Being the owner of two cats currently, and three prior who have all gone on to their resting place, I think that I am a fairly good indicator of what cats are “saying” with their meows. For the last three days I’ve been taking care of my friend’s cats while she’s out of town. I guess here is where I should mention that there are nine of them altogether 🙂 There are five that live full-time in the house, two that roam the street during the day but are called in at night to sleep in a) the potting shed (the girl, Sophie Lou, whom has decided she doesn’t really like socializing too much with the indoor cats) and b) inside the house (the boy, Jack, the man about town who can’t wait to get inside and tell his home boys/girls what’s the word on the street :P). There are also two more, one who lives full time outside but is definitely “owned” by the family and gets all his meals on the front porch and a stray- Skippy, who has been trapped and fixed and released, that amazingly still comes back to eat across the street near the trees.
So, in my three days of feeding the family (and then coming home to my two to examine the smells) I have some musings about their particular meows.
Leo, the lone cat who gets the run of the front of the house, greets you by sitting in the floor to ceiling window, and a nice large MEOW while he curls around the chair in front of the door. He doesn’t quite understand the rush past him while you’re saying “Hey Leo, Hi Leo!” on the way to turn off the alarm that in beeping at you. But, he will quickly meet you in the kitchen to rub against you and jump on the island to make sure you remember that he’s still there. Leo’s food must be one of the first that you fix or he will try to twist his body around your arms until you’re incapable of fixing anyone else’s. He doesn’t care to eat anyone else’s mind you, because he only likes “Leo’s” food, but that’s besides the point. Much like government, everything comes to a halt until Leo is taken care of!
Then there’s the trip outside to track down Sophie Lou and Jack (if you haven’t previously put him in the house.) To contact Sophie, you simply have to stand in the yard and call out in your most ridiculous cat owner voice, “C’mon Sophie! Sophie Lou! Lou-Lou, come on!” Eventually she will scale the fence and then stand there surveying the yard (and you) to make sure it’s safe to come in her yard. When she deems it safe she’ll plop down and meander toward her potting shed. When you’ve gotten her in, which sometimes involves a sneaky scoop and tuck, you can push the doors closed so that she’s safe for the night from the harms of mean old Tom Cats and wild dogs wandering the streets.
On the way back in, you must stop off to give Amos some much needed love. Amos is somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 years old and has arthritis. This doesn’t stop him from jumping right up on the bathroom counter and curling up in the sink, once you’ve opened the bathroom door. He needs some extra attention while Mommy and Daddy are gone, otherwise he gets a bit depressed and won’t eat. Now, he gets his “special plate” of food with his arthritis meds mixed in. This is his plate alone and he gets to enjoy it alone in the bathroom with the door closed.
Leo is still hovering around the island, so you decide you’d better make his bowl or deal with the concesequences. This is a feat in itself because he tries to eat the food at the exact moment that it hits the bowl, which makes for interesting angles and twists of the hand. At some point one or both of us has food on us.Then there’s the feeding of the two outside cats. Kitten, who owns the house, will sometimes come for me… He knows my face. But he will not, absolutely not, let me touch him. Just get to putting the food down lady. Skippy, the newest wanderer across the street, will hide in the grass of the train tracks and watch me until I’ve walked away. Then he comes right out to enjoy the feast.
Now there’s to the remaining sweeties. Alexa, or Lexie, who remains on her perch atop the washing machine, waits patiently and is oh so gentle as I give her her pill for her kidney troubles. She’s right back to being a sweetheart immediately. Jack, who has been captured from outside, but wants desperately to be outside being a roustabout, will sit by the back door meowing at me in his most demanding voice as if to convince me that it’s really ok, his momma said it was ok that he could go out.
Claudia, or as I refer to her “Squeaker”, will come out from her spot on the bed or chair for a little bit of love to which she always squeaks and then heads into the bathroom once the door is opened to lick up the remnants of what Amos has left behind. Emmy, the newest addition to the pack, sits sweetly on the ladder patiently awaiting some attention. When you scoop her up, turn her upside down and curl her in your arms like a baby, you get nothing but the sweetest kitten love. With Amos having finished his “treat”, he has now curled himself in the bathroom sink to let you know that he would like, thank you very much, if you would turn the water on a slow trickle so he could have a sip. He meows a very kind thank you.
After scooping poop, and giving extra hugs and kisses to all, about an hour has passed and I realize it’s time to go home to my own Hugo and Charlie so that they can be jealous as ever of all these smells all over my body. I realize as I’m locking up and scolding Leo for trying to sneak out of the door, looking with pleasure at Kit eating his food even though I, the stranger, am standing on his porch; that I’m not really taking care of these nine cats. They are taking care of my heart.