Chester spoke his first deliberate words. Well, sort of. He hissed at some bubbles. Let me back up and give this story a little context. For those of you who follow this blog or know my kids, you will know that Chester is the strong silent type. He has only let out a single meow (of sorts), in the seven months I have owned him. That was when I let him out of the carrier after having him fixed. He was not to happy about the event, and he let out more of a squeak than a meow. The look he gave me said more than the sound. So technically those were his first attempts at communication. But that brings us to his next attempt a day or so ago.
This time around, it wasn’t in anger, but the sound itself was a hiss. At the local pet store I picked up some catnip infused bubble mix. I had never head of such a thing, but the idea of my little munchkins chasing bubbles seemed like a fun idea. When I got home, I couldn’t wait to test it out. As I attempted my first bubble, I realized that it had probably been a half a century since I had blown bubbles. My memory of the procedure, was much simpler and more effective. But eventually I was doing fairly well at it. As I suspected, the kids were fascinated with the shiny floating balls. It was then that I heard the first hiss. Knowing that Chester didn’t talk, I assumed it was Frosti. She had taken shelter under an end table, after discovering that when a bubble popped, it was WET. Frosti + wet = one unhappy kitty. She was looking wide-eyed at me, and batting at bubbles that happen to drift close enough for her to reach without leaving the safety of her end table. My first thought was that Chester was scared or angry at the bubbles. But he was sitting up on his haunches and playfully popping the bubbles between his front paws. He would even dash over to get a slow floating bubble or two. He hissed at the first eight or ten bubbles, and then fell silent again. Most times I know exactly what is on his mind, regardless of his silence, but this time I was clueless.
Psychologist say that 80% of human communication is body and facial language. Only 20% is by spoken word. The same is true of dogs and cats. Of that 20% which is vocal, Chester continues to intrigue and amaze me. I sort of feel like I should be keeping some sort of journal for a cat behavior study, but this blog will have to do. Chester has expressed himself with cat grunts and snorts. Which if you haven’t heard them before, are not much more than noisy inhalation or exhalation. What is really interesting, is that Frosti has taken up Chester’s gruntsnorts as a means of communication with him. As time goes on, they have started to use them to express things to me. I do my best to gruntsnort back to them, but the look of confusion when I do, means that I am screwing it up royally.