Friday, December 10, 2010


Lucy wants something, heaven only knows what. She's skulking around the house, meowing loudly. It's her complaining voice too, not her happy voice. I've given her a treat, petted her, tried to engage her with a wadded up piece of paper, and finally - at my wit's end - opened the sliding door for her. Lucy stays indoors most of the time. There are just too many hazards out there. The neighbor's cat was killed by a coyote last year, and large hawks lurk overhead. But sometimes, when I can't take Lucy's meowing any longer, I give in. Fortunately, her outdoor forays only last 5 or 10 minutes. And lately what I've been doing is sending Lady out too, as a kind of bodyguard.

I'm not sure how, but I'd swear the dog knows what she's being asked to do. She'll stand nearby, watching Lucy the entire time she prowls around. Sometimes it even looks like Lady is scanning the surroundings for potential hazards. Lucy will give the yard a quick check, and when assured that no strange cats have trespassed, is content to come back in.

This morning, however, I stand with the door open, letting the icy cold air billow in for many long seconds, while Her Highness gingerly sniffs the air, ultimately deciding - "no, I don't think so, too cold."

Lucy has an impressive array of vocalizations to match her myriad wants and needs. She's not necessarily loud, although she'll certainly get loud if you aren't responding.

Have you ever watched someone trying to communicate in a foreign country? Often the hapless person will repeat the misunderstood phrase louder and slower, in an attempt to get the foreigner to understand.
As if speaking louder will suddenly allow English to be translated into Italian or whatever.

Lucy does this. She starts out with a polite: "meow, mee-aeow, meoooow." But, if you can't figure out what she wants, she gets louder and slower, drawing out the meows. She'll look at you earnestly and repeat herself:


A written description really can't do this justice, it's one of those things that has to be experienced to be appreciated. One trick that usually works to interrupt the cycle is an old down comforter. I fluff it up into a heap on the sofa, and pat the middle of it. "Look Lucy, look how nice. Don't you want to come see?" If I can entice her up there, she seems unable to resist the coziness of it. She'll begin kneading her paws into the soft folds, while I stroke her head and talk soothingly to her "Good kitty, go-o-o-d kitty." Then, quietly, oh so quietly, I tiptoe backwards away from her. If I remain very quiet and get lucky, often she'll decide to settle down in the blanket and take a nap. Whew!

Ahhhh... peace at last!!


  1. Love this photo essay on Lucy... :-)

  2. And Lucy returns the favor - when Lady has to be let out into the yard to "take care of business," Lucy will stand just inside the sliding door vigilantly watching. When Lady is done and wants to come back in, Lucy begins meowing insistently. Very cute!