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Cats have personalities, ask anyone who has invited one into their home.  One aspect of this personality is in their speech.  Yes, they talk; we just don’t understand them and they don’t understand us either.   I mean, has your cat responded when you call his name?  The Oak Court Cats don’t make it a habit of acknowledging my voice when I try to get their attention.

They do, however, speak.

The maine coons don’t have much to say and that’s probably a good thing as these big cats have little squeaky little voices.  They will squeak when they want to come in the door, they squeak when they want to be scratched and when they want to be left alone . . well, you get the idea, they just squeak.

The weegie (Norwegian Forest Longhair) has a voice.  She will come forth with a loud “meow” when she wants attention (usually when the food dish is empty).  She’ll great you when you come into the room with a chirping sound.  When she wants something (like a good scratch behind the ears) she’ll quietly “meow” and it sounds like a question.

The tonkinese, on the other hand, likes to have conversations.  She’ll greet me on the sidewalk when I come home from work and will start talking, telling me what went on during the day.  It’s not just short “meow” words but long sentences where the meow may have 8 or 9 different syllables (if you would call them that). She’ll stop and wait for a response then continue complaining that the neighbor dog was barking and the other neighbor’s dog was running across the lawns and the squirrels were running in and out of the garage.  If I answer her she’ll continue the conversation for a good 5 minutes.

I don’t understand what she is complaining about and I am pretty sure that she doesn’t know what I’m saying to her but she has a lot to say.

One of the court cats learned to mimic human sounds.  You’d hear him early in the morning when he’d be looking for fresh food in the bowl.  You’d hear “her r ow” repeatedly until someone would wake up and go to the kitchen with him.  At 3 in the morning it sounded like “hello”.  He would also stand at the back door and clearly say “M  out”.   But he would never engage in a conversation with me; he was a cat of few words.

Do they talk to each other? I don’t think so.  At least I don’t think they do.  At least I can say that I’ve never caught them sitting around the table discussing the skyrocketing price of canned cat food. The communicate using gestures, spitting, swatting and other gestures.  For all I know they may have long, serious conversations on Kafka, Freud and Hawkins when we humans are not around.

But, for now, they communicate when they want to tell me something and that’s fine.

Missey is now telling me that it’s time to turn the light out and call it a day;  she sighed audibly and settled down on the pillow.  Nite.

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Two of the regular inhabitants of the court are known for their thick coats; Missey is a Weegie, a Norwegian Forest Longhair while Mr Big Guy is a Maine Coon.  With the hot weather upon us, they are shedding and suffering.  Right now it’s mid day and both of them are in the coolest corner of the house, stretched out sleeping.

Both are brushed regularly and, in the warm weather, we try to help them cope by keeping an eye on their undercoat.  The Big Guy’s thick fur is thinned now and Missey, well . . . she’s not furry at all right now.

All the cats drink more water in summer; even the little tonkinese  drinks a fair amount several times a day.  Missey prefers the bottled water from the refrigerator, then again, she is the queen and has come to expect the royal treatment.

So today they’ll be dormant for a few more hours, coming to life around 6:00.  The pride will congregate at the back door, waiting to go out and resume their neighborhood patrol.  There are squirrels, birds and neighborhood dogs to be watched; neighborhood kids to be avoided and the occasional stray cat to be chased away.

Tonight they settle down around 10:00 and we’ll give them a quick brush, removing any stray grass or weed from their coats.

In the meantime, I’ve got to clean up their toys, fill the water dishes and freshen up litter boxes.

Later