by Tory Butterworth
I used to post a Silvia cartoon on my office door titled, "Serious Talks with Cats." Unfortunately, I lost it when I left my last job, so I'll have to paraphrase. It pictures a woman eating a hamburger with a cat looking on hungrily. She says, "It appears you have problems with personal boundaries, distinguishing what is yours from what it mine. Have you ever considered intensive psychotherapy?"
I'll admit it, I have serious talks with my pets. A few nights ago, just as I had gotten into bed, I heard a crash downstairs and then a strange brushing sound. As a single woman living alone and a mystery writer, this type of noise tends to put me in mind of burglars invading my premises. I'm proud that I managed to convince myself it was Thora and fall asleep nonetheless.
The next morning I looked around to find what she had pushed over, and discovered a metal glasses case on the floor with the glasses, thankfully unharmed, a few feet away. The case had also contained a pair of clip-ons in a velveteen sleeve. I searched the downstairs and the basement, to no avail.
"Thora," I said, mustering my serious cat talking-to tone, "I understand that you find my glasses much more fun to bat around than the twenty-odd cat toys I've supplied you for that purpose. I know cats need to keep busy and active, and I appreciate your mischievous nature. But I really need those clip-ons. Where did you put them?
What do you know, half an hour later, I once again heard that strange brushing sound. Thora was pawing the bottom of the refrigerator. Investigation with a long, thin stick under the fridge revealed the clip-ons, still in their case.
Score one for human-feline communication!
I had a less productive talk with Thora regarding our weekly adventures in "clipping butt." As neither of my Persian cats will let me brush them, weekly knot clippings are a necessity. Pansy tolerates them, looking forward to her canned salmon reward. Thora has taken to hissing and growling when I get too close to her rear end.
"Thora," I say, "I understand that you take my desire to clip your knots as a personal affront. However, if you don't let me near you, you will soon become one big dreadlock. Not only will this destroy your impressive good looks, but the knots will pull and ruin your playful disposition. Will you let me proceed?"
Score for the week: one for the humans, one for the cats.
A friend of mine once told me about a child-rearing book that deeply influenced her experience of motherhood. "You don't have to win all the battles," it said. I'm hoping the same is true for cat motherhood.
Fess up, how many of you out there have serious talks with your pets? Is it the same with dogs as with cats?