As anyone who knows Benny, our cat, can see, this is not him. The two of them may look alike, but our cat never, ever wears this supercilious look, this hooity-tooity, "oh, please" face. Honestly, he doesn't think himself better than us, as most cats do. Oh, sure, he can be manifestly unfeeling and hopelessly one-way. He'll go for days without needing us, then virtually attack my wife with such persistence he could be classified as a virus. But he doesn't disdain us like this guy; or if he does, it's a covert operation.
This picture showed up this morning on a website I googled to try to answer why on earth our Benny creates a siren-like bawling sound at 4:10 every morning. This picture showed up on a website that so sweetly calls this blasted howling "cat vocalization." Puhleeeze.
Maybe I should walk back what I just said. Try this: "Our gray tabby, a gentleman who's been with us for years, is starting to vocalize somewhat early in the morning."
See the feline disdain on that cat's face? That's the way his owner talks to him.
Stopping cat vocalization, saith the website, begins with determining cause--hunger, for instance.
Check. Full bowl.
Next step?--Determine whether the cat is in some kind of distress.
What am I, his analyst? At 4:15, even at summer solstice, it's dark as night. Besides, what kind of distress could he possibly be in? He's got every dang thing he needs. The coon that drives him nuts is outside, as are the birds, the squirrels and whoever else shows up just beyond the patio door. He's an indoor cat, always has been. Just outside is regular circus of creatures.
Okay, I've been thinking that maybe I ought to just push him out there at that hour, something akin to putting Billy Graham on a Hawg and sending him to Sturgis. Benny's as clueless as clawless, and while his meat may well be toughened by his old age, he'd be easy-pickins for some cagey varmint.
Lately he's learned to mimic the alarm. His howling isn't constant, it's staggered. He gurgles a dozen times, then stops. Aha! I tell myself--that's it for this morning. Five minutes later it's another baker's dozen, and we're not talking about a mild meow here. We're talking something blood-curdling from so deep within his cat insides that it starts with a brogue. I'm serious.
Ten minutes later, another chorus. I can't handle it. I'm the one who needs an analyst.
My wife, who adores poor Benny, barely hears him, out like a stone. In a straight-up bargain, in a choice between the two of us, I'm not sure who she'd leave behind when we move to the new house, despite the fact that Benny "vocalizes" nocturnally and leaves green-ish spit-up in places where your toes find it before your eyes--behaviors, by the way, I've never exhibited.
Oh, yeah---third possible cause for vocalization? The cat's in heat.
Not Benny. He's no she and hasn't even been a he since before he can remember. The only heat around here is what I generate before five in the morning.
Don't yell, E-How says. Yelling is something of the attention he craves, the attention he wanted to attract by his "vocalization." Whatever you do, don't yell.
Call me a criminal. I did.
How about rant? Is that okay?
Benny just walked in, circled around like cats do, and and laid down, so he's right here beside me, as if we were buds. No apology. No guilt. Utter cat silence, wearing same deadpan face he'll wear all day, when he isn't sleeping, which he will be soon and long.
So that tomorrow, sometime after four, dark of night, he'll plod silently into the kitchen and start this whole blame shtick over again.
Aw, shit. How do I love thee?--let me count the ways.