Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Cat's Meow

While this is an archaic 1920s American slang term that meant "impressive to the ladies", in my case it literally means, the cat's meow. I have three of them. All unique, all special in different ways, to include their meows. In fact one of them got her name, MewMew, because of her vocalizations.

She showed up in our side yard a couple of years ago, during a hard freeze, holed up inside our hot tub area. Hubby had hung tarps around the entire canopy so we could enjoy a night in the jacuzzi, get out, and not freeze our patooties off. I was outside one morning, checking on our plants, when I heard this constant mewing coming from inside the structure. So I slipped inside and this dark-haired tabby kitten emerged from between the two tarps covering the hot tub. She'd been using the heat from the tub to keep her warm. Needless to say, she adopted us within the week.

Candycorn and her son, Snowball, had been raised by Kozi, our late stoner cat. He'd give you that look, like "Dude, chill." But he didn't meow. So they didn't. I guess they never figured out how to do it since it wasn't part of our household. Until MewMew joined the family.

She mews to get attention. She has a different meow when she's caught a lizard and wants to show it off to me. Then there's her "pet me" meow. And her feed me meow. And her "Candycorn is after me" meow. And her "you went in the shower and ignored me" meow. Seems she has a different mew for all her different moods.

After a while Candycorn caught on. MewMew yeowls and gets attention, so maybe I can do the same. Now keep in mind, Candycorn is the bitch of the group and is ten-years-old. During all the years I've owned her, I'd never heard her meow once. I just assumed her vocal chords didn't know what to do, so her first attempt was pretty pathetic. It came out very quiet and raspy. It actually surprised me. I went around the house looking for MewMew, wondering if this was a new vocal and what did it mean?

Over the last six months Candycorn's gotten better at meowing. Her cries are louder, still raspy, and definitely more insistent. She now meows for any reason; she wants to be petted, she wants food -- whether it's yours or hers -- she's getting ready to barf, she's heading to the cat box, and she's entering a room, or she just wants you to come find her. It almost seems like she never shuts up now.

It took Snowball a bit longer to pick up on this new phenomenon and his meow fit his personality. He's fluffly and adorable, he curls his front paws up and covers his face when he sleeps, he burrows under the covers and then peaks his head and front paws out -- much like a young child -- and goes to sleep. He's shy, loving, and very skittish. His meow is soft and uncertain, which touches my heart. I always seek him out when I hear his mews just to make sure he's okay. But he still prefers to swish his tail to define his mood. Trust me, it flips and smacks side to side, the rhythm based on whether he's content or pissed.

Over time I've learned to discern between their three voices, much as a mother can discern which of her children is speaking out from the back room. But they still keep me on my toes, because sometimes I can't tell which furry child is trying to tell me something. And you know, looking back on raising my human kids, it was much the same I guess things haven't changed that much over time. Only difference is these kids are cheaper.

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  1. Very true lol. Having had a myriad of cats ourselves, I can attest to the unique calls and traits, much like the kids. Thanks for sharing!

    1. No problem! Since all my kids have grown up and moved away, the kitties are now my kids.

  2. Our kitten looks just like your gray tiger tabby.

    1. LOL. We're still trying to figure out her parentage based on the cats we see in the neighborhood when we do our power walks! Guess it will always be a case of...this one? Maybe?