Is it possible that my cat, Smokey, is a bored cat? I mean, really, do you think cats get bored? Dogs get excited about things and jump around and bark and are always underfoot. Cats, however, seem to simply drift through life sleeping, bathing and occasionally taking a stroll from one room to the next or even (in the case of my cats) into the backyard. But really, how exciting can that be?
Smokey has been following me around all day crying. Why? I have no idea. Is the water dish full? Check. Is there crunch (we don’t call it dry food — how appetizing would that be?) on the blue plate? Check. Is the cat door accessible — I mean not blocked by a chair or something? Yep, it’s clear. In Smokey’s case that really doesn’t mean much. She won’t use the cat door anymore since Lop Ear came to live with us. He’s a big cat — my cat-sitter, Susie, calls him “The New Sheriff in Town.” And he pretty much is. He walks like a sailor, he sleeps in the best places like the dining room chair where he can keep an eye on the cat door. Anybody using it is subject to a smart remark and maybe a slap on the rump., and he cleans up the food the other cats don’t eat. He’s no dummy. He lived on the street for a long time. Food does not go uneaten in his world.
Lop Ear actually talks to the other cats. I think he sounds civil — sometimes even cordial — but I don’t speak Cat, so I wouldn’t know, would I? Smokey hisses at him whenever he says something. I tell her to stop that and she glares at me like, “you have no idea, do you?” And, uh, I have to admit I don’t. I understand cats have a vocabulary of about 100 sounds. Seems like a lot, but think about this: humans have a vocabulary that far exceeds 100 sounds, but my cats know quite a few words. There’s “Tuna,” “Outside,” “Dinner” (which means breakfast, too), “Get Down!” “No!” and, of course, “Treat.” I don’t know a single word of Cat. Which of us is smarter? I’ve been told that cats can also understand up to 50 commands. They don’t do them, of course, but they understand them.
Oh, I forgot one word Smokey knows that the others don’t: “Egg milk.” It started when I would make French toast for breakfast and one day I asked Smokey if she would like the left over batter — the egg milk. That got a definite “Meow!” even though she didn’t know what I was talking about. They say milk isn’t good for cats, but then ice cream isn’t good for humans, either, but we eat it. So every now and then Smokey gets a little bit of left-over egg milk. I have turned her into a little monster, however. Whenever she hears me crack an egg, she’s there rubbing my ankles and crying. If I’m scrambling eggs for breakfast there is no peace until I put a little bit of liquid egg in her saucer. I’ve given up sunny side up or over easy. If I’m gonna share them, they have to be scrambled. I once tried making up a bowl of egg-milk and putting most of it in the ‘fridge for her to have during the week. When I put a bit of that in her bowl the next day she was, like, “What are you trying to pull? This isn’t fresh.” Guess I’ll be having French toast for breakfast.
But back to today. She was definitely trying to tell me something. “Smokey, what’s wrong, girl?” Then suddenly the light bulb went off. “Wait!,” I told her, “I got it! It’s Timmy! Smokey — is that it? Timmy’s stuck in the well?”
But that can’t be. I don’t know anyone named Timmy, nor Tim, or even Timothy. And come to think of it, I don’t have a well, either. As I pondered this conundrum, Smokey just looked at me like I was the dumbest being on the planet, turned, stuck her tail in the air (she doesn’t have fingers, you understand), and marched out of the room.
I’ll never know. I just hope that somewhere someone named Timmy isn’t stuck in the well. Again.