Cats most certainly communicate with one another. And I don't just mean the usual back-and-forth exchanges of:
"Hey, lookin' good, wanna mate?"
"Hell, no. I'm spayed, and you ain't all that, anyway!"
Or, "Move over; this is my chair."
"Well, Miss Territorial, remember that when you eat out of my bowl!"
And, "Hey, wanna cuddle?"
"Sure, if ya got some catnip."
Yes, we observe cat chat daily, but I'm referring to more serious plotting and planning—sharing of real information, even organized retribution.
I already knew there was more to their communication skills than the basic "meow." I've even overheard our house cats talk amongst themselves, but I have also found that they get the word out to the street cats. And the "word"—the message—is clear: Always keep the upper hand, and never let a person get away with thinking that they have control. Cats seem to have rules for each other that they agree to, or else they are shunned by fellow cats and thought to be a "sell-out to the man." Cats will come together to confound and confuse their people, bending them to their needs and ways. We know that to receive the love and affection we so desire from our feline friends, we must conform to their wishes.
At the top of the feline's agenda is to subjugate the person attempting to place topical flea drops upon the nape of the cat's neck. This really pisses a cat off. But for those felines new to this well-intentioned act of health care, it might be time to realize that rebellion is needed here.
Obviously, the more experienced cats have a come-to-Jesus talk with newbies and instruct them on how a dignified cat should act. I mean, come on, why else would the outside community/feral cat accept—without hesitation—the topical flea drop application the first time, and even again a month later, only to suddenly go ballistic the third time I even approach with the little tube of drops? I mean, you'd think that I was putting battery acid on them—heck, I put it on my skin and felt no pain, no burn. Well, the answer is obvious: My indoor cats can talk through the screen door to any cat that passes by. And if the outside, often homeless cat were to continue to be complacent and amenable to such dominance, then the person might want to adopt it and bring it indoors, thus usurping the indoor cat's cushy position in the household hierarchy.
But how did they get the word to Lefty back when she came to be our shop cat? The shop was a mile away from our cats' screen door (the gossip and insurrection portal). A couple of years ago, Lefty came in to apply for the position of shop cat and was hired. A monthly application of flea prevention was applied, and she accepted without complaint for a while, and then, bingo! She began the "no way!" just like our house cats do. I guess they somehow contacted her and schooled her on required cat responses, thus leaving me to monitor the outgoing phone calls from then on.
My cats have also perfected the art of inappropriate urination. This is meant to baffle, worry, and drain me of money. Because first, you must rule out the cry for help—meaning a cat might be telling you that the puddle of piss on your bed is due to a medical issue. So, of course, you rush it to the vet and, in the case of my little darlings, half the time it's a legit health issue in need of attention, but the other times, it is just to put me into debt. Same goes for vomiting. Is it an obstruction in dire need of removal, or furballs (normal)? I play detective and try to determine who might have thrown up, but this is where our cats have taken a vow of silence, a loyalty oath. Is this a point of honor, or just part of the plot to break me and bend me to their will?
I already knew about certain cat traits that are universal, but let's start with dining habits and, specifically, my cats' gastronomic idiosyncrasies. There is that feline finicky flare they perfect and often personalize. Sure, dogs have certain likes and dislikes, but, basically, it's a four-step procedure: Get a bowl, plop in food, place on floor, and watch it disappear. The whole experience is quick and always appreciated, and the affirmation of loyal love is there from start to finish. Well, not so much the case with my beloved cats. Serving multiple cats requires very strategic multitasking skills. There is always that one cat (Opie) who is gluttonous. Not at all picky, he will eat anything and quickly, and therefore, my expensive-prescription-cat food-only diners (Zack and Frankie) must be fed behind closed doors. And these prima donnas then must be kept from the dog's food or Lefty's (no longer a shop cat, now part of the neurotic house herd), as they are allowed regular food that smells stanky, delicious, and inviting.
The outdoor cats have their own idiosyncrasies that involve my varying techniques to insure that they eat their meals. Some (the social diners) require that I sit with them until they finish eating. Others (the snooty customers) turn their back to eat, while still others act like they are in witness protection, can't abide me even looking at them, and request that the food be hidden under the house. And, of course, I, their personal crossing guard, must make sure that they are all safely escorted across any streets that might interfere with their preferred eating stations.
As any cat person knows, there are too many words and far too many tales about our mysterious felines. But the bottom line is this: We love them unconditionally. And we live to serve!
Photo by Marlon Soares on Unsplash
Photo by hang niu on Unsplash