversations with who knows what.

  4. I’m glad you talk to your cat,RΓ©. I always thought it was a select few. But Lucy nags the pants off me like some cantakerous old woman who just won’t shut up. Now, from what you say, I realise it’s my fault all along. So, in order to get some peace, I’ll try to stay schtum !

    • A vet told me once that there are also breeds that are more naturally prone to be vocal. The cats we have may also be partly those. Something I began a couple of years back after being struck by something I heard Cesar Millan, “The Dog Whisperer” say, was to at least calm down meal times by not talking to Kitty as I got out her food. I make her wait at the edge of the dining room rug, about eight feet away from her bowl, until I’m done. I point at her, then toward the rug and hiss when she tries to sneak back into the kitchen. Then when I’m done, I say, “All right,” and she bounds back in.

      I don’t use this technique much at other times because she can be a little nervous and I want her to remember that I like her, but you should see her walking back to the rug when I hiss her own form of “no” back at her like I was a mommy kitty not to be defied. Then I found this guy on the “My Cat From Hell” series from a TV channel called Animal Planet: http://jacksongalaxy.com/about/ . So I knew I was on to something by trying to think like Kitty. Now, I’m waiting for him to explain the meowing to phantoms. πŸ™‚

  5. Charlie and I have yowl-fests as well – glad it’s not just me. πŸ˜‰

    Your post made my hair stand on end! I’ve wondered the same thing, except about my children as infants. When they were first learning to make eye contact with people as babies, they would occasionally gaze earnestly at something I couldn’t see. The only time it really creeped me out was right after my grandpa died – he had been too sick for me to take my daughter to California to meet him for the first time, and a week or two after he died she started doing this. I firmly believe that Grandpa was safely in the great hereafter and not in my living room, but it still bugged me!

  6. Hmmmm……interesting. I’ve spent a lot of time watching and interacting with cats all my life, and I know what you mean about the seemingly pointless meowing…..though I never thought of ascribing it to something supernatural. But now that you mention it……eeek! Creepy indeed, especially when you think you and your cat are the only ones in the house!

    (I talk to Fuzzy too, and love it when he meows back at me and we have a long conversation)

  7. Beautifully said! I love the image as well! The little beggers really can make a variety of sounds as they converse, can’t they?

    We have two VERY large inside cats, and one smaller outside cat that refuses to come inside and join the domesticated world – all are female. I love them to pieces and can’t imagine a life without them.

  8. J’adore mes chats. I grew up with cats and yes, I recognize that part of that love is the enjoyment of an enigma. They are like beautiful women, some parts untouchable and unknown, to me. Dogs don’t seem to generate that kind of aura, in my opinion, they’re like open books.

    Your cat is gorgeous! She looks so soft and fluffy πŸ™‚

    But your point about cats and what they are channeling and connecting to when they go into those weird states is interesting. It is, indeed, the kind of thing that would inspire a Kingesque story. Keep that in mind…

    Hugz and Happy Holidays,

    L.

    • Thanks for your kinds words about Kitty and the story posibility. I’ve been trying to find time and energy to write a couple other hair-raising, but true ones. Someday …

      Happy holidays to you, too. xoxo

  9. LadySparks, I’ve missed you! πŸ™‚ I’m finally getting back at my favorite bloggers/writers/soul-stirrers after NNWM. (I’ll write about that experience separately.) What a gorgeous little Kitty you have! I love how you’ve personified Kitty – emotions, movements, stirrings, gestures – makes me want a cat. I think animals make great companions in ways that humans don’t. Because they don’t “speak”, we’re left to wonder how they process “us” beyond the care we provide for them. Great story!

  10. She is so pretty!! Joe and I recently inherited a 9-year old kitty named Jewel from a friend’s Aunt. She wasn’t getting much attention at her old home and was so very happy to come into a home where she has constant attention – and I couldn’t be happier to spoil her each and every day. She does this same thing sometimes…looking up at corners of the ceiling or at patches of wall and just meowing and meowing, I’m convinced they are seeing ghosts!!!!

    • You should see how fluffy she gets in winter when it’s so cold in our house. I love to pick her up then because she doesn’t shed so much.

      I’m glad your new kitty’s getting so much attention now, and glad mine isn’t the only one wailing at ghosts. πŸ™‚

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