Tuesday, January 23, 2018

How to Talk to Your Pets

 If you have pets, you know how fun and enlightening a  conversation with them can be.
     My twenty-pound, orange and white cat, Rocky (shown above hugging his buddy, Pokey)clambers onto  the  love seat while I’m reading. His nose nudges my hand.  “Meowrrr?” he says.
     “What’s that, Rocky?”
     “Meowrrr?” he says again. He probably thinks I should have listened the first time, and then he wouldn’t need to repeat himself.
I force my gaze from the book to scratch his head. His amber eyes glisten with joy. I once read in a mini-paperback while waiting at the checkout counter that cats hear high tones better than low ones.
I want to make sure Rocky knows I care, so I raise my voice three notches.  “What’s goin’ on today?” I squeak.
“Meow,” he says, closing his eyes. Is he disgusted at my Minnie Mouse talk, or in kitty heaven?
Just to make sure, I switch to baby talk. “Tell me all about it, Rocks. I know you understand these things.”  
He purrs, and arches his back. Good—it’s kitty heaven. “Meow,” he answers.
“That’s wonderful,” I chirp, “I’m so glad to hear it.” I return to my book, still petting him in an absent-minded fashion. “You are so wise. You amaze me every time we talk. 
Dog owners tell me that words are unnecessary—their canine pets can read moods and communicate with their eyes and body language. The owner of a pot-bellied pig used in therapy claims the little porker can help patients overcome depression. The day of my brother’s funeral, my uncle’s talking macaw gave me a huge release from my grief by making me laugh.
I might one day consider owning these other types of pets. But I’d hate to lose that unique ability to communicate with my cats in their own language.

The above slightly-exaggerated story is an excerpt from my book, The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul.  

Do you have pets? How do you talk to them?