5  Ways to Communicate

Bingley may decide that dinner time has arrived even when it hasn’t.

If he thinks I’m napping at dinner time, he’ll jump up onto my chest then down on the floor then back up on my chest and down again, springboarding each time.  No way to nap through that.

If I’m reading, he’ll jump onto my chest, push my book aside, and begin kneading my pecks while wearing a friendly look on his face.  If I tell him it isn’t time yet, he’ll move down a little to knead my stomach; his expression gets more intent.  If that doesn’t work, he’ll move down farther and knead harder:  with his claws out.  His face gets more pointed, and his look grows almost menacing.  I may not give in to an early supper, but by that time his message has got poignant, and I get up and find something else to do until dinner time officially comes along.

If only I could get him to knead my back that way, I could save on chiropractic bills.

This morning he had a brief chat with a female cardinal that was sitting in the burning bush–which isn’t doing much burning at this time of year.  But what a blessing that the weather was warm enough that we could sit in the window box with the pane open!  After sizing up each other, the bird said “beep!” and Bingley replied with a soft “mow.”  Again the bird said “beep!” and Bingley answered with another quick “mow.”  After two more exchanges the bird flew off.  Bingley’s tail swung energetically through the whole exchange and for a time after the bird left.  I got the feeling that they understood each other from the beginning.

You can probably think of times when you got someone just the right present.  This past week my wife had a bad cold, and on Saturday I come home with a dozen red roses.  That was the right gift.  Last summer I came back one day from the Petsmart with a tall cat-tower, about five feet high with four levels.  I rubbed a little catnip into each level just to make it a little more enticing.

I don’t think I needed the catnip.  The moment he saw it, Bingley jumped right up and climbed to the third level.  He embraced the post and gave his new toy a big hug, then stretched out and purred loud enough to wake Rip Van Winkle.  Getting to the fourth level himself is a little tricky, but if I place him there, he’ll sigh, settle in, and nap contentedly:  he’s at the top of the world.  That was the right gift, too.

He loves to munch on plants, but the large ones don’t do well in his digestive system, so we try to keep him away from them (yes, of course we check first to make sure they’re safe before we bring them home).  Every now and then we bring home a new batch of catnip or cat grass.  He dabbles in the catnip, sampling, but he loves the cat grass.  As soon as we get in the door with it, he runs over and begs to taste it.  As soon as we put it down, he starts munching away.  Then he’ll turn back toward us with his eyes spinning around in opposite directions.  Then we put it up on top of the cupboards for a couple days.  I wouldn’t have guessed that cat grass is a hallucinogen.

In the morning when we play, I’ll ask him to do his tiger jump. We have a string with a soft toy mouse tied on the end, and I’ll flip the mouse up in the air over his head.  He launches himself up with all four feet in the air to catch the mouse.  Then he gets an appreciative “good kitty!” and a nice bowl of Cat-Sip.

Yes, most of the time we communicate pretty well, whether he feels in the mood to talk or not.