My Cat, Lassie

I leaned back in my chair and took a sip of tea. The warmth and flavor made me feel cozy and content. My daughter Tammie glanced over at me from where she was sitting and said, “I’m beat. How many miles do you think we covered at the Mall?”

Slipping off my shoes and flexing my toes, I answered with a grimace, “Too many.”

Spotting my feet, Tammie’s cat, Carla, sauntered over to rub up against them. Sitting back on her haunches, she looked up at me, and then suddenly leapt onto the arm of my chair. From there, she carefully stepped onto my soft, warm lap. Tammie said, “Wow, Carla-Cat likes you! She doesn’t get this chummy with just anyone.”

Glancing down at my grand-kitty, I noticed that she was looking at Tammie with sleepy, half closed eyes. Every so often she slowly blinked. I said, “She probably slept all day, but still manages to look sleepy.”

Chuckling, Tammie said, “Carla-cat isn’t sleepy, she’s giving me kitty kisses. When cats look at you and slowly blink, that means they love you. A lot of the things that a cat does tells us what they are thinking.”

Nodding, I said, “I know. When a cat is ticked-off, they quickly swish their tail back and forth.”

Tammie said, “Yes, and you don’t want to bother a cat that has their ears laid back. Mac and Carla-cat are good kitties, though. Sometimes when I play with them, they roll onto their backs. That’s their way of telling me that they trust me.”

Smiling, I said, “My mother had a calico cat named Squeaker when she was young. One day she thought it spoke English words to her.”

Tammie laughed, “I remember hearing about this. The cat wanted out of the house, but couldn’t get anyone’s attention. Everyone was in the kitchen talking. The cat finally loudly cried, ‘le-me-out!’”

“That’s the story!” I said. “It made me laugh because Mom, her brothers and sisters grew up speaking nothing but German. When Squeaker ‘spoke’, they were all learning English. I think it surprised Mom that the cat said something in English.”

“More and more people are seeing their pets as members of the family.” Tammie pointed out. “Many wish they knew what their furry family member was thinking. It’s too bad that cats and dogs can’t talk!”

“It would be a lot easier if pets could speak English, like the dogs in the movie, ‘Up’.” I admitted. “Do you remember the Lassie television shows? Timmy’s parents certainly thought Lassie could talk. Whenever the dog came to them and barked, they’d say, “What is it, Lassie? What are you trying to tell us?”

Tammie said, “Lassie was trying to tell them that Timmy had fallen down an abandoned well shaft…again!”

“He did do things like that pretty often, didn’t he?” I said. “Any time Lassie barked and whined they should have instantly understood.”

Later that week, when I was home from my visit to my daughter’s, I was reminded of our conversation about talking pets. As I walked toward my office, my white and black cat named Louie, began to act as if he was trying to herd me toward his food dish, all the while looking up at me and meowing frantically. It was empty so I filled it with kibble.

When I left my desk to refill my own cup of tea, Louie once again tried herding me into the entryway. I said, “Your dish is full.” Louie sat down by the back door and looked over the black spot on his left shoulder at me. I opened the door and as he slowly stepped out, my other cat, a hysterical over-weight brown female tabby, dashed out from a shadow to disappear outdoors. Louie backed up. He hadn’t really wanted to go outdoors.

Sitting back down at the desk a few minutes later, I thought, “Louie must have just wanted me to open the door for Jonah.” My suspicion was confirmed an hour later. Louie came to me and began to meow loudly. I said, “Ok Louie, or should I call you Lassie. What do you want, now? What are you trying to tell me?”

The cat trotted over to the door. This time, when I opened it, Louie didn’t even stick his nose out to sniff. Jonah’s vast furry bulk filled the opening as she streaked back into the house. With his job done, Louie hurried into my office to curl up on the futon. He didn’t even lift his head when I said, “You’re doing a good job of looking after things around here, Lassie.”







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