Sunday, November 16, 2014

Humans Can't Understand Basic Communication

When I got home, the cat came running at me the way a dog would. I petted him, glad that someone was happy to see me. He followed me from room to room, meowing in a demanding way. I took some extra time to pet him and tell him that I missed him too, even though I hadn't even been gone longer than three hours.

After a bit of that, I tried to walk away. I was hungry. It was time for lunch. As I walked away, one claw caught in my sweater.

"Wow. You really missed me," I said, pressing is fur back from his face to see the tiny kitty bones in all of his ruff. He didn't quite look pleased about this treatment, but he accepted the massage that I offered.

I read that even stroking a cat can release oxytocin, a hormone that makes you feel all homey and connected and relieves pain. I wondered if it did that for the cat too.

Then, I went into the kitchen to make lunch. The cat tried to grab my hand as I went, but I was too quick for him. In the kitchen, I turned around after getting the microwave packet out of the freezer and there he was, alert and staring at me intently.

"You want a cookie? Is that what you want?" The dog ran into the kitchen at the sound of the word 'cookie.' It was snack time. Everyone performed their tricks, even the cat, though I could see that praying for his treat is not exactly high on his dignity scale.

After that, but before I nuked my lunch, I was distracted by the cat peeling out on the vinyl flooring and racing across the living room carpet.

"You want to play? Ah, you have a lot of energy for an old cat. Sure, I'll play with you," I said. He raced around as I thwapped the carpet with the fake mouse on a string. He liked it best when I tried to hide the thing in the blanket on the floor. He pounced, caught the mouse, and paraded it in his mouth with me still holding on as if I were on a leash.

Still hungry, I put the toy down and went back into the kitchen to look at the frozen block of material I was eventually going to eat. The directions on the cardboard box said five minutes, stir, and three more on high. Our microwave, something that came with us when we moved, before we had the house, before we were even married, the one that had been dinging on our counters for the past twenty-seven years, would require twenty minutes of irradiating microwaves before it could cook my frozen lunch block. I never get warm when I stand close, but I still hope I'm not being microwaved along with my lunch by leaking microwaves. Where is all that power going, anyway?

The cat stood in his cookie spot, just staring at me intensely.

"You want another cookie? I'm sorry honey. If I give you too many, you'll throw up." He stared, only momentarily indicating a level of stupidity on my part. I wasn't getting something. Finally, as if trying to make a point to one who is very slow, he walked deliberately toward his water dish.

The bowl had only a bit of water in the bottom. It wasn't quite dry, but to the cat, that's like leaving a person in Death Valley for a week without shoes.

"Oh!" I said, finally getting it. "You needed water. Oh you poor baby."

'Oh you thick-headed servant,' he seemed to say after taking two delicate sips of fresh water, flicking his tail, and walking away with it high in the air. I haven't seen hide nor hair of him since.

Thank you for listening, jb

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