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Patty’s Ponderings – MeOW!

Tortoise shell cat
Flickr photo of Tortoise shell cat

I talk about my two German Shepherds, Bella and Zeus, a lot. But there are two other fuzzy characters that populate my home and make my life even- -furrier! Cece Pea and Gabby are my smart, sassy and loving kitties. Cece is a “torti”, a tortoise shell colored mélange of black and orange, Gabby is part Bengal cat with stripes running from head-to-tail and spots all over her underside, like a leopard.

Cece was adopted from the Sioux Falls Humane Society about 11 years ago and after my beloved German Shepherd Baci died, she became the best substitute “dog” a person could have. She slept with me; would run to the door when I came home, loved to be petted and play fetch with little foam balls, which she would retrieve and drop at my feet over and over, or she could play with a simple piece of string for hours and be happy. She is also a big talker, actually a yowler. Cece will stand in the middle of the kitchen and vocalize loudly until you do whatever she commands and she is pretty good at letting you know what that is. Food, clean litter, water, a brushing, just some attention; for some reason I always seem to know what she desires and once the task is attended to, she stops talking.

KItty caty
Flickr photo of kitty cat

Gabby’s story was a bit more dramatic. She came into my life about 7 years ago through Ben’s wife–my friend, Linda. Linda was walking their dog Bogey one evening, while still living in Beaver Creek, Minnesota. She heard some sort of commotion going on and encountered some teen boys abusing a mother cat and kicking her kittens down the sidewalk like pop cans. She chased them off, grabbed several of the kittens, headed home, and then she and Ben rushed the kittens into Sioux Falls for medical help. One kitten died from its injuries, one showed up at work in the morning with Ben.

I’ll never forget his wide eyed, innocent spiel, “Gee I thought you said one of your sisters was looking for a cat!” Of course they were, because there just aren’t enough cats to go around in Montana and Colorado where my siblings reside! He knew damn well that I would fall in love with this scruffy, little survivor, who mewed constantly. That is how she got the name “Gabby” –because she was and is.

Now a new study from a Cornell University animal behaviorist has me re-thinking my communicative cats. It seems they may just be humoring me. Nicholas Nicastro says that cats communicate with each other primarily by hissing, spitting and purring. He says that the only reason cats meow is that after 5,000 years of domestication they developed this skill to talk to us humans; whom they apparently view as dim-witted creatures with limited usefulness. And to think I’ve been growing catnip especially for those two con artists for years! Sheesh!

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