My better half is very critical of her writing skills. I’m not entirely sure why. She has a natural, friendly style that is earnest and highly readable, and she can get her message across without sounding as long-winded as another unmentioned member of her immediate family (blush). I try to be as encouraging as I can, but my compliments don’t seem to be sticking. So today I’m going behind her back a little bit and offering a sample of her prose for your enjoyment. From the end of this paragraph, all remaining words in this post are hers. Hope you like it – I know I do.
When a person is speaking of something that they think is really great, they sometimes refer to it as “the cat’s meow.” So I took it upon myself to do a bit of research to see if I could discover where exactly this phrase comes from. Most sources seem to indicate that it originated in the 1920′s when flappers and other hipsters used “cat” to refer to ideas that were too cool for words. In addition to “the cat’s meow” there was the “cool cat” or “hep cat” and “the cat’s pajamas” (although this one I will never understand since I have yet to see a cat lying around in a flannel nightie). But I must say that lately, I do not consider my cat’s meow to be anything other than highly annoying.
It was a little over 8 years ago, when I innocently went to the Humane Society one day with my sister so she could pick up an application to volunteer. I had a few minutes to kill while waiting for her to collect the proper paperwork, so I ventured into the “Cat Room.” The walls were lined with cages containing cats of many colours, shapes and sizes. Some of them paced back and forth as I walked by meowing loudly, saying, “Look at me, I am stunning. You will not find a more beautiful cat than me” Others slept in curled up balls and simply opened one eye as they heard me pass, deciding I was not worth waking up for. And then, as I shuffled past one cage in the middle of the room, this pretty little gray creature slowly walked up to the front of the cage and tilted her head, looking at me as if she thought she knew me from somewhere. She moved a little closer and stretched up on her hind legs, inviting me to bring my face a little closer to hers. As I did so, she reached her two front paws out through the bars of the cage and gently touched my cheeks. That was it, I was a goner. I immediately surrendered to Muffins, a dilute tortoiseshell of about 11 years old at the time, and we headed off to start our new life together.
Now, by all accounts, Muffins is a great cat. She’s clean, well-behaved and she loves to make new friends, as long as they are of the two-legged kind (other cats and dogs just will not do). And she is affectionate – well, that is to say she loves attention. In fact, she demands it on a regular basis. And it used to be that she would simply rub up against us or park herself on my lap whenever I sat down, expecting some petting or face and ear scratching or even a brushing. But lately, she has taken to meowing whenever she wants attention. And I’m not talking about a cute little meow that says “Yoohoo, do you see me? I’d like a bit of love if you can spare a couple of minutes.” No. I’m talking about a loud, annoying meow that goes on incessantly and says “Hey you, yeah you, it’s been at least 5 minutes since you paid attention to me. How many times do I have to remind you that your job is to give me all the love and affection I desire, no matter what you may be doing.” And did I mention that Muffins is an early riser? Her usual wake up call is around 5:15 am but sometimes she’s had enough beauty rest by 3:00 am and it doesn’t matter to her one bit that my husband and I are trying to sleep. Oh yes, and she doesn’t believe in weekends!
Perhaps, like humans as we enter our senior years, she is having trouble sleeping through the night. We’ve tried being understanding and waking up briefly to appease her with a few quick pets. But that was not enough for her. Then we tried ignoring her which only led to her amping up her performance by taking it from just pacing the floor of our bedroom, to jumping up on the bed and pacing across our bodies. So it was time for tough love. When the meowing started, out of the bedroom she went and the door was closed behind her. End of discussion.
But neither one of us wanted to be the bad guy. After all, she’s part of the family. How can we banish her from the room when she loves us so much and just wants to be close to us? What if she’s lonely when she’s put out in the hall? She is getting older, so who knows how much time we have left with her.
So, what next? Well, after a great deal of thought, I realize that the answer is simple. I mean, who are we kidding? Do we really think we can put our foot down now after years of giving in to her every whim. It is us, after all, that created this mess. We’ve taught her that all she has to do is turn on the cute a little bit and she can have whatever she wants. We have no one to blame but ourselves. This will all be resolved if we just accept who is really in charge in our house.