My cats speak. I know, I know, every cat owner talks to their cats, but my situation is a bit unique, because even strangers recognize what my cats have to say. They aren’t ready to give a speech or host an A.M. radio program, but they can keep up with most young toddlers. (Yes, No, Treats, Bad, Help, Thank You, Now, Water.)
It always takes people by surprise the first time. They sputter, laugh, and then tell me, “Oh man, that was crazy! For a second I thought your cat was talking.”
I don’t explain, for the same reason I don’t film them– when someone first notices that my cats are accurately and consistently replying to my questions, they want to test them like lab rats.
But Flash and Perdita aren’t show cats, my own personal trophies, or objects of science. As far as I’m concerned, they are family, adults, and sentient individuals.
Of course, family tortures family, so whenever my brothers come over, they make a point to force my cats into confusing conversations, trying to trick Perdita or Flash into using the wrong word.
They have also learned to teach my cats new words. My ever-practical, ever-responsible younger brother taught my cats to say his name. He wanted them to know they could call him, or wake him up, if they needed him. My goofy baby brother taught them the word and concept, “Mine”. He’s the sort of guy who buys a 1-year-old a drum set.
One morning, I woke up way too early and climbed groggily out of bed. My older cat, Perdita, was in the window. I’m not a morning person and everything seemed greenish and foggy as I brewed my coffee. I finally decided the light from the outside was bothering me so I told Perdita to close the curtains.
Unsurprisingly, she refused. She rarely does anything on the first asking if someone other than her beloved Dave is asking.
Annoyed, I started walking to the window to close the curtain around her when she suddenly said, clear as day, “HORSE!”.
I stopped in my tracks, rubbed my eyes, tightened my robe, and said, “What?”
“HOOOORRRRSSSE!” she meowled.
As far as I could remember, I had never used the word horse in her presence. It was 5am and before my coffee, so at that moment, I could barely remember what a horse was. I figured my brother had taught her another useless word and made a mental note to shout at him later, but as I reached around her to close the curtain, I saw…
A stray horse. In an apartment complex parking lot. At 5am in the morning. In Orange County, California.
The moment was so surreal that I actually looked around the room more carefully to see if I was dreaming. I finally decided to wake Dave up, just to be sure.
“Hey, honey,” I said as I shook him awake, “Perdita just said horse, and I looked out the window and guess what I saw?”
“Ummm, a horse?” Dave responded in the middle of a yawn.
“Yes! Can you believe it?!”
“Of course,” he grumbled, missing the point entirely, “My cat doesn’t lie.”
Daily Post: Whoa! What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had? http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/daily-prompt-surreal/
This is probably not the most surrealistic experience I’ve ever had, but something about the phrasing of the prompt, (maybe the use of the word “Whoa!”) reminded me of this particularly odd moment. So what about you? Do your pets speak? Do horses hang out outside your bedroom window? Are you a morning person?