7 Reasons I Can’t Converse With The Cat
No doubt you will have read the title of this piece and automatically assumed it was going to be Marc talking about Horatio Pyewackett Caractacus Fearns. Sadly, it’s not. It’s me. Jon. And I’m talking about next door’s cat. Ginger. Though that might not be his real name. He might not even be a he. But anyway, this story starts on Tuesday morning. I have just finished writing Tuesday’s 7 Reasons post and I am walking into the garden with the day’s laundry. I pass Ginger on the way. Two minutes later I am attacking the washing line. Suddenly there is a ‘meow’ from behind me. It’s Ginger. He wants to talk. I don’t.
1. How To Address A Cat. ‘Hello Cat,’ seems somewhat rude. I don’t start interaction with a person by saying, ‘Hello Person’ or ‘Hello Human’. Unless he actually is called Hugh Mann, in which case I probably would. But given that I don’t know any Hugh Mann’s, I don’t. So basically, what I’m trying to say, is that addressing a cat as ‘Cat’ is rude. And I would also feel a prat.
2. The Neighbours. I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but in Kent, our neighbours live next door. And I note that they are in. Either that or Jeremy Kyle has popped round to open the windows. I can’t help but feel that if I can hear Jeremy, then he can hear me. And the last thing I want is for Jez Kyle to hear me talking with the cat he is supposed to be looking after. No, actually that’s the second last thing I want. The last thing I want is for the neighbours to hear me talking to their cat.
3. Subject Matter. Even if I could bring myself to indulge in a little reparte with the ginger one, I am not at all sure what one should reparte about. Whiskers? The location of Felix? How to trap a dog in a bucket? Some of these things I don’t even know much about. Though I do think giving the bucket holes for legs is the way to go.
4. Other Cats. Two months ago, I unbeknowingly moved into a cat hotspot. Which, I am delighted to say, sounds a lot more disturbing than the RSPCA would initially think. I just mean there are a lot of cats around. And by a lot, I mean at least seventy-three thousand. I imagine that Ginger has been sent out by his other feline mates to track down some unsuspecting humanoid who will gladly entertain them with stories of cat food in Tesco before they go off and have a scratch for the rest of the day. I am not that humanoid.
5. Commitment. Just say I do talk with the cat. Then what? Is he/she going to expect it to be a daily occurrence? Will he/she expect us to go for walks together? Will he/she start leaving me Snickers bars outside and expect me to return the favour with dead mice? When he/she goes a bit grey, will I be expected to re-dye their hair? Am I going to have to read a eulogy at their funeral?
6. Bullying. Whenever I find myself in a situation of awkward silence, I generally find myself making some stupid joke. Sometimes this stupid joke comes at the expense of whoever I am locked in awkward silence with. Sometimes this stupid joke is not seen as a joke. Sometimes this stupid joke is seen as an insult. Sometimes they walk off. Sometimes they slap me. Ginger is, as his/her name suggests, ginger. We are locked in awkward silence. Cats have claws. I can do the maths.
7. Language. This is a hypothetical situation as we have already established a conversation with the cat is not going to happen, but just suppose it was going to. On whose terms would the conversation take place? Would the cat reply to me in English or would I have to speak Catlish? Neither of us really own this garden so it’s not as if either of us could claim home advantage and insist on their own language. Yes, I hang up the garden owner’s laundry, but the cat keeps the garden owner’s soil warm by rolling all over it. We’re equals. And maybe that’s the way it should end? I go in and have a cup of tea. The cat has a scratch. Probably.