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The Madera Tribune

Problems with cat communications

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webmaster | 05/14/14

Even though the cat at whose house we live (and to whom we pay a rent of one can of wet food and 1/4 cup of kibble each day) no longer is young, she still sometimes behaves like a kitten. In cat years she is 8, but in human years she is well into middle age. That maturity, however, doesn’t stop her from giving her claws a workout on the living room carpet when she is in the house.

She hasn’t wrecked the carpet — yet. Whenever we catch her at it, one of us yells at her, and she stops. You’d think she’d learn by now that scratching the carpet gets her in hot water. “Bad cat!” we bellow.

She has graduated from cat high school, and may even have a diploma stashed some place. She knows that the scratching device Mrs. Doud bought her (it looks like a miniature skate board ramp) is the preferred claw-prepping area. When she uses it, we say, “good kitty.” But here’s the situation: I don’t think she’s learned to speak English yet.

Instead, she expects us to speak cat. And although we do our best, we haven’t been able to master it.

We both go “meow,” which seems to be as close as we can come to cat language, but she ignores it. For all the good it does, we might as well be saying “gobbledegook.” However, there is one phrase in English she has mastered. “Are you ready for a little something?” always gets her attention, even if she is sound asleep. She pricks up her ears and sniffs the air. Her motto seems to be, “You can call me anything, but don’t call me late for supper.”

In that respect, she is not unlike some voters I have met. There is only one question they feel like asking, which is “What’s in it for me?” And when a candidate says, “Are you ready for a little something?” those voters respond.

That isn’t necessarily bad; at least the voters and candidates know where they stand with each other, even though most of the time they don’t really understand the deeper issues.

We feed the cat and think we deserve at least a little appreciation. For example, could she please not scratch the carpet? But when we feed her, she think she deserves the food. She thinks she is queen and can do whatever she wants. So it goes.


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